Josie Lianna Kaye PhD TrustWorks Global

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.

Josie has over ten years of experience working with investors and companies on responsible business 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; provided training, mentoring and accompaniment to senior leaders and operational staff on conflict-sensitivity; mediated/facilitated between companies and key stakeholder groups 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 also has extensive experience with investors having provided tailored support on strategies and operations in conflict contexts to diverse Development Financial Institutions, impact and commercial investors.  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 is the lead author of the 2021 study on ‘Conditions for successful investments in fragile and conflict-affected states’, commissioned and published by FMO and, more recently, served as the lead researcher and author of the Interpeace-funded study on ‘SME Facilities in Fragile and Conflict-affected Settings: Contributing to peace?’. Josie leads TrustWorks’ flagship initiative on the Peace Impact Framework designed to promote conflict-sensitive and peace promoting SME Facilities as part of a broader data-driven solution developed in partnership with Tunis-based data analytics experts, MajestEYE, called PeaceEYE.

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.

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 another entitled ‘What role for local business actors in peace mediation? The case of Yemen (2011-2016, published in Rethinking Peace Mediation: Critical Approaches to International Peace Making.

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