Maria has over 15 years’ experience in peace, human rights, and feminist organizing. Prior to the Nobel Women's Initiative, Maria spent 12 years at the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF), the oldest women’s peace organization in the world, most recently as its Deputy Secretary-General. In this role Maria advocated for peace in the halls of power and at UN and she provided co-leadership and management in the WILPF Secretariat.
Maria serves as a member of the Oversight Group of Ireland’s National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security appointed by the Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs in 2019 and as a member of the Advisory Board of the Centre for Human Rights at University College Dublin.
Prior to working at WILPF, Maria worked for Mary Robinson at Realising Rights in New York and gained experience with various diplomatic, humanitarian and development organisations. She founded Grá (meaning love in Irish) a youth led initiative to mobilize resources and connect young Irish people with communities in rural Kenya in 2006.
Maria is the author of numerous publications including a chapter on “Women, Peace and Security and the Arms Trade Treaty” published in The Oxford Handbook of Women, Peace, and Security. Maria is an Attorney-at-Law and a member of the New York State Bar. She holds a Masters in Human Rights from the London School of Economics.
Maria is passionate about promoting equality, dignity and peace. She is a mother of two children, a native of Ireland, and currently lives outside Geneva. She describes herself as a learner, an advocate, and a passionate changemaker.