Expert Team: Global Initiatives

Dr. Ana Paula Hernández is a Mexican expert in peacebuilding and restorative justice. She has implemented peace and justice projects in more than 300 secondary schools in violence-affected areas throughout Mexico and worked with over 100,000 students, teachers, and principals to reduce levels of violence and achieve horizontal relationships, incorporating a gender perspective.

Currently, Ana Paula is part of a joint effort to strengthen municipal police in México and Latin America through mediation, negotiation, and alternative conflict resolution mechanisms. She designed and coordinates the Diploma in Peace Education and Human Rights at the Universidad Iberoamericana and the Memory and Tolerance Museum in Mexico. She is also the coordinator of the National Dialogue for Peace, which aims to establish the conditions for building peace in Mexico through an interdisciplinary and multi-sectoral approach to four central themes: social fabric, justice, security, and the prison system.

Ana Paula holds a Master’s degree in Human Rights from the Universidad Iberoamericana and a Ph.D. in Social Responsibility from the Universidad Anáhuac Mexico Norte. She has numerous publications on violence, democracy, human rights, and peace education.

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Dr Sithembile Mbete is the Director of Programmes of Futurelect, a non-profit and non-partisan political training programme for emerging public leaders in Southern Africa.  She is also a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Political Sciences at the University of Pretoria (UP) where she teaches international relations and South African politics. She serves on the Council of the Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority (PSiRA).

Sithembile was recently a visiting researcher at the African Leadership Centre at King’s College London. She has a DPhil in International Relations from the Univ. of Pretoria and she completed her undergraduate, honours and masters degrees at the Univ. of Cape Town. In 2014 she was a visiting scholar at the Dept. of Political Science and Balsillie School of International Affairs at the Univ. of Waterloo in Canada.

Sithembile comments frequently in the media on a range of issues in South African politics. She is Kaya FM’s resident political analyst and has a regular slot on David O’Sullivan’s breakfast show. Sithembile has been part of eNCA’s team of analysts for the ANC’s 2017 elective conference, the State of the Nation Address in 2018 and 2019, and the 2019 National and Provincial election. She has also worked for the Presidency of South Africa as a researcher in the secretariat of the National Planning Commission. She contributed to the drafting of the National Development Plan in the areas of public service reform, anti-corruption policy and community safety.

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Murat Somer is a Professor of Political Science and International Relations at Özyeğin University, Istanbul.

Murat is a scholar of comparative polarization and depolarization, democratic erosion, democratization, and opposition strategies during regime changes, religious and secular politics, ethnic conflicts and the Kurdish Question.

His recent publications include Polarizing Polities: A Global Threat to Democracy (co-edited with Jennifer McCoy) and Return to Point Zero: The Turkish-Kurdish Question and How Politics and Ideas (Re)Make Empires, Nations and StatesHe also has been a volunteer and advisor for civil society and political parties, participating in efforts to overcome severe polarization, autocratization and human rights violations in Turkey and contributing to domestic and international media.

Previously, he served as assistant, associate and full professor at Koç University Istanbul, and held visiting positions such as Mellon post-doctoral fellow at the University of Washington, Democracy and Development Fellow at Princeton University, and Visiting Scholar and Lecturer at universities such as Stanford, Harvard and Stockholm. He is a research affiliate of the Democracy Institute at Central European University.

Born in Diyarbakır and raised in Istanbul, Murat holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from Boğaziçi University Istanbul, and a master’s degree in economics and a PhD in political economy and public policy from the University of Southern California. He is the proud father of Nazım Erenay.

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Zaid Al-Ali is the founder of the Arab Association of Constitutional Law, the region’s first regional network of constitutional experts. He is also Senior Adviser in Constitution-Building at International IDEA.

Al-Ali’s previous work experience includes having practised international commercial arbitration for 12 years and working for the United Nations on Iraqi constitutional and parliamentary reform for five years.

Since 2011, Al-Ali has implemented projects on and provided assistance to the large majority of constitutional reform initiatives in Arab countries. He is the author of The Struggle for Iraq’s Future, published by Yale University Press (2014) and of Arab Constitutionalism: The Coming Revolution, published by Cambridge University Press (2021). Al-Ali has taught Law at Sciences-Po (Paris) and at Princeton University. From 2019-2020, he was a fellow at the Berlin Institute of Advanced Studies.

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Sternford Moyo is the Chairman and Senior Partner of the law firm Scanlen and Holderness where he specialises in mining, corporate and commercial law. He is also President of the International Bar Association (IBA). Mr Moyo is the first IBA President of African descent in the history of the 74-year-old organisation.

Mr Moyo has held numerous senior IBA roles, including Council Member, Management Board Member, Advisory Board Member and Chair of the African Regional Forum, Deputy Secretary-General for Southern Africa, Co-Chair of the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI), Trustee of IBA-established entities, such as the Southern Africa Litigation Centre and eyeWitness to Atrocities, and member of the Task Force on Illicit Financial Flows, Poverty and Human Rights.

Mr Moyo’s professional career has seen him hold a variety of leadership positions, including having been a bar leader in Zimbabwe and in Southern Africa, and a corporate leader in mining, manufacturing, financial services and leadership development.

In 1990, Mr Moyo was selected by the United States Information Services to participate in a programme to familiarise young African leaders with the American legal system and its background. In 2004, he participated in a media advocacy course run by the University of Oxford.

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Mohamed Fadhel Mahfoudh is a former president of the Tunisian Order of Lawyers. A lawyer for the Court of Cassation since 2001, he was the first member of the Sfax regional council of the Tunisian Order of Lawyers (1998-2004), then secretary-general (2007-2010) and, finally, president (2010-2013). He was also a member of the Independent High Authority for Elections established during the first part of the Tunisian democratic transition.

Mr Mahfoudh is known on the international scene primarily as one of the members of the Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet. A winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2015, this group of four organizations with divergent political views made its mark for its decisive role in building a pluralist democracy after the Arab Spring revolution of 2011 in Tunisia. The Quartet’s concerted actions resulted in holding presidential and legislative elections, and in ratifying the new Tunisian Constitution in 2014.

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Dr. Menaka Guruswamy is the Henry Steiner Visiting Professor of Human Rights Law at Harvard Law School (spring 2022).

She is a Senior Advocate at the Supreme Court of India where she litigates mostly large constitutional rights cases. Through her constitutional litigation practice, she has successfully sought reform of the bureaucracy in the country through fixed tenure (TSR Subramanian v Union of India), defended central government legislation that mandates that all private schools admit disadvantaged children (Right to Education case), and overturned section 377 of the Indian Penal Code that criminalised same-sex relations (Navtej Singh Johar v Union of India). Guruswamy is presently litigating the case for marriage-equality in India.

In her private law practice she also litigates in the areas of commercial law, white collar crime and technology-law.

She has also consulted with many agencies of the United Nations, including UNDP, and UNICEF on issues implicating international human rights law, and also constitution-making. Guruswamy has also supported constitution-making in Nepal. Early on in her career she practiced law in New York as an associate at Davis, Polk & Wardwell. She is admitted to the New York Bar, and is a member of the Supreme Court Bar Association, India.

Guruswamy has a Doctorate from Oxford University (D.Phil.), a Masters in Law (LL.M) Harvard Law School and a basic law degree from the National Law School of India, Bangalore. She was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford and a Gammon Fellow at Harvard Law.

She has been visiting faculty at Yale Law School, New York University School of Law, Columbia Law School, Brown University and the University of Toronto Faculty of Law. In 2016-2017, she was a fellow at the Wissenschaftskoelleg zu Berlin (Institute of Advanced Studies, Berlin)

Guruswamy was on Foreign Policy magazine’s list 100 most influential Global Thinkers for 2019 and with Arundhati Katju on Times Magazine’s 2019 list of 100 most influential people for their work on the decriminalisation of homosexuality in India.

She has been published in a variety of publications including; The New York Times, the New York Review of Booksthe American Journal of International Law, and the Indian Express.

Guruswamy is the co-editor of Founding Moments of Constitutionalism (Hart Publications), 2019.

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José Ramón Cossío Díaz is a Mexican lawyer who served as Minister of the Supreme Court of Justice of Mexico from December 2003 to November 2018. He has been a professor at various institutions such as the National Preparatory School of UNAM, the Instituto Tecnológico de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey -Unidad Colima-, and the Faculty of Law of the UNAM.

Throughout his career, he has received various recognitions such as the Benito Juárez-Peña Colorada Award, the Research Award from the Mexican Academy of Sciences and the National Award for Sciences and Arts in the area of History, Social Sciences and Philosophy. He has written many books and published articles and memoirs in a variety of journals, magazines and newspapers. Since 2014 he has been a member of the National College.

Cossío Díaz studied law at the University of Colima, where he obtained a bachelor’s degree. He studied for a master’s degree in constitutional law and political science at the Center for Political and Constitutional Studies in Madrid. He carried out doctoral studies at the Faculty of Law of the Complutense University of Madrid.

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Humberto Sierra Porto is a Judge of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights since 2013 and served as its President during the 2014-2015 biennium. Previously he had served as Judge (2004-2012), Associate Judge (2001) and Assistant Judge (1992) in the Colombian Constitutional Court. As a researcher he has worked at the Institute of Constitutional Studies Carlos Restrepo Piedrahita and at the Universidad Externado de Valladolid. As a Professor, he has taught Constitutional Law at the Universidad Externado de Colombia, where he currently is the director of the Department of Constitutional Law, and previously has been the director of the postgraduate degrees in Constitutional Law, Parliamentary Law, Public Law, and Political Science and Sociology.

Judge Humberto Sierra Porto has a PhD in Constitutional Law from the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, is a lawyer from the Universidad Externado de Colombia and has a specialisation in Constitutional Law and Political Science from the Centro de Estudios Constitucionales in Madrid.

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Gloria Patricia Porras is a Magistrate-Elect of Guatemala’s Constitutional Court, having been re-elected for another five-year term in March 2021. She has served on Guatemala’s Constitutional Court during the periods 2011-2016 and 2016-2021. She has also served as the Guatemala Constitutional Court’s President in 2015-2016 and 2020-2021.

Gloria Patricia Porras is also Wilson Center Latin American Program’s Global and Public Policy Fellow. In 2015, she was awarded the Global Jurist Award. The award is designed to honour a sitting judge, whether in an international or national court, who has demonstrated in his or her career courage in the face of adversity to uphold and defend fundamental human rights or the principles of international criminal justice. Gloria Porras holds a law degree and a master’s degree in international public law from  Universidad de San Carlos de Guatemala.

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