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Dialogue Advisory Group | people
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DAG is led by Ram Manikkalingam, an experienced Sri Lankan mediator, working with a dynamic international team and supported by a wide network of influential organisations and individuals. DAG staff combine NGO, INGO, government and academic experience, and our teams have a wide-ranging combination of gender, age and nationality.

Ali Aljasem

Programme  Assistant

Ali holds a master in Conflict Studies and Human Rights from Utrecht University. He is also a junior researcher at the Conflict Studies Center at Utrecht University focusing on Iraq and a human security officer at Damaan Organisation. He worked for Doctors without Borders / Médecins Sans Frontières as a security advisor in Aleppo and a humanitarian affairs officer – ideology analyst. His work at DAG is focused on Libya and Iraq. Ali was nominated for the ECHO award 2017 on diversity and social contribution.

Vlad Corbu

Programme  Manager

Vlad Corbu holds a master’s degree (cum laude) in International Relations from the Amsterdam School of Social Sciences and bachelors diploma in Political Science from the National School of Political and Administrative Studies in Bucharest. He joined DAG in early 2011 and currently works as programme manager. He works on all aspects of DAG’s operations.

Juan Garrigues

Special  Advisor

Juan Garrigues has worked in international organisations, NGOs, international relations think tanks and government, including at the United Nations Department of Political Affairs, the Spanish Prime Minister’s office and ACTED Afghanistan, and has served as a consultant on mediation to the United Nations Department of Political Affairs and the European External Action Service (EEAS). His work at DAG is currently focused on facilitating talks with political actors and armed groups in Libya. He is also currently a Senior Research Fellow Associate at the Barcelona Center for International Affairs (CIDOB).

Michelle Gherig

Programme  Manager

Michelle Gehrig completed a Juris Doctor at the University of Melbourne and holds a BA in International Studies. She previously worked in Australia and Ghana as a paralegal in the area of police accountability and human rights. She was also involved in human rights research and advocacy at UNICEF Pacific and the Fiji Human Rights Commission.

Shaun Haley

Financial & Administrative Officer

Shaun holds a master’s degree (with distinction) in International Relations and Democratic Politics from the University of Westminster in London. His research paid particular focus to Russian political history. Shaun joins us from the private sector with experience in coordinating teams in finance, administration and project support. Shaun is in charge of DAG’s financial administration and office management, and assists in the management of DAG’s budgets and grants.

Lahib Higel

Programme  Manager

Lahib has worked on DAG’s Iraq and Libya projects since 2017. She was previously based in Iraq for three years, where she worked as a Research Fellow at the Middle East Research Institute (MERI) in Erbil, and later in the humanitarian field as a Safety Advisor and Security Analyst for the International NGO Safety Organisation (INSO) in Baghdad. She has worked as a commissioned researcher for Minority Rights Group (MRG), the Swedish Institute for Foreign Affairs (UI), and IHS Markit.

Aileen van Leeuwen

Programme Assistant

Aileen van Leeuwen holds both an MA in Conflict Studies and Human Rights and a  BSc in Interdisciplinary Social Sciences (cum laude) from the Utrecht University. During her studies she did an exchange at the University of Hong Kong, researched the political involvement of Israeli and Palestinian diasporas and conducted fieldwork among former paramilitaries in Colombia. Before joining DAG she interned at the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and at the Dutch Council for Refugees.

Neda Malkawi

Programme Assistant

Neda Malkawi holds an LLM in International Public Law from Leiden University  and an LLB in European Law from the University of Warwick, with an exchange in Paris. Prior to joining DAG, Neda worked at the Registry of the International Court in the Hague. She also was at the National Center for Human Rights in Jordan, where her work focused on human rights research and advocacy.

Ram Manikkalingam

Founder & Director

Ram Manikkalingam founded DAG and teaches politics at the University of Amsterdam. He is a member of the Special Presidential Task Force on Reconciliation in Sri Lanka. Previously, he was Senior Advisor on the Sri Lankan peace process to then President Kumaratunga. He has served as an advisor with Ambassador rank at the Sri Lanka Mission to the United Nations in New York. Prior to that he was an Advisor on International Security to the Rockefeller Foundation.

Laura McDonnell

Programme Coordinator

Laura McDonnell re-joined the Dialogue Advisory Group as a Programme Coordinator in 2018, having previously worked at DAG from 2014-2016. In between her appointments at DAG she was the Transitional Justice Programme Coordinator at Lawyers for Justice in Libya (LFJL). At LFJL, Laura worked with Libyan and international stakeholders to establish Libya’s first digital human rights archive. Laura has a Master’s degree in Public International Law from the University of Amsterdam, an LLB in International Law from the University of Hull, and a Diplôme de Droit from the Université Pierre-Mendès France in Grenoble.

Fleur Ravensbergen

Assistant  Director

Fleur Ravensbergen is the assistant director and co-founder of the Dialogue Advisory Group. Since 2009 she has been working in the field of conflict mediation, initiating and engaging in talks with leaders of armed groups to reduce violence in several conflict situations, including Iraq and the Democratic Republic of Congo. She was part of a small team which disarmed groups in Northern Ireland and the Basque Country. Fleur also periodically teaches at the University of Amsterdam, speaks at events and appears in the media to discuss current affairs and issues related to her work at DAG.

Isabella Wüstner


Isabella holds both a Master’s degree in Human Rights and Democratisation from the European Inter-University Centre (Venice) and Utrecht University, and an LL.M. in Law and Politics of International Security from the VU-University Amsterdam. During her studies, she focused on human rights and armed conflict, with a special emphasis on armed non-state actors. She conducted field research looking at the reintegration process of female FARC combatants in Colombia. Before joining DAG, Isabella worked at the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung in Colombia (FESCOL), focusing on issues of peace and security and organised crime, and at Protection International (PI) for the protection of defenders of human rights.


Board of Directors


Former UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs

and former UN Under-Secretary-General for Management



Department of Political Science, University of Amsterdam 

(Secretary and Treasurer)


Former Ambassador of the Netherlands to Bangladesh 

Board of Advisors


Ambassador of Peru to France and Monaco, and former UN Envoy to El Salvador, Cyprus, Israel/Palestine


Former UN Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs


Associate Professor, Graduate Institute of Public and International Affairs, University of Ottawa

Former Advisors


Ely Place Chambers


President of the International Committee of the Red Cross


Secretary General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs


Former UN Special Envoy to Syria