Our team includes senior leaders from the UN and experts from a variety of management and global affairs backgrounds. These professionals are constantly in touch with global challenges so they can deliver value for our partners and stakeholders. The team is led by the Director, Jafar Javan, and the Head of Learning and Knowledge Services, Silke Weinlich.

Senior Management Team

Jafar Javan


Jafar Javan brings over 25 years of experience working across the United Nations system in Africa, Asia and the Pacific, Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States. His professional responsibilities span policy development, education, training and employment, community development, and social participation.  He earned a PhD in Psychology from North Carolina State University. His Master’s degree and a Bachelor of Arts in international relations are from American University.

Silke Weinlich

Deputy Director, Learning and Knowledge Services

Silke Weinlich brings over 20 years' experience on issues related to United Nations processes and reforms in various policy fields ranging from peacekeeping and peacebuilding to sustainable development. Prior to joining UNSSC, Silke was Senior Researcher at IDOS, the German Institute of Development and Sustainability, where she led a research and policy advice project on the UN development system and its reform needs. She holds a doctorate in political science, with a specialization in international relations, from Bremen University, as well as a master’s degree in political science from the Free University Berlin.  

Simona Costanzo Sow

Chief, Academic Partnerships  

Simona Costanzo Sow has over 20 years of experience in policy advocacy, partnership building and networking in the inter-governmental sphere, civil society, academia and the private sector.  

Prior to this position, Simona designed and implemented programmes for senior leaders in the United Nations and beyond on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.    She previously worked with the United Nations Volunteers programme, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and as the Director of the Coordinating Committee for International Voluntary Service. 

Simona holds a PhD in Geography from the Technical University of Munich.  

Svenja Korth

Head, Peace and Security Hub

Svenja Korth has served for over 30 years throughout the UN system, including postings in Namibia, Equatorial Guinea, Suriname and Nicaragua. Her areas of focus include partnership building for conflict prevention as well as leveraging internal and external expertise to sustain peace and improve operational outcomes. She holds a Master of Arts (MA) in Applied Anthropology from American University and a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Swahili and Anthropology from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London.

Miguel Panadero

Head, Knowledge Centre for Leadership and Management

Miguel Panadero has 25 years of professional experience in leadership, management and learning within the international public sector. His areas of expertise include multilateral diplomacy, regional development, international law, crisis management, governance and democratic institutions, policy development and human resources management. He holds a Master of Law (LL.M.) from University of Castilla-La Mancha and is an alumnus of the doctoral studies in Regional Analysis programme from University of Castilla-La Mancha, the University of Plymouth and Université Catholique de Louvain. 

Patrick van Weerelt

Head, Knowledge Centre for Sustainable Development

Patrick van Weerelt has over 25 years of experience in sustainable development, governance and human rights. His years of service have included postings at the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNOHCHR), the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations System Staff College. Since 2015, he has led the UNSSC Knowledge Centre for Sustainable Development in Bonn, Germany. He holds a Master’s in Dutch Law from the University of Maastricht, and a Master’s in International Human Rights and Humanitarian Law from the University of Lund.

John Seav

Chief of Operations

John is a Certified Public Accountant and Certified Fraud Examiner. He has over 32 years of experience in accounting, finance, and administration. His areas of expertise cover auditing, budget and finance, fraud prevention, human resources management, procurement and contract management, and logistics. He holds a bachelor's degree in accounting and a graduate diploma in public accountancy from McGill University.

Corporate Affairs
Chiara Piatti

Programme Management Officer, Directorate

Chiara Piatti manages strategic institutional partnerships, initiatives and corporate affairs while also serving as Secretary of the UNSSC Board of Governors. Chiara joined the Staff College in 2001, after working in corporate communications for the private sector. She holds an Executive Master’s in International Negotiation and Policy Making from the Geneva Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (IHEID) and a Bachelor of Arts in European Studies. 

Communications and Outreach
Peter Serenyi

Team Lead, Communications and Outreach 

Peter Serenyi has deep experience in communications, having spent almost 20 years with the UN and through his work as a foreign correspondent. His UN experience includes postings with the United Nations Development Operations Coordination Office (DOCO) and UNDP. Prior to this, he worked as a journalist for diverse media including the Moscow Times, Reuters, and The Economist, where he reported from Moscow, Budapest and London. He holds a Master of International Affairs from Columbia University and a B.A. in history from Washington University in St. Louis.