Logo_Symbol02 ECAS_Logo


Partners  |  Senior Associates  |  Associates  |  Advisors  |  Institutional Alliances

lesley-BW zab-BW

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.


Inma Perez Rocha (Associate)

Inma is a trained international human rights practitioner and leading expert on transitional justice, conflict prevention and peace-building.  Her regional expertise is East Europe and Latin America. Inma has extensive experience in the results-based management of international development, conflict prevention, and transitional justice projects that encourage dialogue and reconciliation across conflict divides in South-East Europe. She has worked for United Nations in Kosovo, the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation in Albania and Bosnia & Herzegovina, and has supported the work of NGOs in the Czech Republic, Macedonia and Ukraine. She designs innovative projects, identifies key counterparts and secures funding for projects/programs that help strengthen local communities and the openness of state authorities to civil society organisations in Eastern Europe and Latin America. She also has expertise in political risk assessment, development of operational guidance and tools for inclusion of international human rights principles and transitional justice approaches into project implementation, dialogue and mediation. In addition, she has a strong interest in inter-cultural dialogue, conflict transformation through culture, and the role of arts in peacebuilding. Inma holds an MSc in International Human Rights Law from Oxford University, an MA in European, Russian and Eurasian Studies from the University of Toronto, and a MA in Human Rights and Democratization from the European Inter-University Centre for Human Rights and Democratisation. She is a native Spanish speaker with fluent English, French, Russian, Czech and Portuguese, and she has a good knowledge of Serbian/Bosnian, Albanian and Romanian.



Erin Blankenship (Associate)

Erin is a field-based conflict, security and development specialist who focuses on conflict management in fragile and conflict contexts. The majority of her experience has consisted of investigating and assessing ground-level sociopolitical, security and conflict dynamics, programmatic and political risk in complex environments; analysing and informing policy on natural resource management (extractives, water) linked to CSR/stabilisation and energy security; and supporting the implementation, monitoring and evaluation of aid and peacebuilding programmes, particularly in governance and rule of law. This includes advising on strategy, conflict sensitivity and mitigating challenges to the effectiveness and sustainability of activities. She has worked for and with NGOs, the UN, political and military bodies, international think-tanks, and private sector entities; and her fieldwork has included China, the Balkans, East Africa and Afghanistan, with further substantive experience in the Middle East, East and Central Asia, southern Africa, Central and South America. Erin holds two Masters degrees from King’s College London’s War Studies Department and School of Law, is a native English speaker and has varying levels of proficiency in Spanish, Mandarin, Russian and French.

2015 Erin Blankenship Profile

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 (Junior 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