Kirsten joined International Alert in July 2021 was the Executive Director of International Alert Europe, established in The Hague, Netherlands from July 2021 until December 2023.
A member of the Executive Team, Kirsten led the Alert Europe presence, working to strengthen policy influence and partnerships with key European institutions and peacebuilding supporters, including the European Union, individual European states and civil society.
Kirsten brought more than fifteen years of experience in policy, advocacy and movement-building in the fields of international justice, conflict prevention and human rights. Most recently, Kirsten headed the Human Rights Defence programme of the Netherlands Helsinki Committee, advocating for states to uphold their international human rights obligations and working to support human rights defenders in an increasingly shrinking civic space. Previously, Kirsten served as the Director of two renowned global civil society networks – the Coalition for the International Criminal Court (CICC) and the International Coalition for the Responsibility to Protect (ICRtoP) – spending more than a decade conducting strategic advocacy on the prevention of, and accountability for, international crimes.
Kirsten has served as an advisor to states and civil society organisations on policy, influencing and campaigning around the ratification and implementation of international treaties and norms, and is regularly invited as an expert speaker on the issue of accountability, in particular on the topic of environmental justice. Kirsten previously worked in international development on projects funded by the World Bank, USAID, the European Union, regional development banks and various national governments.
Kirsten has degrees in Humanitarian Affairs from the Institut de Relations Internationales et Stratégiques (Paris, France), in International Relations from the Universiteit van Amsterdam, and in Political Science and European Studies from New York University. She speaks English, French and Dutch.