As the Democracy & Social Identity Program Director, Michelle Barsa manages a growing portfolio of initiatives on social inclusion and behavior change communications. She recently held senior advisory positions on countering violent extremism at USAID, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and Equal Access International. Prior, as a director at DC-based Inclusive Security, she advised on US foreign policy related to women, peace, and security, in addition to leading initiatives in Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Palestine, Sudan, Libya, and Nigeria. Michelle also regularly advises the U.S. Departments of Defense and State, the United Nations, and NATO on how to improve the effectiveness of security assistance provided to partner nations. She holds a master’s degree from The Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy at Tufts University and a bachelor’s in finance and philosophy from Boston College.
As the International Peacebuilding Program Manager, Karen oversees the strategy and development of peacebuilding programs. For most of her career, Karen worked in entrenched violent conflict and post-conflict reconstruction contexts, specifically in Israel/OPT, Cambodia, Nepal, US, Ireland/Northern Ireland and South Sudan. Through her role as a civilian peacekeeper at the UN peacekeeping missions in Nepal and South Sudan, she partnered with local governments to create socially-inclusive policies and structures, and led teams to implement early warning detection systems. In Nepal and Cambodia, she conducted research and developed projects focused on addressing the needs of socially-excluded and vulnerable groups in the population. She has also led the largest mediation provider in the US and served as the Political Advisor on the Middle East Peace Process and Human Rights for the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Karen is a Rotary World Peace Scholar and the runner-up winner of the FCO's Sir Nick Brewn Policy Excellence Award in 2015.
Peter T. Brown is the Director of Finance at Beyond Conflict. He has worked in senior non-profit management and finance positions for more than 20 years and has a professional diploma from the UK's Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA). He served as the Executive Director of the Free Software Foundation for six years, as it developed its public outreach campaigns and membership programs. He has been a Director and Company Secretary for the New Internationalist Trust, and the Director and Treasurer for the Software Freedom Conservancy, and previously worked in London for BBC Network Radio.
DIRECTOR OF FINANCE
PETER T. BROWN
Bill Casebeer advises teams to develop novel science and technology to aid in conflict prevention and resolution. Most recently, Bill served as Senior Research Area Manager in human systems and autonomy for Lockheed Martin’s Advanced Technology Laboratories. In that role, he led science and technology development to improve human performance, human-machine teaming, and training. His research interests include the intersections of cognitive science and national security policy, neuroethics, political violence, philosophy of mind, and human performance. Bill is a retired U.S. Air Force Lieutenant Colonel and former DARPA program manager.
SENIOR SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY ADVISOR
Jennifer Colletti is the Director of Development at Beyond Conflict. Guided by a personal mission to connect people who have resources and want to make a difference with those in need, she is responsible for building a network of financial support for the organization’s work. A dedicated fundraiser, Jennifer has held development roles at organizations including WaterAid, the Council on Foreign Relations, Amnesty International and the Asia Society. She holds a M.S. in Global Affairs from New York University and resides just outside of New York City.
DIRECTOR OF DEVELOPMENT
Vivian Khedari DePierro holds a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology by the New School for Social Research and is a Predoctoral Psychology Intern at Montefiore Medical Center who first trained as a psychologist at Universidad Católica Andres Bello in Caracas, Venezuela. She has extensive clinical experience working with children and adults and is particularly interested in the treatment of psychological trauma and working with at-risk youth, forcibly displaced people and immigrants. She has been involved in research on the physiological markers of complex and acute trauma the U.S, South Sudan and South Africa; and recently completed the first RCT of The Field Guide for Barefoot Psychologists with Beyond Conflict in Jordan as part of her doctoral dissertation. Vivian integrates her research work into her clinical practice, working through a lens that considers clinical theory, psychobiology and the cultural and sociopolitical context.
VIVIAN KHEDARI DEPIERRO
Lily Winston Grob is a Senior at Harvard College, pursuing a B.A. in Cognitive Neuroscience and Evolutionary Psychology. While her interests are broad, she is particularly fascinated with how social concepts such as stigma, political identity, and meta-perceptions are implicated in individual biology, psychology, and group contexts. She hopes ultimately to use a bio-psycho-social lens to promote peace and support marginalized communities in the U.S. and abroad. She is currently pursuing a qualitative thesis in the Biopsychosocial Effects of Stigma (BEST) Lab with Dr. Mark Hatzenbuehler on how structural stigma is perceived and resisted by gay and bisexual men in the U.S.
BEYOND CONFLICT FELLOW
Lily Winston Grob
Alex Gulakos is on the Finance, Accounting, and Operations teams at Beyond Conflict. Before Beyond Conflict, Alex had worked in Operations at Bridgewater Associates, overseeing the hiring process for multiple recruiting searches. Alex graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Statistics and Bachelor of Science in Management at the University of Connecticut.
FINANCE AND OPERATIONS ASSOCIATE
Born and raised in Tripoli, Lebanon, Bilal Hindi is a Program Associate on the Trauma and Violent Conflict program team at Beyond Conflict. He joined Beyond Conflict in 2021, after graduating from the University of Richmond with a degree in Psychology and Neuroscience. With the TVC team, Bilal assists in the design and scaling of trauma-informed approaches to the prevention of violent extremism and improved mental health support for conflict-affected populations.
Previously, Bilal’s research focused on cognition and cognitive flexibility in animal modals. His research on wild raccoons and Long-Evans rats, focused on induced traumatic stress, lead poisoning, efforts-based cognition, and cognitive flexibility. In a research lab with Dr Kelly Lambert, Bilal’s thesis and most recent publication outlined cytoarchitectural characteristics associated with cognitive flexibility in wild-caught raccoons.
Alexander Levy-Vene studied Psychology at the University of Bath. His interests center around the anthropological goal of equality, collective action, and mutual gain; often bringing together an array of different insights from the fields of psychology, sociology, philosophy, and history that can optimize national and international societal organization towards these goals. For this reason, after a year in psychology, he transitioned into politics with international relations at the same college. Recent events have driven a distinct focus on better understanding the nature, and potential mediators, of America's crisis of toxic polarization. He will bring his experience and knowledge as a Beyond Conflict Fellow back to the University of Bath to produce a final thesis on the psychology of tribal division in American politics, specifically, how our instincts to characterize political affiliation more by what (or who) we are against, rather than for.
BEYOND CONFLICT FELLOW
Before joining Beyond Conflict as Executive Director, Martin was responsible for overseeing behavioral-science based innovation programs in international governance and livelihoods over a seven-year tenure with ideas42. Prior to 2013, Martin was a policy advisor for Côte d’Ivoire’s Ministry of Planning and Development, having previously held program management posts at Cordoba Initiative and Princeton University’s Empirical Studies of Conflict program and consulted for the World Bank, USAID, the National Democratic Institute and others. Martin holds a master’s degree in public policy from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and a bachelor’s degree in economic development and Middle East studies from New York University. With fluency in Arabic, French, and Hebrew, his work has included projects in over 30 countries in Latin America, Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, and the Middle East/North Africa.
Michael Niconchuk is the Program Director for Trauma & Violent Conflict at Beyond Conflict. Based in Amman, Jordan, Mike oversees Beyond Conflict’s research, intervention design, and policy work that address the role of chronic stress and trauma in the genesis and escalation of violent conflict, and the role of trauma healing in conflict resolution efforts. Specifically, Mike and the TVC team build trauma-informed solutions to address issues such as violent extremism prevention, combatant reintegration, refugee integration, and community violence.
Mike is the author of several innovative scientific publications on issues of neuroscience, violent extremism and intergroup conflict, and is the author of the Field Guide for Barefoot Psychology, a psychoeducational and trauma recovery program for communities affected by trauma and adversity. Mike is a former Fulbright Scholar and holds degrees from Tufts University and University College London. Prior to joining Beyond Conflict, Mike worked as an independent neuroscience consultant for international NGOs, as the Emergency Response Coordinator for the Syria crisis response for Questscope, and in community development programs with reintegrated combatants in Guatemala. Mike is fluent in Spanish and Arabic.
Tim Phillips is the founder and CEO of Beyond Conflict. Using the unique approach of shared experience, Tim has helped catalyze the peace and reconciliation processes in several nations, including Northern Ireland, El Salvador, and South Africa. He has advised the United Nations, the U.S Department of State, and the Council of Europe and has been a frequent speaker in national and international forums, including the Council on Foreign Relations and the U.S Congress. He also helped launch and serves on the Advisory Committee of the Club of Madrid, a forum for over 90 former democratic heads of state and government.
FOUNDER & CEO
Jasmine Ramsey is a Program Associate supporting initiatives on social identity, democracy, and inclusion. For much of her career, Jasmine has been deeply engaged with domestic and community-based social and reproductive justice projects navigating public safety, criminal justice, and human rights at the intersection of public policy. While pursuing a graduate degree from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA), Jasmine led a capstone team of graduate consultants to produce original research on the dynamics of dangerous speech spread online and actualized communal conflict in the Philippines, Nigeria, and Brazil. Jasmine holds an MPA in human rights and technology, media and communications policy from SIPA, and a BA in transnational feminism from the Evergreen State College.