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Our team

Learn from experience. Shape a global community.

The Centre of Competence on Humanitarian Negotiation (CCHN) provides humanitarian professionals with a platform to learn and exchange around the topic of frontline negotiation. It contributes to scientific research around negotiation processes, tools and strategies and promotes collaboration across the sector. At the core of CCHN’s work is a global community of negotiators working at the frontlines of humanitarian action.

Our team is administratively hosted by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and is based in Geneva, Switzerland.

Work with us



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.


Senior Curriculum Advisor

Toufik Naili

Toufik Naili joined the CCHN in September 2019 and is in charge of the CCHN’s learning curriculum.

He had previously worked for the ICRC, both as a protection delegate in the Middle East and as the Learning Facilitator for the Humanitarian Leadership Program in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. He also worked in Israel and the Occupied Territories (ILOT) as a Project Coordinator for the French Cooperation.

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

Operations Manager – Africa

Patrick Somxaysana Vilayleck

Patrick Somxaysana Vilayleck is the Operations Manager in charge of the Africa region. He has been engaged in humanitarian action since 1999, first with the French Red Cross in Turkey and then 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 including 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 own consultancy firm providing strategic and operational humanitarian advisory services to organisations and individuals across the globe.

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 Universities of Perpignan (France) and Freiburg-im-Breisgau (Germany).

Operations Manager – Middle East and North Africa

Thaer Allaw

Thaer Allaw began his career in 2010 as a volunteer with the Lebanese Red Cross. Since then, he has worked with multiple humanitarian organisations - including the International Federation of the Red Cross , Oxfam, the Danish Refugee Council, and the International Organization for Migration - in Lebanon, Iraq, South Sudan and Yemen, and in a regional capacity covering Libya, Tunisia, Western Sahara, and Sudan. He then joined the CCHN team in May 2022.

Thaer’s expertise includes humanitarian protection response and coordination, capacity building and development, access and negotiations, and most recently, durable solutions coordination.

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 and the Caribbean

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.

Project Manager – Health care and protection

Hala El Khoury

Hala joined the CCHN in April 2023. She is responsible for conducting research on the topics of protection, health care, and diversity in humanitarian negotiations, and overseeing the advanced workshops on humanitarian negotiation.

Hala has extensive experience as a humanitarian professional, having worked for the International Committee of the Red Cross, Danish Refugee Council, and Action contre la faim among others, in contexts such as Afghanistan, Iraq, Central African Republic, and South Sudan. She is particularly interested in the strategic impact of humanitarian work and the daily discussions that make it happen.

Besides her field experience, Hala also worked as a Learning and Development Coordinator at Bioforce Institute and contributed to the development of several capacity-building programmes in contexts like the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mali, Haiti, and Central African Republic.

Hala is a Lebanese national who speaks fluent Arabic, French, and English. She holds a master’s degree in public health (MPH) with a specialisation in Health Management and Policy from the American University of Beirut, as well as an MPH in Economic Evaluation and Research from Université de Lyon I.

Project Manager – Pressure Management and Mentoring

Maude Pittet Nazareno

Maude manages the Pressure Management, Community of Care and Mentoring projects and collaborates in the Systemisation 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.
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.
Operations Associate – Asia, Middle East and North Africa

Purvi Chaturvedi

Purvi joined the CCHN in August 2023 as the Operations Associate for Asia. She is responsible for supporting the engagement, capacity building and CCHN events for the Asia region.

Previously, Purvi has worked as a project coordinator, researcher and enabler for various projects in the fields of Economic Policy, Gender, Inclusive Trade & Sustainable Development.

As a consultant with the SheTrades Initiative and the Office of Asia and the Pacific at the International Trade Centre (ITC), she worked on the policy and data portfolio for inclusive and sustainable trade-related technical assistance to governments under various projects such as Gender-Responsive Public Procurement, and led the activities of the Network of Trade & Gender Focal Points.

She has also worked with other organisations including the OECD, UNCTAD, UNDP, the Forum on Trade Environment and the SDGs (TESS Forum), the Institute of Development Studies Jaipur, and the Directorate of Statistics & Economics - Government of Rajasthan.

Purvi holds a Master’s in International Affairs (MIA) from the Graduate Institute Geneva, specialising in ‘Trade and International Finance’ and ‘Environment, Resources & Sustainability’.
She has an undergraduate degree in Economics from the University of Delhi.

Operations Associate – Europe, Health and Protection projects

Matvej Dubianskij

Matvej joined the CCHN in August 2023. He is responsible for supporting CCHN events, capacity building, and engagement with humanitarian professionals, and organisations, in Europe. Previously, he worked within the Europe and Central Asia Program at the International Crisis Group (ICG), as well as within UN OCHA’s Executive Office.

Matvej holds a Master’s Degree in International Affairs, with a specialisation in Global Security, Power, and Conflict, from the Geneva Graduate Institute (IHEID), as well as a Bachelor’s Degree in International Relations and History from the London School of Economics (LSE).

Operations Associate – Africa, Pressure Management programme

Saale Kaubi

Saale joined the CCHN in August 2023 as an Operations Associate for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.

Previously, Saale has worked with project management, partnerships and capacity building in NGO Estonian Roundtable for Development Cooperation, in the Programme Development Branch at the United Nations Human Settlements Programme's headquarters in Kenya, and with projects in global citizenship education in Estonia and Portugal. Moreover, she has experiences in B2B and large-scale sports events management.

Saale holds a Master's degree in International Development and Management from Lund University (Sweden), during which she also conducted gender focused field research in an urban informal settlement in Nairobi. Originally from Estonia, she obtained her undergraduate degree in Entrepreneurship and Project Management from University of Tartu.

Operations Associate – Curriculum Development, Latin America and the Caribbean

Clara Guéron

Clara joined the CCHN in September 2023 as an Operations and Curriculum Associate to support CCHN's learning curriculum.

Previously based in Madrid, she had been working as a social mediator for the Spanish Red Cross, operating in an emergency welcome shelter for migrants. She is particularly interested in the formation of volunteer programmes as well as community awareness.

Clara holds a Master’s degree in International Cooperation and Humanitarian Action from the Open University of Catalonia, and a Bachelor's degree in International Economics and Management from Bocconi University.


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.


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

Julie Garnier

Julie started working as the CCHN’s Communication Associate in March 2024. She is responsible for implementing the CCHN’s communication and digital engagement strategies, and managing social media.

Before joining the CCHN, Julie worked at the French Ministry of Interior as a Program Officer in the context of the Ukrainian crisis. She has also worked for the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights’s Special Procedures Branch in Geneva.

Julie holds a Master’s in Human Rights and Humanitarian Action from Sciences Po Paris, during which she obtained an Advanced Certification in Gender Studies. Originally from the South of France, she obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Global Management from SKEMA Business School (Sophia Antipolis).