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.

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.

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 and has given voice to the needs of activists as a co-author of the reports YouthCAN: The Many States of Activism and No Platform for Old Men, Barriers to Online Youth Civic Engagement and P-CVE in Europe. Kelsey holds a Masters in International Conflict Studies from King’s College London and a Bachelors in European Studies from the University of Oklahoma.

Simeon Dukic – Senior Manager, Balkans and Central Asia

Simeon Dukic is the Senior Manager for the Western Balkans and Central Asia. His main responsibilities are to strengthen national to local coordination and cooperation in preventing and countering violent extremism (P/CVE) in the Western Balkans. Namely, Simeon works on setting up a multi-stakeholder and multidisciplinary Local Prevention Network (LPN) in  SCN member-cities. The primary role of the LPN will to draft and implement a tailored Local P/CVE Action Plan. Simeon will also be responsible for increasing SCN membership and engagement in Central Asian states.

Prior to his role with the SCN, Simeon was a Project Associate at the National Committee for Countering Violent Extremism and Counter-Terrorism (NCCVECT) of the Republic of North Macedonia. He supported the coordination of 22 Line Ministries and Institutions involved in the work of the NCCVECT, CSO groups, the international donor community and regional counterparts. Additionally, 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, The Hague.

Jasmine El-Gamal – Senior Manager, AMEA

Jasmine is a Senior Manager for Africa, Middle East and Asia (AMEA) at the Strong Cities Network, where she is responsible for overseeing prevention of violent extremism (PVE) research and programming. From 2015-2020, Jasmine was a Senior Fellow with the Middle East program at the Atlantic Council, where she focused primarily on U.S. policies in the Middle East. From 2013-2015, Jasmine served as a Special Assistant to three consecutive Under Secretaries of Defense for Policy at the Pentagon, where she advised on national security issues. From 2008-2013, Jasmine served as a Middle East advisor at the Pentagon, where she served three Secretaries of Defense. During her tenure, she prepared and staffed the Secretary of Defense on foreign trips and during Congressional briefings. She covered issues related to Iraq, Syria, the Arab Spring and ISIS, among others, and served as the Acting Chief of Staff for the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Middle East Policy. From 2014-2016, Jasmine served as a translator and cultural advisor to the Office for the Administrative Review of the Detention of Enemy Combatants (OARDEC) in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where she provided briefings on Islam and Arab culture to incoming military officers in advance of their participation on the Review Boards. She conducted over 100 detainee interviews during her time at GTMO regarding their background and journey to Afghanistan and ensured the integrity of their testimony during their review boards, many of which resulted in the illumination of their unjust detention. In 2003, Jasmine served as a translator with a U.S. Civil Affairs team responsible for reconstruction in Southern Iraq, helping to facilitate communication and cooperation between U.S. forces and the local population in rebuilding the area. Her commentary has appeared in The Washington Post, USA Today, The Atlantic, Newsweek, Time Magazine, CNN, Al Jazeera, Al Hurra, L’Orient du Jour, Sawt al Azhar, Al Masry Al Youm and other international outlets.

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 Pkalya is a Senior Program Manager at the Strong Cities Network, working across its counter-extremism initiatives in Kenya and the Eastern Africa region as a whole. Dominic also supports the policy development, research, education and monitoring & evaluation methods to measure the impact of counter-extremism programmes off and online.

Dominic is managing the PROACT – Community Based Interventions Program as well as supporting the SCN and Young Cities initiatives in Kenya. He ensures that SCN interventions in Kenya complement each other, support national and sub national (county) counter-extremism and hate strategies.  He represents SCN in formal and informal engagements with government and other stakeholders.

He was previously the Chief of Party for the Strengthening Community Resilience against Extremism (SCORE), a USAID Kenya and East Africa funded counter-extrenmism project that was being implemented in the coastal region of Kenya by Act Change Transport (Act!) and 17 local partners. Previously, he 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 pastoralists 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).

Lama El-Awad, Regional Programme Manager, Middle East and North Africa

Lama El-Awad is the Regional Manager for the Strong Cities Network in Lebanon and Jordan, working across both countries to provide support to SCN, subnational entities and local prevention networks to prevent and counter violent extremism. Lama coordinates with national government and international organisations and represents SCN in formal and informal engagements with government and other stakeholders and in media.

Lama is also responsible for managing member engagement in the Middle East region, 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.

Lama is also a founding member of “Dawaer”, a Lebanese NGO committed to increasing the resilience of children and youth. Lama holds a Master’s degree in environmental management and has been an activist striving for the achievement of environmental and civil rights in Lebanon. Currently, she is a trainer on child rights and peacebuilding, and advocates for issues related to human rights, gender, diversity and peace, and has contributed to the launching of peacebuilding units at the municipal level and to several campaigns aimed at influencing public policies such as the “Campaign against Child Marriage”, the “Petition and Complaint” campaign, and the reform of the civic education curriculum in Lebanon.

Anisa Harrasy – Young Cities and Sub Saharan Africa Programme Manager

Anisa Harrasy is a Young Cities and Sub Saharan Africa Manager at the Strong Cities Network. This work entails designing and delivering project activities with both youth and local government stakeholders. The activities range from capacity building workshops, grant management and supporting locally-led PVE initiatives. Anisa also helps lead SCN’s strategic development and networking in Sub Saharan Africa and specialises in promoting peace in East Africa. She is the co-author of the reports Between Two Extremes: Responding to Islamist and tribalist messaging online in Kenya during the 2017 elections and No Platform for Old Men, Barriers to Online Youth Civic Engagement and P-CVE in Europe. Anisa holds an MA in International Security from the University of Sussex and a BA in International relations with Arabic. She is bilingual Swahili and English, with basic Arabic proficiency.

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.

He has contributed to multiple guides and training curricula including Search for Common Ground’s (SFCG) Arabic and English guide on Community Dialogue Design; the International Institute for Justice and the Rule of Law’s (IIJ) Training Curriculum: Developing Multi-Actor P/CVE Intervention Programmes – Implementing a Whole-of-Society, ‘Do No Harm Approach’; the first-ever handbook on Multi-Agency and Multi-Disciplinary Approaches to Preventing Violent Extremism; and the revamping of Soliya’s UN-accredited manual on facilitation, as well as its adaptation to Arabic.

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 the Young Cities, Sub Saharan Africa (SSA) coordinator. Her work entails supporting the Implementation of the Young Cities activities in the region, specifically acting as the key focal point for all youth groups implementing their community cohesion initiatives and ensuring they deliver as agreed upon. Khadija plays a vital role in ensuring local governments are briefed on Young Cities’ progress and aid the youth groups were possible.   Khadija holds a bachelor’s degree in business and logistics management from Mombasa’s Technical University. She has previously worked in the marine industry and has over seven years of experience serving in the administrative, commercial, and operations fields.

Khadija has worked with several organizations (from UNODC to grassroots organizations) in Kenya on research on peace, security, and violent extremism. She is an Alumni of Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) Regional East Africa, Youth Empowerment program Initiative, Mombasa, and volunteers with the Kenya Youth Assembly as a communication and management strategist. She is among the first beneficiaries and ambassadors of the Young Cities program in Kenya in the year 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.

Ghida El Assaad – Project Coordinator

Ghida is a Coordinator for the Strong Cities Network in Lebanon and Jordan. She is responsible for coordinating the implementation of community based activities and capacity building activities for local stakeholders and partners.

Ghida has been engaged previously in prevention of violent extremism, dialogue, peace building, relief, education and civic engagement programs in various projects in Lebanon. She holds a B.A. in Economics from the American University of Beirut.

Nicolas Gholam – Project Coordinator

Nicolas is a Strong Cities Network Coordinator in Beirut, working under the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs programme to implement activities with Tripoli, Saida and Majdel Anjar municipalities, while also leading on the Community Consultations in order to add two new Local Prevention Networks in future phases. Nicolas is also part of the SCN Comms Working Group, helping with the improvement of the Strong Cities Network Communications guidelines and processes, as well as a member of the SCN Staff Forum to keep a solid linkage between the HQ and Beirut Office.

Nicolas holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Marketing and a Master of Science in Rural Community Development. Before joining SCN, his work revolved around creating market access solutions to rural small scale producers while working with several NGOs and research centres, and managed for that matter to co-found 2 start-ups; Mawsam (translates to ‘Seasons’) to provide smallholders with a platform to sell their products, and Karya (translates to ‘Village’) to provide tourists with rural unconventional experiences with producers.

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.

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.

Isel van Zyl – Civic Action and Capacity Building Coordinator

Isel van Zyl is a Civic Action and Capacity Building Coordinator on the Strong Cities Network. Her work entails assisting the SCN and McCain Institute with implementing project activities and capacity building workshops. 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.

Jon Jones – Evaluation and Outreach Associate

Jon Jones is an Evaluation and Outreach Associate for the Strong Cities Network. 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.

Akyar Maalim – Associate, East Africa

Akyar Maalim is an Associate for the Strong Cities Network in East Africa.

Sameen Zehra – Associate, Young Cities

Sameen is a Youth Civic Action Associate 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 globally. 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.