Every year, the 25 November marks the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. This day also marks the launch of the UNiTE campaign to join forces to address the global pandemic of violence against women and girls. On this occasion, we want to highlight the crucial work of the Steering Committee of our course on Addressing Sexual Violence in Conflict and Emergency Settings.
In less than ten years, more than 500 humanitarian professionals –including high- and mid-level project managers, protection, gender-based violence and healthcare practitioners – took our course on Addressing Sexual Violence in Conflict and Emergency Settings and learned how to improve responses to sexual violence in humanitarian contexts. A recent external evaluation showed how the course positively impacted participants’ attitude towards sexual violence and their work practice at the individual, institutional and community levels.
One of the driving forces of this course is its Steering Committee, a group of committed experts at the course’s origin and core. Today, the Steering Committee includes representatives of Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), UNHCR, Refugee Law Project (RLP, Uganda), Utu Wetu Trust (Kenya) and independent scholars and experts. The Committee plays an essential policy, operational and pedagogical advisory role. It decides the course’s strategic direction and constantly ensures that it is adaptive and continually reflective of existing evidence and approaches. Most members are there as representatives of their organisations and in their individual capacities – the synergy between institutional and personal investment in the course has been vital to its energy and ambition.
Below is an overview of the current nine members of the Course Steering Committee. For additional information about the course, please contact the Course Director Laura Pasquero.
Christine Seisun, ICRC
Christine Seisun is the Head of Addressing Sexual Violence for ICRC. She is responsible for providing the ICRC’s overall strategic direction via implementing the ICRC Strategy on Sexual Violence and strengthening operational capacities for preventing and responding to sexual violence to ensure multidisciplinary support to victims/survivors. Ms Seisun was previously the Addressing Sexual Violence Operations Manager for the ICRC in the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan. She has also worked as an ICRC protection delegate in Cote d’Ivoire and Iraq. Before working with the ICRC, Christine worked with other organisations, such as Banyan Global as a Gender Specialist, a GBV Programme Manager with Mercy Corps, and a Programme Officer with Open Society Foundations. She has a master’s in international law from SOAS University in London and has been trained as a rape crisis centre advocate.
Devota Nuwe, Refugee Law Project
Devota Nuwe is a lawyer based in Kampala, Uganda. She has worked with refugees and the humanitarian sector for the past 15 years. Devota currently works as the Acting Co-director and Head of Programmes at Refugee Law Project. Devota is also a member of the World Refugee Council, an independent global body developing innovative solutions to global refugee crises. Devota previously worked on forced migration issues with the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society and International Organisation for Migration, UNHCR. She holds a Bachelor of Laws degree from Makerere University, Uganda and a Master’s degree in Criminal Justice from the University of Kent, England.
Onen David Ongwech, Refugee Law Project
Onen is a trained Social Anthropologist (SOAS, University of London) and Psychologist (Kyambogo University, Uganda). His interest in the area of Gender & Sexuality has, for almost a decade, led to work in refugee project design and management, conflict-related sexual violence, working with refugee peer support groups and vulnerable communities, designing capacity building and mentorship programmes for multiple stakeholders and civil society actors, and facilitating high-level trainings at national and international level. Onen is a strong advocate and speaker on issues related to refugees and conflict-related sexual violence, a co-founder of the South-South Institute on Sexual Violence Against Men and Boys (SSI), an affiliate of the Global Engagement Network on Internal Displacement in Africa (GENIDA), and Head of Gender and Sexuality projects at Refugee Law Project.
Nelly Staderini, MSF
Nelly is a Reproductive Health and Sexual Violence Advisor in the Medical Department of MSF and heads the MSF Switzerland Unit of Women and Children’s health. With a French midwifery and public health background, she has previously worked with various humanitarian organisations, including MSF, in clinical and coordination positions in Central and Southeast Asia and West and Central Africa, among others. She has conducted academic work in various contexts.
Chris Dolan, University of Warwick (UK)
Before moving to the University of Warwick as Professor in Global Sustainable development in April 2022, Chris was Director of the Refugee Law Project at Makerere University in Uganda for sixteen years. He combined practice, documentation, research and advocacy to provide a range of forms of support to male survivors of conflict-related sexual violence and raise awareness of their needs and how these intersect with those of female survivors. Refugee Law Project was a perfect base to build this ground-breaking work, which included enabling survivor support groups to find their voices. In his new role, Chris focuses on writing up this experience and its implications across a range of fields of practice and research while also introducing these into under- and post-graduate teaching.
Christine Alai, Utu Wetu Trust
Christine Alai is a human rights lawyer who has dedicated her career to promoting equality, non-discrimination, social inclusion, and access to justice for victims of gross human rights violations and atrocity crimes. Her expertise is in access to justice for conflict-related sexual and gender-based violence (CR-SGBV). Alai has led and contributed to innovative research, litigation, policy and capacity development, technical assistance, resource mobilisation and advocacy initiatives to advance transitional justice processes in Kenya, South Sudan, and parts of East and Central Africa. Alai is presently the Transitional Justice Advisor to the UN Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan. Alai is also a co-founder of Utu Wetu Trust – a think tank and collective of human rights experts focused on improving the prevention of and response to CR-SGBV in Kenya and the African region.
Emilie Page, UNHCR
Emilie Page is working as a Senior GBV officer for UNHCR Headquarters, where she oversees GBV in Emergencies. She has managed GBV prevention and response, child protection and broader protection programs for over 12 years in various operations, including Jordan, Lebanon, Yemen, Kenya and Greece. She has worked closely with refugee women and girls, youth and LGBTIQ+ persons on refugee-led initiatives to prevent GBV. She holds an LLM in International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights from the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights.
Meg Davis, Graduate Institute Geneva
Dr Sara (Meg) Davis is the principal investigator of a multi-country participatory action research project on digital health and human rights and a senior researcher at the Global Health Centre, Graduate Institute Geneva. Dr Davis has twenty years of experience in global health and human rights as a scholar and practitioner. She earned her PhD at the University of Pennsylvania and held postdoctoral fellowships at Yale University and UCLA. She was a China researcher at Human Rights Watch and founding executive director of Asia Catalyst. At the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria, Dr Davis led early work to operationalise the Fund’s commitments on human rights. She has held visiting fellowships at New York University, Columbia University, and Fordham University. She has taught at the Geneva Centre for Humanitarian Studies, the University of Alabama at Birmingham, Temple University, Yale University, and the University of Pennsylvania. She has consulted for UN agencies, Global Fund Board delegations, and civil society networks. She is the author of two scholarly books and numerous articles and is an expert listed on Shesource. In 2017, she was one of three winners of the International Geneva Award.
Professor Karl Blanchet, University of Geneva
Professor Karl Blanchet is the Director of the Geneva Centre of Humanitarian Studies and a Professor in Humanitarian Public Health at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Geneva. Before joining the University of Geneva, Professor Blanchet worked in health systems research at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine since 2010 and was the co-founder and co-director of the Health in Humanitarian Crises Centre. Professor Blanchet’s research focuses on system resilience and health systems issues in global health, specifically in post-conflict and conflict-affected countries. Professor Blanchet is also the Academic Director of InZone, a University of Geneva academic project offering university courses for refugee populations.
The Executive Short Course “Addressing Sexual Violence in Conflict and Emergency Settings” runs multiple times throughout the year in various formats (online in one or more weeks, and residential in various locations). To know more about upcoming dates, visit our course offer page.