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Leadership

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Thomas Guerber

Director

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Heiner Hänggi

Deputy Director, Head of Policy & Research Department

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Mark Downes

Assistant Director, Head of Operations

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Victoria Walker

Assistant Director, Head of International Security Sector Advisory Team (ISSAT)

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Sophie Pagnetti-Takorian

Assistant Director, Head of Resources Department

Thomas Guerber

Ambassador Thomas Guerber was appointed Director of the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF) on 24 November 2015 and took up his function on 1 July 2016. He brings to the position extensive experience in multilateral diplomacy and policy development relating to human security, human rights and sustainable development.

From 2010 to 2013, Ambassador Guerber was Switzerland's Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York. From 2007 to 2010, he worked as a Counsellor for financial, budgetary and institutional issues at Switzerland's Permanent Mission to the UN in New York. Prior to these assignments, he held various functions within the Swiss Department of Foreign Affairs' Human Security Division, including Head of Section for Peace Policy and Human Security. He entered the Swiss diplomatic service in 1997.

Thomas Guerber holds an LL.M. degree in public international law and international economic law from the University of Berne, a master's degree in European integration and economics from Institute for European Global Studies (Basel) and a master's degree in history and literature from the University of Basel. He is married and has two sons.

Heiner Hänggi

Heiner Hänggi is Deputy Director and Head of Policy and Research Department at the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF). He is also an Adjunct Professor of political science at the University of St.Gallen, Switzerland.

Prior to joining DCAF, he held a number of posts in research and journalism, including member of the task force responsible for establishing DCAF, senior research fellow at the Geneva-based Modern Asia Research Centre, international affairs journalist and political editor for Swiss daily newspapers

Heiner Hänggi obtained his Doctorate and Licentiate in "Staatswissenschaften" (Political Science, Economics, Law) from the University of St.Gallen. He has served as a visiting scholar at the at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (ISEAS), Singapore, the Graduate School of Policy Science, National Saitama University, Urawa, Japan, and the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), Johns Hopkins University, Washington, DC.

Mark Downes

Mark Downes is currently Assistant Director and Head of DCAF's Operations Department. He was previously head of DCAF's International Security Sector Advisory Team (ISSAT). Before joining DCAF, Mark  worked for the OECD's Development Assistance Committee (DAC) where he was responsible for conceptualising and developing the OECD DAC Handbook on Security System Reform. Prior to that he worked on parliamentary oversight and police reform, the latter as Head of the Strategic Development Unit within the Law Enforcement Department of the OSCE Mission to Serbia and Montenegro. In this role he led the team that undertook a comprehensive review of the Serbian police service, the results of which were published by the OSCE in the 2004 report "Police Reform in Serbia: towards and modern and accountable police service". Mark has been a frequent trainer in security sector reform (SSR) and disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration (DDR) issues for the United Nations and a number of bilateral training institutions. He has provided support to security, justice and governance reform processes in a number of countries in sub-Saharan Africa, Asia and South Eastern Europe and has been a visiting professor and guest lecturer at the Institute for Political and International Studies (IPIS) in the Islamic Republic of Iran, the University of the Vest in Romania and at the Belgrade Open School in Serbia. He was a founding editor of the open access journal Stability: International Journal of Security and Development (www.stabilityjournal.org) and publishes frequently on SSR, security and governance issues. He holds a PhD in International Relations from the University of Limerick in Ireland.

Victoria Walker

Victoria Walker  is an Assistant Director of the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF), and is the Head of DCAF's International Security Sector Advisory Team (ISSAT)

Victoria has been with ISSAT since 2008, when the team was first established, and has been intimately involved in its development. She was previously the deputy head, a senior SSR advisor, and the lead for ISSAT's advisory field support work. Her main areas of focus include strategic management and engagement, change management, risk, governance, national security strategies, and policy development. In addition she has extensive experience of assessments, programme design and M&E, having led ISSAT's development of guidance for assessments and programme design. Her country experience covers Sub-Saharan Africa, the Balkans, South-East Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, and the Pacific, combined with direct experience of supporting national governments and non-state actors, bilateral donors, and multi-lateral and regional organisations such as the UN, EU, AU, Inter-American Development Bank, and OSCE.  

Prior to joining ISSAT she worked with the EU in several ESDP/CSDP missions. These included political advisor to the head of the EU Rule of Law planning mission in Kosovo; working on crisis management, DDR and human rights in the Aceh Monitoring Mission in Indonesia, and head of the Albania country office for the Balkans EU Monitoring Mission. Before moving into civilian crisis management and development, she held a commission in the British Army. She has a law degree from Kings' College London, an MSc in Development Management and an MA in Social Sciences (focusing on environmental policy) from the Open University, as well as a Post-Graduate Diploma in Security Sector Management from Cranfield University. Victoria is passionate about participatory approaches to reform and supporting local ownership, as well as the political dimensions of justice and security sector reform.

Sophie Pagnetti-Takorian

Sophie Pagnetti-Takorian became Head of the Resource Department in June 2018, where she leads and develops DCAF’s overall resource management towards greater efficiency, impact and value.

Sophie directs the annual budgeting and resource planning process and is in charge of improving control environment to monitor and mitigate risk and financial exposure and ensure compliance with internal rules and regulations. She devises and drives the human resource strategy and develops the related policy framework, such as in professional development, compensation and benefits, performance evaluation, training and recruitment. She is also responsible for ensuring that personnel and financial data are controlled in accordance with the relevant legislation.

Sophie has extensive experience of transforming financial resource management and governance in international non-profit organizations. She spent eight years with big four financial auditing firms, five of which at EY, specializing in the non-profit sector, and nine years in non-profit leadership roles, including at Médecins Sans Frontières Suisse, where she overhauled accountability, internal control, grant and risk management practices.

In addition, she lectures regularly in controlling, risk and accounting at the Haute école de gestion (HEG) and the Université de Genève (UNIGE), where she led a financial module in the Certificate of Advanced Studies (CAS) in Modern Management for Non-Profit Organizations.

Sophie is a certified chartered accountant and a graduate of the Burgundy School of Business and Management. She earned a CAS in IFRS and IPSAS from UNIGE.

Sophie is French and speaks French and English.