Guest Experts Course 2017

Nihad Brankovic, Programme Officer, International Commission on Missing Persons

Nihad Brankovic has an MSc in International Relations from the London School of Economics, and a BA degree from the University of Utrecht. Currently, he is working for the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) as the Western Bal-kans Programme Officer dealing with political affairs in the region. Working for ICMP, he has gained significant experience in the process of accounting for the victims of enforced disappearance. His po-sition in ICMP entails working with governments in helping them to develop an efficient and sustainable legal and institutional framework to investigate and clarify the fate of persons who disappeared in the context of armed conflicts or other life-threatening circumstances. Additionally, he is playing an active role in ICMP’s efforts to promote the families’ right to know by working to develop the capacities of CSOs –associations of the victims’ families - dealing with the missing persons’ issue in the region. Previously, Nihad has worked for the EU Delegation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and was resident expert with several EU-funded institution-building projects in the Western Balkans.

Nicola Diday, Program Officer, Dealing with the Past Program - swisspeace

Nicola Diday is a Program Officer with the Dealing with the Past program at swisspeace. He holds an MSc in Middle East Politics from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) at London University. He has provided consultations related to archiving and dealing with the past in various contexts such as Albania, Armenia – Azerbaijan, Geor-gia - Abkhazia, Sri Lanka or the Philippines. He has given inputs and trainings in differ-ent courses such as the Advanced Dealing with the Past Course of the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs or at the annual swisspeace Dealing with the Past & Conflict Transformation Course. Before joining swisspeace in 2013, he spent a year in the Middle East working for the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung's office in Palestine and studying Arabic in Cairo.

Adama Dieng, UN Under-Secretary-General/Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide

The Honorable Adama Dieng was appointed in 2012 by the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon as Under-Secretary-General/Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide. For more than 11 years, Mr. Dieng was Registrar of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. Before joining the United Nations, Mr. Dieng was for ten years the Secretary General of the Geneva-based International Commission of Jurists. Mr. Dieng is a well-acclaimed expert and lecturer on Human Rights, Democracy and the Rule of Law. He was the driving force behind the establishment of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights and produced also the draft of the African Convention to fight Corruption.  He is a member of Africa Leadership Forum, and former Board Member of various institutions, including the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance, the San Remo Institute of Humanitarian Law, and the René Cassin Institute of Human Rights.  He is Honorary Chair of the World Justice Project.

Alexandre Fasel, Ambassador of Switzerland to the United Kingdom

Alexandre Fasel is Ambassador designate of Switzerland to the United Kingdom. Previ-ously he was Deputy State Secretary, and before that the Permanent Representative of Switzerland to the United Nations Office and other International Organizations at Ge-neva from 2012 to 2016, where his delegation stewarded Human Rights Council resolu-tions on human rights and transitional justice as well as on the creation of a UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparations and guarantees of non-recurrence. In earlier assignments, he led the Swiss delegation to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) and was involved in the creation of the Genocide Prevention Advisory Network (GPANet).

Jonathan Sisson, Expert on Dealing with the Past and Reconciliation

Jonathan Sisson has recently retired as Senior Adviser with the Task Force for Dealing with the Past and Prevention of Atrocities in the Human Security Division of the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs in Bern. Previous to this position, he worked as a Senior Program Officer at the Center for Peacebuilding (KOFF) of the Swisspeace Foundation, where he was responsible for the Dealing with the Past program and for the South Eastern Europe roundtable. His engagement in the field of peace promotion and human rights goes back many years, during which he served as the representative of the International Fellowship of Reconciliation (IFOR), an interfaith peace organization founded in 1919, at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. He continues to serve as senior adviser to the Transitional Justice and Reconciliation Commission, which has been established as a provision of the comprehensive peace agreement between the government of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. Past activities concern the support of regional policy initiatives in the field of Dealing with the Past in the Western Balkans and in the North Caucasus. He was also engaged in support of Swiss multi-lateral initiatives in the field of human rights and transitional justice at the UN in Geneva and in New York. He studied Comparative Religion at Kenyon College in Ohio, USA as well as Classical Philology and Biblical Exegesis at the University of Basel, Switzerland.

Kristin Valasek, Gender Equality Consultant” with the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) Gender Equality Unit

Ms. Kristin Valasek has over ten years of work experience in the field of gender equality and gender-based violence prevention and response, including field work in the Dominican Republic, Ghana, Liberia, Palestine, Sierra Leone, South Africa and Timor-Leste. She is currently a Gender Equality Consultant with the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and has previously worked as a Gender and Security Project Coordinator with the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF). At DCAF her focus was on providing education and training, policy development, research and technical advice on gender equality in security sector reform including managing a three-year multi-region project on building the internal gender capacity of security training institutions. She has also worked as a gender, peace and security specialist with UN Women, UN-INSTRAW and the UN Department of Disarmament Affairs. In addition, she is a certified mediator with experience working with grassroots women’s organisations on responding to domestic and sexual violence. She holds a Master of Arts in Conflict Resolution from the University of Bradford and a Bachelor of Arts in Women’s Studies and International Studies from the University of Oregon.

To see the list of Guest Experts of previous courses please click here.