Andrea Chmieliński Bigazzi
Andrea Chmieliński Bigazzi is a senior legal expert specialized in Public International Law, International Criminal Law, and Rule of Law (LLM). His peacemaking expertise has developed through nearly two decades of engagement in UN and EU peacekeeping missions. Andrea joined CMI – Martti Ahtisaari Peace Foundation as Manager for the South Caucasus Region in September 2023.
After practicing law in Italy, in 2006 Andrea joined the Department of Justice of the UN Mission in Kosovo where he worked on complex international crimes investigations and on post-conflict justice reconstruction. In the context of EU foreign policy and peace operations, between 2008 and 2019 Andrea was seconded by the Italian Ministry for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation to the EU Common Security and Defence Policy in the Western Balkans, Brussels, the occupied Palestinian territories, and Georgia covering senior positions up to Head of Department. He has also served the same Italian Ministry, under EU aegis, for cooperation on Human Rights matters with Iran. Among previous assignments, Andrea participated in extensive governance reform programmes in crisis and post-conflict areas and was regularly deployed overseas in EU-funded projects.
Dr Birgit Poopuu is an Associate Professor of International Relations and Head of the International Relations and Futures Studies study area at Tallinn University, and holds a PhD from the University of Tartu. She is the author of The European Union’s Brand of Peacebuilding: Acting is Everything (Palgrave Macmillan). Her research is curious about the role of radical and nonviolent knowledge and experience within international politics, and her focus is on feminist and decolonial approaches to peace and conflict studies. Her recent research projects have explored the Syrian revolution through the eyes of Syrian activists.
Cedric de Coning
Cedric de Coning is a research professor in peace and conflict studies with the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs, where he co-directs the Center on UN and Global Governance, leads a climate, peace and security project and coordinates the Effectiveness of Peace Operations research Network (EPON). He is also a senior advisor for ACCORD. His research draws on complexity theory to deepen our understanding of how social-ecological systems adapt under pressure, and he applies this perspective to international and regional conflict resolution initiatives and the climate-peace nexus. He holds a PhD from the Department of Philosophy at the University of Stellenbosch. He has served in a number of missions and advisory capacities for the African Union and United Nations, including on the UN Secretary-General’s Advisory Board for the Peacebuilding Fund.
Dr. Elisa Tarnaala is Senior Adviser at CMI Martti Ahtisaari Peace Foundation. She holds the title of Docent (adjunct professor) at the University of Helsinki, is vice chairperson of the Finnish 1325 Network, and member of the Nordic Women Mediator Network Finnish branch. She is currently working on Libya, Colombia and Afghanistan, with an emphasis on peace, conflict and transitional processes. She has engaged in participative projects with peace activists, memory collectives in conflict-affected communities, victims’ organizations, teachers, youth groups, and former armed group members. She has been grant researcher of academic foundations, senior analyst in a think-tank, and consulted for international organizations (UN, EU, OAS, AU) on themes of democracy, conflicts, human rights, women’s participation and gender. In addition to teaching at graduate and undergraduate levels, she has conducted international training in conflict resolution and mediation.
Georg Charpentier is a Senior Advisor for CMI – Martti Ahtisaari Peace Foundation’s Sub-Saharan Africa and Middle East and North Africa teams. Charpentier joined CMI in 2014. Prior to that, he worked with the United Nations for more than two decades serving in numerous functions in Libya, Côte d’Ivoire, Sudan, Ethiopia, Congo, Lesotho, São Tomé and Príncipe, Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso and the Central African Republic. Among other high functions, he has served as the UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative both in Burkina Faso and in Burundi. In Burundi, he has served as the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative. He has also supported the creation of the United Nations Integrated Office in Burundi (BINUB).
Hanna Klinge serves as Deputy CEO since May 2021. Prior to this, she served as Acting Executive Director (from January 2020). Hanna joined CMI in January 2018 as Advisor to Executive Director and the principal lead on strategic partnerships. In her current role she is responsible for global operations and core functions of CMI, with oversight of teams working on external relations and partnerships, communications, and finance and administration.
Hanna’s background is in international relations, primarily in managing strategic partnerships, large scale projects and people. Prior to joining CMI, she worked as Country Director at the British Council Finland with a broad institutional portfolio of several international capacity building programmes, policy dialogue initiatives, and publications. She has studied and worked in Greece, Belgium, Italy and Switzerland and holds an Executive Master in International Negotiation and Policy-Making from IHEID in Geneva, and an MA in Cultural Studies and Social Sciences from Helsinki University. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (UK).
Isabel Bramsen is Director of Peace and Conflict Studies and Associate Professor at Lund University, Department of Political Science. In her research she applies a micro-sociological framework to study diplomacy, peace processes and dialogue to nonviolent resistance and violence in a variety of contexts in the Middle East, Europe, South America and Asia. She is the author of the book, The micro-sociology of peace and conflict, Cambridge University Press. She is member of Nordic Women Mediators (NWM) and mediator at the Centre for Conflict Resolution (CFK).
Dr. Janne Taalas has served as CEO of CMI – Martti Ahtisaari Peace Foundation since May 2021. His leadership builds on 25 years of international experience in multilateral dialogue, crisis management, and peace mediation efforts. Most recently he was Special Envoy to 2020 Afghanistan Conference. Prior to this, he served in various roles, including as Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York, Ambassador of Finland for Cyber Diplomacy, Ambassador of Finland to Rome, and as the Director of Policy Planning for the Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs.
Dr. Taalas holds Ph.D. and M.Phil. degrees from the University of Oxford (St Antony’s College), Maste’r Degrees in both Economics and Social Sciences from the University of Jyväskylä, and a University Diploma in Development Studies from the University of Kent.
Dr. Taalas is married with a son and daughter.
Dr. Jibecke Joensson is Head of the Brussels Office at CMI – Martti Ahtisaari Peace Foundation, focusing on maintaining relations and building strategic partnerships with the EU, EU Member States, and Brussels stakeholders. She was previously seconded by Sweden to the European External Actions Service (EEAS) working on the EU-UN, and EU-UN-AU partnerships on peace and security. Some other prior roles include Head of Policy and Best Practices, Challenges Forum for Peace Operations, Folke Bernadotte Academy; Political Adviser of the EU Delegation to the Kyrgyz Republic; Programme Manager and Research Assistant at the United Nations University in New York; and Project Manager MENA, Adam Smith International in London. Jibecke holds a PhD in Political and Social Sciences from the European University Institute in Florence focusing on global governance and UN peace operations. Areas of expertise are peacebuilding, UN peacekeeping, EU crisis management, multilateralism, global governance, and partnerships.
Head, Women in Peacemaking and Digital Peacemaking, CMI – Martti Ahtisaari Peace Foundation
At CMI, Johanna leads CMI’s methodological priorities that advance more gender inclusive peace processes and respond to the opportunities and threats digital technologies present to peacemaking. Johanna has over two decades of experience in peace mediation, having advised and led inclusive dialogue processes in conflict-affected contexts including e.g. Yemen, South Sudan and Nepal. She first joined CMI in 2013 to serve as the country manager for South Sudan based in Juba. Prior to this, Johanna worked for Demo Finland to support constructive cross-party dialogue in transition contexts, including several years of support to Nepal’s peace process. Johanna holds MA in Diplomacy from the University of Helsinki and MPA from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government as Fulbright scholar. She was also fellow-in-residence at Durham University (UK) in research project Mediation for the 21st Century with a focus on inclusivity.
Ms Katja Ahlfors is the Director for the Centre for Peace Mediation at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland since September 2021. Prior to her current position she served as Senior Advisor (Horn of Africa) to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Finland.
During her career Katja has engaged in particular with issues related to European Union, Africa-relations and peace mediation. At the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Helsinki she has i.a. worked as the Director for the Unit for Development Policy, Team Leader for EU Development Policy and Regional Manager for Southern Africa.
Katja’s foreign postings include serving as Deputy Head of Mission at the Embassy of Finland in Addis Ababa 2005-2008 and Political Counselor at the Embassy of Finland in Stockholm 2013-2017. In 2008-2010 she served as the focal point for conflict prevention and mediation at the European Commissions in Brussels. In 2017-2018 she served as Senior Advisor at the CMI Martti Ahtisaari Peace Foundation.
Katja holds a Master’s Degree in Political Science from Helsinki University. She also studied at Uppsala University. Katja has four children and one grandchild.
Professor, Doctor of Philosophy Keijo Hämäläinen took office as the President of Tampere University on 1 June 2023.
Before Tampere University, he worked as the Rector of the University of Jyväskylä in 2017–2023. He has also worked at the University of Helsinki as a Vice Rector, Dean and professor of physics. Hämäläinen has conducted research abroad for several years in, among other things, the United States (Brookhaven National Laboratory) and France (Grenoble). Hämäläinen earned his doctoral degree in the field of physics at the University of Helsinki in 1990.
Hämäläinen currently holds several positions of trust as, for example, a board member of Sitra and the Finnish Cultural Foundation. He served as the Chair of Universities Finland UNIFI in 2020–2021. Hämäläinen is a member of the Finnish Academy of Science and Letters and the Finnish Society of Sciences and Letters. In 2002, the Finnish Academy of Science and Letters awarded him the Väisälä prize.
Laura Hendry is a Project Manager in the Women in Peacemaking Team at CMI – Martti Ahtisaari Peace Foundation (CMI). She is in charge of CMI’s activities aimed at strengthening the role of the Palestinian women actors in peace and security. In addition, she leads CMI’s operational support to Nordic Women Mediators (NWM), and especially the NWM Finland and supports CMI’s policy work related to inclusive mediation. She joined CMI’s Middle East and North Africa team in 2012, and between 2012-2017 she supported CMI facilitated dialogue processes in Palestine. Between 2017-2019 she led CMI’s project on developing the mediation capacities of African regional organizations, especially the AU and ECOWAS. During that period, she equally supported CMI’s Programme Management Office, where her focus was on the development of CMI’s policy work as well as cross-organisational learning. Before CMI, she has worked in the Finnish Embassy in Algiers and Finnish Mission to the UN in New York. She holds a master’s degree in Social Sciences from University of Helsinki
Lina Klymenko is a University Researcher at the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies. Lina’s research on international politics is situated at the intersection of International Relations, History, Sociology, Literary Studies, and Linguistics. She is interested in studying the international politics of memory, political language and foreign policy, interpretive research methodology and methods in political science, as well as teaching and learning politics.
Lina obtained her PhD in Political Science at the University of Vienna, Austria, and she holds the Title of Docent (Adjunct Professor) in Public and Social Policy from the University of Eastern Finland. Prior to coming to the University of Helsinki, she worked as a Researcher at Tampere University and the University of Eastern Finland.
Photo credits: Veikko Somerpuro
Louise Ridden is a postdoctoral research fellow working on the sustainable security practices project (SUPRA), hosted by the Politics Unit in the Department of Management and Business (MAB) and Tampere Peach Research Institute (TAPRI). She holds a PhD from Aberystwyth University, UK, where she was funded by the Economic and Social Research Council. Her thesis ‘Making alternative worlds: Unarmed civilian protection and nonviolent imaginaries of conflict’ studied nonviolence as a way of knowing, doing, and being in armed conflict through the practice of unarmed civilian protection.
Her current research interests include: principles and practices of unarmed civilian protection, the politics of nonviolence, Feminist IR theory, existentialist theory, knowledge production, and the intersection of nonviolence and political narrations of embodiment, space, and temporality.
Louise previously worked on the AHRC-GCRF funded Creating Safer Space Network + project and was a visit fellow at the University of Montreal.
Maria Martin de Almagro Iniesta
Maria is a Research Professor at the Department of Conflict and Development Studies at the University of Ghent (Belgium) and a member of its Conflict Research Group (CRG). She is the Co-Head editor of the Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding and the Research Lead on Gender and Climate Change for the Canada Research Network on Women, Peace and Security. Furthermore, she is also a member of the FBA Research Working Groups and of the Varieties of Peace Research Network. Her research is at the intersection of gender studies, international peacebuilding governance, and the role of knowledge production and meaning-making practices in world politics.
Marjaana Jauhola (PhD in International Politics) is Senior Research Fellow at Tampere Peace Research Institute, Tampere University and Docent in Global Development Studies, University of Helsinki. Her close to 20 years’ research focus has been on social and economic equalities of global responses to crises, such as the Indian Ocean Tsunami and armed conflict in Aceh, Indonesia and the 2001 Kachchh earthquake in Gujarat, India. Before joining academia, she has a decade long experience in international development and humanitarian aid. Her latest book Scraps of Hope in Banda Aceh: Gendered Urban Politics in the Aceh Peace Process (Helsinki University Press, 2020) received an honorable mention for the 2022 IPS Best Book Award, International Political Sociology Section of International Studies Association.
Marko Lehti is a Research Director of Tampere Peace Research Institute (TAPRI) and an Academic Director of master’s programme in Peace, Mediation and Conflict Research (PEACE) both at Tampere University, Finland. Lehti’s current research on peace mediation and peace building focuses on agonistic peace building, private peacemaking actors and Nordic peace. He has also published on crisis of multilateralism and changing global order. Furthermore, his research has dealt transnational encounters and identifications and among others in the Baltic countries, the South Caucasus, and the Balkans. His latest books are “Contestations of Liberal Order. The West in Crisis?” (Palgrave 2020) and “The Era of Private Peacemakers. A New Dialogic Approach to Mediation” (Palgrave 2019). His forthcoming book with Christopher Browning and Johan Strang is “Nordic Peace Revisited” (Routledge 2024).
Matthias Wevelsiep serves as the Director of Programs and Operations at the Network for Religious and Traditional Peacemakers. Prior to his current post, Matthias was working on Finn Church Aid’s digital transition and was heading FCA’s Programme Development Unit. He is focused especially on the intersection of sustainable development and digitalization as well as on the humanitarian-development-peace nexus. Before FCA, he worked with CMI (Martti Ahtisaari Peace Foundation) and with Plan International Finland. Matthias has over 20 years of experience in international development cooperation and peacebuilding from Africa, Asia, and the Americas.
Natalia Bezkhlibna Civic activist, mediator, dialogue facilitator, trainer
Natalia Bezkhlibna is a seasoned civic activist, mediator, dialogue facilitator, and trainer with a rich background in various fields. With over 7 years of experience in designing and leading civil society initiatives in Ukraine, she is dedicated to fostering a culture of dialogue and peaceful conflict resolution. Natalia also boasts over a decade of experience in law consulting with prestigious businesses, including Danone, Nissan, Unilever, GSK, and Asters.
Her areas of expertise encompass mediation, public dialogues, group facilitation, peacebuilding, conflict transformation, alternative dispute resolution, and project coordination. Natalia’s educational background includes a magna cum laude LLM in law from Kyiv-Mohyla Academy in 2008, along with a certificate program in “Social Psychology and Conflict Studies” from the same institution in 2006.
Natalia’s extensive professional experience reflects her commitment to peace and dialogue. As of 2023, she serves as the project lead for the Ukrainian Community of Dialogue Practitioners, where she also provides strategy advice for peacebuilding initiatives and manages community development topics. In 2022, Natalia took on the role of project lead and methodological team member for “Mobile Groups of Mediators and Psychologists” in Western Ukraine during a time of conflict, in collaboration with the Martti Ahtisaari Peace Foundation/CMI.
Her influence extends to the educational realm, where Natalia has served as a trainer for various organizations, including the OSCE Project Coordinator Office in Ukraine and NDI Ukraine. She has trained public servants, NGOs, and business professionals on facilitation and mediation.
Natalia is an honorary member of the National Association of Mediators of Ukraine and part of the international CEDR trainers’ network on mediation.
Nina Suomalainen is a Senior Manager at CMI- Martti Ahtisaari Peace Foundation. She is also Chairperson of the Nordic Women Mediators – Finland network. She has over 25 years of work experience from assignments in the OSCE, UNDP and civil society. In 2018-2022 she was Executive Director at Justice Rapid Response based in Geneva, focusing on war crimes investigation expertise. In 2015-2018 she served as Head of Mission at the OSCE Mission to Skopje in North Macedonia and 2012-2015 as Deputy Head of the OSCE Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina. In 2022 and 2023 she was the Head of Mission for ODIHR long-term election observation missions in Bulgaria and in Montenegro. Her other experience includes United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) field office in Latvia 1995-1997, office of OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities 2007-2008, OSCE Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina 1998-1999, OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights in Warsaw 2000-2002 and Stability Pact for Southeastern Europe 2003-2004. Between 2005-2010 she held the position of senior adviser on development policy at Finn Church Aid. Nina Suomalainen has a degree of Master of Political Science (M.Pol.Sc.) in the Åbo Akademi University in Turku in 1993 with major in International Law.
Rauna Kuokkanen is Research Professor of Arctic Indigenous Studies at the University of Lapland (Finland) and Adjunct Professor of Political Science at the University of Toronto. Her research focuses on comparative Indigenous politics and law, Indigenous feminist theory and gender, Arctic governance and settler colonialism in the Nordic countries. She is the author or award-winning book Restructuring Relations. Indigenous self-determination, governance and gender (Oxford UP 2019) and a member of the Sámi Climate Council in Finland.
Dr Riina Isotalo is Senior Adviser for Psychosocial Peacebuilding in Felm, where she currently supports locally led processes in Colombia, Ethiopia, and Zimbabwe in integrating psychosocial support and peacebuilding and supports international policy processes in MHPSS PB integration. Before her current position, Riina worked as Senior Adviser in a multi-track peacebuilding programme on Syria conflict. She has been a grant researcher in Finland and abroad, and held expert positions and assignments in peacebuilding, civilian crisis management and humanitarian fields. Former vice chairperson of 1325 network Finland, Riina is a gender trainer and has taken professional training in CBPS. Her research and publications focus on conflict induced transnational mobility and citizenship processes in protracted conflicts and post-conflict, especially in the Middle East.
Ruby van der Wekken
Ruby van der Wekken considers herself a member of the Global Justice Movement and is a producing member of Oma Maa Food cooperative in Finland. Ruby has been active in process around community currency, solidarity economy building & the commons and has worked previously for the Siemenpuu foundation, an environmental foundation with partners in the global south working in the context of Finnish development cooperation.
Sabaheta Ramcilovic-Suominen is an Associate Research Professor and Academy of Finland Research Fellow, based at the Natural Resources Institute Finland, Luke. Her research focuses on the socioecological justice and power related aspects of the global and EU driven environmental policy and governance instruments, such as those that promote green economy, bioeconomy, carbon forestry and forest legality. Her work sheds light on the intended and unintended effects those instruments have on the historically and currently marginalized, dispossessed and made vulnerable human and other-than-human populations. More recently her work explores the concepts and agendas of decoloniality, degrowth and global environmental justice in relation to just socioecological transformations.
Sarah von Billerbeck
Sarah v. Billerbeck is Professor of International Relations at the University of Reading, UK and currently holds a Senior Research Fellowship at the Centre for Global Cooperation Research at the University of Duisburg-Essen. Her research focuses on peacekeeping, peacebuilding, international organizations, the UN, and legitimacy. Currently, she is working on major projects on local knowledges in peacebuilding, authoritarianism and UN peacekeeping, and self-legitimacy in international organizations. Her work has appeared in, among others, International Studies Quarterly, International Affairs, European Journal of International Relations, and Review of International Studies. She won the University of Reading Best Output Award in 2020, and her book, Whose Peace? Local Ownership and United Nations Peacekeeping, was published by Oxford University Press in 2016. She has won research grants from, among others, the UK Economic and Social Research Commission, the Canadian Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, and the Folke Bernadotte Academy of Sweden.
She is a member of the Folke Bernadotte Academy International Research Working Groups, the International Studies Association IO Section Executive Committee, and the Editorial Board of International Peacekeeping. She was previously a Visiting Research Fellowship at the University of Oxford, and she previously worked for the UN peacekeeping mission in Congo, the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia in Lebanon, and the American Refugee Committee in Guinea. She holds a DPhil from the University of Oxford, an MS from Georgetown University, and a BA from the University of California, Berkeley.
Sonja Finér is the executive director of Finnwatch. Finnwatch is a business and human rights organization and has been working on just transition for years. Finnwatch focuses on human rights in companies’ value chains as well as climate and tax justice. Currently Finnwatch looks into raw material flows behind green transition focussing especially in human rights and tax issues in the mining sector. Sonja has been working in Finnwatch for more than 12 years.
Tanja Tamminen, Doctor of Political Sciences from Sciences Po Paris (2009), works currently as the Team Leader of an EU-funded project called EU4Dialogue (Component 1), which is implemented by a KAS-led consortium. The project facilitates dialogues and people-to-people contacts in the South Caucasus and the Republic of Moldova. Dr Tamminen is a specialist in Balkan and South Caucasus politics as well as EU foreign policy. She holds the title of Adjunct Professor at the University of Turku, specialising in European security questions. Previously she headed the Planning, Coordination and Cooperation Department in EUAM Ukraine and before that, she led a Research Group in the Leibniz institute IOS in Regensburg, Germany. The group focused on Dynamics of Conflict and Cooperation across the divides in the South Caucasus. She has also served as a seconded expert in the EU Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo. Before that she worked as a researcher at the Finnish Institute of International Affairs, the European Union research programme. At that time she led the FIIA peace mediation research project and prepared a report on EU’s peace mediation capacities. She was also involved in a project focusing on the “impact” of crisis management. She has done extensive research and published widely on the EU enlargement policies, border questions and CSDP operations as well as state-building in the Balkans. 2005-2007 Tamminen worked as a Balkan expert for the Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs. Website of her consulting company Diacoord Consulting is accessible at www.diacoord.com.
Tarja Väyrynen is Professor in Peace and Conflict Research at the Tampere Peace Research Institute (TAPRI). She has a research profile which includes such themes as gender and peacebuilding, theories of conflict and conflict resolution, subaltern and indigenous resistance and post-conflict memory work. Her recent publications include (2023) “War agency in women’s auxiliary military organizations: The case of Lotta Svärd in Finland”, International Feminist Journal of Politics; (2021, eds. with S Parashar, E. Feron and C. Confortini) Routledge Handbook on Feminist Peace Research, Routledge; (2019) Corporeal Peacebuilding: Mundane Bodies and Temporal Transitions. Her current research project deals environmental conflict resolution.
Yasmeen Al-Eryani is the Co-Executive Director for Knowledge Production at the Sana’a Center for Strategic Studies, a Yemeni research center focusing on mediation and peacebuilding. Al-Eryani is also a PeaceTech consultant with Inclus. She is currently a Ph.D. candidate in Social Anthropology at Tampere University and holds an M.A. in Political Science from the University of Helsinki and a B.A. in Government Studies from Georgetown University.