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Ms Lesley Abdela, MBE is Senior Partner, Shevolution Consultancy. Lesley Abdela is a women’s’ rights campaigner, gender consultant and journalist who has worked for women’s representation in over 40 countries including post-conflict countries: Kosovo, Sierra Leone, Iraq, Afghanistan, Nepal and Aceh as an expert consultant advising Governments, International Organisations and Civil Society on democracy, Women’s Human Rights, Gender, Women Peace and Security, Media Advocacy, and Post-Conflict Reconstruction, Gender and elections. She was Senior Gender Advisor to the UN Agencies in Nepal 2006/7.

In 1980 she founded the all-party 300 Group to campaign to get more women into local, national and European politics in the UK. She is author of Women with X Appeal: Women Politicians in Britain Today (London: Macdonald Optima 1989). She is the winner of the 2009 ‘UK Woman Political Journalist of the Year’ chosen by votes of Members of Parliament, the House of Lords and the Parliamentary Press Lobby.

She is the former Vice President of the Electoral Reform Society. She is the former Board Member of the British Council and the International Institute for Environment & Development. She gives talks on global affairs, women's rights globally, adventure and inspiration.



Prof. Sevda Alankuş graduated from Faculty of Political Science, Ankara University. She received her MA degree and Ph.D degree in Political Science and Public Administration respectively, from the same university. She was awarded "Peace Research Fellowship" and did her post-doctoral research on "Cultural/Ethnic Identities" at the Department of Social Policy and Sociology, University of Leeds in United Kingdom in 1988-1989. She have taught at different universities of Turkey and following her teaching experience in Eastern Mediterranean University (EMU) of Faculty of Communication and Media Studies since 1999, as the dean of the Faculty, she initiated to establishment of  "Center for Peace and Communication Research" for promoting peace journalism in Cyprus in 2008. Since 2014, she is working as the dean of the Faculty of Communication of Kadir Has University.

Currently, Prof. Alankuş, as training-advisor of  the Independent Communication Network (ICN) ( coordinates the "from the School to the Newsroom" trainings of ICN's in peace journalism that are given to the senior students of faculty of communications from all over Turkey. Prof. Alankuş is the editor of Handbook for Journalists and Right-Based Journalism serials, author of Peace Journalism Handbook and has articles on representations of women in different genres of media; role of alternative and local media in democratization of Turkey's media environment; peace journalism vs war/mainstream media journalism practices of Turkish Cypriot and Turkish media.



Sevgül Uludağ is an investigative journalist since 1980 and currently writes in Yenidüzen newspaper in Turkish, and has a weekly column in Politis newspaper. In addition she writes at the 'Cockroaches' website in English. 

Working as an investigative reporter, she has been instrumental in uncovering information on many missing Cypriots. In addition, she has also written a number of books. 

She has been given many awards for her investigative journalism on the missing persons' both from Cyprus and internationally, such as in 2006 when she was awarded by the Reporters Without Frontiers of Austria the Press Freedom Award; she also received the international `Courage in Journalism Award` in 2008 by the International Women's Media Foundation. She has been awarded the `European Citizens' Prize` by the European Parliament in 2014. She co-founded two NGOs, Hands Across the Divide, and the Women's Research Center in Nicosia. 

She was instrumental in the establishment of the association of the relatives of the 'missing persons' and victims of war from both sides "Together We Can" who organize public events and speak about the shared pain and the past in the context of reconciliation and moving forward.


Miriam COOKE

Prof. Miriam Cooke is Braxton Craven Distinguished Professor of Arab Cultures at Duke University. She has been a visiting professor in Tunisia, Romania, Indonesia, Qatar and Istanbul. She serves on several national and international advisory boards, including academic journals and institutions. She is editor of the Journal for Middle East Women's Studies.

Her writings have focused on the intersection of gender and war in modern Arabic literature and on Arab women writers' constructions of Islamic feminism. Prof. Cooke has written about Arab cultural studies with a concentration on Syria, the Arab Gulf and the networked connections among Arabs and Muslims around the world. 

She is the author of several monographs that include Women and the War Story (1997); Women Claim Islam (2001); Dissident Syria: Making Oppositional Arts Official (2007), Nazira Zeineddine: A Pioneer of Islamic Feminism (2010) and Tribal Modern: Branding New Nations in the Arab Gulf (2014). Prof. Cooke has also published a novel, Hayati, My Life (2000). Several books and articles have been translated into Arabic, Chinese, Dutch and German.



Prof. Niyazi Kızılyϋrek was born in Potamia, a mixed village in the Nicosia area. His family became refugees during the bi-communal conflict in 1963-64, and moved to the Turkish Cypriot ghetto Louroujina where he lived until 1974. He graduated from the University of Bremen in Germany in 1983, where he also obtained his PhD in 1990.  He works in the Department of Turkish and Middle Eastern Studies of the University of Cyprus since 1995, and he is the Dean of the School of Humanities since 2013.

He received the Abdi Ipekci Award in 1997 for his contribution to the rapprochement efforts between the two communities in Cyprus, as well as between Greece and Turkey. In 2006, he was awarded the Distinction, Order of Academic Palms, by the French government, for his contribution to science and his efforts for peace in Cyprus.

A keen social researcher, Prof. Kızılyϋrek's work is well respected on both sides of his divided homeland and in international academic community.

He is the author of many books as well as numerous academic articles in various scientific journals.  His main research interests are, History of Modern Turkey, the Cyprus Problem and Nationalism, and Ethnic Conflicts and Reconciliation.   He speaks Turkish, Greek, English, French and German.

Some of his books are: "Cyprus: Impasse of Nationalism" in Greek, "Kemalism: Genesis and Development of the official ideology of Modern Turkey" in Greek, "Glafkos Clerides:  A journey of a country" in Greek, Turkish and English, "George Vassiliou: Reflections on yesterday and tomorrow" in Greek, Turkish and English, "The Secret History of Ethnic Violence in 1958" in Turkish and Greek, 2015, "Federalism in the World, Federal Cyprus", in Greek, 2015, and many more.

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