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.
Farida Jaidi, a career diplomat, has worked for 38 years at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation as Head of Department, Head of Division, Director of Multilateral Cooperation, as Consul General in Montreal, as Ambassador to Sweden, Brazil, Paraguay and Suriname, and as Diplomatic Advisor to the Minister of Foreign Affairs. She has participated in numerous Conferences and Summit at the international level (UN, MNA, UNDP, UNEP, FAO). Advisor to the Prime Minister at the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie (OIF), she was part of the OIF delegation that oversaw the elections in Mauritania and chaired the delegation of OIF that oversaw the elections in Niger. Currently, she is a trainer and master coach in personal and professional development as well as a diplomatic coach, practicing in the Academy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. She is very active at the national level participating in seminars on numerous gender-related issues ranging from health to economics to entrepreneurship to development. Over the years she has also received numerous honors and has been decorated by His Majesty the King of Morocco. She is a member of the Mediterranean Women Mediators Network, which she joined to contribute to the achievement of peace in the world. She believes women have an important responsibility in this regard but need the autonomy and the political and economic rights. She is a member of FemWise and since 2016, she is the President of the Environmental Women Association (EWA).
Hafida Benchehida, Senator of Algeria, is an active member of several networks. She is a founding member of the Arab Women Parliamentarian for Parity and Equality for which she is in charge of international relations; and of the Mediterranean Women Mediators Network. She is also a member of the International Civil Action Network for women rights, peace and security (ICAN) and of the Women Alliance for Security Leadership (WASL). As a Parliamentarian, she was deputy chair of the Legal Affairs and Human Rights Committee of the Senate, and also member of the Foreign Affairs Committee and of the political Committee of the Parliamentarian Assembly of the Union for the Mediterranean, in charge of Human Rights and security issues. Additionally, during her career as an international interpreter she attended major international conferences including the Non Aligned Summit, G77 or G8 summits, OPEC or AU, IMF or UNEP/UNIDO focusing on numerous international issues. Her engagement in mediation stems from her participation in the UNWomen mission in Libya to meet local women parliamentarians; where she further acknowledged the need for dialogue and acceptance of a different position, opinions, approaches. She has also attended 2 mediation trainings with CITPAX Toledo Center in Spain for which she is now also an advisor. Her main interest is the role of women in preventing violent extremism and de-radicalization, especially in the Maghreb and Sahel and women Morchidates with special religious training to offer a counter narrative to potential radicalized youth.
Kalliope Agapiou Josephides is Jean Monnet Chair Holder at the University of Cyprus, and elected Council Member of the Global Campus of Human Rights, Venice. She served as Chair of the European Institute for Gender Equality, Vilnius, and Vice-President of the European Inter University Centre for Human Rights and Democratisation, Venice. She holds a PhD in Political Science from Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne University, and has extensive national, regional, and international experience in Gender Equality, Human Rights, Women, Peace and Security, Constitution-Building, and International Negotiations. She is regular Convener of the Venice School of Human Rights, on Women, Peace and Security and CEDAW, Conflict-Related Sexual Violence, Gender-Based Violence, Human Rights Defenders… She is the lead author for the European Parliament study on Women in Democratic Transitions, lead expert for the gender dimension in the UN Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty, and national expert for Cyprus’s National Action Plan for the UN Security Council Resolution 1325. Her vision for women’s role and empowerment in transforming, substantiating and sustaining democracy, preventing conflicts and securing peace and security, motivated her to join the group of founding members of the MWMN, and to co-initiate the establishment of the MWMN/Cyprus Antenna, with a view to strengthen the role of women as drivers of peace and active agents in all areas of life.
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 Solanas is a senior expert in international relations, with more than 25 years of experience in political analysis of international scenarios, conflict analysis, research on international affairs, and strategic partnership building. She currently is director of Programmes at the Elcano Royal Institute, the leading Spanish think-tank on international relations and strategic studies and research in gender Issues and global governance. Previously, from 2004 to 2011, she was Executive Senior Policy Adviser on International Affairs at the Spanish Prime Minister Office responsible for Latin America, Asia-Pacific and Sub-Saharan Africa, in addition to migration and human rights. From 2003 to 2004 she was the Coordinator of the Spanish Socialist Worker’s Party Secretariat for International Relations, being responsible for European Union, Central and Eastern Europe and former URSS countries (1993-2003). In February 2018, she has been nominated Vicepresident of the UNICEF National Committee in Spain. She holds a Bachelor Degree in Sociology & Political Science, as well as one in Journalism from the Madrid’s Complutense University. She is part of the Mediterranean Women Mediators Network due to a combination of political experience as a senior adviser at the Spanish government and her research skills on gender issues, particularly on Women, Peace and Security. In the last 25 years she was involved in several negotiations within the governmental framework, she has actively participated in the preparation of the II National Action Plan on WPS and has published several policy papers on Gender issues.
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.
Özge Özoğul is the Operations Officer of the Association for Historical Dialogue and Research (AHDR), a multi-communal civil society organization that plays a role in the peacebuilding process in Cyprus through education. She is pursuing a Ph.D. in the Basque Country in the Doctoral Program ‘Education: School, Language and Society’. She is from Nicosia, Cyprus, and graduated from the University of Southampton, the United Kingdom. She received her M.A. degree from the University of Groningen, the Netherlands, in Multilingualism with a specialization in Multilingual Education and Language Policy Planning. She had opportunities to enhance her knowledge and skills in peacebuilding and mediation further through her position at the AHDR and attending trainings, which encouraged her to connect with mediators and be actively engaged in mediation. She became a member of the MWMN in order to learn with and from members; to give visibility to women’s voices locally, regionally and internationally; advocate for the implementation of UN Security Council Resolutions; and to strengthen collaboration between WPS and YPS agendas. One of her values is reflection which contributes to her being an effective practitioner, and nurtures responsibility, creativity and advancement. Through her position, she plays an active role in crafting and implementing educational interventions that i) promote dialogue, cooperation and trust between different communities in Cyprus, and within each community; ii) foster critical thinking, multi-perspectivity and historical understanding; and iii) provide spaces for inquiry and peer to peer learning. She also facilitates peace education workshops.
Soad Shalaby is an Egyptian diplomat, who has served her country for 40 years including as ambassador to several countries. She is presently the Director General of the Egyptian African Centre for Women and is serving her second term as a member of the Board of the Tana High Level Forum. She is a founding member of FEMWISE, the Arab Women Mediators Network, MWMN and a member of the Global Alliance of Regional Women Mediator Networks contact group. She was elected Member of the Committee of Elders of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa for a 5-year term. Elected twice, she served for ten years as Member of the Council of the International Institute of Humanitarian Law in Sanremo. From 2007 to 2012, she was the Director of the Cairo International Center for Conflict Resolution, Peacekeeping and Peacebuilding. Throughout her career, she was selected member of the AU Panel of Experts for the Evaluation of the African Standby Force in 2014; member of the expert group who launched the report of the AU MSU; member of the POW team for the Evaluation of the present Kenyan pre Presidential Election; and headed the COMESA team for monitoring the parliamentarian election in the Kingdom of Swaziland. She completed many courses such as the AU Senior Mission Leaders Course and the Clingendael Institute Course on Negotiation and Mediation as a tool for conflict resolution. She published several articles, nationally and internationally on WPS, and is a regular commentator and a guest speaker on African issues on Nile TV international, and many regional and international conferences.