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.
Khadija Cherif is a feminist activist and winner of the 2014 Minerva Award. In August 2015, she was awarded the Legion of Honor, granted by the President of the Republic of Tunisia. She teaches sociology at the University of Tunis. Parallel to her academic work, she is involved in the Tunisian civil society movement. She joined the Tunisian League of Human Rights (LTDH) in the early 80s. From 1985 until 1994 she was first the Chair of the Women’s Commission and then Vice-President of the National Board. She is a founding member of the Tunisian Association of Democratic Women (ATFD), for which she was President between 2006 and 2008, and the Women’s Association for Research and Development (AFRD). After the revolution, she was appointed to the High Authority to prepare for the democratic transition. Today she chairs the ATFD’s Equality in Legacy Commission. In 2008 she received the Human Rights Prize of the French Republic on behalf of the ATFD. She has several publications on women’s rights and social change. Her commitment to equality and the importance attributed to women’s participation in decision-making and in all negotiation processes, drives her interest in being a member of the MWMN for its capacity-building and the role it can play in making UNSCR 1325 effective.