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. DAG prioritises increasing diversity in the field of mediation, and especially promotes representation of women and people from different social identities (sexual orientation, gender, ability, race, religion etc).
Ali holds a master in Conflict Studies and Human Rights from Utrecht University. He is also a researcher at the Conflict Studies Center at Utrecht University focusing on Syria and an associate researcher at NIOD Institute in Amsterdam. Ali is a board member of Damaan Humanitarian Organisation. Previously, he worked for Doctors without Borders / Médecins Sans Frontières as a security advisor in Aleppo and a humanitarian affairs officer – ideology analyst in Amsterdam. His work at DAG is focused on the MENA region.
Paula de Castro has worked as an analyst and programme manager for organisations like the Spanish Ministry of Defence (Directorate of Strategic and Security Affairs), the European Institute of Peace and the Barcelona Centre for International Affairs think tank. She has worked on research and policy-oriented projects related to conflict resolution and EU foreign policy. Paula holds a Masters in International Relations and is a Marshall Memorial Fellow of the German Marshall Fund of the United States.
Chief 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 has worked in international organisations, NGOs, think tanks and government, including the UN Department of Political Affairs, Spanish Prime Minister’s office (2008-2011) and ACTED Afghanistan, and served as a consultant on mediation to the UN Department of Political Affairs and the European External Action Service (EEAS). He has extensive field experience in Libya, Afghanistan, Sub-Saharan Africa etc. He is also currently a Senior Research Fellow Associate at the Barcelona Center for International Affairs (CIDOB).
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.
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.
Olivia Macharis holds master’s degrees in both Business Economics (KU Leuven) and Conflict Resolution (IÉSEG School of Management). Before joining DAG, she worked for several organisations in Beirut, The Hague and New York, where she acquired a thorough understanding of conflict dynamics, peacebuilding initiatives and international diplomacy. She conducted research on EU policy towards Syria, as well as the linkages between climate change and conflict in the Middle East and North Africa.
Rocío began her career as a journalist in Spain and moved to Cairo in 2012 where she reported on Egypt and the Middle East for the following five years. She completed a Master in International Politics at Leiden University, focusing particularly on security and human rights. She also holds a bachelor´s degree (with honours) in Audiovisual communication from the Complutense University of Madrid.
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.
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 has been working on justice and conflict since 2014. In her previous role as Transitional Justice Programme Coordinator at Lawyers for Justice in Libya, 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 is the assistant director and co-founder of DAG. Since 2009 she has been working in conflict mediation, initiating and engaging in talks with armed groups to reduce violence, including in 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, speaks at events and appears in the media to discuss current affairs and issues related to her work at DAG.
Luvy joined DAG as a programme manager after eight years of working in a variety of peace support programs through analysis and programmatic work. She has worked with local and international organisations in Myanmar, Nepal, Nicaragua and South Sudan. She holds a B.A. in International Relations, and an MSc. in Foreign Service from Georgetown University.
Isabella holds both a M.A. in Human Rights and Democratisation and an LL.M. in International Law and Security. During her studies, she focused on human rights and armed conflict. 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, focusing on issues of peace and security and organised crime, and at Protection International for the protection of human rights defenders.
Former UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs
and former UN Under-Secretary-General for Management
Professor, Department of Political Science, University of Amsterdam
(Secretary and Treasurer)
Former Ambassador of the Netherlands to Bangladesh
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
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