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About Us

The Centre of Competence on Humanitarian Negotiation (CCHN) was founded in 2016 as a joint initiative of five humanitarian agencies: the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue, the International Committee of the Red Cross, Médecins Sans Frontières Switzerland, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, and the United Nations World Food Programme.

We facilitate the capture, analysis and sharing of humanitarian negotiation experiences and practices to support a more systematic approach to frontline negotiation. We also provide a space for dialogue across different humanitarian organizations.

At the core of our activities is the CCHN Community of Practice, a global community of humanitarian practitioners working at the frontlines of humanitarian action.

The CCHN is currently hosted by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and is based in Geneva, Switzerland. We are supported by the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA).

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Our mission

Facilitate critical reflections, learning and informal peer exchanges among frontline negotiators

The Centre offers a safe, informal and neutral space to discuss and review humanitarian negotiation practices in regions affected by conflicts.

Support the development of a stronger analytical framework and greater capacity for effective humanitarian negotiation

Informed by current practice, the Centre contributes to the professional and policy debates surrounding frontline negotiation processes, tools and strategies.

Foster a community of practice among humanitarian professionals engaged in frontline negotiations

The ultimate goal of the Centre is to facilitate the emergence of a global community of frontline negotiators across agencies, regions and themes.

Our Strategic Partners

Our five Strategic Partners are leading humanitarian agencies and organizations providing humanitarian assistance and protection in complex emergencies. This partnership was adopted at the High-Level Meeting of the Strategic Partners, organized under the auspices of the Swiss Permanent Mission to the UN in Geneva on 30 November 2015.

Structure & Governance

We serve as a central hub for the Strategic Partners’ efforts to strengthen the capacity of humanitarian professionals to engage effectively in negotiation processes. While our activities are designed to support professional staff from the five Strategic Partner organisations, these activities are open to the participation of professionals from all humanitarian organisations active on the frontlines of conflict. 

Under the guidance of the Strategic Partnership, we are hosted by the ICRC for a period of five years. At the end of the incubation period, the Strategic Partners will decide on the opportunity to establish a permanent institutional framework for our activities. 

We rely on the financial and in-kind contributions of the Strategic Partners as well as external donors. The fiduciary responsibility for our management rests with the ICRC. 

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Our Team

Director

Joëlle Germanier

A senior member of the CCHN team since 2018, Joëlle Germanier was nominated Director by the CCHN’s founding organizations in December 2021. Previously heading the Operations team, she has been leading the Centre as it transitioned from a pilot project to a long-term initiative.

Before joining the CCHN, Joëlle worked for several years with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in various field operations in Africa and Latin America focusing her work on protection and operational management. She also worked as Policy and Outreach Advisor at the ICRC’s Headquarters in Geneva. Her earlier professional experiences include diplomatic services within the Embassy of Switzerland in New Delhi (India) as well as field-based legal and advocacy work for non-governmental organizations.

Joëlle holds a master's degree in International Public Law with a specialization in International Humanitarian Law and a bachelor's degree in International Relations from the universities of Geneva, Vienna and Lucerne.

Deputy Director

Rehan Zahid

Rehan Zahid became the CCHN Deputy Director in January 2022. He had previously been involved in the Centre’s work as Chief of Advisory Services, providing humanitarian agencies with advisory support in the management of negotiation processes.

During his 10-year tenure at the World Food Programme, he served in various roles in the field as well as in leadership positions at the organization’s Rome Headquarters; most recently, as the Deputy Chief of Staff. Rehan has negotiation experiences across a range of contexts, including Yemen, Venezuela, Afghanistan, Sudan, South Sudan.

Rehan holds a Master of Public Affairs in Social and Economic Policy awarded by the University of Texas’ LBJ School of Public Affairs (USA) and a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics awarded by the Lahore University of Management Sciences (Pakistan).

Loredana Serban
Chief Financial Officer

Loredana Serban

Loredana is in charge of managing the CCHN's financial operations. She has experience working with nonprofit organisations and the private sector on finance, operations, and organisational transformation. She strongly believes in the professionalisation of NGO operations as an enabler for their impact; in her capacity, either as staff or as a volunteer, she has strived to contribute to their organisational development.

Originally from Romania, Loredana has a Master’s Degree in Financial Management and is a project manager with certifications in both traditional and agile methodologies. In her free time, Loredana loves volunteering for organisations supporting women's advancement, children's education, environmental protection and professional development.

Head of Operations

Fiorella Erni

Fiorella has been working with the CCHN since 2020, initially as a Operations Manager for the Middle East and North Africa region and subsequently as Head of Operations.
Her long-standing humanitarian experience includes field missions as an ICRC Protection Delegate in Gaza and Syria and as the Head of Sub Delegation in South Sudan and DRC. Besides her field experience, Fiorella also worked as Program Responsible for the Horn of Africa at the Human Security Division of the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs and as Risk- and Crisis Management Consultant in the private sector.
Fiorella holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne, a Master’s Degree in Conflict and Development Studies from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva and a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Anthropology and Arabic Literature from the University of Zurich.
Senior Curriculum Advisor

Toufik Naili

Toufik Naili joined the CCHN in September 2019 as Negotiation Support Specialist on Curriculum and Network.

He previously worked for the ICRC, in the Middle East, as a protection delegate, and for several years as a Learning Facilitator for the Humanitarian Leadership Program in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. He also worked in ILOT as a Project coordinator for the decentralized french cooperation.

Toufik holds a Master's Degree in Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Manchester.

Operations Manager - Asia

James Sadlier

James Sadlier has ten years of humanitarian experience working with international Non-Governmental Organizations, the Australian Red Cross and United Nations agencies, most recently as Civil-Military Coordinator for OCHA in North-East Nigeria. He has worked in conflict and natural disaster contexts including Afghanistan, Iraq and Bangladesh.

James is an alumnus of Deakin University's Humanitarian Leadership programme where he also attained a Masters of Humanitarian Assistance.

Operations Manager - Europe

Stéphanie Ferland

Stéphanie joined the ICRC through the Canadian Red Cross in 2013. She worked as a protection delegate in Colombia, supported the Detention Unit in Geneva before taking on a position as a consultant in humanitarian diplomacy for the Regional Delegation for Panama and the Caribbean. Previously she has worked for the International Centre for Crime Prevention in Québec, Canada and for CUSO International in Peru.

Her academic background in social studies, law and public administration led her to professionally focus on development work and humanitarian action.

Operations Manager – Latin America

Marcia Vargas

Marcia Vargas is a humanitarian professional with more than twenty years of experience on the ground in Latin America and Africa, both in conflict situations and natural disasters.

She holds a diploma in Political Science and International Relations and studied at the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights. She is a graduate of the Humanitarian Leadership program at Deakin University (Australia) and is pursuing a Master of Advanced Studies in Peace Building from Swisspeace and the University of Basel.

Operations Manager - Africa

Patrick Somxaysana Vilayleck

Patrick Somxaysana Vilayleck is the Operations Manager for the Africa region. He has been engaged in humanitarian action since 1999, with the French Red Cross in Turkey and with Médecins Du Monde in Afghanistan. From 2003 to 2018, Patrick led field operations at the International Committee of the Red Cross in various capacities, as head of mission and head of office in Rwanda, the former Yugoslav Republic, Guinea, Burundi, Myanmar, Lao PDR, Pakistan, and in Geneva as head of sector for cooperation and coordination.

From 2018 to 2021, he directed his consultancy firm “SPV Consulting – For the Non-Profit sector”, providing strategic and operational humanitarian advisory services to organizations and individuals in Africa (Nairobi and Dakar), Asia (Bangkok), Europe (Geneva), Middle East (Amman) and Australia (Melbourne).

Patrick holds an Executive Certificate in Public Leadership from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, a Master of Arts in Contemporary History from the University Paris XII and a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration from the University of Perpignan (France) and Freiburg-im-Breisgau (Germany).

Project Manager - Advanced Humanitarian Negotiation Workshops

Brett Davis

Brett first started working as a humanitarian in 2004 when deployed to Darfur, Sudan with Médecins Sans Frontières. Over the next 15 years he worked in a wide range of medical emergencies including communicable disease outbreaks, malnutrition, surgical interventions for war wounded, cross border remote medical programing, and internally displaced people (IDP) and refugee responses including primary and secondary care in places such as Ethiopia, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria, Haiti, Philippines, Chad and most recently in Jordan as Head of Mission for the Syria crisis.

His focus at the CCHN is on Public Health in Conflict, looking at specific challenges and dilemmas related to the current health crisis and its social and humanitarian impact. He is lead on the project for Negotiating Access for COVID-19 Vaccination in Conflict Settings.

Brett holds a Master of Science degree in International Relations from the London School of Economics and Political Science. He currently resides in Dakar, Senegal.

Project Manager

Dariha Erketaeva

Dariha has 10 years of experience in humanitarian assistance and development. Prior to joining the CCHN, she worked for Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) on the Syria response between 2016-2019, in capacities from coordination to representation, based in Amman. Dariha also coordinated MSF projects in Ethiopia and Central African Republic. She worked as a technical consultant for UNRWA and UN Women. Earlier on, she coordinated a multi-agency post-conflict recovery program, the EU TASK consortium, in her home country Kyrgyzstan.

Dariha holds an MA degree in Political Science from University of Bremen in Germany.

Project Manager - Pressure Management and Mentoring

Maude Pittet Nazareno

Maude is managing the Pressure Management, Community of Care and Mentoring projects and collaborates in the Systemization project. She has more than 15 years of experience as Executive Assistant and Information Management Officer in several ICRC Departments. She is also a certified Coach, Hypnotherapist, graduate in Neuro-Linguistic Programming and IPMA Project Manager.
Operations and Curriculum Officer

Eugenia Lacalle

Eugenia joined the CCHN in January 2021. She provides support in the organization of the Training of Facilitators, fostering community engagement and coordinating the pool of facilitators, and carries out research for the Regional Think Tanks on current challenges in humanitarian negotiation. Previously, she worked in human rights research, policy analysis and events organization for INGOs and the EEAS. She holds a master’s degree in Human Rights and Democratization from the European Inter-University Center of Human Rights.
Operations Associate – Middle East and North Africa

Zineb El Ouassini

Zineb joined the CCHN in September 2021 as a Digital Hub Officer. She is responsible for supporting CCHN online events and community engagement for the Middle East and North Africa region. Before joining the CCHN, Zineb worked at the Center on Conflict, Development, and Peacebuilding in Geneva as a Research Assistant. Previously, she worked for UN agencies and INGOs on fundraising, partnerships, and event management. She holds a master’s degree in International Affairs from the Graduate Institute of international and Development Studies.
Operations Associate – Latin America and the Caribbean

Ryan Humbert

Ryan joined the CCHN in January 2022 as a Operations Associate for Latin America and the Caribbean region. He supports the organization of online activities to foster community engagement and capacity building in the field of humanitarian negotiation. Previously, he worked in different NGOs promoting access to education in Uganda, in the Swiss Embassy in Argentina and his most recent experience before joining our team was as a Project Manager in refugee camps in Calais, Northern France.
Operations Associate – Africa

Frédéric Crousaz

Frédéric joined the CCHN in January 2021 as an Operations Associate. He is responsible for supporting CCHN online events and community engagement for the Subsaharan African region. Previously, he worked as Project Assistant at the Swiss-African Business Circle, as Prospective Watch Officer at the French national agency for professional training (AFPA), and as Logistician at Triangle Génération Humanitaire.

Frédéric holds a Master’s Degree in International Security and Defence from the Université Grenoble Alpes (France) and a Bachelor's in Logistics and Facility Management from Institut Bioforce (France).

Senior Researcher

Claude Bruderlein

Claude Bruderlein is a Strategic Advisor to the President of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and Senior Researcher on negotiation practices at the CCHN. He served as Director of the Centre of Competence on Humanitarian Negotiation (CCHN) from its inception in 2016 until 2021.

Claude has been engaged in international humanitarian action since 1985. From 1990 - 1995, he worked in humanitarian assistance and protection with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Iran, Israel and the Occupied Territories, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Yemen as well as in Geneva as a legal advisor to ICRC operations. In 1996, he joined the United Nations in New York as Special Advisor on Humanitarian Affairs. He worked particularly on humanitarian access in Afghanistan and North Korea as well as the humanitarian impact of sanctions at the Strategic Planning Unit of the Executive Office of the UN Secretary General.

Claude maintains a faculty research and teaching appointment on frontline negotiation at the Harvard University Kennedy School of Government and T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Project Manager

Sofia Mueller

Sofia Mueller focuses on managing research and policy projects, building partnerships, and developing a strong network around the CCHN. She has been working at the CCHN since 2019. Previously, she was a Project Coordinator for Initiatives of Change Switzerland, focusing on storytelling and migration.

Sofia holds a Master’s Degree in Public Management and Politics from the Universities of Lausanne and Bern and a Bachelor’s Degree in International Relations from the University of Geneva.

Thematic Researcher

Maura James

Working for over a decade with nonprofits, governments, foundations, and in academia across the globe, Maura learned how organizations succeed and how they fail in creating systemic change. She brings these lessons to CCHN as a researcher exploring complexity in humanitarian negotiation. Coming to CCHN from Harvard University, Maura supports thematic research at CCHN including migration, vaccination in conflict, environmental hazards, and negotiating in complex environments. She brings her background as a mixed methods researcher with an emphasis on qualitative analysis to projects while working with her CCHN colleagues to bridge theory and practice.
Head of Support

Martine Lapeyre

Martine is currently responsible for maintaining CCHN donor relations, coordinating event team and logistics, as well as overseeing administrative activities.

Since she joined the ICRC in 1995, she has been engaging with humanitarian organizations and focusing on administrative, financial, logistical and HR issues. She has also worked in the field for many years, mainly in Chechnya, Congo-Brazzaville, Kenya, Sudan and South Sudan.

Liza Abdulla
Events Coordinator

Liza Abdulla

Liza Abdulla joined the CCHN in May 2020. She is currently responsible for organising online and worldwide workshops. Previously she had worked in the travel and tourism sector for 10 years and especially in several travel offices such as P&G, Swiss TV, and ICRC and has also experience in hotel management. She recently obtained the diploma "Event Management 360˚" from the SAWI Academy for Marketing and Communication in Lausanne. She holds a diploma in tourism and apprentice trainer. Liza is very interested in humanitarian aid and gives French lessons to Afghan refugees as a volunteer.
Events Coordinator

Nikolas Rubiato

Nikolas Rubiato is currently responsible for the logistics of the different CCHN workshops taking place around the world. Previously he had worked for the Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire (CERN) as a protocol officer in charge of organizing the visits of the official guests of the directorate. He has a diploma in hospitality management but has always been interested in the organization of events particularly in the humanitarian field.
Systematization Associate

Lis Zandberg

Lis Zandberg initially joined the CCHN in 2021 as Communication Associate. She is now responsible for a variety of tasks related to IT, workflow, and system maintenance. Furthermore, she plays a key role in the CCHN’s systematization project.

Before joining CCHN, Lis worked in the NGO sector where she was responsible for day-to-day support, knowledge management, and the customization and implementation of new digital tools and processes.

Lis holds a joint master's degree of the Erasmus Mundus MA Global Studies program, which she attended at the University of Wrocław (PL), Stellenbosch University (ZA), and Ghent University (BE).

Barbara Sartore
Head of Communication

Barbara Sartore

Barbara has been in charge of the CCHN's communication activities since 2021. Before then, she managed the communication department at Sphere, an Non-Governmental Organization focusing on minimum humanitarian standards, and at ICMC, a humanitarian organisation providing support to migrants and refugees. She had previously worked with Médecins Sans Frontières.

Barbara holds a Master’s Degree in International Law from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (Switzerland), an undergraduate degree in Human Rights from the University of Padua (Italy), and an Advanced Certificate in Corporate Communications from the University of Fribourg's School of Management. In addition to English and French, Barbara speaks Italian and Spanish.

Communication Officer

Ana Paula Espinosa Mooser

Ana Paula started working as the CCHN’s Communications Officer in 2021. She is responsible for developing a digital marketing strategy and creating different kinds of communication content.

Before joining the CCHN, Ana worked as a freelance translator and editor for United Nations agencies and International Non-Governmental Organizations.

Ana holds a master's degree in Legal and Economic Translation from the University of Geneva (Switzerland). She speaks English, Spanish, and French.

Communication Associate

Camille Sénégas

Camille joined the CCHN in June 2021 as part of the Support team during the World Summit. She then provided technical support for online peer workshops and is now the Communication Associate.

Camille is currently completing her Master’s Degree in Development Studies at the Graduate Institute in Geneva (Switzerland) and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and International Development Studies from McGill University (Canada).

Our Donors

We are supported by the ministries of foreign affairs of Denmark, Germany, Luxembourg, Sweden and Switzerland Luxembourg to operate and organize our activities.