Staff

    Kerim Yildiz

    Chief Executive Officer

    Kerim is an expert in conflict resolution, peacebuilding, international human rights law and minority rights, having worked on numerous projects in these areas over his career. He was formerly co-founder and Chief Executive of the Kurdish Human Rights Project.

    Kerim has received a number of awards, including from the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights for his services to protect human rights and promote the rule of law in 1996, and the Sigrid Rausing Trust’s Human Rights award for Leadership in Indigenous and Minority Rights in 2005. Kerim is also a recipient of the 2011 Gruber Prize for Justice. He has extensive experience in human rights and actively works to raise awareness on human rights violations worldwide assisting with many cases to the European Court of Human Rights, conducting training seminars in Europe and the Middle East, and regularly contributing to seminars and conferences. Kerim has also written extensively on human rights issues, including numerous essays, articles and chapters on freedom of expression, national security and minority rights, as well as books relating to the European Convention, the United Nations and OSCE mechanisms.

    He has written books on the Kurds in Iraq, Iran, Syria, the Caucuses, Turkey and the diaspora and he has most recently co-authored ‘The Kurdish Conflict: International Humanitarian Law and Post Conflict Mechanisms’ (Routledge, 2010). His work has been translated into numerous languages, including Turkish, Finnish, German, Spanish, Russian, Kurdish, Arabic and Persian. Kerim also serves as a Board Member and Advisor to other human rights and environmental organisations and is an advisor to the Delfina Foundation. Kerim is a member of English PEN and is a founding member of Ara Pacis Initiative.


        Catalina Buciu

        Programme Manager

        Catalina holds a Masters in Management and has over ten years experience in development and humanitarian contexts in Eastern Europe, Middle East and Central Asia. She has extensive experience in fundraising and programme development as well as organisational strategy development. She has extensive experience in donor engagement and prospect research. She is a certified Balance Score Card expert. She is a keen advocate of evidence-based strategy and a promoter of Theory of Change thinking in development organisations. She also has a strong background in academic and applied research and experience in programme evaluation for a number of donors, among which the European Commission.

        A passionate advocate for social justice, Catalina is also interested in organisational sustainability and applying business methodologies to the charity sector to improve organisational health and thus create the space for sustained growth and enduring social impact.

            Mustafa Gündoğdu

            Senior Programme Officer

            Mustafa has been actively involved in the human rights movement for over ten years, and has gained wide-ranging practical and theoretical experience in a number of human rights projects over the years. He has an undergraduate degree in Sociology from Turkey and attended an MSc in International Relations at LSE in 2003. Mustafa has been working with DPI since its inception, and is today our Senior Programme Officer, working to develop and implement our different projects in Turkey, Syria, and internationally.

                Esra Elmas

                Head of Turkey Programme

                In addition to her role as Turkey Programme Coordinator at DPI, Esra is co-founder of İstanbul Bilgi University Centre for Conflict Resolution Studies and Research. She is also PhD student in the joint doctorate programme of Political Science at École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHESS), Paris and Ghent University, Belgium. She has an MA degree in Cultural Studies, and her publications cover areas such as Turkish modernisation, internal migration, civil-military relations, and the history of Turkish media. Esra’s 2007 book, ‘My Dear Atatürk’, examines the way in which primary school students in Turkey perceive Atatürk, Turkey’s founder.

                    John Bell

                    Senior Policy Advisor

                    John Bell has worked for over two decades on Middle East politics, policy development and mediation in Cairo, Beirut, Gaza and Jerusalem. In addition to his role as Senior Policy Advisor for DPI, John also works with the Toledo International Centre for Peace (CITpax) in Madrid and the Crisis Management Initiative in Helsinki. He was formerly Middle East Director in Jerusalem for Search for Common Ground.

                    John is a former United Nations and Canadian diplomat who served as a political officer at Canada’s embassy in Cairo, a member of Canada’s delegation to the Refugee Working Group in the peace process, Political Advisor to the Personal Representative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations for southern Lebanon, advisor to the Canadian Government during the Iraq crisis in 2002-03, and consultant to International Crisis Group on developments in Jerusalem in 2004. He has lectured on Middle East issues at the University of Toronto in Canada, IE Business School in Spain, and at the Canadian Foreign Service Institute. Mr. Bell is fluent in English, Arabic and French.

                        Zoya Javed

                        Programme Intern

                        Zoya holds a masters in Conflict, Security and Development from King’s College London. Her research interests lie in religious and ethnic conflicts, conflict resolution, and peacebuilding. Zoya’s postgraduate thesis explored minority rights in Turkey and means to reconciliation.

                            Kristin Karlsson

                            Communications Intern

                            Kristin is a communications professional with two years experience of journalism and social media. She graduated with a Masters in International Politics from Trinity college Dublin in 2015. Her thesis investigated the impact of decentralisation on democratic consolidation.


                                Saniye Karakas

                                Legal Officer (consultant)

                                Saniye has been working with DPI since 2011. She is a graduate of Dicle University Law Faculty in Turkey. Between 2000 and 2006 she practiced as a lawyer in the areas of criminal and human rights law in Diyarbakir, Turkey. During this time she also participated in numerous voluntary activities of the Diyarbakir Bar Association, the Contemporary Lawyers Association and the Human Rights Association’s Diyarbakir branch.

                                After completing an LL.M. in Human Rights at Birkbeck College, University of London, in 2007 Saniye worked at the Kurdish Human Rights Project as a Legal Associate until 2011. She is a researcher at the International State Crime Initiative where she was involved in a project titled ‘Civil Society Resistance to State Violence and Corruption-Comparative Study’. She has also contributed to failibelli.org, a website dedicated to monitoring cases opened against perpetrators of crimes committed by state security officers in Turkey.

                                    Sonata Ožemblauskaitė

                                    Legal Intern

                                    Sonata graduated with Distinction in Master of Laws (LLM) in International Law from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London. She is interested in humanitarian law, human rights and transitional justice. Her postgraduate thesis analysed South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission as a vehicle for justice.


                                        Saraswathi Ramanan

                                        Operations and HR Manager

                                        Saraswathi joined DPI in November 2013. She obtained a Masters in ‘Intercultural and Compared Education’ from the University of Fribourg, Switzerland. Before joining DPI, Saraswathi gained valuable experience in office management, events and operations working for Girls Not Brides: The Global Partnership to End Child Marriage.

                                            Tate Rountree

                                            Operations Intern

                                            Tate holds an undergraduate degree in Political Science with an emphasis in International Relations from St. John’s University in New York City. His undergraduate thesis investigated a resurgent Russia, as not only a regional power, but also as an international force that will continue to shift the balance of power in the international arena. His research interests lie in international diplomacy and conflict resolution. 


                                                Dieu Nguyen

                                                Finance Manager

                                                Dieu obtained her Master of Commerce in Banking and Finance from University of New South Wales (Sydney, Australia) in 2007. Throughout her career Dieu has worked for several charities, including Urban Roots and Computer Aid. In her current role as Finance Manager, Dieu works closely with the Board of Director and the Head of Development & Funding to recommend and implement improvements to financial policies and procedures, IT systems and facilities. Dieu also has extensive experience of managing multiple complex international grants.

                                                    Anya Metzer

                                                    Grants Officer

                                                    Anya joined DPI in September 2016. She completed her Masters in the Humanities at the University of Chicago, where she worked as a graduate intern at the university’s community service centre. Her postgraduate research focused on literature regarding gender, labour and society. She previously studied at Oxford University, serving as her college’s Student Union president. She has experience in charity fundraising, legal administration, and as a research intern for an international media non-profit based in Washington, D.C. Alongside English, she has competency in French, German and Hebrew.