Program Specialist


Grace Escamilla holds an M.A. in Conflict, Security and Development with significant study of migration issues from Kings College London and a B.A. in Philosophy from Presbyterian College in the U.S. Her expertise is in gender equality and women’s empowerment (GEWE), strategic communications, migration and refugees, M&E, identity and ethnic conflict, and preventing violent extremism (PVE/CVE) with a focus on the MENA region. She has drafted a Communication Strategy for an Afghan government entity, evaluated a $14M development project for the EU, conducted a labor market assessment in 12 provinces of Afghanistan for Mercy Corps, collaborated on a toolkit on Women in Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism for UN Women, and presented original research on refugees to a political advisor to President Emmanuel Macron.

In her spare time, she works on projects for global governance for the 21st century and women’s empowerment respectively. She is also the co-founder and head of The Common Sense Initiative, a citizen’s initiative supporting migrants and refugees based in Istanbul. Currently serving as Programme Specialist at the Afghanistan Center for Excellence in Kabul, Afghanistan, Ms. Escamilla has previously worked with a country delegation at UNESCO, Amani Global Works (a local NGO in the D.R. Congo), UN Women, Adam Smith International, YADA Foundation (a local NGO in Turkey), and others. She has lived in the U.S., France, South Korea, Turkey, the U.K., and Argentina with extended stays in Lebanon and the D.R. Congo. She is currently based in Istanbul. She speaks English and French, intermediate Spanish and Turkish, and is learning Arabic and Farsi.