Mediators of Lebanon
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.
Justine Abi Saad is a Programs advisor for Civil Peace Program at GIZ –ZFD Lebanon, where she manages and deals with different partners working on different projects in Lebanon on local conflicts as well as conflicts with Palestinians and Syrian refugees. She is also a Trainer and Facilitator on Peace-building and Conflict Transformation for National and International organizations as well as representative for SALTO youth Euromed.
Ms. Abi Saad has been training with them since 2012, on different intercultural topics as well as on EVS program in order to prepare local organizations in applying for the program. In addition, she is a certified mediator with Saint Joseph University, CPM (Centre Professionel de mediation) besides the theory and practicing mediation throughout an academic year, she has participated as jury for the past 2 years. She has also delivered trainings in different regions in Lebanon for Lebanese and Palestinians with World Vision, Search for Common Ground, OTI and the Arab Network for Human Rights & Citizenship Education. Internationally, she has provided trainings, coaching and mentoring for UNDP, UNFPA, YMCA- Ireland, Ministry of Youth- Tunisia, EU Delegation-Tunisia, Pax Christi- Holland.
Furthermore, Justine Abi Saad has created tools on minority rights and conflict transformation, one of the tools is called “let’s talk” a board game on conflict and non-violent communication on which 4 players can roll a dice and play real life scenarios and negotiate their interests, needs and express their feelings and currently she is working to transform the elements this board game into a university course.
Johanna Hawari-Bourjeily, Lawyer, Mediator, trainer in mediation and relational communication at St. Joseph University, the Catholic Institute of Paris and at the Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers in Paris. She is the Founder and Director of the Professional Mediation Centre at St. Joseph University. She is also the Founder and President of the Lebanese Association of Mediators without Borders, and a mediator with the Professional Mediation Centre and the European Association of Mediators.
Lea Baroudi is a founding Member and Director of MARCH since 2012, a Lebanese non-profit organization focusing on sectarian conflict resolution, promoting diversity and equality and sustainable peace building, including the Women, Peace and Security agenda.
A certified professional mediator and a member of the Mediterranean Women Mediators Network, Ms. Baroudi has experience in resolving sectarian conflicts and foster peace among marginalized communities and has initiated and worked actively on peace-building projects that use art, culture, women inclusion and economic development to resolve conflict and counter radicalization among youth participating in sectarian violence in marginalized areas of Lebanon, particularly in Tripoli and Beirut.
She has also co-lead several in depth research papers and policy recommendations on fundamental security and human rights issues in Lebanon, such as political violence, radicalization and statelessness. In 2016, she was granted the Reagan-Fascell Fellowship at the National Endowment for Democracy during which she researched ways to develop unconventional methods in peacebuilding and conflict resolution.
In January 2019, she spoke at the UN Security Council Arria Formula meeting titled “What’s next for Women, Peace and Security in Middle East and North Africa: The Potential of National Action Plans”. She was recently awarded an MBE (Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) by Her Majesty the Queen for services to peacebuilding and civic rights in Lebanon.