Zeynep Alemdar is a professor of Political Science and International Relations at Okan University, Istanbul, where she also heads the Department and the European Union Research Center. Lately interested in how to integrate a feminist look into leadership studies, her research interests revolve around issues of democratization and civil society, critical security studies, women’s movements and international organizations. She was a Next Generation Hurford Fellow of the Euro-Atlantic Security Initiative at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, now a member of the Younger Generation Leaders Network within the European Leadership Network. She was a visiting professor at the Center for Turkish Studies and the Mark O. Hatfield School of Government at Portland State University. She serves on the editorial boards of the International Studies Perspectivesand Turkish Policy Quarterly.

Her academic work is complemented by her active involvement in civil society groups. Passionate about women’s involvement in politics, she founded the Women in Foreign Policy Initiative (WFP14), works with  UNWomen and related agencies as well as various women’s civil society organizations on women’s political participation.  She is also the vice president of the Turkey-EU Association (Turkish Council of the European Movement International). She has her BA in economics from Galatasaray University, MA from Patterson School of Diplomacy, Ph.D. from University of Kentucky.


Dr. Christina Bache specializes in conflict transformation and peace, business ethics, human security, and socioeconomic development in fragile and conflict-affected states. She has extensive experience in developing and conducting risk assessments, social audits, and also conducts high-level research and analysis on human security, peace and the private sector for a wide range of NGOs and international organizations. She regularly provides commentary and presents on armed conflicts, business ethics, developments in the MENA region, human security, migration and women’s empowerment. For 2017-2018, Christina is working on a book project entitled, “Private Sector: Friend or Foe? The Impact of the Private Sector on Peace and Security in the Middle East North Africa” for Palgrave Macmillan.

Christina received her PhD from the Department of Politics and International Studies at the University of Warwick in the UK. Her dissertation focused on the impact of the private sector on human security and peace in fragile and conflict-affected states. Her case study delved into the impact of the Turkish private sector on economic security and peace in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. Christina received her MA in International Peace and Conflict Resolution and BA in International Relations from American University in Washington, DC.

Christina is Co-Chair of the International Crisis Group’s Ambassador Council and is a member of the United Nations Business for Peace/Principles for Responsible Management Education working group. She is also a member of Co-Opinion Network’s study group on youth employment in the MENA; Hollings Center’s dialogue groups on Iraq’s Foreign Policy and Economic Challenges and U.S.-Egypt Relations; American Council on Germany/Draeger Foundation, Demographic Trends, Migration, Social Cohesion in Europe; International Studies Association; European Consortium for Political Research; Women’s Foreign Policy Group; Women in Foreign Policy Turkey (Co-Founder).

Originally from Texas, Christina has traveled extensively through and worked abroad in Latin America, Europe, the Middle East and North Africa, and Turkey.


Rana Birden Corbacioglu is Corporate Communications and Public Affairs Director of Kale Group of Companies . Before joining to the corporate world she was acting as prominent member of civil society community in Turkey ,with over 17 years of experience in the sector. She began her career in 1999 at Economic Development Foundation (IKV) first as Junior and later as Senior Researcher. Between 2002-2005, she acted as key expert for Civil Society Development Programme, one of the first countrywide projects implemented in Turkey with EU financing. Following this project, she became Coordinator of EU Research and Documentation Center of Bahcesehir University, Istanbul and Director of ARI Movement. After these assignments, Ms. Birden-Corbacioglu continued her career as senior consultant for UN agencies, European Union, international foundations (Charles Stewart Mott, Open Society Institute) and internationally recognized Turkish foundations (Sabancı Foundation, Third Sector Foundation). Ms. Birden Corbacioglu contributes to various publications and platforms, focusing largely on NGO development, gender issues, and Turkey’s relations with the EU. Between 2012-2014 she has been assigned as the first Executive Director of Global Relations Forum and continued her career by leading two major EU funded project of behalf of Turkey Europe Foundation

Rana Birden Corbacioglu holds a B.A. in International Relations and a master’s degree in European Union both from Galatasaray University, Istanbul. She is fluent in English and French.