Advisory Board

Shada Islam (Brussels)


Shada Islam is responsible for policy oversight of Friends of Europe’s initiatives, activities and publications. She has special responsibility for issues related to the Future of Europe, Migration, the Asia Programme and the Development Policy Forum. Shada is Visiting Professor at the College of Europe (Natolin) where she teaches Asia-Europe relations and has been selected as a fellow by the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB). She has been named as one of twenty most influential women in Brussels by Politico. Shada is the former Europe correspondent for the Far Eastern Economic Review and has previously worked on Asian and Migration issues at the European Policy Centre. She is one of the authors of Friends of Europe’s much-read “Frankly Speaking” commentary and is sought after as a speaker, commentator, columnist and moderator at high-level European and global events. Shada also continues to write on EU foreign and security policy, EU-Asia relations and trade and development issues for leading Asian, European and international publications and academic journals.

Alexandra Dufrense (USA-Switzerland)


Alexandra Dufresne is an American lawyer for refugees and children, based in Zurich, Switzerland. In the U.S., she specialized in representing low-income refugees and immigrants detained by the Department of Homeland Security. She also taught seminars in Immigration, Refugee and Child Law and Policy at Yale College from 2006-2015 and worked as a lawyer for children at leading children’s rights NGOs. While in the U.S., she served on the Board of IRIS, New Haven’s refugee resettlement NGO. Alexandra moved with her family to Switzerland in 2016, where she teaches law at ZHAW and The University of Zurich Faculty of Law (starting Fall 2020) and is writing a textbook about American law. Alexandra serves on the Board of Trustees of Asylos, a Brussels-based NGO dedicated to providing asylum seekers and their counsel with high-quality human rights information, and continues to advise refugee lawyers in the U.S. on questions of law and strategy.

Farida T. Bena (Switzerland)


Farida T. Bena, Director of Humanitarian Policy and Advocacy, International Rescue Committee Farida joined the IRC in 2017 as Director of Humanitarian Policy and Advocacy, based in Geneva. She brings over 20 years of experience in programming, policy and advocacy with a special focus on accountability and aid effectiveness. Among her previous roles, she worked for the Organisation for Economic Development and Cooperation (OECD) from 2013 to 2015 and consulted for UNICEF, the European Commission, Save the Children, CARE International and others in fifteen countries in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.

Fioann Smyth (kenya)


Fionna Smyth is Head of Humanitarian Policy, Advocacy, Campaigns at Oxfam where she supported the development of the Global Refugee led Network since its inception,  and launched the IMatter campaign, a campaign that seeks to support women’s rights organisations in crisis contexts and pass the mic to  build their skills in advocacy and create platforms to amplify their voice. She previously held the position of Senior Advocacy Adviser SDGs, at UN Women. and previous to that she was Head of Campaigns at Amnesty UK. During her career she has worked in advocacy and campaigning on women’s rights in crisis contexts;  to address impunity for Sexual violence in The Democratic Republic of Congo and worked as the Director of Middle East Gender Hub which delivered programming on gender-based violence, women’s access to Justice and women’s political participation in Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan, Yemen and Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

Dr Lara-Zuzan Golesorkhi (USA)


Dr. Lara-Zuzan Golesorkhi is an Assistant Professor of Political Science and Global Affairs at the University of Portland (USA). She received her PhD from the New School for Social Research (USA) and holds a Master’s degree in International Affairs from the New School for Public Engagement (USA). Her expertise lies in migration, gender, civil and human rights. As a scholar, activist, and a migrant woman, she has advocated for migrant rights at the European Commission, the European Parliament, the United Nations, as well as on the federal and state level in Germany. In 2015, she was a winner of the United Nations Academic Impact Global Diversity Contest and has since been internationally recognized for her contributions as a human rights defender.

Geraldine Moodley (The Netherlands)


Gerri is her nickname, most people call her G. She is a Dutch, Australian, South African and of mixed ethnic origin, which makes intercultural relations a field she knows very well. She is a human rights lawyer and mediator with 25 years combined experience in customer relations, (human security) training, project management, campaign & brand development, corporate social responsibility and directing specific project (operations) international organisations. She has worked as CSR adviser, mediator and negotiator as well as an adviser to governments, management and Boards. Through senior positions, in high-performing multicultural, agile and sometimes remote teams, she sees diversity and inclusion holistically, in relation to interpersonal communication, organisational development, strategy, optimal team dynamics and achieving business goals. Taking leadership in roles, working with and studying a vast array of international leaders, She has drilled down the integral elements of the inclusive leader which is much needed in our current climate as part of a global mindset. Advisory and course training tie in both professional & personal perspectives. she is an avid writer and hope to produce a series capturing the experiences of others, inclusive leaders, clients and her own to pay it forward. 

Ana Lucia (Spain)


Ana Lucía Olivos Pairazamán was born in Lima (Perú) and she has been living in Barcelona for 29 years. She graduated in Political Sciences at the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB) and has two master’s degrees in International Cooperation from the University of Valencia (UV) and in Immigration Management from Pompeu Fabra University. She has experience in international migration projects as a result of her participation as a Peer Advisor in a project led by the International Organization for Migration (IOM). In 2018, was a board member of the European Migration Advisory Board, an initiative of the Partnership on Inclusion of Migrants and Refugees the Urban Agenda for the EU.

Now, Ana Lucia works in Fundacio Surt as a coordinator in Innoba, (Barcelona Activa) centre for socioeconomic innovation providing support for social and solidarity economy projects being developed in Barcelona. 

Besides this, Ana Lucia knows many organizations and NGO’s with a focus on Migration in Barcelona. She has worked as a job counselor for migrants and refugees to support their labor market integration. In her free time, she participates in different activities and projects to raise awareness and to promote interculturality in the city of Barcelona.

Shaza Al Rehawi (Germany)


Shaza is a Syrian refugee residing now in Bamberg, Germany. She is deeply involved in human rights issues and has first-hand experience in dealing with refugees and women’s crisis. A founding member of the Network for refugee voices (NRV), a founding member of international wawe. Currently working on a five-year research project at the LifBi Institute as a research assistant for culture aspects, conducting Longitudinal Research on Refugees in the German Educational System. Previously worked as a senior community service assistant for 8 years, with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), in Damascus. Prior to that, worked with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) and the Centre for Strategic Studies in Syria. Shaza hold a Bachelor’s degree and a post-graduate degree in sociology and a Master in psychosocial work. In addition to political science from Maxwell School-Syracuse University.

Asif Khan (Sweden)


Asif Khan is director of Centre for Capacity Building & Empowerment, Malmö, Sweden. He is an expert of learning mobility, youth empowerment and Migration & Refugees issues. He served as an adviser of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provincial government, Pakistan on youth policy of the province. He is serving as EU strategic partnership adviser to Malmö ideella, Sweden. 

He has more than 12 years of experience working in development and non profit sector and have lead many projects under the frame work of European commission and other donor bodies. He has experience of working on projects in more than 30 countries of Europe and Asia. 

He is holding degrees in International Migration & Ethnic Relations from Malmö University and International Relations from University of Peshawar. He certified is in the field of Conflict Resolution & Interfaith Conflict Analysis by United States Institute of Peace, Washington, USA.

Reshad Jalali (Belgium)


Reshad Jalali was born in Afghanistan and currently lives in Belgium and works as Policy Officer at the European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE). Prior to this position, he was involved with advocacy activities for refugees and asylum seekers by working with refugee rights, NGOs and refugee-led organisations.

He is holding a master degree in International Relations with specialisation to the ‘’role of EU in protection and promotion of human rights form Liverpool Hope University, Liverpool UK. Prior to his master degree, he has studied a bachelor degree in Political Science from the University of Delhi, New Delhi, India. In addition, he followed several courses related to human rights and refugee rights, including a summer school on the European Union Law and Policy on Immigration and Asylum at the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB).