Karma Ekmekji is a Mediation Advisor with UN Women. She is also a Senior Policy Fellow at the Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs at the American University of Beirut and the Lead Advisor on their Women, Peace and Security initiative. Prior to this, she was the International Affairs and Relations Advisor to former Prime Minister of Lebanon Saad Hariri, where she served as the focal point for all international dossiers for eleven years. Before joining PM Hariri’s office in 2009, Karma was the National Political Officer at the United Nations Special Coordinator’s office in Lebanon where she briefed the Special Coordinator on political
developments and strengthened the office’s network base with Lebanese political parties. She had also served at the UN Secretariat’s Department of Political Affairs in New York.
Karma worked as a policy analyst for the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) tasked with conducting extensive research on electoral systems and reforms and with providing technical assistance to various regional Government agencies. She was present at the Doha Agreement in May 2008 to lobby Lebanese political parties to introduce reforms to the electoral law.
Stemming from a strong interest in empowering women in the field of diplomacy, peacemaking, mediation and negotiation, Karma founded the #Diplowomen initiative to share knowledge, develop mentorship opportunities and strengthen networking in this field. She is also the host of “The #Diplowomen Podcast”. She is a member of the Mediterranean Women Mediators Network and a member of the Global Alliance of Regional Women Mediator Networks, which she participated in launching during the 74th UN General Assembly in New York.
Karma, a lecturer in International Affairs and Women Peace and Security, was selected as a Munich
Young Leader in 2020. She was also selected to take part in the European Union Visitor’s Program in
2019 and is a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network. She is an advisor and member of the
Executive Board of the Intisar Foundation.
Karma is also a member of the British Government’s International Leaders Program and a “Personalité
d’avenir” – selected by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In 2012, Karma was named one of the top
99 foreign policy leaders under 33 years of age by the Diplomatic Courier.
Magda Zenon is a peace and human rights activist who brings with her a perspective formed within the contexts of having lived in apartheid South Africa, Greece, and now divided Cyprus. She is an active member of the local civil society with a focus on the integration of a gender perspective in peace processes. She has helped found several civil society organizations, including “Hands Across the Divide”, “the Gender Advisory Team”, and the Cyprus Women’s Lobby and is also a member of the Mediterranean Women Mediators Network and the Women Mediators of the Commonwealth network. She has helped organise a variety of events with multicultural women’s and youth groups, including two innovative events whose intention it was to broaden the base of active women on the island. The first was the ‘Pathways towards Sustainable Peace: Building UNSC Res 1325 on the Women, Peace and Security Agenda in Cyprus’ conference in 2017 that brought together over 50 local women to discuss women, peace and security. The second was the ‘Women in Peacebuilding and Mediation in Cyprus: Where we Are and Where to Next?’ workshop in 2018 that brought together a diverse group of women from throughout the island to assess the status of the women’s peacebuilding movement in Cyprus and analyse obstacles and challenges limiting women’s meaningful participation in formal peace-talks. Finally, she is a great believer in the power of storytelling and for over 6 years has hosted online conversations entitled kaleidHERscope with inspiring women from around the world about peacebuilding, gender-based violence and women’s participation in decision-making.
Saida Bounab is a Member of Parliament of the People’s National Assembly. From 1984 until 1993 she was a trainer and Head of Services for the Training Academy in Algiers. Afterwards, until 1997, she was appointed Deputy Director of the National Training Centre for Social Workers; where she was then appointed Director by a presidential decree. After leaving her role in 2007, she was elected mayor of Kouba (Algiers) until 2012. During those years she was also the president of the “Groupe Parlementaire d’Amitié Algérie-Sahara Occidental”. From 2015 to 2017 she was appointed Rapporteur of the Finance and Budget Commission at the People’s National Assembly. Additionally, she has been a member of Parliament for two consecutive mandates since 2012 and a member of the Commission on Foreign Affairs, Cooperation and Emigration. She has conducted trainings on communication techniques and conflict managements and has collaborated in the design of various projects. Additionally, as a psychologist she works with victims of terrorism and victims of war. Founding member of MWMN, she has joined the network for its members and the dynamics that it creates between them but also to share her experience with all the members of the networks or other organisations to contribute to the resolution of conflicts and allow for humanity to live in a better world.