Photo of Michele Ferenz

Michele Ferenz

Senior Mediator

Michele Ferenz is a New York-based Senior Mediator at the Consensus Building Institute with more than 20 years of experience as a facilitator, mediator, and trainer helping senior managers in large public and private institutions resolve conflict and collaboratively address complex problems. She has deep expertise in peacebuilding and sustainable development, with a focus on natural resource management and essential service provision. 

Areas of Focus

Michele’s core practice areas are in sustainable development and natural resource management, with a focus on dispute system design, capacity building, and strategic planning in fragile states and post-conflict societies. Her recent work includes serving as team leader of a World Bank-funded energy conflict assessment in Nepal, and as lead coordinator on education, health, and food security in the 2016 Recovery and Peacebuilding Assessment in the Central African Republic. Previously, Michele was the founding director of the Food-Water-Energy Nexus program at the East West Institute. She has delivered dozens of mutual gains bargaining classes to international aid practitioners and taught negotiation theory and practice at Columbia University, the University of Massachusetts, and the Pratt Institute of Design.

Michele has extensive experience in stakeholder engagement in complex situations, having served as Senior Adviser on Sub-Saharan Africa at UNICEF for several years. In 2012, as UNICEF Acting Country Director in Libya, she was responsible for oversight of all programmatic and operational aspects of a new country presence. Michele’s previous work at CBI spanned a decade from 1997 to 2007. In that period, she oversaw CBI’s Middle Eastern portfolio and worked on global multi-stakeholder consultations on trade and climate change. Michele started her career as a journalist in the Rome bureaus of CBS News and The New York Times.  

Exemplary Projects

  • Nepal Energy Conflict Assessment
  • Mediation support to Implement the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises
  • Facilitation training for UN staff undertaking Programme Criticality exercises in high-risk environments
  • IDB-sponsored Negotiation training for Ministry of Education officials in Haiti
  • Facilitation of Strategic Planning retreat on Humanitarian Systems Reforms, Oxfam
  • Facilitation of UN Senior Leadership on SDG Implementation in Europe and Central Asia 


The following is a partial list of clients:

International Organizations

  • Catholic Relief Services
  • Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative
  • Inter-American Development Bank
  • U.S. National Contact Point, OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises
  • UN Development Programme
  • World Bank
  • World Health Organization

Education and Affiliations

Michele earned a degree in Political Science from Brown University and a Master’s Degree in Public Policy from Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.  

Books and Articles