Of Algerian origin, Dr. Abbas Aroua is a medical physicist. He is a professor at the Lausanne Faculty of Medicine in Switzerland, where he has been living for more than 20 years, combining scientific expertise, engagement in public health and a rich citizen engagement. A strong advocate for human rights, peace and dialogue among cultures, Dr. Aroua is engaged in several non-profit initiatives: he leads the Hoggar Institute, a research institute publishing works related to human rights, Algerian politics and history, he has co-founded Rachad organization, which opposes the Algerian government with nonviolent resistance, and the Alkarama Foundation for Human Rights. He has written many articles and books on conflict resolution and human development, teaches at the Basel World Peace Academy, and heads the “Arab world” department of the transcend.org network.
In 2002, he founded the Cordoba Foundation of Geneva (www.cordoue.ch) aiming at promoting the exchange between cultures and civilizations in the spirit of Cordoba; and fostering research and debate about peace, issues in the world. Cordoba is actively involved in research, training and intervention in the fields of conflict prevention and conflict transformation. It focuses on the Arab world and Islam in Europe.
Senior Program Officer
Lakhdar Ghettas holds a PhD degree in International History form the London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE, University of London. He holds an MA degree in American History, 2005, from the School of American Studies, University of East Anglia, UK. His MA dissertation: U.S. Options with the Prospect of a Nuclear Iran, won the Board of Examiners’ MA Dissertation Prize in 2005.
Prior to joining Cordoba Foundation he initiated the Maghreb Studies Initiative within the Africa Affairs Programme at the LSE IDEAS Centre for Diplomacy and Strategy (2008-2012), where he published several position papers and articles on the international affairs of North Africa and the Middle East. Besides, he presented papers and gave public talks at international conferences in the U.S. and U.K. such as the 2011 Annual Conference of the Society for the Historians of American Foreign Relations (SHAFR), Alexandra, VA, and the 8th Annual Cold Ward Conference 2010 in Washington DC.
His main research interest and expertise areas include U.S-North African relations and history, democratisation and governance in North Africa, and political Islam. His recent publications include a chapter contribution: “Unrest in Algeria: The Window is Closing Fast”, in African Awakening: The Emerging Revolutions, edited by Firoze Mani and Sokri Ekine, London: Fahamu Books & Pampazuka Press, 2011. His forthcoming book is Algeria and the Cold War: International Relations and the Struggle for Autonomy, (London & NY: I. B. Tauris).
Assistant Program Manager
Catherine Germond holds a B.A and M.A. in Ancient Near Eastern Studies and a second B.A in Theology from the University of Geneva, Switzerland. She studied Latin, Greek, Akkadian, ancient Hebrew, Aramean, Ugaritic and Sumerian. Her knowledge of the ancient history and religions of the Middle East, combined with her interest in the Muslim world, give her a broad insight into the background, geopolitics and current affairs of the region. Catherine has made several extended stays in the Middle East, especially in Jordan where she worked for the Foundation for the Future and studied Arabic. She started a PhD in Islamic political philosophy at the EPHE in Paris.
The political and social upheavals in the MENA region have further motivated her to engage more concretely in the region through mediation and conflict transformation. In 2014 she started working at the Cordoba Foundation of Geneva where she is now assistant program manager and Middle East program officer. Catherine is the co-editor of Maghreb Machrek, Religion et Etat. Logiques de la Sécularisation et de la Citoyenneté en Islam, n°224-225, éditions Eska. Catherine's articles have appeared in Le Courrier and 24 Heures.
Sarah Franck holds a Masters in Conflict Resolution in Divided Societies from King’s College London (2014-2015) and a Bachelor Degree in International Relations from the University of Geneva (2009-2012). Her MA dissertation was on « Conflict Tourism in Jerusalem » and her BA thesis on « Public Opinion in Israel, post Operation Cast Lead ». She previously worked in Israel and Palestine for a local Non Governmental Organisation (NGO), in Cambodia for the World Health Organisation (WHO) and in Geneva for the International Film Festival and Forum on Human Rights (FIFDH).
She joined the Cordoba Foundation of Geneva in October 2015.
Alistair Davison holds a M.A. in Arabic and Persian from the University of Cambridge, and was responsible for Arabic and English teaching at the Institute of Ismaili Studies in London. He is a UK chartered accountant, and prior to joining the Cordoba Foundation of Geneva worked for many years in finance and human resources in the private sector and public-private partnerships, including businesses and projects in North and West Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia.
Alistair spent his childhood in Iran and periods living in Syria, Egypt and Morocco. He retains a deep interest in the rich cultural heritage of these regions, in social and political developments in Muslim-majority countries, and in promoting peaceful interaction and exchange among Muslims and people of other faiths and worldviews. He continues to teach Arabic.
Alistair is a Swiss and UK national, and joined the Cordoba Foundation of Geneva in March 2014.
Charlotte Mounier holds a Bachelor in Business Administration, with a finance specialization, from the European Business School (EBS) Paris and a Masters in International Relations, with a focus on Middle Eastern Politics, from the Instituto de Empresa (IE University) Madrid.
She joined the Cordoba Foundation of Geneva in July 2016.
Abdoulaye Bâ holds a Masters degree in Human Rights and Peace from the University of Dakar. From 1987 to 1995 he worked as a journalist in Mauritania for several agencies and editorial offices. From 1995 to 2007 and from 2009 to 2014, he worked as Communication Assistant in charge of Public Relations at the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Mauritania, and concurrently taught Civil Liberties and Fundamental Rights at the Faculty of Law at the University of Nouakchott, while conducting research on conflicts in Africa, especially in the Sahel. Between 2007 and 2008, he served as Communications Advisor to the Presidency of the Republic of Mauritania and Spokesman for the President. Between August 2015 and April 2017, Abdoulaye was part of the African Union Observer Mission for Human Rights in Burundi, with the role of Deputy Coordinator. He has written a number of published articles on the situation in the Sahel and is co-author of the collective work entitled "Inter-Ethnic Relations in Mali", published in 2014 in Doha, Qatar.
Abdoulaye has worked as a consultant-researcher with the Cordoba Foundation of Geneva since 2012, on the themes of conflict in the Sahel, social cohesion and conflict transformation. In May 2017 he assumed the role of representative of the Cordoba Foundation of Geneva in the Sahel region and in the countries of the Lake Chad basin, and is based in Nouakchott.
Kheira Tarif holds an MLitt in Peace and Conflict Studies from the University of St Andrews and a BA in Middle Eastern Studies from the School of Oriental and African Studies (University of London). Prior to joining the Cordoba Foundation of Geneva in October 2015, she studied and worked in Egypt, Morocco and Oman. Her areas of interest include narratives in conflict transformation, identity and socio-political change, and forced migration - with a focus on the North Africa, West Asia and Gulf regions. In her work with the Cordoba Foundation of Geneva, Kheira has been involved in projects in North Africa and the Middle East, and in creating opportunities for humanitarian actors with different religious references or worldviews to successfully work together.