Speaker Bios

Roddy Brett

Roddy Brett is an Asociate Professor in Peace and Conflict Studies, University of Bristol. He is an anthropologist and political scientist whose work focuses on genocide and political violence, peace negotiations, post-conflict reconstruction and peacebuilding, particularly at the local level. He also works on transitional justice and reconciliation. He has comparative regional expertise in Latin America, also broadening work towards Ukraine and Myanmar.

Laura Dunne

Laura Dunne is a Deputy Director of Innovation Zones, community-based partnerships between Queen’s University, the Colin and Shankill areas of Belfast and a range of external research, policy and practice experts. She is also a Fellow of The Senator George J. Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security and Justice. Her research connects child health and wellbeing; early child development and social cohesion; and programme evaluation with a particular interest in Low and Middle Income Countries (LMICs).

Richard English

Richard English is Director of the Senator George J. Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security, and Justice at Queen’s University Belfast, where he is also Professor of Politics.  Between 2011 and 2016 he was Wardlaw Professor of Politics in the School of International Relations, and Director of the Handa Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence (CSTPV), at the University of St Andrews.  His books include the award-winning studies  Armed Struggle: The History of the IRA (2003) and Irish Freedom: The History of Nationalism in Ireland (2006).  His most recent books are Does Counter-Terrorism Work? (2024), Does Terrorism Work? A History (2016), The Oxford Handbook of Terrorism (co-edited, 2019), and The Cambridge History of Terrorism (edited, 2021).  He is a Fellow of the British Academy (FBA), a Member of the Royal Irish Academy (MRIA), a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (FRSE), a Member of the Academia Europaea (MAE), a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society (FRHistS), an Honorary Fellow of Keble College Oxford, a Faculty Affiliate at the University of Chicago, and an Honorary Professor at the University of St Andrews.  In 2018 he was awarded a CBE for services to the understanding of modern-day terrorism and political history. In 2019 he was awarded the Royal Irish Academy’s Gold Medal in the  Social Sciences.

Jessica Faieta

Jessica Faieta is a Senior Fellow at the Yale Jackson School. She is a Resident Representative of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in Colombia since April 2019. She is also the Resident Coordinator of the United Nations System in Colombia. Jessica has more than 28 years of distinguished service in the United Nations. Prior to this appointment, from March 2018 to March 2019, she was the Deputy Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General and Deputy Head of the United Nations Verification Mission in Colombia. Since 2014, she was UN Assistant Secretary-General and UNDP Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean.

Previously she served as Director of UNDP in Haiti in the aftermath of the devastating 2010 Earthquake; She led the UN in El Salvador and Belize. She also served in the Executive Office of UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and in the Office of the UNDP Administrator. Jessica has also had assignments in Argentina, Cuba, Guyana, and Panama. A National from Ecuador, Jessica holds a Master’s in International Affairs, and an MBA from Columbia University in New York. She was a 2006 World Fellow at Yale.

Cara Fallon

Cara Kiernan Fallon is a Lecturer in Global Health at the Jackson School of Global Affairs and the Director of Undergraduate Studies (DUS) of the Global Health Studies Program. She teaches courses in global health, ethics, and medical history and policy, and she advises the Global Health Scholars in the Multidisciplinary Academic Program.

She completed her postdoctoral training in Medical Ethics and Health Policy at the University of Pennsylvania, where she was also appointed as a Fellow in the Center for Public Health Initiatives and a Clark Scholar at the Penn Memory Center. She received her PhD in the History of Science from Harvard University and MPH from the Yale School of Public Health. During and after the financial crisis of 2008, she worked in investment banking and investment management at Goldman Sachs. She earned a BA from Yale in History of Science/History of Medicine, graduating summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa.

Combining her training in history, ethics, public health, and industry, her research analyzes the marginalization of the elderly from basic frameworks of health, disparities in chronic disease, and the intersections of aging, gender, and disability studies. Her current book project, Extending the End, examines cultural aspirations and medical innovations for anti-aging efforts in the United States and the world.

Akriti Gaur 

Akriti Gaur is an Indian lawyer currently pursuing a J.S.D. at Yale Law School where she also serves as a Tutor in Law. She obtained her LL.M. degree from Yale Law School in 2022. Akriti is a Resident Fellow at the Yale Information Society Project and a research affiliate with the Yale Genocide Studies Program (Mass Atrocities in the Digital Era Project). Before coming to Yale, Akriti was a policy advisor and an independent researcher focusing on technology and human rights in India. She worked as a Senior Resident Fellow at Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy, India, where she established the Applied Law and Technology Research Centre (ALTR) in 2019. She has worked with think tanks and advised the Indian Government and the Supreme Court of India on contemporary technology policy reforms.

Katrien Hertog 

Katrien Hertog is a senior peacebuilding researcher, trainer and practitioner in the academic and non-governmental sector. She published a book on “The Complex Reality of Religious Peacebuilding” (2010) and writes on the psychosocial dimensions of peacebuilding.  As a trainer in peacebuilding, rehabilitation, stress management and capacity development, she has trained 1000+ people, including UN and EU personnel, Dutch and UK government, NGO’s and CSO’s, students, journalists, refugees and prisoners.

Shamain McAllister

Shamain McAllister is the Associate Director of Education and Community Impact of the International Festival of Arts & Ideas. She is also the Co-Coordinator for the Elm City Lit Fest, an annual celebration of books, LITerature and LITerary artists with the purpose of enhancing LITeracy while promoting awareness of local, regional and global artists of the African diaspora. She is a Vision Holder for The Return of the People, a group supporting a new generation of New Haven artists in becoming self-sufficient, empowered artists and leaders. Sha previously has served as the Development Coordinator for the New Haven Symphony Orchestra.

Sarah Miller
Sarah Miller is a Chartered Psychologist and full Professor of Education in the School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work, at Queen’s University Belfast. Using randomized controlled trials and systematic review methodologies her research has significantly contributed to the ‘what works’ movement in education in the UK and Ireland. Sarah’s areas of research include social emotional development in pre-school and primary school children, literacy and numeracy progression, and evaluating the effectiveness of community and school-based programs. She has a particular interest in the role of early childhood programs in the development of social cohesion in conflict affected communities. Sarah plays a key role in the Campbell Collaboration – an internationally renowned network of academics and researchers who promote positive social change through the production and use of systematic reviews and other evidence synthesis products for evidence-based policy and practice. She is Director of Campbell UK & Ireland and Editor of the Campbell Education Coordinating Group.

Katie Murphy

Katie Murphy is the Senior Technical Advisor for Early Childhood Development at the International Rescue Committee and has over 15 years experience working in the field of early childhood development, education and sustainable development. Katie began her career as a Peace Corps Volunteer in El Salvador, where she lived in a rural community for 2 years teaching and developing health education and income generation projects. She began working with the IRC in 2005 as the education manager in Chad, supporting Darfurian refugees to build and improve educational and recreational programs for children and youth.  Katie served as the Deputy Director of the Global Master’s in Development Practice Secretariat at the Earth Institute at Columbia University and returned to work at the IRC in 2015, and served as the technical lead for the design of the Ahlan Simsim program, which received the inaugural 100&Change award from the MacArthur Foundation.  Currently a PhD candidate at the University of Pennsylvania, Katie has conducted research in early childhood development in Central America, Ecuador, India, Lebanon, Kenya, Mexico and Thailand.

Fergal Mythen

Ambassador Fergal Mythen has been permanent representative of Ireland to the UN since August 2022. Previously, he spent considerable periods of his career working for the government of Ireland in support of the Northern Ireland peace process and implementation of the Good Friday Agreement. Most recently, as director-general of the Ireland, UK and Americas Division of the Department of Foreign Affairs from 2017 to 2022, he led the team working on Northern Ireland peace process issues, Irish-British relations (including the impact of Brexit) and Irish-US and Irish-Canadian bilateral relations, as well as relations with the Latin America-Caribbean region. He has twice served in the permanent representation of Ireland to the European Union in Brussels. Earlier in his career, Mythen was seconded to the European Community Monitoring Mission in the former Yugoslavia, based in Sarajevo. He studied history and English at Trinity College and business studies at University College Dublin. He is married to Ciara Delaney and they have four children.

Valens Nkurukinyinka

Valens Nkurikiyinka is a current consultant at the World bank, having had over 14 years of expertise in child protection programs, collaboration with International Development Organizations, Governments, and NGOs. As a Child Protection and Child Rights Governance Senior Specialist for Save the Children Rwanda, he has been involved in crafting impactful child protection policies and projects, focusing on child welfare, education, and health. Specialized in Eastern and Southern Africa, Valens has worked as a Regional Technical and Knowledge Management Specialist for the Better Care Network and has extensive experience as a Policy and Strategy Specialist for the National Commission for Children.

Liam O’Hare

Liam O’Hare is Director of Queen’s University Innovation Zones, which are community university partnerships between Queen’s University and two local communities in West Belfast, namely the Colin and Shankill areas. These two communities have experienced significant conflict and ongoing disadvantage due to the Northern Ireland ‘Troubles’.  The Innovation Zones’ mission is to work together to improve child, family and community outcomes through evidence-informed social innovation programs. Liam is a Fellow of The Senator George J. Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security and Justice and has specific research interests in effective education, cognitive psychology, music and peacebuilding. 

Catherine Panter-Brick

Catherine Panter-Brick is the Bruce A. and Davi-Ellen Chabner Professor of Anthropology, Health, and Global Affairs. She holds a joint appointment in the Jackson School of Global Affairs and the Department of Anthropology. She is the head of Morse College and the chair of the Council of Heads of Colleges at Yale University.

Panter-Brick leads initiatives to develop sustained, equitable partnerships across research, practice, and policy. Her research and program evaluations with Afghan and Syrian refugees are leading examples of systems-level work on child and adolescent development, mental health, and social cohesion in war-affected communities. She received the Lucy Mair Medal, awarded by the Royal Anthropology Institute to honor excellence in the application of anthropology to the active recognition of human dignity.

On the issues of peacebuilding, resilience and mental health, Panter-Brick has been a keynote speaker at the United Nations, contributed to international media broadcasts, and presented at the World Health Organization, the World Bank, and the United States Institute of Peace.  Her work with Syrian refugee youth in Jordan is an example of research conducted to learn how interventions can alleviate stress, boost resilience, and improve lives in war-affected communities. It has been showcased in the award-winning documentary, Terror and Hope: The Science of Resilience, broadcasted on PBS television networks, and funded by elrha, the global research program informing decision-making in health research in humanitarian crises.

Panter-Brick has published more than 170 peer-reviewed scientific publications in the biomedical, health, and social sciences.  She has coedited eight books, notably Medical Humanitarianism: Ethnographies of Practice and Pathways to Peace; two impact case studies on mental health support and >good practice in research in humanitarian contexts; and four policy briefs on sustainable peacebuilding, fathers and peace and equity, religion and social justice, and resilience.

At Yale, Panter-Brick directs the Global Health Studies Multidisciplinary Academic Program at the Jackson School and the Program on Conflict, Resilience, and Health at the MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies. Her teaching at Yale includes interdisciplinary courses on global health equity, humanitarian interventions, conflict and resilience.

Lina Qtaishat

Lina Qtaishat currently serves as a Project Manager for We Love Reading, an organization supporting school children in Amman, Jordan. Ms Qtaishat oversees diverse projects, including reading interventions, non-formal education, and research initiatives. In the past two years, she has actively engaged in fundraising, proposal writing, and project planning, demonstrating technical proficiency in creating protocols and community mobilization strategies. As a former research officer at Taghyeer Organization, she contributed to assessing its impact on children and mother-child dyads. Currently her role involves building strong relationships with local and international partners, enhancing internal team dynamics for effective project management in education and community development.

Adriana Salcedo

Adriana Salcedo is the Director of the Department of Peace and Conflict Studies at UPEACE. She is a specialist in conflict transformation and peacebuilding, focusing on conflict, gender, identity, and human mobility. She holds a PhD in Conflict Analysis and Resolution from the Jimmy and Rosslyn Carter School for Peace and Conflict Resolution at George Mason University in Virginia (USA). To obtain this degree, she conducted extensive research on forced displacement, conflict, and the social integration of refugees in the Colombia-Ecuador border areas and in Ecuador’s urban centres. She is deeply committed to achieving positive social change through nonviolent means and to strengthening social actors, including grassroots organizations, indigenous communities, and minority groups, through her research and practice. Adriana has taught courses on conflict analysis, collaborative peacebuilding methodologies, mediation, identity conflicts, gender, and human mobility at the Carter School for Peace and Conflict Resolution, George Mason University in Washington, D.C., Boston University and the Universidad Andina Simón Bolívar in Quito, Ecuador.

Velma Saric

Velma Saric is a researcher, journalist, peacebuilding expert, and human rights defender from Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. She has 20 years of work experience and is currently the Founder and President of the Post-Conflict Research Center and Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Balkan Diskurs.

David Simon

David J. Simon is the Assistant Dean for Graduate Education as well as a Senior Lecturer in Global Affairs.  He also serves as the Director of the Genocide Studies Program at Yale University.

Simon’s research focuses on mass atrocity prevention and post-atrocity recovery, with a particular focus on cases of mass atrocity in Africa, including those in Rwanda and Cote d’Ivoire. He is co-editor of  Mass Violence and Memory in the Digital Age: Memorialization Unmoored (Palgrave-MacMillan, 2020, with Eve M. Zucker), and co-editor of the Handbook of Genocide Studies (Edward Elgar, forthcoming, with Leora Kahn). He helped launch the Mass Atrocities in the Digital Era initiative within the Genocide Studies Program (with Nathaniel Raymond). The initiative recognizes that digital technology has brought about sea changes in all aspects of mass atrocity — from the commission of it to the efforts to prevent it to the prospects of holding perpetrators responsible — and seeks to bring experts from the fields of genocide studies, international criminal law, and internet data governance in conversation with one another to devise appropriate responses.

He has served as a consultant for various United Nations offices, including Office of the Special Advisor for the Prevention of Genocide, the Millennium Development Project, and the UN Development Program. He holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of California, Los Angeles and a B.A. from Princeton University.

Honey Thomas

Honey Thomas is a second-year MPP student at Yale Jackson School of Global Affairs, where she focuses on human rights and conflict in the Middle East and North Africa. At Yale, she works with the Macmillan Center’s Program on Conflict, Resilience and Health and is a Fellow of the Mass Atrocities in the Digital Era (MADE) Program. Prior to Yale, Honey worked for a UK-based consultancy leading research on conflict prevention and countering violent extremism strategies. Fluent in Arabic, she led research teams in Syria and Iraq. During the summer of 2023, Honey interned with Oxfam in Beirut, where she researched the organization’s contribution to peacebuilding in the MENA region, while also interning as a research assistant to UN Commissioner Pablo de Greiff. Honey graduated with a double-first class BA from the University of Cambridge in Arabic and Middle Eastern studies.

Bonnie Weir

Bonnie Weir is a senior lecturer and assistant dean for undergraduate education at the Jackson School of Global Affairs. She is the founding co-director of the Program on Peace and Development at Yale University.

Weir’s research focuses on political violence and post-conflict politics with a focus on Northern Ireland. Her current projects investigate whether and how sectarianism affects political behavior and the consequences of minority rights provisions. Weir teaches courses on civil conflict, terrorism, and The Troubles and post-conflict politics in Northern Ireland.

Previously, Weir was a senior lecturer of political science and served as director of undergraduate studies for the Program on Ethics, Politics, and Economics at Yale. She regularly lectures for the Yale Young Global Scholars program and is currently a visiting scholar at the Senator George J. Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security, and Justice at Queen’s University Belfast. Weir is also on the board of Peaceful Schools International and a works with a number of groups on applied and policy projects, including the Ad Hoc Committee to Protect the Good Friday Agreement and the Washington Ireland Program. She received a B.A. from the College of the Holy Cross and a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Chicago.

Melissa Wild

Melissa Wild is the Special Advisor, University for Peace, Costa Rica. She is a trained mediator, linguist and social scientist focused on building out the field of peace innovation. As a peace innovator, Melissa works with the University for Peace in founding and launching the Global Center for Peace Innovation. She is also Program Manager, Sustaining Peace Project, Columbia University.

Bisa Williams

Ambassador Bisa Williams (ret) is co-Founder and Managing Director of Williams Strategy Advisors, LLC (WSA),  a problem-solving, business and foreign affairs advisory consulting firm. For the last 2 years, she has also led The Carter Center’s effort as Independent Observer of implementation of the Peace Agreement in Mali.  Before forming WSA, Ambassador Williams was a career member of the Foreign Service of the U.S. Department of State. During her 30+ years in the Foreign Service, she served tours in Guinea (Conakry), Panama, Mauritius, France, the US Mission to the UN (NY), Washington, DC, including two years at the National Security Council of The White House, and Niger. As Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, Ambassador Williams led the US delegation to talks in Havana, Cuba, breaking a seven year hiatus of high level direct discussions. Her accomplishments were recognized in LeoGrande/Kornbluh book Back Channel to Cuba. She was appointed by President Barack Obama in 2010 as Ambassador to Niger where she served for three years. Following her tour as Ambassador, she was named Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in the Bureau of African Affairs, supporting US economic policy goals in sub-Saharan Africa and bilateral policy in the West Africa region. Ambassador Williams retired from the Foreign Service in 2015.  She speaks French, Spanish, and Portuguese and is the recipient of numerous Superior and Meritorious Honor Awards from the Department of State. She holds a Master of Science degree in National Security Strategy from the National War College of the National Defense University in Washington, DC and a Master of Arts degree in Comparative Literature from the University of California, Los Angeles.  She received her Bachelor of Arts degree cum laude from Yale.