Board of Directors

Théophane Nikyèma

President

Child rights advocate, Mr. Théophane Nikyèma has more than 20 years of experience in international affairs. He served in different senior level positions in non-governmental and intergovernmental organisations. He is a member of the Board of Directors "Keeping Children Safe" a global network of organisations that work together to protect children from all forms of violence, abuse and exploitation. 

From August 2013 to January 2018, he was the Executive Director of the African Child Policy Forum (ACPF) a non-profit and independent pan-African research centre focusing on advocacy and dialogue on the African child. He contributed to elevating the issue of violence against children in Africa and promoted the African Partnership to End Violence against Children. 

Prior to that, he was UNICEF Representative ad interim in Mali, Resident Representative of the United Nations Development Programme, UN Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator in Uganda, UNICEF Deputy Regional Director for West and Central Africa, UNICEF Representative in Rwanda, UNICEF Senior Operations Officer in Tanzania, and Regional Operations Officer for UNICEF South-Asia.

A national of Burkina Faso, Mr. Nikyèma holds a Postgraduate diploma in Human Resources from the Institute of Policy Development and Management, the University of Manchester, UK; a Master of Business Administration from the Peter F. Drucker and Masatoshi Ito Graduate School of Management of Claremont Graduate University, USA, and a bachelor's degree in economics from the Cheikh Anta Diop University, Dakar, Senegal.

Emmanuelle Tremblay

Vice-president

Since January 2018, Emmanuelle Tremblay is a senior advisor at the Locally engaged staff Bureau of Global Affairs Canada. Between January 2015 and December 2017, Ms. Tremblay was elected National President of the Canadian Association of Professional Employees, a union representing 13,000 employees in the federal public service working as economists, statisticians, political analysts, social science researchers, as well as translators, interpreters and terminologists.

In her 15-year career with the federal government before becoming a full-time trade unionist, Emmanuelle held various positions at the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and then at the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD). During almost half of that period, she was Project Officer for the Russia and Colombia Programmes. She was the Senior Analyst for Children’s Rights and Protection, first from 2006 to 2008, and then again from 2012 to 2014. She also worked on the issue of civil society’s role in development aid between 2009 and 2012.

Before joining the CIDA, Ms. Tremblay worked for UNICEF in Russia and Central Asia in the late 1990s, in particular promoting justice for minors from the former USSR. She was also involved in the organisation Defence for Children International, first in the francophone Canada section, then at the international secretariat in Geneva, from 1993 to 1996. She is proud to have been present at United Nations General Assembly on 20 November 1989 for the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. A young adult at the time, she joined a group of Quebecois adolescents participating in that historic moment.

Ms. Tremblay has a Master’s degree in International Public Administration from the ÉNAP (Montreal) and has also studied human rights at the master’s level. She speaks fluent French, English, Russian and Spanish.

Jean-Claude Legrand

Secretary General

Jean-Claude Legrand is a renowned expert in child protection and a strong advocate for children's rights, especially in emergency situations.

Over the last fifteen years, he has provided technical support to almost thirty governments in the development of their strategies for implementing child protection system reforms. His work focused particularly on the decentralization of child protection responsibilities to local actors, including municipalities, regions, social services, medical care, security forces, justice and the education sector.

For more than twenty years, Mr. Legrand worked with UNICEF, measuring the quality of their programmes which allowed him to make a significant contribution to normative developments at both the national and regional levels particularly when it comes to children in armed conflict. Between 1993 and 2001, his mandates with UNICEF in Mozambique and New York allowed him to contribute to the development of the Cape Town Principles on Preventing Child Recruitment in the Armed Forces, and Demobilization and Reintegration of child soldiers in Africa.

Mr. Legrand holds a bachelor’s degree in Private Law as well as a Diploma of Advanced Studies (DEA) in Sociology. He is fluent in French and English and has basic knowledge of Portuguese.

Nadja Furth

Treasurer

Nadja Furth has been the Executive Director of the Goethe-Institut Montréal and Ottawa since 2012. She manages the financial, human and material resources of this German cultural institute, which is largely financed by German public funds. She holds a degree from the École Supérieure de Commerce de Nantes (Audencia) and specializes in finance, accounting and management control.

From 1997 to 2012, she worked at PricewaterhouseCoopers, first as a project manager for various audits in Toulouse and Montreal. From 2004 to 2010, she was mainly a director of the Rio Tinto Alcan Inc. customer account. From 2010 to 2012, she was Business Development Coordinator. Ms. Furth is fluent in French, German and English and has a good knowledge of Spanish.

 

Denisse Araya Castelli

Board member

As the Director of the Chilean non-governmental organization Raices, Ms. Denisse Araya Castelli has been representing ECPAT in Chile since 2008 where she directs various projects on the promotion and development of equality between the sexes, children and adolescents. In addition, Ms. Araya Castelli currently supports various organizations such as the Agency for the cooperation Ayuda Popular Norway, CEDEP (Chile), UNICEF Uruguay and CAM Mexico on project evaluation concerning gender and sex equality.  

Ms. Araya Castelli is also currently the representative of Chile for the Latin-American committee against human trafficking. She has co-authored numerous reports on children and women’s rights for various United Nations’s committees, in addition to producing several evaluations on the respect of international commitments made by the Chilean State for sexual exploitation of children and trafficking. Furthermore, she has conducted many researches and meetings on the working conditions of women in the textile, fisheries and agriculture industries, as well as the commercial sexual exploitation of children and adolescents.

Ms. Araya Castelli holds a license in social sciences from the Catholic University of Lyon (France) as well as a Bachelor degree from the University of Chile. She continues to teach in various universities in Chile, Mexico and El Salvador. Ms. Araya Castelli speaks fluent Spanish and French, and has basic knowledge of English.

Ghizlane Benjelloun

Board member

Ghizlane Benjelloun is an associate professor of child psychiatry and head of department at the Ibn Rochd University Hospital Centre in Casablanca, Morocco. She is a founding member and president of the Moroccan Society of Child Psychiatry and Associated Professions (SMPPA) and organizer of a university degree on baby psychology and psychopathology. She is also a teacher at the Faculty of Medicine and provides specialized consultation in the accompaniment of children and adolescents who are victims of psychological and sexual physical violence. Her department actively collaborates with child protection units. For example, it participates in programmes with judges and judicial bodies to improve listening to child victims of abuse. She has facilitated several conferences and seminars on violence, including training for psychologists and social workers who assist children of Syrian refugees in Lebanon.

Roberta Cecchetti

Board member

Roberta Cecchetti is an expert on children's rights. She has worked for more than 20 years with large and small non-governmental organizations, including 15 years with Save the Children. More recently, she has worked with UNICEF, OHCHR and the Global Partnership to End Violence against Children. She has specific expertise in the field of child protection, including child protection systems, violence against children, corporal punishment, alternative care and the protection of migrant/refugee children. Her areas of work include research, evaluation, strategic planning, policy and advocacy for children and child participation.

She served as Chair of the Executive Committee of Child Rights Connect for three years and is currently Chair and member of the Executive Committee of the Global Detention Project, based in Geneva. Ms. Cecchetti has worked throughout her career in various countries and speaks Italian, English, French and Spanish.

Francois Crépeau

Board Member

François Crépeau is Full Professor and the Hans & Tamar Oppenheimer Chair in Public International Law, at the Faculty of Law of McGill University, as well as the Director of the McGill Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism. He is the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants (2011-2017). In this capacity, he has conducted official visits to Albania, Tunisia, Turkey, Italy, Greece, Qatar, Sri Lanka, Malta, the European institutions in Brussels and Vienna, Angola, Australia and Nauru. He has also produced several thematic reports: the detention of migrants, the protection of migrants’ rights at the external borders of the European Union (two times), climate change and migration, global migration governance (two times),  labour exploitation of migrants, labour recruitment practices, trade agreements and migration. He is guest professor at the Université catholique de Louvain (2010-2016). He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, was a Fellow 2008-2011 of the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation, and is an Advocatus Emeritus of the Quebec Bar Association. He has given many conferences, published numerous articles, and written, edited or coedited nine books. He is a member of the Advisory Committee of the International Migration Initiative of the Open Society Foundations (NY). He is a member of several editorial boards: Journal of Refugee Studies, International Journal of Refugee Law, Refuge, Droits fondamentaux, European Journal of Human Rights.

Joanne Doucet

Board Member

A passionate defender of children’s rights, Joanne Doucet is a renowned expert in the strengthening of child protection systems. Holder of a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Montreal, she was a member of the Quebec Bar Association from 1977 to 2004. Between 1977 and 1994, she worked primarily in the field of children’s rights with the Youth Court and the Superior Court as a partner at Chouinard, Doucet & Côté.

From 1994 to 2012, she worked in international development in the field of human rights. She set up innovative programmes for the fight against child trafficking in West Africa with Save the Children Canada, after which she was appointed Director of Child Protection at the UNICEF country offices in Mali, Nepal and Lebanon. In Nepal, she addressed the issue of children in armed conflicts and the reintegration of child soldiers. During her last mandate in Lebanon from 2010 to 2012, she was also responsible for UNICEF Lebanon’s Palestinian Programme. She has long collaborated with governments on the national and local level, studying their social protection systems and children’s services with the objective of steering strategic planning and programming toward improving existing systems or introducing systems tailored to children’s rights. These interventions were carried out in close collaboration with national and international civil society organisations, academics and local communities. She has long campaigned for stronger child protection systems by contributing to legislative, social and judicial reform processes.

Since moving back to Quebec in 2012, she has volunteered with numerous organisations, including Sun Youth and Centraide. Since 2013, she has been the Student Ombudsman for the Lester B. Pearson School Board and is the substitute Student Ombudsman for the Trois-Lacs and Montreal School Boards. For years, Joanne supported the work of the International Bureau for Children’s Rights on corporate social responsibility and volunteer cooperation. She then joined the Bureau’s Board of Directors in December 2015. She speaks French and English fluently.

Cisse Mariama Mohamed

Board member

Cisse Mariama Mohamed is the Director of Social Affairs at the African Union Commission (AUC). She joined the African Union in 2007 as Permanent Secretary of the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACERWC) of the Department of Social Affairs. Before joining the AU, she worked in her country, Niger, as a deputy prosecutor, judge at the Court of Niamey, then counsel at the Court of Appeal and president of the Criminal Division of the Court of Appeal of Niamey. Passionate about human rights, particularly the rights of children and women, she was the General Secretary of the Association of Women Jurists of Niger, whose objective is to promote and protect the rights of women and children. She was also Vice-President of the National Human Rights Commission of Niger.

Ms. Mariama Mohamed is a graduate of the École nationale de la magistrature de Paris and has received several awards, including the International Federation of Judges, Prosecutors and Lawyers Human Rights Prize in Germany.