The Stanley Foundation
Seeking a secure peace with freedom and justice, built on global citizenship and effective global governance.
Jai-Ayla Quest
Program Specialist
Mass Violence and Atrocities

Jai-Ayla Quest contributes to the strategic and programmatic development of the mass violence and atrocities work at the Stanley Foundation. She is guided by the belief that we can do better and make smarter decisions—as individuals, leaders, and nations—so that societies can strengthen resilience to mass violence and atrocities. The team focuses on bridging policy conversations between representatives from government, civil society, the private sector, and the media; building networks and regional approaches to prevention; and streamlining information and connecting policymakers and influencers so that decisions and action are rooted in evidence of what works to prevent the worst forms of violence.

Jai-Ayla has worked across the globe in North and South America, Europe, Africa, and Asia, and she has experience conducting research on the roots of violent conflict in Africa and the Middle East and analyzing structural needs and policy approaches to preventing mass atrocities. She received her Master’s degree in International Security from the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver and her Bachelor’s degree in International Relations at the University of Southern California.

What do you do at the foundation and how long have you been here?

I have been at the foundation since January 2015. I work with my team and collaborators to convene important thinkers and stakeholders to discuss policy issues related to genocide and mass atrocity prevention. One of my main goals is to help ensure our discussions and outputs are meaningful, thoughtful, and make a strong contribution to the policy process. 

What do you like most about your job?

I learn something new every day and work in a field that meets my interests, skill sets, and passions. I am surrounded by hard working, incredibly intelligent, and very fun people—truly an amazing group—and I am happy to have their constant positive influence. Our days are filled with thinking critically about how to make the world a better place and developing activities to pursue that agenda. I feel very lucky.

Where are you from?

I am from Casper, Wyoming, a place most people know because they drive through it on their way to Montana, Colorado, or Yellowstone National Park. Growing up I could not wait to leave Wyoming and see the world. Now that I have had a chance to do a little exploring, I have also learned to love and appreciate where I am from. Wyoming has a lot to offer, especially for people who love the outdoors. Shhh! Its beauty is our little secret.

What are your hobbies?

I am an incredible athlete, so I play any sport you can think of… Actually, that isn’t true at all. I have never been known for my athletic abilities, but I do like bike rides, walks, and pilates. I love food, which I am better at eating than cooking, but I am trying hard to improve my culinary skills. I love to bake because the end result is such a reward! On a typical Saturday morning you will find me at the dog park with my miniature Goldendoodle named Malcolm. 

Mass Violence and Atrocities

Large-scale and systematic violence are on the rise around the globe—disrupting societies, creating spillover effects, and stretching the international system thin. The consequences of failing to prevent such violence are too great to ignore.

Stakeholders at all levels are demanding new strategies for preventing, responding to, and recovering from mass violence. To overcome the threat to global peace and security, state and nonstate actors alike must work collectively to design fresh approaches to strengthening societal resilience to mass violence and atrocities.

Current Work

To ensure that diverse stakeholders at all levels create durable and inclusive institutions and mechanisms that strengthen societal resilience to mass violence and atrocities, the Stanley Foundation focuses on: 

  • Helping establish prevention-focused regional networks that support effective policy action at the national, regional, and international levels to build resilience.
  • Engaging different policy sectors to work effectively together to develop and promote a resilience agenda.
  • Promoting evidence of “what works” in building resilience at the regional, national, and local levels in global-reform processes.  

Building on the foundation’s work on genocide and mass atrocity prevention, this work draws on our strengths as a convener of key stakeholders, including international and regional organizations, national governments, civil society, and the private sector. We commission expert analysis to encourage innovative policy ideas and actively engage the media on policy issues related to strengthening resilience to mass violence and atrocities. 

Contact Kelsey Paul Shantz for more information.