Vanessa Newby is an Assistant Professor at Leiden University based in The Hague. She has a PhD in
international relations and her research interests include women peace and security, peacekeeping,
peacebuilding, humanitarian aid and disaster response and the international relations of the Middle
East. Vanessa is an Arabic speaker with thirteen years’ experience of researching the Middle East.
She is the author of Peacekeeping in South Lebanon: Credibility and Local Cooperation with
Syracuse University Press (2018) and has published in international peer-reviewed journals such as
International Peacekeeping, Contemporary Politics, the Australian Journal of International Affairs,
and Third World Quarterly.
Saskia has a background in public affairs and public policy with an interest in foreign relations and
international security. She has an MA in European Studies from the University of Amsterdam with a
major in European Law and a minor in Spanish. Saskia has lived and worked in Europe, the US and
Lebanon. Her career includes interning at the Dutch mission to the United Nations in New York, and
at PA-Europe in Brussels. She also worked for three years as a policy assistant to a Dutch Member of
Parliament. In her role as Vice-President she aims to contribute to a better understanding of the
important role of women in international peace and security, and raise awareness of this important
Board Member, Secretary
Maria is a PhD researcher in International Institutional Law with Leiden University. She is currently
supporting the Independent Expert Review of the International Criminal Court and Rome Statute
system as (research) assistant to the Experts. She has 4 years’ work experience for the Defense at the
ICC and 15 years of NGO governance and strategic development involvement. She has an LL.M in
International Law from the University of Paris 1 Pantheon-Sorbonne and an Adv.LL.M in Public
International Law from Leiden University.
Amy currently works as a study coordinator for the Advanced MSc International Relations and Diplomacy at Leiden University. Before joining Leiden University she completed the Robert Schuman traineeship at the European Parliament and interned for the European Law Institute. She is an alumna of the University of Glasgow where she gained an LL.M. in International Law and Security and then a second LL.M. at the University of Copenhagen focusing on EU External Relations.
Fleur de Braaf
Fleur de Braaf is an Advanced Master’s student at the University of Leiden completing her degree in International Relations and Diplomacy in June 2020. She is currently also a facilitating member of the Women Ambassadors Group in the Netherlands and an Associate at a political risk consultancy called Libya Desk. In 2019 she was an intern at the Department of Crisis Management Peace Operations at the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs focusing on the Dutch contribution to peace operations in the Middle East. Prior to her MSc, she finished her BA in Development Studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London. During her time there she was President of the University branch of 180 Degrees Consulting, a consultancy for NGOs. Fleur is interested in particular in the role of women in the context of peace operations and counter(terrorism).
Social Media Officer
Anne is currently working as a tutor for the BSc. Security Studies programme at the Leiden University where she teaches on a variety of subjects including interdisciplinary approaches to safety and security, terrorism and counter-terrorism, and scientific research methods. Anne holds a MA in International Relations with a focus on peace, security, and conflict from the Université Libre de Bruxelles, as well as a MSc. in Crisis and Security Management from the Leiden University. Her expertise lies in matters relating to gender and extremism. Prior to her current role in academia, Anne worked in the digital team of a public relations and public affairs consultancy in Brussels. A native French speaker, she is multilingual, speaking English, Dutch, and German as well.
Lieutenant Colonel Ella van den Heuvel
Advisory Council Member
Ella van den Heuvel is a military gender expert in the Dutch Armed Forces with whom she has served
since 1998. In her work she focuses on the implementation of UNSCR 1325 on Women, Peace &
Security. Ella has been deployed as a military gender advisor for NATO in Afghanistan in 2009 and
in the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) in 2017 and 2019. She has also worked as
a part-time gender adviser for NATO to the Jordanian Armed Forces (2018-2020). She currently is
the gender adviser of the Dutch Chief of Defence.
Advisory Council Member
Willemijn Aerdts LL.M. MA is an intelligence specialist at Leiden University. She is a member of the Advisory Council on International Affairs ( Adviesraad Internationale Vraagstukken ) and a former researcher at the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. She is the owner of the security consultancy Bureau Aerdts and a frequent media commentator on Dutch intelligence matters.
Advisory Council Member
Professor Alanna O'Malley is Chair of United Nations Studies in Peace and Justice at Leiden University. She has a PhD from the European University Institute in Florence and her first book, The Diplomacy of Decolonisation, America, Britain and the United Nations during the Congo crisis 1960- 64 was published in 2018. In 2019 she was awarded a Starting Grant from the European Research Council for her new project, 'Challenging the Liberal World order from Within, The Invisible History of the United Nations and the Global South' (INVISIHIST).
Advisory Council Member
Dr. Joana Cook is an Assistant Professor of Terrorism and Political Violence in the Faculty of Governance and Global Affairs, Leiden University. She is also a Senior Project Manager at ICCT, and Editor-in-Chief of the ICCT journal. Her research more broadly focuses on women and gender in violent extremism, countering violent extremism, and counter-terrorism practices. More recent scholarly interests include non-state actor governance, and factors and pathways to radicalization.
Joana is also a Research Affiliate at the Department of War Studies, King’s College London and an Associate Fellow at the International Centre for the Study of Radicalization; an adjunct lecturer at Johns Hopkins University; a non-resident Fellow at the Program on Extremism at George Washington University; a Research Affiliate with the Canadian Network for Research on Terrorism, Security and Society (TSAS); and a Digital Fellow at the Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies (MIGS), Concordia University. She is a graduate of King’s College London where she completed her MA and PhD in the Department of War Studies (BA University of Regina).
WIIS-Netherlands (WIIS-NL) is an affiliate of WIIS Global. WIIS-NL Members include: students, professionals, civil servants, academics, NGOs, employees of international bodies and organizations, embassy staff, politicians and interested members of the general public. The Chapter’s base is Leiden University in The Hague. The main aim of WIIS-NL is to advance understanding in the Netherlands of the need for greater gender equality in international security. Security is broadly defined here as traditional and non-traditional including human security. This aim includes the following objectives:
- To promote greater gender equality in security institutions in the Netherlands and Europe as well as institutions that partly deal with security issues
- To connect practitioners, policy makers and academics in the Netherlands to achieve this goal
- To educate and inform general audiences in the Netherlands about the importance of gender balancing and gender equality in international security.
The chapter will hold monthly meetings and events during the Academic year (September – June) at Leiden University and other locations in The Hague, the Netherlands. The chapter will communicate with members through email; its social media presence and the chapter’s webpage to share information on a regular basis. The WIIS-NL Chapter seeks to provide a structured and regular forum for members based in the Netherlands to explore and discuss the current role women play in international security, the need for greater gender equality in international security, and the political and social changes required to further this goal.
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