Dr. Cindy Banyai is the Principal Consultant of Banyai Evaluation and Consulting, LLC. She also teaches in the Department of Political Science and Public Administration at Florida Gulf Coast University. Dr. Banyai received her Master’s and Ph.D. from Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University in Japan where her research focused on community development, public administration, evaluation, and governance. Her works have been published in peer-reviewed journals and she has written, edited, and contributed to several books on public administration and community development. She also has undergraduate degrees in international relations and psychology from Michigan State University.
Although Dr. Banyai considers herself an evaluator by trade, she has worked in the field of community development since 2000, exercising skills such as facilitation, research and reporting, and participatory engagement practices. In 2012, she joined a start-up nonprofit as its first Executive Director to develop the organization’s infrastructure and practice to provide housing and services to homeless families. She gained valuable insights about poverty, housing, and homelessness, while conducting research and evaluation for the organization and participating in local resource networks and advocacy groups. In her consulting work, Dr. Banyai refined qualitative and quantitative data collection, analysis, and reporting skills. She worked with many clients around the world to better understand their effectiveness and impact and to develop practices and processes that raise up the voice of those they wish to serve, paying particular attention to cultural nuance and language barriers.
Dr. Banyai was awarded the Evaluation Advocacy and Use Award from the American Evaluation Association in 2018 in recognition of her work in the US and abroad to promote good practice in evaluation in locales where evaluation capacity is still developing. She received the Donald W. Littrell New Professional Award in 2015 from the Community Development Society for her work on regional initiatives at the Southwest Florida Community Foundation and for her commitment to community-based advocacy organizations such as BikeWalkLee. She is currently serving as the President of the Community Development Society and on the team of the Collaborative, Participatory and Empowerment Topical Interest Group of the American Evaluation Association. In 2018 she was appointed the official representative to the United Nations for the International Association for Community Development and participated in the UN General Assembly and side events to celebrate Global Goals Week for the Sustainable Development Goals (SGDs).
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