Ambassador Helmut Tichy
Ambassador Helmut TichyRead more
Born on 8 August 1958 in Vienna, law studies at Vienna University (Dr. iur. 1980) and Cambridge University (LL.M. 1982), 1980 - 1983 research assistant at the Institute of Public Law of Vienna University, since 1983 at the Austrian Federal Ministry for Foreign Affairs (now Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs), while in Austria always in the Office of the Legal Adviser (“Völkerrechtsbüro”) of that ministry, postings abroad in Belgrade (1984), Geneva (1985 - 1988) and Brussels (1993 - 2000), 1988 -1990 deputy head of the Vienna Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). 2000 - 2009 head of the "General International Law" Unit of the Office of the Legal Adviser, 2007 - 2009 deputy legal adviser, since 2010 legal adviser of the Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs and government agent before the European Court of Human Rights.
Kairat AbdrakhmanovRead more
Ambassador Kairat Abdrakhmanov of Kazakhstan took up the mandate of OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities on 4 December 2020. Before taking up the position of High Commissioner, Abdrakhmanov was Ambassador of Kazakhstan to Sweden and Denmark.
Amb. Abdrakhmanov joined the Kazakhstan Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1993 and held a number of key positions. He was Foreign Minister from 2016 to 2018, and twice held the position of Deputy Foreign Minister. From 2013 to 2016, he was Kazakhstan’s Permanent Representative to the UN, when he led Kazakhstan’s bid to become the first Central Asian State elected as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council. He then represented his country as the Foreign Minister on the UN Security Council between 2017 and 2018.
Amb. Abdrakhmanov served as Kazakhstan’s Permanent Representative to the OSCE from 2007 to 2013 and Chaired the OSCE Permanent Council in 2010 when Kazakhstan became the first post-Soviet country to hold the Chairmanship. He was instrumental in organizing the first OSCE Summit in 11 years in December 2010, during which the Astana Commemorative Declaration: Towards a Security Community was adopted.
He also served as the Ambassador of Kazakhstan to Austria from 2007 to 2008 and 2011 to 2013; and to the State of Israel from 2003 to 2006. He was Deputy Chief of Mission at the Embassy of Kazakhstan to the United Kingdom from 2001 to 2003.
Ambassador Abdrakhmanov holds a degree in history from the Kazakh National University.
Ryszard KomendaRead more
Mr Komenda took up the position of Regional Representative with the OHCHR Regional Office for Central Asia in May 2016. Prior to this post, he was a Senior Advisor on Human Rights to the UNCT in the Russian Federation. His professional assignments also included Canadian Red Cross Society, the United Nations Fund for Women (UNIFEM), Canadian Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, Canadian International Development Agency, the Council of Baltic Sea States, and the UNDPKO. Among others, he was the Head of Human Rights Office in Abkhazia, Georgia (UNOMIG) from 2007 to 2009. Mr Komenda is a human rights lawyer with Master’s of Laws (LL.M.) degree in International Human Rights (University of Ottawa, Canada) and Magister Juris (University of Gdansk, Poland).
Armands PupolsRead more
Armands Pupols, throughout his professional career, worked both in the UN and the OSCE covering a broad range of political, socioeconomic and human rights issues. He has academic degrees in international relations and international economy abstained in Latvia, Hungary and Australia. Mr. Pupols started his international career in a number of the OSCE field missions in Bosnia and Hercegovina in the 90’s. In 2001 he was posted to the OSCE Centre in Almaty. After few years in Kazakhstan, he joined the Conflict Prevention Centre in the OSCE Secretariat in Vienna. In 2008, he started to work in UNRCCA – a newly established United Nations political mission with a regional preventive diplomacy mandate covering all five Central Asian states. After spending few years with the UN in Africa he has returned to UNRCCA in 2019 to deal with issues related to human rights, preventing violent extremism and countering terrorism as well as promoting cooperation between Central Asia and Afghanistan.
Paulo DavidRead more
Paulo David joined in 1995 the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) where he is since 2018 Chief of the Indigenous Peoples and Minorities Section. Paulo David was Secretary of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child between 1995 and 2005 and thereafter OHCHR’s Regional Representative in the Pacific (2005-7). Upon his return to OHCHR HQ in Geneva, he worked one year for the establishment and first sessions of the new Universal Periodic Review mechanism under the UN Human Rights Council. In 2008, he joined the Human Rights Treaties Division in OHCHR as Chief of Section and was in charge, among others, of capacity building; direct legal, medical, social and psychological assistance programmes to victims of torture and slavery; as well as the negotiations on the strengthening of the human rights treaty body system at the UN General Assembly.
Before joining the United Nations, Paulo David worked for the media, for the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent (in Romania and Turkey) and for Defence for Children-International (international NGO). He studied international relations-political sciences (Bachelor), international public administration (post-graduate) and holds a PhD in law from the Free University of Amsterdam. He is the author of a number of publications, including “Human Rights in Youth Sports. A critical review of children’s rights in competitive sports” London: Routledge and “A Commentary on Article 31 (The right to leisure, play and culture) of the Convention on the Rights of the Child”, Leiden-Boston: Brill and is member of the Editorial Advisory Board of the International Journal of Children’s Rights (Brill/Nijhoff).
Fernand de Varennes
Fernand de VarennesRead more
Fernand de Varennes is Extraordinary Professor at the Faculty of Law of the University of Pretoria (South Africa), Adjunct Professor at the National University of Ireland-Galway (Ireland), and Cheng Yu Tung Visiting Professor at the Faculty of Law of the University of Hong Kong (China).
Fernand de Varennes’ work and commitment focusses on the human rights of minorities, as well as the prevention of ethnic conflicts, the rights of migrants, the relationship between ethnicity, human rights and democracies, and the use of federalism and other forms of autonomy arrangements to balance competing cultural interests. His contributions on these topics in many parts of the world, including as a professor for almost 20 years at Murdoch University in Australia, and as a guest professor at the following institutions in Africa, Asia and Europe: Åbo Academy, Dato Bunka University, Ethiopian Civil Service University, Gakushuin University, Peking University, Seikei University, Universitas Pelita Harapan, Universitas Sam Ratulangi, Université de la Réunion, University of Hong Kong, University of Pretoria, and Vytautas Magnus University.
Fernand de Varennes holds degrees from the Université de Moncton (LLB, 1988), the London School of Economics and Political Science (LLM, 1992), and the Rijksuniversiteit Limburg (becoming in 1996 the University of Maastricht, Dr Juris, 1996).
H.E. Tatiana Molcean
H.E. Tatiana MolceanRead more
Ambassador Molcean has been Ambassador of the Republic of Moldova to the Swiss Confederation Permanent Representative to the UN, WTO and other International Organizations in Geneva since 2020. Prior to this appointment, she was State Secretary for European Integration between 2017-2019 and State Secretary for Bilateral and Multilateral Cooperation between 2013-2017. She has also held posts as Head of Economic and Sector Cooperation with EU Division and Chargé d'affaires, Embassy of the Republic of Moldova to Sweden. Ambassador Molcean hold a law degree from Moldova State University, Faculty of International Law.
Martin FrickRead more
Martin Frick assumed his post as Director of the Office for Foreign Affairs on 1 May 2011. He was appointed as Ambassador ad personam by the Government of the Principality of Liechtenstein with effect from the same date.
Martin Frick began his career in government as staff member of the Prime Minister. From 2005 - 2009, he served as Director of the Office of Prime Minister Otmar Hasler. He then worked as Director of the Office of Deputy Prime Minister Martin Meyer (2009 - April 2011). In 2009, he led the Office of Economic Affairs as interim Director for a five-month period. Martin Frick holds a law degree from the University of Berne, Switzerland.
He received an LL.M. in European Law from King’s College, London, and, in 2003, a Ph.D. in Law, summa cum laude, from Berne University, where he served as scientific assistant at the Institute of Public Law. For his Ph.D. thesis, he was awarded the 2002/2003 Prof. Walther Hug Prize.
Neil ClarkeRead more
Neil joined MRG’s programmes department in 2004, working in MRG’s Africa, Asia and Europe teams. Between 2009-19, Neil acted as Managing Director of MRG Europe based in Budapest, with responsibility for oversight and coordination MRG’s work in Europe and Central Asia. Neil is currently Head of Legal Programmes and EU Advocacy, with responsibilities including the establishment of MRG’s new office in Brussels.
Jonathan CohenRead more
Jonathan was appointed Executive Director of Conciliation Resources in May 2016. He joined Conciliation Resources in 1997 and developed the Caucasus programme focusing on dialogue and confidence building initiatives to promote peacebuilding in the Caucasus. In September 2008 he became Director of Programmes overseeing Conciliation Resources’s regional programmes in the Caucasus, Colombia, West Africa, East and Central Africa, the Horn of Africa, the Philippines, Fiji and India/Pakistan in relation to Kashmir.
Previously he served as Deputy Director of the Foundation on Inter-Ethnic Relations in The Hague, working with the OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities. In 2018 Jonathan became Chair of the European Peacebuilding Liaison Office (EPLO). Jonathan has taught peace and conflict studies at the London School of Economics and broadcast on radio and television about the Caucasus.
He has degrees from the universities of Bristol, London and Oxford. In 2007 he was awarded an OBE by the British Government for services to conflict prevention and conflict resolution in the Caucasus. Languages other than English: Russian.
Karena AvedissianRead more
Karena Avedissian, PhD is a political scientist focusing on access to justice, popular geopolitics and new media and communications in Eurasia. She received her PhD from the Centre for Russian and East European Studies at the University of Birmingham in 2015. Since then, she has worked as research fellow at USC and the University of Birmingham researching Armenian state building and Russian disinformation campaigns. Her work on the interplay of authoritarianism, societal vulnerabilities, and civil society has been published in academic publications and in The Guardian. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.
Natalia MirimanovaRead more
Natalia Mirimanova is a conflict resolution scholar-practitioner. She has over twenty-five years of mediation, research, dialogue and peace process design, peacebuilding initiatives and advocacy experience in Russia, South Caucasus, Central Asia, Moldova, Ukraine, Western Balkans, Eastern Europe and Cyprus. Natalia received her Ph.D. from the Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution, George Mason University, USA. Natalia served as a consultant to various international, national and local organizations, including UN mission in Cyprus and Tajikistan, UN Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia (UNRCCA), UNDP Eurasia Regional Hub, OSCE Parliamentary Assembly and Conflict Prevention Centre, EU, Aga Khan Foundation, SIPRI, Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue and others.
Since October 2020, Natalia is a Senior Political Adviser to the OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities.
Erzsébet Sándor-SzalayRead more
Prof. Elisabeth SÁNDOR-SZALAY studied law. She teaches at the University of Pécs and has been a visiting professor at the University of Babeș-Bolyai in Cluj-Napoca since 2004. Over the years she has taught at various universities in Europe (Budapest, Bayreuth, Graz, Timișoara). She was the Dean of the Law Faculty of the University of Pécs, where she held the Chair of International and European Law for many years. In addition, she was director of the CERE (Centre for European Research and Education). She has been a member of the Advisory Committee of the Framework Convention on National Minorities since 2016. From 2013 to 2019 she fulfilled her first mandate as ombudsperson responsible for the rights of national minorities in Hungary, in 2019 she was re-elected for a further six years.
Francesco PalermoRead more
Francesco Palermo is full professor of Comparative Public Law, University of Verona, and Director of the Institute for Comparative Federalism at Eurac Research in Bolzano/Bozen. He is president of the International Association of Centers for Federal Studies (IACFS), Constitutional Adviser to the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe, member and vice-president of the Scientific Committee of the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights. Palermo was senior legal adviser to the OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities, president of the Advisory Committee under the Council of Europe’s Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities and a non-party member of the Italian Senate.
Nurcan KayaRead more
Nurcan Kaya is a lawyer specializing in human rights – in particular minority rights, equality, anti-discrimination remedies under international human rights and European Union law. She holds an LLM in international human rights law from the University of Essex. She has worked as an expert/researcher at the Human Rights Law Research Center of the Istanbul Bilgi University. She worked for Global Dialogue as Turkey Programme Director between 2007-2013 and for Minority Rights Group International (MRG) as Anti-Discrimination Law Officer, Turkey and Cyprus Coordinator between 2005-2017. She is member of Diyarbakır Bar Association and is currently working as a freelance lawyer. She writes a column at Artı Gerçek.
Urko Aiartza Azurtza
Urko Aiartza AzurtzaRead more
Urko Aiartza has acted as lawyer for different human rights groups such as the Observatory of Linguistic Rights, the Observatory of Human Rights in the Basque Country, as well as various Basque community grassroots groups (Oinarriak, Kontseilua, ...). Representing those groups he has been active on the United Nations defending those groups rights as well as individuals rights. Facilitator and trainer in the Basque Language Strategic Plan developed by Kontseilua (Education & Media areas).
As a lawyer he has also been member of the team of lawyers acting on the European Court on Human Rights (ECHR) on the banning of Herri Batasuna/Batasuna, the EAE-ANV parties and other candidate lists as well as the Del Rio Prada v. Spain case related to Basque prisoners.
He has been also deeply involved in the searching for Peace in the Basque Country, acting as adviser for the conflict resolution process who lead to the end of ETA´s violence in Basque Country as well as supporting civic organizations like the Peace Social Forum.
Irina VlahRead more
Irina Vlah was born on February 26, 1974 in Comrat, Moldavian SSR, in a family of civil servants - an ethnic Gagauz and a Bulgarian. From 1991 to 1996 she studied at the Comrat State University at the Faculty of Law. From 2001 to 2008, she completed PhD studies at the Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Moldova. In 2008 she defenced her doctoral dissertation on the topic "Modern concept of the development of civil service in the Republic of Moldova". She is the author of a number of scientific works and publications related to the problems of public administration, strengthening interethnic peace in the Republic of Moldova and protecting the rights of the Russian-speaking minority. From 2005 to 2015, she was a member of the Parliament of the Republic of Moldova.
On March 22, 2015 she was elected to the position of Bashkan (Governor) of the Autonomous Territorial Unit of Gagauzia. In 2019 she was re-elected as the head of Gagauzia. She is also a member of the Government of the Republic of Moldova by virtue of her position.
Vello PettaiRead more
Vello Pettai is Director of the European Centre for Minority Issues in Flensburg, Germany. He specializes in the comparative study of ethnopolitical regimes. He is also working on the intersection of minorities and e-governance. Prior to starting at the ECMI in March 2020, he was Professor of Comparative Politics at the University of Tartu in Estonia. He obtained his doctoral degree in political science from Columbia University.
André FaziRead more
Dr Fazi studied political science and law at the University of Corsica and the University of Toulouse, and defended his doctoral thesis in political science in 2005. He is a lecturer in political science at the University of Corsica since 2011, and member of the UMR CNRS 6240 LISA. His research focuses mainly on state-region relations in Europe, and he tries to combine historical, political and institutional perspectives. At the state level, he is mainly interested in France, Spain, Italy and the United Kingdom. At the regional level, he is particularly interested in island situations.
Salpy EskidjianRead more
Salpy Eskidjian Weiderud has fully committed herself to working with religious leaders, faith-based organizations, and religious communities on a broad range of issues, including religious freedom. She is one of the architects and the main facilitator of an unprecedented peacebuilding initiative in Cyprus known as the Religious Track of the Cyprus Peace Process (RTCYPP) under the Auspices of the Embassy of Sweden based in Nicosia, Cyprus. For her efforts in Cyprus, Salpy has been awarded with the Royal Order of the Polar Star (First Class) by H.M King Carl XVI Gustav of Sweden (2020) and the “International Freedom of Religion Award” by US State Secretary Pompeo (2019).
Since 1989, Salpy has been working on human rights, peace and security issues with religious leaders and different faith-based institutions like the Middle East Council of Churches in Cyprus as Programme Officer for Justice, Peace and Human Rights; the World Council of Churches in Geneva and New York as Programme Executive on Middle East, Peacebuilding and Disarmament at the Commission of the Churches on International Affairs (CCIA) and as Special Envoy of the WCC General Secretary to Jerusalem ; the Life & Peace Institute in Sweden as Senior Advisor to Church of Sweden, Norwegian Church Aid and DanChurchaid on Development, Peace & Security.
As private consultant she has worked with Viva Rio, an NGO in Brazil founded to combat the growing violence in the city of Rio de Janeiro.Salpy has initiated and led several successful international and regional peacebuilding and disarmament programmes and campaigns for the ecumenical movement, including the “Programme to Overcome Violence” followed by the “Decade to Overcome Violence”; WCC’s “Peace to the City Campaign”, the “Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine & Israel (EAPP)”, the “Jerusalem Ecumenical Centre” and the “Ecumenical Network on Small Arms and Light Weapons”.
Salpy is currently a Governing Board member of the only bi- communal, multicultural Centre in the UN Controlled Buffer Zone in Cyprus known as the “Home for Cooperation”; an active member of women’s civil society networks advancing women’s human rights and advocating for the implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 on women, peace & security and a founder of “Cats4Cooperation”, an animal welfare advocacy initiative focusing on the feral, stray and abandoned cats in the Buffer Zone.
Damir KapidžićRead more
Damir Kapidžić is an Associate Professor of Comparative Politics at the Faculty of Political Science, University of Sarajevo in Bosnia and Herzegovina. His research looks at ethnic conflict, political parties and power-sharing, as well as the process through which democratic or authoritarian politics are institutionalized. Much of his focus is on countries in Southeast Europe, but includes comparative perspectives from Southeast Asia, East Africa and the Middle East. He is the principal investigator of Horizon 2020 Contexts of Extremism in MENA and Balkan Societies at the University of Sarajevo, and editor of the book Illiberal Politics in Southeast Europe (Routledge).
Amalur Alvarez Researcher
Marina ElbakidzeRead more
Psychologist, Ph.D., lecturer of the Faculty of Psychology and Education Sciences of the Tbilisi State University. Project coordinator and researcher, Caucasus Institute for Peace, Democracy and Development (www. cipdd. org). As well, for about fifteen years she is involved in the Georgian-Abkhaz peace dialogue process.
The main areas of her interests and work are: minority rights, dealing with conflict and the past, education; She is the author of a number of studies and articles in these fields.
Sardorbek AbdukhalilovRead more
Sardorbek Abdukhalilov is an attorney-at-law at Spavediivost Human Rights Organization in Jalal-Abad, Kyrgyzstan. In 2014 Spravedlivost for its outstanding work in improving the position of national minorities in the OSCE area received the Max van der Stoel Award. Sardorbek has a Master's in Law with specialization in conflict from Pennsylvania State University and more than 16 years of experience in law. Sardorbek focuses his legal practice on human rights law and has solid experience in representing victims in cases involving torture, discrimination, and other human rights abuses. He regularly litigates strategic cases as an instrument for a legislative amendment or policy change.
Petra RoterRead more
Petra Roter is a Professor of International Relations at the University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Social Sciences. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge. She is Slovenia's national director of the European Master's in Human Rights and Democratisation (Venice). She was a visiting professor at the University of Padova (on diversity management) and a visiting fellow at the universities of Cambridge and Warwick. Her research interests, teaching and publications cover international protection of minorities and diversity management in general, international protection of human rights, international conflict management and post-conflict reconstruction. She is a former President of the Advisory Committee of the Council of Europe's Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities. As an independent expert, she regularly co-operates with the Council of Europe and the High Commissioner on National Minorities of the OSCE. She has been elected by the Council of Europe's Committee of Ministers to serve on the Advisory Committee in respect of Slovenia for the second/final four-year term.
Loránt VinczeRead more
Loránt VINCZE is a Hungarian politician from Romania, Member of the European Parliament since 2019. He studied journalism and public administration. Earlier he has been working in the field of European minority protection. He is the International Secretary of the Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania (RMDSZ). Between 1997 and 2009 he worked as radio journalist and manager at various Hungarian media outlets in Romania. He also worked for several years as advisor in the European Parliament.
Since 2016, he is President of the Federal Union of European Nationalities (FUEN). He coordinated the Minority SafePack European Citizens' Initiative running under the auspices of the organisation.