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The team of WIIS-Netherlands exists out of the board members and the advisory council.

  • Vanessa Newby President

    Vanessa Newby is an Assistant Professor at Leiden University based in The Hague. She has a PhD in international relations and her research interests include women peace and security, peacekeeping, peacebuilding, humanitarian aid and disaster response and the international relations of the Middle East. Vanessa is an Arabic speaker with thirteen years’ experience of researching the Middle East. She is the author of Peacekeeping in South Lebanon: Credibility and Local Cooperation with Syracuse University Press (2018) and has published in international peer-reviewed journals such as International Peacekeeping, Contemporary Politics, the Australian Journal of International Affairs, and Third World Quarterly.

  • Saskia Schaper Vice-president

    Saskia has a background in public affairs and public policy with an interest in foreign relations and international security. She has an MA in European Studies from the University of Amsterdam with a major in European Law and a minor in Spanish. Saskia has lived and worked in Europe, the US and Lebanon. Her career includes interning at the Dutch mission to the United Nations in New York, and at PA-Europe in Brussels. She also worked for three years as a policy assistant to a Dutch Member of Parliament. In her role as Vice-President she aims to contribute to a better understanding of the important role of women in international peace and security, and raise awareness of this important topic.

  • Amy Blessing Treasurer

    Amy currently works as a study coordinator for the Advanced MSc International Relations and Diplomacy at Leiden University. Before joining Leiden University she completed the Robert Schuman traineeship at the European Parliament and interned for the European Law Institute. She is an alumna of the University of Glasgow where she gained an LL.M. in International Law and Security and then a second LL.M. at the University of Copenhagen focusing on EU External Relations.

  • Fleur de Braaf Events officer

    Fleur de Braaf is an Advanced Master’s student at the University of Leiden completing her degree in International Relations and Diplomacy in June 2020. She is currently also a facilitating member of the Women Ambassadors Group in the Netherlands and an Associate at a political risk consultancy called Libya Desk. In 2019 she was an intern at the Department of Crisis Management Peace Operations at the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs focusing on the Dutch contribution to peace operations in the Middle East. Prior to her MSc, she finished her BA in Development Studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London. During her time there she was President of the University branch of 180 Degrees Consulting, a consultancy for NGOs. Fleur is interested in particular in the role of women in the context of peace operations and counter(terrorism).

  • Eva Froneberg Social media officer

    Eva Froneberg currently works as a tutor for the Bsc. Security Studies programme at Leiden University where she teaches on a variety of subjects including interdisciplinary approaches to safety and security and scientific research methods. Eva holds an MSSc. in Peace and Conflict Research from Uppsala University and a BA in International Affairs from Vesalius College Brussels. Prior to her current role, she worked with the Asia Regional Team at Search for Common Ground in Washington, D.C., and spent a year in Bangladesh as a World Teach Fellow at the Asian University for Women. Her research interests include the roles of young people and education in peacebuilding, as well as the intersections between the YPS and WPS agendas.  

  • Basak Kalkavan Membership Officer

    Basak is currently a Tutor for BSc Security Studies at Leiden University. She previously worked as a researcher for the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED), where she collected and analyzed reported data on political violence and protest events across Turkey. Basak holds an Advanced MSc in International Relations and Diplomacy from Leiden University, as well as a BA in International Studies, with a specialization on International Security and Conflict Resolution from Simon Fraser University. Her expertise focuses on the climate-conflict nexus, as well as the relationship between the environment and peace-building.

  • Joana Cook Research Stream Coordinator

    Dr. Joana Cook is an Assistant Professor of Terrorism and Political Violence in the Faculty of Governance and Global Affairs, Leiden University. She is also a Senior Project Manager at ICCT, and Editor-in-Chief of the ICCT journal. Her research more broadly focuses on women and gender in violent extremism, countering violent extremism, and counter-terrorism practices. More recent scholarly interests include non-state actor governance, and factors and pathways to radicalization.

    Joana is also a Research Affiliate at the Department of War Studies, King’s College London and an Associate Fellow at the International Centre for the Study of Radicalization; an adjunct lecturer at Johns Hopkins University; a non-resident Fellow at the Program on Extremism at George Washington University; a Research Affiliate with the Canadian Network for Research on Terrorism, Security and Society (TSAS); and a Digital Fellow at the Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies (MIGS), Concordia University. She is a graduate of King’s College London where she completed her MA and PhD in the Department of War Studies (BA University of Regina).

  • Isi Madojemu Research assistant

    Isi works as a research assistant to the Chair of UN Studies in Peace at Justice, Professor Alanna O’Malley. He holds an MA in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics from Leiden University. He is also the Co-President and Co-founder of UN Youth Impact, a student and young-professional initiative based in the Hague.

  • Alanna O'Malley Advisory council member

    Alanna O’Malley is Chair of United Nations Studies in Peace and Justice, a newly-created position at Leiden University’s Faculty of Governance and Global Affairs. This Chair, in honor of the former Dutch Foreign Minister and Mayor of The Hague Jozias Van Aartsen, is shared with The Hague University of Applied Sciences. The main focus of the Chair will be to create a new interdisciplinary research group on United Nations Studies and to organize a series of academic and public events to mark the 75th anniversary of the UN in 2020.

    She is a historian focusing on the United Nations, decolonization, Congo and the Cold War. Her current research focuses on recovering the invisible histories of the UN, investigating the role of the Global South challenging the liberal world order from 1945-1981. She completed a PhD at the European University Institute (EUI) in Florence from 2007-2012. In 2009, she was a Visiting Scholar at New York University, in Spring 2017 a Kathleen Fitzpatrick Visiting Fellow at the Laureate Research Program in International History at the University of Sydney and from August 2017-February 2018 she was a Fullbright Research Scholar at the History Department of George Washington University in Washington D.C.

  • Lieutenant Colonel Ella van den Heuvel Advisory council member

    Ella van den Heuvel is a military gender expert in the Dutch Armed Forces with whom she has served since 1998. In her work she focuses on the implementation of UNSCR 1325 on Women, Peace & Security. Ella has been deployed as a military gender advisor for NATO in Afghanistan in 2009 and in the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) in 2017 and 2019. She has also worked as a part-time gender adviser for NATO to the Jordanian Armed Forces (2018-2020). She currently is the gender adviser of the Dutch Chief of Defence.

  • Willemijn Aerdts Advisory council member

    Willemijn Aerdts in an expert on intelligence- and security services. She lectures in the minor Intelligence Studies. Willemijn conducts research in regard to intelligence oversight and intelligence methodology.

  • Dr. Shyamika Jayasundara-Smits

    Dr. Shyamika Jayasundara-Smits is an Assistant Professor in Conflict and Peace Studies at The International Institute of Social Studies (ISS) of Erasmus University, Rotterdam, The Netherlands. She holds a PhD in Development Studies from ISS-Erasmus University, MA in Conflict Studies from the Eastern Mennonite University, Virginia, USA, Graduate Certificate on Peace Research from Oslo University, Norway and BA Degree in International Relations from University of Colombo Sri Lanka. Dr.Jayasundara-Smits is a former Fulbright and NORAD fellow. Since 2002, she has contributed to several international teaching, capacity building and research programmes in the fields of conflict, peace, security and Development, including at the United Nations University- The Hague Branch, University of Colombo, Bandaranaike Centre for International Studies (BCIS) and Centre for Poverty Analysis -Sri Lanka, Giessen University-Germany, Eastern Mennonite University-USA, FHR Institute for Higher Education -Suriname and Global Platform for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC).

  • Mekka Abdelgabar

    Mrs. Mekka Abdelgabar is the eminently designated expert when it comes to gender issues in Sudan and in Darfur specifically. She is the founder of the Darfur Women's Organization in The Netherlands (VOND). VOND is one of the pioneering signatories of the Dutch National Action Plans (NAP). VOND empowers women leaders and young people through different projects. 

    The working fields which she focuses on are development, peacebuilding and conflict-resolution and mediation. Mekka addresses conflict issues in her belief that women in conflict are the main affected party and therefore have the ability to bring peace. She has successfully set up the first unique women mediation committee in Sudan and contributed to reconciliation of different ongoing conflicts in Darfur. By bringing women to the forefront of decision-making and peacebuilding she has proven that women are indispensable when it comes to peace.

  • Isabelle Duijvesteijn Professor of International Studies and Global History

    Isabelle Duyvesteyn is Professor of International Studies / Global History at the Leiden University Institute for History. 

    She completed her PhD at the Department of War Studies at King’s College in London. Previously she has worked at the Royal Military Academy in the Netherlands and the Netherlands Institute for International Relations. She is a NWO laureate having received both a VIDI and an Aspasia research grant. 

    Her research interests include the nature of war and peace in the developing world, irregular warfare and strategy, the history of terrorism and counter-terrorism, strategic culture and intelligence and rebel governance. 

    She is a member of the national Advisory Council for International Affairs assigned to advise the Netherlands government on issues of peace and security, a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Netherlands Defence Academy and a member of several book and journal editorial boards, notably  Small Wars and Insurgencies, Leiden University Press, the Journal of Strategic Studies, and the Routledge series on  Insurgency, Counter-insurgency and National Interest

  • Karlijn Jans Advisory council member

    Karlijn Jans is the defence policy advisor at the British Embassy in The Hague. She holds a Master’s degree in European Studies from King’s College London and a Master’s degree in European and International Law from Maastricht University. Ms. Jans further specialized in defence matters while studying at the Netherlands Defence Academy. She has advised military representatives and NATO commanders on several occasions. Prior to her position at the British Embassy Ms. Jans was strategic analyst at the The Hague Centre for Strategic Studies (HCSS). Her areas of expertise include NATO, Dutch and European security and defence policies, strategic foresight and the impact of new technologies on defence policy and military affairs. In 2017-2018 she was a member of the youth-think tank The West Wing of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, advising the department on European defence cooperation. From 2013 to 2016 she worked as a policy advisor at the TNO’s EU office in Brussels. Ms. Jans presided over the Jonge Atlantici, the Dutch chapter of the Youth Atlantic Treaty Association from 2015-2017. Over the past few years, she spoke frequently at NATO and international think tank conferences and published widely on transatlantic security issues, NATO, and European defence policies in the media.

  • Monica den Boer Advisory council member

    On 1 June 2020, Monica den Boer started as full Professor of Military Policing Operations at the Netherlands Defence Academy. Prior to that, she held a Parliamentary seat for the social-liberal party D66, with portfolio’s in Justice and Security as well as in Interior Affairs. Other positions include Director of Research and Knowledge Development at the Police Academy in Apeldoorn, The Netherlands (2003-2016), in combination with a Chair of Comparative Public Administration, in particular the international police function, at the VU University Amsterdam. Her academic career started with a PhD in 1990 from the European University Institute (EUI, Florence), after which she successively held research and teaching positions at Edinburgh University, the Netherlands Study Centre for Crime and Law Enforcement, the European Institute of Public Administration, Tilburg University, and the European Institute of Law Enforcement Co-operation. Meanwhile, she occupied several co-positions, including the vice-chairmanship of the Clingendael Institute of International Affairs (2006-2009), as well as membership of the Dutch Iraq Investigation Committee (2009-2010), of the Defence Future Survey Group (2009-2010), and of the Committee on European Integration of the Advisory Council on International Affairs (2002-2016). She worked as Director of SeQure Research and Consultancy (2015-2017) and as Visiting Professor at the Department of Security & Criminology at Macquarie University, Sydney.

    She has published widely on European home affairs and police co-operation and has strongly engaged in research, teaching, coaching as well as supervision. One of her most recent publications includes an edited collection, entitled “Comparative Policing from a Legal Perspective”, published by Edward Elgar.

  • Angelien Eijsink Advisory council member

    Angelien Eijsink is an anthropologist, educator and politician. She served as Member of Parliament representing the Dutch Labour Party (PvdA) from 2003 until March 2017. Her focus as a member of parliament was defence and security and in the course of her career she has played a significant role in parliamentary decision-making on these issues. As party spokesperson for Defence, she was responsible for the evaluation of peacekeeping missions, the Common European Security and Defence Policy, and Dutch Defence procurement. From 2012 to 2017 Angelien was Chair of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and in 2014 was elected Vice-President of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly. Committed to gender equality, Angelien was instrumental in initiating a special bi-annual session of the Assembly devoted to the role of women in the armed forces. She also initiated the Dutch Veterans Law, which was ratified in 2012. She has been a member of the European Leadership Network in London since July 2020.

  • Sahar Ghanem Advisory council member

    Sahar Ghanem is the Yemeni ambassador to the Netherlands alongside the non-resident ambassador to Norway and Sweden. She is also the Permanent Representative of Yemen to the Organization for Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and Yemen’s Governor to the Common Fund for Commodities (CFC).  Ambassador Sahar Ghanem is known for being a political activist and feminist and she has actively participated in various programs, seminars, interviews and conferences nationally and internationally, including a 3-year Dutch program “Female leaders from the MENA Region”.

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