Board Of Directors Profiles

Board Of Directors Profiles

Ann Burroughs

Board Chair

Currently Executive Director of the Taproot Foundation

Education: She was educated in South Africa

Biography: Ann Burroughs is the Executive Director of the Taproot Foundation, Los Angeles, She was on the staff of AIUSA from 1991 - 1999 first as the Western Regional Deputy Director then as a Media Director on the national team. She has been a member of the IAR Member Strategy Planning Group since June 2011. She was imprisoned for her work against apartheid in her native South Africa in the 1980s and was the subject of a successful AI Special Action.


Joan Libby Hawk

Vice-Chair, Governance Committee Chair

President of Libby Hawk and Associates

Education: Bachelor of Arts from Mount Holyoke College and Masters of Fine Arts from City University of New York

Biography: Joan has been involved in supporting human rights and women's rights throughout her career, working in nongovernmental organizations, in government and in international organizations. A communications and development specialist, she has helped organizations--local, state, national and international--define strategies and implement successful constituency outreach and public advocacy initiatives. Her involvement with AI and Amnesty USA includes designing and curating the Cambodia Witness exhibit to highlight extrajudicial execution that traveled throughout the US and Europe.

Before starting Libby Hawk Associates in 2010 (, for more than nine years Joan guided the public affairs and outreach of the United Nations Development Fund for Women, UNIFEM (now part of UN Women), the United Nations organization working in more than 80 countries to realize women's human rights. She expanded and diversified the organization's funding base, sharpened its public profile and developed long-term partnerships with companies, celebrities, NGOs and other UN agencies to strengthen groundbreaking work to end violence against women and promote women's human rights, economic empowerment and equality. Joan was an architect of UNIFEM's global Say NO to Violence against Women campaign that utilized cutting edge Internet-based interactive technology to garner more than 5 million signatures from around the world in its first phase. To advance gender equality in the private sector, she spearheaded the creation of the Women's Empowerment Principles - Equality Means Business, seven steps that business can take to open opportunities for women in the workplace, marketplace and community.

As the Senior Advisor for Futures Without Violence, a leading organization in the efforts to end violence against women and children, Joan guided the development of the Communication X-Change, an interactive global digital library of communications materials on ending violence against women and children, that went 'live' on November 25th, 2012 timed to the observance of the International Day to Eliminate Violence against Women and the onset of the 16 Days Campaign ( Additionally, she serves as the Special Advisor to the Women's Empowerment Principles, Equality Means Business, a partnership initiative of UN Women and the UN Global Compact, helping to shape strategy, communications and the annual global meeting that coincides with International Women's Day and the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW). (

Joan is a spokesperson and writer on achieving women's human rights, ending violence against women and building partnerships to advance gender equality. For example: -Achieving Gender Equality: The Road from Participation to Influence, Middle East Partnership Initiative Institute, Women as Voters, American University, Washington, DC
-Taking Action to Eliminate Violence against Women, World Conference on Prevention of Family Violence, Banff, Canada
-The Missing Piece to Ending Poverty—Integrating Gender into the Millennium Development Goals, George Washington University, Washington, DC
-Religions for Peace and UNIFEM: Working Together To 'Say NO' to Violence against Women, Religions for Peace, MOSAIC Newsletter, Issue 13
-Women and the United Nations, Course Instructor, American University's Women & Politics Institute, Washington, DC

Aniket Shah

Treasurer, Finance Committee Chair

Global Strategist - Investec Asset Management

Education: Yale University

Biography: Aniket Shah is a global strategist at Investec Asset Management, one of the largest emerging market investment firms in the world. In this role, he plays a key role in both developing investment strategies as well as leading client interaction with public and private sector entities.

Prior to this role, Aniket worked at The Earth Institute at Columbia University where he served as Special Assistant to Professor Jeffrey Sachs. In this capacity, he helped lead major international development projects with governments, development finance institutions and the private sector in North America, Asia and Africa.

A graduate of Yale University, he collaborated closely with former Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo and UN Deputy Secretary General Mark Malloch Brown. His new book titled Learning from the World: New Ideas to Re-Develop America will be released by Palgrave Macmillan in November 2013.

Becky Farrar

General Secretary


Education: J.D. from Stetson University College of Law (2009); B.A. from Queen's University (Canada) (1979)

Biography: Becky Farrar works as a contract attorney in Washington, D.C. and is actively involved with both Amnesty International USA and the American Bar Association (ABA).

As a member of DC's Adams Morgan/Capitol Hill Amnesty group, Becky helps organize events and rallies, including the annual Get on the Bus-DC. She has been a Legislative Coordinator (LC) with AIUSA since 2007, in Florida and DC. Becky is concluding a term as Co-Chair of the ABA's Section of International Law's International Human Rights Committee.

Becky grew up in Canada and graduated from Queen's University in 1979 with a degree in politics and drama. Prior to attending Stetson University College of Law, Becky worked in human resources, created and managed small businesses, and co-published and edited a magazine. During law school (2007-2009), she co-founded Stetson Law's first Amnesty chapter and served as President of the Public Service Fellows. Becky has been recognized with leadership awards from AIUSA and Mid-Atlantic Region, and from Stetson Law.

In her spare time, Becky enjoys writing. She is currently working on a mystery thriller involving microfinance.

Rafia Zakaria

Planning and Priorities Committee Chair

Rafia Zakaria is the first Pakistani American woman to serve as a Director for Amnesty International USA where she currently chairs the Planning and Priorities Committee. She is a columnist for DAWN, Pakistan's largest English newspaper and one of the few feminist columnists in Pakistan. Her work and views have been featured in the New York Times, Dissent, The Progressive, Guernica, and on Al Jazeera English, the BBC, Le Monde Diplomatique and NPR. She is the author of The Upstairs Wife: An intimate history of Pakistan, forthcoming from Beacon Press.

Rafia is a lawyer and the Founder of the Muslim Women's Legal Defense Fund for the Muslim Alliance of Indiana/The Julian Center Shelter representing victims of domestic violence. She is a Ph.D. candidate in Political Science at Indiana University, currently working on her dissertation entitled "Negotiating Identity: Sharia, multiculturalism and Muslim women." She was the John Edwards Fellow at Indiana University for 2007-2008 which is the highest academic honor that can be achieved by a graduate student at Indiana University. he is the only Pakistani American woman recognized by a joint resolution of the Indiana House and Senate for her work on women's rights.

Matthew Kennis

Membership Committee Chair

Currently Senior Research Consultant, Tian Shan Policy Center/American University of Central Asia.

Education: MA in Human Rights and Political Transitions, Columbia University.

Biography: Matthew Kennis has worked on human rights accountability issues in Latin America and globally for more than ten years, including field work in Guatemala where he accompanied witnesses involved in the Rios Montt genocide case. The impetus and dedication for this work stems from meetings with underground Central American indigenous activists involved with truth and memorialization efforts in the mid 1990's.

Matthew has held staff positions with Amnesty International USA and Human Rights Watch and previously worked as an assistant editor with the Interdisciplinary Journal of Human Rights Law. Since 2010, Matthew has worked with Central Asian human rights groups on fundraising efforts, rule of law development, and advocacy strategies. He currently chairs Amnesty International USA's Central America/Mexico Coordination Group. Matthew is a recipient of the Kathryn Davis Fellowship for Peace.

Jeremy Schroeder

Member at Large

Currently Executive Director of Common Cause Minnesota

Education: JD from David A. Clarke School of Law, University of the District of Columbia

Biography: Jeremy Schroeder is the Executive Director of Common Cause Minnesota. He has been leading targeted campaigns around issues like death penalty abolition, worker rights, and human rights for over a decade. Jeremy was formerly the National Strategy Counsel with the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty (NCADP). In this role, he was responsible for aligning NCADP's strategic vision with the work of its state and national Affiliate partners. Previously, Schroeder was executive director of the Illinois Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty where he led the campaign that passed death penalty repeal legislation in that state, creating a fund for victims' services and law enforcement training. In prior positions he was deputy legislative director of the Service Employees International Union, Healthcare Illinois and Indiana. He is a board member of Amnesty International USA. In addition to receiving an engineering degree from Marquette University, he is a graduate of the University of the District of Columbia School of Law.

Marcel Kitissou

Deputy Secretary

Currently Visiting Fellow with the Institute for African Development, the Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies, Cornell University

Education: PhD in Political Science from Syracuse University; Doctorate in Contemporary History from the University of Bordeaux, France.

Biography: Marcel Kitissou has been involved in the work of Amnesty International-USA indirectly and directly since the late 1990s. In 1998-2001, he served as academic advisor for AI-USA student group when he was Director of the PEACE Institute at SUNY-Oswego. He collaborated with AI-USA on issues pertaining to arms transfer and child soldiers when he was Executive Director of Africa Faith and Justice Network in 2001-2005. In between, he used to send student interns to AI-USA when he was Faculty Director of the Global Humanitarian Action Program at George Mason University. Since 2007, he joined the West Africa Co-Group and currently serves as Country Specialist for Burkina Faso and Cote d'Ivoire.

Marcel has recently taught courses on public policy and social justice, conflict resolution, and public policy and human rights. His publications include topics such as Africa in China's global strategy and the politics of water in Africa. His current research focuses on hunger and political stability in Africa. In 2012, he founded the "International Consortium for Geopolitical Studies of the Sahel."

Govind Acharya

Education: Graduate work in Economics at Cornell University and San Francisco State University; undergraduate work at University of California, San Diego.

Govind has been a volunteer with AIUSA for almost 20 years, serving in a variety of capacities ranging from Student Area Coordinator in San Diego to Country Specialist. He has worked as a staff person at the International Secretariat, serving as AI's representative in Afghanistan. He has served on numerous working groups aimed at strengthening AI's policies worldwide. His graduate work was on developing linkages between mainstream economic theory and human rights, especially the right to food.

In addition to his human rights activism, he is a commissioner on the City of Ithaca's Board of Public Works and chairs the City of Ithaca's Planning and Development Board. While on these local government bodies, he has pushed to ensure that development is sustainable and available for all in our community.

He has also served as the Vice-Chair of the Ithaca Health Alliance, an organization dedicated to ensuring health care for all in his community.

He has a prolific social media presence, tweeting to the world from @gringostani.

Jan Knippers Black

Currently Professor of International Policy Studies at the Monterey Institute of International Studies

Education: PhD from School of International Service at American University

Biography: Her areas of specialization have included international and grassroots development, international and comparative politics and US foreign policy, especially with respect to the Western Hemisphere, globalization, media, human rights, and women's rights and roles. For more than a decade she has anchored the Institute's human rights program and has offered workshops and onsite courses overseas, most recently in Chile in collaboration with Judge Juan Guzman.

She has also been a Senior Associate Member of St. Antony's College, Oxford, a faculty member in the University of Pittsburgh's Semester-at-Sea Program, a Research Professor in public administration at the University of New Mexico, and a research team supervisor at American University. A founding generation Peace Corps Volunteer in Chile, she has worked on AIUSA campaigns and committees since the 1970s.

Dr. Black has served on more than two dozen editorial or NGO governing or advisory boards and has traveled extensively, to some 175 countries, undertaking research, speaking engagements, workshops, consulting, and program evaluation. She is author, editor, or coauthor of more than two dozen books and 200 chapters or articles in anthologies, encyclopedias, journals, magazines or newspapers. Recent books include Inequity in the Global Village, Development in Theory and Practice, 2nd ed. rev, The Politics of Human Rights Protection (pbk. 2010) and Latin America, Its Problems and Its Promise (5th ed. Rev. 2010). Drawing upon earlier careers in music and art, she is now collaborating on composition for musical comedy.

Kathleen Cavanaugh

Biography: Kathleen Cavanaugh is currently a Lecturer of International Law in the Faculty of Law, Irish Centre for Human Rights (ICHR), National University of Ireland, Galway. She holds a PhD in Comparative Politics from the London School of Economics & Political Science (1997) and a LL.M (Distinction) from the Queen's University of Belfast, Northern Ireland (1998). She has held several Visiting Lectureships including: Fellow, Centre for Socio-Legal Studies, University of Oxford (2006-7), and Visiting Lecturer, at the EIUC Centro Interuniversitario Europeo per i Diritti Umani e la Democratizzazione (2002-to date) and a Visiting Research Fellow, Minerva Centre for Human Rights, Hebrew University, Israel (2001).

Her publications and current research agenda, academic interests and specialisation includes: the study of nationalism, Islamic international law, ethnic conflict, political violence, applicable human rights laws in entrenched/states of emergency, freedom of religion and militant democracy. Her most recent publication (co-authored with Joshua Castellino) is entitled Minority Rights in the Middle East is with Oxford University Press (April 2013) and engages in case studies from Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. She has recently been awarded a Leverhulme/British Academy of Sciences grant to undertake field work in Turkey on her current research focus on Militant Democracy. This project follows on from an earlier research project that legally audited pre-emptive security measures in the United Kingdom and their effect on the Muslim community. With regard to community service and activities outside the University, she has served as Chair of the Executive Committee of Amnesty International (Ireland), was a member of the International Policy Committee of Amnesty International and is currently a member of AIUSA's Board of Directors. As a consultant, she has undertaken numerous missions on behalf of Amnesty International including to Northern Ireland, Israel/Palestine and Iraq (where she focused on the conduct of the occupying powers with relation to detention and security). She has conducted trainings for governmental as well as non-governmental organisations throughout the (broader) Middle East (Yemen, Jordan, Egypt, Morocco, Syria, Israel/Occupied Territories, Lebanon, Iran, Iraq and Sudan), India, and the Republic of Ireland.

Pratap Chatterjee

Executive director of CorpWatch, based in Berkeley, CA. Member of AIUSA Board since June 2011.

Education: Pratap has degrees from Calcutta University in India, San Francisco State University in California, and the New School for Social Research in New York as well as a graduate diploma in international journalism from City University in London, UK.

Biography: Pratap is an investigative journalist specializing in environmental and human rights issues as well as on fraud, waste and abuse. He has traveled widely throughout the Middle East and Central Asia including a number of trips each to Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq since 2001 when the U.S. War on Terror began. He has also worked extensively in Asia and throughout the Americas to investigate gold mining as well as other major reconstruction and development projects by institutions like the World Bank. He is the author of two books on the US war on terror: Halliburton's Army (Nation Books, 2009) and Iraq, Inc. (Seven Stories Press, 2004), as well as co-author of The Earth Brokers (Routledge, 1994), a book on global environmental policy. Pratap previously worked for the Bureau of Investigative Journalism in London and Inter Press Service in Washington DC. He serves on the board of the Corporate Europe Observatory in Brussels and spent a year as a visiting fellow at the Center for American Progress in Washington DC.

Emily Hong

Training Adviser, Community Organizing and Rights Education- Burma Asia Training Associate, Minority Rights Group International (until September 2012)

Education: Currently a PhD student in the Department of Anthropology at Cornell University. She holds a B.A. in human rights and international relations from Columbia University, a Certificate in the Advanced Study of Nonviolent Conflict from the Fletcher Summer Institute, and is a graduate of Training for Change's Super-T Training for Social Action Trainers.

Biography: Emily is a Seoul-born and New York-raised writer and trainer. Prior to returning to the US to begin her PhD, Emily spent four years in Thailand and on the Thai-Burma border working with grassroots and international human rights organizations. In her work with Minority Rights Group International, Emily provided training and advising on minority rights advocacy to human rights defenders from twelve countries in South and Southeast Asia. Prior to joining MRG, Emily was based on the Thai-Burma border, providing strategic advocacy support to Burma's democracy movement-in-exile. She also played a critical role in the launch of CORE Burma, a novel training program on rights-based community organizing and nonviolent direct action, consisting of a partnership between the multi-ethnic coalitions Students and Youth Congress of Burma and Nationalities Youth Forum. Based on the border, she also conducted fieldwork and editing for the book Nowhere To Be Home: Narratives from Survivors of Burma's Military Regime, a volume in the Voice of Witness series on oral history and human rights.

Emily has facilitated trainings on minority rights, international advocacy, creative and cultural resistance, nonviolent civil resistance, campaign planning, and monitoring and evaluation. Her recent research focuses on the interplay between culture and rights, the local strategies of minority and indigenous human rights defenders, and business and human rights issues. She has been a member of AIUSA for over a decade, and has previously served as Student Area Coordinator and Corporate Action Network Coordinator. The latter role took her to Bhopal, India, and sparked a lifelong interest in working in solidarity with grassroots people's movements.

Natalie Jesionka

Natalie Jesionka is a lecturer, media professional, and human rights activist. Natalie is the founder of the Prizm Project, the first global human rights education organization for young women. She has researched and reported on human trafficking and women in conflict throughout Asia. She lectures on Human Rights at Rutgers University and Gateway College of Norway. She is also the Founder and Editor of Shatter, the Looking Glass Magazine, a human rights and ethical travel magazine examining the complexity of moving across borders. She pens the column "Travel Mirror" for The Daily Muse and is serving as a consulting producer on an upcoming documentary about human trafficking.

Jessica Carvalho Morris

Jessica Carvalho Morris is the Director of the International Graduate Law Programs at the University of Miami School of Law where she teaches in the areas of international human rights and constitutional law. She is admitted to practice in Brazil and Florida, and publishes and lectures on international human rights and aspects of Brazilian and American constitutional law.

Education: J.D. equivalent from the Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil and JD from University of Miami School of Law.

Biography: She has been a member of the Board of Directors of Amnesty International USA since 2008. She is the first Latina to serve as Vice Chair and currently the only Latin American on the Board. She also serves as chair the Governance Committee and on the Executive Committee of the Board. She was the coordinator for the Miami Chapter of Amnesty International for five years, 2004-2009. In that position, she led the organization of one of the largest Florida state conferences in 2006 and the Southern Regional Conference in 2007, and significantly expanded the fundraising and membership of the Miami Chapter with regular events.

Carvalho Morris's father was tortured while serving as a U.S. missionary in Brazil during the military dictatorship. He was kidnapped by the Brazilian military and subjected to electric shocks, beatings, and food and sleep deprivation. After 17 days, he was expelled from Brazil even though official charges were never brought against him. As a result of her father's experience, Carvalho Morris is committed to ending torture and other kinds of human rights violations in the world.

Prior to joining the University of Miami School of Law she worked in the U.S. at National Labor Relations Board and at Greenberg Traurig, and in Brazil with women victims of domestic violence and prisoners' rights. In addition to her work with AIUSA, she also co-chaired the Civil Rights Committee of the Florida Bar and was a member of the Board of the Florida International University Women's Center Advisory Council.

Thomas A. Pereira

Coming Soon

Terry Kay Rockefeller

Documentary film producer, peace and justice activist.

Education: M.A. in U.S. History, The Johns Hopkins University; A.B in Government, Radcliffe College, Harvard University.

Biography:Terry began her documentary filmmaking career at WGBH-TV where she helped create the long-running PBS science series, NOVA. Among her other credits are episodes of Eyes on the Prize, a history of the civil rights movement, and The Great Depression, both produced at Blackside, Inc., America's leading African-American production company.

Terry's sister, Laura Rockefeller, was killed in the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Since May of 2002, Terry has worked with September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows to oppose war in response to 9/11, to protest lack of due process in the military tribunals trying those accused of the terrorist attacks, and to close Guantanamo. From 2003 to 2009, Rockefeller was a member of the board of directors of Murder Victims Families for Reconciliation, which works to abolish the death penalty in the U.S. She currently serves on the steering committee of United for Peace and Justice, a coalition of national and local peace, nonviolence and social justice organizations. She also works with the Iraqi Civil Society Solidarity Initiative, a collaboration between Iraqi and international NGOs to support human rights, democracy, and anti-corruption activists in Iraq.

Terry has been a member of AIUSA for more than 30 years.

Linda Veazey

Currently Assistant Professor of Political Science at Midwestern State University

Education: PhD from University of Southern California in Political Science

Biography: She has worked on several human rights projects including research on LGBT human rights and a book manuscript on women's cultural rights. Linda has done a wide range of volunteer work with asylum seekers in the United States. Since then, she has been an ICM delegate, chaired for the National Resolutions Committee, and served as a Saudi Arabia Country Specialist, among many other volunteer and committee positions with Amnesty International.