Our People



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.


Meghan Stanley joined DPI in September 2020 as Personal Assistant to the CEO, providing administrative, logistical, and research assistance. Before joining DPI, Meghan had previously worked as an Executive Assistant for CAB International, a not-for-profit Intergovernmental Organisation specialising in agriculture in the Global South. She has also worked for a leading medical communication organisation in London as an Account Executive. Meghan holds a BA majoring in Global Politics and minoring in International Law from Leiden University College with a focus towards peacebuilding and Human Rights, and wrote her thesis on the Responsibility to Protect in the Crimean War.

Yeshim Harris joined DPI as the Chief Operating Officer in October 2019. Her areas of expertise are conflict management, multi-track diplomacy, stakeholder engagement, sustainable dialogue building and advocacy training. Partnered with the UN, UNGC, UNDP and the UK Foreign Office, she has initiated and led high-level platforms for comparative learning between Cyprus, Northern Ireland, South Africa and the Balkans. She is the co-author of the White Book, which was produced as a bicommunal policy guidance for gender sensitive peace process in Cyprus (UNSCR 1325). Yeshim has a track record of executive leadership with her 20 years’ experience of holding senior positions in a variety of non-profit organisations. She has a MSc in Development Aid Programmes (London School of Economics), a Diploma in Conflict Resolution and Facilitation; and a Certificate of Mediation and Peace-Making in Complex Conflicts. She is a Senior Research Fellow at the Conflict Analysis and Research Centre, University of Kent. She is also one of the experts that Westminster Foundation for Democracy consults. Formerly, Yeshim was the Co-Founder Director of Engi Conflict Management; a senior member of the UK All-Party Parliamentary Group on Conflict Issues Secretariat; and prior to that, the Deputy CEO of the Inns of Court (Inner Temple). She has written many articles and contributed to books on the subject of conflict resolution and transformation. She is fluent in English, Turkish and French.

Programmes Team

In addition to her role as Head of Turkey Programme at DPI, Esra is co-founder of İstanbul Bilgi University Centre for Conflict Resolution Studies and Research. She received her PhD in Sociology from École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHESS) and Political Science (Department of Conflict and Development Studies) from Ghent University. Her publications cover areas such as Turkish modernisation, internal migration, civil-military relations, sacralization of politics 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.

David joined DPI in November 2017 to take up the Project Officer role. He oversees the organisation and running of DPI events as well as coordinating its many research publications and post-event transcripts. David holds an MSc in International Relations from the University of Edinburgh where he specialised in the peace-building processes in post-conflict Kosovo. David also possesses a thorough knowledge of Wales’ system of devolution having worked as a researcher for a public policy-based conference company. During his time as an intern at UN House Scotland, David contributed to numerous activities and events designed to promote the 17 Sustainable Development Goals before taking up the role of Database of Expertise Coordinator where he sought to widen the contact base for leading thinkers and academics in the field of human rights and international relations in Scotland.

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.

Katya joined DPI’s Turkey office in January 2020 as Programme Officer. She holds a BA in Social Sciences (main areas of focus Anthropology and Sociology) from University College Utrecht and a MA in Conflict Resolution in Divided Societies from King’s College London. Her academic work mainly focused on militarization of education in Turkey and the relationship between public space and collective memory in the Middle East. Katya previously did internships at Agos Newspaper and the Truth, Justice and Memory Center in Istanbul. She is fluent in Turkish, English and Dutch.

Sophie joined DPI in August 2017 as Senior Programme Officer. She supports the CEO as well as the Deputy Director on day to day activities, programme related activity and communication. Before joining DPI, Sophie worked as Programme Manager of two development projects in Zanzibar, Tanzania and as Programme Assistant for a local NGO in Zambia. She also worked for Germany’s leading international development agency GIZ and focused on activities and tasks around Education in fragile and conflict affected States as well as Refugee Education. Sophie holds a MA (Distinction) in International Development and Education from Newcastle University and focused on language and identity issues in Namibia for her dissertation. She also researched minority rights in education, with a special focus on mother tongue education and is fluent in German and Greek.

Ulpjana Ruka joined DPI in March 2018. As Programme Officer, Ulpjana provides support to the CEO and to the organisation in terms of administration, logistics and research. She previously worked as an events coordinator for a public affairs and communications consultancy in London. She has experience working in national and international institutions. She was a trainee at the UN Office of Drugs and Crime in Vienna and also interned at the Ministry of European Integration in Tirana, where she provided support to the Head of Department for Justice, Freedom and Security. Ulpjana holds a BA in International Relations from Queen Mary University of London and a MA degree in Conflict, Security and Development from King’s College London. Her academic work mainly focused on the legitimacy of the humanitarian intervention in Libya in 2011 and the implementation of DDR after the Libyan Revolution.

Finance,  Fundraising  and Development Team

Dieu Nguyen has worked in the UK not-for-profit sector managing Finance and Funding Development for the past 10 years. Prior to that she worked in Vietnam and Australia in the banking sector. In her current role as Finance Manager at DPI, Dieu works closely with the Board of Directors to recommend and implement improvements to financial policies and procedures, IT systems and facilities. Dieu has extensive experience of managing multiple complex international grants those are funded by European Commission; United Nations; Foreign and Commonwealth Office; Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs; Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Netherlands; Government of Ireland; The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs etc.

Megan joined DPI in January 2020. She holds an Msci in International Relations and Global Issues (1st) from the University of Nottingham. Her academic work mostly specialized in comparative democratic development and narratives surrounding asylum in the UK. She has conducted extensive voluntary work in post-conflict societies and previously completed research for the UNHCR, Malaysia.

Legal Team 

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.

Operations Team

Akinola Williams joined DPI in March 2019 as the Operations Manager with 20 years law, training, recruitment and management experience. He has worked in legal private practice and the Nigerian Ministry of Justice as well as RG World ( Also trading as Rail Gourmet UK Ltd)

Board Members


Nicholas Stewart, QC, is a barrister and Deputy High Court Judge (Chancery and Queen’s Bench Divisions) in the United Kingdom. He is the former Chair of the Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales and former President of the Union Internationale des Avocats. He has appeared at all court levels in England and Wales, before the Privy Council on appeals from Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong and the Bahamas, and in the High Court of the Republic of Singapore and the European Court of Human Rights. Stewart has also been the chair of the Dialogue Advisory Group since its founding in 2008.

Priscilla Hayner is co-founder of the International Center for Transitional Justice and is currently on the UN Department of Political Affairs Standby Team of Mediation Experts. She is a global expert on truth commissions and transitional justice initiatives and has authored several books on these topics, including Unspeakable Truths, which analyses truth commissions globally. Hayner has recently engaged in the recent Colombia talks as transitional justice advisor to Norway, and in the 2008 Kenya negotiations as human rights advisor to former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and the United Nations-African Union mediation team. Hayner has also worked significantly in the implementation stages following a peace agreement or transition, including Sierra Leone in 1999 and South Sudan in 2015.

Jacki Muirhead was appointed Chambers Administrator at Devereux Chambers, London, UK, in November 2015. Her previous roles include Practice Director at FJ Cleveland LLP, Business Manager at Counsels’ Chambers Limited and Deputy Advocates Clerk at the Faculty of Advocates, UK.

Arild Humlen is a lawyer and Director of the Norwegian Bar Association’s Legal Committee. He is widely published within a number of jurisdictions, with emphasis on international civil law and human rights, and he has lectured at the law faculty of several universities in Norway. Humlen is the recipient of the Honor Prize of the Bar Association of Oslo for his work on the rule of law and in 2015 he was awarded the Honor Prize from the international organisation Save the Children for his efforts to strengthen the legal rights of children. He has also been presented with the Honor Prize from the Student Foundation at the University Of Oslo , Legal Academy , for his work within the field of protection of Human Rights standards. He is also a former leader of the disciplinary Board in Oslo branch of the National Bar Association and also the former chair of the National Bar Association Legal Committee.

Catherine Woollard is the Director of ECRE, the European Council for Refugees and Exiles, a pan-European alliance of 104 NGOs which defend the rights of displaced persons in Europe and in European foreign policies. She previously worked as Executive Director of the European Peacebuilding Liaison Office (EPLO) – a Brussels-based network of not-for-profit organisations working on conflict prevention and peacebuilding. She also held the positions of Director of Policy, Communications and Comparative Learning at Conciliation Resources, Senior Programme Coordinator (South East Europe/CIS/Turkey) at Transparency International and Europe/Central Asia Programme Coordinator at Minority Rights Group International. Woollard has additionally worked as a consultant advising governments on anti-corruption and governance reform, as a lecturer in political science, and for the UK civil service.

Antonia Potter Prentice is currently the Director of Alliance 2015 – a global network of humanitarian and development organisations. Prentice has wide ranging experience on a range of humanitarian, development, peacemaking and peacebuilding issues through her previous positions, including interim Senior Gender Adviser to the Joint Peace Fund for Myanmar and providing technical advice to the Office of the Special Envoy of the UN Secretary General to the Yemen peace process. Prentice has also been involved in various international organisations including UN Women, Dialogue Advisory Group, and Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue. Prentice co-founded the Athena Consortium as part of which she acts as Senior Manager on Mediation Support, Gender and Inclusion for the Crisis Management Initiative (CMI) and as Senior Adviser to the European Institute for Peace (EIP).

Council of Experts


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.

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).

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.

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).

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.

Vegard Ellefsen is a Norwegian diplomat who retired 31 August 2019 from the foreign service when he left his last posting as ambassador to Ankara. He has been twice posted to NATO both as Permanent representative on the North Atlantic Council and deputy to the same position. He has earlier been posted to the Norwegian mission to the U.N. in New York and to the Embassy in Ottawa. In the Norwegian Ministry of foreign affairs he has been Political Director, Director General for the Regional division, Director of the Minister’s secretariat and special envoy to the Sudan peace talks and special envoy to Syria and Iraq. Mr. Ellefsen has a Master in Political Science from the University of Oslo.

Salomon Lerner Febres is Docteur en philosophie by the Université Catholique de Louvain and BA in Law by the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru (PUCP) School of Law. He has been the Rector (President) of the PUCP since 1994 to 2004. Currently, he is Rector Emeritus and President emeritus of the Institute for Democracy and Human Rights of the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru (IDEHPUCP); and Professor of Philosophy, Education, Ethics and Methodology of the same university. Furthermore, he is the Chairman of the Board of the Peruvian Film Institute and the President of the Lima Philharmonic Society. Also, doctor Lerner has been the President of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Peru (2001-2003) and he is the author of several publications linked to human rights issues and some articles and essays on philosophy, high education, globalization and government.

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).

Dr. Edel Hughes is a Lecturer in Law at the School of Law, National University of Ireland, Galway. Prior to joining NUI Galway, Dr. Hughes was a Senior Lecturer in Law at Middlesex University and previously worked at the University of East London 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.

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 is currently managing the Migration Learning Exchange programme with The Social Change Initiative (www.thesocialchangeinitiative.org) and working on philanthropy and peacebuilding. Avila was previously Director of Policy & Strategy with the Global Fund for Community Foundations (2014-2016), having held the position of Director of the Community Foundation for Northern Ireland (1994-2014). Avila was born and educated in Dublin, completing BA (History & Politics) University College Dublin. She received a MA (International Relations) from Australian National University, and completed a PhD (Department of Law) in Queens University Belfast, where she was later awarded a Hon. Doctorate in Social Science. Avila has involvement in community development, the Women’s Movement and philanthropy in Northern Ireland since 1975. Prior to her position with CFNI, Avila was the first Women’s Officer with the Amalgamated Transport & General Workers’ Union (Ireland), serving on the Board of the Northern Ireland Community Relations Council (1994-1997), the Industrial Development Board (NI) and the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU). She has long been involved with a range of peacebuilding initiatives, as well as work on poverty, women’s issues and social need. A founder member of the Northern Ireland Women’s Coalition in 1996, Avila served on the Coalition’s Negotiating Team for the Good Friday/Belfast Agreement. She was a founder member of the Foundations for Peace Network, and currently serves as Director of the St. Stephen’s Green Trust as well as being a co-optee on the Ireland Committee of the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust and a Board Member of the International Fund for Ireland. Avila has written extensively on community action, peacebuilding and women’s rights. She has published a book – ‘Community Action in a Contested Society: The Story of Northern Ireland’ (Peter Lang, 2016) and ‘Conflict-Affected Environments: Notes for Grantmakers’ – (www.thesocialchangeinitiative.org). Avila lives in Belfast and is married with three children and two grandchildren.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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. His books include: 'Great Hatred, Little Room: Making Peace In Northern Ireland' , 'The New Machiavelli, How to Wield Power in the Modern World' and 'Talking To Terrorists, How To End Armed Conflict'.

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.

Rajesh Rai is a barrister called in 1993 to Lincolns Inn and practices at the Chambers of John Benson Q. C. where he is joint deputy head of chambers (www.1mcb.com). In this time; he has been Director of Joint Council for Welfare of Immigrants (www.jcwi.org.uk), Director and treasurer of the Kurdish Human Rights Project (www.khrp.org), founded and acted as a director of Global Legal Technologies Ltd (“GLT”) pioneering LPO, which he exited in 2006. As a social entrepreneur, Rajesh founded and acted as a director to Human Energy (Uganda) Ltd (“HEU”).He is a founder director of HIC (www.hicameroon.org), an NGO based in NW Cameroon. He was an exec director of an AIM listed Company, where he managed the company’s renewable energy portfolio. He helped found “BEEBE”, a Mexican renewable energy company, devising its strategy and acted as director. Rajesh has taught meditation since 2012 and is the Executive Director of Poulstone Court Retreat Centre (www.poulstone.com). In 2016, he founded and is promoting his annual initiative; a global non stop 7 day meditation for Unity (www.meditateforunity.com).

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. 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. In April 2019 she was elected as a member of the Group of Experts on Action against Violence against Women and Domestic Violence (GREVIO).

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.

Oral Çalışlar completed his studies at the Ankara University Faculty of Political Sciences. Was President of the Club of Socialist Thought at the university, as well as Secretary-General of the Ankara University Student Union. Wrote for Türk Solu journal which was launched in 1967 and for the Aydınlık journal which was launched in 1968. Was member of the editorial board of Aydınlık journal. Was arrested after the 12th of March 1971 military coup. Remained imprisoned for three years until the Amnesty law adopted in 1974. Was Editor in Chief for the Aydınlık daily newspaper launched in 1978. Was arrested again after the 12th of September 1980 military coup and released in August 1988 after four years in prison. Lived in Hamburg between 1990 and 1992 upon the invitation of the Senate of Hamburg. Worked for Cumhuriyet daily between 1992 and 2008. Broadcast television programmes on different channels, including TRT, 24TV, 360, and SKYTÜRK. Transferred from Cumhuriyet daily to Radikal daily in 2008. Between 2004-2007, he was in board of Turkish Journalists Association. He has a permanent press card. Became Editor in Chief for Taraf daily in 2013. Was part of the Wise People Committee in the same year. Later had to leave Taraf daily alongside Halil Berktay, Alper Görmüş, Vahap Coşkun, Erol Katırcıoğlu, Mithat Sancar, and Yıldıray Oğur, among others, after the intervention of the Gülen Congregation. Returned to Radikal daily. Started writing for Posta daily after 2016, when Radikal was discontinued. Continues work as a commentator on TV news channels. Has 20 published books, including The Leaders’ Prison, Hz. Ali, Mamak Prison from the 12th of March to 12th of September, The Kurdish Issue with Öcalan and Burkay, My 68 Memoirs, The Alevis, When Deniz and Friends Were Executed, My Childhood in Tarsus, The History of Gulenism. Recipient of a large number of journalism and research awards. Married (1976) to author and journalist İpek Çalışlar. Father of author Reşat Çalışlar.

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.

Vahap Coşkun was born in 1973, Diyarbakır, Turkey. He graduated in 1996 from the School of Law at Dicle University. He completed his Masters (L.L.M) in 2001 at Social Science Institute in Dicle University. He completed his Ph.D in 2007 at Social Science Institute in Ankara University. He has still been carrying out his academic researches at School of Law at Dicle University. Published books: • Human Rights: A Liberal Analysis (2007) • The Transformation of Nation-State and The Question of Legitimacy (2009) • The Building of Social Peace: Quest of Civil Constitution (2010; He is the editor of this study) • The Scar of Tongue: Consequences of the Ban on the Use of Mother Tongue in Education and Experiences of Kurdish Students in Turkey (2010; a collaborative study with Şerfi Derince and Nesrin Uçarlar) • Human Rights and the Process of Democratization (2012, a collaborative study) • Constitutional Dimension of Kurdish Question (2013) Coşkun has nationally and internationally published and presented essay in the field human rights, Kurdish Question, liberalism and political science.

Prof. Dr. Fazıl Hüsnü Erdem was born in 1964 in Karakokan district of Elazig. He completed his undergraduate studies at Ankara University Faculty of Law. He started working as a research assistant at Dicle University Faculty of Law. He is currently a faculty member in the Department of Constitutional Law at the same faculty. He has published two books titled "Constitutions and Constitutional Proposals of the Republic of Turkey" (together with Yunus Heper) and "Analysis of the 1982 Constitution" and numerous published articles on constitutional law, human rights law and political science. In 2007, he was part of a six-member commission of academics who drafted the "Draft Civil Constitution" which was presented to the public. In 2013, he took part in the "Wise People Delegation Southeast Group". He is one of the founding members of the "Diyarbakir History, Culture and Tourism Association" and "Diyarbakir Institute for Political and Social Research". He is also part of the DPI Committee of Experts. He is married with three children and speaks English.

David Gorman, Director, Eurasia, David has more than 25 years of experience in the field of peacemaking. He started his career in the Middle East and he went on to work for international organisations on a wide range of conflicts around the world. David has been based in the Philippines, Indonesia, Liberia, Bosnia as well as the West Bank and Gaza and has been working in Eurasia for the last several years. He graduated from the London School of Economics, was featured in the award winning film ‘Miles and War’ as well as several publications and has published several articles on mediation.

Mervyn Frost is Professor of International Relations in the Department of War Studies at King’s College, London and is an Associate Professor in the Department of Politics and International Relations at the University of Johannesburg in South Africa. In 2019 he spent three months as the Distinguished Visiting Professor of International Ethics at the University of New South Wales in Canberra, Australia and at the Australian Defence Force Academy. He has written extensively on ethics and international relations. His recent work, with Dr Silviya Lechner, is focused on the “practice turn” in International Relations resulting in two publications: “Two Conceptions of International Practice: Aristotelian praxis or Wittgensteinian language-games?” Review of International Studies Volume 42 / Issue 02 / April 2016, pp 334 – 350. “Understanding international relations from the internal point of view” July 2015, Journal of International Political Theory. p. 1-21. Their co-authored book Practice Theory and International Relations, was published by CUP in September 2018. His earlier books include Ethics and International Relations (CUP, 1996), Human Rights in a World of States (Routledge, 2002); Global Ethics (Routledge, 2009); and an edited 4 volume reference work International Ethics (Sage 2012).

Kezban Hatemi received her bachelor’s degree in Law from Istanbul University Faculty of Law. She, as a registered lawyer to the Istanbul Bar Association, started to work as a self-employed lawyer. She has published several articles in the field of law. Her areas of interests are human rights, women’s rights, minority rights, children’s rights, animal rights and the fight against drugs. She participated in various conferences and symposiums on these subjects. Moreover, she has been participating in various national and international conferences and symposiums as a speaker regarding Turkey's democratization, women’s rights, and the Turkey’s main problem Kurdish issue. She was involved in drafting the Turkish Civil Code and Law of Foundations. She was particularly involved in preparing the legal groundwork for the Christian and Jewish Community problems, Community Foundations and its problems. She submitted individual reports. She was involved in drafting Religious Freedoms and Minorities and Community Foundations within the Framework Law of Harmonization prepared by Turkey alongside with Secretariat General for European Union Affairs and European Union Commission Turkey Desk. She sits on the Board of Trustees of the Technical University and the Darulacaze Foundation. In 1995, she joined “Humanity Initiative for Bosnia” and after her return from Bosnia she participated in various conferences and symposiums as a speaker in order to keep the problem on the agenda and speed up the aid process. She took an active role in aid campaigns for Bosnia. In Turkey National Commission for UNESCO's XXIII term, she worked as the vice president in the Specialized Dialogue Committee on Dialogue of Civilizations studies. She was appointed as the deputy president of the former Turkey Wise Persons Committee Southeast Group, which was one of the important mechanisms established in order to achieve a lasting peace in the democratization and solution process. She is a member of Democratic Progress Institute’s Council of Experts and she is the president of the Democracy Platform.

Aleka Kessler works as Project Officer at the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue (HD). Having joined HD in 2017 to work on Syria, Aleka has been coordinating mediation project in complex conflict settings. Previously, Aleka also worked with Médecins Sans Frontières and the United Nations Association Mexico. She holds a degree in International Relations from the University of Geneva and a Master’s degree in Development Studies from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, where she specialized in humanitarian affairs, negotiation and conflict resolution.

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.

Ram Manikkalingam is founder and director of the Dialogue Advisory Group, based in Amsterdam. He also teaches politics at the University of Amsterdam. He has been involved in efforts to reduce violence and promote reconciliation in Northern Iraq, Libya, the Basque Country and Northern Ireland, among other situations. Following the Easter bombings in Sri Lanka, he served as an independent expert to the National Security Advisory Board by the then President. He was also assisting the government in Sri Lanka on reconciliation. Previously, he was Senior Advisor on the peace process to then President Kumaratunga of Sri Lanka. He has served as an Advisor with Ambassador rank at the Sri Lanka Mission to the United Nations in New York. Prior to that he led the Rockefeller Foundation’s program on international security

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.

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.

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, as High Commissioner to Kenya from 1992 to 1995 and to Zimbabwe from 1989 to 1992. Sir Kieran was also British Ambassador to Turkey from 1995 to 1997. He speaks Turkish. Since his retirement from the UN, he has conducted research at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs (Harvard) and is a member of the Advisory Council of Independent Diplomat (United States). Prendergast also holds a number of positions, including President of the British Association of Former UN Civil Servants, Trustee of the Beit Trust, and Senior Adviser at the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue

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.

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.