Graeme Simpson

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Graeme Simpson, Lead Author for the Progress Study on Youth, Peace and Security mandated by UNSCR 2250

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Graeme Simpson


Graeme Simpson is the Director of Interpeace USA and Senior Adviser to the Director-General of Interpeace, a global peace-building organization working in 20 conflict and immediate post-conflict zones around the world. He is also an Adjunct Lecturer in Law at Columbia University School of Law in New York City, where he teaches a seminar on transitional justice and peacebuilding.

Graeme has an LLB and a master’s in History from the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa. He was founder and Executive Director of the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation (CSVR) from 1995-2005 in Johannesburg, South Africa. He worked extensively on issues related to transitional justice, including work with the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and on the transformation of criminal justice institutions in South Africa. He was one of the drafters of the National Crime Prevention Strategy, adopted by the South African cabinet in May 1996, and a member of the drafting team for the South African White Paper on Safety and Security.

From 2005, Graeme Simpson was the Director of Country Programs at the International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ), headquartered in New York City, and oversaw the organization’s work on transitional justice in more than 20 countries globally. He was the Director of Thematic Programs at the ICTJ for two further years, leading work on prosecutions, reparations, truth-seeking, security system reform, memorials, gender, and a program on Peace and Justice.

Throughout his professional life, Graeme Simpson has focused on the experiences, roles and agency of young people in peacebuilding and conflict, and has published extensively on this subject. This interest was sparked when he was a student leader involved in anti-Apartheid work in his native South Africa, during which time he served in the National Head Office of the National Union of South African Students (NUSAS). In his work as Civilian Adviser to the Minister of Safety and Security during the first democratic government under Nelson Mandela, Graeme was extensively involved in developing youth-based violence prevention programs as part of his broader work on the National Crime Prevention Strategy. He worked closely with the Department of Education to develop social crime prevention programs and trauma management programs within schools around the country to address the needs of youth, including those who were imprisoned and/or involved in gangs. His subsequent work in the field of transitional justice attended to the particular experiences and needs of young people, including former combatants and young victims and perpetrators of violence. Graeme actively sought mechanisms of participation for youth and children in transitional justice processes, including truth commissions, and under his guidance the International Center for Transitional Justice launched a program for youth and children in transitional justice. Graeme’s current workplace, Interpeace, has youth and peacebuilding programs in numerous conflict-affected societies around the world, and during his time there he has been actively involved in the drafting and development of youth-based peacebuilding strategies. Most recently, Graeme has been central to the organization’s development and publishing of a Framework for Assessing “Resilience for Peace”, which includes a “risk and resilience” based approach.

Graeme Simpson serves on the Editorial Board of the International Journal of Transitional Justice (IJTJ) and until 2016 he served as a member of the International Advisory Board of The International Conflict Research Institute (INCORE) in Northern Ireland.

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