The Kroc IPJ Welcomes the 2018-2019 Peace Researchers

We are honored to announce this year’s Peace Researchers as part of the 2018-2019 Women PeaceMakers Program. The Peace Researchers will be learning from and with this year's four Women PeaceMakers who will be at the Kroc School's Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice at the University of San Diego until November 2018.

The Women PeaceMakers will spend their time working with both Peace Researchers, who will document their personal and vital learnings around how to ensure women are more meaningfully included in peace negotiations. The Peace Researchers will develop learning resources that will capture key insights around this focus. These learning resources will then be used by policymakers, practitioners, other local women peacebuilders, and funders to develop more gender-sensitive and effective peacebuilding programs.

Lela Akiashvili

(Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia)

Lela is a Global Development Specialist from Georgia. She comes to the U.S. with a decade of experience in programs (including in emergency setting), policy and advocacy, research, and non-formal education. Her work focuses on peacebuilding, conflict resolution, gender in development, human rights, Sustainable Development Goals, and community outreach.

Through the years, Lela served at UNICEF, the Permanent Mission of Georgia to the UN, Save the Children US, the Prosecutor's Office, and several local not-for-profit organizations in the south Caucasus and Eastern Europe. She led programs supporting internally displaced women leaders to rebuild war-torn communities through civic activism and economic empowerment; participated in peace negotiations; worked with the victims and witnesses of war, domestic violence and other violent crimes; promoted issues related to maternal and child health; was among champions researching women’s property rights in Georgia; advocated for the pre-school education reform; and served as a trainer for local and internally displaced youth living in rural areas. Lela also served as a first responder during the 2008 war between her home country of Georgia and Russia.

Lela has participated in numerous high-level peace negotiations. She represented Georgia at the OSCE regional conference on “Enhancing role of women mediators in OSCE region,” served as a delegate at the UN High-level Political Forum, etc. Lela is a Fulbright and Muskie Scholar, holds a Master of Public Administration (MPA) from Texas A&M University, and a Bachelor of Law (LLB) from Tbilisi State University and the University of Superior-Wisconsin (LLB).  


Elizabeth Lacey

(San Diego, United States)

Elizabeth has contributed to the building of social cohesion and to the development of transitional justice and reconciliation processes with policymakers, civil society leaders and artists in South Sudan, and to gender justice and reconciliation across Africa. She believes that a truly noble existence is comprised of living for the sheer thrill of living; maintaining an objective honesty with oneself, and upholding an unconditional positive regard — illuminated by understanding and love — for all.

Elizabeth has recently worked with local community-based organizations in South Sudan, including managing Sawa Shabab peacebuilding radio drama for youth, Sama FM Community Radio, and Junub Games. Prior to that, she worked for the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation, where she assisted in developing and facilitating the work of the South Sudan Committee for National Healing, Peace and Reconciliation (CNHPR), as well as contributed to various other restorative justice processes, and assisted with the Transitional Justice Fellowship. She has also worked for the International Center for Transitional Justice, for the Sierra Leone Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the CNHPR as web developer, and as a teaching assistant at the African Gender Institute.

Elizabeth holds a Master's degree in Justice and Transformation from the University of Cape Town (UCT), where she conducted her research, "It Takes Two Hands to Clap: Conflict, Peacebuilding, and Gender Justice in Jonglei, South Sudan".

See the 2018 Peace Researchers and Women PeaceMakers at two events — My Story: Badass Women Edition on Tuesday, October 23, 2018 at 7 p.m. and the Women PeaceMakers Panel on Wednesday, November 7, 2018 at 6 p.m.


Jennifer Bradshaw
(619) 260-4189