Steering Committee

Dennis Hardy

Dennis Hardy

Chairman of the Committee

Professor Dennis Hardy is the former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Seychelles.

He graduated with a first degree in Geography from the University of Exeter, UK, followed by an MA in Geography by research. From there he joined the Greater London Council and qualified at University College London as a professional urban planner. He later became a Fellow of the Royal Town Planning Institute.

After an initial period in planning practice he moved into academia. Following a varied programme of teaching and research he became increasingly involved in university management at Middlesex University London and Dubai.

He obtained his PhD through part-time research in urban planning history at the London School of Economics and in 1988 was awarded a professorship. He has ten well-received books to his name, and research and writing remain important elements of his profile.

He was formerly President of the International Communal Studies Association and is currently a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. As a citizen of Seychelles, he has a particular interest in ocean governance and maritime security.

Diana Benoit

Diana Benoit

Secretary of the Committee

Diana Benoit is the Director of the Centre.

She holds a double degree in Media and Information; and Communication and Cultural Studies from the Curtin University of Technology, Australia.  She also holds an MA in Public Administration from the University of Seychelles and the Eastern and Southern African Management Institute.

She is responsible for setting up the Centre and is also a member of the Research Committee at the University of Seychelles.

Joelle Barnes

Joelle Barnes

Joelle Barnes holds a Master’s degree in Law from the University of Michigan with a focus on comparative International Law and Peacebuilding.

Joelle Barnes is an associate lecturer at the University of Seychelles lecturing Public Law for the Undergraduate LL.B students as well as modules of the Bar Vocational Course. Joelle Barnes is also the Executive Legal Adviser to the Chief Justice of Seychelles.

In 2013, Joelle Barnes was part of a legal team advising numerous small states and NGO interest groups on the final negotiations of the UN Arms Trade Treaty. From 2012 to 2015, she was the Operational Manager of the Sophie Hayes Foundation working with victims of Human Trafficking and speaking widely on the topic.

Marie-Nella Azemia

Marie-Nella Azemia

Mrs Marie-Nella Azemia has had an interesting career path, entering the world of work as a teacher as soon as she ended her studies at the Teacher Training College. This then brought her to the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry Division where she gathered other experiences as an Office Clerk/Forest Ranger.

Opportunities abound, she was recruited by the National Workers Union for a period of ten years, during which time, she was promoted to the posts of Sector Secretary; Sector Officer and Permanent Negotiator.

She later enrolled on the pupilage scheme as an Articled Clerk at the Law Centre in Victoria while, at the same time, studied Law with the University of London as a External Student. The legal knowledge and experiences acquired during this time opened avenues for her personal development.

For the past 20 years to-date, she dedicated her time to doing voluntarily work with NGOs and civil society in thematic areas of gender, peace, human rights, empowerment. For the last nine years to-date, her area of focus is human rights and gender related issues.

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