Kathi Lynn Austin, Executive Director of the Conflict Awareness Project is an internationally recognized expert on arms trafficking, peace and security, and human rights. For nearly 20 years, Ms. Austin has carried out original, precedent-setting and in-depth field investigations into the illegal trade in weapons, illicit trafficking operations, illegal resource exploitation, transnational crime and terrorism. She has documented conflicts spanning Africa, Latin America, East and Central Europe, and South Asia.
Ms. Austin served with the United Nations Group of Experts on the DRC and Liberia as well as Chief of the Joint Mission Analysis Centre for the United Nations Peacekeeping Missions in Timor-Leste and Burundi.
As a lead investigator, advisor and senior consultant, Ms. Austin has not only served with the United Nations but a broad array of multi-lateral institutions and non-governmental organizations, including the World Bank, Human Rights Watch, the International Crisis Group, the Fund for Peace, and the Open Society Justice Initiative, where she currently serves as Senior Advisor for the Anti-Corruption Program. She has also served as visiting scholar at Stanford University and the University of California at Berkeley.
An influential and accomplished public speaker, writer and filmmaker, she has presented at major fora and conferences around the world, written for and been featured in numerous national and international publications and TV outlets, and her award-winning documentaries include: Killing Tradition: The Arming of Africa (2002); Forsaken Cries: The Story of Rwanda (1997); and Africa: Environmental Degradation, Human Deprivation (1994)
“Kathi Austin, a UN arms-trafficking expert… has spent much of the past decade tracking illegal weapons smugglers operating in the DRC and other conflict zones across Africa. Partly as a result of her dogged efforts, the alleged leader of one of the world’s largest trafficking networks, Viktor Bout, was recently arrested on terrorism charges in Thailand.”
- Ban Ki Moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations, “The Real UN,” The New York Times, 2010