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Zab Vilayil (Associate)


Zab Vilayil is a human security practitioner and early warning systems developer with experience in SMS platforms, mapping and designing integrated information systems. He draws conceptual and practical insight from his experiences in Iraq, Kuwait, India as well as East, Central and West Africa. He most recently worked with UNDP to design and develop the National Conflict Early Warning System for Kenya and well as had engagements in the Plateau State with UNDP Nigeria. He has conducted trainings in conflict management and peace building for various stakeholders. He has Bachelors in Religion and in Education as well as a Masters in Human Security and Peace Building. He is based in Alberta, Canada and has a working knowledge in Hindi, Urdu, and French.

Lesley  McCulloch (Associate)


Lesley has been actively engaged with the UK, Australian and Indonesian governments in the ongoing Indonesian debate on SSR. She also has spent many years engaged in community development in conflict/post-conflict environments, with a particular focus on gender. She has undertaken focused research on governance – most of which has been in Indonesia, and is an experienced governance advisor. Lesley also has an extensive background in post-disaster settings, most notably in post-tsunami Aceh. She is experienced in peace process negotiation, and in working with local political parties on election manifestos and representation.Lesley holds two Masters degrees from the Aberdeen University and is fluent in English, with good spoken Bahasa Indonesia.

Karen Sherlock (Associate)


Karen has over 20 years of experience of working in the areas of human rights, conflict analysis, peace-building and democratic institution building. She has worked for the European Commission, UNHCHR, Amnesty International and other NGOs in a variety of roles including evaluation, monitoring, election monitoring, research and investigation and advocacy. In particular Karen is experienced in leading EC programme, project and project proposal evaluations and has deep knowledge of the workings of EEAS and DEVCO in the post-Lisbon institutional set-up. She has ample experience using qualitative and some quantitative techniques. Karen’s specific expertise is in gender, human rights, torture & rehabilitation of torture survivors, war economies, conflict analysis, prevention and resolution, peace building and democratic institution building. Karen has an MA in Contemporary War and Peace Studies and a post graduate diploma in Mental Health relating to situations of political violence and humanitarian catastrophes from the Complutense University in Madrid.  She is currently studying for a PhD at the University of the West of England. She is a native English speaker with fluent Spanish and knowledge of Portuguese and French.


João Costa (Associate)

João is interested in the intersection of politics, business and the law. As a criminal justice specialist, he has experience in conflict mediation, legal reform and political analysis. His previous commitments range from field experience as a delegate of the International Committee of the Red Cross to working at major international fora in New York and Geneva with the United Nations and the Foreign Ministry of Portugal, respectively. He has also developed a taste for corporate issues during his time at Linklaters LLP, a magic circle law firm. João has published a book and various journal articles. He holds an MPhil in Criminology from the University of Cambridge, where he worked as a Research Assistant measuring the quality of prison life. His personal research tackled the basis for penal decision- and policy-making. He also holds an LLM from the University of Coimbra, where he had previously completed his BA in Law. In-between he studied Political Philosophy at Harvard University. João is fluent in Portuguese, English and Spanish, and competent in Italian and French.

Joao Costa 2015

Vanessa Thevathasan (Associate)

Vanessa is a researcher, independent journalist and communications specialist focused on bridging the stabilisation, humanitarian, and development sectors. In addition to her role with ECAS, she consults for TedxYouth in London and Build Africa. She started her career in journalism covering DDR of child soldiers in Myanmar for the Centre for Armed Violence Reduction, and has consistently published for Huffington Post, Insight on Conflict, and The Diplomat. She has assisted the head of UNDP Kenya on the issue of private sector investment, produced reports for AIDF on emergency procurement and mobile development, and works with Advocates for International Development to highlight the intersection of law, development and peace, particularly on business and human rights and the sustainable development goals.  Vanessa reports for several non-governmental organisations on grassroot conflict-resolution and community-led development, including International Refugee Trust, International Alert, The Hunger Project, AMAR Foundation, BAAG and Soroptimist International GBI. She is independently focused on the law and politics of statelessness and mental health of displaced persons as a result of war, natural disaster or climate change. She is on the board of Global Life Changers, Action on Poverty Trust and Action for Children and Communities in Africa.  Vanessa is trained in law (SOAS), international politics (University of Cambridge) and Middle East politics (LSE).

Vanessa 2015

Dr Rachel Horan (Associate)


Rachel is a Chartered Psychologist and Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society. She has wide ranging experience of analysis, research, evaluation and process management across numerous government and NGO settings and has worked for government agencies including the UK National Offender Management Service and the UK Home Office in a variety of roles.  Rachel’s applied abilities lie in conducting and translating research into evidence-based practice and service development, responsive to the field and its operational demands.   Rachel’s particular interests and expertise include the psychology of group engagement and group enabled violence, inter-group violence, conflict, post conflict transition, peace building and prevention approaches, particularly the prevention of group engagement by early identification and awareness of vulnerabilities. She is also interested in children’s rights and the inclusion of strengths based, positive psychology approaches when intervening with children and young people who offend. At a tertiary level, her expertise lies in multi-agency intervention approaches to violence reduction. She is also lectures in these and related areas at Manchester Metropolitan University, UK. Rachel is a native English speaker with a good knowledge of French and is learning Dutch.

2016 Horan

Rayne Loken (Associate)


Rayne is a monitoring and evaluation expert, specialising in conflict and transitional environments. Having worked on behalf of both the humanitarian and private sectors, she has designed and operationalised M&E systems and solutions in Iraq, Afghanistan, Mali, and Turkey (on the Syria response). Previously she served as an evaluation methods specialist and team lead, assisting in the design and implementation of impact evaluations across USAID/E3’s global climate change portfolio. She has significant experience starting-up and managing both US government and UK-funded projects wth a collective portfolio of over USD700 million. Her areas of technical specialisation include: comprehensive M&E plan development and operationalisation, developing responsive M&E systems, remote management strategies, and development of monitoring solutions to enhance compliance and accountability in conflict and fragile environments.  She holds dual Master’s degrees in Applied Anthropology and Public Health along with a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and minor in Sociology.

2016 Rayne Loken

Evelien Weller (Associate)

Evelien is specialized in the fields of peacebuilding, conflict management, governance, security and development. She has over 12 years of experience in undertaking research, policy reviews, programme design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of projects and programmes in fragile and conflict contexts. She has in-depth experience and familiarity with international, bilateral and EU policies, programmes and approaches in these fields, with a particular interest in civil-military cooperation, peace operations, conflict sensitivity, mediation, security sector reform and elections. She has worked as Team Leader and team member on a variety of assignments for NGOs, government agencies, UN, EU and private sector. Recent assignments include an appraisal of the Africa Peace Programme for Danida, an evaluation of the Palestinian Negotiations Support Project for a group of donors and multiple monitoring and evaluation assignments regarding the EU Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace. Evelien has extensive on the ground experience in post-conflict and fragile environments, including in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Lebanon, Israel, Palestine, Ukraine, Rwanda, DR Congo, Burundi, South Sudan, Sudan, Chad, Ethiopia, Nigeria and Zimbabwe. She has an MA in International Relations from the University of Amsterdam, and an MA in International Peace and Security from King’s College, London. Evelien speaks Dutch, English and French.

2016 Evelien Weller

Roberto Fallini (Associate)

Roberto has 10 years of experience in the development and humanitarian sector with international agencies, including the International Committee of the Red Cross, UNHCR, and several INGOs. He has designed, managed and evaluated programs, often in hostile environments, on conflict resolution, countering violent extremism, institutional capacity building and humanitarian assistance. Roberto brings solid experience in stabilisation, conducting socio-political, security and conflict context assessments and managing relations with different stakeholders, including authorities, armed forces, armed opposition groups, community leaders and other actors. He knows the Middle East and North Africa region very well, where he lived from 2009 to 2016, including Algeria, Egypt, Yemen, Sudan, Syria and Lebanon.  Roberto holds a BA in political science from Università degli Studi di Milano (Italy) and an MA in Asian and African studies, with a specific focus on geopolitics and conflict prevention from Università degli Studi di Pavia (Italy), which included a field research and Arabic language programme in Syria (Damascus University).  He also speaks fluent English, Arabic, French, Italian and Spanish.

2017 Roberto Fallini

Tamara Tawaefi DiNenna (Associate)

Tamara is a researcher and subject matter expert in the security and defense sector. She advises governments, military organizations, and non-governmental organizations in establishing and meeting their operational and strategic goals. She provides in-depth knowledge of geopolitical dynamics and cultural factors and provides solid assessments of threats and security risks. Tamara regularly consults for NATO as a white cell coordinator on cultural and gender issues and the Swedish Defence University as a researcher, where she works with the higher staff course on the theoretical approach to military thinking. She consults for United Nations Office for Drugs and Crimes, the Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance, and the Swedish International Development Agency. Tamara has extensive field experience in the Middle East and North Africa.  She is a PhD Candidate in War Studies at the Finnish Defence University. Tamara is fluent in Swedish, English and Arabic.

2017 Tamara Tawaefi

Zahed Yousuf (Associate)

Zahed has over 15 years of experience of working on humanitarian and peacebuilding issues in areas affected by conflict and violence. This experience ranges from managing and evaluating humanitarian programmes to designing and implementing peacebuilding programs in DR Congo, Burundi, Zimbabwe, Palestinian Territories, Chad, Nepal, Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Cambodia, Columbia, Iraq and South Sudan. Zahed’s expertise includes conducting political economy and conflict analysis, integrating conflict sensitive business practices into extractive industry operations, training community members to resolve inter communal conflict and supporting national level dialogue to promote transparency within extractive sector. He holds two MScs (Finance, Belfast and Conflict and Development, SOAS), and is a fully qualified chartered accountant. He is fluent in French and proficient in Urdu.

2017 Zahed Yousuf