Expert Team: Staff

Víctor Almela Menjón serves as Intern at the Institute for Integrated Transitions (IFIT), based in its headquarters in Barcelona.

Born and raised in Barcelona, Víctor holds a Bachelor’s degree in Translation and Interpreting from German and Russian to Spanish. After taking (post)Soviet and gender studies at St. Petersburg’s Presidential Academy, he moved to Scotland to undertake a research-focused Master’s degree in Human Rights and International Politics. There, Víctor specialised in international human rights law and EU foreign policy. 

Previously a trainee at the EU Delegation to Russia, Víctor engaged in political research and analysis, with a focus on human rights violations. While interning for the OSCE’s High Commissioner on National Minorities, he gained expertise in conflict-prevention monitoring in eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia, and participated in different projects ranging from multilingual education programmes to identity and gender case studies. Víctor also holds experience in communication and e-learning in the humanitarian field, having worked for an NGO consortium specialised in Cash and Voucher Assistance in Latin America. 

Working languages: Spanish, Catalan, English, French, German and Russian.

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Cristina González Torelló is the Financial Assistant at the Institute for Integrated Transitions (IFIT). She holds a BA in Humanities (Modern and Contemporary Studies) from Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona, and a MSc in Development and International Relations (Global Refugee Studies) from Aalborg University in Copenhagen. Her master’s thesis focused on women’s participation in indigenous politics in Ecuador.

Cristina was an intern at the United Nations Association of Spain and DanChurchAid, where her tasks focused on research and advocacy. During her studies in Copenhagen, she also co-founded a start-up aimed at sharing first-hand stories from people living in current situations of crisis that do not get enough media coverage. 

Working languages: English, Spanish, and Catalan

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Rodrigo is an intern at the Institute for Integrated Transitions (IFIT) based in Bogotá. A law and literature student at the Universidad de los Andes, Colombia, he has been involved in different study and research groups on Constitutional law, Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure, and Criminology.

Working languages: English and Spanish 

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Juliana serves as an intern at IFIT’s Bogotá office. Prior to joining IFIT, Juliana worked as an academic monitor for two years, where she developed activities aimed at the democratisation of legal knowledge and was part of research hotbeds focused on public law, memory and peacebuilding. In these roles, she led projects to disseminate the final report of the Colombian Truth Commission.

Juliana is a law student in her last semester at Universidad de los Andes. She has an academic option in pedagogy.

Working languages: English and Spanish 

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Shugufa Kakar serves as an intern at the Institute for Integrated Transitions (IFIT), based in its headquarters in Barcelona.

Shugufa previously participated in an internship program at the Host Country Affairs Department of the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which oversees the implementation of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and Seat Agreements established between the Ministry and international organisations based in the Netherlands. During this time, she acted as a liaison officer at the International Conference on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Crisis Situations (MHPSS). She also worked as a social counsellor at the Dutch Council for Refugees, Rotterdam, where she assisted asylum seekers with their integration process.

Shugufa was a keynote speaker at the international networking conference on the role of the Afghan diaspora in development in Afghanistan, hosted by the Vienna Institute for International Dialogue and Cooperation (VIDC). She spoke about women’s rights in Afghanistan and about Afghan diaspora communities and the need for inclusivity and equality.

Shugufa is currently studying for a Master’s in International Security at the Institut Barcelona d’Estudis Internacionals (IBEI). She obtained a BSc in Public Administration at the Erasmus University in Rotterdam, during which time she did a semester abroad at Konkuk University in Seoul and participated in the National Model United Nations in New York.

Working languages: English and Dutch

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Ana Lucía is a Research Assistant at the Institute for Integrated Transitions (IFIT). She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Law and now is a Master’s student in Constitutional Law.

Prior to joining IFIT, Ana Lucía served as a Legal Advisor to Congresswoman Juanita Goebertus. She also worked as a Consultant on the follow-up of the implementation of the Peace Accord between the Colombian government and the former FARC-EP, focusing on transitional justice and rural reform issues. She has worked on research projects in international criminal law, constitutional law and strategic litigation.

Working languages: Spanish and English

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Maria Paula Giraldo Paredes is an intern at the Institute for Integrated Transitions (IFIT) based in Bogotá, Colombia. She has an undergraduate degree in political science from the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, Colombia, and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in gender studies at the Universidad de los Andes. Previously, Maria Paula travelled to Havana, Cuba, as part of a group of young people from public and private universities who were invited to share their views on the Colombian peace process. 

Maria Paula is coordinator of an initiative on the formalisation of agrarian property rights, social movements, and crops for illicit use at the Faculty of Political Science and International Relations, Javeriana University. Applying the research processes that she developed through this project, Maria Paula wrote a thesis focusing on rural women in Colombia, which was commended by the Faculty of Political Science.

Previously, Maria Paula worked at the International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ) as a monitoring and evaluation assistant on projects for the Special Jurisdiction for La Paz (JEP), the Commission for the Clarification of Truth (CEV), and the Search Unit for Persons Listed as Disappeared (UBPD). Subsequently, she worked at Trust Consultores, developing a gender-focused human rights risk analysis for subsidiaries of Grupo-EPM.

Working languages: Spanish and English

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Country Brain Trusts

Sumaya Tambal is the Local Coordinator of IFIT’s brain trust in Sudan. She has extensive prior experience in humanitarian and development work and has worked across different parts of Sudan and traveled to various countries in the Horn of Africa. Previously, she worked with Oxfam UK as a program officer and team leader for its Pastoralist Program in the Red Sea. She has also worked for Practical Action as program manager for the Women’s Development Program.

Sumaya has significant experience with civil society organisations in Sudan. Among other things, she served with Partners in Development Services as senior project officer for the DfID-funded project, Assisting Sudan’s Transition.

Sumaya has a BSc in social anthropology from the University of Khartoum, Sudan. She is co-author of the book “Annotated Bibliography of Social Research in Darfur” (2006).

Working Languages: English and Arabic.

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Sebastián Guerra Sánchez is a Research Associate at the Institute for Integrated Transitions (IFIT) where he works primarily on projects in Latin America. Sebastián is a sociologist and historian with more than eight years of experience working in the Colombian public sector. He has been a professor of history and social science in Bogotá. His academic work focuses on state capacity building, conflict resolution and citizen participation.

Prior to joining IFIT, Sebastián worked for the Office of the High Commissioner for Peace of Colombia, during that period he was involved in the peace talks between the Colombian Government and the ELN. He also worked as an advisor to the Minister of Mines and Energy and to the Civil Service Department of Colombia. Currently, he is an advisor to the Institute for Public Leadership at the National University of Colombia.

Working languages: English and Spanish

Alejandra is a Research Associate at the Institute for Integrated Transitions (IFIT) where she primarily coordinates the National Brain Trust in Colombia (FCH). Prior to joining IFIT, Alejandra worked for five years at Fundación Ideas para la Paz (FIP), a think tank on peace and security in Colombia, where she held different positions including Coordinator of Thematic and Strategic Affairs, assistant to the Executive Director and research assistant. She has also worked at a peacebuilding organisation in Northern Ireland where she conducted research on narrative and reconciliation. 

Alejandra has worked on research projects on micro trafficking, coca crop substitution and peacebuilding in conflict and post-conflict contexts. Likewise, she has experience in strategic planning and knowledge management. She holds a BA in Political Science with a focus on conflict resolution and peace research from Universidad Javeriana, and a master’s degree in Post-War Recovery Studies from the University of York. 

Working languages: Spanish and English

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