Layık Topcan Mesutoğlu is a town planner with over 40 years of experience. She graduated from the Middle East Technical University in Ankara. After 36 years of serving in the Town Planning Department of Northern Cyprus she retired as deputy director of the department. Currently, she serves as a consultant on planning and environmental issues. She is a member of the High Committee of Historical and Cultural Heritage. During 2015 – 2020, she was involved in the Cyprus peace negotiations as a member of the Turkish Cypriot Property Working Group.
She has trained in historic preservation, strategic planning and management, sustainable development, gender policies in development planning, and EU environmental acquis. She is a trained mediator and a facilitator.
Ms. Topcan Mesutoğlu has been active in civil society in women, environment, and peace. She has been actively working for the achievement of the goals of sustainable development, environmental protection, historical and cultural heritage conservation, gender equality, and peace.
Ms. Topcan Mesutoğlu regards the absence of gender sensitivity and effective participation of women in peace processes as one of the major constraints preventing success in many conflict prevention and resolution efforts. She considers achieving gender equality and justice, the participation of women in decision-making in all fields of life as a vital element for a sustainable future.
Her strong belief and dedication in the empowerment of women, lead her to join the Mediterranean Women Mediators family and even further motivated her to be one of the co-initiators of MWMN Cyprus Antenna, to strengthen the role of women as active change agents in peace-building, environmental protection and all other areas of life.
Patricia Quillacq’s experience ranges from international legal advising and diplomacy to specialized knowledge on environmental matters. She trained in mediation and obtained her LLM in Environmental Law. While not pursuing a career as a “mediator”, she integrated the techniques and skills of the mediation in her career. As Agent of the Government to the European Court of Human Rights and Central Authority acting for the Convention on the civil aspects of the abduction of minors, she constantly acts as a mediator between the parts. While working for the Region of Tuscany, and later as a consultant for the Project GoverNat (participatory processes in managing water and biodiversity), she would be often part of a team organising the participatory processes, acting as mediator. In all these times, her mediation training was and still is a great resource. While not been involved directly in peace-making, she actively works for the respect of human rights and the achievement of the goals of sustainable development and environmental protection, being president of a conservation NGO for many years.
Sophia Papastavrou is a citizen of Canada and Cyprus and spent her formative years in Dominican Republic and Ghana before immigrating to Canada. She holds a Ph.D. in Social Justice Education at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto. Her dissertation entitled: Women’s Organizations for Peace: Moving Beyond the Rhetoric of the Cyprus Problem was the result of over 7 years of field research in a frozen conflict zone. She has previously worked on consultancies with the OSCE Mission to Croatia, the World Bank, and the United Nations. Sophia held the role of Gender Technical Lead at World Vision International Middle East and Eastern Europe covering fragile states and the Syria Response. Prior to holding this position, she led the Gender Learning Hub, including management of the Gender Based Violence Regional project. Sophia was a speaker at TEDx Nicosia Women in 2015 and recently, worked with women’s civil society to co- create the first White Book of Best Practice on UNSCR 1325 on Women, Peace and Security in Cyprus. She was selected as part of the She-Experts initiative by the Mediterranean Institute of Gender Studies (MIGS) aiming to enhance the visibility and impact of women in their professional capacity. She joined the network because of her commitment and passion for women in peace building specifically building gender data and gender assessments to inform gender transformative approaches to meeting the WPS mandate.