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The following Speakers Biographies are examples of the types of speakers available and their backgrounds. Please note: this is just a sample of some of our speakers; there are many more available on a range of topics.  Speakers are usually chosen for a briefing based on the topic requested and their availability.



Aida Martirous-Nejad
Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights
Topics: The work of OHCHR; human rights in the field; human rights and the peace and security agenda
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Ms. Aida Martirous-Nejad has worked with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) since 2003, starting at Headquarters in Geneva and then in Cambodia from 2008. In 2011, Ms. Martirous-Nejad joined the Department for Political Affairs and then joined OHCHR’s New York Office in 2012. She is currently working as Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights.

She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Law from the University of Exeter, UK and a Master’s in Public International Law from the University of London. Ms. Martirous-Nejad is a national of Switzerland of Iranian/Armenian origin. She is fluent in English, French and German and conversant in Spanish.

John Solecki
Senior Policy Advisor at Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
Topics: Refugees
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Mr. Solecki has worked for the UNHCR since 1991. Previously, he worked with the United Nations Relief & Work Agency as a Refugee Affairs Officer in the Gaza Strip. Mr. Solecki served with UNHCR in Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Geneva Headquarters, Egypt and Pakistan.

In addition, he has undertaken longer term missions in Sri Lanka, Yemen, Lebanon, Liberia, and most recently in Syria. Currently, he is Senior Policy Advisor at UNHCR’s New York office.

Mattias Sundholm
Communications Advisor to the Assistant Secretary-General and Executive Director of the Security Council Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED)
Topics: Counter-Terrorism
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Mattias Sundholm is currently Communications Advisor to the Assistant Secretary-General and Executive Director of the Security Council Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED), based in New York. Prior to this, Mattias held similar roles with the Office of the SRSG on Sexual Violence in Conflict, and the Secretary-General's Envoy on Youth.

Before joining the UN, Mattias had communication roles with the European Union to the US in Washington DC; the EU Commission in Brussels; and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Stockholm, with postings to Sarajevo and Harare.

Mattias holds two Master’s degrees and one Bachelor’s in Political Science and Government.  He was a journalist for Scandinavia’s biggest daily newspaper.  Mattias is fluent in English, French, and Swedish, and intermediate in Spanish

Sebastian Vergara
Economic Affairs Officer, Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA)
Topics: Macroeconomics, Development, Latin America and the Caribbean
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Mr. Vergara is Economic Affairs Officer at DESA. He currently works in the Global Economic Monitoring Unit, Development Policy and Analysis Division. He works on the World Economic Situation and Prospects (WESP), responsible for monitoring and analysing macroeconomic fluctuations prospects in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Previously, Mr. Vergara worked for the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC). He holds a Master of Arts in International Economics from the University of Sussex in United Kingdom and PhD(c) in Economics of Innovation from the Friedrich-Schiller University of Jena and the Max Planck Institute in Germany. He is native in Spanish and fluent in English.


Elisabeth Waechter
Chief, Public Information Section, Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO)
Topics: Nuclear testing, Non-proliferation, Disarmament
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Ms. Waechter was appointed as Chief of Public Information for the Comprehensive Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) in September 2014. Prior to that, she served as the Chief of the Visitors’ Services in the Department of Public Information in New York. Ms. Waechter joined the United Nations in 2005 as a Media Officer for the United Nations Environment Programme in Nairobi, Kenya. In 2007 she moved to the UN Information Service in Vienna and to the New York Visitors’ Services Section in 2010.

Previously, Ms. Waechter worked for the European Commission in Brussels and Kyiv, Ukraine. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Russian Studies from the University of London and a Master’s degree in Communications from Leicester University (UK).  In addition to German and English, she is fluent in Russian and conversant in French and Ukrainian. Ms. Waechter is the mother of two boys, 10 and 14.