Our international Board of Trustees has 12 members, each with a specific interest and expertise in conflict-related issues and peacebuilding.
J.R. Nereus O. Acosta
Dr J.R. Nereus Acosta is Secretary-General of the Council of Asian Liberals and Democrats and the former Secretary-General of the Liberal Party of the Philippines. He served as representative of Bukidnon province in northern Mindanao to the Philippines’ House of Representatives for three consecutive terms (1998-2007). Apart from sponsoring major environmental legislation on clean water, solid waste management and biodiversity protection, he was the principal author of the groundbreaking Clean Air Act that has become a model of environmental legislation in Asia. Dr Acosta served as Chairman of the Committee on Ecology and Vice-Chairman of the Committees on Science and Technology, Human Rights, and Foreign Relations of the House of Representatives and is also currently Associate Professor at the Asian Institute of Management and the Ateneo de Manila University, the Vice President of the Liberal Party of the Philippines for Mindanao, and Convener for the Philippine Imperative on Climate Change. He continues to be active in microfinance, rural development and environmental protection projects in his native Bukidnon. Nereus joined Alert’s board in 2008.
Dr Rosemary Bechler is Editor of openDemocracy. As a freelance commissioning editor, journalist and writer, she has put together several compilations of essays for the British Council, and wrote Unbounded Freedom: a guide to creative commons thinking for cultural organisations in 2006. In 2010, her edited volume of contributions to the Convention on Modern Liberty was published by Imprint Academic press. From 1993-1995 she was Secretary of Security 2000, a project designed to frame debate on security in a post-Cold War society. She comes to Alert’s Board from her role as Chairperson at Peaceworkers UK, an organisation she helped to establish, which became part of Alert in 2006.
Mohamed ibn Chambas
Dr Mohamed ibn Chambas was appointed Secretary General of the ACP Group in 2009 by the ACP Council of Ministers and took up office at the ACP Secretariat in 2010. Dr Chambas came directly from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), where he had been serving as President of the Commission since early 2007. Prior to this, ECOWAS was a secretariat and Dr Chambas had been serving as Executive Secretary since early 2002. Prior to heading the ECOWAS Secretariat, Dr Chambas was a member of parliament in Ghana. He entered government in 1987 as Deputy Foreign Minister of Ghana. From 1991-1996, he was centrally involved in the ECOWAS mediation efforts in Liberia and directly participated in the negotiations leading to the agreements ending the Liberian civil war. From 1997-2000, Dr Chambas was the Deputy Minister of Education in charge of Tertiary Education. Dr Chambas received his doctorate from Cornell University and is qualified to practice law both in Ghana and in Ohio. Dr Chambas joined Alert's board in 2011.
Sir Edward Clay served as High Commissioner in Kenya (2001-2005), Cyprus (1999-2001) and Uganda (1993-1997) when he was also non-resident ambassador to Rwanda and Burundi. From 1997-1999 he was Director for Public Diplomacy and Public Services in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), where he was responsible for consular, visa, information and news, cultural and parliamentary work, and for managing the FCO’s relationships with the British Council, BBC World Service and the Wilton Park Conference Centre. He is particularly interested in development issues, and their relationship to governance. Sir Edward is an associate of the Centre for Political and Diplomatic Studies, and trustee or patron of a number of NGOs and joined Alert’s board in 2010.
Gordana Duspara Moriarty
Gordana Duspara Moriarty has been working in the media sector since 1994. She spent 16 years working for Turner Broadcasting Systems, a Time Warner Company. In her last post of Vice President and General Manager for Turner Broadcasting Systems she was responsible for all commercial and channel activities across all departments. These included distribution sales, advertising sales, sponsorships & promotions, programming and acquisitions, marketing and PR, creative services, and new media. She also oversaw channel development and strategy such as new channel launches, joint ventures and acquisitions. Gordana was born in Bosnia and Herzegovina and has been living in London since 1992. She holds an MA in Film and TV Studies from the University of Westminster. Gordana joined Alert’s board in 2012.
Dr ’Funmi Olonisakin is the founding Director of the African Leadership Centre and also serves as the Director of the Conflict, Security and Development Group at King’s College London. Previously, she worked in the Office of the United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Children and Armed Conflict as Adviser on Africa and has held research and visiting positions at the University of Lagos (Nigeria) and the Institute of Strategic Studies, University of Pretoria (South Africa). Trained in Political Science (BSc Ife, Nigeria) and War Studies (PhD, King’s College London), ‘Funmi has positioned her work to serve as a bridge between academia and the world of policy and practice. Her academic research and writing has contributed to strategic thinking in post-conflict contexts and in the work of regional organisations such as ECOWAS and the African Union. She is the West African Regional Coordinator of the African Security Sector Network (ASSN), member of the Technical Committee of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation’s Governance Index, serves on the International Advisory Board of the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF) and a member of the board of Alert since 2011. ‘Funmi’s most recent publications include: Women and the governance of security governance in Africa (co-edited with Awino Okech); Security sector transformation in Africa (co-edited with Alan Bryden); Women, peace and security: Translating policy into practice (co-edited with Karen Barnes and Eka Ikpe).
Soli Özel is currently a full-time professor at Kadir Has University, having previously held a position at Istanbul Bilgi University. He has also been a columnist for Habertürk Daily, an advisor to TüSÃ AD (the Turkish Industrialists' and Businessmen's Association) and editor of TüSÃ AD’s magazine, Private View. Prof. Özel has acted as an adviser to, among others, Lazards, Tamesek (Singapore), SSB-Citibank, Akbank and Finansbank. He has guest lectured at Georgetown, Harvard, Tufts and other US universities, and held a visiting position at Oxford University. Prof. Özel is a regular contributor to the German Marshall Fund’s website’s On Turkey series and to the World Affairs Journal blog and writes commentaries for a range of media outlets including the Financial Times. He holds a BA in economics from Benningon College (1981) and an MA in international relations from Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) (1983). Soli joined Alert's board in 2011.
Will Samuel (Honorary Treasurer)
Will Samuel is a Senior Adviser to the UK Financial Services Authority and Lazard & Co., in London. In addition, he is Chairman of Howden Joinery, Deputy Chairman of Inchcape Plc, and Chairman of Ecclesiastical Insurance Group and is a Non-Executive Director of Edinburgh Investment Trust. Will is Honorary Treasurer of Alert. He was previously Co-Chief Executive Officer of Schroder Salomon Smith Barney. Will joined Alert's board in 2009.
Pierre Schori (Chair of Trustees)
Pierre Schori is a former Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Sweden to the United Nations with vast experience in foreign affairs, development cooperation and peacekeeping operations. After a long career at the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Pierre was Minister for International Development Cooperation, Migration and Asylum Policy, and Deputy Foreign Minister from 1994-1999. From 2000-2004, Pierre was appointed Swedish Ambassador to the United Nations and in 2000 and 2002 was the head of the EU Election Observation missions in Zimbabwe. He served from 2005-2007 as Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General and Head of Mission in Côte d’Ivoire, responsible for the 10,000 civil and military personnel that integrated the complex peacekeeping mission. From 2007-2009, he was Director General of the Madrid-based think tank Fundación para las Relaciones Internacionales y el Diálogo Exterior (FRIDE). Pierre has also been a Distinguished Visiting Professor at Adelphi University, New York (2004-2005), Guest Professor at the University for Peace in Costa Rica in May 2010. He returned to Adelpi as Guest Professor for the autumn semester of 2010. He is currently the Chairperson of the Olof Palme Memorial Fund. Pierre joined Alert’s board in 2010.
Dr Danny Sriskandarajah is Secretary General of CIVICUS, the world alliance for citizen participation, based in Johannesburg, South Africa. His previous posts have included Director General of the Royal Commonwealth Society, Interim Director of the Commonwealth Foundation, and Deputy Director of the Institute for Public Policy Research. He is an established researcher and commentator on international migration and economic development, is the author of several books and reports, and appears regularly in the international media. Danny serves on the board of several organisations, including the Baring Foundation and Ockenden International. He has degrees from the Universities of Sydney and Oxford, where he was a Rhodes Scholar. Danny joined Alert’s board in 2012.
Dr Stephen J. Stedman is Freeman-Spogli Senior Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford University. In 2003-2004 he was the Research Director of the UN High-Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change. In 2004-2005, following completion of the panel's report, A more secure world: Our shared responsibility, he was a UN Assistant Secretary-General with the task of helping gain worldwide support in implementing the panel's recommendations. His writings focus on how civil wars end and on the architecture of the international system. Stephen joined Alert's board in 2007.
Michela Wrong has spent 17 years reporting on Africa. As a Reuters correspondent, based first in Côte d'Ivoire and then Zaire, she covered the turbulent events of the mid 1990s, including the fall of Mobutu Sese Seko and the genocide in Rwanda. She then moved to Kenya, where she became Africa correspondent for the Financial Times. In 2000 she published her first book, In the footsteps of Mr Kurtz, the story of Mobutu, which won a PEN prize for non-fiction. Her second book, I didn’t do it for you, focused on the Red Sea nation of Eritrea. Her third book, It’s our turn to eat, tracks the story of Kenyan corruption whistle blower John Githongo. Described as reading “like a cross between Le Carre and Solzhenitsyn”, it was shortlisted for the Orwell Prize. She has also published opinion pieces and book reviews in the Observer, Guardian, Financial Times, New Statesman, Spectator and Standpoint magazines. Michela was awarded the 2010 James Cameron prize for journalism "that combined moral vision and professional integrity". She joined Alert’s board in 2010.