Mediation Europe’s Advisory Board provides non-binding strategic advice to the management on a voluntary basis.

Mr Payton Knopf

Knopf is an advisor to USIP’s Africa program and the European Institute of Peace. He is a former U.S. diplomat with expertise in sub-Saharan Africa, North Africa, and the Middle East. Knopf was the first coordinator of the United Nations Panel of Experts on South Sudan, from its inception in 2015 until April 2017. He was also formerly a senior advisor at the Crisis Management Initiative (CMI)/Martti Ahtisaari Centre and the PeaceWorks Foundation.

Before leaving government, he was spokesman at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations under then-Ambassador Susan E. Rice, having previously served as a policy advisor to U.S. Special Envoy for Middle East Peace George Mitchell. From 2006 to 2008, he was based at the U.S. Embassy in Khartoum, where he advised the then-U.S Special Envoys for Sudan Andrew Natsios and Richard Williamson on issues related to the conflict in Darfur and to the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement for Sudan.His other State Department assignments included in the Office of Egypt and the Levant and at the U.S. Consulate General in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.  

He was an International Affairs fellow in residence at the Council on Foreign Relations from 2010-2011 where is researched focused on diplomatic engagement with non-state armed groups.

Dr Jago Salmon

With 17 years’ experience in policy analysis and project management in conflict-affected settings, Jago Salmon served as a senior advisor to the ASG for Peacebuilding Support in the UN Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs and is the co-author of the joint UN-WB report Pathways for Peace: Inclusive Approaches to Preventing Violent Conflict.  

With a strong regional focus in the Sahel, Horn of Africa and Middle East, Jago has worked in Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, CAR, Liberia, Lebanon, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Yemen, and Zimbabwe, providing advisory and capacity support to governments and UN leadership on  prevention and peacebuilding operations.

Prior to this, Jago led the UN’s Payment Programme for Ebola Response Workers in 2014/15, coordinated emergency support to security sector in the Central African Republic in the aftermath of the 2014 crisis, and led the preparation of the Liberia Peacebuilding Plan submitted to the UN Security Council in 2017.

Prior to joining the UN, Jago worked as an analyst on the Middle East with a doctorate on the formation and organisation of armed groups in Sudan and Lebanon from Humboldt University in Berlin, and speaks English, French, Italian, and Arabic.

Jago is currently a non-resident fellow with the Centre for International Cooperation at NYU, and lead convener of the SIPRI Forum on Peace and Development 2020.

Dr. Olumide Abimbola

Abimbola is Business Development Specialist at the CONNEX Support Unit, a GIZ-hosted facility that supports governments of developing and transition economies in negotiating large-scale investment contracts. Prior to his current position, he was Head of Research and Development at OpenOil, a Berlin-based consultancy that works with governments on the management of extractive resources.

Before joining OpenOil he was Trade and Regional Integration Officer at the African Development Bank (based in Tunisia and then Cote d’Ivoire), where he worked, among others, as coordinator of the AfDB-UNCTAD-ITC programme on non-tariff measures. He also worked on initiatives such as the Africa Trade Fund, and regional projects such as the Africa Regional Integration Index and the Africa Visa Openness Index. He launched and managed the Bank’s blog on Trade and Industrialisation. 

Abimbola serves on the international board of the Institute for Money, Technology and Financial Inclusion (IMTFI), based at the University of California in Irvine, has been a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Neuchatel in Switzerland, and is a co-founder and Trustee of the Peter Bauer Foundation, a Nigerian economic and public policy think tank.

Abimbola has lectured at the Martin-Luther University in Halle/Saale, and at the Institute for Asian and African Studies of the Humboldt University, Berlin. He has a doctorate in economic anthropology from the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology in Halle/Saale, Germany and a Masters in Development Studies from Uppsala University, Sweden.