Who we are

The Core Team

The core team is led by Oxford Process director, Gabrielle Rifkind, a group analyst and psychotherapist, with a specialism in conflict resolution. She is co-author with Gianni Picco of "Fog of Peace", a book analysing why conflict prevention requires a new approach. Gabrielle has two decades' experience of working in the Middle East.

Richard Barrett is an internationally recognised counter-terrorism expert. Richard worked for the British government for many years before leading the Monitoring Team in support of the UN Security Council's work in responding to the threat from al-Qaeda post 9/11.

Imran Khan is a counter-radicalisation, behavioural change and communications specialist with over twenty years' experience working in Pakistan and Afghanistan. He speaks English, Urdu, Pashtun and Russian.

Andrew Marin is a Senior Fellow and Oxford Process Conflict Mediator. Over the past ten years he has facilitated high level negotiations around the world on a variety of projects for the UN and White House - including being asked by the Obama administration to work on major talks between religious and secular groups on areas of radical difference.

Gianni Picco was a "legendary" negotiator, who led the task force which secured the end of the war between Iran and Iraq in August 1988. From 1988 to 1992 he conducted the operation which led to the release of 11 Western hostages from Lebanon. He has continued to operate quietly behind the scenes to make a safer world.

Orsolya Székely is a lawyer and CEDR UK accredited mediator who currently works as a senior consultant in conflict resolution and international development. Previously she was Head of Operations (Council of Europe, Bosnia and Herzegovina), Special Representative of the Secretary General in Kosovo and a lawyer at the European Court of Human Rights.

Alex Ulster is a former officer in the British Army. He is now a counter-radicalisation and communications expert with experience in Iraq, Pakistan and Syria.

Patrick Wilson is a former diplomat whose career specialism was and continues to be Arab politics. On his retirement from the Foreign Office, Patrick was appointed as a Special Adviser to Tony Blair in his role as Quartet Representative to Israel and Palestine. He is fluent in Arabic. 

Nita Yawanarajah is Senior Conflict Mediator at Oxford Process. She has over 20 years of experience in international organisations, having served as Head of Good Offices at the Commonwealth Secretariat from 2009-2016 and as a Political Affairs Officer in the United Nations System from 1993-2009. 

Advisers

Lord John Alderdice was Speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly 1998– 2004, leader of the Alliance Party of Northern Ireland 1987–1998, and since 1996 has sat in the House of Lords as a Liberal Democrat. Alderdice was willing to talk with Sinn Féin, after the IRA called a ceasefire in 1994, when others in the unionist community regarded such discussions as unacceptable.

Daniel C. Kurtzer is professor of the S. Daniel Abraham Chair in Middle East Policy Studies at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. He served in the United States Foreign Service for thirty years, including postings as the U.S. Ambassador to Israel and Egypt.

Clare Lockhart is co-founder and director of ISE, which focuses on the functions of the state and approaches to enhancing the compact between citizens and state. She is co-author of “Fixing Failed States” (OUP, 2008) and author of several articles on state, peace-building, institution-building and citizenship. Ms. Lockhart is a Senior Fellow of the Jackson Institute for Global Affairs at Yale and serves on a number of boards including the Alliance for Peacebuilding and the Asia Foundation.

Sir William Patey has served as British Ambassador to Afghanistan as well as to Sudan, Iraq and Saudi Arabia in the face of the Arab Spring. In Sudan, he worked to achieve the 2005 comprehensive peace settlement that ended the country’s civil war. In Riyadh, he worked to develop relations with Saudi Arabia across a wide spectrum of sensitive policy and trade questions.

Sir Malcolm Rifkind served in the Foreign Office from 1982-86 as a Minister of State and from 1995-97 as Foreign Secretary. From 1992-95 he was Secretary of State for Defence.

James Watt following a diplomatic career largely spent in the Middle East, now lives between London and Beirut. He is Chairman of the Council for British Research in the Levant and works as a political risk consultant in the Ambassador Partnership LLP.

Andrew Whitley is founder and executive director of Geo-Political Advisory Services. He was previously Policy Director and interim Chief Executive of The Elders. Earlier, he worked as a journalist with the BBC and Financial Times and then with the United Nations. He was founding director of Human Rights Watch’s Middle East and North Africa division.