Advisory Board 

Members of the Advisory Board  work with the senior management  team in reviewing the Global Diplomatic Forum's programmes and shaping its strategic direction and promoting the Forum globally.  These members represent  the wide geographic and expertise varieties illustrated in the Global Diplomatic Forum's activities. 

Younes El-Ghazi, Chief Executive Officer and Founder of the Global Diplomatic Forum


He founded the Global Diplomatic Forum with an international syndicate of experts representing different stakeholders operating in the diplomatic field. He launched the concept of smart diplomacy on how diplomacy will evolve in the 21st   century. At the Global Diplomatic Forum, he led the development of the Young Diplomats Forum as the world leading event for young and aspiring diplomats, which takes place twice every year in London and across the globe. He designed leadership diplomatic courses in Digital Diplomacy, Consular affairs and technology, public diplomacy in the 21st  century – all delivered by world leading experts. During the last seven years, he led the global diplomatic forum to launch several annual initiatives including the London Diplomatic Summit, Career in International Affairs forum, Asia Diplomatic Summit, Middle East Diplomatic Forum and others. Besides the global Diplomatic Forum, Younes is a member of the Advisory Board of the International Organisation for Security and Intelligence in Canada. Younes holds a master’s degree in diplomatic studies. His has written about UK Foreign Policy, the EU as a diplomatic power, innovation in diplomacy, role of non-state actors in diplomacy, and women in international affairs.

Alisa Lockwood, chair of the global diplomatic forum board

editor in Chief, GRI: 

Ms Lockwood has more than 13 years of experience in political risk, market entry and due diligence. She is currently applying this knowledge as Chief Strategic Adviser at Global Risk Insights, a world-leading publication for political risk news and analysis. Previously, as Head of Europe/CIS Country Risk at IHS Global, Alisa advised major corporate clients on political and security risks in the region, notably she was responsible for producing risk ratings, commercially-relevant forecasts and analysis. She led the development of the counter party risk assessment product and managed global investigations. Alisa has frequently appeared on Bloomberg, CNBC and Sky News among others. She has also worked at the Senate of Canada and at the European External Action Service in Moscow.


Dr. Schindler has wide international experience in diplomacy, intelligence and security. He currently works as the Senior Director at the Counter Extremism Project (CEP), as a member of the Board of Directors of Compliance and Capacity Skills International, LLC in New York and as an advisor to the United Nations Investigative Team for Accountability of Da’esh/ISIL (UNITAD).

Between 2013 and 2018, he served as a Member and Coordinator of the ISIL (Da’esh), al-Qaida and Taliban Sanctions Monitoring Team of the United Nations Security Council. Prior to this he worked as an associated partner for West Sands and an associated consultant for Stirling Assynt in in the United Kingdom as well as advisor to several multinational corporations in Europe. He consulted on security, political and economic issues concerning Iran, the Middle East, North Africa and the Gulf. In addition, he served as Program Director for the Institute for Strategic Dialogue in London. Between 2001 and 2011, Hans headed the federal government of Germany's team investigating al-Qaida in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Central Asia and held the position of special advisor to the ambassador and liaison to the Security Forces at the German Embassy in Tehran. Having studied in Tübingen, Georgetown and Israel, Hans holds a Masters and PhD degree in International Terrorism from St. Andrews University in Scotland.

Vibeke Brask Thomsen, Founder and Director of GenderHopes:


After obtaining her Master in Public Policy and Master of Russian and East European Studies from the University of Michigan, Vibeke Brask Thomsen worked in Bruxelles for various think-thanks and NGOs on arms control, disarmament, security and defence, and on policies to protect women in conflict zones. In 2011, she moved to Monaco where she founded She Can He Can (formerly GenderHopes). She Can He Can is a Monaco-based organisation that aims to inspire and support girls to take leadership roles. It encourage girls and boys to challenge deeply-held, life-limiting gender stereotypes and to realize their full potential, independent of their gender. SheCanHeCan also works to recognize the achievements and contributions of great female leaders throughout herstory and to mark the International Day of the Girl every year on 11 October. 



Jonathan Paris, Senior Advisor to the Chertoff Group

Jonathan shares his expertise across a wide range of research interests that include the Middle East, US-China relations, transatlantic relations, international security, non-proliferation and counterterrorism. Since 2003, he has been consulting for the U.S. government for whom he has written dozens of unpublished studies.

His several publications include two monographs, Prospects for Pakistan (2010) and Prospects for Iran (2011) and a co-authored article on the Syrian civil war entitled “Beyond Sectarianism: Geopolitics, Fragmentation and the Syrian Civil War” (INSS Strategic Assessment, 2014).

Prior to moving to London in 2001, Mr. Paris was a Middle East Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York from 1995 to 2000. He co-edited the first book on Indonesia's democratic transition, The Politics of Post-Suharto Indonesia (Brookings/CFR 1998) and taught at Yale University from 1994 to 1997. Before turning to public policy, Mr. Paris had a 15-year career as an international lawyer and investment banker in New York and Singapore, and in London where he covered the Gulf.

Mr. Paris is a graduate of Yale University (major in comparative political and economic systems) and Stanford Law School. A native of Cleveland, Ohio, he was a Senior Associate Member of St. Antony's College, Oxford from 2004 to 2005. He lectures frequently at the Buckingham University Centre for Security and Intelligence Studies, the Global Strategy Forum (GSF) in London and the Middle East Forum meetings hosted at the UK House of Parliament. He appears regularly on Sky News, BBC News, France 24 (English) and Al Arabiya television.


Lara Alameh, President and Chief Executive Officer, Safadi Foundation  

Lara is a native of Los Angeles, California and has nearly two-decades of experience in international affairs, development and U.S. government relations. She launched her career in Washington as a Professional Staff Member on the Committee on International Relations in the U.S. House of Representatives (HIRC) under then Chairman Henry J. Hyde. She maintained oversight on the Middle East, Afghanistan and environmental issues and organized fifteen Full Committee hearings on related topics throughout the 107th, 108th, and 109th Congresses. She participated in congressional delegations around the world, including to Kabul, Afghanistan where she conducted training sessions with the Afghan National Assembly on the role and oversight responsibilities of the legislative branch. In addition, she served as the lead House staffer for “The Senator Paul Simon Water for the Poor Act of 2005” (P.L. 109-121), a major foreign assistance initiative to bring safe water and sanitation to vulnerable populations.

In 2016, Lara returned from three-years working abroad to reactivate Safadi Foundation USA, a charitable nonprofit organization dedicated to Lebanon's human development, where she now serves as President and CEO. She is currently working to support a governance-based agenda for Lebanon in U.S. foreign policy circles, and building strategic support for the Foundation’s affiliate organization in Tripoli, Lebanon, in the areas of social development and agriculture. She initially founded the organization in 2008, and then served as the Executive Director. In this capacity, she launched the Safadi-Stanford Initiative for Policy Innovation at the Wilson Center—a scholars' program that promoted independent research on issues concerning national development in Lebanon, and which featured Christine Lagarde’s first public remarks on the economies of the Arab region after the uprisings began in December 2010.

Recently, she served as a Senior Fellow at Fundação Luso-Americana in Lisbon, Portugal where she organized the launch of the Luso-American Legislators' Dialogue—a program to engage American legislators of Portuguese descent at both the state and federal levels with policymakers in Portugal.
Lara simultaneously heads her own consulting company focusing on international affairs and has organized peace missions throughout the Middle East between civil society and governments for The Elders, a global United Nations (UN) program led by former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan.

She has published articles on U.S. politics, foreign policy and the Middle East. Please view her Linkedin profile for a full list.

Lara holds a Master of Arts from Georgetown University in Democracy and Governance Studies, a Bachelor of Arts from The George Washington University in Middle Eastern Studies and Religion, and Associate of Arts degrees from Santa Barbara City College in History, Political Science and International Studies. In addition, she is a certified yoga instructor.

Chief Roxanne Lindley, Chief- Westbank First Nation 

Chief Roxanne Lindley was elected as Chief on September 15, 2016 to serve a three-year term from 2016 to 2019. She is the first female Chief for Westbank First Nation and brings with her a wealth of skills and knowledge.


Lindley's grandparents are Angeline and Tom Lindley, and Emily Michele and Edward McDougall. Her parents were Norman Lindley, who was the first elected Chief of Westbank First Nation (1963), and Elizabeth Lindley Charters. Chief Lindley has three children – Twyla, Rheanna and Nathan – and six grandchildren, Alyssa, Ethan, Warrick, Robbie, Willow, and Faora. Her long-time partner of over thirty years is Wayne Sahli.

Prior to being elected as Chief, Lindley had the opportunity to travel abroad and witness opportunities for First Nation international partnerships, training, aboriginal tourism and investment.

She has also had discussions regarding the digitisation of language, speakers, archaeological information and traditional place-names for the purposes of education, history, title and rights, and language keeping. Research continues toward the goal of collaboration between First Nations, local school districts and universities.


Richard Griffiths- Senior Advisor, Dentons


Richard is a member of Dentons' Public Policy and Regulation practice. He provides foreign governments international policy advocacy and issue-branding services. He has more than 15 years' experience advising national governments, including those of Antigua and Barbuda, Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Kenya, Libya, Qatar, St. Lucia, Tanzania, Uganda and Ukraine. Richard's diverse yet complementary capabilities include sovereign advisory, government sector crisis communications and strategy, international lobbying, UN agency advocacy, nation branding and investment promotion. 

He has held senior positions in several non-US government offices, including the American Chamber of Commerce in Libya. As senior advisor on international affairs to Colombia's Office of the Secretary General, Richard attracted increased international attention to the plight of children living in extreme poverty and helped developed strategies, policies and programs to prevent human trafficking. Richard advises on campaigns for heads of state globally and is a well regarded strategist on political campaigns. 

He is a special advisor to the president of Special Olympics, a global movement involving more than 169 countries and 5.3 million athletes. Richard is currently a visiting professor at London South Bank University's Faculty of Law and Social Sciences, where he teaches international development studies and a course on the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, the international treaty that serves as a framework for diplomatic relations among its 191 signatory states

Quintin Oliver , Chief Executive Stratagem International:

A global reputation as a conflict resolution and referendums specialist, playing his part in the N. Ireland peace process and bringing a reflective approach to his strategic counsel. He lived through the Northern Ireland ‘Troubles’, playing his part through the emerging third (non-profit) sector as a contributor to civil society developments that led to the seminal Good Friday / Belfast Agreement of 1998; he led the cross-party “YES” Campaign in the subsequent Referendum that sealed the agreement with an 82% turnout and 71% Yes vote. 

At Stratagem NI his own political and lobbying consultancy he set up in Belfast after the Referendum. He has worked closely with loyalist communities in the post-agreement phase of the Northern Irish conflict as they moved from paramilitary action to re-integration. Was appointed head of the secretariat of the Iraq Helsinki project that brought Irish and South African political leaders together with Iraqi politicians, in classic Track Two format from which emerged the Helsinki Principles that took root after their presentation in Baghdad. He has also worked on the conflicts of Cyprus (including the 2004 Referendum), Colombia, Kosovo, Israel / Palestine and Uganda. He has lectured, written and consulted on his experiences on four continents. Oliver was a personal appointee of President Mary Robinson to the Council of State of Ireland.

Dr Dionysia Theodora Avgerinopoulou, Chair, Circle of the Mediterranean Parliamentarians on Sustainable Development:

Candidate for Under-Secretary-General of the UN and Executive Director of UNEP. An influential politician regarding environmental matters, a specialised attorney in International, Environmental and Sustainable Development Law, and the recipient of the Green Star Award awarded by  UNEP, OCHA, and Green Cross International for her leadership in prevention, preparedness and response to environmental emergencies.

Member of the Hellenic Parliament, she has held the positions of the Chair of the Special Standing Committee on Environmental Protection and the Subcommittee of the Water Resources of the Hellenic Parliament, as well as the Chair of the Permanent Standing Committee of National Defence and Foreign Affairs of the Hellenic Parliament. She is currently the Chair of the Circle of the Mediterranean Parliamentarians of Sustainable Development (COMPSUD), the Director of the European Institute of Law, Science and Technology (IELST) and a Member of the Steering Committee of the Global Water Partnership Organization (GWPO).  

Previously, she has also served as the Chairperson of the Committee on United Nations Affairs of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), and as the Deputy Head of the Environmental Policy Sector (“Shadow” Deputy Minister for the Environment) of the New Democracy Party in Greece.

Named one of the forty most promising leaders of the European Union under the age of 40. Apart from the Green Star Award, she has also received a U.S. Special Congressional Recognition for her “outstanding efforts and invaluable contributions on behalf of Hellenic Students and the environment”, the "2010 Global Leadership Award for Leadership in Helping Humanity" by Orphans International Worldwide, and the international “Goddess Artemis Award” by the Euro-American Women’s Council for her contribution to transatlantic cooperation between the U.S. and the EU institutions on environmental and climate change issues. 

Johan Obdola, President, International Organization for Security and Intelligence:

President and Founder of the International Organisation for Security and Intelligence, I.O.S.I., and he is one of the top international government security and intelligence expert, and speaker on Narco-Terrorism, Transnational Crime and Terrorism, and a constant media reference on these security subjects. Johan’s professional experience covers Counter-Narcotics, Counter-Terrorism, Narco-Terrorism, Transnational Crime and other security threats in Latin America, Caribbean, Africa and the Middle East-GCC. He is a prolific international speaker in military, law enforcement, and other government-official related conferences and seminars, covering mostly national, regional and international security issues. Johan is involved in several non for profit organizations, including advisor of Kape-Kape an indigenous NGO in Venezuela, and Board of the Autism Trust Foundation in Duba.

Diego Photo.jpg

Diego Reyeros, Youth Policy Advisor - Representative of the Young Diplomats Forum Alumni

Diego Reyeros is an active youth leader with an expertise and passion in youth engagement, business consulting, and nonprofit management. Since 2010, he has advocated for progressive youth-related policies at a number of diplomatic and international forums and has contributed to empowerment initiatives through youth-led nonprofits. 

As a Chevening Scholar, Diego holds a Master's in Public Policy from King's College London, and has focused his academic research on youth participation and inclusion in the creation of public policies. He has taken this expertise into practice by participating as youth delegate at the summits of the Y20, OECD, WTO, UN and the Global Diplomatic Forum. He also helped develop MyVision Global, a social business incubator focused on young entrepreneurs. 

In addition to his role as Youth (YDF) Representative at the Advisory Board of the Global Diplomatic Forum, Diego acts as Recruitment Director of Young Diplomats of Canada, a youth-led nonprofit that develops Canada's future leaders in policy, advocacy and diplomacy, by recruiting and coordinating the official youth delegations for the summits of the G20, G7, WTO, World Bank, IMF, and OECD.

Rainatou Sow, founder & executive director of Make Every Woman Count (MEWC)

An African woman-led organisation which serves as a mobilizing, networking, information, advocacy and training platform for African women by building their leadership capacities to influence policy and decision making. 

MEWC publishes an annual report as an audit of the status and conditions of women in each African country. In addition, MEWC monitors the participation of women in national and local politics taking place in Africa.Rai holds a MA in International Relations as well as a MA in Law, she has worked with several organisation such as the International Organisation for Migration, World Health Organisation, UNICEF, and grassroots organizations in areas of peace, development and human rights.

Apart from featuring on CNN’s African Voices, and being awarded as the  “Most Inspirational Woman” by Women4Africa in 2012, Forbes Magazine named her as one of the “20 Youngest Power Women in Africa 2012″ and one of the "20 young builders of Africa of tomorrow in 2014". Salt Magazine named her as one of the World’s 100 Most Inspiring Women. She was BBC 100 Women in 2013 and 2014. Just recently, she was named one of the Young Leaders of Tomorrow by the Crans Montana Forum in Brussels. Rai has recently received the Pan African Humanitarian Awards on Gender Equality and Advocacy.

Dr. Corneliu Bjola, Associate Professor in Diplomatic Studies at the University of Oxford

Corneliu Bjola (Ph.D., Univ. of Toronto, @cbjola, is Associate Professor in Diplomatic Studies at the University of Oxford and Chair of the Oxford Digital Diplomacy Research Group. 


He is the author or co-editor of six books, such as Digital Diplomacy: Theory and Practice (2015), and the forthcoming volume on Countering Online Propaganda and Violent Extremism: The Dark Side of Digital Diplomacy (2018), and of various articles published in scholarly journals such as the European Journal of International Relations, Review of International Studies, International Negotiation, Global Policy, Journal of Global Ethics and the Hague Journal of Diplomacy. 

His current research interests focus on the impact of digital technology on the conduct of diplomacy, especially with respect to crisis management, public diplomacy and international negotiation. 

Dr Alanoud Al-Sharekh, Consulting Partner at Ibtkar and Academic

Dr. Alanoud Al-Sharekh is a researcher, academic and activist focused on youth and gender demographics, GCC security, bi-cultural trends and her special area of interest: Arab Feminist Theory, and is currently a Research Associate at the London Middle East Institute.

An outspoken advocate for women and minority rights in Kuwait, Alanoud utilises her voice as a member of Kuwait’s thriving civil society and an academic to help facilitate public discussion about pivotal issues facing Arab society.  She lectures in institutions in the region and abroad, and has published numerous books and articles focusing on political identity, cultural politics, gender and kinship policies in the Arabian Gulf. 


Alanoud is a consulting partner at Ibtkar Strategic Consultancy and serves as an advisor to a number of local and international governmental bodies and NGOs, offering her insights on various cultural and sociopolitical issues in the region.  She has worked as a gender politics consultant for UNIFEM, Freedom House, and the UNDP on academic and social outreach projects in Kuwait and the GCC, and at SOAS, London. Her previous posts include Senior Fellow for Regional Politics at the international Institute of Strategic Studies and Senior Political Analyst at the Kuwait National Security Bureau and Consultant Researcher at the Supreme Council for Development and Planning in Kuwait.

She has also held numerous teaching positions throughout her career, both in her home country and abroad, with posts at Kuwait University, Gulf University of Science and Technology and the Arab Open University, as well as being a visiting lecturer at Uppsala University, Sweden and SOAS London, and a Fulbright Scholar on Women and Islam at Whittier College, USA. She is also heavily involved with a number of non-profit organisations and civic society groups, including AIWF, Eithar and Abolish 153 – the campaign to fight honour killing legislation which she founded and currently serves as Co-Director of, as well as being the acting director of the Friends who Care Campaign that seeks to help at risk young women (under the age of 21) within Kuwait’s social care system. 

Dr. Nicholas Ozor- Exective Director, African Technology Policy Studies Network

Nicholas Ozor, B. Agric. (Nig., First Class Honours); MSc, Agricultural Administration (Nig., Distinction) Ph.D, International & Rural Development and Agricultural Extension (Reading, UK & Nigeria respectively), is the Executive Director of the African Technology Policy Studies Network Nairobi, Kenya, a transdisciplinary network of researchers, policymakers, private sector actors, and civil society actors promoting the generation, dissemination, use and mastery of Science, Technology and Innovations (STI) for African development with coverage in 30 countries (27 in Africa and 3 Diaspora chapters in the Australia, United States of America, and United Kingdom). Prior to this appointment, he worked as the Senior Research Officer at the ATPS where he provided leadership in Research, Communication, Training and Outreach for the organization. 

pasted-image-2 copy.jpg

He was formerly a Senior lecturer in the Department of Agricultural Extension, University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He also worked as an Agricultural Extension Agent for many years with the Enugu State Agricultural Development Programme (ADP), Enugu State, Nigeria. Dr Ozor is a Commonwealth Scholar (Split-site Doctoral Programme) and holds the Best PhD Thesis Award in Agriculture in Nigeria, 2006, under the Nigerian Universities Doctoral Theses Award Scheme (NUDTAS) organized by the National Universities Commission. He holds the Wellcome Trust Award for the Best PhD Presenter in 2006 during the Development Studies Association Conference at the University of Reading, United Kingdom. He is also a Teaching Fellow and Mentor, African Climate Change Fellowship Programme (ACCFP), funded by the International global change SysTem for Analysis, Research and Training (START).  

Dr Ozor has led and is currently leading many internationally funded research projects bordering on science, technology and innovation (STI); natural resource management; innovation systems; climate change; development issues; policy development, analysis and advocacy; technology management and transfer; and private sector engagements. He has good mastery of the computers and its applications to problem solving situations. Dr Ozor is a member of many professional organizations and has published about 100 articles in reputable international journals, book chapters, and other multimedia. He sits on the Board of many international bodies including a Member of the Governing Board of the International Research and Training Center for Science and Technology Strategy, a category 2 Center under the auspices of UNESCO.

He is also a Member of the International Advisory Committee for the German Bioeconomy Council. He was recently appointed to serve as a Distinguished External Reference Group (ERG) Member for the production of ACBF’s 2016 Africa Capacity Report.

Virginie Jacoberger-Lavoué : Editor in chief , Les Valeurs Actuelles

Based in France, she has worked for Valeurs Actuelles in Paris  since 1997. Before joining this weekly news magazine, she was a war reporter (Afghanistan).

pasted-image copy.jpg

Since 2010, Virginie Jacoberger-Lavoué has covered Brazil for the Foreign Affairs section of the magazine. Her second book was out in June 2016 (from Editions du Moment). It focuses on the rise and fall of modern Brazil.

She graduated with honours  in Journalism, Media and Politics from Sorbonne (Sorbonne-Panthéon Paris) and she also obtained a degree in Literature.




David Martin Abrahams is a successful entrepreneur and businessman who has always been keen to generate employment in his native North East of England and indeed in other parts of the country with his business interests. Passionate about job creation, he invested many years assembling one of the key North-East sites for housing and employment.

His multi-faceted career includes a County Councillor and Parliamentary Candidate


Until recently he was Vice President of the Royal United Services (RUSI) in Whitehall and now to be its first Ambassador. He has a deep interest in Middle Eastern affairs and is committed to achieving a lasting comprehensive peace settlement between Israel and Palestine. To this end, he focused his efforts at RUSI on facilitating Middle East Track II Diplomacy, promoting the Arab Peace Initiative and assisting RUSI to promote its research throughout the World. He also set up a chair at Warwick University on Middle Eastern Studies at the Department of Politics and International Studies under the auspices of Professor Richard Higgott. His diplomatic efforts in many Middle East countries brought him into contact with Yasser Arafat as well as Hamas and other leaders establishing grounds for ongoing dialogue.

Throughout his career, David has served as a trustee and board member on many charitable and voluntary bodies. Heis currently a trustee and Board Member of the award winning North East Prisons After Care Society (NEPACS) and former founder of North East Alzheimer’s Society.
David, with a strong social justice, was for many years National Director of The Campaign For Pensioner Poverty leading to many successful campaigns. Interfaith issues have always featured highly on his agenda having served for twelve years as a trustee and on the executive of The Council for Christians and Jews, becoming their Director of Parliamentary Affairs. He also concentrated much time with Three Faiths Forum, embracing the three Abrahamic Faiths.