Rina has been working in the field of business, conflict and peace for over 8 years. She is currently an independent Peacebuilding Consultant and Associate Expert with Indiba-Africa and the Swiss Peace Foundation (swisspeace).
She offers advisory and consultancy services for businesses interested in corporate social responsibility, business and human rights, conflict sensitive business practices and company due diligence mechanisms. She supports NGOs in establishing safe space dialogue processes, raising awareness on issues such as natural resource conflicts and war economies and providing resources on company-community mediation processes. She advises governments in their development of research and policy on business and human rights, the implementation of the UN Guiding Principles and the role of embassies in engaging with company practices. She holds extensive assessment and qualitative field research experience from contexts such as Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Ethiopia and Rwanda.
Rina holds a MA from the Institute of Social Studies in The Hague (Netherlands) and a PhD in Political Science from the University of Basel (Switzerland). Her doctoral research focused on the role of local economic actors in contributing to peace and conflict in Sri Lanka. From 2011-2012, she was an associated doctoral student at the University of Colombo (Sri Lanka).
From September 2015 to January 2016, she was a Lecturer at the University of Basel (Switzerland) where she gave a MA / PhD Seminar on ‘Businesses in conflict contexts: risks, roles and responsibilities’.
As Head of the Business and Peace Program of the Swiss Peace Foundation (swisspeace) in Bern (Switzerland) from 2014-2015, she led strategic decision making processes and project implementation. From 2012 until 2015, she carried out a mandate with Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs on implementing UN Guiding Principle 7 on Conflict Contexts (as part of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights) through engagements with Swiss embassies, policy makers and civil society actors. She co-organized the Conflict Sensitivity Expert Retreat in 2014 which brought together 30 conflict sensitivity experts from the world over to develop working groups and projects to bring the topic to the next level. She also headed and facilitated the Expert Conference on the War Economy in Syria which invited Syrian and international business persons, civil society, academics and policy makers to analyze, discuss and publish on the dynamics of the Syrian war economy. She has been responsible for designing and managing the swisspeace 5-day Master of Advanced Studies (MAS) and supporting the 3-day Certificate of Advanced Study (CAS) courses on ‘Business, Conflict and Peace’. She was also the Co-Editor of the swisspeace Working Paper series.
In terms of her service to the profession, she has sat on several advisory boards such as the OECD/DAC International Dialogue on Peacebuilding and Statebuilding Reference Group on Private Sector in Conflict-Affected Environments and the UN Global Compact Business for Peace Indicators Advisory Board. She is also an active member of several expert groups focused on the role of business in peacebuilding and human rights such as the Network on Business, Conflict and Human Rights (BCHR) and the Conflict Sensitivity Network Business and Peace Working Group.
As a Program Officer in the Human Security and then the Business and Peace Program at the swisspeace from 2007-2014, she was involved in a number of research projects on the role of business in peacebuilding while also carrying out practice-oriented conflict sensitivity assessments. She carried out a conflict sensitivity assessment on a HEKS watershed management project in the Borana Zone of Ethiopia (2014) and one on the agribusiness sector in Rwanda in collaboration with the private company, Nomades Suisse (2013). She led and co-facilitated several workshops in Myanmar on the role of business in peacebuilding and sustainable investments (2012) and has led several events to raise awareness on possibilities for Swiss businesses to strategically engage in the country. As part of two projects financed by the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs Mediation Desk and in collaboration with the Centre for Security Studies in Zurich, she carried out research on the roles and activities that businesses undertake in peace mediation processes (2010-2012). This resulted in several publications on the innovative topic such as a working paper, guidance note and peer-reviewed journal article. She conducted research on the role of tourism in peacebuilding as part of a Deutsche Stiftung Friedensförderung (DSF) project that compared Rwanda, Sri Lanka and Croatia. This resulted in a number of publications and conference presentations including a chapter in “The International Handbook on Tourism and Peace” (2014) and “CSR in Conflict and Post-conflict Environments: From Risk Management to Value Creation” (2010).
From 2004-2005, she worked with Fahamu: Networks for Social Justice in Oxford (UK) and Durban (South Africa) on African human rights issues and the role of ICTs in social justice. This included co-editing the weekly online newsletter on African human rights, Pambazuka News, commissioning and writing articles, supporting the production of the UN University for Peace course on Mediat and the Rwandan Genocide and providing support for ongoing human rights and social justice campaigns. From 2003 to 2004, she was a Research Assistant with the Liu Institute for Global Issues in Vancouver (Canada). This included supporting the development of political science seminary on topics such as international refugee crises, writing and implementing project proposals on transitional justice and conducted research on reconciliation processes in the Great Lakes region of Africa. She also worked as a copy editor which supported the publication of Vulnerable Bodies: Gender, the UN and the Global Refugee Crisis(Baines 2004).