Illustration by Laura Tran

In 2017, the Global Challenges Foundation began the search for a “new shape” for global governance. The Center for United Nations Constitutional Research responded with a submission entitled “Upholding the San Francisco Promise: The Roadmap to a Constitutionalized United Nations.” this proposal included groundbreaking research about a path to meaningful UN reform, based on Article 109(3) of the UN Charter. The “San Francisco Promise” proposal was selected by GCF as a semi-finalist in its New Shape Prize, formed the basis for one of its five dedicated working groups, and was presented as a project at the inaugural Paris Peace Forum.

To read our semi-finalist submission to the New Shape Prize (full proposal), click here.

To read the speech CUNCR Director Dr. Shahr-yar Sharei gave at the Paris Peace Forum, click here.


The submission proposes using the Review process in Article 109, Chapter XVIII of the UN Charter, particularly its Paragraph 3. When the United Nations was formed in San Francisco in 1945, there was a great deal of opposition to the democratic deficit of the Security Council and its veto. As a compromise, the permanent five members of the UN Security Council agreed to a clause that allowed for Charter Review, ten years after the UN came into force. This “San Francisco Promise” was activated in 1955, but was later breached and abandoned. The review conference endowed in the Charter, and legally still valid, could pave the way for a process of writing a constitution for the UN, allowing it to reinvent itself to better face current and future global challenges. Thus help transform the UN into a global governance fulfilling the objectives set out in the UN Charter’s preamble.

Click here to Download the Full Entry 

The San Francisco Promise, letting “we the peoples” govern the world:
Article 109(3) Rediscovered
Speech given by Dr. Shahr-yar Sharei at Paris Peace Forum, November 12, 2018

Click here to download a copy of the speech, or keep reading below.


Greetings my fellow world citizens,

Have you ever asked yourself: who really rules our world Is it the United Nations?

The UN was created to maintain peace and security.  The Security Council and its permanent 5 members were given supra-national and extra-ordinary powers to make sure that conflicts are resolved peacefully and that there are no wars. 

Then why do we have an estimated 40 Million war and armed conflict casualties since World War-II? Not counting other injuries to our lives and economies. Imagine all that tens of trillions of dollars spent on war preparations, if it was instead spent to fight diseases, extreme poverty, and illiteracy. We would still have hundreds of billions left as peace dividend to reach our goals on climate change and Sustainable Development Goals. 

Just imagine. In Martin Luther Kings’ terms. Oh, what a dream!

In fact, who manages our economy? 

Is it the World Bank or the International Monetary Fund? is it the WTO

How about the world judiciary system? 

Well, ICJ lacks compulsory jurisdiction, and it only handles cases where they are voluntarily submitted by states. Therefor a perpetrator-state can refuse to go to court. In case of ICC it only handles certain crimes and does not have universal jurisdiction. Meaning that potential perpetrators from powerful states like Russia, China, and the United States who are not abiding by the Courts jurisdiction cannot be prosecuted. In fact the United States has recently declared the court is illegitimate and if any cases are brought against US nationals, the ICC judges would be arrested.  And by the way, where is the enforcement for these international courts? 

Who is in charge of disarming and disposing of our nearly 20,000 nuclear warhead? Is it the NPT (the Non-Proliferation Treaty)? Does NPT have an address?

And of course we have climate change. The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change just released a new report ringing the alarm bel to keep the global warming within 1.5 degrees Celsius.

So who is responsible for all of that?

Is it the UN, is the member states, is it COP? Does our global governance of climate and justice have an address? 

Some say that it is not governments who are in charge. But multinational corporations such as the military industrial complex or the oil companies.  Or more recently we hear people saying that it is perhaps Facebook and Google that are governing the world.
The real answer is, in varying degrees, in some cases it is some of the above, and in some cases none of the above. 

It is almost unbelievable that in the 21st century global governance is completely fragmented, with a multitude of international law instruments, with formal and informal regimes, and with some super powers above the law.

Multiple jurisdictions and multiple competencies. And in many cases – like in the case of the high seas, space and cyber space – no jurisdiction and no competences. No rule of law. 

Add to this confusion:

  • the lack of enforcement;
  • individuals and powerful states unilaterally pushing their agenda;
  • Countries putting themselves above international law;

And what we people, the global citizens have, is in fact not a potpourri of global governance, but a toxic soup of global anarchy!

The real problem is not lack of global structures or institutions; we probably have too many. The fundamental problem is a lack of global government and political will to make changes and an “election” system to introduce change. 

The real problem is that the people have no power, no say, and that our global institutions are not democratic. If reform to this system is even considered this is at best done in high-level committees and at worst behind closed doors in back chambers. 

But the beautiful city of Paris, and this forum, is no place for dystopian pictures of the world. So I am glad to say that In fact I am here today to tell you that the answer already exists.

The answer to these questions has been buried deep inside the Charter of the UN. To be precise in Article 109, which reads:

A General Conference of the Members of the United Nations for the purpose of reviewing the present Charter may be held at a date and place to be fixed by a two-thirds vote of the members of the General Assembly (Par. 1) ….

… if such a conference has not been held before the tenth annual session of the General Assembly following the coming into force of the present Charter, the proposal to call such a conference shall be placed on the agenda of that session of the General Assembly. (Par. 3) …Note there is no veto to hold the review conference. Only qualified majority of both the General Assembly and the Security Council.

Yes, there is an actual legal obligation (it says “shall be placed”, not “can be placed”) within the treaty for a review conference. And yet it has never taken place. How can that be? 

Lets go back to 1945 Franklin Roosevelt and America and a majority of the states at the creation of the United Nations wanted to build something more than the failed League of Nations.

They moved away from sovereignty of states, which under Chapter VII can create enforceable international law. And together with the Security Council, they also created what they thought was just as important other “Councils”.

The Economic and Social Council they created was to handle all aspects of global economic, social, cultural, scientific and educational needs of the world. It was allowed to have subsidiaries (think of it as quasi ministries) where agencies such as the WHO (World Health Organization) and FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization), or UNESCO would be created. The Charter also recognizes our human rights and our gender equality and even our right to “full employment” but without much elaboration and constitutionalization.

The founders deliberately created a United Nations that would be more than just a Security Council resolving conflicts and keeping peace. They created an institution that would be governing global governance.

But they also realized that what they were creating was an unfinished work. That the decisions at the Security Council may not be fair. That the five unelected members could be there to the end of times. That those permanent members can veto and kill the decision of the majority at will. In fact, this undemocratic nature of the proposed Security Council, turned into an uprising in San Francisco of the majority of the states (almost 2/3) against the Dumbarton Oaks proposal and the so called “Yalta Formula”.

With the great opposition to the structure and the voting procedures at the Security Council, and the permanent five’s insistence on keeping their supreme status, the United States on behalf of the P5 offered a compromise:

By introducing Article 109 to the Charter, the possibility of a future review and revision of the Charter based on 2/3s majority was made possible. But this was not enough, the majority stated they wanted to set an expiration date for the mandates of the Security Council and a date to be set to renew the UN.

Then, to break the deadlock in San Francisco, came the great compromise, by adding Paragraph 3 to Article 109, where it was promised that at the latest, in 10 years’ time a review conference of the UN Charter would be held with just a majority vote of the General Assembly and the Security Council and no veto. San Francisco and the world were jubilant, and the Charter was unanimously adopted on June 22nd, 1945.
But the honeymoon at the UN was very quickly over. Wars and skirmishes popped up immediately, the veto was used immediately and just a few months later it was obvious to everyone that the Security Council was dysfunctional. Calls for UN reform started immediately. Knowing that quick fixes would not work, everyone’s focus and attention was on the promised 1955 charter review.

In 1955 everyone was excited about the possibility of change. The so called “constitutional” debates were held both in New York and San Francisco commemorating the 10th year anniversary of the UN. They outlined what the member states wished for in a renewed UN. Amongst others:

  • Compulsory jurisdiction of the ICJ
  • the creation of a Human rights Council and court
  • phased elimination of the veto; and
  • nuclear disarmament

At the 1955 annual session, Secretary General Hammarskjold put the activation of Article 109(3) on the GA’s agenda, the General Assembly by an overwhelming majority, Res. 992 (X), and the Security Council adopted it. An arrangements committee was set up to choose the time and place of the review conference.

For the next 12 years, the P5, with the exception of China, one by one, started losing interest in holding the review. They could not do this legally, but they kept on postponing the conference on procedural grounds. At the last rendezvous to hold the review conference in 1967, they decided to keep the conference in “being” but without holding it.

This way they de facto shoved it under the rug and derailed the process into multiple, often fruitless UN reform committees and forums. One of those committees which has met for over 40 years is called the “Special Committee” on Charter, which as part of its rules of procedures only considers reforms as long as they do not require Charter change. 

Let that one sink in for a minute.

Despite a legal obligation to review the charter, for the past 40 years only those attempts were made to reach UN reform that did not actually require charter reform. That is not only a complete oxymoron it is a breach of the Charter itself.

So why is all of this this so relevant?

Let’s look at it as if we were at national level. At national level We have created government Institutions. We have created parliaments – elected representatives and leaders and hold them responsible and accountable. We have created courts and police forces and we ensure that different branches of the government- legislative, executive and judiciary – are kept separate and independent.  In other words, we created “government of the people, by the people for the people”.

But at international level, due to the post war international circumstances we were forced to start up with a system that does not have those checks and balances. A system in which the P5 are de facto judge, jury and executioner. And the founders knew it. That is why they wrote a review clause in the founding document. In what we at national level would call the constitution. So what would happen at national level if the government showed complete disregard for its own constitution?

And if our national government would not allow us to have elections there would be protest, uprising and revolt. In that same spirit I stand here before you today to reignite the flame of Article 109. I stand here to start a citizens track II diplomacy together with coopting some champion states. To remind all the member states and the leaders that we are in the breach of Charter that we have not only a moral, but also legal obligation to hold a review conference. 

Why is the review conference so important? 

Because it has great transformational potential. According to the Charter, a review conference once started is independent of the General Assembly and the Security Council. It is not under the influence and establishment of New York. In fact, according to the legislative history, it is not even supposed to be in New York. This is the forum where member states gather, similar to the EU and other treaties, periodically meet, to review and renew the institutional needs. 

Dear friends,

Today we have heard both in Paris and elsewhere, many fantastic UN global governance proposals!

  • How to keep peace and security by reforming the Security Council.
  • How to create a UN parliamentary assembly
  • How to turn the GA to a representative and legislative body
  • Or how to give the human rights a real court and to let it have teeth. 

And there are other, perhaps less radical changes, which are needed:

  • limiting the use of the veto or its elimination. 
  • Expanding ICJ and ICC jurisdictions and competencies
  • And, turn the unused and outdated Trusteeship Council into a Trusteeship Council for the Environment.

Or, perhaps such a UN review conference would reach a “constitutional moment”. Similar to what United States experienced at the Philadelphia convention, the Meiji Reform (Renovation) of Japan, or the European Union experienced accomplished with the Maastricht Treaty.

The possibilities and potentials are limitless.

Friends, global citizens, we can introduce change. And the great news is that the legal basis for the platform is already there. It was build with the San Francisco Promise in 1955.

Twelve years later in 1967, coinciding with the review conference being shoved under the rug, Scott McKenie sang his legendary “If you are going to San Francisco”. 
And in that song he sings not only about “flowers in your hair” but he sings about the fact that “all across the nation there are people in motion. That there’s a whole generation with a new explanation”.

Let us be that new generation.  Let us be those people in motion

Let us hold our leaders accountable to the promise they made. Because it is only when that promise of a regular review conference is fulfilled, and we can govern ourselves, that the opening words of the charter “we the people” have been given true meaning.

Thank you.

Global Challenges Foundation Quarterly Report #7, November 2018. “From Idea to Prototype

Click here to download a pdf of the report or
Click here to view a copy of the report, or keep reading below.

Upholding the San Francisco Promise: The Roadmap to a Constitutionalised United Nations

Dr. Shahr-Yar Sharei, working group coordinator

What mechanism could be harnessed in order to review and renew the UN charter without facing institutional gridlock? When the UN was established, the winners of the Second World War were given disproportionate power, in the form of a permanent seat and veto rights on the Security Council. This was, however, not initially intended to be a lasting situation: article 109 Par. 3 of the UN Charter established that a complete review would happen after ten years. A committee was formed as planned in 1955, but the process got stalled and never resulted in proper reform. Could article 109(3) offer a pathway to reform of the UN Charter? Consultation would be needed in order to test the interest and commitment of parties, but should legality be confirmed, triggering article 109 (3) could be a way to bypass opposition from the Permanent Five. A UN Charter Review, made possible by this process, could thus be the first step towards a fully constitutionalised UN.

Our UN founding fathers set the goal of maintaining international peace and security as the primary objective of the United Nations. The Security Council was established as the main organ entrusted with that responsibility. In the original design of the UN, it was made the exclusive broker in international law to authorise the use of sanctions, both non-military and military. Almost immediately, however, the Security Council was paralysed by the realpolitik of the Cold War era, and even after it ended, the five permanent members of the Security Council have continued to use or threaten to use the veto power granted them to protect their own self-interests. 

As a result, we now see a world where peace and security are not adequately maintained by the Security Council. Indeed, it is a far more common occurrence that failures to prevent or end conflicts can be linked to the intransigence of the Security Council. What is less well-known, however, is that concerns over this unequal system are older than the UN itself. At the founding San Francisco conference, the Permanent Five made a concession to objections by weaker states: they agreed to a Charter review and revision process, incorporated as Article 109, as a possible way to correct the initial power imbalance. According to Paragraph 3 of Article 109, they further agreed to a facilitated way of holding the review conference ten years in the future. The holding of the Charter review was adopted as General Assembly resolution 992(X) in 1955 and approved by the Security Council. A committee was formed, but the endeavour never came to fruition: the committee repeatedly delayed convening the review, and ultimately stopped meeting altogether. However, it was never officially disbanded, meaning that it remains legally in existence, and that the Charter Review as per Article 109 is still on the table. 

What mechanism could be harnessed in order to review and renew the UN charter without facing institutional gridlock?

We believe that we might bring about changes in the institution, and uphold the ‘San Francisco Promise’, by harnessing this mechanism inherent in the UN structure from its inception. The strength of this approach to global governance reform is that it has already begun – the General Assembly and Security Council have both voted to have a Charter Review conference. Working to reinitiate the review process therefore sidesteps many of the legal and procedural obstacles seen in other efforts for global governance reform. Furthermore, by pursuing a full Charter Review, we are opening up the possibility for deeper structural changes, rather than being limited to the kinds of smaller reforms that are typically possible without any changes to the UN Charter itself. While pursuing a large magnitude of reform does mean that more political effort will be required to convince countries to accept the review process, we do also think that the lessening of legal barriers makes up for this.

We believe that we might bring about changes in the institution, and uphold the ‘San Francisco Promise’, by harnessing this mechanism inherent in the UN structure from its inception. The strength of this approach to global governance reform is that it has already begun – the General Assembly and Security Council have both voted to have a Charter Review conference. Working to reinitiate the review process therefore sidesteps many of the legal and procedural obstacles seen in other efforts for global governance reform. Furthermore, by pursuing a full Charter Review, we are opening up the possibility for deeper structural changes, rather than being limited to the kinds of smaller reforms that are typically possible without any changes to the UN Charter itself. While pursuing a large magnitude of reform does mean that more political effort will be required to convince countries to accept the review process, we do also think that the lessening of legal barriers makes up for this.

Assuming that reinitiating the review process is legally valid, the next step to assess the viability of this approach would be to test potential support from key countries and regions. For this, three questions need to be addressed. The first is whether UN members would support opening up the Charter for update at a review conference, as Article 109 calls for. The second is whether they would be likely to vote in favour of a new Charter that abolishes the veto and allows for a more equal distribution of power on the global level – for instance, by establishing a UN Parliamentary Assembly? Finally, would they be likely to ratify a new UN charter, regardless of how it had voted at the review conference itself. 

Once armed with this information, we will have a solid foundation from which we can build a targeted campaign to re-trigger Article 109 and hold a Charter Review Conference. The campaign, through track II diplomacy, would target a coalition of willing states to push for Charter review. The countries that the San Francisco promise was made to, as well as those countries seeking more substantive UN transformation in recent years, would be targeted and made aware of the potentials of pursuing the path offered by article 109. Further, by introducing domestic referendums and petitions in key regions and states, such as the European Citizens Initiative, or the US ballot and petition system, global citizens’ interest and awareness would be raised in calling for a more democratic and effective United Nations. 

Unfortunately, although the San Francisco Promise can get us to Charter Review without any threat of the veto, whatever comes out of the review process will require the assent of all five permanent members. However, we believe that a veto is much less of a threat in the context of ratifying an entirely new UN Charter. If the negotiated Charter has widespread support from most other countries in the world (a two-thirds majority is required), there will be significant pressure on the Permanent Five to accept it as well. Furthermore, this would be a vote far removed from the diplomatic chambers of the UN, putting the decision in the hands of national legislative bodies. As a result, we believe that there will also be more pressure from the public including the national citizens of the Permanent Five to accept a more representative and effective system of global governance. The cost of exclusion of any single country from a new global order would simply be too high.

The unique nature of our proposal is that it focuses much more on the path towards UN reform, rather than what the reform itself would look like. However, based on the problems we see with global governance as it stands now, certain directions of reform are clear – in particular, we believe that the UN system must be more democratised, in direct contrast to the inequities of the current Security Council as previously discussed. This democratisation can take a number of forms. The first option would be to make changes to the structure of the UN, such as adding a parliamentary body that more directly represents individuals. Another, more comprehensive, option would be to aim for the constitutionalisation of the UN Charter – that is, transforming it into a binding document that includes an enshrined bill of rights for all citizens. Historically speaking, constitutional documents do not arise on their own, but from review conferences – the American constitution from Philadelphia, for instance, or the Maastricht Treaty for the EU. Therefore, we see UN Charter Review as the best, and possibly only, way to get a document that meaningfully enshrines and enforces human rights on a global scale.

There are many potential paths forwards to make meaningful change. Charter Review could allow for the most significant and comprehensive change all at once. While the road to Charter Review will not be an easy one, however, and despite failed attempts for substantive UN and Security Council reform in the past, we firmly believe that this endowed path is still viable, and perhaps the only option to UN transformation.

Working group members:
Dr. Shahr-Yar Sharei, working group coordinator, Andreas Bummel, Huaru Kang, Dr. Roger Kotila, Hans Leander, Dr. Timothy Murithi, Francisco Plancarte, Dr. Mais Qandeel, Marjolijn Snippe, Maria Ivone Soares, Dr. Takehiko Uemura, Maria Vizdoaga, Kelci Wilford

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Research and Seminars



Former Board Member Representative, Youth Climate Ambassadors (YCA)
She was one of the 30 Young people selected by the United Nations Youth Envoy office to be part of the Abu Dhabi Climate Action Meeting, supporting the organization of the first ever United Nations Youth Climate Summit in 2019. Joyce has also been invited to join the group of leaders ‘Women Rise for All’ – a global effort to save lives and protect livelihoods, urging leaders worldwide to address the human crisis of the pandemic, to support the United Nations Secretary- General‘s call for solidarity and action in response to the impacts of covid-19.

Joyce is co-founder of several organizations like the Latin American Observatory of Geopolitics of Energy (Infrastructure, Technology, Security and Energy Integration) where she acts as the President of the UNILA (Federal University of Latin American Integration) Chapter with the organization Student Energy. The Binational Youth Collective of the Parana Basin 3, and the Foz do Iguaçu Educative & Environmental Observatory. In Paraguay she co-founded the National Youth Network for Water, and the Youth Network for Climate Action Paraguay, organizing since 2016 the National COYs (Conference of Youth on Climate Change). Joyce is a member of the World Youth Parliament for Water WYPW (also part of the Blue Peace Initiative, promoting water transboundary cooperation), and the Climate Reality Project Brazil.

Assoc. Professor Hung-jen Wang

Resident Research Fellow (Taiwan)
Meet CUNCR Fellow Hung-jen Wang, associate professor in political science at National Cheng Kung University, Taiwan, and expert in China’s rising role in the field of global governance. Aside from his MA in International Security from Josef Korbel School at the University of Denver and Ph.D. in International Politics from ERCCT at the University of Tübingen, Germany, Wang is the author of The Rise of China and Chinese International Relations Scholarship and co-author of Balance of Relationships: China and International Theory. Now part of CUNCR’s Fellowship programme, Wang presented a research report, entitled “The Predicament of Global Governance Practices: Review COP23 Achievements and Chinese Policy,” at the Climate Justice Seminar II. During the event, Wang not only learned from other participants regarding their in-depth views on climate change and justice, but also realized the core values and interests of protecting our environment through activities such as hiking and rafting. Now back in Brussels, Wang will continue to conduct his research project regarding PRC China’s views on global governance reform, especially its position on UN Charter review.

Dr. Saeed Bagheri

Resident Research Fellow (Iran)

Dr. Saeed Bagheri is Visiting Post-Doctoral Fellow at the European University Institute (EUI) where he served as the Max Weber Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Law Department from September 2017 to August 2018. He was a Visiting Fellow at the Lauterpacht Centre for International Law, University of Cambridge (Summer 2018), Visiting Lecturer at University College London (UCL) and Visiting Fellow at the Grotius Centre for International Legal Studies of Leiden University Law School (Spring 2018), and Assistant Professor of Public International Law at Akdeniz University in Turkey (2015-17).

He studied human rights law and international law in Iran and Turkey. He obtained his doctoral degree from Ankara University in 2015. Dr. Bagheri is an Editorial Board of the Scholink published peer-reviewed Journal of Economics, Law and Policy. His main research interests lie primarily in the area of public international law, the law of armed conflict and war studies, law on the use of armed force, international peace and security, human rights, nuclear weapons and disarmament.

Huaru Kang

Resident Research Fellow (China)
Huaru Kang is a PhD candidate in human rights law from Zhongnan University of Economics and Law in China. Before joining the CUNCR, Huaru worked with the United Nations Refugee Agency—the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Ethiopia as a Comprehensive Refugee Response (CRR) Officer, and participated from the front line in the development of the Global Compact on Refugees, which is due to be proposed by the High Commissioner for Refugees in his annual report to the General Assembly in 2018. She particularly supported UNHCR in engaging the Chinese Embassy in Addis Ababa and the Chinese Mission to the African Union in supporting refugees in Ethiopia and more broadly on the African continent. Previously, Huaru worked with the United Nations Office of Legal Affairs in New York and the Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in Geneva as an intern, conducting research on a number of topics concerning public international law and institutional law of the UN. Before her service with the UN, Huaru also conducted research in Columbia Law School as a visiting scholar focusing on human rights, peace and security and humanitarian intervention. Her expertise also lies in the Chinese traditional legal system particularly the influence of Confucianism on it, which enabled her to publish several papers in journals and to participate in writing two books in this area. Currently, her research mainly focuses on China’s approach to human rights, participation of China in international human rights affairs and the global Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF).

Boshko Stankovski

Resident Research Fellow (Macedonia)
Boshko Stankovski is a PhD Candidate at the University of Cambridge, United Kingdom. His doctoral dissertation focusses on peace agreements on self-determination and secession disputes, and the engagement of the international community in the process. He also holds an MPhil in international relations from the University of Cambridge, where his thesis about the international legal aspects regarding the secession of Kosovo was awarded with distinction mark. Boshko Stankovski was a 2014/2015 research fellow at the Program on Negotiation at the Harvard Law School where he studied the complexities of secession negotiations and the role of international law in regard to them. While at Harvard, he organised a research panel on the name dispute between the Republic of Macedonia and the Hellenic Republic. During 2015-2016 he was commissioned as an expert consultant for the Danish Refugee Council and produced a 40-pages report on the legal protection issues regarding the Georgian-speaking community residing in Abkhazia. Before coming to Cambridge, he worked for the Office of the Prime Minister of the Republic of Macedonia. He is a co-founder and the first president of the Centre for Intercultural Dialogue, one of the most active youth NGO in the Republic of Macedonia, which focusses on conflict prevention and resolution by fostering intercultural dialogue and understanding. He was also the McCloskey Fellow at the Institute of Russian and East European Studies in Bloomington, Indiana, USA (2010), and a visiting scholar at the Sydney Law School, Australia (2012). He is a senior collaborator of NNEdPro, University of Cambridge, researching on international legal and political aspect regarding the right to food. He has presented at many international academic conferences and his work has been published in international peer-reviewed academic journals.

Assistant Professor Antonios Kouroutakis

Resident Research Fellow (Greece)

Dr. Antonios Kouroutakis is Assistant Professor at IE University in Madrid, Spain and he has taught a variety of law courses and conducted research at the City University of Hong Kong, the Free University of Berlin, FVG Sao Paolo, and Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. Kouroutakis received a DPhil in Law from University of Oxford and an LLM form UCLA School of Law. Dr. Kouroutakis’ research interests lie mainly in the field of constitutional engineering, public law and regulation.

In particular, Dr Kouroutakis is interested in the concept of separation of powers, rule of law, emergency legislation, and the regulation of new technologies; he has published widely on these topics in international and peer reviewed journals, and his work has been cited in numerous reports while his research on the constitutional value of sunset clauses was cited by the British Parliament.

Maria Vizdoaga, LLM

Resident Research Fellow (Moldova)
Maria Vizdoaga is a recent graduate from Columbia Law School in New York where she got her LL.M degree in International Law and Humanitarian Law. Before joining the CUNCR, Maria completed three internships with the United Nations in New York in the Conduct and Discipline Unit, Management Evaluation Unit and the Office of Legal Affairs. During her service with the Office of Legal Affairs, Maria supported drafting a report on the criminal accountability of UN staff members and experts on mission. She is also the recipient of the Postgraduate Public Interest and Government Fellowship offered by Columbia Law School. Maria also has a Masters in European Union Studies from Leiden University, the Netherlands and a Bachelors in Law from the Academy of Economic Studies of Moldova. Her academic and professional interests include criminal accountability of UN staff members in peacekeeping missions, the role of the United Nations in peacebuilding and peacekeeping, as well as the cooperation between the European Union and the United Nations. Previously, she worked for the East Europe Foundation in Chisinau, Moldova where she supported the implementation of gender equality projects that aimed at increasing women’s participation in decision-making in politics and other initiatives that aimed at furthering the democratization process in Moldova. As a fellow with CUNCR, Maria will focus on research and implementing projects on the Security Council Reform and the world’s Parliamentary Assemblies.

Mais Qandeel, PhD

Resident Research Fellow (Palestine)
Mais Qandeel is a lawyer with twelve years of experience in litigation and international public law, focusing on human rights and comparative constitutional law. Currently, she is working on the publication of her Ph.D. dissertation as a monograph, titled “Enforcing Human Rights of Palestinians in the Occupied Territory.” She completed her Ph.D. studies at the University of Fribourg, Switzerland, and her Master of Law at the University of Pittsburgh, USA. Mais was a Guest Researcher (2013-2017) at the Institute of Federalism, University of Fribourg, Switzerland. She was the Head of the International Humanitarian Law Unit at the Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) and was teaching international public law at Al-Quds University in Palestine. For more than five years, she was a practicing lawyer in Palestine and was a legal advisor at the PRCS. As a Research Fellow at CUNCR, Mais is interested in conducting research on global governance and UN Security Council Reform through collaboration with EU public officials, diplomats and scholars in Belgium.

Aideé Saucedo

Resident Research Fellow (Mexico)
Meet CUNCR Fellow Aideé Saucedo, who has worked the past 8 years to build a career in international development cooperation, providing policy and technical advice to high-level political actors from supranational, national and subnational governments. She has been passionately working on and researching areas such as South-South cooperation, climate change and migration. Furthermore, Aideé has actively participated in multilateral and bilateral forums with interventions regarding South-South cooperation, climate change, the Sustainable Development Goals and human rights that are linked either to the environment and/or migration. Based on this, and seizing the opportunity of being based in the political centre of the EU in Brussels facilitated by CUNCR’s Fellowship programme, she is specifically analysing the European Union’s agenda regarding climate change and energy, the assistance it provides to developing countries to limit climate change, and if this assistance is directed to non-state actors – such as private enterprises, research institutions, or NGOs. The research project is largely based on semi-formal interviews with EU’s public officials from relevant units such as the European External Action Service – EEAS and European Commission – Development & Cooperation – EuropeAid.

Jamie M. Sommer

Resident Research Fellow (USA)
Meet CUNCR resident research fellow: Jamie M. Sommer who will receive her Ph.D. in Sociology from the State University of New York at Stony Brook this October. This fall she will be at Stockholm University for a postdoctoral position in the Department of Political Science. Jamie received her Masters in Sociology from the State University of New York at Stony Brook and B.A. from Montclair State University. Her research and teaching interests broadly include the environment, health, gender, globalization, and statistics. During her fellowship at the Center for United Nations Constitutional Research, she will collect data and carry out research concerning global governance in forestry.

Balla Sankareh

YCA Board Representative, The Youth Council and Climate Ambassadors
Founder and President of Kantora Action for Green (KAG), and Carbon Offset Project partner (Gambia)

Etienne R. Bowie

Etienne R. Bowie has a Bachelor of Science in business where he focused on studying business, economics, and finance. He has experience in administration in the non-profit sector, and has skills in research analysis, digital marketing, and development. He is also experienced in bookkeeping, customer relations, and database management.

Jennifer Froden

Jennifer Froden is a Swedish national educated in the United States of America, where she obtained a bachelor’s degree in criminology and Human Rights at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. During her studies she conducted research for the Center for International Human Rights (CIHR) at John Jay to further develop her knowledge within human rights and global development. She is currently enrolled in a LL.M programme at the Brussels School of International Studies where she is studying International Law with a specialization in Foreign Policy. Alongside with her studies she is also working part-time at a Swedish law firm, Advokatfirman Vinge. She joined CUNCR in 2017 as a volunteer to improve her knowledge of global governance

Princess M. Alegre

Client and Partner Relationship Analyst
Princess Alegre is originally from the small town of Albay, Philippines, and she holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science in 2002 from Divine Word College of Legazpi, Legazpi City. Philippines. She was involved with several related groups in the past which have similar objectives to CUNCR when she was in college. She has done lots of volunteering work and extension services to those less fortunate in her country. She worked as an Assistant Secretary at the City Legal Office of Legazpi, then joined one of the subsidiaries of the leading Beverages Company in the Philippines as a Key Accounts Representative. After moving to Dubai, UAE in 2007, she learned the core foundations of administrative work and customer service while working as an Executive Secretary in a Foreign Exchange House. She now works as a Senior Sales Executive in Dubai, covering Middle East, Africa, and Central Asia, as well as helping CUNCR as a Client and Partner Relationship Analyst. She has a passion for justice and equality. Generally, she is interested to know more how NGOs like CUNCR can contribute globally in addressing poverty and equality among people.

Kelci Wilford

Kelci Wilford recently received her LLM with distinction in Human Rights Law with a specialization in International Law at University of Kent Brussels School of International Studies. Her main areas of interest are international criminal law, the ICC, and transitional justice. She also holds an honours degree in International Studies with a specialization in International Cooperation and Conflict from her home country of Canada.

Francisco Plancarte

Francisco Plancarte, a graduate of Mexican and USA law schools, with specialty in domestic and comparative laws, has been a practicing lawyer in the state of Jalisco in Mexico for nearly 40 years.

In addition, Mr. Plancarte, since 2001, when he founded the non-profit, Planetafila AC (accredited by the UN DPI), has been active in civil society and NGO activities advocating United Nations reform and promoting Charter review and establishment of a global parliament (PARMUN). His current civil society efforts, with collaboration with several other Mexican NGOs, is focused on amending Article 39 of the constitution of Mexico to adhere to a federation of nations based on parliamentary representation of global citizens.


Egresado de la facultad de Derecho de la UNAM y Maestro en Derecho Comparado, becado por la New

York University (NYU 1969-1970)

▪ Abogado fiscalista y corporativo para la creación de diversos grupos empresariales como:

Grupo Zapata, Organización Autrey, Grupo Herdez; Grupo Corvi

▪ Asesor de la Asociación Mexicana de Distribuidores de Automotores (AMDA)

▪ Consejero Nacional de COPARMEX (1982-1994)

▪ Presidente del Capítulo Jalisco de la barra mexicana, Colegio de Abogados del 2002 a 2004

▪ Actualmente miembro de:

La Barra Mexicana, Colegio de Abogados desde 1971

AMEXE Asociación Mexicana de Expresidentes Empresariales A.C.

Interamerican Bar Association con sede en Washington D.C. desde 1970

▪ Miembro de Union Internationale des Avocats con sede en París (1980 – 1985)

▪ En alguna ocasión miembro de:

Barra Internacional de Abogados con sede en Londres

American Bar Association con sede en Chicago

▪ Consejero de diversas asociaciones y cámaras empresariales como:

Presidente del Consejero Directivo del Capitulo Pacifico de la US-México Chamber Commerce de

2012 a 2014

▪ Activista en el ámbito internacional:

Participó en diversos congresos y eventos del Programa DPI/NGOS de la ONU en México y

Nueva York

Ha participado en eventos de ongs en Ginebra, Bruselas, Paris, Nicaragua, Japón, Norte de

África, Libia y Marruecos

En 2012 en Filipinas fue nominado para un premio por la Paz mundial por la Gusi Fundation

▪ Conferencista sobre la revisión de la carta de San Francisco de la ONU, con el fin de crear conciencia de

la necesidad de transformar la Asamblea General de la ONU hacia un Parlamento Mundial, con

fundamento en al artículo 109 de dicha Carta.

▪ Promotor junto con estudiantes universitarios y otras ONGs de varios modelos del Parlamento Mundial

Ciudadano en el Congreso de la Unión al igual que la reforma al artículo 39 de la Constitución Mexicana

hacia la adhesión a México a una federación de Naciones con sistema parlamentario.

▪ Fundador de Planetafilia A.C. en el año 2001 y la resolución PARMUN, donde se propone la creación de

un parlamento mundial ciudadano, organismo que se entregó a un grupo de jóvenes universitarios.

▪ Presidente de diversos clubes rotarios, y a nivel internacional promotor ante el Consejo de Legislación

de Rotary Internacional la Declaración Rotaria por la Paz Mundial, que fue aprobada por dicho Consejo

de R.I. en el año 2010

▪ Socio actual del despacho Guzmán y Plancarte con el apoyo de servicios notariales de la Notaria 49

▪ Director General del Centro Mexicano de Responsabilidad Global CEMERG, A.C.

Actividades ciudadanas

▪ Representante del PAN ante el Consejo electoral del Estado de Jalisco, durante los años 1997-2000

▪ Comisionado Federal del Partido Acción Nacional de la elección presidencial de 1987 y 1988

▪ En el año 2005 renunció voluntariamente al Partido Acción Nacional para continuar dirigiendo la ONG

internacional: Planetafilia, A.C. acreditada ante el Programa DPI/NGOS de la ONU, así como la

implementación de la Resolución PARMUN hacia un Parlamento Mundial Ciudadano en cuatro etapas


The Late Professor Joseph E. Schwartzberg

The Late Joseph (Joe) E. Schwartzberg was a life-long peace and justice activist. He served in numerous leadership capacities at the international, national and local levels in organizations associated with the World Federalist Movement, including on its international Council. In 1995 he was one of the founders of the Minnesota Alliance of Peacemakers, and in 2014 established the Workable World Trust, of which he was Director Emeritus. He wrote three books and numerous articles on matters relating to global governance. His book, Transforming the United Nations System: Designs for a Workable World, was published by the United Nations University Press in 2013, and has been warmly endorsed by former UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali and many other prominent global thinkers. Along with his colleague Nancy Dunlavy, he also completed a Study and Discussion Guide to accompany that book.
Translations of both the book and the Guide have been published in Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Russian and Spanish. The Late Joe taught geography (with an emphasis on political geography) and South Asian studies at the University of Pennsylvania, 1960-64, at the University of Minnesota, 1964-2000, and at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, 1979- 80, and published extensively on South Asia. The Late Joe was an active founding member of CUNCR until his passing in late 2018. The legacy of his commitment to CUNCR’s work and better global governance lives on through the Late Joseph E. Schwartzberg Workable World Trust Fellowship.

The Late Dr. John O. Sutter

Member of the Board
The Late John O. Sutter was an international activist all his adult life, starting as a combat soldier in World War II. In the Forties he worked in Military Government, joined a student tour of Western Europe, and earned his B.S. (Foreign Service) and M.A. (History & Economics) at Washington U. For the next four decades he was an Asianist, starting as Vice Consul in Shanghai and serving 6 tours of duty in Indonesia and earning a Ph.D. at Cornell U. He worked 8 years in Malay(si)a; one in Pakistan; and served, inter alia, as Director of Program Management/Grant Administrator at The Asia Foundation’s San Francisco Office. Living in Europe and Asia, Sutter felt a need for finding a way to a well-governed world.
He joined the World Federalists’ Northern California branch in 1986, and served as editor, treasurer, vice president and then President. On the Board of Directors of the national World Federalist Association in 1993 he helped organize the San Francisco hearing of the U.S. Commission on Improving the Effectiveness of the United Nations. As a Councillor of the international World Federalist Movement, in 1995 he organized its World Congress in San Francisco, including a symposium on “Restructuring the U.N.: Achieving Democratic Global Governance for the 21st Century.” In 2004 he incorporated and founded Democratic World Federalists, stepping down as President in 2012.
The Late John was an active founding member of CUNCR until his passing in early 2019. The legacy of his commitment to CUNCR’s work and better global governance lives on through the Late John O. Sutter Fellowship.

Daniel Schaubacher

Member of the Board
Daniel Schaubacher is a management consultant who presently serves as representative to the European institutions of EBBF – a business ethics professional network specializing in CSR and values-driven leadership in 60 countries. His career has encompassed marketing, economic analysis and trade promotion positions at Nestlé, Lémania/Omega Watch now Swatch group, Bobst Machinery, and the US Department of Commerce. A native of Switzerland, he served as President of People to People Belgium ASBL (international recipient of PTP Outstanding Leadership Award), and a member of the Brussels-EU chapter of the Club of Rome and as board member of the Europe of Cultures Forum
In December 2007, he was awarded a “De Pluim” prize by the King Baudouin Foundation for “continued contributions to peace and business ethics”. He is a past president and honorary member of the Swiss World Federalist Association, and a member of the UN Association of Flanders, Belgium and Belgium’s UN Association. In Switzerland, he served on the executive committee of the Swiss UN Association at the time of the campaign for Switzerland’s full membership in the UN.

Dr. Margaret Ainley

Resident Research Fellow (Kenya/UK)

Maggie is what some have called a reluctant academic.  Driven by an inordinate sense of purpose to better understand the nature of leadership and governance on the African continent and in her home country Kenya, she recently undertook her PhD studies in International Relations at the London School of Economics.  Her thesis, ‘A Re-Imagining of the State in Africa’ sought to move away from the traditionally state-centred analysis of politics and state in Africa, focusing instead, on the role of ideas and leadership in shaping state formation processes on the same.

Prior to joining the LSE, Maggie worked as a research consultant at the Institute for Security Studies and thereafter, joined the Kenya Institute of Governance where she led a series of nationwide workshops on Collaborative Leadership and Dialogue in Kenya in conjunction with the United Nations Development Programme.  Bringing together key leaders in government, civil society and the public sector, the programme aimed at supporting the transformation of Kenya’s leadership through the development of effective and holistic strategies for managing and resolving differences while building inclusive processes that advance governance.  

Maggie is an ESRC scholar and more recently, a postdoctoral researcher at the Firoz Lalji Centre for Africa at the LSE.

Imad Antoine Ibrahim

Resident Research Fellow (Lebanon)
Imad Antoine Ibrahim is a PhD Candidate in Law at the Institute of Law, Politics and Development (DIRPOLIS), Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy. Through his PhD, he is examining the relationship between international water law and human rights agreements applicable to water. He is also a Research Associate at gLAWcal – Global Law Initiative for Sustainable Development, Essex, United Kingdom and a Non-Resident Research Fellow at the Center for Innovation in Gas Research and Utilization (CIGRU) & Institute of Water Security and Science (IWSS), West Virginia University, United States. He has been working on global environmental issues for the last 4-5 years where he spent 3 of them working on European commission projects in China on topics related to Climate change, energy, and environmental protection. Imad is also an Energy policy expert at the Lebanese Oil & Gas Initiative – LOGI, Beirut Lebanon. Previously, he was an EU commission Marie Curie Fellow at Tsinghua University School of Law, THCEREL—Center for Environmental, Natural Resources & Energy Law and at the CRAES—Chinese Research Academy on Environmental Sciences in Beijing (China). He also worked as a researcher in several European and Italian institutes and universities such as the University Institute of European Studies (IUSE) and Università degli Studi del Piemonte Orientale, Novara. Imad likewise was a trainee lawyer at the Jad Law Firm reviewing international conventions related to conventional energy. He holds a master in European Interdisciplinary Studies, from the College of Europe, Bruges, Belgium, and Bachelor in Law from the Lebanese University “Filiere Francophone de Droit”, Beirut, Lebanon.

Dr. Otto O. Spijkers

Otto Spijkers is Lecturer of Public International Law at Utrecht University, Senior Research Associate with the Netherlands Institute for the Law of the Sea (NILOS), and researcher with the Utrecht Centre for Water, Oceans and Sustainability Law (UCWOSL). He was a visiting lecturer inter alia at Xiamen University’s China International Water Law Programme (China), the China Institute for Boundary and Ocean Studies of Wuhan University (China), the Università degli Studi di Salerno (Italy), and the Université Catholique d’Afrique Centrale (Yaoundé, Cameroon). Previously, he was a PhD candidate and lecturer at the Grotius Centre for International Legal Studies at the University of Leiden. His doctoral dissertation, entitled The United Nations, the Evolution of Global Values and International Law, was published with Intersentia in 2011. He worked as international consultant and coordinator for the United Nations International Law Fellowship Programme. Otto Spijkers studied international law at the University of Amsterdam and New York University School of Law. He studied philosophy at the University of Amsterdam and the University of Malta.

Lucio Levi

Lucio Levi is Professor of Political Science and Comparative Politics at the University of Torino, Italy. He is also Scientific Director of the International Democracy Watch promoted by the Centre for Studies on Federalism, and Member of the Federal Committee of the Union of European Federalists. He is a Former President of the European Federalist Movement in Italy (2009-2015). He edits the journal The Federalist Debate and is the author of 15 books on federalism, European integration, globalisation and international organisations.

Vernita Pearl Fort

Member of the Board
Vernita Pearl Fort is an Evolutionary Systems Ecologist, a Political Economist, a former U.S. Diplomat, and a Research Scholar with the Center for African Studies and with the Women and Gender in Global Perspectives Program, both units at the University of Illinois Global Institute, Urbana-Champaign. Her current research concerns The Africana World and Regenerative Global Democracy: Transforming the United Nations and the International Order through the Arts of Transitional Justice.
When serving as a career-diplomat with the U.S. Agency for International Development for 25 years, Vernita Pearl Fort worked in 40 countries across Africa, the Caribbean, the Middle East, Asia, and Latin America, managing programs with annual budgets of up to two billion dollars.
Vernita Pearl Fort holds a Master of Science Degree from Yale University in Evolutionary Systems Ecology and a Bachelor of Science Degree from the University of California, Berkeley in Natural Resources Management. As a National Economics Association Doctoral Fellow, she studied Economics at the University of Maryland, College Park. She also completed the Economics and Commercial Studies at the United States Foreign Service Institute.
Please find additional information about Vernita Pearl Fort : –

Joyce Najm Mendez

Intern and Program Assistant, CUNCR,
Youth Climate Ambassador, Member of the Board
Technoxamanist, Tedx lecturer and social entrepreneur working on the water-energy-food nexus and transboundary cooperation. MSc candidate Sustainability and Adaptation Planning by the Centre of Alternative Technologies UK. She was one of the 30 Young people selected by the United Nations Youth Envoy office to be part of the Abu Dhabi Climate Action Meeting, supporting the organization of the first ever United Nations Youth Climate Summit in 2019. Joyce has also been invited to join the group of leaders ‘Women Rise for All’ – a global effort to save lives and protect livelihoods, urging leaders worldwide to address the human crisis of the pandemic, to support the United Nations Secretary- General‘s call for solidarity and action in response to the impacts of covid-19.

Joyce is co-founder of several organizations like the Latin American Observatory of Geopolitics of Energy where she acts as the President of the UNILA (Federal University of Latin American Integration) Chapter with the organization Student Energy. The Binational Youth Collective of the Parana Basin 3, and the Foz do Iguaçu Educative & Environmental Observatory. In Paraguay she co-founded the National Youth Network for Water, and the Youth Network for Climate Action Paraguay, organizing since 2016 the National COYs (Conference of Youth on Climate Change). Joyce is a member of the World Youth Parliament for Water WYPW (also part of the Blue Peace Initiative, promoting water transboundary cooperation), and the Climate Reality Project Brazil.

Yasmina Gourchane

Associate Program Manager

Yasmina Gourchane has more than five years experience in NGO advocacy and engagement, most recently as Membership and Outreach Associate for the World Federalist Movement – Institute for Global Policy. In 2016, Ms. Gourchane received a dual Bachelor of Arts degree from Fordham University in International Studies and French Studies. Ms. Gourchane previously served as a Programme Assistant with Parliamentarians for Global Action, a Legal Intern with the Coalition for the ICC, and an intern in the office of the former President of the Assembly of States Parties of the ICC, Ambassador Tiina Intelmann. Ms. Gourchane speaks English and French.
Margaretha Wewerinke-Singh

Margaretha Wewerinke-Singh

Margaretha Wewerinke-Singh is an Assistant Professor of Public International Law at Leiden University and an Adjunct Senior Lecturer in Environmental Law at the University of the South Pacific. Her academic work broadly speaking focuses on the role of law in realising human rights, sustainable development and climate justice. Her recent book, State Responsibility, Climate Change and Human Rights (Hart Publishing) explains when and where State action related to climate change may amount to a violation of human rights. Margaretha’s research builds on more than a decade of involvement in legal processes relating to sustainable development and human rights. Amongst other things, she has acted as a legal adviser to governments at international climate change negotiations, represented non-governmental organisations at the UN Human Rights Council, and advised the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the nexus between climate change and human rights in Africa. She is currently advising the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights’ Regional Office for the Pacific on human rights and climate justice, and serves as the Deputy Regional Director for Europe of the Global Network on Human Rights and the Environment. She is also a founding Board Member of the Climate Justice Fund, a one of a kind financial facility to support the development and use of legal avenues towards global climate justice. 


Margaretha holds a PhD from the European University Institute, a European Master’s in Human Rights and Democratisation (E.MA) from the European Inter-University Centre on Human Rights and Democratisation, a Graduate LLB from Nottingham Law School and a BA (Philosophy) and BSc (Cultural Anthropology & Development Studies) from the Radboud University. She received a Lord Justice Holker Award from the Honourable Society of Gray’s Inn (London) and was called to the Bar of England and Wales in 2014. She is an Attorney at Blue Ocean Law, a boutique international law firm based in Guam specialising in human rights and indigenous rights, self-determination and environmental justice in the Pacific.

Dr. Wolfgang Pape

Dr.Wolfgang PAPE is currently free writer and lecturer after recent Fellowships in Seoul and Taipei, having served the European Commission over thirty years. His last diplomatic posting was as First Councillor in Tokyo, where he managed the EU-Japan Centre. Previously in Brussels, he was in charge of the ‘Asia Strategy’ and contributed to the ‘White Paper on Governance’ of the EC. In the 1990’s, Wolfgang worked in the think tank of EC President Delors (incl. a fellowship at the Brookings Institution, USA). Beforehand, he coordinated Asian cases in anti-dumping, after having served the EC during six years in Tokyo until 1988.

Educated in Kassel (D) and New York (USA), he studied law and economics at the universities of Marburg (D) and Genève (CH), researched for his PhD during two years at Kyoto University (J) and Harvard (USA) following his study of Japanese in Osaka (J). He received his Dr.iuris in Freiburg (D) with his book on Japanese law, before joining the EC in 1982, after work as Advisor at the Embassy of Japan in Bonn (D).

His publications in English, German, Japanese and French cover Europe and Asia as well as global governance, for which he coined the term “Omnilateralism” (see

Fani Tsaroucha

Resident Research Fellow (Greece)
Fani is a junior Earth Scientist that is currently developing the framework of the Carbon Offset Programme. Her work focuses on reviewing the science behind the capacity of trees to sequester Carbon Dioxide. She also researches the selection of the geographical areas of the Carbon Offset Programme in correlation with the suggestion of Dr. Joseph Schwartzberg on an equitable theoretical reordering of the world and a new global governance architecture. Her responsibilities expand to the design and management of the various tree-planting partnering projects.

Michele Fiorillo

Resident Research Fellow (Italy)

Shabira Rogers


Undergraduate student at University of California, Davis. Majoring in Political Science and Chinese Language and Literature; with a minor in French. President and Event Coordinator of California Women’s List, UCDavis Chapter; an organization which promotes pro-choice democratic women in office.

Plans to get an LLM in International Law once she graduates in June 2020.

Anne-Laure Baldacchino


MA student in International Relations and European Studies at Paris I Panthéon Sorbonne University with a minor in Chinese at l’Inalco in Paris. She also graduated with honors from a Bachelors in Public Law and Political Science at the Catholic University of Paris. Before joining CUNCR, Anne-Laure was highly involved in Model United Nations in Paris and other European cities. 

Mamdouh Alqudsi

Communication and Partnership Associate Youth Climate Ambassador

MA social integration student in Budapest EötvösLoránd University (ELTE),  his program focuses on multicultural education, social inclusion, and Human Rights. His areas of interests are migration and integration. He is the International Student Ambassador of his university and he is working on raising awareness among university students about the current climate crisis.

Blanca Trepat

Associate Program Manager and Youth Climate Ambassador

Law graduate who received her Master’s degree in European Law with a specialization in Human Rights Law at Maastricht University, Netherlands. Her main areas of interest are International environmental law and equality and anti-discrimination law. Before joining CUNCR, Blanca completed an internship at the Spanish Permanent Mission to the United Nations in Geneva in the Human Rights Department where she drafted reports on a number of topics discussed during the Human Rights Council and conducted research. She also completed an internship at the Spanish Permanent Representation before the European Union in the Environment Department.

Dr. Bob Hanson

Treasurer & Member of the Board
Dr. Robert Hanson has his doctorate from Indiana University and taught at San Diego State University for 23 years. He is currently treasurer of the Democratic World Federalists of San Francisco and a board member of the Mt. Diablo Peace and Justice Center of Walnut Creek, CA. In 2009 he received the “Local Peace Hero” award from the center.
He is the co-author of three books on youth camping and taught camp administration at SDSU. Currently he is living at Rossmoor, a retirement communittee, where he writes regular columns for the Rossmoor News under the banner of the Progressive View and is editor of a column called “Earth Matters”.

Dr. Thomas Muinzer

Dr. Thomas L Muinzer is from Northern Ireland, and undertook his qualifying law degree and other legal qualifications at Queen’s University Belfast. He has been a friend/member of CUNCR for some time now, commencing collaboration with the group almost 3 years ago, and contributes to the group as an academic advisor. He is currently a Lecturer in Law at the Centre for Energy, Petroleum and Mineral Law and Policy at Dundee, Scotland. He has been involved in an advisory capacity with a broad range of energy, environmental and other actors, including NGOs, political representatives in the UK’s devolved governments, and others.

He has written two books, one of which is the first monograph on the world’s first case of a national Parliament implementing economy-wide legally binding long-term emissions reduction targets in national framework legislation order to combat climate change:
He is currently compiling the first edited collection on state-level climate framework legislation for Hart Publishing.

He is Co-editor of Freckle Magazine, the sustainability-themed magazine that celebrates people and place in Ireland and beyond, read widely in Ireland –

Richard Samuel Deese

Richard Samuel Deese grew up in Claremont, California, not far from Los Angeles. After earning his bachelor’s degree in history at the University of California at Berkeley, he traveled to East Asia, where he taught English Composition at Nanjing University in China. He first came to Boston University to study poetry and then returned to earn his PhD in History in 2007. Deese is the author of We Are Amphibians: Julian and Aldous Huxley on the Future of Our Species (2015), Surf Music (2017), and Climate Change and the Future of Democracy (2019). He currently teaches History at Boston University.

Dr. Antonios Kouroutakis

Dr. Antonios Kouroutakis is Assistant Professor at IE University in Madrid, Spain and he has taught a variety of law courses and conducted research at the City University of Hong Kong, the Free University of Berlin, FVG Sao Paolo, and Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. Kouroutakis received a DPhil in Law from University of Oxford and an LLM form UCLA School of Law. Dr. Kouroutakis’ research interests lie mainly in the field of constitutional engineering, public law and regulation.

In particular, Dr Kouroutakis is interested in the concept of separation of powers, rule of law, emergency legislation, and the regulation of new technologies; he has published widely on these topics in international and peer reviewed journals, and his work has been cited in numerous reports while his research on the constitutional value of sunset clauses was cited by the British Parliament.

Fritz Pointer

After teaching at Contra Costa College in San Pablo, California for 27 years, Fritz Pointer is now Professor Emeritus, Department of English and African American Studies. He received Masters in African History from UCLA and in African Literature from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Professor Pointer has published numerous scholarly and creative works and articles. During the 1960’s he was a political activist in Oakland, California: Director of the Pan African Cultural Center and a founding member of the Black Panther Party of Northern California. In those years he wrote polemical essays and poetry. His books include: A Passion to Liberate: La Guma’s South Africa – “Images of District Six” (2001); and, African Oral Epic Poetry: Praising the Deeds of a Mythic Hero (2013). He is also, the older brother of the internationally known singing group, The Pointer Sisters.

Dr. Roger Kotila

Member of the Board
Roger Kotila, Ph.D. is a psychologist and peace activist. The President of Democratic World Federalists based in San Francisco, he is also a U.S. Vice President for the World Constitution and Parliament Association and a Senior Fellow with the Institute On World Problems. Dr. Kotila is the editor for DWF NEWS and Earth Federation News & Views, with a priority to introduce WCPA’s Constitution for the Federation of Earth (aka “Earth Constitution”) as a resource and model constitution available for UN Charter review.
Dr. Kotila received his doctorate in clinical psychology from Washington State University with an internship at Palo Alto Veterans Administration Hospital in conjunction with Stanford University Psychiatry & Psychology Departments. He has a wide range of clinical experience and interests including extensive work with sociopath’s (i.e., the Antisocial Personality Disorder).

Andreas Bummel

Andreas Bummel, born in Cape Town, South Africa, is co-founder and director of Democracy Without Borders and of the Campaign for a UN Parliamentary Assembly which is supported by 1,500 current and former members of parliament. Among other things, Andreas organized the campaign’s five international meetings on a UN Parliamentary Assembly thus far. The most recent one was hosted in the European Parliament in Brussels in 2013.
In recognition of his work for a world parliament, he was elected as a fellow by the World Academy of Art and Science and was awarded the Society for Threatened Peoples‘ honorary membership. In 2017, Andreas published a major German book on a world parliament and world federalism (with Jo Leinen, Member of European Parliament). The English edition is forthcoming.

Marjolijn Snippe

Member of the Board


Marjolijn Snippe holds a master’s degree in international law from the University of Amsterdam. She is a founding member of the Centre for United Nations Constitutional Research (CUNCR). Marjolijn Snippe, for several years was Erskine Childers research-assistant (reform and renewing the United Nations), and co-editor of “Erskine Barton Childers – For a democratic United Nations and the Rule of Law”, published by the Dag Hammarskjold Foundation in 2011. She is also a board member of the World Federalist Movement in the Netherlands (WFBN), and co-editor of the WFBN-quarterly “Eén Wereld” (One World).