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Amnesty International USA announced today that Reza Fakhari been elected Chair of its Board of Directors. Fakhari has demonstrated a passionate commitment to promoting and defending human rights, stemming from his experience as a dissident in Iran where he was arrested by the Iranian authorities under the former Shah for possessing testimonies of prisoners of conscience and banned books. Currently serving as Vice President for Internationalization and Strategic Initiatives and as a Professor at St. Francis College in Brooklyn Heights, New York, Fakhari was previously elected to the Amnesty International USA Board in 2014 and served for three years as Vice Chair of the Board and Chair of Governance Committee.

The organization’s board is entirely elected by its grassroots membership across the U.S., and officers are elected by the board. The new officers, comprising the board’s Executive Committee, are:

Reza Fakhari, Chair
Alexandra Durbak, Vice-Chair
Matt Kennis, Treasurer
Barbara Sproul, Secretary
Jessica Evans, Member at Large
Ali Arab, Deputy Treasurer
Benya Krause, Deputy Secretary

In addition to the officers, the full Board of Directors also includes: Rana Abdelhamid, Christina Cerna, Abdullah Chahin, James Henry, Angie Hougas, Phyllis Pautrat, Leonard Torrealba and Oleh Tustaniwsky.

“I am truly honored and humbled that the colleagues on the Board of AIUSA elected me as their leader”, said Fakhari. “I look forward to working with all the stakeholders during this critical year of executive team transitions and multi-year strategy planning within both AIUSA and the Global Movement, to effectively advance the human rights agenda nationally and internationally.”

“It has been such a pleasure to serve on the Board of AIUSA with Reza,” said Janet E. Lord, who has come to an end of her term as the organization’s Board Chair. “His appointment as Chair comes at a challenging yet exciting time for the organization. His long-standing commitment to human rights education and energy behind the advancement of the organization’s human rights education initiatives is exactly what our movement needs in this country and globally.”