Gabrielle Rifkind is a practicing psychotherapist and group analyst, who works in conflict resolution in the Middle East. She directs the Oxford Process which started off as a programme of the NGO, Oxford Research Group, but is now a separate conflict prevention initiative which specialises in managing radical disagreement. A political entrepreneur, Rifkind has, over the last decade, created a number of quiet behind-the-scenes round-table discussions, often between groups who are not currently in dialogue in the Middle East. Her special areas of interest are Iran and the Palestine-Israel conflict. Her particular areas of expertise are the creation of suitable environments for negotiations and addressing the historical traumas and mistrust of the parties involved to avoid disruption of talks. She is author, with Scilla Elworthy, of Making Terrorism History (Random House, 2005), with Giandomenico Picco, of the Fog of Peace: How to Prevent War (I.B.Tauris, 2016), and The Psychology of Political Extremism: What would Sigmund Freud have thought about Islamic State (Routledge, 2018).
Nadia Isler is the Director of the Sustainable Development Lab in the Ofice of the Director General of the United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG). Ms. Isler has a long career in international development with several years of field experience in bilateral cooperation and extensive experience in multilateral affairs with and outside of the UN system. She started her career with Medecins Sans Frontieres and the Swiss Red Cross before joining the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, where she served for several years in Eastern Africa. Ms. Isler has extensive experience in working with a variety of different partners, including the private sector, especially in the field of public health, where she spent many years in charge of programs to fight AIDS, TB and Malaria. Ms. Isler then joined the Swiss Ministry of Foreign Affairs where she served as a Swiss diplomat for over 10 years, first as Deputy Head of development affairs at the Permanent Mission of Switzerland to the UN in New York, before leading on development affairs and the Sustainable Development Lab at the Swiss Mission to the UN in Geneva.
Mr Elhadj As Sy has extensive experience in leadership roles in the humanitarian sector, having previously served at a senior level with UNICEF, UNAIDS, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. and other agencies for more than 25 years. Before joining the IFRC – the world’s largest humanitarian network – Mr Sy was UNICEF’s Director of Partnerships and Resource Development in New York. He has also served as UNICEF Regional Director for Eastern and Southern Africa and Global Emergency Coordinator for the Horn of Africa. From 2005 to 2008, Mr Sy was Director, HIV/AIDS Practice with the United Nations Development Programme in New York. Before that he worked with the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria as its Africa Regional Director and later as Director of Operational Partnerships and Country Support in Geneva. Mr Sy has also held the position of UNAIDS Representative in New York and Director of the New York Liaison Office. From 1988 to 1997, he served as Director of Health and Development Programmes with Environment and Development Action in the Third World in Dakar, Senegal.
Dr Hugo Slim is Head of Policy at the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Geneva. Before joining ICRC in 2015, he was Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Ethics, Law and Armed Conflict (ELAC) at the University of Oxford where he led research on humanitarian ethics and the protection of civilians. Hugo has combined a career between academia and practice. He was Chief Scholar at the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue from 2003-2007 and Reader in International Humanitarianism at Oxford Brookes University from 1994-2003. Between 1983 and 1994, Hugo worked for Save the Children and the United Nations in Morocco, Sudan, Ethiopia, the Occupied Palestinian Territories and Bangladesh. He received his PhD in humanitarian ethics from Oxford Brookes University in 2002. His most recent books are “Humanitarian Ethics: A Guide to the Morality of Aid in War and Disaster” (2015 Hurst/OUP) and “Killing Civilians: Method, Madness and Morality in War” (2007 Hurst/OUP).
David Fisher has managed the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies’ (IFRC) Policy and Diplomacy Unit since 2016, where he is responsible for supporting the IFRC’s humanitarian diplomacy and internal policy development. Prior to this role, for over a decade before, he served as a global coordinator the IFRC’s Disaster Law Programme, which supports National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies to advise their governments on legislative reform, resulting in stronger national laws or regulations for disaster risk management in 38 countries to date. Mr. Fisher also served as a senior legal and research officer for The Brooking Institution and as a legal adviser to the Representative of the Secretary-General on the human rights of internally displaced persons at the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights after several years of legal practice in the United States, including a clerkship on the Hawai’i Supreme Court. Mr. Fisher holds LL.M from Georgetown University and J.D. University of California Hastings College of the Law.