30 November 2023 - UNITAR and ADN Group invite you to the Third Edition of World Negotiation Day, uniting the world’s most renowned contributors to peaceful negotiations and conflict resolution, in Geneva, with generous support from the State of Qatar.

Opening Ceremony: Diplomacy for Positive Peace

Irena Vojáčková-Sollorano - Deputy Director General for Management and Reform ad interim. As a skilled international humanitarian leader, Irena brings a wealth of knowledge and operational field experience. She has more than three decades of global expertise in migration management, migration and development and refugee issues as well as in emergency response and change management. Irena’s career with the United Nations System spans a decade serving in multiple roles. She was tripled-hatted in Iraq as Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary General (DSRSG), Resident Coordinator (RC), and Humanitarian Coordinator (HC); she also served as the Development Coordination Office (DCO) Regional Director in Istanbul; and previously as RC in Türkiye and Serbia. Irena was a member of the RC system restructuring team during the creation of the DCO within the UN Secretariat. She began her journey in humanitarian aid in the Philippines as a Development Officer/Associated Expert and the Operations Officer. Throughout her distinguished tenure of 23 years with IOM, Irena has held key leadership positions including the Director for Migration Management in Geneva; Regional Director for Southeast Asia in Bangkok and for Central Europe in Vienna. She has opened seven IOM national offices, participated in two IOM reform processes and served on several migration research boards. She holds a Diploma in International Economic Relations from the Diplomatic Academy in Vienna, an MA in History, Geography and International Law from the University of Vienna, and a BA in History and Political Science from the University of Heidelberg in Germany. Irena is proficient in English, German and Czech.

The Art of Mediation in the peaceful settlement of international disputes

World Negotiation Day 2023 will include a round table, the “Art of Mediation” as a powerful tool for the maintenance of international peace and security through dialogue and diplomacy. Mediation stands as an indispensable field of study and practice for diplomats, negotiators, and peacebuilders for conflict resolution and the peaceful settlement of national and international disputes. World Negotiation Day 2023 will explore the intricacies, techniques, and best practices of mediation and highlight key regional and international actors’ roles in this field.

Caroline Ziadeh was appointed as the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) on 19 November 2021.Having served since 2017 as Director of the Department of International Organizations, Conferences and Cultural Services in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Emigrants of Lebanon, Ms. Ziadeh brings to the position close to 30 years of experience in international diplomacy with extensive knowledge of the United Nations having led national delegations to the United Nations on human rights issues, the Women, Peace and Security agenda and migration. Former Deputy Permanent Representative of Lebanon to the United Nations in New York (2006-2017), SRSG Ziadeh served at the Embassies of Lebanon to the United Kingdom (2004-2006), to Belgium and the European Union (1994-1999), as well as the Permanent Mission of Lebanon in Vienna and the Embassies to Austria, Croatia, and Slovakia (1999-2002). SRSG Ziadeh holds a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts in Economy and Political Science from the Lebanese University, Beirut, and Diplomas in International Relations from the University Libre de Bruxelles and the Diplomatic Academy Vienna. She is fluent in Arabic, English and French.

Robert Dann has been a senior political adviser and negotiator in high-level UN diplomatic, good offices and mediation efforts in Cyprus (2000-2003 for the negotiations of the “Annan Plan”), the Middle East (based in Jerusalem 2005-2011 as senior political adviser to envoys de Soto, Williams and Serry) and Syria (advising Special Envoys Annan, Brahimi and de Mistura in earlier periods and now as chief political adviser based in Geneva for Special Envoy Geir O. Pedersen) He was Chief of the UN Mediation Support Unit in the Department of Political Affairs in New York from 2011-2016, among other things managing the Standby Team of Mediation Experts and advising on the UN’s preventive diplomacy and mediation efforts globally. He was also speechwriter to former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan (2003-2005, closely involved in developing the Secretary-General’s “In Larger Freedom” reform agenda) and assisted him in preparation of Mr. Annan’s memoir: Interventions: A Life in Peace and War. He has also worked as a legal associate to Justice Sir Daryl Dawson of the High Court of Australia (1996-1997) based in Melbourne and Canberra. Robert holds degrees in Arts and Law with First Class Honours and the University Medal from the University of Queensland (1991-1995), and a Masters (with Distinction) in International Relations from the University of Oxford which he attended as a Rhodes Scholar (1997-1999). He joined the United Nations in 1999. He has guest lectured on the United Nations, the Middle East, and international peace negotiations at universities and led senior trainings of UN envoys and their teams.

Cardinal Matteo Maria Zuppi, born in Rome on October 11, 1955, graduated in Theology at the Pontifical Lateran University and Literature and Philosophy at the University of Rome. He was ordained as a priest in the diocese of Palestrina on May 9, 1981, and later became part of the diocese of Rome. Throughout his career, he served in various roles, including as a parish priest and prefect in different Roman parishes.In 2012, he became the titular Bishop of Villanova and an Auxiliary Bishop of Rome. Later, on October 27, 2015, Pope Francis appointed him as the Archbishop of Bologna. He was elevated to the rank of Cardinal on September 1, 2019, and received the cardinal title on October 5, 2019, at St. Peter's Basilica. Cardinal Zuppi also holds positions in various Vatican dicasteries and serves as a Judge of the Court of Cassation in the Vatican City State. Furthermore, he was appointed as the President of the Italian Bishops' Conference by Pope Francis on May 24, 2022.


UNITAR and ADN will conclude World Negotiation Day by bestowing the "Best Negotiator of the Year" award, a prestigious distinction given to an exceptional negotiator who has displayed exemplary skills and achievements on the international stage in the preceding year. Selected by a renowned international jury composed of eminent negotiators and leaders, the award honors an individual who has demonstrated outstanding leadership, creativity, and resilience in navigating complex negotiations and finding peaceful solutions to challenging global issues.

Nominees should have demonstrated their negotiation skills as being instrumental in reaching an agreement in a conflict situation between multiple stakeholders. In accordance with the UNITAR guidelines, the negotiations, during which the nominee will have conducted a successful negotiation, should relate to at least one of the following scenarios:

  • A negotiation conducted in an ethical and responsible manner;
  • A negotiation involving high stakes;
  • A negotiation guided by a desire to co-operate with stakeholders;
  • A negotiation that resulted in a solution that satisfied all stakeholders.

Jury Members to select the Negotiator of the Year

Dr. Fatima Akilu is the Executive Director of Neem Foundation. She is a trained psychologist with over 25 years’ experience in the field of mental health, psychology, Preventing Violent Extremism (PVE) and communications. Dr. Akilu holds a master’s degree and PhD in Psychology from University of Reading (UK), and was a Former Head of Communication to the Senior Special Assistant to the Nigerian President on Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). From 2012 to 2015, Dr. Akilu served as the Director of Behavioural Analysis and Strategic Communications at the Office of the National Security Adviser where she pioneered Nigeria’s first Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) programme. Dr. Akilu is a seasoned educationist with over 12 years lecturing experience as an Adjunct Professor of General Psychology at Broome Community College (USA). She is responsible for the implementation of programmes and strategies as the Executive Director of Neem Foundation and determining the direction of focus of the projects implemented by the organisation. She has overseen psychological support services to over 30, 000 survivors of the Boko Haram insurgency in the Northeast of Nigeria, a region that has been significantly affected by climate change. Alongside this, she currently oversees several conflict responses programmes across various lake Chad basin region and other parts of the globe.

Ambassador Amr Aljowaily, an accomplished international civil servant and diplomat, brings 33 years of professional experience to his current role as Strategic Advisor to the Deputy Chairperson of the African Union Commission in Addis Ababa. In academia, he serves as visiting faculty at UNITAR's Multilateral Diplomacy Program since 2014, at Diplo Foundation since 2007, and previously at the American University in Cairo, including the School of Global Affairs and Public Policy. He was also a Board Member of the Institute for Diplomatic Studies.During his diplomatic career, Ambassador Aljowaily held significant postings in Belgrade, New York, Geneva, and Washington, DC. At the Foreign Ministry, he served as Deputy Assistant Foreign Minister for United Nations Affairs and played leading roles in multilateral negotiations and Egyptian delegations to UN, AU, and LAS Summits and Ministerial Meetings. He also served as Coordinator of International Relations at the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology from 2001 to 2003. As a writer and researcher, Ambassador Aljowaily is known for his early analytical works in Arabic on ICTs and International Relations. He continues to publish in the field of multilateral diplomacy, focusing on international peace and security. His recent works include "Serbia by Egyptian Eyes: Diplomatic Memoirs and Cultural Notes" and "Quote Unquote," available in Arabic, English, and Serbian. He serves as the Book Reviews Editor of the Diplomat Magazine.Ambassador Aljowaily holds degrees in Political Science, Middle East Studies, and International Relations from prestigious institutions. 

Miguel R. Bautista - As Secretary of the Trade and Development Board and Director for Intergovernmental Outreach and Support of UNCTAD, Mr. Miguel R. Bautista is tasked with facilitating the smooth functioning of its intergovernmental machinery so that UNCTAD may fully contribute to the accomplishment of the global development agenda. He is also responsible for outreach and engagement with civil society and other stakeholders in UNCTAD’s intergovernmental machinery and its processes. Before joining the UNCTAD secretariat, Mr. Bautista was a career Philippine diplomat having served at the Philippine Mission to the United Nations and other international organizations in Geneva, the Philippine Mission to the United Nations in New York, the Philippine Consulate General in New York, and the Philippine Embassy in Riyadh. Mr. Bautista has been admitted into the Philippine Council for Foreign Relations and was a member of the international relations faculties of Miriam College in Quezon City and the College of St. Benilde in Manila in the Philippines. Mr. Bautista is also a regular contributor to the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR). Mr. Bautista has been awarded the Order of Rizal (Philippines), the Order of Bernardo O’Higgins (Chile), and the Order of Rio Branco (Brazil). He has also been decorated for his service in the reserve of the Philippine Coast Guard where he currently holds the rank of Captain and where he earned the Outstanding Achievement, Merit, and Search and Rescue medals. He has published on matters pertaining to diplomacy and public administration including in the Center for Integrative and Development Studies of the University of the Philippines, the Journal of the Philippine Council for Foreign Relations, and the Philippine Journal of Public Administration

Dominique Bichara, a Belgian and Egyptian national, first joined the Legal Department of the World Bank Group in 1992 where she worked for the Sub-Saharan Africa Region, then became Special Assistant to the Senior Vice President and General Counsel. From 1995 to 1999, she worked for the UN FAO's and IFAD's Legal Departments in Rome, Italy, covering countries across regions and specializing in project financing in environmental protection and water management. In 1999, she returned to the World Bank Group as Senior Counsel for the Maghreb countries and Lebanon. In 2004, she opened the first World Bank Group office in Tunisia, where she represented the Bank until 2007. From 2007 to 2010, she was Senior Counsel for Eastern Europe and Central Asicountries. She was, in addition, the World Bank Group’s focal point for legal and judicial reform in the Middle East and North Africa and led a number of projects and regional initiatives on legal and judicial reform and enforcement of environmental legislations. In 2010, she was appointed Special Representative of the World Bank Group to the United Nations in New York. She also coordinated the World Bank Group's engagement in UN global processes such as  Rio+20 and Climate, the negotiations of the Sustainable Development Goals and the 2030 Agenda - Financing for Development Framework.In 2016, she was appointed Director, Corporate Affairs and Administration, in the Corporate Secretariat of the World Bank Group.Before joining the World Bank Group, she was Attorney at Law in private practice in Brussels and Paris, specializing in European business law. She holds a Maîtrise en Droit International from Université d'Aix-en-Provence, France, a Postgraduate Degree in European and International Law from Institut d'Etudes Européennes of Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium, and a Certificate in Common Law from the University of Exeter, U.K.

H.E. Doreen deBrum, assumed her role as the Ambassador to Switzerland and Permanent Representative to the UN Office and other International Organizations in Geneva in March 2019. Her government appointed her to establish the first and only Embassy and Permanent Mission in Europe, with a wide mandate covering all of Europe and international organizations like the European Union, FAO, IAEA, and IMO.Before this assignment, Ambassador deBrum held various roles as a civil servant. She served as Assistant Secretary to the Bureau of Multilateral Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade of the Marshall Islands and as a Planning Advisor on Fisheries Policy at the Marshall Islands Marine Resources Authority. Her work primarily focused on environmental conservation and sustainable resource management.In her extensive career, she also served as Undersecretary for Asia-Pacific Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Marshall Islands from 1996 to 2005. She played a key role in maritime boundary delineation agreements with Nauru and Kiribati. Beyond her diplomatic career, Ambassador deBrum actively contributes to pediatric healthcare improvement in the Marshall Islands. In 2017, she founded Nito's Butterfly's Foundation, dedicated to ensuring proper diagnosis and treatment for children and improving healthcare access.

Rabih El-Haddad leads the Division for Multilateral Diplomacy of the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR). His work focuses on supporting governments, decision-makers, multilateral negotiators and the numerous negotiating groups that use diplomacy and negotiation as tools for defending and promoting their national interest in a complex context. As the key interlocutor with the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Ministries leading international negotiations of the 193 Member States, Mr. El-Haddad adheres, in his daily job, to the purposes and values of the United Nations that aim at developing friendly relations amongst nations by disseminating a culture that celebrates negotiation and enlightened decision-making for the peaceful settlement of disputes. Throughout his career Mr. El-Haddad has closely worked with the governing bodies and intergovernmental machinery of the United Nations and the presidencies and heads of negotiating groups of key global negotiations related to climate change, trade, human rights, sustainable development and peace and security. Mr. El-Haddad was also involved in numerous capacity strengthening projects that shaped the Organisation’s transformative global agenda and enabled member states to foster an environment of collaboration for overcoming challenges on a global scale. Mr. El-Haddad holds Lebanese and Swiss citizenship. He is fluent in French, Arabic, English and Spanish and holds a “Diplôme D’études Approfondies” (DEA) and a Master of Laws (LLM) in International Economic and European Law from the Universities of Geneva and Lausanne.

Matthew McKinnon has over 20 years’ experience addressing climate change and global challenges within the United Nations, public and non-profit sectors. Currently, he is the Executive Director of Aroha, an international non-profit based out of Geneva that focuses on combating the climate emergency through international cooperation, communications and analysis. He is also Senior Advisor to the Global Center on Adaptation CEO and Chair of the Advisory Board of MSC Foundation. He established the secretariat of the Climate Vulnerable Forum and V20, a 58-member cooperation group of nations highly vulnerable to climate change, and is the body's lead advisor. He spearheaded a campaign for a 1.5 degrees Celsius limit in the Paris Agreement on climate change and has edited several global reports on climate vulnerability and low-carbon development, including the three editions of the ‘Climate Vulnerability Monitor’. He has also acted as an advisor on the Bangladesh, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, Ghana, Maldives, Marshall Islands, and Philippines delegations to the UN climate change convention negotiations (UNFCCC). Previously, Matthew has worked at the United Nations secretariat, the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and UNICEF. A New Zealand national, prior to the UN, Matthew worked in the country’s Cabinet Office. He also served as an advisor on climate change to former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan between 2007-2010. He holds advanced degrees in international relations and economic and social history from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva, and the University of Cambridge. 

Marwan Mery is the only negotiator in the world to conduct critical negotiations (kidnapping and ransom, extortion, suicide), commercial, social, diplomatic and therapeutic negotiations, particularly when faced with patients refusing to take their treatment. Consultant to the United Nations and speaker at Harvard University in complex negotiations, he is the author of around ten successful books. He also manages ADN Group, a negotiator agency, made up of around thirty experts located in France and abroad. Marwan Mery is a former officer specializing in influence and crisis negotiation within the COS, the general staff of the French special forces. Each year, Marwan Mery conducts an average of 30 negotiations, gives 100 conferences and trains more than 1,000 people.  Marwan Mery regularly appears in the major media (TF1, France 2, Canal+, LCI, La Chaîne Parlementaire, Le Monde, Le Point, Paris Match, France Inter, Les Échos, L'Express, Le Parisien, France bleu, RTL.. .) on themes related to negotiation and lie detection. 

Corinne Momal-Vanian is the Executive Director of the Kofi Annan Foundation. Previously, she worked in various senior positions and a variety of countries for the United Nations, most recently as Director of Conference Management at the United Nations Office at Geneva (2015-2020) and Director of Information (2010-2015). Ms. Momal-Vanian served as Special Assistant to Kofi Annan in 2005 and 2006, traveling with him to some 20 countries as he worked to resolve crises, defuse tensions, highlight the plight of communities and individuals suffering from discrimination and abuses, build international cooperation and strengthen support for development and justice. She worked for a total of six years in the Executive Office of the Secretary-General, after serving in two regional economic and social commissions of the United Nations. Passionate about justice, gender equality, inclusion, innovation and learning, Ms. Momal-Vanian chaired the Steering Group of the International Gender Champions from 2016 to 2019 and was a co-organiser of the three editions of TEDxPlaceDesNations. A French citizen, she holds a master’s degree in business administration from HEC Graduate School of Management, Paris, an advanced degree in international relations from the Institut Etudes Politiques (Sciences Po) – Paris and an Executive Certificate in Management and Leadership from the MIT Sloan School of Management.

Ambassador Tosi Mpanu-Mpanu holds an MBA in Finance and Investments (2000, George Washington University) as well as a Masters in European Studies and International Relations (2013, Paris 1 Panthéon Sorbonne). He possesses over two decades of experience in the areas of sustainable development, climate finance, renewable energy, environment and diplomacy. As Chief Negotiator of the Democratic Republic of Congo for the negotiation process under the UN Climate Convention, he has attended most of the UN climate conferences since 2007. He was elected Chair of the Group of African Negotiators during the Copenhagen conference in December 2009 and held that position until the Durban conference in December 2011. Subsequently, he served as Chair of the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) Group from January to December 2016, as Chair of the Coalition of Rainforest Nations (CfRN) from 2017 to 2019, and as Chair of the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) from 2020 et 2022. Previously, Amb. Tosi Mpanu Mpanu served on the Governing Board of the African Risk Capacity (2013-2021), a specialized agency of the African Union, as well as on the Board of the Green Climate Fund (2012-2018). He also held the positions of Senior Advisor to the Prime Minister (December 2016 to July 2017), Advisor to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation for 4 years (2003-2007) and consultant at the World Bank in Washington from 2000 to 2003.

Ross Mountain has served as Assistant Secretary General, Deputy UN Special Representative, Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in numerous countries- most recently Lebanon. He has held senior United Nations positions managing  complex humanitarian, reconstruction , development and peacekeeping operations in Africa (Democratic Republic of the Congo, Liberia, Sudan, Angola), Asia (Afghanistan), the Middle East (Lebanon ,Iraq/Jordan, Palestine), the Pacific ( Fiji, PICs) and the  Caribbean(Haiti, Barbados, EC States).   As the UN Assistant Emergency Relief Coordinator and Director of OCHA Geneva he also served as the special humanitarian envoy of the Secretary-General for crises in Mozambique and East Timor.He has also worked in Myanmar as UN Senior Advisor and as Senior Advisor to the UN Secretary General on cholera in Haiti. 

Angelika Muller has Master’s Degrees in Comparative Labour Law and International Human Resources. Working since 2004 at the International Labour Organisation (ILO) in Geneva (Switzerland), Angelika specialised in policy advice on labour law reforms, governance, multilateral negotiations, collective bargaining, tripartism and social dialogue. She published comparative studies on employment protection legislation, gender equality at work, international labour standards, and national social dialogue institutions. Angelika has been collaborating with the ILO International Training Centre in Turin (Italy), academic institutions worldwide and the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR). Since 2018, Angelika is the Head of the Official Relations Unit in charge of the ILO governance bodies. 

Elayne G. Whyte is the former Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs of Costa Rica and was  Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Costa Rica to the United Nations. She is currently a Professor of Practice at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies -SAIS- in Washington, D.C. In 2017 she was President of the United Nations Conference that negotiated and adopted the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which entered into force in 2021 and now has almost 100 signatories. She has served in different leadership positions in security and disarmament treaty-regimes and has led several global negotiation processes to fill legal or cooperation gaps in the fields of human rights, and global health at the World Health Organization (2015-2018) and regional integration. She also has served as the executive director of the Mesoamerica Integration & Development Project, which coordinates and delivers social and economic development projects across the Central American region. Elayne Whyte was a Fellow at Harvard University’s Weatherhead Scholars Program and at the Advanced Leadership Initiative, where she conducted research on global negotiations and led a study group on “negotiating for humanity.” She has also served as Adjunct Professor at the International Law Department of the United Nations-mandated University for Peace, in San Jose, Costa Rica and at the School of International Relations of the National University of Costa Rica.  

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