Jessica Berns

As program director for Coexistence International, Jessica Berns provided programmatic leadership to the initiative. She was responsible for the conceptualization and design of CI’s programs, including work with civil society actors on issues of transitional justice and democratization/governance in the West African region. She also oversaw the development of coexistence resources and their strategic dissemination, including a focus paper series that addresses the links between the coexistence field and related fields (human rights, democratization, natural resource management, the arts, etc.). She was responsible for developing CI’s strategic partnership with intergovernmental institutions and with international, regional and local non-governmental organizations. At the start of her tenure, Berns led the participatory strategic planning process that created the framework for CI. During her tenure she was responsible for fundraising and coordinating collaboration with CI’s board of advisors.

As a member of the staff of the Slifka Program in Intercommunal Coexistence and the International Center for Ethics, Justice and Public Life, Berns was responsible for the design and implementation of cross-disciplinary events, on issues such as gender, human rights, and immigration policy.

Before coming to CI, Berns spent five years in Berlin, Germany, at Transparency International, the international anti-corruption non-governmental organization. While there, she worked closely with the Latin American civil society network and in the production of communication and advocacy tools.  Her areas of expertise include international affairs, matters of good governance, including human rights and coexistence and intercultural communication.

Berns holds a master's degree in Law and Diplomacy from the Fletcher School at Tufts University and a B.A. in Spanish from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. She speaks fluent Spanish and German and has lived and worked in Latin America and Europe. She is a board member of the Alliance for Peacebuilding and sits on the advisory board of the 3D Security Initiative.