Dr Erica Gaston has been appointed Senior Policy Advisor and Head of the Conflict Prevention and Sustaining Peace Programme at the United Nations University Centre for Policy Research. A recognized expert on peace and security, rights and democracy, and peacebuilding, Dr Gaston will strengthen leadership and add further capacity to UNU-CPR’s work in this area.
Dr Gaston has worked for 15 years as a practitioner, lawyer, and conflict analyst, focusing on issues of conflict-related human rights and civilian protection, rule of law development and security sector reform, and sub-State conflict dynamics. She has significant field experience in Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Syria, and Pakistan, among others.
Most recently, she served as Project Manager at the Global Public Policy institute in Berlin, overseeing a range of research projects in related fields. Prior to that, she led the Rule of Law portfolios for the United States Institute of Peace’s work in Afghanistan and Yemen, with a focus on conflict resolution, women’s access to justice, security sector transition, and informal justice. She worked for a number of years with the Center for Civilians in Conflict and then the Open Society Foundations leading documentation and advocacy related to civilian protection and conflict-related human rights in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
“I’m delighted to be joining the excellent team at United Nations University Centre for Policy Research,” Dr Erica Gaston said. “With its track record of rigorous field research and analysis, and engagement across a range of UN policymaking arenas, the Centre occupies a unique position within the UN system. It is well poised to make a significant contribution to ongoing peace and security challenges, and I am looking forward to being a part of that.”
Dr David Passarelli, Executive Director of United Nations University Centre for Policy Research, welcomed Dr Gaston. “Erica is a formidable addition to the Centre and brings well-established and wide-ranging expertise in conflict prevention, human rights law and peacebuilding. Her appointment comes at a critical time for the United Nations, as policymakers grapple with security challenges in several volatile regions where she has specific and extensive expertise.”
Dr Gaston is widely published and has provided commentary to the Guardian, Foreign Policy, CNN, Al Jazeera, BBC and others. Her past academic articles have appeared in the Harvard International Law Journal and the Harvard National Security Law Journal and she has edited three book compendiums focused on the changing norms and practices in 21st-century conflict.
Her appointment follows that of Daniel Thelesklaf as Project Director of the Finance Against Slavery and Trafficking (FAST) initiative and four new members of the FAST team. The Centre will soon be recruiting for a Head of the newly formed Development Equities Programme.