MARIO JOSEPH, AV., BAI MANAGING ATTORNEY, has co-managed and 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” in 2006. Mario 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, Mario was a finalist for the Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders. In 2014, Mario 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.Mario 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. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Human rights lawyer and activist Brian Concannon is the Founder and Executive Director of the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti (IJDH). Brian is a trusted voice on human rights in Haiti and US policy to its oldest neighbor, through his writing and speaking to a wide range of audiences. But he is most proud of his work helping Haitian human rights advocates make their own voices heard, from the lawyers at the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux to the victims of the UN cholera in Haiti. Brian lived and worked in Haiti from 1995 to 2004, first with the United Nations, and after 1996 with the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI) in Port-au-Prince. He returned to the US to start IJDH in 2004, when a US-supported coup d’etat overthrew Haiti’s elected government and demonstrated that no progress in Haiti would be sustainable unless the US and other powerful countries respected Haitian sovereignty. Brian is a graduate of Georgetown University Law Center and Middlebury College. He held a Brandeis International Fellowship in Human Rights, Intervention and International Law from 2001-2003, and was a 2005-06 Wasserstein Public Interest Law Fellow at Harvard Law School. Contact: email@example.com
Alexandra “Sasha” Filippova, Senior Staff Attorney, focuses primarily on accountability for human rights violations; gender justice, including sexual and gender-based violence; and governance in her work at IJDH.
Sasha started her legal career as an associate at Shearman & Sterling LLP, where her practice included international dispute resolution, public international law, and human rights. While there, she served as one of the lead counsel in a successful lawsuit against the Syrian government for its extrajudicial killing of war correspondent Marie Colvin and advised clients on a variety of legal and policy matters, including interstate territorial disputes and UN Security Council reform. Prior to joining IJDH, Sasha served as a Senior Legal Fellow with the Center for Justice and Accountability, where she worked on litigating a crimes against humanity claim; and as a Legal Advisor and Fellow with the American Bar Association’s Rule of Law Initiative, where she focused on confronting gender-based violence and promoting women’s empowerment around the globe.
Sasha holds graduate degrees from Georgetown University’s Law Center and Walsh School of Foreign Service, where she focused her studies on human rights and transitional justice, including field work in Liberia and Cambodia. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Steve Forester, 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. Contact: email@example.com
Kristina Fried, Bertha Justice Fellow, prior to joining IJDH, worked as a Legal Fellow with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees in Washington, DC. During her fellowship, Kristina worked with stateless persons on administrative and legislative advocacy, as well as intervention on individual stateless and refugee cases. She also spent a semester working with the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights on strategic litigation and advocacy concerning violent push-backs of migrants at Europe’s external borders, in particular assisting with a submission to the Human Rights Committee. Prior to that, Kristina worked with the Center for Gender and Refugee Studies representing victims of gender- and gang-based violence in their asylum claims. Kristina holds a B.A. from the University of Melbourne in Islamic Studies and Arabic and is a 2020 graduate of Boston University School of Law, where she specialized in international human rights law. During law school, Kristina served as a student attorney with the International Human Rights Clinic, where she worked with civil society to map stateless populations in Lebanon, identify the root causes of statelessness, and propose an advocacy strategy to address those causes.
Catherine Chang, Operations Coordinator, before assuming her current role, served as an intern at IJDH providing administrative support and conducting research on United Nations sexual exploitation and abuse. She is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, where she majored in Political Science and Economics and worked on research on international conflict and human rights violations. She is a San Francisco Bay Area native and has volunteered with organizations serving those facing homelessness in her local community. Contact:Â firstname.lastname@example.org
Sierra Paulsen, Legal Intern, holds a BA in international Relations and French and a minor in Spanish from the University of Denver. She is currently a third-year law student at Minnesota Law in Minneapolis, MN. This past summer, Sierra was an intern in the Special Procedures Branch of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva, where she worked primarily for the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention drafting letters to Governments on behalf of individuals who have been arbitrarily detained for exercising their rights to freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and other key civil and political rights. Throughout law school, Sierra has also worked as a legal research assistant to Professor Fionnuala Ní Aoláin in her capacity as Special Rapporteur on Human Rights While Countering Terrorism, and as a student attorney and student director for the Human Rights Litigation and International Advocacy Clinic at Minnesota Law. In these roles, Sierra has prepared legal memos to inform the Special Rapporteur’s country visits, and she has worked alongside civil society actors on the ground in Sri Lanka to advocate for the rights of Sri Lankan women and activists before multiple UN treaty bodies. Sierra is particularly passionate about gender equality and decolonization, and she looks forward to learning more about how to effectively advocate for Haitian-led solutions to these and other human rights issues during her time at IJDH.
Edad Mercier, Legal Intern, is a third-year law student at Albany Law School, where she is also the Editor-in-Chief of International Law Studies. Prior to joining IJDH, Edad was a summer law clerk with the Legal Aid Society of Northeastern New York (Housing Section), where she researched housing discrimination under the Fair Housing Act. She is interested in human rights law, poverty law, and international courts of justice. Edad holds a BA in History and Secondary in French from Harvard College.
Ben Gerstein, Legal Intern, is a second-year student at UCLA Law, with specializations in Public Interest Law, Critical Race Theory, and International and Comparative Law. More specifically, Ben is focused on crisis and conflict settings, transitional justice, decolonial approaches to human rights, and the politics of official memory. Before joining IJDH, Ben interned at the Montgomery County Public Defender’s Office in Montgomery, Alabama and the International Legal Foundation. Ben has additional experience working on projects with the Israeli NGO Zochrot, promoting the right of return for Palestinian refugees and accountability for the Nakba. Prior to enrolling in law school, Ben was as a Legislative Correspondent/Aide to Rep. Andy Levin and graduated from the University of Michigan with a B.A. in Public Policy and minor in Afroamerican and African Studies.
Franciscka Lucien is the Director of Health Equity at the Clinton Global Initiative, an initiative of the Clinton Foundation. Prior to joining the Foundation, she served as Executive Director of the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti. She previously worked with Partners In Health from 2011-2018. She served as Deputy Director of Policy and Partnerships for PIH Liberia, coordinating with underserved communities, non-governmental organizations, the Ministry of Health, and international partners to strengthen delivery of health services in the wake of the Ebola epidemic. This followed prior roles in Liberia, Haiti, and Boston in areas of clinical operations, integrated delivery systems, financing, and health workforce development.
Before entering the nonprofit field, Franciscka worked in advocacy and crisis management for clients across Fortune 500 companies and industries including finance, healthcare, and economic development. She holds a Master of Arts from the George Washington University Elliott School of International Affairs and a Bachelor of Science from the Georgetown University Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service.
Irwin Stotzky, Esq. is a Professor of Law and Director of the Center for the Study of Human Rights at the University of Miami. He has advised the Haitian and Argentine governments on transitional justice issues, and represented Haitian refugees in U.S. courts. Professor Stotzky has written books on transitional justice in Haiti and Latin America.
Joia Mukherjee MD, MPH, IJDH Vice President, is the Chief Medical Officer for Partners In Health, since 2000. She is an internist, paediatrician and infectious disease specialist and an Associate Professor at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Mukherjee’s clinical focus in resource-poor settings has been HIV/AIDS, multi-drug resistant tuberculosis, mental health and most recently, ebola. She builds the capacity of healthcare professionals and emerging leaders in the Global Health Delivery discipline by teaching infectious disease, Global Health Delivery and human rights to health professionals and students from US and international institutions. Dr. Mukherjee serves on the board of directors for Last Mile Health, Village Health Works and Project Muso. She advises many other grassroots organizations in their efforts to deliver health care with a human rights approach to the poorest of the poor. In addition, Dr. Mukherjee consults for the World Health Organization and other international agencies on health systems strengthening, human resources for health, the treatment for HIV and more.
Chris Geyer, IJDH Secretary and Board Chair, retired from a multi national Facilities Maintenance Company, where he served as the COO in 2012. He and his wife, Christina live in Joseph, Oregon and they have three adult children and three grandsons.
Pamela Merchant currently advises human rights nonprofits on strategy, leadership and governance and provides legal services to public clients. She is the former Executive Director of the Center for Justice and Accountability, the leading U.S. based human rights organization pursuing international human rights abuses through litigation. She previously served as a prosecutor with the U.S. Department of Justice, and as Special Counsel for the California Department of Justice and Assistant Attorney General for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts where she specialized in white collar prosecutions. She has served in leadership positions on numerous human rights and social justice nonprofit boards.
Nadia Ben-Youssef is the Advocacy Director at the Center for Constitutional Rights. She directs all advocacy around issues related to the promotion of civil and human rights. Together with the legal, advocacy, and communication teams, Nadia identifies opportunities for the Center for Constitutional Rights to make strategic cultural and political interventions that shift public narrative and policy on our issues. She has expertise in international human rights fora and mechanisms, and extensive experience developing advocacy strategies to influence U.S. decision-makers. Her work often centers at the intersection of art and advocacy, and she curates exhibits and artistic programming that document key human rights concerns, celebrate social movements, and allow creatives the space to chart the future. Prior to coming to the Center for Constitutional Rights, she co-founded the Adalah Justice Project (AJP), a U.S.-based Palestinian advocacy organization that works to transform American discourse and policy on Palestine/Israel. AJP is an outgrowth of her work with Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel where, from 2010, she led international advocacy efforts from Adalah’s field office in the Naqab (Negev) in southern Israel before coming back to the U.S. to develop an American advocacy strategy. Nadia is a member of the New York State Bar, and holds a B.A. in Sociology from Princeton University, and a J.D. from Boston College Law School. In 2018, Nadia received the National Lawyers Guild Rob Doyle Lawyer Awardfor commitment to social and political justice.
Renée Metelus was born in Massachusetts to Haitian parents and grew up outside of Atlanta, Georgia. Her Haitian heritage and first generation identity inspired her to pursue mission-based work at the intersection of racial and social justice, educational equity, and human rights advocacy. She began her professional career at the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti, where she supported international human rights advocacy in strategic communications, operations, and development. She currently serves as a Charities Specialist at the Office of the Attorney General. Previously, she worked extensively to further family and community engagement in education in Atlanta and expand equitable education opportunities for students in early childhood education programs, adult English Language Learners, and hospitality union workers in Roxbury and Chinatown.
Renée received her undergraduate degree from Boston University in 2018, where she studied sociology and international relations. She is working towards proficiency in Portuguese and is fluent in Haitian Creole and Spanish.
Nicole Lee is a diversity, equity and inclusion expert, leadership coach, nationally recognized speaker and strategist who regularly consults with nonprofits, schools, businesses, political and social movements to improve their climate for themselves and all those that they serve. She is also the founder of Inclusive Life™, a movement centered on infusing inclusion through all levels of daily life, and a co-founder of the Black Movement-Law Project (BMLP), an organization that provides legal and strategy assistance to Movement For Black Lives affiliates and human rights organizations operating in local communities. After graduating with a law degree from the University of Buffalo, she worked for the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux. For nearly a decade she served as President of TransAfrica, working with leaders across the globe to advocate for a just U.S. foreign policy. She is a trusted spokesperson who has given testimony before the U.S. Congress, the United Nations and other international bodies. Nicole has commentated on CNN, MSNBC, NPR, and BBC. She has been recognized for her outstanding contributions in the private and public sectors through numerous awards, including Congressional Black Caucus, Running Starts “Women to Watch”, Black Women’s Roundtable TrailBlazer, Global Leadership, and the National Newspapers Publishers Association’s Press Champion Award.
Blaine Bookey is Co-Legal Director at the UC Hastings-based Center for Gender & Refugee Studies where she works to advance protections for survivors of gender-based violence and other forms of persecution. Blaine also coordinates the College’s Haiti Justice Initiative and Chairs the Board of Directors of the international women’s rights organization, MADRE. Previously, Blaine served as a legal fellow with IJDH and BAI and as a federal appellate law clerk. Before attending law school, Blaine worked as an immigration paralegal for several years advocating for many Haitian refugees. The American Constitution Society recognized Blaine for her work on behalf of marginalized communities with the 2016 David Carliner Public Interest Award.
Herby Duverné is Principal and CEO of Windwalker Group (2012 to present),Â a Boston-based risk management firm that focuses on cyber and physical security solutions. Mr. Duverné has served as the Deputy Director of Aviation Security (2006-2011) and Director of Emergency Management (2011-2012) for the Massachusetts Port Authority, which oversees Logan International Airport.
Fran Quigley is a clinical professor at the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law, where he directs the Health and Human Rights Clinic. Students in the Health and Human Rights Clinic advocate for the rights of the poor, with a special focus on representing low-wage workers. He is the author of Walking Together, Walking Far: How a U.S. and African Medical School Partnership Is Winning the Fight against HIV/AIDS (Indiana University Press, 2009) and How Human Rights Can Build Haiti: The Lawyers, the Activists, and the Grassroots Movement (Vanderbilt University Press, forthcoming 2014), which profiles the work of IJDH and BAI. Fran has served as the executive director of ACLU of Indiana and as a public defender and civil rights attorney. He lives in Indianapolis with his wife Ellen and their three children, Sam, Katie, and Jack.
Mary H. White, M.D. is an infectious diseases physician who conducts medical evaluations of persons seeking asylum in the United States for persecution or torture in their home country at the Global Health Program of the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City. She has joined advocacy groups at the Department of Homeland Security to improve health conditions and standards in U.S. detention centers, and she has delivered medical care in Haiti.
Beatrice Lindstrom is a Clinical Instructor in the International Human Rights Clinic at Harvard Law School. Prior to joining Harvard, she worked as a lawyer at IJDH for eight years and BAI for one year. While at IJDH, her work focused on path-breaking advocacy to secure accountability from the UN for causing a devastating cholera epidemic in Haiti. She was lead counsel in Georges v. United Nations, the class action lawsuit brought in the United States on behalf of those injured and killed by cholera. For her work on the cholera case, she received the Zanmi Ayiti Award from the Haiti Solidarity Network of the Northeast and the Recent Graduate Award from the NYU Law Alumni Association. Lindstrom was also previously an Adjunct Professor at Columbia University’s Institute for the Study of Human Rights, and a Haiti country expert for Freedom House. She holds a J.D. from NYU School of Law, where she was a Root-Tilden-Kern public interest scholar, and a B.A. from Emory University.
Charlot Lucien is an Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) scholar at the University of Massachusetts (Boston), where he presents lectures focusing on the historical connections between the U.S. and Haiti as part of his Master’s Degree in International Relations. He has presented for years on Haiti’s culture and history in various academic and cultural venues in the U.S., France, Haiti, and Canada, often examining the intersections between the U.S. abolitionist movement and the Haitian revolution (Mapping Haiti Onto the U.S. History). A Haitian storyteller, visual artist, and the founder of the Haitian Artists Assembly of Massachusetts, he often uses art to raise awareness about civil rights and humanitarian issues impacting Haitians in Haiti and abroad and to help change entrenched stereotyped narratives about Haiti.
He holds membership with various civic/humanitarian organizations, including the Groupe of Reflection and Action for a New Haiti (GRAHN), the West African Research Association (WARA), Société des poètes francophones, the Haitian Americans United Inc. (HAU), The National Museum of African American History and Culture, Haiti Projects, etc. He has received several awards for his cultural contributions from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the City of Boston, the Haitian Roundtable 1804 Haitian Americans Changemakers List, and other institutions.