Expert Team: Inclusive Narratives Practice Group

Moky Makura is the Executive Director of Africa No Filter. She was born in Nigeria, educated in England and has lived in London, Johannesburg and Lagos. Before her role at ANF, Moky was the Deputy Director for Communications Africa at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation where she was responsible for building and managing the foundation’s reputation on the continent. She took on an interim role as the foundation’s Country Representative to South Africa in 2017, leading on government relations and internal program coordination.

Before joining the Gates Foundation, Moky worked as Communications Director for the Tony Elumelu Foundation in Nigeria. She has also worked as a well-known TV presenter, producer, author, publisher and a successful entrepreneur in her own right. Moky holds an Honours degree in Politics, Economics and Law from Buckingham University in the UK. She serves on the advisory boards of the Junior Achievement Africa, the Houtbay Partnership and the Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation.

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Dr. Jasmina Brankovic is a Research Associate with the Institute for Integrated Transitions (IFIT). Her research interests include narrative approaches to conflict management, socioeconomic transformation, climate justice, and civil society strategies for social change in transitional contexts, with a focus on participatory methods.

Jasmina is the co-author of Violence, Inequality and Transformation: Apartheid Survivors on South Africa’s Ongoing Transition (2020) and The Global Climate Regime and Transitional Justice (2018) and the co-editor of Advocating Transitional Justice in Africa: The Role of Civil Society (2018). She is the Senior Research Specialist at the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation, South Africa, and the Associate Editor of the International Journal of Transitional Justice. Jasmina has a PhD in Political Science from the University of Marburg.

Working languages: English and Bosnian

Dr. Solon Simmons is an Associate Professor of Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University with a Ph.D. in sociology and the author of the recent book, Root Narrative Theory and Conflict Resolution; Power, Justice and Values, which provides researchers and practitioners a tool grounded in cutting edge approaches to narrative and conflict. Root Narrative Theory is useful for capturing the moral and intellectual bases of radical disagreement, fostering a sense of radical curiosity, and helping parties to pursue deeper mutual understandings.

He is also the author of The Eclipse of Equality: Arguing America on Meet the Press (Stanford University Press, 2013) and Professors and their Politics with Neil Gross (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2014). His current work on peace and conflict resolution combines Weberian institutional theory, with critical social philosophy, bringing in insights from semiotics and narrative analysis with the goal of developing a deeper understanding of the ideas and ideologies of rivals in conflict.

Solon served as interim dean for the Carter School in 2013, and Vice President for Global Strategy for George Mason from 2014-2017, and he teaches classes on conflict theory, narrative, media, discourse and conflict, human rights, quantitative and qualitative methodology, global conflict, and critical theory.

Dr. Seth D. Kaplan is Senior Adviser for the Institute for Integrated Transitions (IFIT), a Professorial Lecturer in the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) at Johns Hopkins University, and consultant to organizations such as the World Bank, USAID, State Department, and OECD.

He is the author of the U.S. State Department’s Political Transitions Analysis Framework (2020) and co-author of the United Nations – World Bank flagship report Pathways for Peace: Inclusive Approaches to Preventing Violent Conflict and USAID’s Fragility Assessment Framework (2018). He was the lead author, coordinator, and managing editor of both an eight country comparative study for the United States Institute of Peace on social contract formation in fragile states and a 100-page flagship publication for IFIT articulating a new approach to regime transitions in post-conflict and post-authoritarian countries. Dr. Kaplan is the author of two books on fragile states – Fixing Fragile States: A New Paradigm for Development (Praeger Security International, 2008); and Betrayed: Promoting Inclusive Development in Fragile States (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013) – and one book on human rights and culture, Human Rights in Thick and Thin Societies: Universality Without Uniformity (Cambridge University Press, 2018). He is working on a book on reversing social breakdown.

Dr. Sellah King’oro is a peace and conflict analyst, mediator and gender expert who has contributed to reconciliation/dialogue processes among communities in parts of East and West Africa. Currently, she is the Head of the Research, Policy and Planning Department of the National Cohesion and Integration Commission in Kenya where she has worked for over nine years. Prior to her appointment at NCIC, she was a researcher at Development Policy Management Forum, a Programme Officer at Peace and Development Network and a chairperson of the Conflict Analysis Group at the National Steering Committee of Peace Building and Conflict Management in the office of the president (Kenya). Sellah holds a PhD in Peace and Conflict Studies from Kisii University and two post graduate diplomas from Bradford University, UK and Chulalongkorn University, Thailand.

She is a Rotary Peace Fellow and a Chevening Fellow. Sellah was appointed as the Global Peace Index ambassador in 2015 by the Institute for Economics and Peace, USA following her effort in leading the development of the 2013 social cohesion index for Kenya. She is also the past president of Rotary District 9212 Alumni Association which covers Kenya, South Sudan, Ethiopia and Eritrea.

Dr. Sara Cobb has a Ph.D. in Communication (UMASS Amherst) and is the Drucie French Cumbie Chair at the School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution (S-CAR) at George Mason University, where she was, from 2001-2009, the dean/director. In her current role, she teaches and conducts research on the relationship between narrative and conflict. She is also the Director of the Center for the Study of Narrative and Conflict Resolution at S-CAR, which provides a hub for scholarship on narrative approaches to conflict analysis and resolution. She is co-editor of the journal Narrative and Conflict: Explorations in Theory and Practice.

Dr. Cobb is widely published. Her book, Speaking of Violence: The Politics and Poetics of Narrative in Conflict Resolution (Oxford University Press) lays out the theoretical basis for a narrative lens on both conflict analysis and conflict resolution; this perspective presumes that conflict is a struggle over meaning, anchored in and by the stories we tell. Formerly Executive Director of the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School, she has been a leader in the fields of negotiation and conflict resolution studies, conducting narrative research on adaptive governance, serious games, resilient communities and sustainable systems. Currently, she is conducting research on conflict prevention in the Arctic.

Sara Batmanglich is currently a Senior Operations Officer (Strategy and Analytics) in the Fragility, Conflict and Violence (FCV) Group at the World Bank. Sara joined the Bank from the OECD, where she was a Peace and Conflict Advisor in the Crises and Fragility Unit, leading on the States of Fragility reports and workstream as well as the policy research portfolio for the International Network on Conflict and Fragility (INCAF).

Before joining the OECD, she was an independent consultant who did both field and policy research on conflict prevention, peacebuilding, youth and various forms of violence. Sara has also worked for International Alert, a UK-based peacebuilding NGO, where she was Head of their Crime, Violence and Instability programme, which undertook research on drivers of transnational organised crime, violent extremism and urban violence and identified opportunities for peacebuilding approaches to address these. She initially joined International Alert in their International Institutions programme with the focus of better understanding how the UN and the World Bank, through their engagement in fragile and conflict-affected situations, were supporting nationally-defined peacebuilding and development priorities.

Previously, Sara worked for International Peace Institute (IPI) and NYU’s Center on International Cooperation (CIC) where she liaised closely with the UN system and focused on multilateral approaches to peace and security, including operational and structural prevention, peacekeeping and special political missions. She began her career with Vice Media, where she supported the initial expansion of the company into new markets. 

Refik Hodzic is a journalist, film-maker and justice activist from Prijedor, Bosnia and Herzegovina. He has worked for more than 25 years in the field of transitional justice, with a particular focus on the role of media and communications.

He currently works as a strategic communications consultant on Syria and Myanmar with the European Institute for Peace and the Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar, and recently with the UNDP and Open Society Justice Initiative in Sri Lanka and Afghanistan.

Hodzic served as ICTJ’s director of communications from 2011-2017. Prior to that, Hodzic has worked in various capacities as an expert in strategic communications in transitional justice processes in the former Yugoslavia, Sri Lanka, Lebanon, Colombia, Tunisia and Timor-Leste. While with the ICTJ Hodzic worked on contexts as diverse as Kenya, Guatemala, Syria, Canada, Uganda and Nepal.

Hodzic served with the International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia from 2000–2004 and 2006–2010 as the Tribunal’s spokesman and outreach coordinator for Bosnia and Herzegovina. He also headed the public information and outreach section of the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina, where he developed a comprehensive public information and outreach strategy for the court and the state prosecutor’s office.

In 2004, Hodzic co-founded XY Films, an independent film and television production company producing documentary films dealing with the legacy of war crimes committed during the 1990s. With XY Films he authored award-winning documentaries and television series. Hodzic has published extensively in international media and academic publications on victims’ rights and the relationship between media and transitional justice. He is one of the founders of “White Armband Day,” a globally-recognized grassroots campaign for the rights of victims’ families in Prijedor, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Miguel Silva is the Founder of Galileo 6, a strategic communications, political and crisis management firm based in Bogotá, Colombia. Prior to this, Mr. Silva was a Senior Managing Director at FTI´s strategic communications practice in Latin America. Mr. Silva joined FTI Consulting when his company, Gravitas, was acquired by FTI in 2007. Before joining FTI, Mr. Silva was Counsellor at Large for Latin America for Weber Shandwick Worldwide, an Interpublic Group communications agency, and founded Shepardson Stern & Kaminsky´s international practice.

A lawyer, journalist and communications consultant, Mr. Silva served as Chief of Staff to the President of Colombia and to the Secretary General of the Organization of the American States (OAS) in Washington, D.C.

He has advised the governments of Brazil, Panama, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Colombia, El Salvador, as well as presidential campaigns and referendums in México, Colombia, Panama, Venezuela, Perú, Argentina and the Andean region.

As a journalist, Mr. Silva has been the Political Editor of La Prensa, a daily newspaper; an Op Ed columnist in the Colombian daily papers El Tiempo and El Espectador, the Los Angeles Edition of The Huffington Post and Dinero Magazine; the CEO of the Semana Publishing Group, the largest publishing group in the Andean Region; as well as Founder and Editor in Chief of Gatopardo, a monthly magazine that was distributed through most Latin American countries and the Andean Edition of Rolling Stone magazine.

Mr. Silva was a Fellow at the Institute of Politics of The University of Chicago, and is a member of the Board of Trustees of the University of Los Andes, of the Cardioinfantil Foundation and of the Board of Best Buddies Colombia.

Dr. Mauricio Meschoulam is a Mexican professor of International Relations, an analyst, and an international speaker. He has a PhD in Public Policy and Administration with a specialization in Terrorism, Mediation and Peace.

He has taught at the National University of Mexico, at the Technological Autonomous Institute of Mexico, and at Universidad Iberoamericana, where he has developed a course on international negotiations with a peacebuilding perspective. His areas of investigation relate to geopolitics, terrorism, and peacebuilding. His research has been widely published and presented nationally and internationally.

He is a columnist for the newspaper El Universal. He also works for radio stations, as well as national and international TV networks.

He founded and is the director of the Mexico Research Center for Peace, which is currently conducting research about the psychosocial effects of violence in Mexico, the impact of fear, and the role of the mass media in the social construction of perceptions about violence and peace. The Center also develops training programs and public policy recommendations.

Since 2014, Mauricio has been a member of the Halifax International Security Forum. He’s been honored with a post at the Citizens Assembly of the National Council to Prevent Discrimination in Mexico. Mauricio’s most recent books in Spanish are Syria’s War: Seven Years of Analysis and ISIS: Understanding its War in order to Find Peace. His most recent book in English, published by Palgrave MacMillan, is Organized Crime, Fear and Peacebuilding in Mexico.