Ayat Mohamed is a Gender Analyst at the Office of the UN Special Envoy for Syria. She had previously worked on women and civil society inclusion in the Syrian political process with the Norwegian Centre for Conflict Resolution (NOREF). She is a strong proponent of women’s inclusion in political processes, mediation efforts and on all levels. Ms. Mohamed has experience in mediation support, social dialogue, inclusive peace processes. She has written on hybrid mediation and women in peace processes. She has experience working on Middle East contexts. Ms. Mohamed has an MA degree in political science, and speaks Arabic, English, and intermediate French.
Ayşe Betül Çelik is a full professor, teaching conflict analysis and resolution, and political science at Sabanci University in Istanbul. She received her Ph.D. in political science from the State University of New York at Binghamton in 2002. She has been a visiting scholar in the American University (2009) and the University of Sydney (2013). Her work focuses on ethnicity, forced migration, reconciliation, civil society, and gender in peacebuilding and peacemaking. She is also trained in dialogue, UNSCR 1325 NAP writing, problem-solving workshops, negotiation, and conflict mapping. She served as a consultant to several civil society organizations on gender and peace, and is a founding member of Peace Foundation, and Center for Excellence for Women and Gender Studies at Sabancı University. She teaches conflict resolution, and gender equality to civil society, private companies, and public schools. As a founding member of the Turkish antenna of the MWMN, Prof. Çelik actively works for teaching gender-sensitive mediation, and organizes conflict resolution dialogue groups among diverse group of women in Turkey.
Claudia Maffettone is the Track II Mediation Program Manager at Search for Common Ground. She has led over 35 dialogue initiatives in support of US-Iran and US-Russian relations, the Syrian peace process, demining in Libya, and of broader inclusion in peace processes. She is an advocate for the advancement of the practice of mediation and leads an international consortium to support African insider mediators and their engagement in high-level processes. She is an experienced mediator, trained at the US Institute of Peace, PATRIR, Harvard Law School, and the New York City Bar. Previously, Claudia worked at Soliya, a pioneering organization in the field of virtual exchange and intercultural dialogue, advancing partnerships with educational institutions, NGOs and CSOs in the MENA Region, Asia, Europe, and North America. Claudia holds a BA in International Relations and Diplomacy from the Universita’ degli Studi di Napoli ‘L’Orientale’, in Italy, and a MA Conflict Resolution from the University of Bradford in the UK, where is studied as a Rotary Peace Fellow. Through her work, Claudia has had the opportunity to learn that while only a small number of women are mediators, signatories or negotiators in peace processes, the engagement of women in mediation makes peace agreements all the more likely to succeed. Thus she is eager to ensure those numbers increase and that the women at the table may be equipped with the best tools to make a meaningful difference and increase the sustainability of peace agreements.
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.
Laura Bologna is a Political Affairs Officer at the Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs (DPPA) at UNHQ in New York since 2000, after having served in the diplomatic service at the Permanent Mission of San Marino to the Council of Europe in Strasbourg where she focused on human rights and gender. Laura is part of the Network as Member from the Mediterranean region and can contribute thanks to her extensive and direct experience in mediation processes as well as her wide network of contacts in the region and in Africa. She brings over 20 years of experience in diplomacy, international relations in the field of peace and security, intergovernmental processes, conflict prevention, mediation, elections and gender. For several years, she focused on Africa, in particular the Great Lakes region, Eastern and Southern Africa and Sudan. She served in UN peace operations including Nepal in 2007, in Sudan in the Office of the Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel for the Sudan Referenda in 2011, and in Nicosia in the Office of the Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on Cyprus where she assisted during the negotiations in 2016. Over the last few years, she focused on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the relative peace process. She has extensive knowledge on UNSR 1325 and women peace and security issues as well as gender parity. She holds a master degree in Political Science and International Affairs from the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore in Milan.
María Villellas Ariño is a researcher at the Program for Conflicts and Peacebuilding, School for a Culture of Peace at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. She teaches at the UAB Postgraduate Diploma in Culture of Peace and other postgraduate programs at several Spanish universities. She has been a consultant for national and international institutions on issues related to peace processes and the Women Peace and Security agenda. She has participated in several policy making processes such as the consultation process with civil society for the preparation of the II National Action Plan on WPS by the Spanish government and the Action Plan: Women and Peacebuilding in Spanish Co-operation, by AECID (Spanish Aid Agency). She is a board member of the Spanish section of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF). She has written several articles and reports on the analysis of armed conflicts and peacebuilding from a gender perspective, and is the coauthor of the yearbooks “Peace Talks in Focus. Report on Trends and Scenarios” and “Alert! Report on conflicts, human rights and peacebuilding”. She is part of the Mediterranean Women Mediators Network due to her experience in providing technical support and comparative analysis to stakeholders involved in peace processes and her involvement in civil society initiatives in promoting the Women, Peace and Security agenda.
Esra Çuhadar is an associate professor at the Department of Political Science at Bilkent University in Turkey and a senior fellow at the Inclusive Peace and Transition Initiative in Geneva. Previously a Jennings Randolph Senior Fellow at the United States Institute of Peace, and a Fulbright Visiting Scholar at Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, she also worked at Sabancı University, Istanbul. She received her M.A, Ph.D. and an advanced graduate certificate in applied conflict resolution from Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University. She has been published widely in top academic journals and in over twenty book chapters and has won numerous research grants on inclusive peace processes, mediation, track two diplomacy and role of civil society in peacebuilding, evaluation of peacebuilding, negotiation pedagogy, and political leadership. She has also conducted numerous trainings and consultations in negotiation and mediation processes for various groups and organizations around the world. She has been working as a regional mediator for the World Bank in Turkey and Caucasus since 2011 and in the mediation roster of the OSCE since 2015. She was elected as a member of the International Society for Political Psychology Governing Council (2010-2012) and also served as a board member of the European Mediation Network Initiative between 2007 and 2010. She is a core member of the MWNM and the MWMN Turkey antenna launched in 2019 as it allows her to share mediation expertise with other women and act in solidarity to face challenges to women’s inclusion in peace processes.
Yakin Ertürk is Emerita Professor of Sociology, Middle East Technical University, Ankara. Her professional experience in conflict related matters is within the context of international human rights monitoring mandates, including special rapporteur on violence against women and member of commissions of inquiry on human rights violations in two conflict zones: Independent International Commission of Inquiry of the June 2010 events in the Republic of Kyrgyzstan (Oct. 2010-April 2011); member of the International Independent Commission of Inquiry on Syrian Arab Republic of the UN Human Rights Council (12 Sept. 2011-23 March 2012). In this respect, she has worked in diverse geographies, with particular interest in El Salvador, Guatemala, Afghanistan, DRC and the Middle East. Her forthcoming article: ‘Peace and Security Agenda’, Conflict, Peace and Development Journal, addresses peace processes and the women, peace and security agenda. She joined the Mediterranean Women Mediators Network as it provides a platform for contributing to negotiated approach to the conflict in Turkey and the ME region, for making women negotiators available nationally and globally.