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Dr. Kirsten Ainleys research is in the field of global ethics and is concerned with relationships between politics, law and ethics in international relations.


Kirsten is Co-Director and Deputy Principal Investigator of the UKRI GCRF Gender, Justice and Security Hub, working at the overlap of Sustainable Development Goal 5 on gender equality, Goal 16 on peace, justice and strong institutions, and the implementation of the Women, Peace and Security agenda. She is also principal investigator on the Hybrid Justice project, analysing the impact of ‘hybrid’ domestic-international criminal justice mechanisms in post-conflict and transitioning states.

She focuses on the history and development of international criminal law, human rights and humanitarian intervention and has published on international criminal law, transitional justice, the International Criminal Court, the Responsibility to Protect and the notion of evil in international relations. She is the co-author, with Chris Brown, of Understanding International Relations (2009) and co-editor (with Rebekka

Friedman and Chris Mahony) of Evaluating Transitional Justice: Accountability and Peacebuilding in Post-Conflict Sierra Leone (2015). Ainley has a PhD and an MSc in International Relations from the London School of Economics and a BA in Philosophy, Politics and Economics from the University of Oxford.


Dr. Sahla Aroussi is an Associate Professor in Global Security Challenges at the School of Politics and International Studies at the University of Leeds. She is a feminist scholar and a gender expert. Her research interests lie at the intersection of gender politics, and peace and conflict research. Her research focuses on ‘women, peace and security’, sexual violence in armed conflict, gender justice, gender and violent extremism, political participation and gender in peace-making and peace negotiations. She has conducted a number of studies on the implementation of the ‘women, peace and security’ agenda. Her monograph entitled Women, Peace, and Security: Repositioning gender in peace agreements (2015) assessed 

how gender issues are negotiated and included in peace settlements around the world. She is passionate about ending gender-based violence.


In her British Academy/ Leverhulme funded study (2015- 2017), using storytelling, she researched justice with survivors of sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Her current research focuses on gender and violent extremism critically engaging with this concept from a feminist perspective. She is currently the principal investigator on a British Academy Tackling UK International Challenges (2018) funded research that uses body mapping as a method to study gender and resistance to violent extremism in Kenya.

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Dr. Fathima Azmiya Badurdeen is a lecturer at the Department of Social Sciences, Technical University of Mombasa. She has taken a keen interest in the sociological analysis of recruitment for terrorist networks, insurgency movements and violent extremism. From 2009 onwards, she has worked in Sri Lanka on issues related to peacebuiding and post conflict development. Since 2012, she has worked in Kenya as an academic and practitioner in the field of countering violent extremism. Her recent research work on women and violent extremism has been published online: “Women who volunteer: a relative autonomy perspective in Al-Shabaab female recruitment in Kenya, Critical Studies on Terrorism (2020)”.

Visakesa Chandrasekaram worked as a human rights lawyer, community peace worker, and an independent arts practitioner in Sri Lanka. He also worked as a community law practitioner, human resources consultant and an arts practitioner in Australia. He was a deputy director in the National Association of Community Legal Centres in Australia. He held various human resources consultant positions in the NSW Government including in the NSW Attorney General’s Department. While working in Australia, Visakesa engaged in human rights advocacy work in Sri Lanka as a trustee of Home for Human Rights. Visakesa has presented a range of human rights issues in Sri Lanka through several creative pieces such as novels, stage plays and films. He was awarded with a Doctor of Philosophy by the Australian National University for his research on the use of confessionary evidence under the counter-terrorism laws in Sri Lanka.


Catherine Ruth Craven was the project coordinator on the Cluster at Brunel University London from September 2019 to June 2020.


Mario Gomez has a doctorate in law and was previously a Lecturer in public law, human rights and gender studies in the University of Colombo. He has published on human rights, constitutional reform, public law, gender equality and transitional justice. He has a PhD in law and was a member of the Law Commission of Sri Lanka and a Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Kennedy School of Government. He teaches occasionally in the University of Colombo. His Publications include The Politics of Dealing with the Past in Deeply Divided Sri Lanka, Constitutionalizing Economic and Social Rights in Sri Lanka (Co-author), Lifting the Veil of Secrecy: The Right to Information in Emerging and Existing Democracies, Keeping Rights Alive: Reform and Reconciliation in Post-War Sri Lanka, and Sri Lanka: Case Study on Post-Conflict Justice.


Initially trained as a sociologist at Delhi University India and Lund University Sweden, Hasini later specialised in Oral History and Museum Anthropology at Columbia University New York. She has worked with several international and local organisations on peacebuilding in Sri Lanka for the past 15 years, most notably with Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) where she lead the culture and conflict programme for 10 years. She speaks regularly on social inclusion, culture and heritage management issues on a variety of international platforms.

Hasini A. Haputhanthri is a Research Fellow, International Centre for Ethnic Studies (ICES), Sri Lanka. Best known as a development professional and arts manager, Hasini collaborates with a global network of researchers and practitioners on peace-building, arts and heritage management.  Her current focus is on reinventing museums as sites of representation, innovative pedagogy and civic engagement. Her publications include Archive of Memory: Reflections of 70 years of Independence, Cultural Fluency: A Transformative Agenda for CaringCommunities, and Museums, Memory and Identity Politics in Sri Lanka (forthcoming). At ICES, she also drives the projects ‘Shared Sanctity: Art and Architecture of Religious Confluence’ and ‘World Art and Memory Museum’ a collaboration with 7 other countries.



Choman Hardi (PhD) is an educator, poet, and scholar whose work is informed by an intersectional approach to inequality. She is renowned for her pioneering work on issues of gender and education. Choman returned home after twenty-six years of displacement, to teach English and initiate gender studies at the American University of Iraq- Sulaimani (AUIS). She founded the Center for Gender and Development Studies (CGDS) there. Under her leadership, CGDS initiated the first interdisciplinary gender studies minor in Iraq, and is developing gender studies resources in Kurdish and Arabic, funded by the European Union. She is a Co-Director of the GCRF Gender, Justice and Security Hub, on which she is

researching about the role of institutions and practices on the construction of masculinity. She is the author of critically acclaimed books in the fields of poetry, academia, and translation. In 2011, her Leverhulme Trust funded post-doctoral research, Gendered Experiences of Genocide (Routledge) was named a UK Core Title by the Yankee Book Peddler. Since 2010, poems from her first English collection, Life for Us (Bloodaxe, 2004) are studied by secondary school students as part of their English curriculum in the UK. Her second collection, Considering the Women (Bloodaxe, 2015), was given a Recommendation by the Poetry Book Society and shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best Collection. Her translation of Sherko Bekas' Butterfly Valley (ARC, 2018) won a PEN Translates Award.

Fatima Hussain is an independent artist-curator and an academic researcher based in Islamabad, Pakistan. Within her practice she is interested in transdisciplinary methodologies in thinking across fields and geographical boundaries in order to understand and mobilize a network of creative practitioners belonging to South Asia.

As part of All-Story, Laajverd and Second Practice – artist collectives and curatorial initiatives all co-founded and co-directed by her, she develops creative approaches to design and conduct research, employs participatory ways of disseminating knowledge and also creates narratives both online and offline.

She is currently teaching as Assistant Professor at the Department of Fine Arts at National College of Arts, Pakistan.



Abdullah Jatal - or Abodi - is a psychotherapist, and a drama therapy practitioner. He also works as an artistic consultant for many NGOs. He started his acting career 10 years ago and started training theater 7 years ago specializing in improvisational theater, theater of the oppressed and playback theater. Alongside his experience in other theater and performing forms like classical theater, puppetry, street performing and clowning. He is a co-director of Laban's improv troupe and a founding member of its Psych-social theater troupe (Wasl).

Abodi is a diverse percussionist, playing on a variety of instruments from the Middle East, Central Asia, West Africa and on Irish bodhran. He also co-founded many bands like Tajally Sufi, Monte-Carlo and Antiqu-a.   

Dr Carmen Hassoun Abou Jaoudé is a political scientist and associate researcher at the Center for the Study of the Modern Arab World at University Saint-Joseph in Beirut where she teaches a graduate seminar in transitional justice. She is also a lecturer at the American University of Beirut and the Holy Spirit University of Kaslik. She worked with the International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ) where she served as Head of its program and office in Lebanon between 2011 and 2015. She managed at ICTJ a multiyear project entitled ‘Lebanon: Addressing the Legacy of Conflict in a Divided Society’’. She is an active Board member of the Lebanese NGO Act for the Disappeared and has been appointed in June 2020 member of the National Commission on Missing and Forcibly Disappeared Persons.

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Her field of research include transitional justice and memory in post-war Lebanon. Her latest publication « Opportunités et défis de la justice transitionnelle au Liban : la centralité de la question des disparus ou Chronique d’une guerre inachevée » in Liban : la guerre de 1975-1990 dans le rétroviseur. Confluences Méditérannée, 2020/1 (N° 112) a special issue on Lebanon’s war she also co-edited.


Mohammad Faisal Khalil is a DPhil candidate at the Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of Oxford. His thesis, "The Political as Ordinary: Foundational Discourses from South Asia on Spirituality and Politics in Islam", argues for a new historiographical understanding of contemporary Islamic political thought, by showing how religious thinkers within the seminal yet still undocumented South Asian tradition of Qur’anic coherence (nazm) argued for the "ordinary" as the source of political imagination in Islam. His graduate studies were in international history at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). His undergraduate studies were in government and history at the LSE as well as in theoretical physics at Imperial College London.

He also studied international journalism at the LSE, and strategic communication at Johns Hopkins University. He was UROP Researcher for the Centre for the History of Science, Technology, and Medicine (CHoSTM), Imperial College London. He has served in senior technical and leadership roles with UNICEF, UNDP, the WHO, Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Communication Programs (CCP), and the Government of Pakistan. He is the co-founder and co-director of the strategic communication firm All-Story, and the policy think tank Pakistan Observatory.

Thérèse MEMA Mapenzi is the director of Centre Olame Bukavu. She has a Masters Degree in Peacebuilding (Coventry University) and a licence in English (African Cultures at ISP Bukavu). Thérèse MEMA has 13 years proven experience as Social Assistance to Sexual and Gender Based Violence Survivors, especially in Psycho-social care to traumatised people.  For 10 years she has run the Trauma Centres in the Archdiocese of Bukavu while working as Psycho social Assistant at Justice and Peace Commission of Bukavu and having a good collaboration with her team, they were able to help more than 4849 women and girls survivors of sexual violence, in the Eastern part of DRC and around 549 children born from rape and children in difficulties. She worked with SCIAF as Local Coordinator for a livelihood programme in the Great Lake region.



For her engagement she has received the Coventry Prize for Peace and Reconciliation in United Kingdom November 2014, Shalom Prize from Eichstatt, Germany, Human Right Prize from the Civil society of Bukavu in DRC.  She also worked in partnership with the DRC 2018 Nobel Prize in the fight against sexual violence in DRC. Thérèse has participated in many advocacy meeting and summit at national and International level (Great Lake Region, New York, Germany, London, Germany, Italy, France and Belgium) to plead for right of women in conflict, to fight against mineral conflict and the sexual violence as weapon of war in the DRCongo.


Thérèse dream to see a world where the resources are shared and used to unite people and not to kill the poor. She joins the idea of the Pope Francis who claims for the Economy of Life and not of killing others.

Neloufer de Mel is Senior Professor of English (Chair) at the Dept. of English, University of Colombo, Sri Lanka. Her teaching and research publications are in the disciplinary fields of cultural, postcolonial, gender and performance studies. She has been the Head, Dept. of English and the Director of Studies of the Faculty of Arts, University of Colombo and has held several distinguished research fellowships at international universities and academic institutes including Yale, the Institute for Human Sciences, Vienna, the Universities of Zurich, New York, Technical University Dresden, and the Five College Women’s Studies Research Center, USA. She is also the Chair of the Gratiaen Trust, founded by Michael Ondaatje (a Canadian author of Sri Lankan origin), which works towards promoting Sri Lankan literature in English, and has served on many juries at national and international theatre and film festivals.


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Stephen Oola is the Director of the Amani Institute Uganda. He is currently, Senior Advisor -Legal and Constitutional Affairs at the Reconstituted Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (RJMEC) Juba, South Sudan overseeing the implementation of the Peace Agreement in South Sudan. Oola’s research interest and expertise are on Human Rights, Constitutionalism, International Criminal Law, Transitional Justice, Post-Conflict Peacebuilding, Reconstruction and Development in Africa. On the GCRF Hub, Oola is a co-investigator in the “Beyond War Compensation: Gender Justice, Livelihood and Rights in Northern Uganda”, a collaborative research project being undertaken with the College for Humanities and Social Sciences (CHUSS) Makerere University, under the Livelihood, Land and Rights stream.

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Dr Elisabet le Roux is Research Director of the Unit for Religion and Development Research at Stellenbosch University, South Africa. She has a proven track record in mixed methodology research on religion and gender-based violence, with a focus on qualitative research especially in conflict and post-conflict settings. As a recognised expert in innovative and feminist qualitative research in religious and traditional communities, she has done research with/for government ministries, UN agencies, development organisations, faith-based organisations and NGOs. She has over the past ten years secured funding and delivered a range of evaluation and formative research projects in 22 countries across four continents, with a particular focus on gender equality, gender-based violence, women’s participation, and a critical lens on the important roles of religion and culture.

Dr Daniele Rugo is an award winning filmmaker and Reader in Film at Brunel University London and is also currently a Visiting Professor at Sciences Po, Middle East Campus. His research focuses on conflict and sustainable peace and has been funded by AHRC, ESRC and British Academy. About a War is his latest feature documentary. He is the author of two monographs, one edited volume and several journal articles. He is an affiliate of the Centre for Lebanese Studies in Beirut and has been an associate of the American University of Beirut.


Born in DR Congo in 1964, Xavier Verhoest studied film editing in Belgium. In 1992, he joined Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) as a volunteer and worked until 2003 in Palestine, Somalia, Burundi, Rwanda and other conflicts torn countries. He lives today in Kenya.


In 2006 he co-founds Art2Be, an organization made of artists, researchers, psychologists, activists who believe in Art for Positive Living and Social Changes that can model the possibility of a respectful and caring environment where co-existence rather than rejection can prevail.


Peace Building, Belonging, Inclusion, Identities, gender equality, fighting stigma and discrimination and personal growth are some of the core aspects of Art2be projects.

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Art2Be work creatively using different methods - Body Mapping, Photo Voice, Hero book, Films, Public Art, Books, Exhibitions – to allow people to tell their life stories, to fight for their rights, to share their concerns and aspirations and challenges prejudices and established ways of thinking and doing.


Art2Be work with vulnerable groups like IDP’s, refugees, minority clans, youth communities, elders, children, orphans, women victims of violence, people living with HIV/Aids, Sexual Minorities, Commercial Sex Workers among others.

Abi Weaver is an award winning producer/director who has worked across a range of visual media from independent feature documentaries and online shorts through to programming for major UK broadcasters (BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5). Her latest film About a War explores violence and social change through the testimonies of ex-fighters from the Lebanese Civil War. Abi is also a TECHNE researcher at the University of Surrey working on the voice in the filmed documentary interview through the lens of Levinasian philosophy. She is an affiliate of the Centre for Lebanese Studies at LAU in Beirut.

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Laura Ruiz Astorga, from Madrid, Spain, is a recent MSc graduate from the London School of Economics and Political Science, where she studied Human Rights and Politics. Previous to that, she studied Psychology and International Studies at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and graduated Summa Cum Laude. Acting as a Research Assistant for the Cluster, she has previous experience in the area through her work for the UKRI GCRF Gender, Justice and Security Hub where she studied gendered approaches and dimensions of transitional justice. Furthermore, she has conducted a wide range of individual research projects during her studies, with a great focus on gender, peacebuilding, reconciliation, conflict studies and post-conflict reconstruction.

Her final BA paper conducted a cross-national time-series statistical analysis of women’s representation in national legislatures to further understand the gender impacts of conflict and the possibilities for gender-sensitive reconstruction; and her thesis dealt with the politics surrounding addressing human rights violations committed in Franco-era Spain. Her working experience includes, additionally, an internship for the Spanish Permanent Representation at the European Union (EU); where she briefed Development and Cooperation Counsellor.

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