Chair of the Board
Dr Owen Greene
Owen Greene is the Chair of Management Board at the University of Bradford’s Centre for International Cooperation and Security. He is the author or co-author of 9 books and over 180 research articles, reports or book chapters, plus editor or co-editor of over 15 books, on questions relating to: arms export controls and supplier regimes (including EU, Wassenaar Arrangements, MTCR and NSG) and non-proliferation regimes; arms transparency and confidence-building measures; small arms and light weapons; conflict prevention; democratic governance, security, international assistance and co-operation in conflict-prone regions; security sector reform; regional security (especially Europe, sub-Saharan Africa and East Asia); and the development, implementation and effectiveness of international and regional co-operative arrangements relating to international security and international environmental problems.
He has directed and co-directed numerous research projects relevant to this field, and is the Director of the Consultancy contract on ‘Conflict, Security and Development’ (CSD), between the UK Department for International Development (DfID) and Bradford University’s Centre for International Cooperation and Security, the major framework contract for providing DFID (and the other ‘conflict prevention pool ministries – FCO and MoD) with expert advice and research consultancies on issues relating to conflict, security and development, including conflict reduction and prevention, small arms reduction and control, security sector reform, post-conflict peace-building, assistance to war-torn regions, confidence-building measures and illicit trafficking.
Dr Greene is an internationally recognised expert on issues of conflict and security, and is in high demand as a consultant or special advisor for the UN, OSCE, EU, UK and many governments and multilateral policy negotiations and meetings on such issues. Recent research and responsibilities have included Consultant to the UN, EU, and OSCE on small arms, leader of EU Council mission to Cambodia on co-operation in tackling small arms; Team leader for FCO scoping study on conflict prevention in the Western Balkans; Scoping Study on Security Sector reform in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Dr Greene has extensive and recent experience with conducting and overseeing projects relating to conflict and conflict prevention in West Africa, East Africa, Balkans, and South Asia as well as in Central and East Asia and Southern Africa.
Mr Richard Burge
Richard has been the chief executive of the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry since February 2020. He has led four multi-million pound organisations as chief executive over 18 years; all of them were revenue-based operations delivering public benefits. He has been on the Board and a non-executive chair/director of five multi-million pound operations including companies, charities, two government agencies, and a UK Russell Group university. Richard has worked in over 55 countries, specialising in Africa, the wider Commonwealth, and post-conflict situations.
He was Chief Executive, Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council from 2017 to 2019. For the previous 8 years, he was Chief Executive of Wilton Park, a Foreign and Commonwealth Office agency for conciliation and dialogue on global issues. He was a Commissioner for Commonwealth Scholarships, and on the Council of Durham University. He has been CEO of the Countryside Alliance, Director General of the Zoological Society of London, and for ten years served with the British Council in Africa and the Middle East.
He graduated from Durham University (Hatfield College) in1980 and was a Commonwealth Research Scholar at the University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka (1983-1986). He was born in Hong Kong. Richard is married to Karen (a business coach and mentor) and they have two children and four grandchildren.
Dr John Walker OBE
Dr Walker was Head of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s Arms Control and Disarmament Research Unit (ACDRU) from December 2014 to May 2020 when he retired from the FCO. He joined ACDRU in March 1985. John’s main focus was on the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC), the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), and the UN Secretary-General’s Mechanism for investigating allegations of CBW use. In addition, his work also included UK nuclear weapons and arms control history and nuclear disarmament verification. John served as joint Task Leader for the On-Site Inspection Operational Manual in the CTBT Organisation’s Working Group B in Vienna; and covered on-site inspection issues for the UK delegation at Working Group B from 2002-2020.
John worked on the CWC negotiations for much of his early years in the FCO 1985-1992. He was a member of the UK delegation at six BTWC Review Conferences, four CWC Review Conferences, CWC Preparatory Commission Working Group B Expert Group meetings on verification issues 1993-1997, the BTWC’s verification experts’ meetings (VEREX) 1992-93, the BTWC Special Conference 1994, the BTWC Ad Hoc Group 1995-2001, and at most BTWC intersessional meetings 2003-2019. John was also closely involved in the FCO’s work on UNSCOM in the early 1990s and the UK/US/Russia BW trilateral process 1993-1996.
John participated in seventy on-site inspection exercises in the UK and overseas at a broad range of military and civil sites for the CWC, BTWC, Ottawa Convention, nuclear disarmament verification and the CTBT. In these exercises he played all the key roles such as Chief Inspector, Chief Escort, joint exercise control director, Requesting State Observer and Head of the External Evaluation teams.
John obtained his PhD (British Attitudes to Nuclear Proliferation 1952-1982) at the University of Edinburgh in 1987. Dr Walker was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for 2020 for services to British foreign policy.
Ms Laura Rockwood
Laura Rockwood was appointed as Executive Director of the VCDNP as of 1 June 2015. She was most recently a Senior Research Fellow at Harvard University’s Kennedy School Belfer Center Managing the Atom Project. Ms. Rockwood retired in November 2013 from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) as the Section Head for Non-Proliferation and Policy Making in the Office of Legal Affairs, where she had served since 1985. Prior to working for the IAEA she was employed by the US Department of Energy as a trial attorney in radiation injury cases, and as counsel in general legal matters.
Laura Rockwood received a Juris Doctor degree in 1976 from the University of California’s Hastings College of Law, San Francisco, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1973 from the University of California, Berkeley. She is a member of the State Bar of California and of the Washington DC Bar Association.
Mr Nicholas Sims
Nicholas Sims is Emeritus Reader in International Relations at the London School of Economics and a leading expert on the Biological Weapons Convention. His publications include Sims, Nicholas A. (2009) The future of biological disarmament: strengthening the treaty ban on weapons. Routledge, London, UK and Sims, Nicholas A. (2006) ‘Legal constraints on biological weapons’ in: Wheelis, Mark and Rozsa, Lajos and Dando, Malcolm, (eds.) Deadly Cultures: biological weapons since 1945. Harvard University Press, Cambridge Mass., USA, pp. 329-354. ISBN 0674016998.
Ms Lisa Tabassi
Lisa Tabassi has over twenty-five years of experience serving in the legal offices of international intergovernmental organisations.
She retired in 2019 from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) where she had been serving as the Head of the Office of Legal Affairs in the Office of the Secretary-General. Previously she respectively served as Chief of the Legal Services Section of the Provisional Technical Secretariat of the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) and Legal Officer in the Technical Secretariat of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) where she primarily provided legal advice to States Parties on implementing legislation as well as the regulatory framework to administer and enforce the Chemical Weapons Convention nationally. Earlier posts included service in the Preparatory Commission for the OPCW, the Iran-United States Claims Tribunal and law firms in the Islamic Republic of Iran and the USA. She has contributed articles or chapters to over 50 publications and has compiled two books: Treaty Enforcement and International Cooperation in Criminal Matters (2002) and OPCW: The Legal Texts (1999, 2009 and 2014). She regularly guest lectured in numerous law faculties in Europe and elsewhere. She holds an LL.M. cum laude in Public International Law with a specialisation in International Criminal Law from Leiden University, a B.A. in International Relations from Schiller University in Paris as well as the Diploma of International Nuclear Law with distinction from the University of Montpellier I.