Melinda Holmes is a peacebuilding consultant, writer and policy advisor focusing on gender and political violence. She serves as senior adviser and program manager with the International Civil Society Action Network (ICAN) for Women’s Rights, Peace and Security. In this capacity, she is responsible for ICAN’s coordination of the Women’s Alliance for Security Leadership (WASL) and is ICAN’s focal point for co-leading the Global Solutions Exchange (GSX), a civil society led mechanism for structured and sustained dialogue with governments and multilateral organizations on the prevention of violent extremism.
Melinda was a Visiting Fellow at LSE’s Centre for Women, Peace & Security during the 2016-2017 academic year. She is a contributing writer on gender for the forthcoming series of action guides on religion and peacebuilding from USIP, Salam Institute, and the Network for Religious and Traditional Peacemakers. Melinda graduated with a Master’s in international affairs from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, focusing on the gendered and religious dynamics of policy, conflict and peacebuilding.
From 2013 to 2016, Melinda worked with The Carter Center, where she advised on the engagement of religious and traditional beliefs, actors and communities in advancing peace and human rights, with a focus on women and girls. In 2012 to 2013, she conducted original anthropological research in Ghana examining the role of structural factors in Muslim leaders’ approaches to peace and violence and exploring the evolution of religious leadership norms for her master’s thesis. In 2010 and 2011, Melinda lived in Egypt where she served as a refugee legal case worker amid the exacerbated human security crisis brought on by the 2011 uprising. Previously, Melinda worked as an educator at the Ecole d’Humanité in Switzerland where she developed and taught curricula on themes including nonviolence, conflict, globalization and civic activism, and served as a youth mentor.