A picture of the Chair and the three panelists during the conference.
  From left to right: Louise Otis, Michael Brown, Marie-Joëlle Zahar, and John Packer.

Peace Mediation: the Work of the UN Standby Team of Mediation Experts

with Michael Brown, John Packer & Marie-Joëlle Zahar
15 February, 2016

The McGill Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism and the Oppenheimer Chair in Public International Law are pleased to welcome three mediation experts at the Faculty of Law of McGill University. The panelists, who were all members of the United Nations Standby Team, a group of experts that can be rapidly deployed to provide technical advice to UN officials leading conflict prevention efforts, will discuss the role and function of peace mediation and reflect on some of their personal experiences.

Where: Room 100 – Moot Court, New Chancellor Day Hall
McGill Faculty of Law, 3644 Peel street, Montreal
When: February 15, 2016 (1:00 – 2:30 PM)

The panel will be chaired by Louise Otis, civil and commercial mediator and arbitrator, adjunct professor at McGill University’s Faculty of Law, and retired Justice of the Quebec Court of Appeal.

Please note that the event will be bilingual.

Update: Visit the McGill Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism website to watch the Webcast of the conference.

THE PANELISTS
Portrait of Michael BrownMichael Brown – Land & Natural Resource Conflicts Expert
Professor of Practice in Conflict Mediation, Institute for the Study of International Development (McGill University)

Michael Brown is a Professor of Practice in Conflict Mediation at McGill University, a Senior Expert on Natural Resources, Environmental Diplomacy and Mediation for the UN Environment Programme (UNEP). He held the position of Senior Mediation Expert on Land and Natural Resource Conflicts on the UN Department of Political Affairs’ (DPA) Standby Mediation Team for two years.

Mr. Brown’s experience in mediation, conflict and peacebuilding focuses heavily on issues around natural resources and land. He has worked in many regions and 30+ countries throughout Latin America, Asia, Africa and North America. He has held leadership and senior advisory positions with UN Development Programme (UNDP), UN DPA, the World Bank, UN peace missions and international consulting companies.

Among his many publications, Mr. Brown was one of the principal contributing authors of the new UN publication titled, Natural Resources and Conflict: A Guide for Mediation Practitioners. He was also a key contributing author of USAID’s publication Land and Conflict: A Toolkit for Intervention.

Before working internationally, Mr. Brown worked in Canada in environmental and natural resources law, aboriginal law, policy development and alternative dispute resolution. He has degrees in Law (J.D.) and Geography (B.Sc.), and was called to the Bar in the Province of Ontario. He speaks English, Spanish and French.

Portrait of John PackerJohn Packer – Constitutions & Process Design Expert
Director, Human Rights Research and Education Centre (University of Ottawa)

John Packer is an Associate Professor of Law and Director of the Human Rights Research and Education Centre (HRREC) at the University of Ottawa. He previously held academic positions at the University of Essex and at The Fletcher School, Tufts University. He has held Fellowships at Cambridge and Harvard Universities and lectured at universities and professional institutions around the world.

Prof. Packer is an experienced practitioner with over 20 years of experience working for intergovernmental organisations, including for the United Nations (UNHCR, ILO, OHCHR) i.a. investigating serious human rights violations in a number of situations, notably Iraq, Afghanistan, and Burma/Myanmar, as well as themes including extrajudicial executions, arbitrary detention, forced disappearances, the use of forensic sciences, the use of civil defense forces, and regarding the independence of judges and lawyers throughout the world. From 1995 to 2004, he was Senior Legal Adviser and then the first Director of the Office of the OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities (HCNM) in The Hague working across Central and Eastern Europe and throughout the former Soviet Union. In 2012-14, Prof. Packer was a Constitutions and Process Design Expert on the United Nation’s Standby Team of Mediation Experts attached to the Department of Political Affairs (DPA), advising in numerous peace processes and political transitions around the world focusing on conflict prevention and resolution, diversity management, constitutional and legal reform, and the protection of human rights including minorities.

He is Associate Editor of the Human Rights Law Journal and a General Editor of the European Yearbook of Minority Issues, and has sat on the boards of several international human rights NGOs.

Portrait of Marie-Joëlle ZaharMarie-Joëlle Zahar – Power Sharing Expert
Professor of Political Science & Fellow at the Centre for International Research and Studies (Université de Montréal)

Marie-Joëlle Zahar is professor of Political Science and Fellow at the Centre for International Research and Studies at the Université de Montréal. From March 2013 until August 2015, she served as Senior Expert on Power Sharing on the Standby Team of Mediation Experts at the UN Department of Political Affairs. Her research interests span the dynamics of civil war and the politics of conflict-resolution. She is a specialist of militia politics and war economies; transition violence and post-conflict power sharing.

A graduate of McGill University, Professor Zahar has been visiting professor at the Université Lyon II and the Institut d’études politiques de Lyon, visiting scholar at the Centre d’études pour le monde arabe moderne, Université Saint-Joseph (Beirut, Lebanon), research fellow at Stanford’s Center for International Security and cooperation, and SSHRC post-doctoral fellow at the Munk Centre for International Studies (University of Toronto).

Co-author (with Rex Brynen, Pete W. Moore et Bassel F. Salloukh) of Beyond the Arab Spring : Authoritarianism and Democratization in the Arab World (Lynne Rienner 2012) and co-editor with Stephen Saideman of Intra-State Conflict, Government and Security: Dilemmas of Deterrence and Assurance (Routledge 2008), her work has appeared in academic journals including Global Governance, Africa Spectrum, the Journal of Peacebuilding and Development, Südosteuropa, Critique internationale, International Peacekeeping and The International Journal as well as in multiple edited volumes on conflict resolution and peace implementation.

A former consultant for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and adjunct faculty member at the Pearson Peacekeeping Centre, she served on the board of directors of the Canadian Political Science Association, on the executive committee of the Canadian Consortium on Human Security, and as research director of both the Middle East Network and the Research Network on Peace Operations at the Centre d’études et de recherches internationales of the Université de Montréal. Since 2006, she has consulted for several non-governmental and governmental organizations working in post-conflict settings, notably in Iraq and the Sudan.

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