Dr. Michael McGill, PhD

Young Peacebuilders Director
Traverse City, USA

Dr. McGill is an experienced scholar-practitioner passionate about linking, improving, and increasing support to child and youth peacebuilders and increasing young people’s pro-social civic engagement and democratic participation, particularly in high-risk contexts. Since 2000 he has been designing and implementing research in conflict-affected contexts, training youth researchers, and facilitating productive interagency and international partnerships. He is a strategic problem-solver with a demonstrated commitment to reflective practice and evidence-backed action.

Dr. McGill invested several years founding a global partnership addressing child sexual exploitation and trafficking. His experiences in conflict affected countries lead him to see the need to better engage more young people as peacebuilders in order to prevent and break cycles of violence. His PhD research helped discover how to do so more effectively. For over a decade his work and research have focused on child and youth participation in peace processes. Toward this end, he developed the Peacebuilding & Reconciliation Initiative of the World Evangelical Alliance (representing 129 national alliances and 100+ organizations), and subsequently, founded Young Peacebuilders.

Recently Dr. McGill served as a Global Lead Evaluator of a multi-country, multi-agency, multi-donor (3M) participatory evaluation of child and youth participation in peacebuilding (www.sfcg.org/3m). Data collection and analysis included 122 child, youth, and adult evaluators and 1,567 evaluation participants. The process included designing and facilitating evaluator training and analysis workshops, including children, and developing cross-sector partnerships in each country where the evaluation was conducted.

Dr. McGill has invested time in 50 countries, including living in Uganda from 2012 to 2015. He has trained groups in Asia, Africa, Middle East, Europe, and North America on cross sector partnership and network development. He co-developed a university graduate methods course on international research with children in especially difficult circumstances, and has practiced as a child psychologist.

Dr. McGill’s PhD in Intercultural Studies focused on developing a descriptive moral framework for mobilizing effective and ethical child participation in peace processes. He also holds a Masters degree in Counseling and a Bachelors degree in Communications.

Social Links

  |     |     |   Academia example works   |   Dr McGill’s CV

Denis Brown

Deputy Director, Young Peacebuilders
Canada / Malta

Denis has worked with international humanitarian NGOs for fifteen years, managing operations in nine countries across Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East which included post-conflict and fragile state environments. He was involved in several humanitarian responses including the Tsunami response in Sri Lanka, the Haiti earthquake, Somali refugee camps in Ethiopia and the Syrian Crisis in Lebanon and Jordan. He has been a member of senior leadership for over a decade and as the head of operations he’s supervised the implementation of humanitarian programs in several countries. He’s overseen programming in all key sectors: Health, Shelter, Food Aid, Water & Sanitation, Livelihood, Education and Protection.

Originally from Canada, he started off studying business, which includes an undergraduate degree and an MBA. He later settled into international development and has an MA in Conflict Resolution. His studies in peace and conflict, as well as his background in local capacities for peace and conflict sensitivity provides him with a deep understanding of the contexts of conflict. Denis also has a certificate in alternative dispute resolution and is currently working towards becoming a certified executive coach.

Laura A. Ewing, PhD

Programs Director, Young Peacebuilders

Laura A. Ewing holds a doctorate from the University of South Florida in Rhetorical Theory with a focus on intercultural technical communication. She has been living and working in Tokyo and Okinawa, Japan since 2012. As a practitioner, Laura serves as the Station Chair at the American Red Cross Kadena Station, Service to the Armed Forces Far East Division in Okinawa, Japan. In this role, she provides program development support and content strategy consultation to ensure strong volunteer and community relations. She oversees the Station Advisory Council, a pool of over 300 volunteers, and liaises between the military partners on Okinawa and the Red Cross.

As a scholar, Laura’s research examines how communication practices are employed globally to build relationships and connect social networks to advance intercultural education. As part of the First Year Composition Summer Collaboration Team at USF, Laura worked to develop and pilot the “Rhetoric in Action” project aimed teaching students to use writing to effect change. She has presented research at conferences regarding the use of mobile technology to increase access to education and community advocacy in rural areas of majority world countries, as well as the use of social media to develop intercultural communication practices. Laura’s research in digital communication, reflexive collaboration, and social media advocacy can be found in the journals Pedagogy, Academic Exchange Quarterly, Writing Commons, and the upcoming edited collections Citizenship and Advocacy in Technical Communication and #RhetOps.

Golam Rabbani Nayan

South Asia Regional Manager, Young Peacebuilders
Michigan, USA

Golam Rabbani is a Lawyer of Bangladesh Supreme Court and a Licensed Social Worker in the State of Michigan. He has completed his Bachelor in Law and Masters in Social Work from the University of Dhaka.

He achieved national and international awards for his outstanding performance in youth and society development. He is the founder of the largest youth organisation in Bangladesh: National Youth Forum. He is a pioneer in Bangladesh to encourage and introduce social work activities in the youth wings of political parties. More than 1500 grass root level social organisations were developed under his intense care. He was appointed as a board member of "The Prime Minister Youth Welfare Fund Management Board" in 2004 and worked as lobbyist to influence the then Bangladesh Government to adopt the first ever National Youth Policy . During his Youth Forum leadership, he visited all over the country and worked hard to make the youth organizations sustainable. He also worked for Commonwealth Youth Program, Asia as Youth Ambassador for 3 years. Under his outstanding leadership every year Bangladesh celebrates a huge gathering for youths called "Bangladesh Youth Parliament".

He is a member of the International Federation of Social Workers in Geneva. He is also an active member of the National Association of Social Workers in USA. His specialization is community development. He is working to make young people more responsible and committed to prepare themselves to serve the society. As a Lawyer of Bangladesh Supreme Court he played a vital role in human rights issues. Rabbani also works to ensure social justice through his writings. He is a regular bangla columnist in various Daily Bangla Newspapers and worked as the President of Urban Community Development Program under the Ministry of Social Welfare of the Bangladesh Government (UCD Project of Government).

Jacob Atem, PhD Candidate

Co-Founder, South Sudan Healthcare Organization
Gainesville, Florida

Jacob Atem is a “Lost Boy of Sudan” and was brought to the United States where he settled in Michigan as a refugee and placed in a foster home. Jacob is pursuing a PhD in Global and Environmental Health at the University of Florida. He attended and graduated from Webberville High School (WHS) and attended Spring Arbor University (SAU). He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Biology and a Masters of Public Health degree from Michigan State University (MSU). Currently, Jacob Atem is a PhD student at University of Florida (UF) and he is married to Linda James and now resides in Gainesville Florida. In his spare time, Jacob travels across the country speaking at colleges, schools, community events, and houses of worship bringing awareness to the atrocities being committed in the Darfur region of Sudan and promoting his non-profit organization, the Southern Sudan Health Care Organization. SSHCO has been set up to support the people of Southern Sudan by providing healthcare facilities, education, and supplies.

Social Links

  |     |   Jacob's story @TEDx   |   UNHCR story of Jacob returning to South Sudan   |   NY Times: Sudan’s Lost Boys Are Drawn Into War at Home   |   USA Today: 'Lost Boy' escapes Sudanese violence again

Saghar (Sara) Birjandian

Founder of Genocide and Atrocity Prevention Support
Uganda; United Kingdom

Sara Birjandian is a scholar-practitioner with years of experience working on various transitional justice and prevention projects in Canada, the United States, Uganda, and across the Great Lakes region of Africa. Saghar is currently a Doctoral Candidate at the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS). She is working to develop a systems approach for mapping and analyzing local interpretations of transitional justice in Uganda to further inform relevant policies and strategies.

Sara previously served as Director of George Mason University’s (GMU) Genocide Prevention Network and Deputy Director of GMU’s Genocide Prevention Program. She also worked with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada gathering statements from Canada’s Indian Residential School Survivors, Inter-generational Survivors, and other Canadians and helped facilitate local reconciliation activities. She holds a Master of Science in Global Affairs with a concentration in International Law and Human Rights from New York University (NYU) and a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy with a concentration in Ethics and Legal Philosophy from the University of Victoria. Sara has received an Academic Excellence Award (Dean's Circle) from NYU's Center for Global Affairs, a Thematic Research Award from the British Institute in East Africa, and a Fieldwork Award from SOAS, University of London. She is also an approved Mediator with the New York Peace Institute.

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Luz Alcira Granada Contreras, MBA

Advocacy and Communications Director, Save the Children Colombia
Bogotá, Colombia

Social worker with expertise in business administration (MBA) with an emphasis on NGOs, Certified NGO leadership, community development specialist, diploma in child and youth participation, workshops and seminars on design, monitoring and evaluation of social, human rights and peace education. Extensive experience in the work of NGOs in the areas of Development and Advocacy (promoting justice and influence) with emphasis on childhood, adolescence and youth at national and international level. High capacity to establish relationship with different actors, people skills, willingness to travel within and outside the country, work-oriented objectives. Solid and proven experience in management in NGOs, determined service capacity. Leadership, motivation and coordination in multidisciplinary teams. Ability to create interactive structures, experience in leading teams of professionals working and nonprofessional, integration capability, flexibility, dynamism and work under pressure; ability to foster dialogue and teamwork; ability to lead others in situations that demand effort and dedication; relationship skills and empathy. . Ability to lead several activities simultaneously Easy to make decisions; capacity for technical analysis, analysis and interpretation of reality and proposal writing. Ability to establish priorities and act accordingly. With common sense, good judgment and ability to make decisions. With initiative and decisive. Working capacity, enthusiasm, energy and fluidity in communication, negotiating skills and ability to organize and adapt to change

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español   |     |     |     |  

Fatmire Feka

Director, The Eagle Down Foundation
Toronto, Canada

As a Muslim Albanian from the ethnically divided municipality of Mitrovica, Kosovo, Fatmire Feka made the choice, at a very young age, to dedicate her life to a more peaceful and tolerant world. She was 11 years old when the 1999 war in Kosovo ended, having suffered the loss of her brother Sami and sister Sadet. “When we returned to our burned out home, I hated all the people for the bad things they had done. However, I quickly realized that hating them wasn’t right. It wasn’t good for our future. I thought to myself; ‘the violence that is destroying us must end, the pain needs to stop!’”
In 2002 Fatmire launched Kosovo’s Kids for Peace movement. Her motivation for launching the Kids for Peace movement was based on her belief that “no other children should have to live what my siblings and I have had to live through”. It was through this important community-based work that Fatmire was eventually named an Angel of Hope by World Vision Canada. Of Fatmire, World Vision has said; “(she) brought hope to others and made a difference in her community”.
Fatmire was eventually selected as a member of the “1000 Peace Women Across the Globe” (www.1000peacewomen.org), through which she was jointly nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2005.
In 2009, the Kids for Peace movement received significant international recognition by being awarded World Vision International’s first ever Peacebuilding Award.
Shortly after launching the Kids for Peace movement, Fatmire was called upon to join the Council for Peace & Tolerance (CPT) in the ethically-divided and violence-prone city of Mitrovica in Northern Kosovo. The CPT is an organization committed to laying aside all ethnic, religious and gender based prejudice as they strive to promote mutual understanding through diverse community-based projects. It is Fatmire’s experience, passion for peacemaking, and love of others which stands as an example to each of us – an example which encourages us to live lives of grace in our own neighbourhoods.
Fatmire’s work has been featured extensively by both local and global media outlets, presenting an opportunity to share her story with a wider audience. Over the years Fatmire has been invited to speak at various international forums including the Global Movement for Children Conference at the Universal Forum of Cultures in Barcelona, Spain, the “Young Active Citizenship’s EU Meeting” in Helsinki, Finland, the United Nations in Geneva, and the World YWCA’s Young Women’s Leadership Forum in Nairobi, Kenya.
In 2008, Fatmire has also participated in a Wolrd Vision-sponsored peace mission in Kenya.
Today, Fatmire is Eagle Down’s visionary and source of inspiration. As Director of Operations, Fatmire leads advocacy efforts and guides the selection of projects which Eagle Down supports every year.

Social Links

  |     |    Fatmire’s story & call to support young peacebuilders   |   Fatmire on CNN

Dr. Mark Hamilton, PhD

Professor, Inter-American Defense College
Washington D.C, USA

Professor and Academic Program / Curriculum Consultant at Inter-American Defense College
October 2009 – Present (4 years 2 months)Washington D.C. Metro Area
Supporting academic reform efforts at an OAS-affiliated educational institution for senior-level military and civilian officials with tasks including teaching, curriculum design, staff training and development, managing strategic partner affiliations, facilitation of academic seminars, and support for program and student evaluation processes.
Instructor, Youth Conflict, Participation and Peacebuilding at American University
May 2008 – August 2011 (3 years 4 months)Washington D.C. Metro Area
Summary of relevant professional experience:
* Graduate-level teaching, research, and training experience in international relations, development, multidimensional security, and conflict resolution;
* Significant consulting experience in sectors including educational curriculum development, international development programming, grants management, civil-military relations, conflict resolution, and policy and program implementation;
* Expertise in applying innovative educational principles and training theories to complex professional settings, including capacity building and strategic coaching for middle- and senior-level leaders;
* Extensive teaching, program coordination, and research experience in Latin America, Asia and the Middle East, including travel in at least 25 international countries;
* Advisory support, strategic planning, needs assessment, and training responsibilities across a variety of international organizations and institutional structures.

Specialties:* Employment of innovative teaching and training methods;
* Multi-stakeholder mapping, interviewing and analysis (monitoring and evaluation);
* Facilitating cross-organization, cross-sector, and cross-cultural collaboration;
* Training of “systems thinking” and simulation modeling for management, security, and development;
* Thematic expertise in conflict analysis, peacebuilding, multidimensional security, and youth-focused development;
* High level presentation skills (oral and written).

Social Links

  |     |   Mark’s keynote speech on how to engage youth as peacebuilders

Dr. Issam Smeir, PhD

Clinical Consultant at the International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims
Director of Cross Cultural Services at Mosaic Counseling
Chicago, USA

Dr. Issam Smeir is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor who specializes in trauma treatment for refugees, victims of torture and severely abused and neglected children. He holds a doctorate degree in counseling and clinical supervision from NIU, and post doctorate training in global trauma with refugees from Harvard University. He is an expert in the Narrative Exposure Therapy approach.

Issam worked in the past for several nonprofit relief organization and his trauma and relief work took him to over 40 countries in Africa, Europe, Asia, Persian Gulf and North Africa. In 2008, Issam became the national clinical consultant for World Relief in the US working directly with refugees from 23 countries and training World Relief staff in areas of trauma and cultural competency. His work with the Somali Bantu population was featured on CNN and the Chicago Tribune.

Besides World Relief, Issam offers clinical consultation for the Rehabilitation and Research Centre for Torture Victims which is based in Copenhagen, Denmark where he offers supervision to psychotherapists and psychiatrists in "Arab Spring" countries such as Egypt, Lybia, Tunisia and Syria in areas of trauma counseling and Narrative Exposure Therapy. Issam also offers consultation and counseling services for the (DCFS) Department of Children and Family Services in Illinois, the United States Committee of Refugees and (HIAS).

Issam’s expertise includes cross cultural communication, cross cultural conflict resolution, coaching and ethical and professional regulations. Besides consulting, Issam is an adjunct professor at Judson University where he teaches courses such as: Global leadership, International Human Rights, Research Design and Advocacy for Social justice. Issam has taught graduate level courses as well at several universities in the United States such as NIU and the Professional School of Psychology. Issam is a coauthor of "Seeking Refuge: On the shores of Global Refugee Crisis." Issam is fluent in Arabic and English.

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Pauline Zerla, MA

Young Peacebuilders, Consultant
Brussels, Belgium

Pauline Zerla is a peacebuilding, youth and storytelling professional with over five years project design and management experience in fragile and conflict-affected states including the DRC, CAR, Rwanda and Somalia. She focuses on the LRA, youth and conflict, DDR, youth engagement, peace and conflict research, reconciliation, community-based conflict transformation, trauma healing and storytelling.

She worked across a variety of contexts focusing innovative ways in which young people can become peace builders. Specifically, she is interested in seeing how young people who have grown up in conflict zones can become leaders in their communities. Pauline designed community-based reintegration trainings for former underage combatants and cultural exchange opportunities for vulnerable youth in the DRC.

Most recently, she has been acting as a deputy coordinator on DDR and community resilience programs in the Central African Republic with Invisible Children. Programs seek to increase the protection and resilience of communities from the violence of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and other armed groups, and help dismantle the LRA through peaceful defection programming. Innovative projects also focus on trauma healing of LRA-affected communities and support to the successful reintegration of former abductees and soldiers of the armed group.

In the past Pauline therefore also participated in several research projects focusing on youth, conflict, trauma and reconciliation. She supported several research organizations focusing on local peacebuilding efforts and youth role in peacebuilding which further improved her strong capacity-building and M&E skills. In the DRC she supported local capacity-building by getting involved with the Leadership Academy in the DRC and train their students on the relationships between media, conflict and leadership.

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Theo Roberts

Young Peacebuilders Coordinator, Liberia

Executive Director at THREM Inc. Liberia
Monrovia, Liberia

Theo Barbi Roberts is an experienced development broadcast Journalist with particular experience in child and youth peacebuilding media development and distribution. He is a Bachelors of Arts (B.A) graduate of West Africa Theological Seminary / University of Nigeria and has worked in various communications and media positions with a number of national and international organizations in Liberia, his home country.

Theo contributed enormously to Liberia’s post war rebuilding through his work with Search for Common Ground /Talking Studio, a Peacebuilding and conflict transformation multimedia project in Liberia. Theo was responsible for two radio programs among other core tasks. These included the production of the famous Talking Drum Studio “Today is Not Tomorrow “conflict issues radio drama and “JuJay” (translated “Children Business”) a radio drama which addressed issues of children. Theo also participated in the post war recruitment of personnel for the new Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) when he worked in the position of Production Editor with DynCorp International / SSR Liberia, the American firm which recruited and trained members of the new AFL between 2005 and 2008.

Theo became Communication Consultant for the Government of Liberia / United Nations Joint Programme on Youth Employment and Empowerment (JPYEE). He was the tasked with designing and implementing a robust communication strategy for the JPYEE. He also became Communication Consultant for a UNICEF supported HIV and Aids Prevention Awareness and Empowerment of Adolescent Youth (HAPE Project) at which time he coordinated a Communication Mobile Van outreach to screen HIV and Aids awareness video clips among Ivorian refugees in major border towns of Liberia. His excellent performance with the JPYEE and the HAPE Project earned him another appointment as Communication Officer for the Government of Liberia / UNICEF supported National Youth Service Programme (NYSP) implemented by the Ministry of Youth and Sports. In 2015, Theo joined the United Nations family when he took a temporary assignment with the education department of UNICEF Liberia as Communications for Development (C4D) Officer for the Peacebuilding, Education and Advocacy Programme, PBEA.

As a skilled audio / visual producer with wealth of experience in radio and television programming Theo is Producer / Editor of the UN Resolution 1325 video documentary requested by the Ministry of Gender and Development in 2010. He is also the producer of Liberia’s National Youth Policy nationwide consultation video documentary sponsor by the UNFPA in 2013. Theo is currently working with a transformative Christian Media Production studio in Liberia “Studio Yeshau”, which is dedicated to creative messaging for peace and transformation in Liberia.

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Ali Abouba, MA

Project Manager, Young Peacebuilders

Ali Abouba Hassane holds a Bachelor in Computer Science Management from the African Institute of Technology Of Niamey and a Masters Degree in Project Management from the Institute Of Computer Sciences Of The Economy And Management. He has four years of professional experience focused on customer experience and marketing in multinational environments. His current professional interests are focused on building the capacity of children and youth with leadership, peacebuilding and conflict resolution skills. Ali recently worked as an Assistant Evaluation Coordinator on the Search for Common Ground's youth peacebuilding project “Engaging Children and Youth as Partners in Preventing Violence Against Children" in Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone.

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Aayushi Aggarwal

YP Clubs Support Associate
Delhi, India

Aayushi has pursued a Masters in Human Rights and Democratization from the European Inter- University Centre for Human Rights and Democratization( EIUC), Italy, which is a programme partly funded by the European Union and partnered by 41 universities across the EU, and also holds a Masters in English from the University of Delhi. Currently, she is living in Delhi, and works as a Communications Intern for UN Women, India MCO. In the past, she has interned with the Delhi Commission for Women where she was a part of a team that worked in the three most endemic jurisdictions for gendered crimes in Delhi, and collected data for a quantitative analysis of crime response.

Karin Attia, MS

Communications Manager, Young Peacebuilders
New York, NY

Karin Attia is a Master of Science graduate with a concentration in peacebuilding and a specialization in gender from New York University. She has conducted research in Rwanda, the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, Israel and Palestine and has been published on OpenDemocracy, Mondoweiss and NYU academic journal, Perspectives on Global Issues. She is a freelance peacebuilder, human rights researcher and conflict prevention consultant. Her primary fields of interest are women and girls rights, conflict resolution and peace education.

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Okello Ambrose Felix

Word Press Developer, Young Peacebuilders

IT professional with over 5 years experience in IT / software development.

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Laura Kirunda

Human Resources Associate, Young Peacebuilders

Laura is a Ugandan HR professional holding a PG. Diploma in Human Resource Management and a Bachelor’s Degree in Philosophy and Political Science. She has worked in every facet of the Human Resources arena for small, mid, and large-sized organizations for over the last ten years. She specializes in the areas of Human Resources and Administration, as well as Human Resources Information Systems. Laura has had global responsibilities in South Sudan, Liberia, and Uganda with Freebalance, Children’s AIDS Fund, International Rescue Committee, PAE Group – Security Sector Reform, UN World Food Program, as well as working with Quantity Surveyors.

Hailee Meacham

Communications Manager, Young Peacebuilders
Washington, DC

Hailee is a junior at American University in Washington, DC working towards a Bachelor's Degree in International Relations and Communications Studies. Originally from beautiful Oregon, she is interested in the environment, women's rights, foreign policy, and peace studies, with a regional interest in Asia and the Pacific. Hailee is particularly interested in the connection between communications and international development, and is looking forward to further exploring the practical applications of communications work in building peace. Additionally, she is excited to have the opportunity to visit Japan and South Korea this summer to study regional history, culture, and modern geopolitics.

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Abutu Paul Owoicho

Video Developer, Young Peacebuilders

Paul currently works with Global Rights Nigeria as a Communications and Development Officer. He did his mandatory national youth service at the Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution (IPCR) under the Nigerian Foreign Affairs Commission. Paul is a United States Institute of Peace (USIP) Generation Change Fellow and is actively involved in designing and implementing Peacebuilding and Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) projects. He runs a peace club in Nigeria and is passionate about building the capacity of children and youths with Leadership, Peacebuilding and Conflict Resolution Skills. Paul holds a Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) in Peace and Development Studies and is a certified Guidance Counselor. He has a UNICEF certificate on Monitoring and Reporting Mechanism (MRM) in Children and Armed Conflict. He has also been trained by the British Council on Media Relation and has a certificate from Ford Foundation on Advanced Monitoring and Evaluation. Paul is a storytelling expert and uses multimedia as a peacebuilding tool. He has developed several engagement tools including edutainment, radio drama series, and video based training materials. He is launching an online radio and uses cloud computing to engage an audience with content that will help young people become leaders. Paul has created mass movements for change and is in the field engaging young people at the grass root level across communities in Nigeria. His work areas includes Community Organizing and Volunteer recruitment, Advocacy, Social Media, Fund Raising, Communication and Multimedia Strategy development.

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Stephanie Scott, MA

Communications Manager, Young Peacebuilders
Winnipeg, Canada

Stephanie has a BA in Anthropology from the University of Manitoba and a Masters in Public Issues Anthropology and International Development Studies from the University of Guelph. Her research focused on reintegration efforts for former child soldiers and community peacebuilding initiatives in northern Uganda. Stephanie served on the editorial board for the Ontario Council for International Cooperation's e-magazine iAM for volume 6 on global health and volume 7 on the sustainable development goals. She is the Outreach & Practicum Coordinator for WHEAT - Winnipeg Holistic Expressive Arts Therapy Institute and volunteers at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights and with the fund development & grant writing committee for K.I.D.S. – Kenya Initiative for Development and Sustainability Inc. She recently participated in a human rights advocacy course offered by Amnesty International and continues to take online courses in communications, social media, and marketing.

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Federica Sustersic, MA

Project Manager, Young Peacebuilders
Trieste, Italy

Federica is a passionate peacebuilding and human rights junior professional. She graduated with a Master's Degree in Comparative Literature and then earned the European Master's Degree in Human Rights and Democratization (E.Ma). During her studies she spent a semester in the Law Faculty of Maastricht University, studying transitional justice and supranational criminology. Her thesis investigated the dehumanization of victims and perpetrators in gross human rights violations. She attended various specialization courses in Italy, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Morocco, Belgium and The Netherlands and obtained the Post-Graduate Certificate on Post- Conflict Transitions & International Justice at the International Peace & Security Institute (IPSI). Her main interests are peacebuilding, post-conflict transitions and youth participation in peace and security issues. She has collaborated with various civil society organisations and has experience in advocacy, civic engagement, project management and youth activism. She worked as a European Advocacy Officer at the United Network of Young Peacebuilders and at the Bologna Symposium on Conflict Prevention, Resolution & Reconciliation organised by IPSI and Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. She also served as an International Electoral Observer and was selected by OSCE as young anti-discrimination expert. She is the author of various articles in international journals and webpages.

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Rashmi Thapa

Development Manager, Young Peacebuilders
Brussels, Belgium

Rashmi Thapa is an independent peacebuilding consultant and founding director of PeaceMatters Group, with over ten years of experience working on youth, peace, and security; conflict prevention; disarmament and peacebuilding. She has a track record of designing, managing, monitoring and evaluating peacebuilding and mediation projects in Sub-Saharan Africa, South and South-East Asia, and Colombia. She has led Disarmament, Demobilisation, Rehabilitation and Reintegration projects for the return and reintegration of children and youth associated in armed conflict; global policy oriented research on Disarmament; and presented papers on various International and European Diplomatic conferences on Mine Ban Treaty, Armed Violence, Cluster Munitions Convention, and Peacebuilding. She also has experience in facilitating dialogues between the EU and CSOs, and between adversarial parties; facilitating seminars and meetings; and training various stakeholders on conflict sensitive programming.

Rashmi has worked with Search for Common Ground (SFCG) in Nepal, Sierra Leone and most recently in Brussels- representing SFCG at the EU and served as the EU expert to enhance in-house capacity. Besides SFCG; she has led Handicap International's global policy research on disarmament, humanitarian crisis and disability- for which she commissioned and authored a number of research papers, policy briefs and policy papers; with UNESCO in Uganda; and International Planned Parenthood Federation in Nepal. She has also served as one of the editors of the Landmine and Cluster Munitions Monitor. Rashmi holds a research MA in Development Studies with specialisation in Children and Youth in Conflict, Peace and Security from the International Institute of Social Studies, Erasmus University Rotterdam. She is UN Habitat and Soliya certified Advanced Facilitator; and has received trainings in Storytelling for healing, Research Techniques, International Humanitarian Law and the EU.

Emily Thomas

YP Clubs Support Associate
North Carolina, USA

Emily Thomas holds a masters (MSc) in Mediterranean Security Studies and a masters (MA) in Conflict Analysis and Resolution from the University of Malta and George Mason University. She was trained by the Mediterranean Academy for Diplomatic Studies (MEDAC) in methods of negotiation, diplomacy, and advanced analysis of conflict, as well as in processes of violence prevention. She is passionate about post-conflict trauma healing and the reintegration of children displaced by war and genocide, and believes that educating children in alternatives to violence is the key to alleviating conflict throughout the world. Emily was a featured academic scholar and presenter at the 2016 USA-France ICC Rotary International Peace Seminar in Paris, France, on Cultural Heritage and Peace, and is soon to be published in a working paper sponsored by UNESCO, Iconem, Le Conservateur, UNC, ANAJ-IHEDN, and Rotary International. After three years abroad living in Italy, she is currently living in North Carolina with her husband, and is looking forward to her upcoming trip to Kenya and Cameroon to work alongside peace-building programs that promote education against domestic violence and offer children a safe space to learn.

Ron Wilson

Human Resources Associate, Young Peacebuilders

Ron Wilson holds a Bachelor in Accounting and Management from the Cuttington University in Liberia. He has over eight years of professional experience focused on Human Resource, Finance, Operations, and Logistics Management. Ron was once the team lead of a community based youth organization (Our Children Our Future Foundation) in the Buduburam Refugee Camp, Ghana where he was seeking asylum during the 13 years of civil war in his country Liberia. Ron’s focus of work is geared at improving skills and ethics of professionals, social workers, and service providers in order deliver adequate and efficient services to beneficiaries and vulnerable communities. Ron recently worked as the Head of Base on the Advancing Adolescent Girls Project under the Danish Refugee Council and was also involved in building capacity of professionals during the 2014 Ebola epidemic in Liberia.

Jeffrey S. DeHaven

The Boeing Company, Field Service Regional Manager – UK and Ireland
Englefield Green, United Kingdom

Jeff has been working in aviation for more than 27 years, with responsibilities in maintenance engineering, design and, for the past 20 years, Field Service. Due to his work in Field Service, Jeff has had the opportunity to live in India, Germany, Korea, Taiwan and England. Jeff has served on several Church boards and directed the music ministries at several of the churches in these countries. Living overseas has allowed Jeff and his family to participate in multiple mission trips to Taiwan and Cambodia. Jeff and his wife Debbie have a daughter at University and a son in High School.

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Dave Olson

Glaukos Corporation, Sr. Regional Business Manager; Young Peacebuilders, Advisory Team Chair
Seattle, Washington, USA

Dave has been in Medical Device sales for the last 27 years, primarily working with surgeons in the O.R. throughout the Pacific Northwest. Outside of work, he has enjoyed serving as an elected official for 8 years in Edgewood, WA on the City Council, and served two terms as Deputy Mayor. He is a founding member and Elder at The Well NW church in Sumner, WA. Dave and his wife Cheryl have deep roots in the Puyallup Valley community where they have partnered with multiple organizations throughout the years in various roles, while raising 4 beautiful daughters.

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