Expert Profile



Ms Zara Jarvinen
Position(s) Independent Expert, PhD Politics Candidate

Zara Järvinen has a long experience working in conflict resolution, humanitarian aid, development, and security and justice sector reform for intergovernmental (UN, EU, ICMP) and non-profit organisations, in various advisory, management and consulting positions. Prior to joining GCSP, she served in Baghdad as Head of Civil Society Initiatives at the International Commission for Missing Persons, where her unit supported multitrack dialogue on justice reform in the context of ongoing mass grave exhumations and criminal investigations into ISIL/Da’esh. A pooled civilian crisis management expert for the European Union External Action Service, she has served in political/stabilization missions in Georgia (ceasefire monitoring), Honduras (elections), and Palestine, where she managed a police/security sector reform programme based between Jerusalem and Ramallah. Since working for UNDP in Iraq in 2012-2013, her work has gravitated around Iraq and the wider Levant region. Overall, she has worked in over 30 countries across four continents, with particular experience in leading and conducting field research into armed conflict, armed groups, and violent extremism. Zara is a PhD Politics Candidate at Durham University School of Government and International Affairs in the UK and a former Harvard Visiting Fellow (2018). She is currently writing her policy-oriented dissertation on the ethical challenges of proxy warfare and paramilitary operations, where she examines issues in oversight and accountability when States choose to arm and fund non-state armed groups. Her papers on Iraq and the Middle East have been published via the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) and Routledge.


Participating in upcoming course/event
4 March 2021