Women Network on the Responsibility to Protect, Peace and Security


The purpose of this British Academy award to create an international women network and organise an international conference was two-fold: first, this is meant to highlight the excellent work and impact of established academics and researchers, experienced diplomats, United Nations and European Union officials, seasoned policy-makers and practitioners, civil society and charity directors – all women – in the international peace, security and the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) fields; and second, to bring these experts together with female Early Career Researchers, so that the latter find inspiration in the former’s research and work and learn about ways to generate impact in order to make their research relevant to the real world and to decision-makers facing hard choices in implementing the atrocity prevention, protection, R2P, and WPS inter-related agendas.

The topics covered include:

  • The Global State of R2P, Peace and Security Research, from the Perspectives of Women Academics and Practitioners
  • Researching Women, Peace and Security
  • Assessing the Importance of an Atrocity Prevention Focus
  • Regional Contexts of Violence and Protection, including perspectives regarding Asia, Africa, Europe, Latin America
  • Assessing Protection Responsibilities in the European context
  • International Law, Human Rights, and the United Nations
  • Insights on Bridging the Gaps: From Academics to Policy-Makers, from Research to Impact

International Network and Conference Organiser: Dr Cristina Stefan, University of Leeds 

Dr Cristina Stefan is the Co-Director of the European Centre for the Responsibility to Protect (ECR2P), an Associate Professor of International Relations at the University of Leeds, and a Senior Analyst with the Global Governance Institute in Brussels. Prior to joining Leeds in 2014, she held a variety of positions in USA and Canada, including teaching international relations, transitional justice and peace and conflict studies at Western University and the University of Toronto. Her research on intervention, peace and security, and R2P appeared in a variety of journals, including Security Dialogue, International Studies Perspectives, Global Governance, International Criminal Law Review, and European Journal of International Security, and in a monograph on Humanitarian Intervention and the Responsibility to Protect: Security and Human Rights.

Network and International Conference Participants

Professor Emerita Fiona Williams OBE
Fiona Williams is Emeritus Professor of Social Policy at the University of Leeds. Professor Williams has written widely on gender, race and ethnicity in social policy, which is informed by an attempt to understand how individuals, groups and social movements articulate their needs and how policy responds to this.


Gillian Kitley
Gillian Kitley is the Senior Officer in the United Nations Office for Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect, which works to advance national and international efforts to protect populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity, as well as their incitement.


Professor Jennifer Welsh
Professor Jennifer Welsh is the Canada 150 Research Chair in Global Governance and Security at McGill University (Montreal, Canada). From 2013-2016, she served as the Special Advisor to the United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, on the Responsibility to Protect. Professor Welsh is the author, co-author, and editor of several books and articles on humanitarian intervention, the evolution of the notion of the ‘responsibility to protect’ in international society, the UN Security Council, and Canadian foreign policy. Her most recent books include The Return of History: Conflict, Migration and Geopolitics in the 21st Century (2016), which was based on her CBC Massey Lectures, and The Responsibility to Prevent: Overcoming the Challenges of Atrocity Prevention (2015)

Professor and Judge Iulia Motoc
Since 2013, Iulia Motoc has been Judge at the European Court of Human Rights and Professor of European and International law at the University of Bucharest. Previously she served as Judge at the Constitutional Court of Romania (2010-2013).


Professor Jacqui True
Jacqui True is Professor of Politics & International Relations and an Australian Research Council Future Fellow at Monash University, Australia. Professor True’s current research is focused on understanding the political economy of post-conflict violence against women and the patterns of systemic sexual and gender-based violence in Asia Pacific conflict-affected countries.


Ambassador Blanka Jamnišek
Ambassador Blanka Jamnišek currently operates as the Slovenian National Focal Point for the Responsibility to Protect and as the Deputy Head of the Slovenian Delegation to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA).


Dr Karen Smith
Dr Karen Smith is the current UN Special Advisor on the Responsibility to Protect and a lecturer at Leiden University.  Dr Smith currently serves on the editorial boards of the journals Review of International Studies, Foreign Policy Analysis and Rising Powers Quarterly. Her current research focuses on non-western contributions to International Relations (theory) and South Africa’s foreign policy within the context of the role of the regional and emerging powers.


Dr Florence Gaub
Dr Florence Gaub is Deputy Director of the European Institute of Security Studies (EUISS), with a special responsibility as EUISS Research coordinator. Previously, Dr Gaub was Senior Analyst and Head of the Middle East and North Africa Programme at the EUISS. She works on the Arab world with a focus on conflict and security, with particular emphasis on Iraq, Lebanon and Libya.


Professor Karen Smith
Karen Smith is Professor of International Relations and director of the European Foreign Policy Unit at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Professor Smith’s main area of research is the international relations of the European Union and more recently has included trying to explain policy-making within European states regarding genocide.


Dr Nathalie Tocci
Dr Nathalie Tocci is Director of the Istituto Affari Internazionali, Honorary Professor at the University of Tübingen, and Special Adviser to EU HRVP Federica Mogherini, on behalf of whom she wrote the European Global Strategy and is now working on its implementation, notably in the field of security and defence.


Professor Sara E. Davies
Sara E. Davies is Professor of International Relations, School of Government and International Relations, Griffith University, Australia; and Adjunct Associate Professor at the Monash Gender Peace and Security Centre, School of Social Sciences, Monash University. Sara’s current research focuses on Global Health Governance and the Women, Peace and Security agenda. Sara has been an Australian Research Council Discovery Australian Postgraduate Award Scholar (2008-2012) and an Australian Research Council Future Fellow (2014-2018). Sara’s research career has been devoted to identifying the political conditions that deny humans access to civil, economic and social human rights. Sara is co-editor of the Australian Journal and International Affairs and was founding co-editor of the Global Responsibility to Protect.

Joanne Neenan 
Joanne Neenan is an international lawyer/diplomat at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and a researcher. Formerly, she was a Research Fellow at the LSE Centre for Women, Peace and Security and Harvard Law School. Her interdisciplinary LSE research report, “Closing the Protection Gap for children born of war” was recently launched at the UN. She has served as head of the Peacekeeping, Human Rights and Conflict Prevention team at the UK Mission to the UN and as a senior policy officer in the UK’s ebola task force.

Naomi Kikoler
Naomi Kikoler is the deputy director of the Simon-Skjodt Center for the Prevention of Genocide. For six years, she developed and implemented the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect’s work on populations at risk and efforts to advance R2P globally, and led the Centre’s advocacy, including targeting the UN Security Council.


Ambassador Simona Miculescu
Ambassador Simona Miculescu serves as Representative of the UN Secretary-General and Head of the UN Office in Belgrade. Prior to this, Ambassador Miculescu was the Permanent Representative of Romania to the United Nations between 2008-2015.



Savita Pawnday
Savita Pawnday is the Deputy Executive Director of the Global Centre for the R2P. The Global Centre is the world’s leading NGO established to promote the norm of Responsibility to Protect populations from genocide, ethnic cleansing, war crimes and crimes against humanity. Savita oversees all Global Centre programs and activities, including its work in Geneva.


Professor Rosa Freedman
Professor Rosa Freedman is Professor of Law, Conflict and Global Development at the University of Reading. Professor Freedman researches on the UN, and has several interests within that area, including human rights bodies, accountability for human rights abuses committed by UN actors, and the intersection between international law and international relations.


Rita Izsák-Ndiaye
Rita acts as Rapporteur for the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD), working with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, in Geneva. Rita is a former UN Special Rapporteur on minority issues. Rita has previously been appointed Independent Expert on minority issues by the Human Rights Council and was then renewed as Special Rapporteur on minority issues (2014-2017) after which she was elected to become a member of the CERD (2018-2022).

Roberta Dirosa
Roberta Dirosa is currently affiliated with the PRISM division at the European External Actions Service (EEAS) in Brussels. Roberta’s work at the EEAS focuses on the Prevention of conflicts, Rule of Law/Security Sector Reform, Integrated Approach, and Stabilisation and Mediation



Dr Chiara de Franco
Dr Chiara de Franco is an associate professor and affiliate to the Center for War Studies in the University of Southern Denmark. Dr de Franco’s current research includes the role of narratives and practices in IR, organisational learning and norm diffusion, and mass atrocity prevention (R2P).


Dr Katarina Månsson
Dr Katarina Månsson is the UN Coordination Officer in The Office of the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process (UNSCO). Dr Månsson’s previous work for the UN includes roles such as Associate Political Affairs Officer in the Executive Office of the Secretary-General and Human Rights Officer at the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.


Dr Kate Ferguson
Dr Kate Ferguson is Director of Research and Policy at Protection Approaches, London. Dr Ferguson leads the Research and Analysis programme at Protection Approaches, in addition to being responsible for its Political Engagement Strategy. Dr Ferguson’s research interests lie broadly within genocide studies and atrocity prevention.

Dr Elohor Stephanie Onoge
Elohor is a law researcher and legislative drafter,her research interest includes the field of legislative studies,effectiveness of legislation, gender equality,and identifying legislations and political conditions that deny women access to civil and social human rights.


Dr Linnéa Gelot
Dr Gelot is senior researcher at the Folke Bernadotte Academy, Sweden. Dr Gelot’s areas of interest include African politics, specifically in Somalia, Ethiopia and Sudan, the African Union, peace operations, conflict management in Africa and the protection of civilians.


Professor Roberta Guerrina
Roberta Guerrina is a Reader in Politics and the Head of the Department of Politics at the University of Surrey. She is a European policy analyst with a particular interest in European social policy, citizenship policy and gender equality.


Suzanne Edelkamp
A passionate supporter of human and women’s rights, Suzanne focused on sexual violence in conflict affected regions during her Advanced Master in International Relations and Diplomacy studies at Leiden University. She gained experience at a broad range of international organisations, such as UNHCR and the Netherlands Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York. Currently, Suzanne is working for the Dr. Denis Mukwege Foundation, a NGO that focuses on supporting survivors of conflict-related sexual violence.

Dr Alanna O’Malley
Professor Alanna O’Malley holds the Special Chair in United Nations Studies in peace and Justice at Leiden University and The Hague University of Applied Sciences. She is a historian of the UN, Africa and Decolonization. The Chair runs a dedicated research program on WPS, more details can be found here. In 2019, she was awarded a Starting Grant from the European Research Council for a new project: ‘Challenging the Liberal World Order from Within, the Invisible History of the United Nations and the Global South.’

Dr Vasilka Sancin
Dr Vasilka Sancin is associate professor and head of Department of International Law at the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia. Dr Sancin is director of the Institute for International Law and International Relations.



Dr Toni Haastrup
Dr Toni Haastrup is a Lecturer in International Security and a Deputy Director of the Global Europe Centre (GEC) at the University of Kent. Dr Haastrup’s current research interests concern the gender dynamics and processes of institutional transformation within regional security institutions.


Cecilia Jacob
Cecilia is a Fellow in the Department of International Relations at Australian National University. Her work focuses on civilian protection, mass atrocity prevention, and human protection norms, a geographic focus on armed conflict and political violence in South and Southeast Asia. Her books include Child Security in Asia: The Impact of Armed Conflict and Cambodia and Myanmar (2014).

Dr Vanessa Newby
Dr Vanessa Newby is an Assistant Professor at Leiden University and author of Peacekeeping in South Lebanon: Credibility and Local Cooperation (2018). She has a PhD in International Relations and her research interests include peacekeeping, gender and security, informal institutions, and the international relations of the Middle East. Vanessa has published in several international peer-reviewed journals such as International Peacekeeping, Contemporary Politics and Third World Quarterly. Her current research focuses on women as security actors.

Dr Polly Wilding
Dr Polly Wilding is a Lecturer in Gender and International Development at the University of Leeds. Dr Wilding’s main research interests are the gendered intersections between different forms of violence that affect urban communities, in particular the linkages between urban and private violence, in the context of Latin America.


Jelena Pia-Comella started her career in 1996 as a diplomat representing Andorra at the United Nations, the United States and Canada. From January to June 2008 she consulted with the Center for Women’s Global Leadership and Women’s Environment and Development Organization and since then until July 2018 she was the Deputy Executive Director of the World Federalist Movement – Institute for Global Policy (WFM-IGP). Currently Jelena is consulting with Global Action Against Mass Atrocity Crimes (GAAMAC) as Senior Advisor.


Sarah Brockmeier
Sarah Brockmeier is a project manager at the Global Public Policy Institute in Berlin. Sarah works on German foreign policy as well as on mass atrocity prevention and UN peacekeeping. Sarah’s recent projects covered mass atrocities and support to local conflict management by UN peace operations.


Maria Gotsi
Maria Gotsi is a Policy Officer for Multilateral Relations at the European External Action Service, where she provides support to the EU’s focal point for the Responsibility to Protect, Christian Leffler. Previously she has worked on the Women, Peace and Security agenda and on the EU’s relations with Latin America. MG holds a degree in political science and a masters in international relations from the University of Panthéon-Sorbonne.



Rosemary Forest
Rosemary leads Peace Direct’s advocacy in the United Kingdom and the European Union, and she is also engaging with policy makers and building collaborations with other organisations. Rosemary has a diverse background in international development and peacebuilding.



Dr Anastasia Shestarinina
Dr Anastasia Shesterinina is a Lecturer in Politics/International at the University of Sheffield. Dr Shesterinina’s interests lie at the intersection of international relations, comparative politics, and qualitative methodology. Her field-intensive research explores the internal dynamics of international intervention in contemporary armed conflict.


Lucy Hall
Lucy B. Hall is a lecturer at the University of Amsterdam and doctoral researcher at the University of New South Wales, Sydney. Her research explores the construction of humanitarian protection norms (IDP Protection, R2P and the WPS Agenda). Lucy has published several co-authored book chapters, in Gender Matters in Global Politics and Responsibility to Protect and Women, Peace and Security: Aligning the Protection Agendas.


Dr Outi Donovan
Outi Donovan is a Senior Research Fellow at University of Leeds. Her main research areas are protection of civilians and peacebuilding. Outi’s most recent work looks at the responsibility to rebuild in the Libyan context and the role of women and gender in rebuilding processes.




Chloë Gilgan
Chloë Gilgan is an Associate Lecturer at York Law School where she teaches international human rights law.  She is completing her PhD in Law at the University of York Law School and the Centre for Applied Human Rights, which examines how R2P has diffused in the UK and the relationship between R2P, mass atrocity response and refugee resettlement.  Chloë graduated cum laude with a juris doctorate of law (JD) from New York Law School and cum laude with a BA degree from Barnard College, Columbia University. Chloë was awarded the Professor Lung-Chu Chen Award for Excellence in the Field of Human Rights for four public interest fellowship awards during law school.


Dr Kaisa Hinkkainen
Dr Kaisa Hinkkainen is a University Academic Fellow in Security Studies at the University of Leeds. Her research interests include terrorism, conflict processes and resolution, particularly through using quantitative and geographical methods. Her previous research has focused on child soldiers and peacekeeping, economic sanctions and terrorism.


Cecilia Idika-Kalu
Cecilia is a Doctoral Student in the Global Studies Programme of the University of Massachusetts, Lowell. At the heart of Cecilia’s current research is a focus on the comparative gender dimensions of religious radicalisation and extremism in an age of the increased “weaponization” of women in conflicts globally. It is a multidisciplinary research endeavour that involves an engagement with policy and the scholarship that has been built around it.


Laurel Hart
Laurel Hart is an Outreach & Campaigns Officer for UNA-UK. Laurel leads on UNA-UK’s outreach, working with UNA-UK’s members, supporters and local UN Associations to ensure that UNA-UK’s movement is equipped with the resources and support they need to campaign for UK action and a stronger UN.


Dr Eglantine Staunton
Dr Eglantine Staunton is a Research Fellow at the University of Leeds. Dr Staunton’s research interests lie broadly in human protection (in particular, humanitarian intervention and the responsibility to protect), France’s foreign policy, the EU’s approach to human protection, and International Relations theory.


Nadira Khudayberdieva
Nadira Khudayberdieva is Program Manager at the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect. Nadira’s current research focuses on populations at risk with a present emphasis on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Myanmar, Nigeria and Pakistan.



Josie Hornung
Josie Hornung is a Ph.D. candidate in International Relations at the University of Queensland, Australia. She is broadly interested in human protection, and her research looks at the decision-making process that has historically led to action or inaction in the face of imminent mass atrocities. Her research project is titled ‘The Pre-Emptive Use of Force for Atrocity Prevention’, supervised by Professor Chris-Reus-Smit and Professor Alex Bellamy, and it is supported by the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities.



Isabel Tamoj
Isabel Tamoj is a research associate at Genocide Alert. Previously she has worked as a youth fellow for the Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies (MIGS) and for the European Grassroots Antiracist Movement (EGAM) mostly in the fields of advocacy and civil society involvement to prevent mass atrocities and violent extremism. Isabel is based in Paris, where she is a Carlo-Schmid Fellow within the Education Sector at UNESCO.


Georgiana Epure
Georgiana Epure is an ESRC funded-scholar studying for an MA in Social Sciences and Research Methods at the University of Leeds in preparation for her doctoral research on the politics of international criminal justice. She holds an MPhil degree in International Relations from The University of Cambridge, Christ’s College, where her research was funded by the Gates Trust. She is the founder and editor-in-chief of the R2P Student Journal.