I am a proven leader, have in-depth and considerable management experience as COP, DCOP, Sr. Public Administration Advisor, Capacity Development Director, and Director of Public Works/Chief of Engineer. I have extensive experience in large and complex long-term development programs such as capacity building, governance strengthening, decentralization, and service delivery improvements to a wide range of small and rapid response projects to seize the window of opportunities and to bridge the gap between emergency disaster relief to long-term development assistance. Such projects included youth employment, “council in a box,” grants for equipment and facilities, and reconstruction of schools, clinics, bridges, and government and CSO facilities.
I have strong ability to design and implement strategy, structure, systems, staff, and develop skills in the host and conflict-ridden communities. Recently completed a USAID flagship project in Iraq on governance strengthening (Taqadum) and decentralization project as well as another project in public financial management and economic reform as a part of Asia and Middle East Economic Growth Best Practices (AMEG) project.
Skilled in translating objectives and policies into technical programs within the cultural and political context and vice verse, very politically and culturally savvy, and provided briefs and presentation to high-level officials within USAID, US Embassy, and counterparts governments and organizations.
I bring more than 40 years of experience working with governments, government contractors, non-profit and international organizations. I am an experienced program manager with nearly 14 years of experience directing donor-funded governance and service delivery projects and programs for USAID, State Department, and US Army Corps of Engineers in the areas of local governance, decentralization, public service delivery improvements, citizen service centers, civil society strengthening, civic engagement, community mobilization and development, and capacity building in Iraq, and Jordan.
As the Chief of Party of the USAID/Iraq Governance Strengthening Project (GSP), also known as “Taqadum” or “moving forward” in Iraqi Arabic, the project institutionalized local government systems in budgeting, citizen participation and citizen service centers, services and project delivery, monitoring, and oversight, policy-making and legislation, financial management, legislation changes, decentralization, and organizational development and transformation for both legislative and executive branches of governments.
Also, I led a team of 137 people with wide geographical extent for the development and implementing of decentralization plan including legal, financial, administration, and service delivery frameworks. I provided experiential, on-the-job, and learning-by-doing capacity building to Iraqi national and local governments in public administration, project management, service delivery, and good governance. I also led a team of three expats in providing financial reform assistance to Kurdistan Regional Government in Iraq and effort includes accounting, budgeting, payroll, and tax system.
“To sum up, due to Mr. Berkuti’s powerful leadership, USAID/Iraq has been able to realize tangible success in the very complex field of decentralization in Iraq. Given this stellar performance, I would highly recommend Mr. Berkuti for any position, but particularly for a leadership position such as Chief of Party for a USAID project, in any country.” Wrote USAID Mission Director in Iraq, Dr. Brooke Isham, in March 2017.
As the Deputy Chief of Party for the USAID/IRD Iraqi Community Action Program III (ICAP III), I led the project team to foster democratic principles of governance at the grassroots level by assisting 115 CSOs and 130 local government representatives across Iraq’s myriad of ethnic and religious groups to identify and prioritize solutions and infrastructure projects that best addressed the demands and grievances of the respective constituents. For example, I played a critical role in the formation of the Community Action Groups (CAGs) that were essential to the community development activities at the heart of the program, primarily due to my skills in understanding the socio-economic, Iraq’s ethnoreligious communities (Arabs, Kurds, Turkmen, etc.), and political systems and in facilitating community groups to develop a common vision and empowering them to build their communities.
As a Capacity Building Team Leader and Program Manager with US Army Corps of Engineers and US State Department provided construction management training to the Ministries of Electricity in Baghdad and Erbil and oversaw many specialized electrical and power generation trainings for both ministries in Iraq and Amman, Jordan.
As a National Capacity Building Director with USAID-Local Governance Project (LGP I and II), provided leadership and management capacity building training to ministerial and local officials in Kurdistan Regional Government and Iraq. I developed provincial Strategic Development Plans for 15 provincial government in Iraq. I also developed strategic plans for the Ministry of Justice and Ministry of Municipalities and Construction and Housing in Kurdistan Region. In 2005 with the first provincial council election in Iraq, developed and implemented capacity building programs for more than 560 provincial council members in 18 provinces in Iraq. In 2033 and 2004 in Iraq developed and implemented 130 small and impactful project to bridge
I also served as a Director of Department of Public Works and Chief of Engineers between the years of 1998-2003 with the City of La Mesa, San Diego, California, I also served in different senior positions with the City of National City, San Diego, California and worked as Project Manager for several projects in Iraq and Kuwait with Construction Management Consultants.
I have BS in civil and construction engineering from Baghdad University and MS in Construction Management from the University of Missouri-Columbia, USA; I am also multilingual, fluent in Arabic, Kurdish, and the Iraqi-Turkish dialect. I am the past president of American Public Works Association in San Diego and Imperial Counties in the USA. I am a licensed professional civil engineer and land surveyor from the California Board for Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors.