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 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
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
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
Valerie (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 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., 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
Kermshlise (Kem) Picard, Outgoing 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
Wadner Pierre, Communications Coordinator, is an award-winning photojournalist and a native of Haiti. Wadner worked as a Media Specialist for the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux from 2006-2008 while living in Haiti. He received a Master of Science in International relations from University of Aberdeen, Scotland, UK and a Bachelor of Art from Loyola University New Orleans, School of Mass Communication. Wadner has been working as a photojournalist for the past ten years. His work was featured in national and international outlets such as Inter Press Service-North America (IPS), The Maroon, Gambit (a New Orleans-based weekly newspaper), and in Margaret Trost’s book,“On that Day Everybody.” Additionally, Wadner is a Social Media and Web Specialist, and ranks among the top ten percent of social media users globally according to his Klout score. Wadner also has a background in diplomacy: Besides participating in international workshops on diplomacy and global affairs, he received two certificates from London-based think tank Global Diplomatic Forum (GDF); is a contributing writer for the GDF, Diplomatic Digest; actively contributes to the GDF social media platforms. email@example.com
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
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
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. email@example.com
Nick Morihisa, Volunteer Coordinator, is a junior at Harvard College studying economics and theatre. He realizes that this is an odd combination for someone interested in policy and law, but after a couple years of doing chemistry and physics on a pre-med track, who wouldn’t make decisions that are a little bit nutty? You know how people say that they’re into “all music, or ABC (Anything But Country)?” Nick feels pretty similarly about any subject be it related to people, hiking, running, science, history, politics, comedy (especially improv), movies, TV, or philosophy. He has experience working in the offices of NY State Senator Kevin Parker of Brooklyn and Senator Elizabeth Warren as well as with a non-profit, the Public Utility Law Project of New York, which dedicates itself to educating, litigating, and advocating for low and fixed-income families in need of representation. He could go on, but he knows that Val is eagerly awaiting the submission of this bio. Nick hopes to go on to work in the public sector as an intermediary between economic advisors and policymakers who often are thinking on very different wavelengths. If you have any questions or would like to chat then you can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Jaclyn Sehra Tayabji, Communications & Development Intern, graduated with Bachelor of Arts degrees in International and African Studies from Emory University. She then joined the Peace Corps to serve as an English teacher in Malawi, where she taught 300+ students in a rural secondary school. Jaclyn is passionate about supporting underrepresented populations, both domestic and abroad; her professional experience prior to Peace Corps includes work at a federal defender’s office, the Atlanta Asylum Network, which assists political asylum seekers entering the United States, and a previous internship with IJDH. Jaclyn is conversational in Chichewa, the official language of Malawi. email@example.com
Snezhana Stadnik, Legal Intern, is a second year law student at New York University School of Law. She became interested in issues of UN accountability through an international organizations clinic, where she researched due diligence obligations of international financial institutions under international law to prevent adverse human rights impacts of investment activities in developing countries. Prior to attending law school, Snezhana was a math teacher with Teach for America in California and at an international school in Munich, Germany. She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Washington, where she studied political science and business administration. In her free time, Snezhana enjoys learning languages and salsa dancing. firstname.lastname@example.org
Nathan Yaffe, Legal Intern, has been involved in human rights and development issues as a co-founder and board member of the Haiti Justice Alliance, as part of a university delegation studying land grabs in Ethiopia, and as a volunteer and research assistant for NYU’s Global Justice Clinic. Once upon a time, he graduated from Carleton College in Northfield, MN (catchphrase: “cows, colleges, and contentment!”). Currently a 3L at NYU School of Law, Nathan is an Institute for International Law & Justice Scholar as well as a Furman Scholar. email@example.com
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.