Oxford Research Group (ORG) is delighted that Nita Yawanarajah joined it as an Advisor in November. Nita is an international conflict resolution practitioner with over 20 years of experience in international organizations. Most recently, she was the Head of the Commonwealth Secretariat's Good Offices and Conflict Prevention Section (2009-2015) where she helped develop its conflict prevention program and served on good offices assignments to the Maldives and Swaziland. She also served for almost 15 years in the United Nations Department of Political Affairs in Rwanda, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo and Eritrea and Ethiopia, helping to establish its Mediation Support Unit. Originally from Malaysia, she has also supported other peacebuilding situations such as Liberia and Sierra Leone and the Darfur and Western Sahara mediation processes. Nita’s thoughts on the timing of peace initiatives were published by ORG in October.
Over the course of 2016, ORG has also welcome three more new Advisors to its panel of over 30 international experts and practitioners from the fields of diplomacy, development, military, intelligence, academia and journalism.
Bernard Harborne became an Advisor to the Sustainable Security Programme in September. Bernard leads on fragility conflict and violence at the World Bank. He joined the Bank in 2004 as the lead conflict adviser for Africa, including from 2007-2008 as Country Manager in Côte d’Ivoire. Before the World Bank, he worked and lived for over a decade in various roles: as a human rights lawyer in Gaza in the Palestinian Territories and then Cambodia, and for seven years in Africa with the UN, with his last posting as Head of the UN Coordination Office for Somalia. He then worked for two years with the British Government as the senior conflict adviser for Africa, managing the Africa Conflict Prevention Fund. He has a background in law and is an adjunct professor at George Washington University. He has published many articles on security and development issues and is the co-author of Securing Development: Public Finance and the Security Sector, out this month. He has also blogged for www.SustainableSecurity.org on the costs of security sector reform.
Mary Dejevsky joined ORG as an Advisor to the Oxford Process in April. Mary is a leading commentator on international affairs in general and Russia in particular. A former Moscow correspondent for The Times, she writes a weekly column for The Independent and contributes regularly to The Guardian and many other UK and international publications. She is a member of the Valdai Discussion Club, invited to meet Russian leaders each autumn, a past honorary research fellow at the University of Buckingham, and recently joined the advisory board of the School of Slavonic and East European Studies at UCL. Mary discussed the West’s response to Putin at a timely ORG event in June with fellow Advisor Sir Malcolm Rifkind. Last week, Mary gave oral evidence to the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee’s current inquiry into the UK’s relations with Russia.
Maj Gen (Retd) Patrick Cordingley also now advises ORG’s Sustainable Security Programme. He served from 1965 to 2000 as an officer in the British Army. After postings in Cyprus, Libya, Germany and Canada, he commanded the 7th Armoured Brigade (the Desert Rats) which led the UK and US assault on Iraqi forces in Kuwait during the 1991 Gulf War. He subsequently set up the Combined Arms Training Centre at Warminster and, promoted to Major General, commanded the Army’s 2nd Division before being appointed as the military adviser to His Majesty Sultan Qaboos of Oman. Patrick was among the many distinguished signatories to ORG’s open letter to incoming Prime Minister Theresa May in July, urging her to delay a Commons vote on the Successor nuclear weapons system in light of the Brexit referendum result.