Josie Lianna Kaye

Josie Lianna Kaye PhD

CEO & Founder

Josie is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Founder of TrustWorks. Josie’s expertise lies in supporting businesses and investors to operate in ways that are conflict-sensitive and peace-promoting; she has over 18 years of experience working with public and private sector actors in fragile and conflict-affected settings. Josie holds a PhD from the University of Oxford on the role of licit and illicit business actors in the dynamics of conflict and peace.

For the last ten years, alongside her role as CEO of TrustWorks, Josie has worked 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.

Since 2013, at TrustWorks, Josie has been responsible for leading all TrustWorks’ programmes, fostering unconventional partnerships and complex collaboration to resolve challenges in diverse locations globally. For example, she has designed, led and implemented extensive training and mentoring programmes on conflict-sensitivity and trust-building for business professionals in Africa in some of the most challenging contexts in the world; she has also provided extensive support to the design and implementation of dialogue processes on natural-resource related conflicts. In East Africa, she served as a team leader for complex country-wide analytical/research engagements involving international and local teams on the political economy of extractives.

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

Business and peace; local approaches to peace mediation; conflict analysis, peacebuilding, mediation, conflict-sensitive development; resolving natural resource conflicts; and managing business engagements in fragile states.


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