Who we are
Peace Direct is an award-winning, international NGO supporting local people in some of the most challenging conflict environments worldwide.
We are based in London, UK, and have offices in Washington, DC and New York.
If you’d like to work for Peace Direct, visit our jobs page to see current vacancies for interns or staff.
Elana Aquino, US Executive Director
She organized the first National Development Partnership Forum in Kenya co-chaired by the Prime Minister and the regional Head of the World Bank, with key participation from UN Agencies in the region. She is an ICAP (International Career Advancement Program) Fellow, a Fellow of the International Peace and Security Institute and a board member of Women of Color Advancing Peace, Security, and Conflict Transformation (WCAPS).
Vahe Mirikian, Director for US Policy
Prior to joining Peace Direct, Vahe interned with Search for Common Ground as a policy advocacy assistant with the Global Affairs and Partnerships department. He also has experience as a legislative intern working with Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., on Capitol Hill. Vahe has an M.A. in International Affairs from the American University of Paris and a B.A. in Politics from Saint Mary’s College of California.
Dica Adotevi, Senior Finance Officer
Gay Rosenblum-Kumar, UN Representative
Gay has designed numerous peacebuilding programmes and co-founded the UN’s first cadre of peace and development advisors. Prior to that, she administered anti-apartheid capacity-building projects for refugees in southern Africa. In addition to representing Peace Direct at the UN, Gay is a senior advisor to Nonviolent Peaceforce and undertakes project formulation, analyses and evaluations of peacebuilding projects around the world.
Shannon Paige, Senior Policy and Partnerships Officer
She is the main author of “Time to Decolonise Aid” and co-author of “Race, Power, and Peacebuilding.” Prior to joining Peace Direct, she interned at a number of small international non-profits, most recently at New Light, a non-profit based in Kolkata, India that works with migrant sex workers. Shannon holds a B.A. in International Studies and Arabic from Kenyon College.
Elsie Mares, Policy and Programs Associate
She holds a B.A. in Political Science from Loyola Marymount University where she served as Student Body Vice President, leading initiatives focused on equity and inclusion. Throughout her undergraduate career, she interned with EMILY’s List, the UK Parliament, and LMU’s Global Policy Institute. She also previously worked with the United Farmworkers Foundation and continues to be involved with grassroots efforts to serve immigrant workers in the US. Elsie is thrilled to pursue her passion for addressing and preventing displacement through contributing to Peace Direct’s work toward a world without violent conflict.
Thomas M. Roane, Operations Associate
Thomas graduated summa cum laude with a Master of Divinity from Boston University where he specialized in Religion, Conflict Transformation, and International Relations. Prior to his graduate studies, he graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. in Religion, Mandarin Chinese, and Human Rights and Conflict Studies from Birmingham-Southern College (BSC). At BSC, Thomas was a Hess Fellow with the General Board of Church and Society where he created a curriculum on the intersection of domestic violence with gun violence, migration, and women and children’s health.
Umama Sarwat, Development Officer
While at the Human Rights Campaign, Umama was responsible for managing HRC’s major gifts database, stewardship, and assisting will all financial needs for the program. She also has experience creating a development plan for Compton YouthBuild, a small nonprofit focusing on training and assisting at-risk youth in the Compton, CA area. While employed at Compton YouthBuild, Umama launched an online #GivingTuesday campaign, which raised approximately $50,000. Umama has a B.A. in Criminal Justice from California State University, Fullerton.
Staff in the UK/EU
Dylan Mathews, Chief Executive
Harriet Knox Brown, Head of Programmes and Research / Deputy CEO
Valerie Bloomfield, Head of Finance and Operations
Gemma Britton, Head of Fundraising and Communications (job share)
Grace Rowley, Head of Fundraising and Communications (job share)
Charlotte Divin, Programme Funding Manager
Jennifer Pobi-Browne, International Programmes Manager
Jennifer has an MA in Human Rights from UCL and a BA in Law (Jurisprudence) from Oxford University.
Lesley Agbarakwe, HR Manager
Bénédicte Aboul-Nasr, Senior Programmes Officer, Great Lakes
Bénédicte holds an undergraduate degree in French and Common Law from the Université Toulouse 1 Capitole and an LL.M. in Public International Law with a focus on international humanitarian law and human rights law from Queen Mary, University of London.
Manoela Baltar, Senior Programmes Officer
With an MSc in Violence, Conflict and Development from SOAS, University of London, and a BA in International Relations from the Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, Manoela’s career has been focused on supporting programme implementation and helping to improve policy and practice in the humanitarian, development and peacebuilding sectors – while contributing to better integrating them through the “triple nexus” approach. Her experience includes working with grassroots organisations, government institutions and INGOs, including International Alert, the British Council and the EU. Among her many interests, Manoela is particularly devoted to promoting a human rights-based approach to P/CVE and exploring the links between underlying grievances and political violence.
Ebou Jammeh, Senior Programmes Officer
He has over 15 years experience in humanitarian and development programme management at both regional and in-country levels within Africa and Southeast Asia. He has an extensive background in operations related management and coordination of disasters/humanitarian relief and community-based interventions. He led systems improvement and programmatic capacity strengthening processes, and social cohesion building humanitarian response, coordination, and cooperation etc. Prior to joining Peace Direct, Ebou served in various roles across several INGOs including at The Gambia Red Cross-national Society, IFRC – Sahel Country Cluster (Dakar), Muslim Aid UK – London, and MA UK – Myanmar.
Ebou holds an MA in Diplomacy (University of Birmingham, UK), MSc in Peace and Development Work (Linnaeus University, Sweden), and a BSc (Hons) Disaster Management (Coventry University, UK).
His interest in peacebuilding extends to further research into “Under what conditions does an extended Third-Party commitment in Peace and State building fails to achieve durable peace?” and “What could be a peace-making strategy based on relative deprivation and provention”.
Sam Crocker, Senior Trusts & Foundations Officer
Dimitri Kotsiras, Senior Research Officer
Dimitri is temporarily acting up as a Research Manager. He oversees Peace Direct’s broader research agenda, including coordinating all research projects and developing research guidelines and strengthening internal research practice.
He currently leads on the USAID-funded ‘Stopping As Success’ project, on the Decolonising Systems project, Peace Insight and our atrocity prevention research in the Great Lakes region. He has previously supported democracy strengthening programmes at Westminster Foundation for Democracy.
He also acted as a researcher and campaigner with Crisis Action and Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East, and he previously worked at the United Nations reporting on the UN Security Council.
Dimitri holds an MA in Conflict, Security and Development from King’s College London, and a BA in Political Science from Concordia University in Montreal, Canada.
Ruby Quantson Davis, Senior Learning and Impact Advisor
Raaval Bains, Research Officer
Raaval holds an M.A in Social Anthropology with a focus on identity and belonging in ethnic minorities from SOAS, University of London and a B.A in History from the University of Cardif
Mélina Villeneuve, Research Officer
Mélina previously worked at Demilitarise Education (@dED_UCATION), an organisation she co-founded whose mission is get universities in the UK to end their ties with the global arms trade. She is also a founding member of Minorities in Peace and Security, a network working to meaningfully engage marginalised communities in peacekeeping, peacebuilding, security & community engagement.
Mélina holds an B.A in Political Science with a minor in History from the University of Miami, in Florida, and an M.A in Security and International Law from the University of Manchester.
Kit Dorey, Policy and Advocacy Manager
Anna Penfrat, EU Representative
Oscar Lester, Fundraising and Engagement Officer
Jennifer Venis, Senior Communications Officer
She works across teams to facilitate production of key publications and support the development of messages for all our audiences.
Jennifer has a background in journalism, focusing on human rights and international justice, and was formerly the Multimedia Journalist and Content Editor at the International Bar Association.
Natalie Roberts, Communications Officer
Áine Donnelly, Finance Officer
Richard Andrew, Database Officer
Stacey Haefele, Chair
From 2008-2016 Stacey served as CEO of HNW, Inc., a marketing services and software firm focused on the high net worth segment. Previously, she was VP, Director of Digital Strategy at Digitas and a Consultant with CSC Index where her focus was corporate strategy and strategic marketing. She began her career in 1991 with Treuhandanstalt, the German privatization agency, where she aided East German companies in their efforts to be acquired by American businesses. Stacey holds a Masters in International Affairs from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, where she was a Fellow at the Institute for War and Peace Studies and a BA in International Relations from Wellesley College. Stacey lives in New York City and Kent, Connecticut.
Colleen Smith CPA, Treasurer
Through Colleen’s work at O’Connor Consulting Services, she oversees the financial operations for clients, has served as Acting CFO for several clients, acted as a project manager on an accounting system implementation, and has conducted many reviews of clients’ financial operations and activities. Prior to joining OCS, Colleen served as Vice-President of Financial Planning and Analysis for National Geographic Ventures, a subsidiary of the National Geographic Society (NGS). She was also Director of Financial Planning and Analysis in the NGS CFO’s Office and worked for several years in the Controller’s Office at the Society. Prior to joining National Geographic, Colleen performed audits of not-for-profit organizations at KPMG. In recent years, Colleen has presented to key industry conferences, including the Greater Washington Society of CPAs’ Not-For-Profit Symposium and has attained the AICPA’s Not-for-Profit Certificates I and II. She is Vice President of the Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) at St. Agnes Catholic School in Arlington and is on the Board of Directors for Arlington Babe Ruth Baseball. Colleen earned a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from the University of Notre Dame and is a licensed Certified Public Accountant in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
He was the founding staff of Sudan Democracy First Group (SDFG), a Sudanese advocacy and think tank organization, where he supported youth and women-led initiatives with leadership programs. Before joining SDFG, he was a Sudan Human Rights Monitoring Associate at the African Center for Peace and Justice Studies (ACJPS). Quscondy-Mohamed began his human rights and peace activism at Khartoum university in 2003, where he co-founded the Darfur Students Movement against the genocide in Darfur. He is the winner of the Civil Society Leadership Award from the Open Society Foundation in 2016 for his role in youth and civil society leadership for peace and democracy in Sudan. He holds dual masters in Sustainable International Development and Coexistence and Conflict Resolution at Heller School for social policy and management, Brandeis University. He did his BA in development studies at Kampala International University, Uganda.
He joined the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in 1986, served in the Embassy in Madrid and worked on a range of European policy issues including the Balkans, trade policy and Common Foreign and Security Policy. In 1996 he moved to the Department for International Development (DFID) where he worked on Environment Policy, Europe and Southern Africa, as well as being Private Secretary to Clare Short when she was Secretary of State for International Development. Anthony returned to the FCO as Director for European Political Affairs from 2006-2008 before becoming International Relations Director at DFID from 2008-2014, responsible for DFID’s policy on EU development issues, DFID’s funding to the UN system and the Commonwealth, engagement with the G20 and G8, and relations with development partners.
Evelyn also spent several formative years working in India for His Holiness, The Dalai Lama’s Foundation for Universal Responsibility. She holds a master’s degree in conflict resolution from Georgetown University and a B.A. from Virginia Tech. Evelyn lives in Washington, DC with her husband and their two vivacious young daughters, and frequently returns to the Blue Ridge farm where she was raised.
Kehinde A. Togun
Prior to joining Partners, he worked at the National Democratic Institute (NDI), with stints on the Eurasia, Middle East and North Africa, and Southern and East Africa teams. Kehinde was also the Monitoring and Evaluation officer for NDI in Iraq; and during Nigeria’s 2011 elections, he trained and advised civil society in the Niger Delta as they monitored the electoral process. Kehinde is a Term Member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a Truman National Security Fellow. He is on the steering committee of the Peace and Security Funders Group as well as the boards of Partners West Africa-Nigeria and the Center for Racial Justice in Education. He holds a Master’s degree from Georgetown University’s McCourt School of Public Policy. The New America Foundation and the Diversity in National Security Network named him one of 20 next generation Black American national security and foreign policy leaders in 2020.
Ben’s expertise on social movements and resourcing of movements draws on two decades spent in academia and civil society working with movements, NGOs, and donors. Ben has served as a Program Officer with the Open Society Foundations, an electoral observer with The Carter Center, a board member of the University of Chicago’s Human Rights Program, and an advisory committee member of the Leading Change Network. His research has been supported by a Harvard Program on Negotiation Graduate Research Fellowship and as a USIP-Minerva Peace and Security Scholar. His publications include Dollars and Dissent,” “Liberating the ‘Enemy’,” “Nonviolent Resistance,” “Darfurian Voices,” “Surviving Success: Nonviolent Rebellion in Sudan,” “¿Que Bolá Cuba?,” and “The Founding Myth of the United States of America.” Ben holds a M.P.A. from the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs and a B.A. with honors from the University of Chicago. He and his wife, Nadia Marzouki are the parents of twin girls.
Anthony Smith, Chair
Belinda Bell, Trustee
David Cutler, Trustee
David Loyn, Trustee
Jennifer Larbie, Trustee
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Niamh Neville, Trustee
" image=""][hidden_text teaser="Niamh has 15 years marketing and fundraising experience and has worked with over 100 charities."]Niamh has 15 years marketing and fundraising experience and has worked with over 100 charities. She is experienced in a diverse range of fundraising disciplines and channels gained at creative agencies, directly for charities, consultancy and in the field as a volunteer fundraiser in Zambia. Most recently she’s acted as a senior level fundraising consultant but has previously held roles at The Scout Association and WaterAid.
Nick Whitaker, Trustee
Stacey Haefele, Trustee
Dr Scilla Elworthy is a distinguished activist for peace and has worked on peace related issues for over 30 years. In 1982 Dr Elworthy founded the Oxford Research Group, dedicated to researching defence-decision making and developing effective dialogue between nuclear weapons policy-makers and their critics. For this work she was nominated three times for the Nobel Peace Prize and awarded the Niwano Peace Prize in 2003. From 2005 to 2007 Dr Elworthy helped to set up The Elders Initiative and acted as an advisor to Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu and Richard Branson. In 2002 she co-founded Peace Direct alongside Carolyn Hayman OBE.
Sir Mark Rylance
Sir Mark Rylance, Oscar winner, actor and former Artistic Director of the Globe Theatre, is a supporter of Conscience, Campaign Against the Arms Trade (CAAT), The Peace Pledge Union and World Development Movement (WDM). He was born in England in 1960 and raised in America until 1978. After training at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA), he was given his first job by the Citizens’ Theatre, Glasgow in 1981. Mark is also an Associate Artist of the RSC, a Friend of the Francis Bacon Research Trust and Chairman of the Shakespearean Authorship Trust. He is also a trustee of the Murray Cox Foundation, and an honorary bencher of the Middle Temple. He lives in London with his wife and two daughters.
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