Meet the Team


Lisa Dietrich


Lisa has worked for CRIS since leaving Ulster University in 2002 and was appointed Director in 2010.  At the core of the passion for her work is to counter the ‘separated/segregated’ nature of the education system in Northern Ireland and engender greater participation in peacebuilding work at the grassroots level by utilising schools as focal points for transformation.

Lisa believes it is essential to present narratives that counter polarisation and that share good news stories that inspire hope and celebrate diversity and our common humanity. 

Lisa is a mediator, has a Masters Degree in Communication, PR and Advertising, and has further studies in business management and intercultural facilitation in divided societies.  Other loves include being a Mummy, taking walks in mountains with her dog Stella, and dreams of getting back into painting – all of which help create the necessary balance in life.


Dr Emily Stanton

Programme Manager

Emily joined CRIS as Programme Manager in October 2020 having worked within the peacebuilding field both in Northern and internationally for over twenty years. Emily was awarded a doctorate in International Conflict and Peacebuilding with INCORE from Ulster University in 2018.

Her professional practice includes research, teaching, and training in peace and conflict studies, education, mediation, trauma and resiliency, and community relations. She is also experienced in conducting community-based monitoring and evaluation on topics of peacebuilding and social cohesion. Emily has two children and lives in East Belfast with her husband, cat, and dog.


Gerard Hughes

Development Officer

Gerard took up the role of Development Officer at CRIS in December 2019. Previous work includes experience of delivering youth work, community relations work, and collaborative partnership work. He has spent 16 years engaged in the education sector under various guises – from volunteering at local community sports and arts events, to organising large-scale creative industry events in partnership with young people and creative industry agencies. Through this experience, Gerard has developed a strong interest in and passion for peace education and community relations initiatives. Having delivered on both Peace III and Peace IV projects, he carries with him plenty of experience of exploring real-life and everyday community relations issues with young people in creative spaces.

Gerard has personal interests in travelling, football & other sports, food, culture and books. He grew up in North Belfast and studied at undergraduate level at QUB, and at postgraduate level at UUJ.

Néidín Hendron.jpg

Néidín Hendron

Project Coordinator

Néidín is Project Coordinator for ‘Buddy Up!’ programme and will be working to deliver the project across the five Urban Village areas in Northern Ireland. Her previous experience includes working as a classroom assistant and within youth charities in both Northern Ireland and England. She is passionate about community relations and social change, in particular through education. She loves to talk and can usually be found at her desk with a coffee and a podcast


Elizabeth Castillo

Administration Officer

Elizabeth is an accountant from Colombia who has been living in Belfast since 2014. She first joined CRIS as a part-time Administrative Assistant in July 2015. Elizabeth has vast experience in working with different types of public corporations and private companies ranging from services trade, electricity, horizontal property managers, and health. This is her first time working within a charitable organisation.

We asked Elizabeth what she thought of her time at CRIS so far and here is what she had to say; “I love working for CRIS because I can share new ideas and have refreshed the administrative management and accounting systems. I love working for a charity that does work to support the breaking down of stereotypes and divisions”


Gareth Gould

Project Worker

Gareth is working to deliver ‘Buddy Up!’ programmes to over 40 primary schools across Belfast & Derry/Londonderry. His previous experience includes facilitation and hosting for a wide range of groups at The Corrymeela Community, teaching music across a number of schools, and work in the local arts sector.
He particularly enjoys working with large groups, embedding his interest in music and play within his facilitative practice. Recently, he has been developing online programmes that schools can access remotely.


Deborah Erwin


A professionally qualified youth work practitioner, Deborah (known to most as Debs) has over 20 years’ experience of full-time youth work and youth service management. She has led a number of initiatives bringing together young people from divided inner-city communities to explore solutions to the issues that divide them and has an ongoing interest in youth work in ‘contested spaces’. Working independently since 2015 she has built a successful consultancy portfolio including research, strategic development, evaluation, training, and facilitation. She authored a resource on ‘Young People & Extremism’ for the British Council/SALTO Cultural Diversity in 2017 and has presented on active citizenship and youth civic engagement in relation to this issue in a number of forums both locally and internationally. Debs gets a buzz from enabling individuals and organisations to view young people as experts of their own experiences and from supporting young people to be co-creators of social change.


Stefania Gualberti


Stefania has been an associate with CRIS since November 2019. She is a trainer, facilitator, and mediator. She has a degree and a Masters in Peace Studies (University of Pisa, Italy). She moved to Belfast in 2008 and has been involved in the peacebuilding and community relations sectors in different roles since then. She is passionate about nonviolence, conflict transformation, diversity and migration, and language.