Learn more

Josie Lianna

Director & Founder

Josie Lianna Kaye is the Director and Founder of TrustWorks. She specialises in international conflict resolution, peacemaking and peacebuilding, with a particular focus on businesses in conflict and post-conflict contexts.

Josie's professional experience spans a wide variety of institutional and geographical settings: she has served as a researcher, trainer, analyst, writer and programme implementer for United Nations (UN) entities, Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), think-tanks and businesses in Central Asia, the Middle East, South-East Asia and across Sub-Saharan Africa. She focuses on a diverse set of interconnected issues, including: conflict analysis; trustbuilding in fragile states; preventing and resolving natural resource conflicts; business-community-government relations; preventing and responding to the growth of violent extremism; conflict-sensitive development; mediation and peacemaking; early-warning mechanisms; and, border security.

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 is co-author of the Department of Political Affairs/UN Environment Programme (UNEP) handbook entitled, Natural Resources and Conflict: A Guide for Mediation Practitioners and author of the recently launched UN Development Programme (UNDP) document entitled, Preventing and Responding to Violent Extremism in Africa: A Development Approach. She has also designed, led and implemented extensive training and mentoring programmes on conflict-sensitivity and trustbuilding for business professionals in some of the most challenging contexts in the world. Most recently, Josie served as Team Leader for a multi-faceted conflict analysis in the Horn of Africa.

Josie has gained unique experience working with Track I and Track II international mediators. She worked alongside Kofi Annan's mediation support team in Kenya in the wake of the electoral violence of 2008 as a mediation researcher, going on to co-author the International Peace Institute paper entitled, 'A choice for Peace? The story of forty-one days of mediation in Kenya'. She also formed part of an informal Track II team supporting Senator Mitchell in his role as US Special Envoy to the Middle East. Josie has experience facilitating small and large groups in conflict, and has trained as a mediator - both with the New York Peace Institute in Manhattan and with the Swiss Ministry of Foreign Affairs/Swisspeace, focusing on community mediation and peace mediation respectively.

Prior to working as an independent expert, Josie worked for five years as Assistant Director, Researcher and Adjunct Professor of Columbia University's Center for International Conflict Resolution (CICR) based at the School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA). 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) - the first focused on international conflict and security studies, the second on international conflict resolution and African studies. Josie is a DPhil Candidate at the University of Oxford's Department of Politics and International Relations (DPIR), where her research focuses on the political economy of businesses and peacemaking.

Selected Publications, Reports and Lectures

Preventing and Responding to Violent Extremism in Africa: A Development Approach, Regional and Multi-Country Project Document, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Regional Bureau for Africa, 2015

Natural Resources and Conflict: A Guide for Mediation Practitioners (Handbook) co-authored with Michael J. Brown, Alex Grzybowski and David Jensen, published at the United Nations Environment Program and the Department of Political Affairs, 2015.

The Essential Guide to the United Nations for Senior Leaders, commissioned by the United Nations Office for Human Resource Management (UN-OHRM), 2013.

Trustbuilding in complex and challenging social environments, comparative perspectives, commissioned by Shell International, 2012

The Political Economy of Private Sector Engagements in Central Asia - a lecture, organized by the UNRCCA with the Government of Finland in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. Lecture, March 2012.

A Review of the United Nations Policies Relevant to Countries in Transition, co-authored with Marc Jacquand and commissioned by UN-DESA, 2012.

UNDP's Contribution to Peacebuilding, co-authored with Marc Jacquand and Andrea Woodhouse and commissioned by the Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Response, 2011.

Early Warning Early Action Report - An Assessment, commissioned by the Inter-Agency Standing Committee under the supervision of UNICEF, OCHA and WFP, 2011.

The Future of Conflict and its Implications for Peacemaking, Center for International Conflict Resolution (CICR), Columbia University, published July, 2011.

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.

Assessing the Effectiveness of the Humanitarian Aid Strategy in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, commissioned by OCHA and the Palestinian Authority, 2009.

Thematic specialisations

conflict analysis, peacebuilding, mediation, conflict-sensitive development and private sector engagements in fragile states.

Regional specialisations

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


English, French