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Peace Direct welcomes Elana Aquino as new US Executive Director

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We're delighted to announce that Elana Aquino has joined Peace Direct as US Executive Director, effective from January 3rd 2022.

  • Published

    4 January 2022
  • Written by

    Peace Direct

Elana joins us, with over fifteen years of experience in peacebuilding and development, including seven years in East and Southern Africa and The Sudans. Elana has experience in both international development and diplomacy with a portfolio of strategic and operational leadership and impact in both areas. Her passion and commitment to being of service as a practitioner and academic in the field of global peacebuilding will be a tremendous asset to Peace Direct. Her experience supporting locally led women’s empowerment initiatives aligns with our focus on recognizing the role that women play in helping to achieve sustainable peace. 

Peace Direct Chief Executive, Dylan Mathews said:

“We are thrilled to welcome Elana as US Executive Director. Her track record as a champion of inclusive and effective peacebuilding speaks for itself. We warmly welcome her to the Peace Direct family and look forward to her leadership and commitment in our US office, to the wider organization, and our partners and peers.”

Elana joins Peace Direct with an ambitious agenda to make peacebuilding more inclusive of women and young people, to tackle racism in the sector, and to champion underrepresented voices. She plans to engage and promote young leaders to futureproof and sustain  peacebuilding for generations to come, and decolonize aid in a way that penetrates culturally and generationally. 

We spoke to her about her appointment, her experience and her plans for the months and years ahead:

“Having observed conflict firsthand in both Kenya and Sudan – in Kenya during the 2007 Kenyan election crises and in Sudan during the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement and after – it is clear to me that people bend towards violence and war when they feel they have no other choice. I have dedicated my career to support and help train visionary leadership that gives people in crisis access to better, safer options that lead to peace.

As a first generation American, the child of immigrant parents from the Caribbean, I am passionate about global peacebuilding, conflict transformation and prevention, and poverty reduction. I am committed to being part of a generation and a movement that leaves a legacy of peace, reconciliation, and harmony, not only for fellow humans but also for our dear Earth.”


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