Mónica Rafael Simões is a senior adviser at NOREF. She joined the organisation in 2012 as a political analyst and coordinated the portfolios of Africa and Emerging Powers. Since 2014 she has focused on NOREF’s support to the Colombian peace process, working closely with the Norwegian special envoys and providing assistance and expertise to the process. During her years at NOREF she has developed broad competence in the fields of mediation and peace processes, and has joined the Norwegian branch of the Nordic Women Mediators Network.
She has solid academic and professional experience in the areas of peacebuilding and foreign policy. Prior to joining NOREF she worked as a political adviser to the Portuguese deputy minister for foreign affairs and development (2008-2011) and held various research positions in the Peace Studies Group of the Centre for Social Studies at the University of Coimbra (2002-2008). During this period she authored numerous academic publications, worked as an independent consultant, and conducted fieldwork in Angola, Brazil, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, São Tomé and Principe, and South Africa.
She holds a European master’s in Human Rights and Democratisation from the University of Padua, has completed a specialisation course in International Information and Southern Countries at the Complutense University of Madrid, and holds a degree in International Relations from the University of Coimbra. She is a PhD candidate in International Politics and Conflict Resolution at the University of Coimbra, but has temporarily placed her studies on hold after completing the required academic courses (2008-2010).