Laurie Smolenski is the Development Director for the Global Center. She manages relationships with individual, corporate and foundation supporters and oversees strategic diversification of funding sources. She previously worked as the Development and Outreach Officer at the Institute for Economics and Peace, and as the Senior Development Manager at the New York Immigration Coalition. She has an MA in Peace and Conflict Resolution from the University of Queensland in Australia where she was a Rotary Peace Fellow, an MA in International Relations from the Autonomous University of Madrid, and a BA in sociology and urban studies from Wayne State University.
Adele Westerhuis is a Programs Associate for the Global Center. She conducts research and provides program assistance in the areas of multilateral security policy and financial inclusion and integrity. She holds a BA in international relations from the Pardee School of Global Studies at Boston University.
Naz Yalbir is a Programs Officer for the Global Center. She implements programming focused on anti–money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) and countering violent extremism (CVE). She has contributed to the implementation of AML/CFT capacity building efforts in Iraq, Jordan, and Lebanon, and CVE related projects and research in Southeast Asia and East Africa. She holds an MA in politics and international affairs and a BA in politics and Middle Eastern studies from New York University.
Annabelle Bonnefont is a Legal Analyst for the Global Center. She provides research and programming support on criminal justice and rule of law issues. She has legal experience in France, China, and the United States in the fields of public and private international law, rule of law, counterterrorism, human rights law, and peace-building operations. After practicing as a trainee lawyer in international litigation and arbitration within international law firms, she was a consultant for the United Nations and conducted legal analysis in the area of counterterrorism, investigation, and human rights law. She is a member of the Paris Bar, she holds a master’s degree in international law from Paris 2 Université Panthéon-Assas, a master’s degree in Chinese language and modern politics from INLACO, and an LLM from Columbia Law School.
Tracey Durner is Director of Financial Integrity and Inclusion for the Global Center. She is responsible for overseeing programming and strategic direction for that portfolio of work, including on issues of anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT), financial inclusion and economic empowerment, and the role of and impact on civil society of counterterrorism measures. She has authored reports and policy analysis on AML/CFT and countering violent extremism topics and led the design, implementation, and evaluation of capacity-building programs with a particular focus on East Africa. She holds a BA in international affairs and political science from Northeastern University, and MPA from the University of Missouri.
Eelco Kessels is Executive Director of the Global Center and an ex-officio member of its Board of Directors, responsible for overseeing the organization’s strategic and organizational direction and daily operations. He has more than a decade of experience developing and coordinating research and programming activities across the world, related to managing and reintegrating terrorism offenders, identifying and addressing violent extremist radicalization in prisons, countering violent extremism, and rule of law–based approaches to counterterrorism. From 2010 to 2014, he worked as Programme Manager at the International Centre for Counter-Terrorism – The Hague. Previously, he was a researcher in counterterrorism at Leiden University and worked for the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence in London. He holds a BA (cum laude) in international law and conflict studies from University College Utrecht and an MA (with distinction) in international peace and security from King’s College London.
Melissa Lefas is Chief of Strategy for the Global Center, where she is responsible for organizational strategy and team development. She spent several years managing Global Center programs throughout East Africa, the Middle East, North Africa, the Sahel, and South Asia with a primary focus on human rights, capacity development, and due process in handling terrorism and related cases. Previously, she applied her international, human rights, and immigration legal expertise in fragile and postconflict regions in East Africa and Haiti working for a number of institutions, including the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. Additionally, she led development programming for Engineers Without Borders in western and southern Africa. She holds a BS in civil and environmental engineering from McGill University and a JD from the Cardozo School of Law. She is a New York Peace Institute–approved mediator.
Junko Nozawa is a Senior Legal Analyst for the Global Center. She provides research and programming support on criminal justice and rule of law issues with a focus on assisting judiciaries in East Africa, the Middle East, North Africa, and Southeast Asia to improve their strategies for handling complex criminal cases. In the field of international law, she has contributed to the work of the International Criminal Court, regional human rights courts, and nongovernmental organizations. She holds a BA from the University of Washington in international relations and philosophy, a JD from Washington University School of Law, and an LLM in international human rights and criminal justice from Utrecht University in the Netherlands.
Franziska Praxl-Tabuchi is a Senior Programs Officer for the Global Center. She contributes to the multilateral security pillar by developing programming, conducting research, and supporting its overall strategic direction. She also works on the Center’s programs on countering violent extremism. Previously she worked for the Department of Peacekeeping Operations at the United Nations and the New York City Council. She holds an MA in Transnational Security from New York University, an MA in Contemporary Warfare from King’s College London, and a BA in Social- and Cultural Anthropology from Freie Universität Berlin.