International RelationsCareer Challenge
June 17-21, 2019
Johns Hopkins University, Advanced Academic Programs, Washington DC, USA
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Speakers 2019 KCL

Speakers who have confirmed their attendance at the IRCC 2019 KCL are listed below.

IRCC Day 5: Application
Oana Arama
Human Resources Consultant at HORA HR AND RECRUITMENT
LinkedIn Link

Oana Arama Assoc CIPD is a Recruitment and HR professional with extensive working experience in the international arena. She completed her MSc in Human Resources Management and Industrial Relations at Manchester Business School in 2013 and since then she has worked with The Permanent Mission of Romania to the United Nations in New York City, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in Geneva, and several charities based in London. Oana is currently working as a Recruitment and HR Consultant for HORA HR AND RECRUITMENT, a London-based consultancy company, and The Fostering Network, the UK’s leading fostering charity.

Oana specialises in recruitment, assessments centres, psychometric tests, interviews, competency frameworks, employment law, HR strategies, performance management and employment relations. She is also passionate about human rights and completed her LLM in Human Rights in 2017. She published her first book, Human Rights between Ideality and Reality, in 2015.


IRCC Day 5: Application
Cécile Abraham-Pasquier (ATTENTION: CÉCILE IS NOW FULLY BOOKED FOR FRIDAY!) International Development Recruiter
Coffey International Ltd
LinkedIn Link

Cecile Abraham-Pasquier is an International Development Recruiter with 8 years of experience in leading private sector implementers of aid programmes worldwide. She has been recruiting primarily for EU, DFID and FCO programmes as well as in-house positions, and is familiar with UN and USAID requirements. As a Business Development Recruiter for Coffey International Development since 2015, she specifically recruits technical specialists and consultants for donor-funded programmes in the Economic Growth; Governance, Justice & Security; and Monitoring & Evaluation sectors. She has experience recruiting for projects in Europe, Africa and Asia, working in collaboration with field offices and HQs based in London, the USA and Australia. Her global overview and awareness of the changing requirements of the donor market enables her to advise managers and consultants on the best recruitment approaches for successful programme delivery and career progression. A certified yoga teacher, Cécile is passionate about linking international development and personal development, helping individuals find the path that is right for them at each stage of their evolution.


IRCC Day 5: Application
Rebecca Kuykendall
Researcher at King’s College London
LinkedIn Link

Rebecca Kuykendall is an international development worker and humanitarian with over seven years of professional experience. She has worked in various institutional capacities including for start-ups, grassroots, philanthropy, UN and government positions. Throughout her career, Rebecca has contributed to a range of thematic areas including education, poverty-reduction, social housing, transitional government, tribal land administration and new technology. Her HR background includes working as a recruiter in the UNDP Somalia, where she maintained candidate pools, administered and revised written assessments, validated academic qualifications, designed competency-based interview questions and facilitated interviews. Presently, Rebecca is a doctoral student at King’s, exploring the issue of emerging technology in the 21st-century African context. Her research looks at the extent to which technology-driven development relies on leadership for successful public service delivery in post-conflict societies.


IRCC Day 5: Application
Jola Thatcher
Assistant to the Head of Office of Regional Marine Pollution Emergency Response Centre for the Mediterranean Sea (REMPEC)
LinkedIn Link

Jola Thatcher is an experienced professional specialising in Business Management Support and Project Administration with a particular interest in HR and recruitment. She has over 15 years of in-depth experience gained at Horton International in Poland and European Medicines Agency, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and International Maritime Organization (IMO) in London. She is currently working at the IMO as an Assistant to the Head of Office of Regional Marine Pollution Emergency Response Centre for the Mediterranean Sea (REMPEC) in Malta, dealing with wide range of tasks in the area of Office Administration.

She is a strong believer in achieving personal and people excellence and as an eternal optimist continues to motivate others to always do their best. She is currently in the process of completing her CIPD qualification to focus solely on Recruitment, HR and Staff Engagement within International Development Organizations.


IRCC Day 4: Campaign & Outreach
Neil Ford
Director, Division of Communication
Commonwealth Secretariat
LinkedIn Link

Neil Ford has more than 30 years of professional experience in communication. He started as a journalist for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and became a National News Reporter before the age of 30, filing stories for an audience of several million people. He left journalism for international development, managing programmes in remote areas from Bhutan to Kyrgyzstan. During this period, Neil specialised in Communication for Development (C4D), the design and delivery of strategies to give local people a voice in their own development. In 2000, he joined the United Nations system, serving first with UNICEF in Kenya and Senegal, then with the UN Population Fund in New York and UNESCO in Paris. Currently based in London, Neil is the Director of Communication for the Commonwealth.


IRCC Day 4: Campaign & Outreach
Belén Satorre Berbegal
Communications Programme Manager
Amnesty International
LinkedIn Link

Belén Satorre Berbegal is a trilingual Communications Programme Manager at Amnesty International. She leads the Programme’s strategy and work across digital, marketing, creative and communications to deliver effective campaigns and initiatives. She joined Amnesty from Sainsbury’s Corporate Social Responsibility Team. Previously, she has taken several communications and research roles for UNHCR and UNESCO in Costa Rica, and the Washington D.C based think tank Center for American Progress. She has also worked in Mexico and Ecuador conducting research about the risks that journalists face working in border disputes with the Spanish Agency for International Development (AECID), and as a journalist for El Mundo national newspaper in Madrid.


IRCC Day 4: Campaign & Outreach
Matthew Taylor
World Health Organisation
LinkedIn Link

Matthew Taylor is a communications and multimedia specialist with 14 years of experience in over 20 countries, including humanitarian emergencies and global HQ offices, with UNICEF, the UN Development Programme, the UN Population Fund and the World Health Organisation (WHO). Based in London, he is currently consulting for the WHO’s World Health Emergencies programme. Before joining the UN system, Matthew worked in NATO’s Public Diplomacy Division, for the European Union in Moldova and Ukraine and a number of INGO’s and think tanks in Brussels and London.

IRCC Day 3: Project Management
Andrew MacLeod
Chairman, Non-Executive Director, Humanitarian, Professor, Speaker, Writer/Author
LinkedIn Link
Wikipedia Link

Andrew MacLeod is a recognised global leader, passionate humanitarian, negotiator and communicator in the business, diplomatic and humanitarian field. He has particular expertise in external stakeholder management, external risk valuation and crisis communications. His humanitarian activities included time as Chief of Operations of the United Nations Emergency Coordination Centre in Pakistan, where MacLeod negotiated a complex series of relationships that saw the Pakistan military, international NGOs, UN agencies, US military, UK military and non-state militant groups all playing a role in delivering a successful operation without casualties or conflict. At the International Committee of the Red Cross Macleod served in the Balkans and Rwanda during the 1990s. He set up and ran Law of Armed Conflict training with military units in Rwanda and former Yugoslavia that resulted in a measurable decrease in civilian casualties.

In the for-profit sphere, MacLeod is Non-Executive Chairman of British based Griffin Law, co-founder of Brexit Advisory Services and Non-Executive Director at New York based Cornerstone Capital. At Cornerstone Capital he specialises in advising on tertiary level questions to determine external risk assessment in due-diligence investigations. Professor MacLeod advises a number of companies on their stakeholder relations and external risks, is a member of the Chatham House/ICRC Expert Panel on Humanitarian Negotiations with Non-State Armed Groups, was an Affiliate Senior Associate to the Center for Strategic International Studies in Washington DC, served on the Advisory Boards of the World Economic Forum’s Future of Civil Society Project Advisory Board, Kings College Humanitarian Futures Project and the UN Expert Group on Responsible Business and Investment in High-Risk Areas.


IRCC Day 3: Project Management
Renato Giacon
Principal Counsellor, EU Funds Co‐Financing
European Bank for Reconstruction and Development
LinkedIn Link

Renato has spent the past 10 years working as a development economist and international civil servant in leadership positions at the intersection of public policy, international relations and financial markets in global institutions (EBRD, United Nations, OECD, PwC, Oxford Analytica),

Currently working as a senior official leading a large team in the EBRD’s Policy and Partnerships Vice Presidency, Renato manages the global engagement of EBRD – including handling external communications initiatives – with key stakeholders, such as the European Commission, key EU Member States, the European Investment Bank and the World Bank Group, among others. In his current position, he has taken leadership in helping position EBRD as a strategic partner of the EU and other key shareholders so as to promote European and internationally-accepted standards and development policy objectives within the context of the wider debate on the international and European development finance architecture.

Prior to EBRD, he has acquired extensive strategy and public affairs consulting experience at PwC, Oxford Analytica and Fleishmann-Hillard EU, where he was in charge of setting-up client engagements, managing project teams, drafting project proposals as well as overseeing project delivery and conducting advocacy for policy change.

Renato has also co-authored thought leadership briefings on several public policy issues, given public lectures and workshops in academia and think tanks such as Brunel University, the Catholic University of Milan and Bruegel.

Graduating with honours (Summa Cum laude) from leading European universities (Sciences Po Paris and Catholic University of Milan, including exchange programme at the Sorbonne University and the London School of Economics), Renato has complemented his strong academic background with hands-on experience in select international economic, financial and security institutions such as the United Nations and EU agencies, the OECD as well as the WTO. In light of his professional and academic achievements, Renato has recently been awarded the admission to the Harvard Kennedy School’s Executive Education programme on Economic Development.


IRCC Day 3: Project Management
Gus Constantinou
Development and Humanitarian Programme Management Specialist
LinkedIn Link

Gus Constantinou is an accomplished programme management professional with over 10 years of experience, with experience in the broader MENA (Afghanistan, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Turkey). Thematically, Gus has focussed on programming and policy areas that further governance, civil society and recovery objectives for a wide range of private sector, public sector and non-profit organisations. Gus is passionate and committed to positively impacting communities and individuals in need through detail-oriented project implementation and recovery efforts. He holds an MA in War Studies (International Peace and Security) from King’s College London and a specialist BA (hons) in political science and international development from the University of Toronto.

IRCC Day 2: Research & Policy Recommendations
David McNair
Executive Director for Global Policy
The ONE Campaign
LinkedIn Link

David McNair is an Executive Director for Global Policy at The ONE Campaign, a movement of 9 million people fighting for an end to extreme poverty. He focuses on improving girl’s education and health, securing more and better aid, and fighting for anti-corruption laws. Previously David worked at Save the Children and Christian Aid. His work has helped secure landmark legislation on anti-corruption and billions of dollars for the fight against infant malnutrition. In 2012 was named one of the 99 top foreign policy leaders under 33. He holds a PhD in Social Geography from the Queen’s University of Belfast.

IRCC Day 2: Research & Policy Recommendations
Jessica Toale
Former Executive Director
Centre for Development Results
LinkedIn Link

Jessica is a political and international development professional with 10+ years of expertise in strategy, communications, and advocacy support. She is a former executive director at the Centre for Development Results (CDR), an organisation that supports companies that deliver UK aid funded programmes and have a shared aspiration to improve impact, value for money and accountability in their work. Jessica established the Fabian Society’s International Policy Group and formerly served as a political advisor to two shadow secretaries of state for international development supporting them to develop and promote policy.

Jessica also coordinated a global campaign to secure the inclusion of early childhood development targets in the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). She successfully delivered two high-profile events at the UN working with the Governments of Chile, Colombia, Ecuador and Italy, and UNICEF. This campaign engaged 12,000 people in 170 countries and led to the adoption of target 4.2 in the new Global Goals framework. Jessica continues to advise organisations and governments on the implementation of these Goals, and she also sits on the Advisory Board of We Male Change, a new online global volunteering platform focused on empowering people to take action to support the SDGs.

IRCC Day 2: Research & Policy Recommendations
Jonathan Brooker
Solidarites International UK
LinkedIn Link

Jonathan Brooker is a development and humanitarian professional with extensive experience working with the United Nations, International NGOs and as a consultant in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia. Having moved on from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs at the end of 2018, he has taken up the role of Director of Solidarites International UK, a humanitarian organisation working on the frontline of crises across the globe in order to support over four million people every year by providing safe drinking water, sanitation facilities, hygiene support, food security, shelter, and protection assistance.

Jonathan is a strong supporter and advocate for humanitarian reform and has been conducting extensive research into the performance of the humanitarian system, the multiple and complex adaptive challenges facing the sector, and critical actions to direct the future of the humanitarian action. Jonathan has worked in some of the most challenging environments and on many of the most complex crises and contexts including leading humanitarian action and responses to conflicts and disasters in Pakistan, Iraq, Yemen, Libya, Lebanon, Sudan, and Iran.

Jonathan holds a Bachelor Degree in Theology from Westminster College, Oxford, and an MA in in International Law. Jonathan is also Chair of the START Fund Committee, is a member of the adaptive leadership think tank the Yes Europe Network, and works as a consultant advisor to the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations department of the European Commission. He now lives in the UK with his wife and three children.



IRCC Day 1: Introduction
Brita Fernandez Schmidt
Executive Director
Women for Women International – UK
LinkedIn Link

Brita Fernandez Schmidt is a dedicated advocate and promoter of women’s empowerment, women’s rights and equality. She frequently writes about the challenges women face all over the world in the context of poverty and conflict and is a public speaker on these issues. She has lived and/or worked in over 16 countries spanning three continents.
Brita has led several influential women’s organisations and networks. She currently runs Women for Women International – UK as Executive Director and is the Senior Vice President for Global Partnerships and has worked at the organisation for 10 years. She has grown the organisation from when it first started in the UK to a medium-sized charity which is helping thousands of women in countries affected by conflict and raising millions through effective and innovative donor relationships and partnerships.
Brita is also the Chair of Gender Action for Peace and Security (GAPS). Previously she was a Commissioner to the UK Women’s National Commission, Chair of the Gender and Development Network, Director for Programmes & Policy at Womankind Worldwide, board member of BOND and she started her career at the European Women’s Lobby.
Brita holds a MA in Women’s Studies from the University of Sussex. Originally from Germany, Brita went to school in Venezuela. She now lives in the UK with her husband and two daughters.

IRCC Day 1: Introduction
Gesù Antonio Báez
Director and Chief Diplomatic Consultant
Pax Tecum Global Consultancy
Website Link

Gesu Antonio Baez is the Director and Chief Diplomatic Consultant at Pax Tecum Global Consultancy, a consultancy firm that specialises in diplomacy and international development. Prior to this, he worked for years as a humanitarian directing the international development division for the International Society of Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynaecology (ISUOG), engaging with international governments and stakeholders throughout Africa, the Middle East and Latin America. He is also a member of the Board of Directors for Teach for Italy, the newest addition to the Teach for All Network to enlist, develop, and mobilise Italy’s most promising future leaders to grow and strengthen the movement for educational equity and excellence. Previously, He served as Champion Representative of Women’s Economic Empowerment for UN Women where he launched the UN’s first grassroots campaign entitled “I am (Wo)Man” back in 2015. He is a frequent keynote speaker, having given a TEDx talk and spoken at numerous high profile venues as Barclay’s, and the University of Edinburgh on diplomacy in international development, foreign affairs and women’s rights.



IRCC Day 1: Introduction
Matilda Branson
Senior Policy & Advocacy Officer
Girls Not Brides: The Global Partnership to End Child Marriage
LinkedIn Link

As Senior Policy & Advocacy Officer at Girls Not Brides: The Global Partnership to End Child Marriage Matilda tracks policy developments and formulates policy positions on child marriage at the national and regional levels, and is responsible for supporting members to identify advocacy opportunities on ending child marriage, particularly around UN resolutions, implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals and working with governments on the implementation of national level policies. Prior to joining Girls Not Brides, Matilda worked with CARE Australia on their Mekong portfolio, with UNICEF Nepal coordinating the development of Nepal’s national strategy to end child marriage, and with UNICEF Regional Office for South Asia on social policy and adolescent girls’ issues. She has also worked with different grassroots organisations on women’s and child rights issues in Australia, Malaysia, Mozambique and Papua New Guinea. Matilda has an MA in Gender and Development and enjoys horse riding. She speaks English, French, Spanish, and conversational Nepali.


IRCC Day 1: Introduction
Stewart Wood
Labour Peer
House of Lords
LinkedIn Link

Stewart Wood is a Labour peer in the House of Lords. From 2001-2007 he served on the Chancellor’s Council of Economic Advisers in HM Treasury, where he worked on issues ranging from London’s Olympics bid to the 2003 Treasury assessment on joining the Euro. Between 2007 and 2010 he was Senior Special Adviser to Prime Minister Gordon Brown, covering foreign policy (Europe, USA & Middle East); culture, media & sports policy; and Northern Irish affairs. From 2010-2015 he was Shadow Minister without Portfolio in the Shadow Cabinet, and advised the Leader of the Opposition on strategy and foreign affairs.

Lord Wood has been a don at Oxford since 1996. He was a Tutorial Fellow in Politics & University Lecturer at Magdalen College from 1996-2011 (where he is now an Emeritus Fellow). He is now a Visiting Fellow at Nuffield College, Oxford, and a Professor of Practice at Oxford University’s Blavatnik School of Government. His academic research focused on political economy in Europe & the USA, welfare state development and other issues in European public policy. Prior to teaching at Oxford, he obtained a PhD in Government from Harvard University, where he was a Fulbright Scholar.

In 2015, Lord Wood succeeded Jeremy Greenstock as the Chair of the United Nations Association (UK). He has also been appointed to be a member of the new House of Lords Committee on International Relations, and is also a Labour member of the Lords Committee translating EU legislation into UK law. In 2018 he became a Director of the Good Law Project.


IRCC Day 1: Introduction
Alexandra Gordina
YPUN, Ltd.
LinkedIn Link

Alexandra Gordina is the founder and the director of YPUN Ltd., a company assisting young professionals throughout the recruitment process at the United Nations agencies. Previously she held the position of an international consultant at the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) for two years mainly focusing on Empretec, a capacity-building program fostering entrepreneurship in developing countries. She also worked at the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) assisting national statistical offices and other stakeholders to coordinate their work and fill statistical gaps.

As of today, Alexandra possesses eight years of expertise in both private and public sectors in the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Russia, the United States, Colombia and South Africa. She founded YPUN, Ltd. in 2014 to help young professionals get hired for their ideal job in the international affairs area with a meaningful raise, while skipping the irritation of the typically discouraging failures.