Meet the Team

Breadcrumbs

Hillary Rodham Clinton - Honorary Founding Chair

Hillary Rodham Clinton is the Honorary Founding Chair of the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security. From January 2009 to February 2013, she served as Secretary of State of the United States. During her tenure as Secretary of State, Clinton launched the U.S. National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security at Georgetown University on December 19, 2011, at which time she also announced the creation of the Institute. A lifelong advocate of women and girls’ empowerment, Secretary Clinton has dedicated some four decades to public service.

Melanne Verveer - Executive Director

Ambassador Verveer served as the first U.S. Ambassador for Global Women’s Issues, a position to which she was nominated by President Obama in 2009. She coordinated foreign policy issues and activities relating to the political, economic and social advancement of women, traveling to nearly sixty countries and developing the U.S. National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security. President Obama also appointed her to serve as the U.S. Representative to the UN Commission on the Status of Women. Amb. Verveer currently serves as the Special Representative on Gender Issues for the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office.

Carla Koppell - Managing Director

Carla Koppell is the Managing Director of GIWPS and also serves as SFS Interim Vice Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Koppell recently served as a vice president with the United States Institute for Peace. Prior to that she served as chief strategy officer in the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and was appointed USAID’s inaugural senior coordinator for gender equality and women’s empowerment. Koppell also directed the Institute for Inclusive Security, served as deputy assistant secretary for international affairs with the U.S. Department for Housing and Urban Development, and worked with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

Allie Smith - Program Director

Allie Smith directs all programming for GIWPS and leads GIWPS' work to advance inclusive approaches to the crisis in Afghanistan through the signature initiative Onward for Afghan Women. She also serves as Senior Advisor to Ambassador Verveer and manages strategic partnerships with governments, multilateral organizations, and civil society. Previously, Allie worked on mediation and conflict resolution in Myanmar with the Kofi Annan-chaired Advisory Commission on Rakhine State, where she supported the development of policy solutions for resolving the Rohingya refugee crisis. She also worked with CARE Myanmar on gender-based violence programming and the Albright Stonebridge Group, a global strategic advisory firm, on Myanmar conflict analysis.

Jessica Smith - Research and Policy Director

Dr. Jessica Smith works with Ambassador Verveer to envision and execute research projects, supervise research fellows, and disseminate research findings through academic, policy, and practitioner communities. She brings nearly a decade of research experience working on gender-related issues with women in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Indonesia, Jordan and the United States. Dr. Smith completed her PhD at the Carter School for Peace and Conflict Resolution at George Mason University. She has worked in various capacities for the International Rescue Committee, Catholic Charities, the United Nations, USAID, the US Institute of Peace, and Everyday Peace Indicators.

Sarah Rutherford - Director of Communications and External Affairs

Sarah is the director of the Georgetown Ambassadors for Women, Peace and Security. She also helps to promote the Institute’s original research on gender and conflict through the Institute’s podcast, oral history project, media relations, and student advocacy. She previously worked for Georgetown's Vice President for Global Engagement, and as special assistant to the Dean of Admissions at the Georgetown University Law Center. Sarah received a B.A. in political science from Brown University, where she graduated magna cum laude, and a graduate degree in public relations and communications from Georgetown University. Please direct press requests to sarah.rutherford@georgetown.edu

Melissa Shields - Director of Finance and Administration

Melissa Shields (née Pasos) has over nine years experience in accounting and finance. Prior to joining GIWPS, Melissa was an independent business operations consultant with a variety of clients. Prior to that, she served as the Business Manager for Global Technology Programs at Internews Network. There, she was responsible for managing over $25M in funding annually for programs relating to Internet Freedom, Digital Rights and Digital Safety. She was also responsible for ensuring all agreements and subawards were administered according to US Government (USG) rules and regulations.

Robert Nagel - Research Fellow

Dr. Robert Ulrich Nagel’s research at GIWPS focuses on women’s impact on peacekeeping missions’ effectiveness. He also directs our graduate certificate in Gender, Peace and Security. He earned his PhD in International Conflict Analysis at the University of Kent. His prior research explores the conflict dynamics that contribute and result from sexual violence, their consequences for international security, conflict resolution, and post-conflict stability. He won the 2019 Cedric Smith Prize for the best peace and conflict studies paper by a UK or ROI-based PhD student and the International Studies Association 2020 Dina Zinnes Award.

Jess Keller - Policy and Program Manager

Jess Keller manages development and execution of all programming and special projects for the Institute. She also manages GIWPS’ Afghanistan portfolio and humanitarian response operations, and advances policy development, advocacy strategy, and stakeholder engagement. Previously, Jess worked with West End Strategy Team, J Street U, and in the U.S. Senate, where she promoted gender-responsive legislation and human rights. She has also worked with refugee nonprofits in Greece and Denmark to provide training and educational services to women and girls. Jess holds a B.A. in Government from Georgetown University, where she graduated Summa Cum Laude, and is a member of the Phi Beta Kappa Society.

Elena Ortiz - Research Manager, WPS Index

Elena Ortiz is the Research Manager for the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) Index at GIWPS. She has assisted with multiple previous iterations of the WPS Index and brings research experience exploring the gender dimensions of humanitarian aid, social norms, forced displacement, financial inclusion, and peace processes. Most recently, Elena has worked for the World Bank and the Council on Foreign Relations. She holds an MSc in International Development & Humanitarian Emergencies from the London School of Economics and a B.S. in Foreign Service from Georgetown University.

Lina Tori Jan - Afghanistan Policy Associate

Lina Tori Jan is the Afghanistan Policy Associate. Lina is a social entrepreneur, public speaker, and advocate for equality and human rights, with a focus on the rights of women, girls, and refugees. She currently leads the implementation of Georgetown University’s new Afghanistan initiative, Onward for Afghan Women, elevating and supporting Afghan women leaders with opportunities to continue their advocacy on behalf of Afghan women and girls. Shaped by her experiences as an Afghan woman raised in Afghanistan, Lina has worked around the globe with companies, NGOs, and governments, assisting in their efforts to create a more just society.

H.E. Roya Rahmani - Distinguished Fellow

Roya Rahmani is a Distinguished Fellow at GIWPS. Roya is a former Afghan diplomat who served as Afghanistan's first female ambassador to the United States and non-resident ambassador to Mexico, Argentina, Colombia, and the Dominican Republic from December 2018 to July 2021. Before entering government, she worked for several nonprofits that primarily focused on women's rights and education. She received a bachelor's degree in software engineering from McGill University in 2003 and a master's degree in public administration and international law at Columbia University in 2009.

Palwasha Hassan - Senior Fellow

Palwasha Hassan is a senior fellow at GIWPS. She holds a master's degree in Post-war Recovery Studies from York University, UK, and is a former fellow at the United States Institute of Peace. Palwasha is a dedicated women's rights activist pioneering many critical works to promote women's rights and civil society in Afghanistan. Her achievements, among others, include the first women's legal support organization Roazana (1997), Women and Street Children Center (1998), Women, Children Safe Home Network Manager (1999), Irfan Cultural Center. She co-founded a visionary women's rights movement in Afghanistan by setting up the Afghan Women Network that has played a pivotal role in Women's rights advocacy for the last 26 years.

Joshua Allen - Hillary Rodham Clinton Fellow

As the 2022-2023 Hillary Rodham Clinton Fellow, Josh supports the Institute’s peace, conflict, and men and masculinities research portfolio. His research focuses on the political economy of violence, governance and development, and discursive approaches to gender and sexuality. He earned an M.A. in Democracy and Governance from Georgetown University and a B.A. in Political Science and Creative Writing from Indiana University Bloomington. He also holds a Graduate Certificate in Gender, Peace, and Security from the Institute.

S. Ayse Kadayifci-Orellana - Affiliate GIWPS Researcher

Dr. S. Ayse Kadayifci-Orellana previously served as Associate Director and Assistant Professor of the Practice at Georgetown University’s MA Program in Conflict Resolution. Before coming to Georgetown University she served as a consultant for the Religion and Peacebuilding Program at United States Institute of Peace, and as an Assistant Professor in the field of Peace and Conflict Resolution at the School of International Service at American University, Washington D.C. Her research focuses on Muslim women’s peacebuilding initiatives, mediation and peace building, religion and conflict resolution, interfaith dialogue, Islamic approaches to war and peace, and Islam and nonviolence.

Rangita de Silva de Alwis - Hillary Rodham Clinton Fellow on Gender Equity

Rangita is a renowned international women’s rights expert. She is Senior Adjunct Professor of Law and Global Leadership and served as the Associate Dean of International Affairs at the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School where she teaches international women’s rights and a policy lab on AI and bias, among other courses. She started the Global Women’s Leadership Project and Women, Law & Leadership Lab at the University of Pennsylvania under the auspices of UN Women’s Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka to map the laws that regulate the status of women in the family.

Dr. Robert Egnell - Senior Fellow

Robert Egnell (Ph.D. London) is Vice-Chancellor of the Swedish Defence University and a professor of leadership and command and control. He is also a senior fellow with the Security Studies Program at Georgetown University and the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace, and Security. Dr. Egnell is also a captain in the Swedish Army reserves with operational experience from the first Swedish battalion in Kosovo in 1999-2000. Dr. Egnell’s educational background includes a Ph.D. (2008) and an MA (2003) in War Studies from King’s College, London, a BA (2000) and an MA (2002) in literature at Uppsala University, and a BA (2002) in Political Science from Stockholm University.

Nagwan Soliman - Affiliate Scholar

Nagwan is a Nonresidential Scholar fellow at Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security at Georgetown University. Nagwan received her Ph.D. in social and political sciences from the European University Institute in Italy and her master’s in political science from Cairo University. Nagwan has also served as a regional trainer in conflict and peace studies, training activists from Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Yemen, Sudan, Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine, Oman, and Turkey. She has contributed to designing Early Warning and Rapid Response networks (EWRR) and dialogue processes in many counties in the MENA region.

Miriam Mona Mukalazi – Visiting Research Fellow

Miriam Mona Mukalazi is a visiting researcher at GIWPS. She is a PhD researcher of International Relations at Heinrich-Heine-University in Germany and a recipient of the Charlemagne Research Fellowship in European Studies. With the help of a post-colonial approach, Miriam explores how the African Union and the European Union legitimise their regional governance of the Women, Peace and Security agenda. Most recently, Miriam has worked for the Centre for Feminist Foreign Policy, the World Bank, UN Women Germany and the Institute for Peace and Security Studies (IPSS) at Addis Ababa University.