Eythan Sontag, Moderator
Senior Advisor, U.S. Department of State
Mr. Sontag is a senior advisor in the Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations (CSO) at the U.S. Department of State, where he has worked for 17 years. His current areas of focus include stabilization and conflict prevention policy, field-based operations/programs, and conceptualization and implementation of diplomatic and civilian-military initiatives in conflict zones. He previously served as CSO’s senior coordinator for Department-wide efforts to defeat the Islamic State (ISIS), and as a member the White House Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) summit team, coordinating follow-up activities and policies from the February 2015 Heads-of-State Summit on CVE. From 2010-2013, Mr. Sontag was Director for Africa Operations in CSO. During his tenure at the Department of State, Mr. Sontag has served in Afghanistan, Haiti, Iraq, the Lake Chad Basin, Kenya, Philippines, Somalia, Sudan, and South Sudan.
Ambassador of Mali to the United States of America, Government of Mali
Since presenting his credentials in 2018, Ambassador Nimaga (@MahamadouNimaga) has served as the top Malian Diplomat to the United States and Mexico. Ambassador Nimaga entered the Malian foreign service in 2000. Since 2000, Ambassador Nimaga has held a number of prominent roles, including time at the African Union, where he specialized in multilateral agreements. He is a graduate of Ecole Nationale D’Administration.
Special Advisor, The Carter Center
Ambassador Bisa Williams (@AmbBisa) is the Special Advisor of the Carter Center’s Mission as Independent Observer of the implementation of the agreement for Peace and Reconciliation in Mali. She was a career member of the foreign service of the U.S. Department of State and held a number of senior positions including Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs (2013-2015), U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Niger (2010-2013), Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Western Hemisphere Affairs (2010), Coordinator for Cuban Affairs (2007-2010), and National Security Council Director for International Organizations at the White House (2005-2007). She holds Masters Degrees from the National War College of the National Defense University and the University of California, Los Angeles, and Bachelor of Arts degree from Yale.
Director, Stabilization & Recovery MINUSMA/Mali, United Nations
Loubna joined MINUSMA in April 2014 as a Director of the Department of Stabilization & Recovery, based in Bamako. She has had previous humanitarian experience with UNOCHA as the Head of Office of Mauritania (2012-2014), South Kivu/DRC (2009-2012), and has opened the OCHA office in Mali during the crisis in 2012. She also has Donor Relations & Resource Mobilization experience with UNOCHA in Geneva (2006-2009), extensive experience with the UN World Food Programme in complex emergency contexts and conflict programme management expertise having served in major crises settings as in Angola (1993-1994), Iraq (1999), Central America in 2000 (Nicaragua, Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras), in WFP Headquarters in Rome, Italy (2003 and heading WFP offices in northern Ivory Coast (2005). She holds a Masters Degree in Social Policy & Planning in Developing Countries and Conflict & Ethnic Resolution from the London School of Economics.
Ministry of Defense Liaison Officer, Agence Française de Développement
Lt. Col. Cyrille Thomas is the current Liaison Officer to the Ministry of Defense at Agence Française de Développement in the Fragility, Crisis and Conflicts department for the missions to Tchad, Mali, Burkina Faso. Between 2016 and 2019, he served as the Chief of the Office for Defense Cooperation in Cambodia. Prior to that, Lt. Col. Thomas served in the missions to Mali, Niger, Algeria, Egypt in the Africa division of the Army Headquarters, as well as in several campaigns in Afghanistan as COMISAF counter-insurrection adviser, ISAF Joint Command in the Human environment cell, and as chief of environment cell in Kapisa French Task Force. Lt. Col. Thomas studied international relations at the Ecole Spéciale Militaire de Saint-Cyr in France, did Thai studies at the National Institute of Oriental Languages and Civilization, and studied at the Royal Thai Army Command and General Staff College.