Four Prominent Women PeaceMakers Arrive at USD to Share Their Global Experiences with a Divided America

San Diego – A life-long peace activist whose contributions helped the Columbian government end the 50-year armed conflict with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (RAFC); a Finnish citizen who works throughout the European Union and North Africa to use dialogue and mediation to replace violent conflict with sustainable peace; the United Nations Humanitarian Affairs officer charged with leading the peacekeeping mission in Darfur; and a Pakistani peace-builder who works with impoverished communities experiencing violence in Haiti and Brazil. These are the 2018 Women PeaceMakers in residency at the Kroc School’s Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice at the University of San Diego through November 17, 2018. 


Historically, women have a low level of participation in peace negotiations. In fact, only 3.7% of peace negotiators are women. And yet, when women are meaningfully included, a more sustainable level of peace and better economic prosperity are achieved. 

Now in its 16th year, this year, according to Dr. Patricia Marquez, dean of the Kroc School, “The goal of the Women PeaceMakers program is to focus on how Women PeaceMakers and international partners can build more effective local/global collaborations to support women’s meaningful participation in peace negotiations.” She adds, “In addition to sharing their stories with one another and with our talented peace researchers, our four Women PeaceMakers will share their unique experiences as women peace builders with our graduate students and the world.”

The four Women PeaceMakers were selected through a competitive process and are currently participating in the seven-week residency program. 

2018 Women PeaceMakers fellow Roxana Cristescu from Eurasia, stated, “Many people fail to understand that Peacemaking is a skill and requires extensive training. By spending seven weeks with these phenomenal women leaders and the Kroc School’s students, we learn from one another and briefly step away from the rigors of our daily lives.”

Who:         The Women PeaceMakers

What:        Panel discussion – event open to the public

When:       Wednesday, November 7, 6:00 p.m.

When:       Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice, Theatre.


The Women PeaceMakers will also headline the Women for Social Impact program on Thursday, November 8, 5:30 p.m. Registration information can here:

Women PeaceMakers bios:

  • Rosa Emilia Salamanca (Colombia) is the Executive Director of Corporación de Investigación y Acción Social y Económica (CIASE) in Colombia, a member of the Women, Peace and Security Collective for Reflection and Action, which ensures women are part of building a more peaceful Colombia. Salamanca also participates in Coalicion 1325, which advocates for a Colombian National Action Plan on Women, Peace, and Security. Salamanca was one of the key women who played a part in the Colombian peace process and the final negotiations in Havana, which resulted in the signing of what has been called one of the most gender-inclusive peace agreements in history.
  • Roxana Cristescu (Eurasia) has spent many years facilitating high-level peace negotiations. As the Head of Crisis Management Initiative’s (CMI) Programme in Eurasia, Cristescu leads CMI’s program activities in the region, which focus on mediation at the state and sub-national level. A native of Romania, Cristescu worked in various conflict-affected areas including Ethiopia, Sudan, Kosovo (Mitrovica Region), Moldova/Transdniestria, Ukraine and Lebanon before joining CMI. Cristescu is a member of the United Nations Mediation Roster and a member of the UN Women, Central and Southeastern Europe Sub-regional Roster of Experts.
  • Amira Abdulrahman Hussein Timan (Sudan) is currently the Humanitarian Affairs officer with UN /AU peacekeeping mission in Darfur (UNAMID). During her work in Sudan, she was the Focal Point for civil society and community-based organizations and helped to mobilize these groups to participate in the Doha peace negotiations between the Government of Sudan and the Darfur Armed Groups. Amira was able to play this vital role in this peace process given her years of work in humanitarian affairs, peace and security issues within internally displaced persons (IDPs) camps and civil society in Sudan. During this work, she served as a lead on women issues in UNAMID's Humanitarian Liaison Section and was responsible for engaging women IDPs to participate in camp peace and security committees. 
  • Mariam Yazdani (Pakistan) is Senior Advisor for Programs and Partnerships at Viva Rio, a Brazilian NGO working in and with impoverished communities in countries experiencing violence including Haiti and Brazil. Yazdani has developed numerous programs related to peace-building and community policing. She collaborates closely with community-based organizations, international organizations, and local governments to implement violence reduction strategies and foster improved coordination between community members and state agents to promote sustainable peace. Her career spans over 15 years, including 10 years working on post-conflict approaches and violence reduction policies, with a focus on conflict mediation and peacebuilding projects in her home country of Pakistan and abroad. 

About the University of San Diego

The University of San Diego sets the standard for an engaged, contemporary Catholic university where innovative Changemakers confront humanity’s urgent challenges. With more than 8,000 students from 75 countries and 44 states, USD is the youngest independent institution on the U.S. News & World Report list of top 100 universities in the United States. USD’s eight academic divisions include the College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Business, the Shiley-Marcos School of Engineering, the School of Law, the School of Leadership and Education Sciences, the Hahn School of Nursing and Health Science, the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies, and the Division of Professional and Continuing Education. USD recently concluded our successful $317M Leading Change: The Campaign for USD, which represented the most ambitious fundraising effort in the history of the university. In September 2016, USD introduced Envisioning 2024, a strategic plan that capitalizes on the university’s recent progress and aligns new strategic goals with current strengths to help shape a vision for the future as the university looks ahead to its 75th anniversary in the year 2024.


Pamela Gray Payton
(619) 260-4681