Mikaïl Barah

Barah Mikaïl is a senior researcher at FRIDE. Prior to joining the organisation, he was senior researcher on Middle East and North Africa and on Water Issues at the Institut de Relations Internationales et Stratégiques (IRIS) in Paris (2002-2010). Barah has been lecturer at the Collège Interarmées de Défense at the French Ministry of Defence (2005-2007); at the Université Paris-8 Saint-Denis (since 2005); and at Sciences-Po Lille (2004-2005). In 2003, he also worked as an analyst on Middle East issues at the French Ministry of Defence. He holds a PhD in Political Science from the Université Paris 8 Saint-Denis; an MA in Political Science from the Université Paris Dauphine; and an MA in International Relations and an MA in Arab and Islamic Civilisations from the Université Marc Bloch.

He specialises in the Middle East and North Africa region, covering topics such as EU and US policies, and security, political and economic issues. Other areas of expertise include ethnicity, tribalism and Islam in the Arab world, and water political issues and stakes. His most recent publications include: ‘Syrie: lent retour en grâce pour “l’enfant terrible” du Moyen-Orient’, RAMSES 2011, September 2010;  ‘Al-‘Alam, expression d’un échec médiatique iranien?’, Confluences Méditerranée 69, Spring 2009; ‘Lourds enjeux hydrauliques dans le monde nilotique, ou les risques d'une fragmentation régionale en gestation’,Maghreb Machrek 196, Summer 2008 ; ‘Un fleuve sous haute tension: le Nil. Vers une configuration belliqueuse dans le bassin du Nil?’, Futuribles 346, November 2008; “Iran and the « Shi’ite Crescent » Theory: How to Transform a Scarecrow into a Giant”, Shi’a Affairs Journal, Winter 2008; and ‘La Syrie dans la ligne de mire’, in B. Courmont, Ed.,Washington et les Etats Voyous: Une stratégie plurielle? (Dalloz, 2007).

He has also authored three books : « La politique américaine au Moyen-Orient », Dalloz, 2006; « L’eau, source de menaces ? », Dalloz, 2008; « La Syrie en cinquante mots-clés », L’Harmattan/Comprendre le Moyen-Orient, 2009.


Elena Gentili

Elena Gentili is currently a Women’s Protection Advisor at UN Women Palestine. An Italian national, Elena Gentili joined UN Women Palestine in 2009 as Technical Advisor to the Women’s Human Rights Programme after having coordinated, since 2004, an NGO-lead project aimed to establish the first specialized anti-violence center for women in Palestine. Ms. Gentili has 16 years of experience working on protection policies and services and in combating violence against women.

Before working in Palestine, Ms. Gentili has collaborated with several NGOs, INGOs, service providers and research institutes on projects related to combating violence against women, supporting refugees and migrants, reducing racism and promoting dialogue among cultures. Ms. Gentili has an advanced university degree in Letters and Philosophy and was trained on peace building and reconciliation by the Jesuit Refugee Service. In addition to her Italian mother tongue, Ms. Gentili is fluent in English and speaks French and Arabic. She is married and has two children.


Dalia Ghanem Yazbeck

Dr Dalia Ghanem-Yazbeck is a research analyst at the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut. She is an expert on extremist violence, massacres, and terrorism, with a focus on Islamism and jihadism in Algeria.

Ghanem-Yazbeck was a research assistant at the Center for Political Analysis and Regulation (CARPO) at the University of Versailles, and she also served as a teaching associate at Williams College prior to joining Carnegie. She has been a guest speaker in various conferences and she has published on political and extremist violence, including work on Islamism in Algeria, the DRS and the "pouvoir" but also on the participation of women in jihadi groups.

For her PhD Thesis, Ghanem-Yazbeck worked on massacres in Algeria during the “black decade”. She conducted fieldwork in Algeria. Over a span of four years, she worked on atrocities committed against Algerian civilians by Islamist groups such as the GIA (the Armed Islamic Group), among others. Through her study, she offered a reflection on the massacre, and on the social fact of this form of "extreme violence" and its political use. She tried to answer the complex question of: what were the meanings behind the practice of massacre?


Ammar Hijazi

Currently the Deputy Assistant Minister of Multilateral Affairs Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Served for seven years in the Permanent Observer Mission of Palestine to the United Nations and was in charge for issues related to the Question of Palestine, including development and disarmament. Over the past seven years, gained extensive experience and knowledge in the issues of international cooperation on disarmament issues as well as international development and climate change in relation to the Question of Palestine through heading the political and technical teams related to these issues in various international conferences. Headed the Peace Process Affairs Department and the North America Department in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs from 2002-2004. Before that, held different positions in the Aid Coordination, Eastern Europe and Systems and Information Departments in the Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation.


Moncef Kartas

Moncef Kartas is a researcher at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, and the project coordinator of the Small Arms Survey's programme 'Security Assessment in North Africa'.

Moncef Kartas holds a PhD degree in International Relations from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, and a Master's degree in political science, philosophy and international law from the University of Munich. Moncef teaches Methodologies in Social Sciences at Bethlehem University and regularly holds lectures on the political economy of conflict and violence, the link between development and security and on the history and practice of UN peacekeeping and peace-building. From 2007 to 2010 he was associate lecturer at the University of Potsdam. Moncef Kartas has also worked for the Geneva Center on the Democratic Control of Armed Forces and was a researcher for the micro-finance NGO, ENDA inter-arabe, working in the poor neighbourhoods of Tunis. Prior to ENDA Moncef Kartas worked for Transparency International in Berlin and in the private sector as a consultant for German companies in Tunisia.

Moncef Kartas is the co‐editor of the 2013 special issue of the Graduate Institute’s International Development Policy Series on religion and development, published both in French and English. Currently, he is conducting field research in North Africa, notably Tunisia and Libya, on SALW circulation and trafficking. With CCDP he has amongst others conducted field research in Kigali as part of the joint project with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) on urban resilience and chronic violence, focusing on the interaction of formal and informal institutions in coping with stress factors. He was also the lead researcher for the Peace and Conflict Impact Assessment (PCIA) for Madagascar mandated by the Office of the UN Resident Coordinator in Antananarivo.


Marco Kalbusch

Marco Kalbusch is the Director of the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Africa (UNREC), based in Lomé, Togo. He holds law degrees from the University of Passau (Germany) and the Catholic University of Louvain (Belgium). He was awarded a doctoral degree in law from the Martin Luther University of Halle-Wittenberg (Germany). Mr. Kalbusch is a staff member of the United Nations Secretariat.

Before being appointed to UNREC, he served with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Burundi, Somalia and in the Regional Office for Southern Africa, with the Department for Disarmament Affairs at United Nations Headquarters in New York and in UN peace operations in East Timor and the Democratic Republic of Congo. He has expertise in the areas of disarmament, mine action, security sector reform, human rights, international humanitarian law and transitional justice. Mr. Kalbusch was the legal advisor to the independent, international commission of inquiry on Côte d'Ivoire and part of the SADC legal team to support the implementation of the Madagascar roadmap.

Prior to joining the United Nations, Mr. Kalbusch worked with the European Commission. He did his legal clerkship at the Court of Appeal of Nuremberg, with secondments to the European Court of Justice and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.


Jean-Benoit Manhes

Jean-Benoit Manhes, coordinator of UNICEF programmes in Morocco, has been working for more than 15 years in emergency contexts in all continents (Iraq, Afghanistan, Myanmar, Angola, Haiti...). Since in Morocco he has been involved more specifically in United Nations planning and post 2015 brainstorming with State, Development Partners and NGOs.


Ahmed Marii

Mr. Ahmed Marii is the Head of Operations and Coordination for Early Warning and Crisis Response Center League of Arab States. Growing up in a political, diplomatic, and professional environment enriched Mr. Ahmed Marii’s knowledge and experience, and deepened his perspective. Mr. Ahmed Marii is currently the Head of Operations and Coordination in Crisis Management Department at the League of Arab States. In this role, Mr. Marii is responsible for overseeing related issues to crisis management and Early Warning as well as Strategic Regional Analyst for the Middle East and North and South America. During his work at the League of Arab States, Mr. Marii was the coordinator at the Central Situation Room as part of the Arab League observer mission in Syria in 2011. In mid 2007, Mr. Marii started working in the Cabinet of the prior Secretary General at League of Arab States, HE Mr. Amre Moussa as dealing with the Arab Political Issues and Intellectual Property. Prior to that, Mr. Marii was the first Arab seconded at Oxford Institutions in 2013 to benefit from their experience in the fields of information gathering and information analysis in an attempt to transfer the applied mechanisms to the context of the Arab League. Mr. Marii obtained his Masters degree, MA, in Mass Communication from Cairo University in 2013, and a Bachelor’s Degree, BA, in Mass Communication from Akhbar El-Yom Academy in Cairo, Egypt in 2006. In addition to his policy work, Mr. Marii has taught classes on Mass Communication to university students, and strategic intelligence and knowledge management to public and private sector organizations. Mr. Marii is a member of the Egyptian Karate Team and has won a number of championships as a National Representative. For more than seven decades, Mr. Marii has been heavily involved and instrumental in the Arab region in the areas of policy and legislative reform, strategic planning, resource mobilization, management and capacity building, educational counseling, evaluation and analysis, peace and security, and training programme design and implementation.


Mohammad-Mahmoud Ould Mohamedou

Mohammad-Mahmoud Ould Mohamedou is Deputy-Director and Academic Dean of the Geneva Center for Security Policy and Adjunct Professor at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva. Professor Mohamedou is also a Visiting Professor at the doctoral school at Sciences Po Paris. He was previously the Associate Director of the Harvard University Programme on Humanitarian Policy and Conflict Research in Cambridge, Massachusetts, former Foreign Minister of Mauritania, Director of Research of the International Council on Human Rights Policy, and Research Associate at the Ralph Bunche Institute on the United Nations in New York.

He is the author of several books including Understanding Al Qaeda – Changing War and Global Politics (Macmillan, 2011), Contre-Croisade – Le 11 Septembre et le Retournement du Monde (L’Harmattan, 2011), and Iraq and the Second Gulf War – State-Building and Regime Security (Austin and Winfield, 2002), and contributed chapters to several edited volumes, including An International History of Terrorism (Routledge, 2013), Violent Non-State Actors in Contemporary World Politics (Columbia University Press, 2010), Rethinking the Foreign Policies of the Global South (Lynne Reinner, 2003), and Governance, and Democratization in the Middle East (Avebury, 1998). His research focuses on transnational terrorism, political violence, the transformation of warfare, transitions to democracy, and Middle Eastern and North African sociopolitical and security developments. Professor Mohamedou is a frequent lecturer in his fields of expertise and has contributed notably to The New York Times, The Boston Globe, Financial Times, Le Monde, Le Monde Diplomatique, BBC World News, Al Jazeera, France 24, Deutsche Welle and ABC News (US).



Joanna Nassar

Joanna Nassar is the Project Manager of the UNDP project “Peace Building in Lebanon”. Holding a BA in Political Science from St Joseph University Beirut, she pursued her MA studies at St Joseph University and the Institut D’Etudes Politiques of Aix en Provence, France, in Political Science as well with a focus on the Arab World and the thematic of democratic change, Her thesis topic for the Diplome d’Etudes Approfondies in Political Science that she undertook after the MA was on “Politics of the Syrian national secular opposition: from Damascus spring to Damascus Declaration”.

After working for two years for Al-Arabiya News Channel between 2005 and 2007, she joined UNDP in 2007. Between 2007 and 2010 she has worked with the UNDP “Technical Assistance to the Lebanese Palestinian Dialogue Committee” project based at the Lebanese Grand Serail as a Project Officer. Under this position, and in addition to the work related to the management of the office, the monitoring of the activities’ implementation and allocated budgets and the technical assistance provided to the government of Lebanon in relation to the improvement of the living conditions of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, she has initiated nation-wide dialogue between Lebanon and Palestinian youth as well as launched a joint collaborative action between Lebanese and Palestinian NGOs. With the eruption of Nahr el Bared crisis, she suggested and launched a relief campaign in Beddawi area North of Lebanon, under the name of the government of Lebanon, conveying positive messages to Palestinian IDPs who had to flee their camps and aiming at building trust between the two communities.Since 2010 she has been working with another UNDP project entitled previously the “Peace Building in Lebanon Project”. Her interest and activism in peace building goes back to her teen age, having been involved in civic action and civil movements aiming at building peace in a divided society and advocating for reconciliation. Within her current work, Joanna has been managing and following up on the implementation of peace building related activities, monitoring and evaluating the different outputs (peace education; peace building at the local level; peace building through media; youth and peace building; NGOs and peace building) . She has also been engaged in conflict assessment and conflict analysis tasks, the latest ones having to cover the impact of Syrian refugees’ influx on host communities in Lebanon; and thus, designing intervention that foster social cohesion in the affected areas.


Jean-Michel Rousseau

Jean-Michel Rousseau is the Head of the North Africa desk at the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF), an international organization whose mission is to assist partner countries in pursuing good governance and reform of the security sector. For DCAF, more accountable and effective security sector institutions lead to legitimate and trusted security sectors that respect the rule of law and ensure human rights.

Prior to joining DCAF, Jean-Michel Rousseau worked as a strategy, governance, and organizational development consultant worldwide. He also worked for GIZ in Colombia, among other issues on transitional justice and DDR.

He studied at Sciences Po Paris and at Georgetown University, and completed the Management Acceleration Programme at the University of Oxford’s Saïd Business School. Moreover, he has taught at the Universidad Externado de Colombia. 


Sara Sekkenes

Ms. Sara Sekkenes, Conflict Prevention Adviser with UNDP in Geneva. Ms. Sekkenes holds an MSc in the field of Human and Physical Geography and additional university degrees in Development Studies and Political Science. Working with UNDP since 2006, she now leads UNDPs policy work on efforts to achieve a sustained reduction in the impact and occurrence of armed violence and conflict with specific specialization on arms control and humanitarian disarmament efforts. Prior to that Ms. Sekkenes worked for a number of years with Norwegian People’s Aid, a non-governmental organisation actively engaged in issues pertaining to the challenges faced by communities and countries affected by the legacies of war. During this time she was based with programmes in Africa (Mozambique 2004-2006, Angola 1998-2000) as well as in south eastern Europe (2001) and also engaged globally working on advocacy and coordination with other NGOs on the global landmine and cluster munitions campaigns.  


Julius Torres

Born in 1954; Quezon City; married; AB Journalism, University of the Philippines, 1979; FSO examination, 1980; Career Service Professional examination, 1989; Career Minister examination, 1994; Assistant and Acting Chief, Press and Public Affairs Office, 1981-1983; Assistant Director, Office of Protocol, 1983-1984; Third Secretary and Vice Consul, Bucharest, 1984-1989; Consul and Principal Officer, Saipan, 1989-1993; Director then Executive Director, Office of ASEAN Affairs, 1993-1995; Counselor and Consul General, Brussels, 1995-1997; Minister Counselor and Consul General, Canberra, 1997-1998; Director then Executive Director, Office of United Nations and Other International Organizations, 1998-2000; Minister and Consul General, Koror, 2000-2003; Consul, Toronto, 2003-2006; Executive Director, Office of United Nations and Other International Organizations, 2006-2007; Acting Assistant Secretary then Assistant Secretary, Office of Strategic Planning and Policy Coordination, 2007-2008; Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, Amman, 2008-20*; Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, Honolulu, 20*-2014; Assistant Secretary, Office of Middle Eastern and African Affairs, 2014 - present.


Claude Wild

Ambassador Claude Wild was born in Lausanne in 1964. He studied political science and international relations at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (GIIDS) in Geneva and went on to complete post-graduate studies in security policy at the GIIDS as well. From 1989 to 1992 he participated in the United Nations’ peace operations in Namibia and the Western Sahara as a member of the Swiss contingent. Following that engagement he joined the Swiss diplomatic service. After assignments with the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), the Swiss embassy in Nigeria and the Austrian Ministry of Defence, he became deputy head of the peace-policy section of United Nations and International Organisations Division in Berne. In 1997, he became first secretary and later counsellor at the Swiss embassy in Moscow. Back in Bern, he was in charge of the policy and institutions section of the Directorate for European Affairs (DEA) with responsibility for policy on Europe from 2004 until 2004. Then he became deputy head of the Swiss embassy in Canada. Three years later, in 2007, he acted as deputy head of the Swiss mission to the European Union in Brussels before he was appointed Ambassador and head of the FDFA’s Human Security Division in August 2010.