Josie Lianna Kaye PhD TrustWorks Global

Josie Lianna Kaye PhD

CEO & Senior Advisor

Josie Lianna Kaye is the CEO and Founder of TrustWorks with over 18 years of experience working in the fields of conflict prevention, peace mediation and political economy, with a particular focus on business (MNCs and SMEs) and investors (DFIs, impact, commercial) operating in conflict-affected and high risk areas; she holds a PhD from the University of Oxford on the role of business actors in conflict contexts and the implications for peace practitioners.

Josie has over ten years of experience working with investors and companies in conflict-affected and high-risk areas. She has: undertaken conflict-sensitivity and heightened human rights due diligence assessment for multi-national corporations of their operations and supply chains in conflict-affected and high-risk areas; provided training, mentoring and accompaniment to senior leaders and operational staff on conflict-sensitivity; mediated/facilitated between companies and key stakeholder groups in conflict contexts on contentious issues; and, advised companies on a wide range of issues related to policies, governance processes and practices in conflict contexts. The majority of her work with companies has taken place in sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East.

Josie has also extensive experience with investors, having provided tailored support on strategies and operations in conflict contexts to the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the Dutch Development Bank (FMO), with whom she developed the TrustWorks Peace Finance Framework. Josie is the lead author of the 2021 study on ‘Conditions for successful investments in fragile and conflict-affected states’, commissioned and published by FMO. More recently, she also served as the lead research and author of the Interpeace-funded study on ‘SME Facilities in Fragile and Conflict-affected Settings: Contributing to peace?’ authored with Ben Miller and Simon Ehmsen.

As part of the ongoing partnership with Geneva-based equity investor, De Pury Pictet Turrettini in the context of their Cadmos Peace European Engagement Fund, Josie leads all TrustWorks’ engagements with portfolio companies on issues related to heightened human rights due diligence and conflict-sensitivity. Josie also leads TrustWorks’ flagship initiative on the Peace Impact Framework designed to promote conflict-sensitive and peace promoting SME Facilities in conflict-affected and high-risk areas as part of a broader data-driven conflict-sensitivity solution developed in partnership with strategic partner MajestEYE, called PeaceEYE.

Josie’s academic work has focused on the role of licit and illicit business actors in conflict contexts, with a particular focus on understanding their negative and positive impacts on peace and conflict dynamics, and the implications for peace mediation processes. She has authored several book chapters and articles on this subject, including a chapter entitled ‘What role for business actors in UN Peace Operations?’, published in The Political Economy of Civil War and UN Peace Operations and ‘

Josie has operational experience working with United Nations entities and partners across sub-Saharan Africa, South and Central Asia, and the Middle East on conflict analysis, conflict-sensitive development, peacebuilding, inclusive governance, cross-border security and cooperation, insider mediation, preventing violent extremism, and natural resource management. She has also gained unique experience on Track I and Track II mediation processes, led by internationally renowned mediators in Kenya and the Middle East. At the UN headquarters in New York Josie has provided inputs to the General Assembly on the development of policies for countries in transition and is responsible for producing a high-level training programme for all newly appointed UN Under Secretary-Generals and Assistant Secretary- Generals.

As a conflict researcher and practitioner more broadly, Josie has extensive experience developing guidance and trainings. Josie served as the ‘pen holder’ of the UN-wide tool on conflict analysis, entitled ‘Conducting a Conflict and Development Analysis’ (CDA tool), published in 2017 by the United Nations Development Group. She is also the lead researcher and author for three other key resources for practitioners: Risk Management for Preventing Violent Extremism (PVE) Programmes: Guidance Note for Practitioners published by UNDP in 2019; Engaging with Insider Mediators, Sustaining peace in an age of turbulence: A Guidance Note’ published by UNDP in 2020; and, one of the lead authors of the 2015 handbook on ‘Natural resources and conflict: A guide for mediation practitioners’ published by the UN Environment Programme and Department of Political Affairs in 2015.

Formerly, she worked for five years as the Assistant Director of Columbia University’s Center for International Conflict Resolution (CICR), a Staff Associate of Research and an adjunct Professor at the School of International and Public Affairs, also at Columbia University. Besides teaching, Josie conducted research and coordinated/managed projects on mediation support, conflict assessment, Track II diplomacy, and post-conflict capacity-building worldwide; she also elaborated tailored trainings in conflict resolution for variety of stakeholders, and facilitated groups in conflict. She led the development of a dynamic field-based curriculum for Master’s students, and managed a two million dollar fund on the nexus between natural resources and conflict.

Josie obtained a first-class honors degree in Political Science from Nottingham University in the United Kingdom. She went onto obtain two Masters of International Affairs from Sciences Po Paris (Institut d’Etudes Politiques – IEP) and Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA).


Regional Specialization

Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, the Gulf and Central Asia.

Thematic Specialization

Conflict-sensitive business & investments in conflict contexts; heightened human rights due diligence; peace finance; and, peace mediation.


English, French

Selected Publications

  • Kaye, Josie Lianna, ’The business of peace and the politics of inclusion: What role for local licit and illicit business actors in peace mediation?’, PhD Thesis, University of Oxford, 2020
  • Kaye, Josie Lianna, “The business of peace and the politics of inclusion: What role for local business actors in peace mediation? The case of Yemen (2011-2016)”, in Catherine Turner & Martin Wählisch (eds) Rethinking Peace Mediation: Critical Approaches to International Peace Making, Bristol: Policy Press, forthcoming 2021
  • United Nations Development Programme, authored by Josie Lianna Kaye, ‘Engaging with Insider Mediators: Sustaining Peace in an age of turbulence’, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), May 2020
  • United Nations Development Programme, authored by Josie Lianna Kaye, ‘Risk management for Preventing Violent Extremism (PVE) Programmes’, A Guidance Note for Practitioners, United Nations Development Programme, 2019.
  • Kaye, Josie Lianna; Grzybowski, Alex; Brown, Michael J; and Jensen, David, ‘Natural Resources and Conflict: A Guide for Mediation Practitioners’ (Handbook), published at the United Nations Environment Program and the Department of Political Affairs, 2015
  • Kaye, Josie Lianna, ‘The Future of Conflict and its Implications for Peacemaking’, Center for International Conflict Resolution (CICR), Columbia University, published July, 2011
  • Kaye, Josie Lianna, ‘A Choice for Peace? The Story of 41 Days of Mediation in Kenya’, co-authored with Elisabeth Lindenmayer, published at the International Peace Institute (IPI), 2009