Jonathan Somer is the founder of Persona Grata Consulting. He is a senior expert in international law and policy relating to armed conflict and fragile states, with specialisation in international humanitarian, human rights & criminal law, counter-terrorism measures, and violence reduction. His specific expertise on non-state actors has been recognized with the awarding of the 2007 Henri Dunant Prize, in honour of the founder of the International Committee of the Red Cross. Ultimately, Jonathan prides himself on bridging divides: between legal and policy fields; between grass roots and diplomatic circles; between conflicting parties. He has a strong sense of strategic vision and a proven track record developing, leading and contributing to innovative expert global legal and policy processes aimed at improving respect of human rights and humanitarian norms, and a successful track record of advocacy at the international level. These contributions to global discourse build upon his work in creating ground-breaking programs towards the protection of civilians. He also has extensive experience creating and delivering training programs for professionals, students and armed actors, while being a sought-after contributor to roundtables, workshops and seminars. All of the above is combined with excellent research and analytical skills with output of academic and practitioner publications, as well as commissioned studies.
From 2008-2013, Jonathan was Legal Advisor and Programme Coordinator on children and armed conflict with Geneva Call, an international NGO that engages armed non-State actors towards respect for international humanitarian norms. Previously, he worked with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Macedonia, and as consultant with among others the United Nations, the Humanitarian Policy and Conflict Research Programme of Harvard University, and the International Law Department of the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He sits on several experts groups related to armed non-state actors, and is a member of the Editorial Board of the Journal of International Humanitarian Legal Studies. He holds a B.A from the University of Western Ontario, a J.D. from the University of British Columbia, and an L.L.M from the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights.