Council of Experts

    Bertie Ahern

    Bertie Ahern is the former Taoiseach (Prime Minister) of Ireland, a position to which he was elected following numerous Ministerial appointments as well as that of Deputy Prime Minister. A defining moment of Mr Ahern’s three terms in office as Taoiseach was the successful negotiation of the Good Friday Agreement in April 1998. Mr Ahern held the Presidency of the European Council in 2004, presiding over the historic enlargement of the EU to 27 member states. Since leaving Government in 2008 Mr Ahern has dedicated his time to conflict resolution and is actively involved with many groups around the world. Current roles include Co-Chair of The Inter Action Council; Member of the Clinton Global Initiative; Member of the International Group dealing with the conflict in the Basque Country; Honorary Adjunct Professor of Mediation and Conflict Intervention in NUI Maynooth; Member of the Kennedy Institute of NUI Maynooth; Member of the Institute for Cultural Diplomacy, Berlin; Member of the Varkey Gems Foundation Advisory Board; Member of Crisis Management Initiative; Member of the World Economic Forum Agenda Council on Negotiation and Conflict Resolution; Member of the IMAN Foundation; Advisor to the Legislative Leadership Institute Academy of Foreign Affairs; Senior Advisor to the International Advisory Council to the Harvard International Negotiation Programme; and Director of Co-operation Ireland.


        Dermot Ahern

        Dermot Ahern is a former Irish Member of Parliament and Government Minister and was a key figure for more than 20 years in the Irish peace process, including in negotiations for the Good Friday Agreement and the St Andrews Agreement. He also has extensive experience at the EU Council level, including as a key negotiator and signatory to the Constitutional and Lisbon Treaties. In 2005, he was appointed by the then UN Secretary General Kofi Annan to be a Special Envoy on the issue of UN Reform.

            Prof. Naomi Roht-Arriaza

            Professor Naomi Roht-Arriaza is a Distinguished Professor of Law at the Hastings College of Law, University of California (San Francisco) and is renowned globally for her expertise in transitional justice, international human rights law, and international humanitarian law. She has extensive knowledge of, and experience in, post-conflict procedures in Latin America and Africa. Roht-Arriaza has contributed to the defence of human rights through legal and social counselling, her position as academic chair, and her published academic works.

                Prof. Dr. Aşkın Asan

                Prof. Dr. Aşkın Asan is an executive board member of the Maarif Foundation, a member of Turkey’s Democracy Platform, and a faculty member at Istanbul Ticaret University.  Elected as a Member of the Turkish Grand National Assembly from Ankara, Prof. Dr. Asan served as a vice president of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean and was a member of the Turkish Delegation of the Parliamentary Union of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference during her time in parliamentary office. She is a former Deputy Minister of Family and Social Policies (2011-2014) and was Rector of Avrasya University in Trabzon between 2014-2017.


                    Prof. Dr. Mehmet Asutay

                    Prof. Dr. Mehmet Asutay is a Professor of Middle Eastern and Islamic Political Economy & Finance at the Durham University Business School, UK. He researches, teaches and supervises research on Islamic political economy and finance, Middle Eastern economic development and finance, the political economy of Middle East, including Turkish and Kurdish political economies. He is the Director of Durham Centre for Islamic Economics and Finance and the Managing Editor of the Review of Islamic Economics, as well as  Associate Editor of the American Journal of Islamic Social Science. He is the Honorary Treasurer of the BRISMES (British Society for Middle Eastern Studies); and of the IAIE (International Association for Islamic Economics).

                        Ali Bayramoğlu

                        Ali Bayramoğlu is a writer and political commentator. Since 1994, he has contributed as a columnist for a variety of newspapers. He is currently a columnist for Al-Monitor. He is a member of the former Wise Persons Committee in Turkey, established by then-Prime Minister Erdoğan.

                            Prof. Christine Bell

                            Professor Christine Bell is a legal expert based in Edinburgh, Scotland.  She is Professor of Constitutional Law and Assistant Principal (Global Justice) at the University of Edinburgh, Co-director of the Global Justice Academy, and a member of the British Academy. She was chairperson of the Belfast-based Human Rights organization, the Committee on the Administration of Justice from 1995-7, and a founder member of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission established under the terms of the Belfast Agreement. In 1999 she was a member of the European Commission’s Committee of Experts on Fundamental Rights. She is an expert on transitional justice, peace negotiations, constitutional law and human rights law. She regularly conducts training on these topics for diplomats, mediators and lawyers, has been involved as a legal advisor in a number of peace negotiations, and acted as an expert in transitional justice for the UN Secretary-General, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, and UNIFEM.

                                Andy Carl

                                Andy Carl is an independent expert on conflict resolution and public participation in peace processes. He believes that building peace is not an act of charity but an act of justice. He co-founded and was Executive Director of Conciliation Resources. Previously, he was the first Programme Director with International Alert. He is currently an Honorary Fellow of Practice at the School of Law, University of Edinburgh. He serves as an adviser to a number of peacebuilding initiatives including the Inclusive Peace and Transition Initiative at the Graduate Institute in Geneva, the Legal Tools for Peace-Making Project in Cambridge, and the Oxford Research Group in London.


                                    Cengiz Çandar

                                    Cengiz Çandar is currently a columnist for Al-Monitor, a widely respected online magazine that provides analysis on Turkey and the Middle East. He is an expert on the Middle East and former war correspondent. He served as special adviser to former Turkish president Turgut Ozal. Cengiz Çandar is a Distinguished Visiting Scholar at the Stockholm University Institute for Turkish Studies (SUITS).


                                        Dr. Vahap Coşkun

                                        Dr. Vahap Coşkun is a Professor of Law at University of Dicle in Diyarbakır where he also completed his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in law. Coşkun received his PhD from Ankara University Faculty of Law. He has written for Serbestiyet and Kurdistan24 online newspaper. He has published books on human rights, constitutional law, political theory and social peace. Coşkun was a member of the former Wise Persons Committee in Turkey (Central Anatolian Region).

                                            Ayşegül Doğan

                                            Ayşegül Doğan is a journalist who has conducted interviews, created news files and programmes for independent news platforms. She studied at the Faculty of Cultural Mediation and Communications at Metz University, and Paris School of Journalism. As a student, she worked at the Ankara bureau of  Agence-France Presse (AFP), the Paris bureau of Courier International and at the Kurdish service of The Voice of America. She worked as a programme creator at Radyo Ekin, and as a translator-journalist for the Turkish edition of Le Monde Diplomatique. She was a lecturer at the Kurdology department of National Institute of Oriental Languages and Civilizations in Paris. She worked on political communications for a long time. From its establishment in 2011 to its closure in 2016, she worked as a programmes coordinator at IMC TV. She prepared and presented the programme “Gündem Müzakere” on the same channel.

                                                Prof. Dr. Fazıl Hüsnü Erdem

                                                Fazıl Hüsnü Erdem is Professor of Constitutional Law and Head of the Department of Constitutional Law at Dicle University, Diyarbakır. In 2007, Erdem was a member of the commission which was established to draft a new constitution to replace the Constitution of 1982 which was introduced following the coup d’etat of 1980. Erdem was a member of the Wise Persons Committee in Turkey, established by then Prime Minister Erdoğan, in the team that was responsible for the South-eastern Anatolia Region.


                                                    Prof. Dr. Salomón Lerner Febres

                                                    Professor Salomón Lerner Febres holds a PhD in Philosophy from Université Catholique de Louvain. He is Executive President of the Center for Democracy and Human Rights and Professor and  Rector Emeritus of Pontifical Catholic University of Peru. He is former President of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Peru. Prof. Dr. Lerner has given many talks and speeches about the role and the nature of university, the problems of scholar research in higher education and about ethics and public culture. Furthermore, he has participated in numerous conferences in Peru and other countries about violence and pacification.  In addition, he has been a speaker and panellist in multiple workshops and symposiums about the work and findings of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Peru. He has received several honorary doctorates as well as numerous recognitions and distinctions of governments and international human rights institutions.

                                                        Prof. Mervyn Frost

                                                        Professor Mervyn Frost teaches International Relations, and was former Head of the Department of War Studies, at King’s College London, UK. He was previously Chair of Politics at the University of Natal, Durban, South Africa and was President of the South African Political Studies Association. He currently sits on the editorial boards of International Political Sociology and the Journal of International Political Theory, among others. He is an expert on human rights in international relations, humanitarian intervention, justice in world politics, democratising global governance, the just war tradition in an era of New Wars, and ethics in a globalising world.

                                                            Martin Griffiths

                                                            Martin Griffiths is a senior international mediator and currently the UN’s Envoy to Yemen. From 1999 to 2010 he was the founding Director of the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue in Geneva where he specialised in developing political dialogue between governments and insurgents in a range of countries across Asia, Africa and Europe. He is a co-founder of Inter Mediate, a London based NGO devoted to conflict resolution, and has worked for international organisations including UNICEF, Save the Children, Action Aid, and the European Institite of Peace. Griffiths has also worked in the British Diplomatic Service and for the UN, including as Director of the Department of Humanitarian Affairs (Geneva), Deputy to the Emergency Relief Coordinator (New York), Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for the Great Lakes, Regional Coordinator in the Balkans and Deputy Head of the Supervisory Mission in Syria (UNSMIS).

                                                                Kezban Hatemi

                                                                Kezban Hatemi holds an LL.B. from Istanbul University and is registered with the Istanbul Bar Association. She has worked as a self employed lawyer, as well as Turkey’s National Commission to UNESCO and  a campaigner and advocate during the Bosnian War. She was involved in drafting the Turkish Civil Code and Law of Foundations as well as in preparing the legal groundwork for the chapters on Religious Freedoms and Minorities and Community Foundations within the Framework Law of Harmonization prepared by Turkey in preparation for EU accession. She has published articles on women’s, minority groups, children, animals and human rights and the fight against drugs. She is a member of the former Wise Persons Committee in Turkey, established by then Prime Minister Erdoğan, and sits on the Board of Trustees of the Technical University and the Darulacaze Foundation.

                                                                    Dr. Edel Hughes

                                                                    Dr. Edel Hughes is a Senior Lecturer in Law at Middlesex University. Prior to joining Middlesex University, Dr. Hughes was a Senior Lecturer in Law at the University of East London and a Lecturer in Law and the University of Limerick. She was awarded an LL.M. and a PhD in International Human Rights Law from the National University of Ireland, Galway, in 2003 and 2009, respectively.  Her research interests are in the areas of international human rights law, public international law, and conflict transformation, with a regional interest in Turkey and the Middle East. She has published widely on these areas.

                                                                        Kadir İnanır

                                                                        Kadir İnanır was born in 1949 Fatsa, Ordu. He is an acclaimed actor and director, and has starred in well over a hundred films. He has won several awards for his work in Turkish cinema. He graduated from Marmara University Faculty of Communication. In 2013 he became a member of the Wise Persons Committee for the Mediterranean region.

                                                                            Prof. Dr Ahmet Insel

                                                                            Professor Ahmet İnsel is a former faculty member of Galatasaray University in Istanbul, Turkey and Paris 1 Panthéon Sorbonne University, France. He is Managing Editor of the Turkish editing house, Iletisim, and member of the editorial board of monthly review, Birikim. He is a regular columnist at Cumhuriyet newspaper and an author who published several books and articles in both Turkish and French.

                                                                                Avila Kilmurray

                                                                                Avila Kilmurray is a founding member of the Northern Ireland Women’s Coalition. She was part of the Coalition’s negotiating team for the Good Friday Agreement and has written extensively on community action, the women’s movement and conflict transformation. She serves as an adviser on the Ireland Committee of the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust as well as a board member of Conciliation Resources (UK) and the Institute for British Irish Studies. She was the first Women’s Officer for the Transport & General Workers Union for Ireland (1990-1994) and from 1994-2014 she was Director of the Community Foundation for Northern Ireland, managing EU PEACE funding for the re-integration of political ex-prisoners in Northern Ireland as well as support for community-based peace building. She is a recipient of the Raymond Georis Prize for Innovative Philanthropy through the European Foundation Centre. Kilmurrary is working as a consultant with The Social Change Initiative to support work with the Migrant Learning Exchange Programme and learning on peace building.

                                                                                    Prof. Ram Manikkalingam

                                                                                    Professor Ram Manikkalingam is founder and director of the Dialogue Advisory Group, an independent organisation that facilitates political dialogue to reduce violence. He is a member of the Special Presidential Task Force on Reconciliation in Sri Lanka and teaches politics at the University of Amsterdam. Previously, he was a Senior Advisor on the Sri Lankan peace process to then President Kumaratunga. He has served as an advisor with Ambassador rank at the Sri Lanka Mission to the United Nations in New York and prior to that he was an advisor on International Security to the Rockefeller Foundation. He is an expert on issues pertaining to conflict, multiculturalism and democracy, and has authored multiple works on these topics. He is a founding board member of the Laksham Kadirgamar Institute for Strategic Studies and International Relations, Colombo, Sri Lanka.

                                                                                        Bejan Matur

                                                                                        Bejan Matur is a renowned Turkey-based author and poet. She has published ten works of poetry and prose. In her writing she focuses mainly on Kurdish politics, the Armenian issue, minority issues, prison literature and women’s rights. She has won several literary prizes and her work has been translated into over 28 languages. She was formerly Director of the Diyarbakır Cultural Art Foundation (DKSV). She is a columnist for the Daily Zaman, and occasionally for the English version, Today’s Zaman.

                                                                                            Prof. Monica McWilliams

                                                                                            Professor Monica McWilliams teaches in the Transitional Justice Institute at Ulster University in Northern Ireland. She currently serves on a three-person panel established by the Northern Ireland government to make recommendations on the disbandment of paramilitary organisations in Northern Ireland. During the Northern Ireland peace process, Prof McWilliams co-founded the Northern Ireland Women’s Coalition political party and was elected as a delegate to the Multi-Party Peace Negotiations, which took place in 1996 to 1998. She was also elected to serve as a member of the Northern Ireland Legislative Assembly from 1998 to 2003. Prof McWilliams is a signatory of the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement and has chaired the Implementation Committee on Human Rights on behalf of the British and Irish governments. For her role in delivering the peace agreement in Northern Ireland, Prof McWilliams was one recipient of the John F. Kennedy Leadership and Courage Award.

                                                                                                Hanne Melfald

                                                                                                Hanne Melfald worked with the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs for eight years including as the Senior Adviser to the Secretariat of the Foreign Minister of Norway before she became a Project Manager in HD’s Eurasia office in 2015. She previously worked for the United Nations for six years including two years with the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan as Special Assistant to the Special Representative of the Secretary-General. She has also worked for the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Nepal and Geneva, as well as for the Norwegian Refugee Council and the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration. Melfald has a degree in International Relations from the University of Bergen and the University of California, Santa Barbara, as well as a Master’s degree in Political Science from the University of Oslo.


                                                                                                    Roelf Meyer

                                                                                                    Meyer is currently a consultant on international peace processes having advised parties in Northern Ireland, Sri Lanka, Rwanda, Burundi, Iraq, Kosovo, the Basque Region, Guyana, Bolivia, Kenya, Madagascar, and South Sudan. Meyer’s experience in international peace processes stems from his involvement in the settlement of the South African conflict in which he was the government’s chief negotiator in constitutional negotiations with the ANC’s chief negotiator and current South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa. Negotiating the end of apartheid and paving the way for South Africa’s first democratic elections in 1994, Meyer continued his post as Minister of Constitutional Affairs in the Cabinet of the new President, Nelson Mandela. Meyer retired as a Member of Parliament and as the Gauteng leader of the National Party in 1996 and co-founded the United Democratic Movement (UDM) political party the following year. Retiring from politics in 2000, Meyer has since held a number of international positions, including membership of the Strategy Committee of the Project on Justice in Times of Transition at Harvard University.

                                                                                                        Mark Muller QC

                                                                                                        Mark Muller, QC, is a senior advocate at Doughty Street Chambers (London) and the Scottish Faculty of Advocates (Edinburgh) where he specialises in public international law and human rights. Muller is also currently on the UN Department of Political Affairs Standby Team of Mediation Experts and is the UN Special Envoy to Syria in the Syrian peace talks. He has many years’ experience of advising numerous international bodies, such as Humanitarian Dialogue (Geneva) and Inter-Mediate (London) on conflict resolution, mediation, confidence-building, ceasefires, power-sharing, humanitarian law, constitution-making and dialogue processes. Muller also co-founded Beyond Borders and the Delfina Foundation.

                                                                                                            Avni Özgürel

                                                                                                            Mehmet Avni Özgürel is a Turkish journalist, author and screenwriter. Having worked in several newspapers such as Daily Sabah and Radikal, Özgürel is currently the editor in chief of Yeni Birlik and a TV programmer at TRT Haber. He is the screenwriter of the 2007 Turkish film, Zincirbozan, on the 1980 Turkish coup d’état, Sultan Avrupa’da (2009), on Sultan Abdülaziz’s 1867 trip to Europe; and Mahpeyker (2010): Kösem Sultan, on Kösem Sultan. He is also the screenwriter and producer of 2014 Turkish film, Darbe (Coup), on the February 07, 2012 Turkish intelligence crisis. In 2013 he was appointed a member of the Wise Persons Committee in Turkey established by then Prime Minister Erdoğan.


                                                                                                                Prof. John Packer

                                                                                                                Professor John Packer is Associate Professor of Law and Director of the Human Rights Research and Education Centre (HRREC) at the University of Ottawa in Canada. Prof. Packer has worked for inter-governmental organisations for over 20 years, including in Geneva for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, the International Labour Organisation, and for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. From 1995 to 2004, Prof. Packer served as Senior Legal Adviser and then the first Director of the Office of the OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities in The Hague. In 2012 – 2014, Prof. Packer was a Constitutions and Process Design Expert on the United Nation’s Standby Team of Mediation Experts attached to the Department of Political Affairs, advising in numerous peace processes and political transitions around the world focusing on conflict prevention and resolution, diversity management, constitutional and legal reform, and the protection of human rights.

                                                                                                                    Giles Portman

                                                                                                                    Giles Portman is an experienced British and EU diplomat, currently serving as the Head of the East Stratcon Task Force in the European External Action Service in Brussels since September 2015.  Prior to this, Portman worked for 12 years on EU-Turkey relations as Chair of the EU enlargement working group that negotiated the opening of Turkey’s EU accession negotiations in 2005, as deputy head of mission at the British Embassy in Ankara and as advisor, then head of division for Turkey at the European External Action Service. He has also served on diplomatic postings to the UN in New York and in Prague.

                                                                                                                        Jonathan Powell

                                                                                                                        Jonathan Powell is the founder and CEO of Inter Mediate, an NGO devoted to conflict resolution around the world. In 2014, Powell was appointed by former Prime Minister David Cameron to be the UK’s Special Envoy to Libya. He also served as Tony Blair’s Chief of Staff in opposition from 1995 to 1997 and again as his Chief of Staff in Downing Street from 1997 to 2007. Prior to his involvement in British politics, Powell was the British Government’s chief negotiator on Northern Ireland from 1997 to 2007 and played a key part in leading the peace negotiations and its implementation.

                                                                                                                            Sir Kieran Prendergast

                                                                                                                            Sir Kieran Prendergast is a former British diplomat who served as the Under-Secretary General for Political Affairs at the United Nations from 1997 to 2005 and as High Commissioner to Kenya from 1992 to 1995 and to Zimbabwe from 1989 to 1992. During his time at the UN, Prendergast stressed the human rights violations and ethnic cleansing that occurred during the War in Darfur and was involved in the 2004 Cyprus reunification negotiations. Since his retirement from the UN, he has conducted research at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs (United States) and is a member of the Advisory Council of Independent Diplomat (United States). Prendergast also holds a number of positions, including Chairman of the Anglo-Turkish Society, a Trustee of the Beit Trust, and Senior Adviser at the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue.

                                                                                                                                Rajesh Rai

                                                                                                                                Rajesh Rai was called to the Bar in 1993 with his areas of expertise including human rights law, immigration and asylum law, and public law. He has been treasurer of 1MCB Chambers (London) since 2015 and has also been a Director of an AIM-listed investment company where he led their renewable energy portfolio. Rai is a frequent lecturer on a wide variety of legal issues, including immigration and asylum law and freedom of experience (Bar of Armenia), minority linguistic rights (European Parliament), and women’s and children’s rights in areas of conflict (cross-border conference to NGOs working in Kurdish regions). He is also Founder Director of HIC, a community centred NGO based in Cameroon.

                                                                                                                                    Sir David Reddaway

                                                                                                                                    Sir David Reddaway is a retired British diplomat currently serving as Chief Executive and Clerk of the Goldsmiths’ Company in London. During his previous career in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, he served as Ambassador to Turkey (2009-2014), Ambassador to Ireland (2006-2009), High Commissioner to Canada (2003-2006), UK Special Representative for Afghanistan (2002), and Charge d’Affaires in Iran (1990-1993). His other assignments were to Argentina, India, Spain, and Iran, where he was first posted during the Iranian Revolution.

                                                                                                                                        Prof. Dr. Mehmet Ufuk Uras

                                                                                                                                        Prof. Dr. Mehmet Ufuk Uras is a co-founder and member of social liberal Greens and the Left Party of the Future, founded as a merger of the Greens and the Equality and Democracy Party. He was previously a former leader of the now-defunct University Lecturers’ Union (Öğretim Elemanları Sendikası) and was elected the chairman of Freedom and Solidarity Party in 1996. Ufuk resigned from the leadership after the 2002 general election. Ufuk ran a successful campaign as a “common candidate of the Left”, standing on the independents’ ticket, backed by Kurdish-based Democratic Society Party and several left-wing, environmentalist and pro-peace groups in the 2007 general election. He resigned from the Freedom and Solidarity Party on 19 June 2009. After the Democratic Society Party was dissolved in December 2009, he joined forces with the remaining Kurdish MPs in the Peace and Democracy Party group. On 25 November 2012, he became a co-founder and member of social liberal Greens and the Left Party of the Future, founded as a merger of the Greens and the Equality and Democracy Party. Ufuk is a member of the Dialogue Group and is the writer of several books on Turkish politics.


                                                                                                                                            Prof. Dr. Sevtap Yokuş

                                                                                                                                            Professor Dr Sevtap Yokuş is a Professor of Law at the University of Kemerburgaz, Istanbul, Turkey. She holds a PhD in Public Law from the Faculty of Law, Istanbul University, awarded in 1995 for her thesis which assessed the state of emergency regime in Turkey with reference to the European Convention on Human Rights. She is a widely published expert in the areas of Constitutional Law and Human Rights and has multiple years’ experience of working as a university lecturer at undergraduate, postgraduate and doctoral level. She also has experience of working as a lawyer in the European Court of Human Rights. Since 2009 she has been contributing to the ongoing work to prepare a new constitution in Turkey.