Itonde Kakoma

Itonde Kakoma assumed the role of President of Interpeace on 2 October 2023. Prior to Interpeace, he most recently served as the Permanent Representative of the International Federation of the Red Cross & Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) to the African Union and International Organizations (2021-2023). In this capacity, he advanced continent-wide humanitarian diplomacy initiatives with the African Union in public health security; climate change; disaster risk management; food security and humanitarian affairs.

Itonde served in various leadership capacities on matters of international peace mediation, including as Director for Global Strategy and member of the leadership team at CMI Martti Ahtisaari Peace Foundation. Over a period of eight years at CMI, he steered mediation support teams for both official and informal peace processes, and advanced high-level peace mediation and dialogue undertakings in the Great Lakes, the Horn, and wider Red Sea region.

Previously, Itonde was the Assistant Director for the Conflict Resolution Program at The Carter Center, managing a portfolio of the Center’s peace initiatives and supporting former President Carter’s backchannel diplomatic efforts. He was an international observer for The National Referendum on the Right to Self Determination for the People of South Sudan; and served as an advisor and report writer for the Liberian Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

He is an experienced facilitator and moderator for high-level peace processes and dialogue fora; and has expertise in mediation, negotiation, process design, humanitarian diplomacy and transitional justice. Itonde is an advocate for women, peace and security and frequently moderates seminars on inclusive mediation strategies.

Itonde was an Executive-in-Residence and subsequently Global Fellow at the Geneva Centre for Security Policy (GCSP). He holds an Executive Master in International Law in Armed Conflict from the Geneva Academy for International Humanitarian Law & Human Rights and the Graduate Institute of International & Development Studies.

Hafez Ghanem 

Hafez Ghanem is a development expert with many academic and policy publications; and more than forty-year experience in policy analysis, project formulation and supervision, and management of multinational institutions. He has worked and lived in Africa, Europe and Central Asia, Middle East and North Africa, and Asia.

He is a non-Resident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington DC, a distinguished fellow at the Finance for Development Lab of the Paris School of Economics, a Senior Fellow at the Policy Center for the New South in Rabat, and a Research Fellow at the Economic Research Forum in Cairo.

Between 2015 and 2022 he was Vice President of the World Bank, initially responsible for the Middle East and North Africa, then for Sub-Saharan Africa and then East and Southern Africa. In this latter capacity he was responsible for developing and implementing the World Bank’s strategy in the region, including a nearly USD 20 billion annual lending programme and a large volume of analytical work and policy papers.

During 2012-15, he was a Senior Fellow in the Global Economy and Development program of the Brookings Institution. His research focused on the economic drivers of the Arab Spring, in six countries: Egypt, Jordan, Libya, Morocco, Tunisia and Yemen.

During the period 2007-12, he worked at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) as the Assistant Director-General responsible for the Economic and Social Development Department. This department, with more than 300 employees from all over the world, is responsible for FAO’s analytical work on agricultural economics and food security, trade and markets, gender and equity, and statistics. 

Prior to joining FAO, Hafez spent twenty-four years on the staff of the World Bank where he started as a research economist and then senior economist in West Africa (based in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire) and later South Asia (based in Dhaka, Bangladesh). In 1995, he moved to Europe and Central Asia where he was Sector Leader for Public Economics and Trade Policy (based in Washington DC). In 2000, he returned to Africa as Country Director for Madagascar, Comoros, Mauritius and Seychelles (based in Antananarivo, Madagascar). Between 2004-7, he was Country Director for Nigeria (based in Abuja, Nigeria).

Hafez holds a PhD in Economics from the University of California, Davis. He is fluent in Arabic, English and French, and has intermediate Italian and some knowledge of Russian.

Peter Higgs

Peter has worked on creating a market for Peace Bonds and the formation of Finance for Peace to provide market integrity since 2018, with the objective of emulating green bonds which have gone from nil to over USD 1 trillion in 10 years. 

Peter has extensive international experience in fund management. He founded TGM in Australia in 1997, a pioneer in global overlay asset management which recently merged with the AI company Alpha Vista. He co-founded and chaired Wellers Impact in London, an impact investment firm. It works in partnership with charities, primarily in Africa, to build commercial buildings on land owned by the charities to generate income to support their work. It manages a global south focused water sanitation and plastic recycling investment fund. Peter is also a co-founder and Chair of Peaceinvest in Geneva, a global investment firm designing targeted, project and context-specific risk-reduction measures that improve the risk-adjusted returns on investments and their positive impact on communities and societies.

Finally, Peter is an economist by training with a PhD from Harvard University and was awarded the Academy of Social Sciences Australia Medal for excellence in research.