Board of Advisors
Najla Al Qasemi
Najla Al Qasemi is a former diplomat of the UAE. In 1994 she attained her bachelor’s degree in political science from the United Arab Emirates University, and in 2014 attained her Master in e-Government from Stockholm University. As from 2016 working on her Ph.D. in Social Wellbeing Indicator and Policy Decision Making in Stockholm University.
In 1999 she commenced on her professional journey working as a researcher assistance at the Emirates Centre for Strategic Studies. The year 2002 she commenced work with the United Arab Emirates Ministry for Foreign Affairs as a USA Desk Officer. She was transferred as a representative of UAE. In 2004 to Geneva, in 2008 she was appointed as Ambassador to Sweden, Finland and Denmark. In 2014 she was transferred to Portugal. Returning to UAE she worked in Zayed University as instructor in International Affairs Department, since August 2016 for two years. And in July 2018 she joined Dubai Public Policy Centre.
Sheikha Najla serve as a member of the Harrisburg University Senior Advisory Board (UAE).
Sir William Patey
Sir William Patey was a senior British Diplomat until April 2012. He served as Ambassador to Afghanistan (2010-2012), to Saudi Arabia (2007-2010) to Iraq (2005-2006) and to Sudan (2002-2005). He was also Head of the Middle East Department at the Foreign and Commonwealth office from 1999-2002. Since retiring from government service in 2012 he has become an international consultant and regular media commentator on Middle East affairs. He is currently Chair of Control Risks Trustee Ltd and Government and International Affairs adviser to Control Risks. He is a
Chairman of Turquoise Mountain Trust, the Saudi British Society and a Board member of PACT UK. His previous positions include Non-Executive Director HSBC Bank Middle East (2012-2019) and Chairman of Swindon Town FC (2012-2013). He served as the PM’s Special Envoy for Aviation Security (2105).
He was honoured with a KCMG in 2009. He is an Honorary Fellow of Exeter University and Distinguished Fellow at New Westminster College, Vancouver. He was awarded a Doctorate of Law (Honoris Causa) by the University of Dundee in July 2016.
Major General (R)
Major General Kristin Lund is a retired Norwegian General. She is the first female force commander in the UN’s history. She enlisted in the Norwegian Army Transportation Corps/Army Logistic in 1979 and graduated the following year from its Officer Candidate School. Her first mission abroad was in UNIFIL, Middle East.
In 1991, She was deployed with NORMEDCOY/Saudi Arabia in 1991 (for Operation Desert Storm). In 1992/1993 she was deployed as Deputy Commander/S3 NORMOVCON/UNPROFOR in Sarajevo/Balkans. In 1993 to 1995 she held positions as Assistant G3, UN/NATO Section, Jegerkorpset Akershus Regiment. She was headhunted in 1994-95 and deployed as Staff Officer J3/J5, JMCC/JLOC, UNPF (as a Civilian, UN contractor) in the Balkans.
Thereafter she served in different positions such as Commander Nation Support Element, SFOR, in Balkan (1998 to 99) and Deputy chief CIMIC Coordination centre at the ISAF HQ in Afghanistan (2003-2004).
She attended US Army War College in 2006 and got her master’s degree in strategic studies. MG Lund was promoted Brigadier General and posted as Deputy Commander Norwegian Army Forces Command when she returned to Norway in June 2007 until September 2009. MG Lund was appointed Chief of the Norwegian Home Guard in October 2009 until end of November 2013.
From November 2013 to July 2014 MG Kristin Lund was appointed as head of the Veteran Division to the Norwegian Defence Staff. In 2014 Major General Lund took command as Force Commander UNFICYP (United Nations Forces in Cyprus),
Major General Kristin Lund was Head of Mission/Chief of Staff of UNTSO (United Nations Truce Supervision Organization) with HQ in Jerusalem, Israel. She became the first woman in UN’s history to be military Head of Mission. From 1 January 2020 she started to work at Peace Research Institute Oslo, PRIO and joined IISA’s board of advisors at the end of year 2020.
Major General Kristin Lund is the first Norwegian female Army officer to reach the rank of Major General. Her main focus on military subjects have been logistics, CIMIC (Civilian Military Cooperation/coordination), and light Infantry. She was awarded the Norwegian Armed Forces Equality Award in 2004. In 2015 she received the French Ordre National de la Légion d’honneur, and in 2016, Major General Lund was awarded the Norwegian Defence Cross of Honor. Furthermore, In October 2019 she was awarded the St Olav’s Order.
Frank Baker is a businessman and a former British diplomat In a diplomatic career spanning over thirty years he spent the early part in Latin America before moving to the Middle East in the mid 1990s. After a secondment to the US Government he headed back to London to head up the Equatorial African Department with a focus on conflict resolution. He returned to Washington in 2003 as the Foreign and Security Policy Counsellor before returning to the Middle East via London in 2010 when he was appointed British Ambassador to Kuwait. Two further Ambassadorial roles followed – Iraq in 2014 and Libya in 2018 – before he left government for the private sector. He is now the Managing Partner of Baker McKie and Partners, a company that focuses on providing strategic and analytical advice to a wide range of international clients. He is a member of the Board of Trustees of the British Institute for the Study of Iraq. In addition to his UK honours, Frank is also the holder of the Order of Kuwait (Special Class).
General Ehsan Ul Haq
General Ehsan Ul Haq is former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee of Pakistan. His four decades of Military Service included assignments as the Director General Inter-Services Intelligence, Director General Military Intelligence and the Corps Commander in Peshawar, which was responsible for security in the Tribal Areas of Pakistan. His international assignments include an instructional tenure with the Iranian Armed Forces and a command tenure with the Saudi Armed Forces.
General Ehsan graduated from Pakistan Army Command and Staff College Quetta and the People’s Liberation Army Air Defence Commanders Academy in Zhengzhou People’s Republic of China. He has a master’s degree in War Studies from the National Defence University, Islamabad. He also attended a number of courses abroad including an Executive Management course with the U.S. Army in Richmond, Virginia.
Ever since his retirement, General Ehsan has been engaged in many corporate, intellectual, and humanitarian activities. He is currently associated with a number of prestigious think tanks internationally and in Pakistan. The General has consented to be a Mentor for Strategic and security studies at the National Defence University, Islamabad. He is a Honorary Senior Consultant of Centre for Law & Globalization at Renmin University Beijing, China, that is the focus institution for the ‘Belt Road’ Initiative. He is a frequent participant in Track II parleys, a speaker in international forums, reputed think tanks and universities on geopolitical, defence and security issues.
In recognition of his meritorious services, he has been conferred the awards of Hilal Imtiaz (Military) and Nishan-i-Imtiaz (Military), by the government of Pakistan. He is also a recipient of Chevalier de la Legion d’ Honneur from the French Government and the King Abdul Aziz Medal of Excellence from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Rear Admiral Deniz Kutluk
Rear Admiral (Upper Half) Deniz Kutluk has served in the Turkish Navy for 40 years, 13 of which were spent on seagoing duties. During this time, he also served as Commanding Officer of the Turkish MEKO Class Frigate Turgutreis, and participated in NATO’s Sharp Guard Operation in the Adriatic Sea in 1994, where he encountered numerous enemy surface combatants. Furthermore, he later became Commodore of the Turkish Navy’s Amphibious Assault Flotillas.
During his junior ranks, he worked in the Prime Minister’s Office, striving to streamline governance.
He has held various planning and implementation posts in Turkish Naval and Armed Forces Head Quarters in Ankara.
His most recent position before retiring in 2009 was as the Director of Procurement, Financial Management and Defence Planning at the Turkish Armed Forces HQ. Prior to that, he served as the Director of the Turkish Navy Plans and Policy Division. He has also served as the longest-serving Intelligence Director in both the Turkish Navy and the Turkish Armed Forces Head Quarters. During this time, he worked closely with the Intelligence Services of friendly states and acted as a member of the NATO Intelligence Board (NIB) and Deputy Head of the Battlefield Intelligence Collection and Exploitation System (BICES) Board.
Kutluk spent almost six years working at NATO HQ in Brussels. Initially, he was a Force Planner with responsibility for the USA and Canada for two years. He then became Force Planning Branch Chief, overseeing the development of defence capabilities for 16 members. In 1993, his tenure came to an end. Later, he was again chosen by the NATO Military Committee, this time as Director of Partner for Peace in May 2005. For 28 months, he took charge of military cooperation with NATO partners, including Russia and Ukraine (there were 26 states under his remit).
Admiral Kutluk graduated from the Turkish Naval Academy, the War College, and the Armed Forces College. He also graduated from the Royal Navy Staff College at Greenwich, London. He holds a master’s degree in Political Science and Public Administration (reinforced with Law of the Sea) and has a PhD in Environmental Studies (with a focus on oil pipelines), both from the prestigious Ankara University. In addition, he holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the Law School of Anatolian University.
He has authored numerous books and articles on the Law of the Sea, Caspian Oil Politics, Pollution at Sea, the Gallipoli Campaign, Urbanisation, and Environmental Preservation.
After retiring, Admiral Kutluk undertook various corporate roles, starting as a board member in a railway company, before becoming the General Manager of a Pharmaceutical Company, both in Turkey. After working as an Executive Director for a construction company abroad, he ultimately became the Group Coordinator for Defence Electronic Company Groups in Turkey. With experience teaching Law of the Sea at various universities, he now works as a freelance consultant for defence-related affairs.
Amir Pasendehpour is a former diplomat and a businessman. He was born in 1982 in Tehran and is a Master’s graduate in Diplomatic Relations. He has a background in diplomatic missions in Oman and Kuwait and has also served as one of Iran’s representatives in negotiations with the Ministry of International Affairs of the Communist Party of China in the Belt and Road Initiative project.
His most recent position was as the Director-General of International Relations at the Expediency Discernment Council of the Islamic Republic. Additionally, he has worked as an international affairs advisor for the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Aviation. His publications include the books “Foreign Policy of the Islamic Republic” and “Social Networks and Their Relationship with Politics and Power.