Our Team

Eric Rosand – Executive Director of the Strong Cities Network

Eric Rosand is the Executive Director of the Strong Cities Network. He has nearly two decades of experience working with governments, multilateral organizations, civil society, academics, and the private sector on international counterterrorism and P/CVE issues.  This includes more than six years as a senior official at the US State Department where was the international policy director for the White House CVE Summit and led efforts to develop and launch the Global Counterterrorism Forum, its inspired institutions, and the Strong Cities Network.  He previously was a non-resident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution and served as co-director of the Global Center on Cooperative Security, and a lawyer at the U.S.  State Department and the U.S. Mission to the United Nations. His writings, including on the role of cities and other local actors in P/CVE have appeared in a wide range of publications such as the American Journal of International Law, Foreign Policy, Foreign Affairs, Global Observatory, Just Security, The Hill, Lawfare, Order from Chaos, Time, and War on the Rocks. He holds a BA in history from Haverford College, a JD from Columbia University School of Law, and an LLM (Hons) in international law from Cambridge University.

Sabine Barton – Head of Policy & Europe Hub

Sabine Barton is a Senior Manager on the Strong Cities Network, with a particular focus on youth engagement in P/CVE. Sabine is responsible for managing SCN regions and member engagement and training, including through city exchanges, practitioner workshops, and direct city consultations on local P/CVE strategy and practice to counter all forms of violent extremism and polarisation. Sabine is currently focusing on developing regional models for local youth engagement in Europe, Africa and MENA, including through a joint project with the Nordic Council of Minister’s Nordic Safe Cities Network. She also works on the topics of integration and cohesion, in particular through the SCN’s workstream on Refugees and IDPs. Sabine was previously involved in a research project on countering lone actor terrorism (CLAT) implemented by a consortium led by the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), in cooperation with the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, Chatham House and Leiden University. Prior to joining SCN in June 2015, Sabine worked as a research assistant focussing on consumer rights and ethical consumption in Australia.

Kelsey Bjornsgaard – Head of Capacity Building and Campaigns

Kelsey Bjornsgaard is the Head of Capacity Building and Campaigns at the SCN, leading the development of capacity building models to enhance locally led approaches to preventing and countering violent extremism. She works closely with youth, civil society, and local government actors to build critical capacities and drive cross-sectoral coordination to promote community-based solutions on a global scale. Kelsey led the development and delivery of the SCN’s flagship youth programmes, YouthCAN and Young Cities, training more than 750 young activists and facilitating 75 youth-led initiatives to counter hate, polarisation and extremism across Europe, Africa, Australia, South Asia, and the MENA Region. She frequently advocates for the role of young people in P/CVE in international forums Kelsey holds a Masters in International Conflict Studies from King’s College London and a Bachelors in European Studies from the University of Oklahoma.

Allison Curtis – Head of Networks and Partnerships

Allison joined the Strong Cities Network in 2022 with more than fifteen years of experience in international policy and programming on counter-terrorism, CVE, national security and the rule of law. Her prior roles have included Senior Manager for Communications & Strategic Planning at the International Institute for Justice and the Rule of Law (IIJ) in Malta, where she had earlier served as the Programme Manager leading the Global Central Authorities and Addressing Homegrown Terrorism Initiatives, and Policy Analyst for the Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF) Administrative Unit in The Hague. She joined the GCTF from the Australian Embassy in Washington, D.C., where she was a Senior Policy Officer, working on the counter-terrorism, national security and legal portfolios. She has degrees in law and journalism, and a master’s degree in international relations.

Daniel Hooton – Head of Strong Cities Network International Programmes

Daniel Hooton is Head of the Strong Cities Network’s International Programme, with responsibility for strategy and delivery of international cities programmes. This includes current projects to develop institutional approaches to long-term governance, human security and social policy challenges in cities across Africa, Asia, the Balkans and the Middle East. He has advised and worked with numerous international governments, UN agencies and mayors on international counterterrorism and counter-extremism strategy, briefing senior ministers and leaders and shaping multilateral cooperation on grassroots practice in cities around the world.

Daniel previously served as policy advisor to the Shadow Minister for Communities in the UK Parliament, developing opposition policy and scrutiny on community cohesion, social exclusion and public services reform.

He holds a Master’s degree with Distinction from the London School of Economics, a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Bristol, and has a longstanding interest in devolution, borders and port cities.

Simeon Dukic – Senior Manager, Balkans and Central Asia

Simeon Dukic is the Senior Manager for the Western Balkans and Central Asia, leading SCN engagement with local governments in the two regions to ensure they have adequate tools, capacities and platforms to effectively counter extremism that leads to violence. His key tasks include facilitating city-to-city learning and national-local coordination, supporting the operationalisation of multi-stakeholder prevention frameworks, empowering youth, mapping resilience to extremism and analysing extremist online content. Prior to his role with the SCN, Simeon was a Project Associate at the National Committee for Countering Violent Extremism and Counter-Terrorism of the Republic of North Macedonia. He supported the coordination of 22 government ministries, CSOs, multilaterals and regional counterparts. Moreover, he was involved in the drafting of the first National CVE Strategy. Simeon holds an MA (Distinction) in Intelligence and International Security from King’s College London and a BA (Magna Cum Laude) in Global Challenges from Leiden University College.

Charlotte Moeyens – Senior Manager, Networks & Civic Action

Charlotte Moeyens is a Senior Manager, Networks & Civic Action at the Strong Cities Network, sitting in the central Resources and Methods team to support with the collation and distribution of counter-extremism best practice, overseeing the development and international delivery of training modules, materials and resources for practitioners and civil society. She has supported the delivery of the Google.org Impact Challenge on Safety in Europe, Africa Online Safety Fund and Mayor of London’s Shared Endeavour Fund. Most recently, she is working with the McCain Institute to develop and build the capacity of a US Prevention and Intervention Practitioners Network. Charlotte also forms part of the SCN’s Central Management Unit, and is co-author of the Multi-Agency Models for Preventing Violent Extremism: A Guidebook for Bangladesh, as well as YouthCAN: The Many States of Activism and Women, Girls and Islamist Extremism.

Dominic Pkalya – Senior Programme Manager, PROACT

Dominic is a Senior Program Manager at the Strong Cities Network, working across its counter-extremism initiatives in the Eastern Africa region. Within SCN, Dominic is managing the PROACT – Community Based Interventions Program in Kenya as well as supporting the Young Cities initiatives in the region. He was previously the Chief of Party for the Strengthening Community Resilience against Extremism (SCORE), a USAID Kenya and East Africa funded counter-extremism project that was being implemented in the coastal region of Kenya by Act Change Transport (Act!) and 17 local partners. He also worked with UNDP Kenya where he was seconded to National Drought Management Authority, a government agency, where he provided technical support in addressing Armed Violence reduction efforts amongst pastoralist’s communities in Kenya. He holds a Masters in Arts (Media, Conflict and Peace studiers) from University for Peace (Costa Rica) and a Bachelors of Arts (Government and Public Administration) from Moi University (Kenya).

Tim Hulse – Manager, Monitoring and Evaluation

Tim is a Manager at the Strong Cities Network. His role consists of developing monitoring and evaluation systems for a range of SCN programmes in order to demonstrate the impact that the Institute has in preventing and countering violent extremism. As part of this role Tim also supports a number of SCN partners in demonstrating the sustainable impact of their projects.

Tim has previously been engaged in research for a number of UK charities and NGOs focusing on extremism, Middle Eastern politics and refugee issues among other topics. He holds a Masters in Intelligence and International Security from King’s College London and a Bachelors in the Study of Religions from the School of Oriental and African Studies.

Mohammad “Omar” Metwally – Programme Manager

Mohammad “Omar” Metwally is a Programme Manager for the Strong Cities Network. He leads the SCN’s efforts to strengthen national-local cooperation (NLC) for preventing and countering violent extremism (P/CVE) and contributes to the SCN’s transatlantic city-to-city cooperation on addressing racially or ethnically motivated violent extremism (REMVE) and related issues. He is experienced in peacebuilding, community resilience, and conflict transformation with nearly a decade of experience across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). Previously, he has advised and worked with numerous multilateral, non-governmental, and governmental organisations. Most recently, he was a conflict analysis expert at the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) where he contributed to the locally-led peacebuilding and stabilization process in Libya. Mohammad is a Fulbright alumnus and holds a Master of Global Affairs from the Keough School, Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, University of Notre Dame. He is bilingual Arabic and English, with basic French proficiency

Jasmeet Sahotay – Project Manager

Jasmeet is a Project Manager on the Strong Cities Network, working on the Young Cities project. Jasmeet supports the delivery of the Youth Innovation Labs, manages the Communications for youth-related programming, and supports the development of new project activities and strategies. He is the lead author of the report Voices of Pakistani Youth: Lessons for Civil Society in the Development of Effective Counter-Narrative Campaigns. He holds a Masters in International Law, Security and Terrorism from the University of Nottingham, and a Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy & Politics from the University of Leeds.

Khadija Abdallah Mohamed – Coordinator, Young Cities

Khadija is a Coordinator for Young Cities in Sub-Saharan Africa. Her role entails supporting the implementation of all Young Cities activities in the region, and she is the key focal point for all youth groups implementing their community cohesion initiatives and supporting the delivery of city initiatives. She plays a vital role in ensuring the management of local implementing partners and is a point of contact for local government officials and stakeholders. Khadija holds a Bachelor’s degree in business and logistics management.

She has worked with various private and civil society organisations and has over seven years of experience in the administrative, commercial, and operations fields. She is an Alumni of Young African Leaders Initiative Regional Leadership Center East Africa, Youth Empowerment programme initiative (YEPI) and volunteers with Kenya Youth Assembly as a communication and management strategist. She is among the first beneficiaries and ambassadors of the Young Cities programme in Kenya 2018.

Joe Downy – Coordinator

Joe is a Coordinator for the Strong Cities Network, and leads the Communications and Membership, as well as providing support on key initiatives within the SCN, including the Global Counterterrorism Forum’s Initiative on National-Local Cooperation and programmes across South-East Asia.

He holds a Master’s Degree with Distinction in Conflict, Security and Development from the University of Sussex with a focus on Middle Eastern Politics and Post-Conflict Reconstruction, he joined SCN as an Intern on the Strong Cities Network before becoming an Associate. Prior to joining SCN he was a Research and Communications Assistant for Children on the Edge, with voluntary experience with NGOs in the UK, Lebanon and Turkey.

Emir Hasanović – Coordinator, Western Balkans

Emir Hasanović is the Western Balkans Coordinator on the Strong Cities Network, responsible for Young Cities and SCN coordination in the region, research and analysis, communications, and expansion.  He has a background in strategic communications and project management with international experience in consultancy, government, and non-profit sector. Prior to joining SCN, Emir has worked for communications agencies in the Middle East and the US, advising premier clients in environment, corporate social responsibility, human rights etc. He has also served as Special Adviser to the Deputy PM and Minister of Defence of North Macedonia for communications and international relations during North Macedonia’s successful bid to join NATO. He joined the development world after this as a Program Development Officer for a the USAID/OTI North Macedonia Support Initiative. Emir is a graduate of the Georgetown School of Foreign Service  and fluently speaks Albanian, Macedonian, Bosnian, English, as well as conversational French.

Jon Jones – Evaluation and Outreach Coordinator

Jon Jones is the Evaluation and Outreach Coordinator for the Strong Cities Network Management Unit, supporting the Network’s Membership and Engagement activities as well as project delivery with SCN’s Europe and Africa regional teams. Jon is an MSc graduate in Middle East Politics from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) and holds a BA in International Relations from the University of Sussex. He has worked in consulting, evaluation and learning in the humanitarian sector and cultural heritage preservation in Palestine. Prior to joining SCN, Jon was involved in the development of a research and pedagogical initiative that centres global perspectives around issues of (in)security.

Martina Lappo – Project Coordinator, Young Cities

Martina Lappo is a Project Coordinator on the Strong Cities Network, working on the Young Cities programme in the West Africa region. Previously, Martina worked with NGOs and UN agencies in the Caribbean, and Central and West Africa. She has experience in project Monitoring and Evaluation, and in the implementation of sexual and reproductive health development programmes. She holds a Masters in Humanitarian Action from University College Dublin and a Bachelors’ Degree in Interpreting and Translation Studies from the University of Salford.

Shirley Otube – Coordinator, East Africa

Shirley Otube is a Coordinator for the Strong Cities Network in East Africa.

Sameen Zehra – Coordinator, Young Cities

Sameen is a Youth Civic Action Coordinator at the Strong Cities Network. She supports the delivery of the SCN’s Young Cities programme, assisting in developing online communications, campaigns, and supporting youth activists and their projects in Belgium and Pakistan . Sameen holds an M.S. in Global Affairs with a Peacebuilding specialization from New York University, and a B.A. in Peace, Conflict, and Justice from the University of Toronto. Before joining SCN, she worked at the International Civil Society Action Network (ICAN) to develop strategic communications, digital advocacy campaigns, and coordinate a multimedia training program for local women-led peacebuilding organizations. As a graduate student, she was also a Consultant with the UN Counterterrorism Executive Directorate, and the Ugandan-based African Youth Initiative Network.

Isel van Zyl – Africa Programme Lead

Isel van Zyl is the Africa Programme Lead for the Strong Cities Network. Her role entails networking with local government stakeholders and local organisations and practitioners implementing P/CVE interventions, conducting research on how African cities and communities could improve the projects addressing hate, polarisation and extremism on the continent. Isel holds a Masters degree in Advanced European and International Affairs at the Centre international de formation européenne (CIFE) in Nice, France. Her interests are concentrated on the different ways in which conflict manifests on the African continent, as well as the preventative measures taken by African states. Her research focus has been on the prevention and countering of violent extremism (P/CVE), border security management, and rehabilitation and reintegration (formerly known as DDR). Prior to joining SCN, Isel worked as a Research Officer for the Institute for Security Studies in the Complex Threats in Africa programme.

Akyar Maalim – Associate, East Africa

Akyar Maalim is East Africa Project Associate on the Strong Cities Network, working under the PROACT programme. Her work entails supporting the PROACT program with implementing project activities, conducting background research and coordinating communication for the project. Akyar holds a Master’s degree in International Peace, Conflict and Development studies from Universitat Jaume I in Castellon, Spain under the UNESCO chair of Education and Philosophy and a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations from United States International University-Africa. She has previously worked as a Communication and Knowledge Management Intern at UNDP, Communication, and Donor Relations Intern at UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency.