Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

Leadership

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. Brian@ijdh.org

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 roughly three attorneys, six legal trainees, four administrative and program staff, nine support staff, and more than three dozen civic engagement training and outreach staff, for a total of over 40 staff who are all Haitian.

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. nik@ijdh.org

Bet­sey Chace, Development Director.  Betsey first joined IJDH as a volunteer in 2011.  She has handled IJDH finance and operations, and focuses now on raising funds to support the work of BAI and IJDH.   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

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. Val@ijdh.org

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. SteveForester@aol.com

beatrice-lindstrom Beatrice Lindstrom., Esq., Staff Attorney (New York). Beatrice manages advocacy and litigation to seek accountability and remedies from the United Nations for its peacekeepers’ introduction of cholera to Haiti. Beatrice is lead counsel in Georges v. United Nations, a class action lawsuit on behalf of Haitians and Haitian-Americans injured by cholera. She regularly provides expertise on UN accountability and human rights in Haiti, including as a former country expert for Freedom House, as a frequent guest lecturer at universities, and in the media. Prior to joining IJDH, she was a Lawyers’ Earthquake Response Network (LERN) Fellow at the BAI, where she managed grassroots participation in the Universal Periodic Review and responded to human rights violations in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake. Beatrice holds a J.D. from New York University School of Law, where she was a Root Tilden Kern scholar, and completed her bachelor’s degree at Emory University. She is the 2015 recipient of the New York University School of Law Alumni Association’s Recent Graduate Award, and has an unhealthy love for mamba and pikliz. Beatrice@ijdh.org

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. Nicole is a law professor at the Université de la Foundation Dr. Aristide (UNIFA) in Port-au-Prince, and adjunct professor at the University of California Hastings College of the Law. 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. Nicole 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

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 very excited for the opportunity to join the IJDH team in 2013. She is currently working on her Master’s in Public Health and hopes to one day teach healthy living to the Haitian community, perhaps while working 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. Kermshlise@ijdh.org

Stanley Rodriguez, Data Administrator. 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 a Data Administrator, processing donors’ donations and also helping 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

Elizabeth 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. beth@ijdh.org

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. shannon@ijdh.org

Sienna Merope-Synge, Be Just Fellow, works primarily on global advocacy efforts to seek accountability from the UN for introducing cholera to Haiti, and as a liaison with BAI’s Be Just Fellows in Haiti. Her experience prior to joining BAI/IJDH includes working on transitional justice and gender-based violence issues with the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, in public law litigation with the law firm of Herbert Smith Freehills and in refugee and indigenous peoples’ rights advocacy in Australia. 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, and Kreyol. sienna@ijdh.org

 

Interns

Mitch PowerMitchell Power, Communications & Development Intern, is a senior at Lesley University majoring in Global Studies with a focus in Environmental Science and is minoring in Human Services. He is originally from Northern California where he volunteered his time, independently, to city waste collection and where he worked as a Constituent Affairs Representative intern under the California Governor. He’s spent time learning at such universities as Chapman University in Los Angeles and George Washington University in Washington, D.C. He most recently completed an internship with Technology Exchange Lab, Inc. in Cambridge, MA where he contributed to their mission of solving global issues of poverty. He has a strong background conducting research, noticing patterns, and improving organizational efficiencies. He’s used his skills to conduct research on the agricultural economy and success of agribusiness models used to increase youth involvement in Malawi, Africa. He has, also, contributed to research on models for improving safe access to clean water in Uganda. Mitchell is fluent in English, has studied Spanish for four years, and studied Mandarin for one. He’s excited to contribute his skills to IJDH and to gain invaluable experience in return.

Volunteers

Given our small office and high vol­ume of work, we depend heav­ily on vol­un­teers to help us with translations, advocacy, writing and much more. 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 Julien_Olihidé Ronald Chenet Cassie Ramos  Joe-Derilus  

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

Contact IJDH

Institute for Justice & Democracy In Haiti
15 Newbury Street
Boston, MA 02116

Telephone: (617) 652-0876
General Inquiries: info@ijdh.org
Media Inquiries: media@ijdh.org

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