Confirmed Speakers


Joanne Leedom-Ackerman

Joanne Leedom-Ackerman is a novelist, short story writer, and journalist. Her works of fiction include The Dark Path to the River and No Marble Angels. She has also published fiction and essays in books and anthologies, including Short Stories of the Civil Rights Movement, Remembering Arthur Miller, Electric Grace etc. A former reporter for The continue reading →


Javier Solana

Dr. Javier Solana was born on July 14 1942 in Madrid, Spain. He earned a doctorate in physics and was a Fulbright scholar at several U.S. universities. He taught solid-state physics at Madrid Complutense University before entering politics. Solana joined the Spanish Socialist Party in 1964 and was a member of the Spanish parliament from continue reading →


Sergey Markedonov

Sergey Markedonov is an Associate Professor at Russian State University for the Humanities and expert of the Russian International Affairs Council. He is an expert on the Caucasus, as well as Black Sea, regional security, nationalism, interethnic conflicts and de-facto states in the post-Soviet area. His publications include several books and reports, about 100 academic continue reading →


Wang Jisi

Professor Wang Jisi is president of the Institute of International and Strategic Studies, Peking University, and professor of the School of International Studies, Peking University. He has been a member of the Foreign Policy Advisory Committee of the Foreign Ministry of China since October 2008, and is honorary president of the Chinese Association for American continue reading →


Rosalind Marsden

Dame Rosalind Marsden is an Associate Fellow at Chatham House and a Fellow of the Rift Valley Institute. She also acts as an adviser to various NGOs and civil society organisations working on Sudan and South Sudan-related issues. She served as the EU Special Representative for Sudan, and subsequently South Sudan, from September 2010 until continue reading →


Gottfried Leibbrandt

Gottfried Leibbrandt is Chief Executive Officer of SWIFT. Gottfried joined SWIFT in 2005 to focus on the development of the SWIFT2010 strategy. Upon completion of the strategy, he was appointed Head of Standards. In 2007, he was promoted to Head of Marketing. Gottfried ran a global organisation responsible for the development and delivery of SWIFT’s continue reading →


George Soros

George Soros is founder and chair of Soros Fund Management LLC and the Open Society Foundations. Born in Budapest in 1930, he survived the Nazi occupation during World War II and fled communist-dominated Hungary in 1947 for England, where he graduated from the London School of Economics. He then settled in the United States, where continue reading →


Priscilla Hayner

Priscilla Hayner is a writer and independent expert on transitional justice, with a specific interest in justice and accountability in contexts of peace negotiations.  She is currently writing a book on peace and justice, including the impact of the International Criminal Court in contexts of conflict and peacemaking (looking at Colombia, Uganda, Libya, and several other cases).  continue reading →


Samina Ahmed

As South Asia Project Director and Senior Asia Adviser, Samina Ahmed oversees Crisis Group’s work in Pakistan, Afghanistan, India and Nepal. She also frequently briefs representatives of foreign ministries and international organisations, and is regularly involved in advocacy efforts internationally. Prior to Crisis Group, she was a Senior Research Analyst at the Institute of Regional continue reading →


Richard Atwood

Richard joined Crisis Group in 2009 and is Director of Multilateral Affairs and head of its New York office. Formerly, as research director, he oversaw Crisis Group’s thematic research and best practices. He also worked with the president and program staff to develop policy. He has expertise in democratic transitions, political institutions, peace processes and continue reading →


Nahum Barnea

Nahum Barnea is the chief columnist for Yedioth Ahronoth, Israel’s biggest daily. He won the Israel Prize for communication in 2007. Born in Israel in 1944, Barnea served as a paratrooper in the IDF and continued to serve on reserve duty as a paratrooper until 1992. He earned a bachelor’s degree in history and political continue reading →


Cedric Barnes

Cedric Barnes joined Crisis Group in December 2012 as Horn of Africa Project Director, and oversees research and advocacy activities in Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia, Sudan, and South Sudan. He holds a Doctorate in African History from University of Cambridge, and a Masters’ degree from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University continue reading →


Samuel Berger

Samuel R. Berger is chair of the Albright Stonebridge Group, a global strategy firm that works with clients to seize opportunities, assess and manage risk and solve problems worldwide. Mr. Berger works across nearly all of the firm’s engagements and regions, with a strong focus on Asia, Russia and Central Asia, and the Middle East. continue reading →


Robert Blecher

Robert Blecher is the Acting Program Director with the Middle East Program, focusing on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Prior to joining Crisis Group, he taught history at the University of Richmond, USA and was a fellow at the University of Iowa’s Center for Human Rights. He has consulted with UN agencies and previously worked with human continue reading →


Emma Bonino

Emma Bonino is an Italian politician, who most recently served as Minister of Foreign Affairs. Previously she was a member of the European Parliament and a member of the Italian Senate. A seasoned politician, she was consecutively elected from 1976 to 2006, as member of the non-violent Radical Party, either to the Italian Chamber of continue reading →


Lyse Doucet

Lyse Doucet is the BBC’s Chief International Correspondent. She is often deployed to anchor special news coverage from the field for BBC World TV and World Service Radio. Before joining the BBC’s team of presenters in 1999, Lyse spent fifteen years as a BBC foreign correspondent with postings in Jerusalem, Amman, Kabul, Islamabad, Tehran, and Abidjan. Born in Canada, Lyse has a Master’s continue reading →


Javier Ciurlizza

Javier Ciurlizza is the Bogotá-based Director of the Latin American and Caribbean Program since January 2011. As Program Director, Javier oversees projects covering Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Haiti and Guatemala. He has a master’s degree from the University of Warwick, England. Prior to Crisis Group, he was the Director of the International Center for Transitional Justice’s continue reading →


Rinaldo Depagne

Rinaldo Depagne joined Crisis Group in November 2008 and is Crisis Group’s Project Director for West Africa. He has previously worked as a journalist, specialising for the past fifteen years in Africa and, in particular, West Africa. He has worked for various French newspapers and international radio stations, including the BBC and Deutsche Welle. Rinaldo speaks continue reading →


Issandr El Amrani

Issandr El Amrani oversees Crisis Group’s North Africa Project. Based in Cairo since 2000, he has worked across the Middle East as a journalist, commentator and consultant and was previously Crisis Group’s North Africa Analyst. His reporting and commentary on the Middle East and North Africa has appeared in The Economist, London Review of Books,Financial Times, The National, The continue reading →


Comfort Ero

As Crisis Group’s Africa program director, Comfort Ero oversees the organisation’s work in West, Central, Southern and Horn of Africa. She first joined the organisation in 2001 as West Africa project director, before serving for three years as the political affairs officer and policy advisor to the special representative of the secretary general in Liberia. continue reading →


Jonas Gahr Støre

Jonas Gahr Støre is a Norwegian politician and the leader of the Labour Party. He served as Minister of Foreign Affairs from 17 October 2005 to 21 September 2012 when he took over the position of Minister of Health and Care Services, a position he held until the cabinet resigned in October 2013 following a continue reading →


Jean-Marie Guéhenno

Jean-Marie Guéhenno was until his appointment as president of the International Crisis Group the Arnold Saltzman Professor of Professional Practice at Columbia University and the director of its centre for international conflict resolution (School of International and Public Affairs). He is also a non-resident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution. In 2012, he was appointed deputy continue reading →


Joost Hiltermann

As Chief Operating Officer, Joost Hiltermann is responsible for the oversight and management of Crisis Group’s programs and operations around the world. He also leads the organisation’s strategic planning process. He previously held the position of Deputy Program Director, Middle East and North Africa. Prior to Crisis Group, he was Executive Director of Human Rights continue reading →


EJ Hogendoorn

EJ Hogendoorn is Crisis Group’s Africa Deputy Program Director. He is based in Washington, DC, and travels often to the region. He previously worked as Crisis Group’s Horn of Africa Project Director. EJ was a former Arms Expert with the United Nations Panel of Experts on Somalia (2002-2003) and Sudan (2005-2006). Prior to that, he continue reading →


Wadah Khanfar

Wadah Khanfar is the president of the Sharq Forum, an independent think tank dedicated to developing long-term strategies for political development, social justice and economic prosperity of the people of the Middle East. He is a Board member of the Global Editors Network. He previously served as the director general of the Al Jazeera Network. continue reading →


Ricardo Lagos

Ricardo Lagos was born on 2 March 1938, and attended the University of Chile where he received a law degree. He left Chile for the U.S. where he studied for a doctorate in economics at Duke University in North Carolina. He continued in academia before working for the United Nations as an economist from 1978 continue reading →


Scott Malcomson

Over three decades, Scott Malcomson worked as a reporter and editor in both alternative and mainstream journalism. Prior to his appointment as Director of Communications at Crisis Group in March 2013, he was foreign editor of the New York Times Magazine from 2004 to 2011, managing correspondents around the world, served as director of speechwriting for Ambassador Susan continue reading →


Mark Malloch-Brown

As chairman of Europe, Middle East and Africa for FTI Consulting, Lord Mark Malloch-Brown has responsibility for all aspects of the firm’s business in the Europe, Middle East and Africa region. He also serves as chairman of the firm’s Global Affairs practice, a specialty team that draws on a wide range of skills at FTI continue reading →


Lalit Mansingh

Mr. Lalit Mansingh has served as India’s foreign secretary, ambassador to the United States and high commissioner to the United Kingdom. He has also been ambassador in the United Arab Emirates and high commissioner in Nigeria with concurrent accreditation to Benin, Chad, and the Cameroons. Ambassador Mansingh joined the Indian Foreign Service in 1963 after continue reading →


Ayo Obe

Elected vice president of the Civil Liberties Organization (CLO), Nigeria’s oldest indigenous human rights organization in 1992, Ayo Obe was its president from 1995 to 2003, a period spanning the despotic rule of General Sani Abacha and Nigeria’s return to civilian rule in May 1999. She chaired the Transition Monitoring Group, an NGO election-monitoring/democracy-building coalition, continue reading →


Thomas Pickering

Thomas R. Pickering, currently Vice Chairman at Hills and Company, which provides advice and counsel to a number of major U.S. enterprises, retired as Senior Vice President International Relations and as a member of the Executive Council of The Boeing Company on July 1, 2006. He served in that position for 5 and one half continue reading →


Hugh Pope

Hugh Pope joined Crisis Group in March 2007 as Director of the Turkey/Cyprus Project, conducting research in Turkey and Cyprus, writing policy-focused reports on Turkish policy, Turkey’s immediate region and the factors that mitigate or increase the risk of armed conflict. In June 2013, he became Deputy Program Director for the Europe and Central Asia continue reading →


Jonathan Prentice

Jonathan Prentice is currently Chief Policy Officer at the International Crisis Group, which he joined in August 2010 as Senior Policy Adviser. Prior to joining Crisis Group, Jonathan Prentice had sixteen years of experience with the United Nations working in political analysis, peacekeeping and human rights. He has conducted a number of fact-finding missions, including continue reading →


Paul Quinn-Judge

Paul Quinn-Judge joined Crisis Group in November 2007 as Central Asia Project Director. He was then appointed Asia Program Director and supervised the work of analysts responsible for high quality research and analysis all across Asia. In June 2013, he became Program Director for Europe and Central Asia. Prior to Crisis Group, he was a continue reading →


Ghassan Salamé

Ghassan Salamé is dean of the Paris School of International Affairs/PSIA and professor of International Relations at Sciences-Po, Paris (1986–present) and Columbia University, New York (2008–present). Born in 1951 in Lebanon, he holds degrees in law from Saint-Joseph University, Beirut and Paris University and doctorates in literature and political science from Paris University. He taught continue reading →


Mark Schneider

Mark L. Schneider joined the International Crisis Group in spring 2001 as Senior Vice President and Special Adviser on Latin America. He directs the Washington advocacy office, conveying Crisis Group analyses and recommendations to the White House, the State Department, the Department of Defense, and Congress, as well as the World Bank and other international continue reading →


Graeme Smith

Graeme Smith joined the International Crisis Group in December 2012 as a Senior Analyst, supervising the small team in Afghanistan. He previously worked as a foreign correspondent for Canada’s national newspaper, The Globe and Mail, with postings in Moscow (2005), Kandahar (2006-2009), Delhi (2010), and Istanbul (2011). He also served as an Adjunct Scholar for continue reading →


Ali Vaez

Ali Vaez is the International Crisis Group’s Senior Analyst, Iran. Before joining Crisis Group, he headed the Iran project at the Federation of American Scientists in Washington, DC, focusing on Iran’s nuclear and missile programs. Trained as a scientist, Vaez has more than a decade of experience in journalism, including as a foreign correspondent for continue reading →


Thierry Vircoulon

Thierry Vircoulon is Crisis Group’s Central Africa Project Director. He has previously worked for the French Foreign Ministry and the European Commission, notably in South Africa and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Most of his work is focusing on governance and SSR. He is also part of the OECD group of experts on statebuilding and continue reading →


Lionel Zinsou

Lionel Zinsou joined PAI (Paribas Affaires Industrielles), the French leading Private Equity firm, in 2008, as member of the Executive Committee. He became Chairman and Chief Executive Officer in July 2009. Lionel Zinsou started his professional career as a lecturer and professor of economics at Paris University and was a member of the French Department continue reading →