Who We Are

Our Secretariat Staff

Diya Nijhowne
Executive Director

Diya Nijhowne oversees management of all the Coalition’s operations and program implementation. She has over 15 years of experience working on children’s rights and protection issues, including in emergency contexts. Diya served as a Child Protection Worker in Canada investigating child abuse allegations. As a Program Officer with Global Rights,…

Christine Choi
Operations Officer

Christine Choi is the Operations Officer at GCPEA. She supports GCPEA’s programmatic work, including through assisting the Coalition’s advocacy efforts and contributing to research, as well as managing GCPEA’s communication efforts and finances. Christine previously interned with the Child Rights Division at Human Rights Watch, where she mainly assisted in…

Nevena Saykova
Advocacy and Policy Adviser

Nevena Saykova supports GCPEA’s advocacy related to promoting the endorsement and implementation of the Safe Schools Declaration and the Guidelines for Protecting Schools and Universities from Military Use during Armed Conflict. Her work experience relates to international security and the promotion of human rights and international humanitarian law. Prior to…

Marika Tsolakis
Senior Researcher

Marika Tsolakis is a Senior Researcher for the Education Under Attack reports. Marika has extensive experience in education and child protection issues in Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, The Gambia, Senegal and Brazil. Most recently, she led a study on the impacts of psychosocial support trainings…

Jerome Marston
Senior Researcher

Jerome is a Senior Researcher at GCPEA, where he contributes to the Education under Attack reports among other duties. Trained in qualitative and quantitative research methods, Jerome has extensive experience collecting and analyzing data on conflict, including in survey design and administration. Jerome holds a PhD in Political Science from Brown University,…

Yatasha Govender
Advocacy and Policy Advisor

Yatasha is the Advocacy and Policy Adviser at GCPEA. She has ten years of experience working on human rights issues, with specific focus on economic, social and cultural rights. Yatasha previously served as First Secretary at the South African Permanent Mission to the United Nations in Geneva and Assistant Director…

Beathe Øgård
Advocacy Adviser

Beathe Øgård is an Advocacy Adviser at GCPEA. Beathe has worked on advocacy and international development, with a specific focus on education in various roles, both in Norway and internationally. Her academic background is in political science and international development studies. Most recently, Beathe has worked as an advocacy adviser for the Global Partnership…

Abiola Sanusi
Senior Policy and Strategy Adviser

Abiola Sanusi is the Senior Policy and Strategy Adviser at GCPEA. One of her responsibilities is the International Conference on Safe Schools to be held in Abuja, Nigeria. Abiola has over twenty years’ experience working in development and humanitarian settings focusing on advocacy, public policy, education, security, gender and youth.…


Our Steering Committee

Human Rights Watch

Human Rights Watch is one of the world’s leading independent organizations dedicated to defending and protecting human rights. Its Children’s Rights Division documents attacks on education and advocates for protection. It currently co-chairs the coalition, houses the GCPEA secretariat, and sponsors internships that serve GCPEA.

Institute of International Education (IIE)

Founded in 1919, the Institute of International Education (IIE) is one of the largest and most experienced not-for-profit organizations in the world dedicated to international education and training. More than 25,000 individuals from 175 countries participate in IIE programs each year. These include the Fulbright Program, which IIE has administered on behalf of the U.S. Department of State since 1946. IIE also provides safe haven to persecuted scholars from around the world through IIE’s Scholar Rescue Fund and support for students caught in academic emergencies through the IIE Emergency Student Fund (ESF). More than 60 Fulbright alumni, IIE alumni, IIE trustees and advisers have won the Nobel Prize. IIE also provides safe haven to persecuted scholars and displaced students. IIE’s Scholar Rescue Fund (IIE SRF) supports professors and senior researchers caught in academic emergencies through fellowships, allowing them to continue their academic work in safety. IIE’s Student Emergency Initiatives (IIE SEI) provides students impacted by armed conflict with an opportunity to start or carry on their higher education in a safe environment.

Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)

Established on December 14, 1950 by the United Nations General Assembly. The agency is mandated to lead and coordinate international action to protect refugees and resolve refugee problems worldwide. UNHCR contributes expertise in protection and education and access to networks of civil society organizations in affected countries.

Plan International

Founded in 1937, Plan International is a development and humanitarian organisation that advances children’s rights and equality for girls. Plan International strives for a just world, working together with children, young people, our supporters and partners.

Protect Education in Insecurity and Conflict

Protect Education in Insecurity and Conflict (PEIC) is a program of the Education Above All Foundation, founded by Her Highness Sheikha Moza Bint Nasser, UNESCO Special Envoy for Basic and Higher Education. Initially named Education Above All, PEIC was established in 2010 as a policy, research and advocacy organization to respond to the devastating impact of insecurity and armed conflict on education.

Save the Children (Fiscal Sponsor)

An internationally active non-governmental organization that enforces children’s rights, Save the Children provides relief and helps support children in developing countries. It was established in the United Kingdom in 1919 to improve the lives of children through better education, health care, and economic opportunities, as well as providing emergency aid in natural disasters, war, and other conflicts. Save the Children currently co-chairs the coalition, houses part of the secretariat, and some of its staff members are involved in GCPEA working groups.

Tides Center

For more than 35 years, great ideas have thrived at Tides. Tides provides sophisticated financial and management services – and inspiration – to donors and doers so they can focus on achieving their vision of a just world. The Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack is a project of the Tides Center, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization.

United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)

Part of the United Nations System, UNICEF provides long-term humanitarian and developmental assistance to children and mothers in developing countries. UNICEF has provided funding for programmatic initiatives, as well as a global network of program officers involved in working groups and information sharing.

United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)

A specialized agency of the United Nations, UNESCO’s stated purpose is to contribute to peace and security by promoting international collaboration through education, science, and culture. UNESCO furthers universal respect for justice, the rule of law, and the human rights along with fundamental freedoms proclaimed in the UN Charter. UNESCO produced the groundbreaking studies, Education under Attack 2007, Education under Attack 2010, and Protecting Education from Attack: A State-of-the-Art Review 2010. UNESCO provides subject expertise, guidance in research, and staff for GCPEA working groups.

Our Supporters


The Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack (GCPEA) is extremely grateful to all of its supporters, past and present, including Protect Education in Insecurity and Conflict (PEIC), a project of Education Above All, the Government of Norway, Education Cannot Wait, NoVo Foundation, UNICEF, Open Society Foundations, and Columbia University’s Program on Forced Migration and Health. GCPEA also receives support from donors who wish to remain anonymous.

If you or your organization are interested in being a contributor to GCPEA, please contact gcpea@protectingeducation.org.