Board of Directors

Theophane Nikyema CA

Théophane Nikyèma


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.

Annick Murphy

Vice President

Called to the Quebec Bar in December 1980, Ms. Murphy has devoted her career to criminal and penal prosecutions within the Quebec government.

In 1981, she joined the team of the Director of Criminal and Penal Prosecutions (DPCP) in Montreal as a prosecutor, where she focused on the treatment of young offenders. From 2003 to 2007, she served as Deputy Chief Prosecutor at the Montreal Youth Bureau before taking on the position of Chief Prosecutor until June 2012, when she was appointed Deputy Director of Criminal and Penal Prosecutions of Quebec. In July 2014, she assumed the position of Acting Director of this institution until her appointment by the Conseil des Ministres as Director of Criminal and Penal Prosecutions in January 2015. She will hold this position until her retirement from the institution in February 2021. At the time of her departure, the institution had over 1300 employees, including approximately 700 prosecutors.

Ms. Murphy has acted as a speaker, facilitator and trainer for prosecutors, professionals and students throughout her career. She has also accompanied numerous Quebec delegations to promote the Quebec model of intervention with young offenders abroad. In addition to her expertise in the treatment of young offenders, in 2003 she managed the modernization of the computer infrastructure in this field of activity. In 2012, she created the Bureau des affaires de la jeunesse within the DPCP in order to improve and standardize the processing of youth files throughout Quebec.

In September 2014, she was awarded the distinction of Advocatus Emeritus of the Quebec Bar for the excellence of her career.

Jean-Claude Legrand


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.

Darrel Nadeau


Born in a francophone community in Manitoba, Darrel Nadeau grew up on the family dairy farm. He worked as a Foreign Service Officer in Ottawa with the Government of Canada, gaining insight on the public service as well as international affairs and children’s rights before returning to Manitoba to complete a master’s degree in business administration and a Certified Management Accountant designation.

He was Manager in Finance and Administration of the Canadian Centre for Child Protection, a Winnipeg-based national charitable organization, for six years. This is where he discovered his passion for working in the non-profit sector while utilizing his business training. In October 2017, Darrel was appointed Executive Director of Festival du Voyageur, merging his passion for the non-profit sector, his education, and experience, as well as his Francophone heritage.

luis pedernera

Luis Ernesto Pedernera Reyna

Board member

Luis Ernesto Pedernera Reyna was a member of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child, with a mandate for the period 2017/2021. He was Chairman of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child, elected by acclamation and becoming the first Latin American and Spanish-speaking person to chair this body. He was Vice-President of the UN Meeting of Chairpersons of Treaty Bodies. He was the coordinator of the General Debate Day "Strengthening Children as Human Rights Defenders" held in 2018.

He is a member of the working group on individual petitions of the Third Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child. He has visited countries in different regions of the world at the invitation of States, national human rights institutions, children's ombudsmen, United Nations agencies and civil society organizations to help disseminate and implement the conclusions and recommendations.

Member of the Academic Committee of the Certificate of Advanced Studies in Juvenile Justice of the University of Geneva and the Institut de droit de l’Enfant. He is a guest lecturer in undergraduate and postgraduate courses in Uruguay and abroad and the author of numerous articles on children's rights in specialized and academic publications.

President of the Scientific Committee of the World Congress on Juvenile Criminal Justice to be held in Mexico in 2021. She is a member of the Governing Board of the African Child Policy Forum. He was executive secretary of the Uruguayan Coalition for the Follow-up of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. He was a member of the National Honorary and Consultative Council for Children and Adolescents, a coordinating body created by the Code for Children and Adolescents in Uruguay. He was a member of the Board of Directors of IELSUR (Instituto de Estudios legales y Sociales del Uruguay). He was a member of the Coordinating Council of the Latin American and Caribbean Network for the Rights of Children and Adolescents (REDLAMYC), where he represented the Southern Sub-Region (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay).

He has a vast experience in monitoring the adolescent criminal justice systems, has visited and coordinated work teams for the inspection of children's detention centers, in Uruguay and other countries, working specifically in the fight against torture.

In 2011, he founded the National Commission against the Lowering of the Age of Imputability, which worked to stop the constitutional reform that in 2014 attempted to judge adolescents by the adult criminal justice system.

Ulla Kourany


Ms. Kourany has a broad knowledge base and a keen interest in human rights and security issues. After starting her career with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and serving in several African countries for 10 years, she joined the Canadian Foreign Service Institute and worked on a variety of international human rights law issues, such as the Convention on the Rights of the Child and Security Council resolutions 1662 and 1882 on children and armed conflict.

She has led Canada's efforts to expand the definition of children to include other children affected by conflict. She has represented Canada internationally at the United Nations General Assembly, the United Nations Peacebuilding Commission and the United Nations Human Rights Council. She has served as Canada's chief negotiator and chair of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme Reform Committee and other initiatives related to governance issues in the mining industries.

During her career, she also served as Special Assistant to the Prime Minister's Personal Representative for the G8 in Africa. She led the implementation of the 2002 Kananaskis Agreement under the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) and the African Union. Prior to her retirement from the public service in 2019, Ms. Kourany served as head of the Canadian Anti-Daesh and Syria-Iraq Crisis Coordination Secretariat.

Ms. Kourany is fluent in French, English, Spanish and Arabic.

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.

Alexia Tye

Board member

Alexia Tye has senior management experience in both the non-profit and private sectors, which she now brings to the service of children's rights.

Her earlier professional career was at major financial groups (Barclays, HSBC, Groupe Caisse des Dépôts and GIC, Singapore's sovereign wealth fund), with international postings in the Asia-Pacific and Europe. In this context, she managed complex financings from all angles: financial analysis, project management, negotiation, legal, taxation etc. Alexia has worked with a wide range of public and private stakeholders in many countries in the Asia-Pacific, in the water, energy and infrastructure sectors.

Following this predominantly financial experience, Alexia moved on to the world of the environment and sustainable development, joining the Oceanographic Institute, Prince Albert I of Monaco Foundation, as Chief Financial Officer and Secretary General. In addition to her financial, HR, legal and risk management responsibilities, she took charge of philanthropic funding as Director of the Paris office, where she built a network of partnerships with NGOs and private sector entities active in the environmental field.

Currently board trustee and member of the audit committee of the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (UK), board director of Pro Bono Lab (France) and board committee member of European Women on Boards (Belgium and European countries), Alexia has significant experience in governance roles in the education, research and social inclusion sectors.  In addition, through her role as a controller at the IDEAS Institute, a French organisation that certifies good governance practices in the non-profit sector, she is closely involved in regulatory and ethical compliance.

A dual Singaporean and French national, Alexia Tye is a graduate of Oxford University and Paris-Dauphine University.  She is based in Paris.

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