The Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti (IJDH) and IJDH’s Haiti-based partner, the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI) have been growing since 2009. This expansion, made possible by our generous donors, is fulfilling our dream of creating a corps of trained, motivated Haitian human rights lawyers and advocates.
IJDH & BAI Staff
BAI: Haiti-Based Staff
For the security and privacy of BAI staff, their names are excluded from this site. In addition to Mario Joseph, the BAI team includes 8 Staff Attorneys, 7 Apprentice Lawyers, a Coordinator and Assistant Coordinator of Women’s Organizations, 3 administrative staff and 9 support staff, for a total of 30. All BAI staff are Haitian.
IJDH: United States-Based Staff
- Betsey Chace, IJDH Development Director
- Valerie Dionne-Lanier, IJDH Operations Manager
- Steve Forester, Esq., IJDH Immigration Policy Coordinator
- Beatrice Lindstrom, Esq., IJDH Staff Attorney
- Nicole Phillips, Esq., IJDH Staff Attorney
- Kermshlise Picard, IJDH Communications Coordinator
- Stanley Rodriguez, IJDH Administrative Assistant
- Legal Fellows & Interns
Mario Joseph, Av., BAI Managing Attorney, has co-managed or managed the BAI since 1996, and has practiced human rights and criminal law since 1993. The New York Times called him Haiti’s most respected human rights lawyer. He spearheaded the prosecution of the Raboteau Massacre trial in 2000, one of the most significant human rights cases anywhere in the Western Hemisphere. He has represented dozens of jailed political prisoners, in Haitian courts and in complaints before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. In 2009, he received the Judith Lee Stronach Human Rights Award from the Center for Justice & Accountability and the Katherine and George Alexander Human Rights Prize from the University of Santa Clara Law School. He has testified as an expert on Haitian criminal procedure before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights and in U.S. courts, and served on the Haitian government’s Law Reform Commission. Mr. Joseph is also an educator, and a graduate of Haiti’s Teachers’ College. He has extensive experience teaching human rights and legal issues to grassroots advocacy organizations, human rights groups and victims’ organizations. He appears frequently on television and radio in Haiti to explain legal issues. He speaks Haitian Creole, French and English.
Brian Concannon, Jr., Esq., IJDH Executive Director, co-managed the BAI in Haiti for eight years, from 1996-2004, and worked for the United Nations as a Human Rights Officer in 1995-1996. He founded IJDH, and has been the Director since 2004. He helped prepare the prosecution of the Raboteau Massacre trial in 2000, one of the most significant human rights cases anywhere in the Western Hemisphere. He has represented Haitian political prisoners before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, and represented the plaintiff in Yvon Neptune v. Haiti, the first Haiti case ever tried before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. Mr. Concannon has received fellowships from Harvard Law School and Brandeis University and has trained international judges, U.S. asylum officers and law students across the U.S. He is a member of the Editorial Board of Health and Human Rights, An International Journal. He speaks and writes frequently about human rights in Haiti. He holds an undergraduate degree from Middlebury College and JD from Georgetown Law. He speaks English, Haitian Creole and French. Brian@ijdh.org
United States-Based Staff (IJDH)
Betsey Chace, Development Director, first joined IJDH as a volunteer in 2011. She handled IJDH finance and operations through 2012 and took on fundraising responsibilities in April 2013, as well as communications. She has 20 years of social justice and social service experience, including finance work at Partners In Health, grants and financial management at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital Division of Global Health Equity and program coordination at the Massachusetts Office for Refugees and Immigrants. Betsey holds an MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Management and a BA in East Asian Studies from Wesleyan University. She has lived and worked in China, Mozambique and Brazil. She is fluent in Portuguese, used to speak Mandarin and French and has learned some Kreyol. Betsey@ijdh.org
Valerie (Val) Dionne-Lanier, Operations Manager, has 40 years of nonprofit and education administration experience. Val was the first Director of Rosie’s Place, a shelter for homeless women. She moved on to Director of The Commission for Homeless for the City of Boston and then to Pine Street Inn as Director of Permanent Housing. Val also spent 13 years in Cochabamba, Bolivia and founded the Casa de la Mujer, a program for teenage pregnant girls with a high-risk daycare center. Her years spent in education were in the areas of administration and fundraising; as Vice-Principal of St Patrick’s School in Roxbury and as Director of finances and Operations at The Advent School in Boston. Val speaks English and Spanish. Val@ijdh.org
Steve Forester, Esq., Immigration Policy Coordinator, leads efforts to win creation of a Haitian Family Reunification Parole Program (FRPP) to speed entry into the U.S. of 110,000 beneficiaries of approved visa petitions, to give parity with DHS’s Cuban FRPP and help Haiti recover by generating additional remittances. He has won support for this from about 100 congresspersons, 10 editorial boards in 17 editorials, the Miami-Dade County Commission, NY and Philadelphia city councils, the US Conference of Mayors, ABA, NAACP, Congressional Black Caucus, MA Gov. Patrick and others. Pre-quake, he secured pro-TPS editorials in major papers and political, legal and media support after devastating 2008 storms. He meets officials and pens op-eds; his January 2009 work won a quiet halt of all non-criminal Haiti deportations formalized by TPS after the quake. A Haiti rights advocate since 1979, he has testified in the Senate, House and other bodies and led the fight to enact the Haitian Refugee Immigration Fairness Act of 1998 (HRIFA), under which 20,000 Haitians became U.S. permanent residents. IJDH has sponsored his work since February 2009. SteveForester@aol.com
Beatrice Lindstrom., Esq., Staff Attorney, joined the team in September 2010 as a Lawyers’ Earthquake Response Network (LERN) Fellow at the BAI. While in Haiti, she managed grassroots participation in the Universal Periodic Review and contributed to the Health and Human Rights in Prisons Project and the Housing Rights Advocacy Project. As a Staff Attorney with IJDH, Beatrice works primarily on litigation seeking accountability from the U.N. for its role in causing Haiti’s cholera outbreak. Prior to joining BAI/IJDH, Beatrice worked on economic and social rights and the human rights obligations of the private sector in a variety of contexts. Her experiences include litigating human rights in U.S. courts and working on access-to-justice issues for the U.N. Special Representative on Business and Human Rights. Beatrice is a graduate of New York University School of Law, where she was a Root Tilden Kern public interest scholar, and she holds an undergraduate degree in political science and economics from Emory University. Beatrice speaks English, Swedish, Korean, French, and Haitian Creole. Beatrice@ijdh.org
Nicole Phillips, Esq., Staff Attorney, has always been passionate about international human rights. Moved by the Haiti earthquake, she left her career as a union labor lawyer to join IJDH in April 2010. Ms. Phillips is Assistant Director of Haiti programs and adjunct professor at the University of San Francisco, as well as a law professor at the Université de la Foundation Dr. Aristide (UNIFA) in Port-au-Prince. She serves as a Member of the Board of Directors of Human Rights Advocates, an NGO with consultative status to the United Nations, and has appeared before various UN bodies and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. Ms. Phillips earned her B.A. from the University of California, San Diego in Political Science with a concentration in International Relations, and her JD from the University of San Francisco. She is licensed to practice law in California, has lived and studied in Haiti, France and Mexico, and speaks French, Spanish and Kreyol. Nicole@ijdh.org
Kermshlise (Kem) Picard, Communications Coordinator, is a 2013 Harvard graduate. Besides the natural interest that comes from having Haitian parents, she was really inspired to learn more about Haiti after joining the Harvard Haitian Alliance sophomore year. Since then, Kem has worked tirelessly to help Haiti in any way possible so she’s super excited to join the IJDH team. She is interested in public health and hopes to one day teach healthy living to the Haitian community, perhaps while practicing medicine in Haiti for a few years as well. Kem speaks English, Haitian Creole, and Italian and is working on her French. firstname.lastname@example.org
Stanley Rodriguez, Administrative Assistant, has a BA in Economics from the University of Massachusetts. Stanley has years of experience in Accounts Payable and Information Technology, specifically in hardware. Stanley is also a part time MS Office instructor at a local technical school where he teaches basic computer concepts to the Haitian population that computer technology has left behind, to help them be more productive for themselves and others. Stanley is very excited to work as an Administrative Assistant where he processes donors’ donations and also helps in the social media sector among other things. Since the earthquake struck Haiti in 2010, Stanley felt that he had to do something, but wasn’t able to join an organization until he found IJDH through a website advertisement for this position. Stanley jumped at the opportunity to join IJDH and now is thrilled to share his experiences and knowledge with the team for the good cause of fighting injustice and human rights violations in Haiti. Stanley speaks English, French and Haitian Creole. Stanley@ijdh.org
Legal Fellows & Interns
Peggy Chateauneuf, Advocacy Intern, is completing her Master’s degree in Applied Politics, with a concentration in public and international policies at the University of Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada. Peggy was a delegate at the 2011 United Nations Climate Change Convention in Durban, South Africa. Prior to coming to IJDH, she obtained her Bachelor’s degree at Rutgers State University in Political Science and worked as senior paralegal at the oldest and largest law firm in the United States, McCarter & English, LLP. Peggy embraces her biracial Canadian-Haitian culture. She has fought on behalf of Haiti’s concerns and plight by volunteering for various organizations and now enjoys her work at IJDH. Peggy speaks French, English, Creole and has a good knowledge of Spanish. email@example.com
Shannon Jonsson, Legal Fellow, has a longstanding interest in human rights due to living and travelling internationally since childhood. Her experience prior to joining IJDH includes working as a graduate fellow at the Asylum and Human Rights Clinic at Boston University School of Law, and a legal internship in South Africa at Lawyers for Human Rights. Shannon also served for two years as the co-chair of the International Refugee Law Committee at the American Bar Association, and maintains an active advisory role as immediate past chair. She is a graduate of Boston University School of Law and earned her undergraduate degree at Stanford University, where she studied international relations and minored in French. Shannon speaks English and French, and once upon a time spoke passable Italian. firstname.lastname@example.org
Laurie Millman, Volunteer Coordinator began her career in the wine industry in New York. She has spent the last twenty years in non-profit organizations in program development and implementation, and marketing and development. She has focused primarily on education and youth leadership, and has worked at Prep for Prep in New York and the Boys & Girls Club in Holyoke. She currently works for Center for New Americans, an education and resource center for immigrants in Western Massachusetts. She holds a B.A. from Hofstra University, an M.A. in Conflict Transformation from the School for International Training Graduate Institute, and she recently received her TESOL certificate. She is very committed to social justice and has volunteered with immigration detainees. She speaks Spanish and French. email@example.com
Katharina Rall, Legal Fellow, is a recent graduate from the New York University School of Law and holds an LL.M in International Legal Studies. She also holds a law degree from the University of Göttingen Law School in Germany where she specialized in International Law and European Law. Prior to joining IJDH, Katharina interned with several human rights organizations and worked as a junior legal officer with the Research Services of the German Parliament advising members of the Parliament on international law and human rights issues. Apart from working with IJDH she spends a part of her fellowship time in Haiti where she is working with the Haitian grassroots organization Défenseurs des Opprimés. Katharina speaks English, German, French, Spanish and some Kreyol. firstname.lastname@example.org
Sophie Trede, Development and Communications Intern, is a 2013 graduate from Macalester College with a major in Psychology and minors in Anthropology and French. Since then, she has traveled all over, including visits to her extended family in Germany as well as a 3-month volunteer period at a nonprofit hospital in Chiapas, Mexico. Although her focus has primarily been in healthcare, and more specifically mental health, she is looking to explore other fields, all the while maintaining a focal point on advocating for underserved populations. This past summer, she partook in a Civil and Judicial Liberties and Travel Writing class at Boston University to fortify her writing and legal knowledge. She is looking forward to putting these new skills to use in her work at IJDH. She is hoping to eventually pursue a Master’s degree in International Relations. She is a native German speaker and also speaks French and Spanish. email@example.com
Ruth Vaughan, Legal Fellow, is a recent graduate of the University of Connecticut School of Law, where she focused on human rights and graduated with high honors. Prior to pursuing a legal career, she served as an AmeriCorps volunteer and then as an Associate at the Yale Women Faculty Forum. She has since worked at the Center for Reproductive Rights and Vital Voices Global Partnership, where she focused on women’s rights and reproductive justice. Extending on her interest in human rights, she also worked with the Georgia Capital Defender’s Office helping to represent indigent clients facing the death penalty. Most recently, she had the incredible opportunity to help a young woman fleeing severe gender-based violence obtain asylum in the U.S. Ruth holds an M.A. in Religion from Yale Divinity School and a B.A. from Emory University, and is a native of Memphis, Tennessee. firstname.lastname@example.org
Shannon Walker is a Legal Intern for the Cholera Accountability Project. Prior to joining the team at IJDH, Shannon worked with a nonprofit organization whose mission is to improve maternal and neonatal health in developing countries. She supported projects in Haiti, Côte d’Ivoire, Chad, Cameroon, Guinea, Mali, Sierra Leone, and Malawi. Shannon first got involved in Haiti while interning at the Center for High Impact Philanthropy at the University of Pennsylvania. In collaboration with a faculty researcher there, Shannon studied disaster relief efforts in the wake of the 2010 earthquake. Her contributions were featured in an investment guide designed to help private donors target their donations. A graduate of Temple University, Shannon holds a B.A. in French. email@example.com
Given our small office and high volume of work, we depend heavily on volunteers for whom we are eternally grateful.
Laura Dismore, Development Volunteer, graduated from Carleton College with a degree in Environmental Studies. While at Carleton, she worked extensively with the Haiti Justice Alliance of Northfield, which is how she learned of IJDH. After hearing Brian Concannon speak, Laura decided to pursue a career in international human rights law. She currently works at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and is applying to law school.
Chelsie GawneMark, Development and Communications Volunteer, earned her BA in English from the College of Saint Benedict and her MFA in Poetry from the University of Minnesota. She is currently a Postbaccalaureate Premedical Student at the University of Minnesota, interested in Global Health, Social Medicine, Human Rights, and Infectious Disease Epidemiology. She also works remotely for the Boston-based Sentinel Project on Pediatric Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis, a partnership between Harvard Medical School, Partners in Health, and Brigham and Women’s Hospital. She has been craving Haitian peanut butter ever since Betsey made her a sandwich during her last in office visit to IJDH.
Pam Hsieh, Administrative Volunteer, has a BA in English from UMass, Amherst. She taught English in Taiwan for four years and has over thirty years of administrative and secretarial experience. Most of her professional background is in the fields of law and medicine. Pam always paid attention to news events pertaining to Haiti, probably because her son and daughter (now grown) grew up with Haitian friends. In addition to volunteering her office skills at IJDH, Pam spends much of her time painting in watercolor. Some of her paintings are on display at a local art gallery where she also enjoys listening to music, poetry and storytelling. She belongs to a book club at a branch library and attends the “Speak Haitian” Meet up along with a few of her co-workers from IJDH.
Kathy Kelly, Development and Administration Volunteer, has experience in marketing communications and together with her family has been an IJDH supporter for several years. In November, 2010, Kathy began volunteering part-time and works with IJDH Development and Communications to research funding sources, assist with donor relations and with the coordination of volunteers. Kathy is an active volunteer in her local community, serves on the board of The Childrens’ Giving Tree Foundation and is a graduate of Boston University’s College of Communications.