Nordic Women Mediators (NWM) is a network of women from the Nordic countries with professional mediation and negotiations experience. Inspired by a similar initiative in southern Africa, the Nordic governments endorsed the creation of the network at the Nordic African Foreign Ministers’ meeting in April 2015. The NWM was officially launched in Oslo on 27 November 2015, followed by an international launch in May 2016 at the United Nations in New York.
There is recognition that despite important gains resulting from the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security (UNSCR 1325), formal peace and mediation processes have lagged behind in effectively engaging and meaningfully involving women, whether as parties to a conflict or as members of the teams facilitating and leading peace processes. The UN Security Council has on numerous occasions expressed concern at the persistent obstacles to women’s full involvement in the prevention and resolution of conflicts. Special attention has been drawn to the constant under-representation of women in peace processes, transitional processes and post-political settlement decision-making, institutions and reconstruction. A UN study has found that only two per cent of chief mediators, nine per cent of negotiators, and four per cent of signatories were women.
The Nordic Women Mediators’ objectives are to:
The network aims to reach out to actors engaged in peace processes, transitional processes and post-political settlement processes and institutions. Interacting with other similar women’s networks will be an important component. The NWM also aims to make women’s competence in this area more visible, to counter arguments about the shortage or low availability of women with mediation expertise.
The Nordic Women Mediators consists of national women mediator networks from the Nordic countries operating under one umbrella. The network is comprised of: a contact group representing participating Nordic ministries; together with an advisory group consisting of senior women mediators from the Nordic countries, serving as a sounding board for the network members; and an operational group representing the Nordic Ministries’ operational partners (listed below).
For more information on the network, please contact one of the following operational group partners:
Follow the network in social media on #WomenMediators and find the partners on Twitter:
Tone Allers has been director of the Section for Peace and and Reconcilation at the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs since 2014, and deputy director since 2010. Prior to entering the Section she was posted to Berlin (2004-2007) and Tokyo (2002-2004). Ms. Allers originally joined the Ministry in 1999 as a trainee in the Asia Section and has been actively engaged in Norwegian support to peace processes ever since. The Section for Peace and Reconciliation was set up in the Norwegian Foreign Ministry in 2002, and was the first of its kind. It has a special focus on the direct facilitation of peace processes, but also on strengthening the capacity of the international community to deal with conflict, both through support to the UN system, peace research and cooperation with civil society and regional organisations. The Section has a strong focus on promoting the participation of women in peace processes. The Section has experience with ceasefire and monitoring processes in countries such as Colombia, Aceh, Sri Lanka and the Philippines. In 2016, the Section has been facilitating the peace process between the Colombian government and the FARC, where Norway is official facilitator together with Cuba. The Section is also official facilitator in between the Philippine government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP). Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, Myanmar and the Horn of Africa are also important priorities.
Lisa Golden serves as special representative and as deputy director of the Section for South Asia and Afghanistan at the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Previously she served in the Ministry’s Section for Peace and Reconciliation, from its establishment and for nine years, with responsibility for the official Norwegian facilitation of the peace process in Sri Lanka, as well as Norway’s support to other peace processes and dialogue efforts in a range of conflict areas. She has served at the Norwegian Embassy in Bosnia-Herzegovina. She also has served in the US Department of State at the Mission to the UN covering the Security Council, US Embassy in Bulgaria, and in Washington, DC covering South East Europe. Ms. Golden has country expertise expertise in South Asia and the Balkan regions, as well as expertise on peace processes, ceasefires and mediation/facilitation. She speaks English and (rusty) French and has rudimentary skills in Bosnian-Serbo-Croatian and Bulgarian.
Mariann Hagen is director of the Office of the Special Adviser to the Secretary General (OSASG) on Myanmar and head of the OSASG office in Yangon. Ms. Hagen has worked for the United Nations since 2012 in New York and Myanmar. Prior to joining the United Nations, Ms. Hagen served as a Norwegian diplomat since 2004 with postings in Bangkok, Harare and Oslo. She has had responsibilities in a number of countries, including Myanmar, China, Cambodia, Thailand, Philippines, Vietnam and Zimbabwe. Ms. Hagen has a degree in media and international/Asian politics from the University of Oslo and has worked and studied in a number of Asian countries for more than a decade. She speaks Norwegian, English, Spanish and some basic Chinese and Burmese.
Astrid N. Heiberg is a senior political adviser to the conservative party, Høyre, of Norway. She is a professor of psychiatry who was twice appointed state secretary: between 1981-1985 and 2013-2016 under the conservative government. In 1986, Ms. Heiberg served as Minister of Administration and Consumer Affairs. She was also a member of Parliament (1985-1989). In 1989. Ms. Heiberg was appointed as a member of the CPT (the European commission for the prevention of torture and inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment) until 1993 when she became president of the Norwegian Red Cross, a position she held until 2001. Between 1997 and 2001, Dr. Heiberg was also president of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. In 2003 Astrid was chair of the SGI (Subcommittee of gender) in the Sri Lanka peace process. She is a member of various groups under the International Democratic Union, chaired by Geraldine Ferraro, Jimmy Carter and Brian Atwood.
Hilde Frafjord Johnson served as Norway’s Minister of International Development for two terms (1997-2005) and played a key role in the Sudan peace negotiations that led to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) in 2005. She was also a member of the UN Secretary-General’s High-Level Independent Panel on Peace Operations (2015-2015), and a co-chair of the independent police review (2016). Ms. Johnson is the former Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) and head of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) 2011 - 2014. Prior to her tenure in South Sudan, Ms. Johnson was deputy executive director of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), where she was in charge of the organization’s humanitarian operations and crisis response (2007-2011) and senior adviser to the President of the African Development Bank, in charge of fragile states policies. She is a development anthropologist and fragile states specialist. Hilde F. Johnson has also been an elected member of Parliament (1993-2001). Ms. Johnson was a senior visiting fellow at the Norwegian Institute for International Affairs (NUPI) 2014-2015. She is currently Secretary General of the Christian Democratic Party of Norway.
Mona Juul is an experienced diplomat and has served as Norway’s Ambassador to the UK since 2014. After joining the Norwegian Foreign Service in 1986, Mona’s first overseas posting to Cairo in 1988 where she worked as a political attache and second secretary launching her diplomatic career. Together with her husband, Terje Rød-Larsen, she was deeply involved in the secret negotiations that took place in 1993 between Israel and the PLO, which led to the signing of the Oslo Agreement. Ms. Juul worked as state secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs from 2000 to 2001 during the first government of Jens Stoltenberg,before becoming Norway’s Ambassador to Israel in 2001. Between 2005 and 2010, she served as deputy head at Norway`s Permanent Mission to the UN in New York, where she chaired the First Committee that deals with issues related to international security and disarmament, during the UN General Assembly in 2006.
Gry Larsen joined CARE International in January 2015 after serving as state secretary in the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. As state secretary she worked on a range of development, humanitarian and security issues, including human rights, conflict resolution and disarmament, the UN and global health. Gry was actively involved with the the government’s work to strengthen the rights of girls and women and promote gender equality, specifically within the area of women, peace and security. Her political career started when she became active in the Norwegian Labour Youth (AUF) where she served as president between 2002 and 2006. She was also political adviser for the Foreign Minister before she was appointed state secretary in 2009.
Major General Kristin Lund is a senior Norwegian military officer at the Norwegian Defence University College (NODEFIC) with more than 35 years with the Armed Forces. Kristin has two unique distinctions as being the only female Norwegian Army Officer promoted to the rank of Major General, and the first female Force Commander in UN history. With respect to the latter, Kristin recently served as Force Commander, United Nations Forces in Cyprus (UNFICYP). During her service, Kristin has held several prominent positions, both nationally and abroad, including as Chief of Staff of the Norwegian Home Guard. Her career has also seen multiple deployments overseas with both NATO and the UN to conflict zones. The main focus of her work has been on logistics, civil-military cooperation and coordination (CIMIC), light infantry (Homeguard) and gender equality. Her gender equality contributions were recognized when she was awarded the Norwegian Armed Forces Equality Award in 2004. Major General Lund’s accomplishments have earned her the following prestigious awards, namely the French Ordre National de la Légion d’honneur in 2015 and the Norwegian Defence Cross of Honour in 2016.
Gro Nystuen is senior partner at the International Law and Policy Institute (ILPI) in Oslo. She worked in the Norwegian Foreign Service 1991 - 2005. Nystuen was seconded to work with the International Conference on the Former Yugoslavia (ICFY) for the UN Mediator Stoltenberg in 1995. From 1995 to 1997 she was seconded to work as legal adviser to the EU mediator, and served as legal adviser to the High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina, Carl Bildt, during and after the Dayton peace negotiations. In 1999 she was legal adviser in the Rambouillet negotiations on behalf of Norway (then-Chair of the OSCE) and seconded to work as legal adviser to the United Nations Special Envoy for the Balkans (UNOSEB) with a special emphasis on Kosovo. Her doctoral thesis, “Achieving peace or protecting human rights? Conflicts between norms regarding ethnic discrimination in the Dayton Peace Agreement”, was published in 2005. From 2005 to 2013 she was associate professor of international humanitarian law at the University of Oslo and from 2008 to 2013 also served as associate professor at the Defence Staff University College in Oslo. Nystuen is an expert on international/multilateral legal procedure for international conferences and negotiation processes. Nystuen has, on behalf of Norway, taken part in the negotiations of a number of treaties and in international diplomatic processes, including the processes on the Mine Ban Convention in 1996-97, the Convention on Cluster Munitions 2007-08, processes within the UN Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, and the Arms Trade Treaty from 2010-2013.
Hilde Salvesen has been engaged with peace processes in the Americas since the 1990s in a variety of different capacities. Hilde is currently based at the Norwegian Centre for Human Rights where she leads the Centre’s international programmes. Prior to this position, Hilde worked for several years as a senior adviser at the Section for Peace and Reconciliation at the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs where she served on the Norwegian facilitation team to the peace process in Colombia. She has also served as the focal point for women, peace and security. As adviser and programme director in Norwegian Church Aid in the 1990s, she followed closely the Guatemalan peace process. She has been affiliated with the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO), where she conducted research on the Central American peace processes with a specific focus on civil-military relations and implementation of peace accords. During three years as special adviser at the Oslo Center for Peace and Human Rights she was responsible for a cross-regional dialogue in cooperation with Iranian partners.
Rita Furuseth Sandberg is deputy director of the Unit for Organizational Management and Restructuring at the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Prior to this position, Ms. Sandberg served as the deputy special envoy to the Colombian peace talks in the Section for Peace and Reconciliation. Sandberg has been a political officer at the Norwegian Embassies in Thailand, Uganda and Belgium between 2005 – 2012 and has previous experience from MFA Section for EEA/EFTA affairs and Section for Trade and Investment at Innovation Norway. Ms. Sandberg’s work experience includes: DG Regional Affairs of the European Commission; the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI) and the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment (FFI). Rita holds an MA in international relations from the University of Oslo (2001), as well as an MA in European Political studies from the College of Europe, Bruges (2000) and a BA in political science and French, University of Oslo (1998).
Elisabeth Slåttum is a Norwegian diplomat and was appointed special envoy to the peace process between the Government of the Philippines and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) in 2014. Prior to this appointment, Elisabeth served as part of the Norwegian facilitation team in the peace process between the Colombian Government and the FARC. Elisabeth has also been engaged in dialogue and conciliation efforts in Haiti and the Dominican Republic, as well as in efforts to coordinate international support to the Nepali peace process during the post-agreement phase. Ms. Slåttum has also been posted to the Norwegian Embassy in Venezuela and has also worked with NGOs in Argentina and Colombia. She holds Master’s degrees in European politics from the College of Europe, Warsaw, and in French from the University of Oslo.
Katja Cappelen is a project coordinator at NOREF Norwegian Centre for Conflict Resolution providing logistical support to projects and processes in Colombia, The Philippines and the Middle East. Before joining NOREF, Katja was a research assistant at The Norwegian University for Life Sciences (NMBU), working on a collaborative project between Norway, Denmark and Sweden to foster knowledge entrepreneurship in the Nordic countries. She holds an MSc in Entrepreneurship and Innovation from NMBU where she wrote her thesis on challenges and key success criteria for joint cooperation between business and research institutions. She also holds a BA in project management and business design from the Kaospilots, a hybrid business and design school and multi-faceted education in leadership and entrepreneurship. Jointly with PRIO, Katja also works to support the Nordic Women Mediators and the national branch in Norway.
Julie Marie Hansen is a research assistant at the Peace Research Institute Oslo’s (PRIO) Centre on Gender, Peace and Security. She was previously a research assistant on a joint project in Myanmar with Swisspeace, UN Women and the Gender and Development Institute Myanmar, as well as serving as an intern at the UK Embassy in Norway. She holds an MSc in International Development Studies from the Norwegian University of Life Sciences, where she wrote her thesis on the transnational peacebuilding engagements of women in the Myanmar diaspora in Norway. She also holds an MA (Hons) in Social Policy and Scandinavian Studies from the University of Edinburgh. In partnership with NOREF, Julie also works to support the Nordic Women Mediators and the national Norwegian branch.
Laura Mitchell is a senior adviser at the Norwegian Centre for Conflict Resolution (NOREF) where she works on gender and inclusivity in dialogue, mediation and peace processes and transitions. Her work has focused geographically on the Arab World (Iraq, Syria, Libya and the Gulf). She also has extensive international development field experience in conflict zones, speaks several languages (incl. Arabic, Russian and French) and has worked as programme director, country director and executive director with a host of international agencies, including Save the Children (UK), Oxfam (Canada), FOCUS (US)/Aga Khan Foundation, KPMG, the World Bank and the planning Alliance/rePlan. In partnership with PRIO, Laura also works to support the Nordic Women Mediators and specifically the national Norwegian branch.
Torunn L. Tryggestad is a senior researcher and director of the PRIO Centre on Gender, Peace and Security. She holds a PhD in political science (University of Oslo) on the topic “International Norms and Political Change: ‘Women, Peace and Security’ and the UN Security Agenda”. She has a particular interest in the UN and the gendered dimensions of conflict resolution, conflict management and peacebuilding. She has extensive experience from teaching, training, and providing policy advice to Norwegian ministries, the Norwegian Armed Forces and the justice sector. In recent years she has also been centrally involved in conducting the High-Level Seminars on Gender and Inclusive Mediation Processes, in cooperation with the UN Department of Political Affairs and the Crisis Management Initiative (CMI). She was one of the principal authors of the Norwegian Government’s first National Action Plan on the Implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security (2006). In 2015 Tryggestad was appointed member of the UN Secretary General’s fourth UN Peacebuilding Advisory Group for the period 2015-2016. She was recently appointed member of the core group of the NATO Civil Society Advisory Panel on Women, Peace and Security (2016-2017).