Verena Knaus is the Global Lead on Migration and Displacement at UNICEF in Switzerland. She previously held a position of senior policy advisor at UNICEF in Brussels. Before this, Verena co-founded the European Stability Initiative (ESI), a policy-oriented think tank active in the Balkans, Turkey, and the Caucasus. There, she spearheaded empirical research and policy campaigns on issues ranging from women’s rights to visa liberalization, political Islam and post-war recovery. She helped develop ESI's unique methodology, combining labor-intensive data collection with real-time, policy-oriented advocacy.
From 2008-2009 Verena advised the former prime minister and mayor of the divided city of Mitrovica, and in summer 2010 she joined Kosovo's Ministry for European Integration as a strategy advisor. She also helped produce the award-winning documentary film series, "Balkan Express: Return to Europe," seen by more than 2 million viewers, and co-authored the first English-language guidebook dedicated to Kosovo.