© EPES Mandala 2011

Who we are : Founders

Dr Robin-Edward Poulton - Managing Partner

Dr Robin-Edward Poulton - Managing Partner,

Dr Robin-Edward Poulton teaches at the University of Richmond and is a specialist in terrorism, disarmament, conflict transformation, and peace building. He has 25 years of field experience with UNDP, EU, USAID and NGOs. His action-research as Senior Research Fellow in UNIDIR has initiated and supported pioneering micro-disarmament work in West Africa, Central Asia and Cambodia on weapon collection, destruction and security sector reform, the social economy, decentralized democratic governance and civil society.

A British citizen raised in West Africa, Robin is the author of several books in French and English on development and disarmament. A graduate of St Andrews and Oxford, he attended Fourah Bay College in Freetown and wrote his PhD on Afghanistan at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes in Paris, France. In addition to his conflict transformation skills, he is a specialist in training, action research, participative planning and evaluation.

CV from Dr Robin-Edward Poulton - Managing Partner


Dr Michelle Elcoat Poulton - Managing Partner

Dr Michelle Elcoat Poulton - Managing Partner,

Dr Michelle Elcoat Poulton is a child development and child protection specialist who has designed and managed important programmes on four continents. Former West African Director for Save the Children, she then became the European Director of Christian Children's Fund and International Vice-President of Child Fund International, running programmes in 35 countries with an annual budget of 400 million dollars US. She established rigorous planning, monitoring and evaluation systems for this global network of projects.

Born in France, Michelle took a Masters at Oxford and her doctorate from the Ecole des Hautes Etudes in Paris. Her fieldwork in Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America has given her unrivalled expertise in building civil society and social capital. Michelle has won international accolades for her work with non-formal education, early childhood development and the recuperation of child victims of war (using locally adapted psychosocial techniques). She has also done a lot of work in maternal and child health, in the protection of rape victims and refugees, and the reintegration of child soldiers and other war-affected youths into society. A wonderful team leader and manager, Michelle has excellent skills in training, action research and participative planning methods.

CV from Dr Michelle Elcoat Poulton - Managing Partner

Read more about Michelle’s achievements


Tore Rose

Tore Rose,

A Norwegian economist trained at Harvard Business School and Leeds University, Tore was a distinguished UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in Rwanda, Mali and Algeria, and also worked at the OECD Development Centre and the UN Secretariat as well as in the private sector. Taking early retirement he launched himself into conflict resolution and peacebuilding, and was invited by the World Bank, Asian Development Bank and the UN to lead a Needs Assessment of the areas of Sri Lanka most affected by the conflict between the government and the LTTE (Tamil Tigers). Most recently Tore was Team Leader of the 2004 Peacebuilding Forum process managed by the UN War Torn Societies Project (now WSP-International), and the International Peace Academy (IPA, New York), financed by Canada, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, and the Rockefeller Foundation. In addition to his security sector expertise, Tore has long experience in donor coordination and aid programming, with particular experience in poverty and governance issues.

CV from Tore Rose


General Henny van der Graaf

General Henny van der Graaf,

Henny J. van der Graaf served in staff and command functions in the Royal Netherlands Army, retiring after a distinguished military career with the rank of Brigadier General. Since then he has become the world's most famous micro-disarmament expert and the founding Director of the three most important pioneering SALW programmes: in Albania (UNDP), Cambodia (EU-ASAC) and the former Yugoslavia (SEESAC). He was the official UN Supervisor of the Flame of Peace in Timbuktu, Mali; where he first met the other founders of EPES Mandala Consulting. General van der Graaf served on the UN Secretary General's Advisory Board on Disarmament Matters, on UN missions to Africa, Bangladesh, Philippines, and as a UN election monitor in Cambodia (1993), South Africa (1994) and Mali (1997). He previously worked at the Technical University of Eindhoven and is currently a Senior Advisor to NATO.

CV from General Henny van der Graaf


Dennis Brennan

Dennis Brennan,

Dennis Brennan is a retired senior foreign assistance expert, and a leading small arms lawyer. He has dual Irish and American nationality, with an AB from Harvard University in Massachusetts and law degree from Georgetown (Washington DC). He has wide Asian and African experience, speaking Thai and Indonesian as well as English and French. He also has expertise in rural development, development planning and weapons collection. Dennis has been working recently as legal advisor to the EU in Cambodia (ASAC) and the UNDP in Belgrade (SEESAC), drafting and analysing national arms laws. Dennis has also carried out a similar small arms legislative mission for UNIDIR Geneva. He ended his aid career as US Representative to the Development Committee (DAC), OEDC in Paris and now works full time as a consultant for peace and disarmament.

CV from Dennis Brennan


Dr Andria Wisler

Dr Andria Wisler,

Dr Andria Wisler graduated in May 2008 with a PhD in Comparative and International Education and Philosophy, with a specialization in Peace Studies, from Columbia University in New York. From September on she took up a position as Assistant Professor in the Justice and Peace Studies program and is now teaching at Georgetown University. Andria has specialised in the Balkans and has worked been there for the past eight years in social analysis and reconciliation using local traditions and the lessons of regional history. Dr Wisler is a Peace Educator, and a Visiting Professor at the European Peace University in Austria where she previously studied for a Master's in Conflict Transformation. Andria has accepted the position of Editor for the EPES Mandala series of Lessons Learned from the Field, a collection of 'occasional papers' written by peace practitioners and distributed as a contribution to building peace: sharing practical experience from the field for the benefit of others.

CV from Dr Andria Wisler


Dr Ibrahim ag Youssouf

Dr Ibrahim ag Youssouf,

Dr Ibrahim ag Youssouf is a Malian sociologist and linguist with thirty years of work experience in consultancy for United Nations agencies and for Non-Governmental Organizations. His initial development expertise in dryland agriculture and herding, nomadic cultures and land tenure was transformed unexpectedly by the 1990 revolt of Tuaregs who took up arms against the military dictatorship. Like many other Malians, Ibrahim found himself in a position to act as a mediator. As Advisor to the United Nations Resident Coordinator, he was involved in drafting and negotiating the peace agreements, in designing and implementing the Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration process for former rebels, and in creating the Flame of Peace. Ibrahim studied for his PhD in linguistics at Indiana University in USA, and is an advisor to Norwegian peace makers and to the ECOWAS secretariat in Abuja.

CV from Dr Ibrahim ag Youssouf


Zakiyatou Oualette Halatine

Zakiyatou Oualette Halatine,

Zakiyatou OUALETT HALATINE trained as an economist, and for the past twenty years has specialized in micro-economics and small business development, and in the mobilization of civil society organizations for economic development and peace. Born in Timbuktu, Zakiyatou is a Tuareg and much of her recent work has involved promoting Tuareg crafts and helping small businesses in northern Mali as part of sustainable development and the reintegration of former fighters from the DDR process. She is a co-Founder of the MusoKunda, Mali's Museum of Womanhood in Bamako. Zakiyatou worked for six years in UNIDO in Vienna, and was later named as Mali's Minister of Crafts and Tourism. She is currently an Advisor to Mali's President.


Djely Karifa Samoura

Djely Karifa Samoura,

Djely Karifa Samoura was born into one of the most distinguished families of Guinea. His father Djely Mamedi Samoura, head of the family and Guinea's most respected griot (bard) was the only man to criticise Sekou TOURE to his face and live to tell the story. Before he went to visit President Sekou TOURE, however, he took the precaution of sending his son into exile with the mission to promote human rights and fight torture. This transformed Samoura into a leader of African civil society, a peace negotiator and mediator. One of Africa's leading human rights campaigners, a journalist and law graduate from the University of Paris, Samoura is currently President of the African Peace Academy ACAP based in Algiers and also of the Coordination of African Human Rights NGOs based in Geneva, where he now resides.

CV from Djely Karifa Samoura


Catherine Leila Poulton

Catherine Leila Poulton,

Leila Poulton is a specialist in gender-based violence, and the problems of resettlement and reintegration of displaced populations in conflict zones. This includes work with child soldiers and girls who have been victims of war, as well as former fighters who have often committed brutal acts, including rape. Leila is extremely knowledgeable about community organizations and grassroots development, and the difficulties confronting women who need to organize for self-protection or for cooperative development. She has a Master's degree in Peace Studies and Conflict Transformation. An expert in child rights and women's rights, Leila has tested theory and practice in Darfur and Chad, in Central African Republic and Afghanistan, and worked with street children and adolescent girls in Guatemala. She is a Director of the company.

CV from Catherine Leila Poulton


Dr Zeki Ergas

Dr Zeki Ergas,

Dr Zeki Ergas was born in Turkey of an ancient Sephardic family that moved to the Ottoman Empire in 1492 to escape persecution in Spain. Dr Ergas's recent research has focused on the cultural background to conflict and historical evolution around the Mediterranean, but his previous work - and his PhD in Economics from Berkeley in the USA - was largely based in Eastern and Southern Africa. It was the declining years of the apartheid regime in South Africa that focused Dr Ergas's attention away from macro-economics and onto issues of conflict resolution. He writes regularly on social justice, economic affairs and human rights.

CV from Dr Zeki Ergas