Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti


mario faceMario 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 prominent 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 2013, he was a finalist for the Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders. In 2014, he and Brian Concannon were awarded the Salem Award for Human Rights and Social Justice.  In 2009, Mr. Joseph 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.

Bureau des Avocats Internationaux

Port-au-Prince, Haiti

For the security and privacy of BAI staff, their names are excluded from this site.  In addition to Mario Joseph, the BAI team includes 10 Attorneys, 10 Apprentice Lawyers, 4 administrative and program staff, 9 support staff, and more than three dozen civic engagement training and outreach staff, for a total of over 70 staff who are all Haitian.

sk bio photoSharanya Kanikkannan, Bernstein Fellow, is a human rights advocate and development worker. As a former civilian peacekeeper and sexual violence case worker, she will work with BAI to address such crimes perpetrated by UN peacekeepers in Haiti. She earned her B.S. in International Studies and Economics from the University of Oregon, and her J.D. from Yale Law School. She has since served as a trainer, coordinator, editor, and researcher, and believes in the ability of communities to create transformative change through the pursuit of their legal rights. Whether working, traveling or visiting her wonderful family in the Hudson Valley, she’s usually dancing – or trying to. She has lived and worked in 9 countries and forgotten how to speak 3 languages, but stays fluent in English, Tamil, and French, and is working on her Kreyol.

Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti

Boston, MA, USA

(Remotely-based team members noted)

NikNik Barry-Shaw, Voting Rights Associate (Montreal, Contractor). Nik is a Haiti solidarity activist from Montréal. With Dru Oja Jay, he co-authored Paved with Good Intentions: Canada’s development NGOs from idealism to imperialism, released in 2012 by Fernwood Publishing. He recently completed a Master’s degree in History at Queen’s University, which focused on Québec’s Chile solidarity movement in the 1970s, but is better known for his stellar defensive play on the basketball court. He is working on his jumpshot. He speaks English, French, Spanish, and is hoping to improve his Kreyol.

Bet­sey Chace, Development Director.  Betsey 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.

ValValerie (Val) Dionne-Lanier, Operations Manager. Val 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.

steve face betterSteve Forester, Esq., Immigration Policy Coordinator (Miami). Steve 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.

Beatrice Lindstrom., Esq., Staff Attorney (New York). Beatrice 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.

Nicole Phillips, Esq., Staff Attorney (San Francisco and Haiti). Nicole 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.

ijdhprofileKermshlise (Kem) Picard, Communications Coordinator. Besides the natural interest that comes from having Haitian parents, Kem was really inspired to learn more about Haiti after joining the Harvard Haitian Alliance her sophomore year of college.  Since then, Kem has worked tirelessly to help Haiti in any way so she was super excited for the opportunity to join the IJDH team. She is starting her Master’s in Public Health at Northeastern in 2015 and hopes to one day teach healthy living to the Haitian community, perhaps while practicing medicine in Haiti for a few years.  Kem graduated from Harvard in 2013.  She speaks English, Haitian Creole, and Italian and is working on her French.

Stanley Rodriguez, Administrative Assistant. Stanley 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.

Legal Fellows

Beth HollandElizabeth Holland, International Law Fellow, has worked in the field of humanitarian law and policy for the last decade. In addition to supporting the IJDH team, Elizabeth is a Consulting Expert on International Humanitarian Law with the International Association of Professionals in Humanitarian Assistance and Protection (PHAP). Prior to this she was an Associate with the law firm of Foley Hoag where she practiced in a range of areas, including international law, corporate social responsibility, and data security and privacy; and a Program Associate and Head of Curriculum Development with the Program on Humanitarian Policy and Conflict Research at Harvard University. Elizabeth holds a J.D. magna cum laude from Suffolk University Law School, a M.A. in International Studies and Diplomacy from the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies, and a B.A from Providence College.

Shannon-picShannon 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.

Sienna M-SSienna Merope-Synge, Be Just Fellow, works on seeking accountability from the UN for introducing cholera into Haiti, and as a liaison with BAI’s Bertha Legal Fellows in Haiti. Her experience prior to joining BAI/IJDH includes working on transitional justice and gender-based violence issues for the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, and in refugee and indigenous peoples’ rights advocacy in Australia. She has also served as a judicial clerk, and spent a brief stint in private practice. Sienna is a graduate of the NYU School of Law, where she was a Hauser Global Scholar, and holds undergraduate political science and law degrees from the University of Melbourne, Australia. She speaks English, French, extremely basic Spanish and is looking forward to learning Kreyol.


RodlineRodline Louijeune, Ella Baker Legal Intern, is currently pursuing her J.D. at Boston College Law School. She holds a B.A. in French and Francophone Studies with minors in Africana Studies and Mathematics from Bryn Mawr College. She is passionate about issues of social justice. Rodline first became interested in advocacy work for Haiti when she visited extended family in Haiti with her parents as a child. She is very excited to contribute to this advocacy work. She is proficient in French and Haitian Creole and has background in German and Wolof.

mika-small-1Kasia Mika, Elections Intern, is a PhD student at the University of Leeds (UK) where she works on narrative responses to the 2010 Haitian earthquake. She previously studied French and English at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland (MA, MLitt). She first started as a volunteer translator for IJDH trying to marry her love of literature and languages with her passion for politics and advocacy. She is trying to promote Haitian issues in the UK by organizing workshops, film introductions, and participating in outreach activities. She is excited to be part of the Elections Team and helping to deliver high-quality resources for Francophone and Anglophone audiences. She is a member of the UK-based Haiti Support Group, and the Web Officer for the Postcolonial Studies Association. She lived in Poland, US, France and Belgium, and is currently based in in Leeds (UK). She speaks English, French, Polish, some German, and is currently improving her Haitian Creole.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALaurie 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.


Given our small office and high vol­ume of work, we depend heav­ily on vol­un­teers. Thank you to volunteers all over the world, in all stages of their careers and education, who make time for IJDH. We are eter­nally grate­ful.

Chelsie Gawnemark Carmelita Francois Radney Jean-Claude Peggy Chateauneuf Photo Susan Koenig Photo Greger Calhan Susie Zeiger Photo Tom Driver Patricia Pabst Jessicah Pierre Rodney Pepe-Souvenir Photo Hugues Girard Photo Florian Renaux Lika Diouf Kerfy Pierre Karen Sullivan Tamara Isaac photo Ramon Oyarzun Soto Mark Phillips Wesley L


See a list of our past team members (2007-2015)

Contact IJDH

Institute for Justice & Democracy In Haiti
666 Dorchester Avenue
Boston, MA 02127

Telephone: (617) 652-0876
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