The team

Open Briefing is run by an international team of staff, volunteers and advisers.

Executive Director

Chris AbbottChris Abbott is the founder and Executive Director of Open Briefing. He is an Honorary Visiting Research Fellow in the School of Social and International Studies at the University of Bradford and an adviser to the sustainable security programme at Oxford Research Group, a leading foreign affairs think tank of which he was Deputy Director until 2009. Chris is also a writer and consultant on international security issues and is the author of two influential books on security and politics. Read more

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Senior analysts/contributing analysts

Analysts provide research and analysis for our different intelligence desks and lead ad hoc teams working on individual intelligence requirements.

Shazad AliShazad Ali is a journalist and researcher. He has 17 years’ experience in print and online journalism. He has been the assistant editor of the Vienna-based journal Perspectives on Terrorism and now serves as a member of its editorial board. His research focusses on religious extremism and terrorism in Pakistan, Afghanistan and the Middle East. Shazad has a master’s degree in international relations and is pursuing a PhD in European studies at the University of Karachi.

Arman BaisuanovArman Baisuanov is a Counsellor at the Permanent Mission of Kazakhstan to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. He has had a wide-ranging diplomatic career over nearly 20 years, which included three years as a liaison officer to the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva and contributing to drafting the Central Asian Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone treaty. Arman has extensive knowledge and practical experience in multilateral diplomacy and is fluent in English, Russian and Kazakh.

Nick BransonNick Branson is an expert in African politics, governance and the rule of law. He has advised governments, political parties, legislatures and civil society organisations across Africa. Nick works as Programme Manager for the Africa Justice Foundation and is a Deployable Civilian Expert for the UK government’s Stabilisation Unit. He is currently undertaking a PhD at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, and holds a MA in International Studies and Diplomacy from the same institution.

Steve HathornSteve Hathorn is an intelligence analyst with 17 years’ experience encompassing the British Army, Defence Intelligence Staff, National Criminal Intelligence Service, United Nations and International Criminal Court. He has worked on projects covering foreign and security policies, terrorism, human rights abuses, international organised crime and threats to humanitarian operations. He has just completed a MSc in International Politics and Security at University College, London.

Scott HickieScott Hickie is a lawyer and former political adviser in the New South Wales Parliament, with a background in environmental law, natural resource governance and climate change. He has also worked in the Australian non-governmental sector on international trade and corporate social responsibility. His research focus is on political risk in resource management regimes across Southeast Asia. Scott currently works on climate change adaptation for the City of Toronto.

Kevjn LimKevjn Lim is a humanitarian professional and independent writer and analyst. From 2007 to 2011, he served as delegate for the International Committee of the Red Cross in the Palestinian territories, Sudan, Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan, specialising in civilian protection and political and security needs analysis. He is also a former intelligence officer in the Singapore Armed Forces. Kevjn is fluent in a number of languages including Arabic, Hebrew and Persian.

Rob O'GormanRob O’Gorman is an independent consultant, writer and lecturer. A former Canadian Forces intelligence operator and officer, he has over twenty years’ experience providing tactical, operational and strategic assessments. As a Mission Support Officer, he was also involved in arms control verification operations in select regions of the world. More recently, Rob has supported Canada’s counterinsurgency efforts in Afghanistan, together with the government’s Canada First strategy in the high Arctic.

Marc van OudheusdenMarc van Oudheusden is a senior political adviser to the Dutch government, with the security, international crisis management and public order portfolio. He is also a senior transport adviser to NATO, advising on civ-mil cooperation, civil emergency planning and multilateral crisis management. Marc’s special interest is political and security threat analysis for the Middle East: he has a master’s degree in Arabic Language & Culture and he serves as strategic adviser to the Arab-West Report in Cairo.

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Associate researchers

Associate researchers provide research and fact-checking support to our contributing analysts, intelligence desks and ad hoc teams.

Louise AbbottLouise Abbott has expertise in renewable energy and sustainability, particularly in buildings and the urban environment. She has worked as an engineer and an environmental consultant for both commercial and non-profit companies in the renewable energy, environmental engineering and buildings services sectors. Louise has a MEng from University College London in civil with environmental engineering and a bachelor’s degree in philosophy, politics and economics from the University of Oxford.

Gustavo Plácido dos SantosGustavo Plácido dos Santos is a London-based independent researcher and freelance writer focussed on African politics and conflict issues. He is the founder of an African affairs blog called East & South and contributes to the online magazine Think Africa Press. Gustavo holds a bachelor’s degree in International Relations from the Universidade Católica Portuguesa and a master’s degree in International Conflict from Kingston University.

Kirsten WintermanKirsten Winterman is a freelance researcher for the D Academy, an international development organisation. She has worked alongside a number of NGOs, businesses and government departments, including the John Smith Memorial Trust, the Consortium for Street Children, Beyond Borders and the D Group. Kirsten has recently completed a master’s degree in Conflict Resolution at the University of Bradford and holds a bachelor’s degree in Politics from the University of Liverpool.

Raphaël ZaffranRaphaël Zaffran is an analyst and political scientist researching and teaching international security issues. His research focuses on security institutions and peace operations, political communication, exit strategies and security sector governance and reform. Raphaël is currently pursuing a PhD at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, focusing on the design of exit strategies in multilateral foreign interventions.

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Executive associates

Executive associates support the management and administrative functions that go on behind the scenes at Open Briefing.

Erin DeckerErin Decker is a Moscow-based translator and editor. Since 2009, she has worked as a translator, marketing associate and editor for several multinational consulting firms and financial institutions in Russia, including PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). She is also a member of the US National Language Service Corps. Erin holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and International Studies – Global Security from the University of Wisconsin at Madison.

Kirthi JayakumarKirthi Jayakumar is a lawyer, specialising in public international law and human rights. She has worked as a UN volunteer and has worked extensively with grass root organisations that focus on women’s rights. She is also the co-founder and editor of A38, an international law journal and consultancy, and a Commissioning Editor for e-IR. Kirthi’s main interests lie in international law, international relations, peace and conflict studies and human rights.

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Advisory board

The advisory board provides ongoing strategic advice to the Executive Director and feedback for evaluation purposes.

Hamit Dardagan (Photo: Christian Nolle/Oxford Research Group)Hamit Dardagan is the co-founder and principal researcher at Iraq Body Count (IBC), where he has taken the lead on the development of IBC’s analytic tools and outputs. He is also the co-director of the Every Casualty programme at Oxford Research Group, an organisation for which he has been the Consultant on Civilian Casualties in War since 2007. Hamit was previously the chair of Kalayaan, a human rights campaign for overseas domestic workers in the UK.

Ian DavisDr Ian Davis is the founding director of NATO Watch, a not-for-profit virtual think tank which examines the role of NATO in public life. He is also an independent human security and arms control consultant, writer and activist. Between 2001 and 2007 he was the Executive Director of the British American Security Information Council (BASIC) and before that Programme Manager at Saferworld. Ian is an adviser to the United Nations Association-UK, Saferworld and ISIS Europe.

Isabel HiltonIsabel Hilton is the founder and editor of China Dialogue, the world’s first English-Chinese bilingual website devoted to the environment. She is an international journalist and broadcaster and has worked for Scottish Television, the Daily Express, the Sunday Times, the Independent, the New Yorker and the BBC. Since 2001 she has been a presenter of the BBC Radio 3 cultural programme, Night Waves. Isabel has authored and co-authored several books.

Nick MabeyDr Nick Mabey is the Chief Executive and a founder director of E3G, an international non-profit dedicated to accelerating the transition to sustainable development. In addition to his management role, Nick leads E3G’s work on climate security and European climate change policy. Nick was previously a senior advisor in the UK Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit and, before joining government, Head of Economics and Development at WWF-UK.

Martin QuadroyMartin Quadroy is a former military intelligence officer and senior adviser to the Australian government. He served as an intelligence officer in the Australian Defence Force; Assistant Director, Terrorism and Transnational Issues in the Defence Intelligence Organisation; and Senior Adviser to the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. Martin left public service in 2006 to establish a intelligence function within Telstra, and currently works as a business intelligence executive.

Paul Rogers (Photo: Christian Nolle/Oxford Research Group)Professor Paul Rogers is Professor of Peace Studies at the University of Bradford and Global Security Consultant to Oxford Research Group. He has worked in the field of international security, arms control and political violence for over thirty years. He is the International Security Editor of openDemocracy and has written or edited 26 books and published over 100 papers. Paul is also a regular commentator on global security issues in the national and international media.

John Sloboda (Photo: Christian Nolle/Oxford Research Group)Dr John Sloboda is co-director of the Every Casualty programme at Oxford Research Group and co-founder of Iraq Body Count. From 2004 until 2009 he was the Executive Director of Oxford Research Group. He is also Emeritus Professor of Psychology at the University of Keele and an Honorary Professor in the School of Politics and International Relations at Royal Holloway, University of London. In July 2004, John was elected to the Fellowship of the British Academy.