Speakers Biographies

Speakers Biographies

in alphabetical order

Sandeep Chawla | Julia Harfensteller | Christer Jönsson | Karin Kneissl | Markus Kornprobst | Irmgard Marboe | Maher Nasser | Cecilia Ruthström-Ruin | Mark Shaw | Dana Vyzinkarova | Alexander Kmentt | Jean du Preez


Sandeep Chawla

Division for Policy Analysis and Public Affairs
United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime

Sandeep Chawla, Ph.D., is Director, Division for Policy Analysis and Public Affairs,
United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). He has been Chief of Research at the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) since 1994 and since then he has led the development of UNODC's research and analysis capabilities. The systematic publication of research findings, analytical studies, statistics and annual estimates of the extent of illicit drug production, trafficking and abuse, reflected in the World Drug Report, the annual Global Illicit Drug Trends publications, the Studies on Drugs and Crime series and the annual illicit crop survey reports, all occurred during this period. He is the Editor of the United Nations Bulletin on Narcotics, which is one of the oldest journals in the field, having been in continuous publication since 1949.


Julia Harfensteller Julia Harfensteller

Co-chair, UN Studies Association (UNSA)

Julia Harfensteller, PhD, is co-chair of the UN Studies Association (UNSA), an international   expert community of UN academics and practitioners that aims to foster the establishment of UN Studies as a field of studies in its own right. She has studied political science and international law at the University of Granada, Spain, and at the Free University in Berlin. Furthermore she has studied philosophy of knowledge and science at the Technical University in Berlin.



Christer Jönsson

Professor Emeritus of Political Science at Lund University, Sweden
Member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences
Chair of the Board of Directors of ACUNS

Christer Jönsson is Professor Emeritus of Political Science at Lund University, Sweden, and a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. He is currently Chair of the Board of Directors of ACUNS (the Academic Council on the United Nations System). Directing the joint Lund-Stockholm research program Transdemos ("Democracy Beyond the Nation State? Transnational Actors and Global Governance"), Jönsson is co-editor of Transnational Actors in Global Governance: Patterns, Explanations, and Implications (2010). In addition to international organization, his research interests include international negotiation, diplomacy and the role of transnational networks in international cooperation. He has published numerous books, articles and book chapters and is the co-author of International Cooperation in Response to AIDS (1995), Organizing European Space (2000) and Essence of Diplomacy (2005).

Karin Kneissl

Ph.D in international law
freelance researcher and lecturer

Since she quitted the Austrian Foreign Service in autumn 1998 Karin Kneissl who holds a Ph.D in international law has been working as a freelance researcher and lecturer. The focus of her teaching and publishing encompasses the Middle East, energy issues and international law. Since 2008 she is member of the research faculty of the Vienna campus of Webster University. Furthermore, she regularly lectures at the Université Saint Joseph in Beirut, at the European Business School in Hessen/Germany, at the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and the Military Academy in Wiener Neustadt/Austria as well as the National Defence College. From 1995 to 2003 she taught Humanitarian Law, History of Diplomacy and other courses at Vienna University, Institute of Political Sciences. Since 2000 she teaches at Vienna Diplomatic Academy. Ever since 2002 she contributes comments for the Austrian radio and TV broadcaster ORF, whenever political developments in the Middle and the events in the energy market require it. Her articles are widely published in German, English and French quarterlies and monthlies. For details see below
Ms. Kneissl studied law and Arabic at Vienna University, she was a stipend at the Hebrew University Jerusalem, did a diploma in comparative European law at the University of Urbino/Italy and was Fulbright scholar at Georgetown University in Washington,D.C. She graduated from Ecole Nationale d'Administration in Paris. From 1990 to 1998 she served in the Austrian Foreign Service, where she held positions in the office of the Legal Advisor, the cabinet of the minister and the Political Section. Her assignments abroad comprise Paris, Madrid and Geneva.
Karin Kneissl is Vice-President of the Austrian Society for Politico-Military Studies, STRATEG; she was on the scientific board of the European Forum Alpbach, is an elected municipal counselor of her community Seibersdorf and holds various positions in non-profit organizations.

Markus Kornprobst 

Chair of International Relations, Diplomatic Academy of Vienna

Markus Kornprobst holds the Chair of International Relations at the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna. Previously, he has taught at Oxford University and University College London. His research interests encompass Diplomacy and Governance, Rhetorical Studies, Nationalism and Identity Politics, International Peace and Security, International Relations Theory, European Politics, and African Politics. His research appears in leading journals such as International Organization, the European Journal of International Relations, International Theory, International Studies Review and many more. He is the author of Irredentism in European Politics (Cambridge University Press, 2008) as well as co-editor of Arguing Global Governance (Routledge, 2010) and Metaphors of Globalization (Palgrave, 2007)



Irmgard Marboe

Associate Professor of International Law
Department of European, International and Comparative Law
University of Vienna

Irmgard Marboe is Associate Professor of International Law at the Department of European, International and Comparative Law at the Law Faculty of the University of Vienna. She studied law and languages at the University of Vienna (Austria) and at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid (Spain).
Prof. Marboe is the head of the Austrian National Point of Contact for Space Law of the European Centre for Space Law. Her publications in the area of Space Law include articles on telecommunication and space, national space legislation, European Space policy and authorisation of space activities. She is the chair of the working group on "National Space Legislation" of the Legal Subcommittee of UN Committee for the Peaceful Use of Outer Space which was established in 2008.
Other research focuses include international investment law, international arbitration, culture and religion in international law as well as Islam and international law. Her current teaching activities include courses and seminars on general international law, international economic law, international courts and tribunals, and space law.


Maher Nasser

Outreach Division
United Nations Department of Public Information

Maher Nasser has over 23 years of work experience in the United Nations System during which he has worked in various capacities in Gaza, Jerusalem, Vienna, Amman, New York, Cairo, back to Vienna and again back to New York.

Prior to assuming his current post as Director of the Outreach Division in the Department of Public Information in New York, Mr. Nasser was the Director of the United Nations Information Service in Vienna from July 2008. As Director of UNIS Vienna, Mr. Nasser was responsible for DPI's public information work in Austria, Hungary, Slovakia and Slovenia and for providing support and advice to UNICs in Bucharest, Prague and Warsaw. He also established and led the work of the United Nations Communications Group in Vienna.  

Mr. Nasser first joined the UN Department of Public Information in January 2006 as Director of the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) in Cairo. As the Director of the United Nations Information Centre in Cairo, Mr. Nasser led the work of the United Nations Communications Group in Egypt and provided support and advice to eight United Nations Information Centres in the Middle East and North Africa. To increase the delivery capacity of the United Nations information network, Mr. Nasser established and provided leadership to the United Nations Communications Group for the Arab Region to create greater coherence and impact for the United Nations communications work in the region.

Prior to joining DPI, Mr. Nasser was the Chief of the New York Liaison Office for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) from 2001. He also worked for UNRWA, based first in Vienna, from 1994 until 1996, and then from 1996 to 2001 at its Amman headquarters where he was in charge of donor liaison, representation and media relations. From 1992 to 1994, Mr. Nasser worked as an Associate Information Officer for the United Nations Drug Control Programme in Vienna (now known as UNODC). Mr. Nasser also served as UNRWA's Public Information Officer and Spokesperson in Gaza and in Jerusalem from 1987 to 1991. Prior to joining the United Nations, he worked for the Arab Thought Forum, a non-governmental organization based in Jerusalem.

From October to December 1991, Mr. Nasser was the personal assistant to Dr. Haidar Abdul Shafi, the Head of the Palestinian Negotiating Team to the Madrid Middle East Peace Conference and subsequent bilateral negotiations in Washington, D.C.

Cecilia Ruthström-Ruin

Deputy Director, Division for Treaty Affairs
Chief, Terrorism Prevention Branch,
United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime

Ms. Cecilia Ruthström-Ruin took up the position as Chief of the Terrorism Prevention
Branch of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime in September 2008. Prior to joining the Organization, she was a diplomat in the Swedish Foreign Service. In that function, Ms. Ruthström-Ruin served i.e. as Ambassador and Counter-Terrorism
Coordinator (2004 - 2008), as Deputy Secretary-General for the First Annual Review
Conference of the International Compact with Iraq, as Deputy Director in the Department
for European Security Policy and as Counselor in the Swedish Embassy in Tokyo. She
also served in the Prime Minister's Office in Stockholm as Deputy Secretary-General of the
Stockholm International Forum 2004: "Preventing Genocide: Threats and Responsibilities".
Ms. Ruthström-Ruin holds a PhD from the University of Lund in Sweden. Her doctoral
dissertation focused on international refugee aid and the early development of the UNHCR.
She holds a Master of International Affairs from Columbia University, New York, NY, where
she studied as a Fulbright grantee.
Ms. Ruthström-Ruin has published books and articles on refugee policies, on human rights
and on Japanese politics and society. She has held a number of positions in boards and
committees, including as member of the board of the Swedish Institute of International
Affairs, as member of the board of the Swedish Fulbright Alumni Association and as
Ministry for Foreign Affairs expert in the Swedish National Police Board.

Mark Shaw

United Nations Office on Drugs and CrimeOfficer-in-Charge of the Integrated Programme and Oversight Branch, Division for Operations

Mark Shaw joined the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime in 2002, first working in the Anti-Organized Crime and Law Enforcement Unit, Anti-Trafficking Section. He was subsequently appointed Chief of the Criminal Justice Reform Unit, Rule of Law Section, Division for Operations, and then as the Inter-Regional Advisor for the Division for Operations. He is currently Officer-in-Charge of the Integrated Programme and Oversight Branch, Division for Operations responsible for programme development. Previous to the UN, he has held positions in the South African government, as Director for Monitoring and Analysis in the Ministry for Safety and Security, as well as in various research and civil societies organizations. He holds a BA Honours and a PhD in politics and has authored numerous articles, reports and two book on crime and security related issues.



Dana Vyzinkarova

Youth Delegate to the United Nations, Slovakia

Dana Vyzinkarova represents Slovakia's young people as a Youth Delegate to the United Nations. She participated in the 3rd Committee of the 65th UN General Assembly and currently negotiates youth resolution at the ECOSOC Commission for Social Development.

As a Youth Delegate in collaboration with National Youth Council, she works on bringing the United Nations closer to young people and encourages active youth participation at each level. She is at present time student of Environmental Technology and International Affairs at the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna.


Alexander Kmentt

Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organiztion, Special Assistant to the Executive Secretary

Alexander Kmentt is an Austrian diplomat with a specialization on non-proliferation and disarmament issues. He is currently on leave of absence from the Austrian Foreign Ministry and works in the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) as Special Assistant to the Executive Secretary. He will be returning to the Austrian Foreign Ministry shortly as new Director for Disarmament, Arms Control and Non-Proliferation. Affairs Previous disarmament responsibilities in the Austrian Foreign Ministry include Deputy Permanent Representative of Austria to the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva and Deputy Director for Disarmament Affairs. During the Austrian EU Presidency in 2006, he chaired the EU Working Group on Non-Proliferation. Alexander Kmentt holds a Law Degree from the University of Graz and a Masters Degree in International Relations from Cambridge University, UK.


Jean du Preez

Chief of External Relations and International Cooperation at the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization Vienna

Jean du Preez is Chief of External Relations and International Cooperation at the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization (Preparatory Commission) in Vienna.  He is a former professor for nonproliferation studies at the Monterey Institute of International Studies where he also directed the Nuclear Nonproliferation and Arms Control Project at the Institute's James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies. Before joining the Monterey Institute in 2002, Mr du Preez was a South African diplomat for 17 years. He dealt with disarmament, non-proliferation and arms control matters for more than ten years of his foreign service career and also served on the South African Council for the Non-proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction - the South African national authority for implementing the country's international nonproliferation obligations. He represented his country at the General Assembly First Committee on Disarmament, numerous international arms control conferences, including the 1995 and 2000 NPT Review Conferences and their preparatory committee meetings, the 2001 UN Conference on Small Arms and Light Weapons, the UN Expert Panel on Missiles, meetings of the Missile Technology Control Regime and conferences of the Biological Weapons Convention and the Chemical Weapons Convention. He was also closely involved in the deliberations of the New Agenda Coalition countries and the Non-Aligned Movement. Mr du Preez is also a member of the International Panel on Fissile Material.