BBC "Expert Women"

Joelle is a member of the BBC Expert Women network of the BBC Academy, which is part of a campaign to increase the number of expert women presenters and contributors appearing on TV and radio in key under-represented areas including science, history, politics, business, engineering, architecture and technology.

Liberal International

Member of the Human Rights Committee

Since July 2019, Joelle is a Swiss delegate to Liberal International-- the world federation of liberal democratic political parties. She has been appointed to Liberal International’s Human Rights Committee and collaborates with 23 other members, spanning 5 continents to work on freedom, human rights and the rule of law.  

United States Commission on International Religious Freedom

Joelle’s work @ United States Commission on International Religious Freedom. USCIRF is an independent, bipartisan U.S. federal government commission, the first of its kind in the world, dedicated to defending the universal right to freedom of religion or belief abroad. USCIRF reviews the facts and circumstances of religious freedom violations and makes policy recommendations to the President, the Secretary of State, and Congress. USCIRF Commissioners are appointed by the President and the Congressional leadership of both political parties.


In cooperation with Cardozo Law Institute in Holocaust and Human Rights, Joelle directed and co-authored a comparative legal research of over 70 blasphemy laws around the world.  She developed a set of indicators to measure the level of their respect to international human rights principles, and the risks for abuse that the laws pose. The study required scoring each country based on a point system, using a coding process. The research includes indicators, among which: (a) freedom of opinion and expression (b) freedom of thought, conscience and religion (c) the precision of the law and its purpose (d) the proportionality of the sanctions (e) whether the law is discriminatory between different belief groups and (f) the impact of Church-State relations on the law.

Joelle and Cardozo are currently working on a following up report for USCIRF on how these laws are enforced in practice across the globe.  

The U.N. Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion

Joelle’s work @ The U.N. Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion :The Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief is an independent expert appointed by the UN Human Rights Council. The mandate holder is invited to identify existing and emerging obstacles to the enjoyment of the right to freedom of religion or belief and to present recommendations on ways and means to overcome such obstacles.


Joelle researched and authored two working documents for the personal use of U.N. Special Rapporteur Heiner Bielefeldt, on the rights of the child to freedom of religion or belief. The topics discussed were: the legal architecture of the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child, with a particular focus on Article 14 and discussion of topics around: the best interest of the child, the evolving capacities of the child, the right to education, parental rights, harmful practices, regional trends, male circumcision and the triangular relationship between state-child-parent.

Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe

Joelle’s work @ the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe. The OSCE is an intergovernmental organisation comprised of 57 states, where decisions are taken by consensus on a politically binding basis. The OSCE has an inclusive approach to security that encompasses politico-military, economic and environmental, and human aspects. It addresses a wide range of security-related concerns, including arms control, confidence- and security-building measures, human rights, national minorities, democratization, policing strategies, counter-terrorism and economic and environmental activities.

Joelle is currently a member of the OSCE/ODIHR Panel of Experts on Freedom of Religion or Belief. The Panel of Experts on Freedom of Religion and Belief was set up by the OSCE’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) in 1997 to help protect the rights of individuals and religious groups. The Panel serves as a consultative body that can be used by participating States, OSCE field missions, and civil- society stakeholders.

Human Rights First

Joelle’s work @ Human Rights FirstHuman Rights First is a nongovernmental organisation based in Washington DC and New York, whose aim is to shape the United States Government positions on human rights.


Joelle developed strategies and built bipartisan coalitions to enhance the U.S. leadership on human rights. She also led diverse partnerships (public officials, diplomats, NGOs', human rights defenders, academics, lawyers and faith leaders) to implement recommendations on a vast range of human rights concerns, for example: upholding free speech at the United Nations Human Rights Council, fighting religious intolerance, combating hate crimes against Roma in Hungary, pushing for constitutional reforms on freedom of religion or belief and freedom of speech in Tunisia , and training human rights defenders in Indonesia. Joelle frequently spoke at panel debates, blogged and moderated public discussions.

Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe in the European Parliament

Joelle’s work @ Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe in the European Parliament.The Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) Party is the party for liberal democrat values in Europe. The ALDE Party provides an increasingly vital link between citizens and the EU institutions.


Joelle advised the Liberal Democrat Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) in their work on the parliamentary committee of the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee (anti-racism legislation, anti-discrimination, EU immigration policies, counter-terrorism legislation, fighting organized crime and human trafficking) and the Women's Rights and Gender Equality committee. She drafted amendments, negotiated resolutions on behalf of the Liberal Democrats with other political parties, ensured the coherence of the political positions of the MEPs, prepared voting lists, wrote speeches and networked with colleagues from other political parties, the Council, the European Commission as well as embassies, think tanks and NGOs. She notably followed closely the EU Framework Decision on Combating Racism and drafted EP resolutions on combating extremism in Europe.

European Parliament

Joelle’s work @ European Parliament: The European Parliament is a multinational parliamentary assembly elected directly by the citizens of the European Union. The 751 members of the European Parliament represent over 500 million citizens from 28 Member States. The Parliament acts as a co-legislator, sharing with the European Council the power to adopt and amend legislative proposals and to decide on the EU budget. It also supervises the work of the European Commission and other EU bodies and cooperates with national parliaments of EU countries to get their input.


Joelle briefed the Brussels media correspondents of all work related to the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs committee, as well as the sub-committees on Human Rights and   Security and Defence. She answered all foreign policy- related questions from EU correspondents (written press, TV and radio). She also wrote press releases and briefing notes on the activities and panel discussions led by the Foreign affairs committee and two sub-committees. Joelle[Office1]  was also co-responsible for Parliament's media coverage of the Convention on the Future of Europe (December 2002-June 2003) which led to the Treaty of Lisbon.

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Membership of organisations

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©2017 by Joelle Fiss