Institute for the Study of Human Rights
Irene Atamian joined ISHR as its business manager in September 2006. Ms. Atamian exercises primary responsibility for ISHR’s administrative and programmatic budgets, as well as its personnel and instructional expenses, and for all grants and gift accounts. She received a Master of City and Regional Planning from Cornell University in August 2005. Prior to attending Cornell, she worked as an analyst at Nielsen Media Research. Ms. Atamian holds a Bachelor of Science in economics and finance from NYU’s Stern School of Business.
Elazar Barkan is a Professor of International and Public Affairs and the Director of the Human Rights Concentration at Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs. He was the founding director of the Institute for Historical Justice and Reconciliation (IHJR) in The Hague. Professor Barkan served on ISHR’s board of directors before becoming ISHR’s co-director in 2007 and director in 2008. Previously, Professor Barkan served as chair of the History Department and the Cultural Studies Department at the Claremont Graduate University, where he was the founding director of the Humanities Center. Professor Barkan is a historian by training and received his PhD from Brandeis University. His research interests focus on human rights and on the role of history in contemporary society and politics and the response to gross historical crimes and injustices. His human rights work seeks to achieve conflict resolution and reconciliation by bringing scholars from two or more sides of a conflict together and employing historical methodology to create shared narratives across political divides. A recent pertinent article: “Historians and Historical Reconciliation,” (AHR Forum) American Historical Review, (October 2009). Professor Barkan’s other current research interests include refugee repatriation, comparative analysis of historical commissions, shared sacred sites, and the question of human rights impact, specifically with regard to redress and transitional justice. His recent books include No Return, No Refuge: Rites and Rights in Minority Repatriation (with Howard Adelman, Columbia University Press 2011); The Guilt of Nations: Restitution and Negotiating Historical Injustices (2000); Claiming the Stones/Naming the Bones: Cultural Property and the Negotiation of National and Ethnic Identity, (an edited volume with Ronald Bush, Getty, 2003); and Taking Wrongs Seriously: Apologies and Reconciliation (an edited volume with Alexander Karn, Stanford University Press, 2006).
Business and Human Rights
Joanne Bauer is Senior Researcher, Business and Human Rights Program and Adjunct Professor at the School of International and Public Affairs. She co-leads the Teaching Business and Human Rights Forum based at Columbia and involving more than 260 faculty at 180 institutions in more than 30 countries. Bauer is editor of Forging Environmentalism: Justice, Livelihood and Contested Environments (ME Sharpe, 2006), and co-editor of The East Asian Challenge for Human Rights (Cambridge University Press, 1999). From 2006-2013, Bauer was Senior Researcher at Business & Human Rights Resource Centre, where she was responsible for Asia, as well as the thematic areas of women's rights, HIV/AIDS and access to medicines globally. Prior to that (1994-2005) she was Director of Studies at the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs where she founded research programs on human rights and environmental values, directed the Fellows program, and founded the periodical, Human Rights Dialogue. Bauer is Senior Fellow, Melbourne University Law School and an adviser and consultant to a number of non-profits and projects, including Inclusive Development International, Accountability Counsel, Oxfam America, and Business & Human Rights Resource Centre.
Kristina directs ISHR’s human rights education programs and projects. These include a Human Rights Studies M.A. program, an undergraduate human rights major and concentration, a human rights summer certification program, and the University Human Rights Education in Myanmar project. She has also designed and facilitated human rights capacity-building trainings for members of civil society and government officials in Colombia and Iraq and has undertaken research, reporting, and advocacy work in Kenya, South Africa, and Northern Uganda. She is currently a member of the Steering Committee for HRE USA. Her research interests focus on human rights in conflict and transitional contexts and human rights education. Kristina holds a Master of International Affairs from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs and a Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service from Georgetown University.
Yasmine Ergas is the Director of the Specialization on Gender and Public Policy and Lecturer in Discipline of International and Public Affairs at the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University. Ergas focuses on issues regarding gender and women’s rights. Her current research addresses the emergence of a global market in reproductive services and the legal and public policy implications of the transnationalization of everyday life. Ergas has served as a consultant to international and domestic policy organizations, including the OECD, UNESCO, the Millennium Villages Project, the New York City Commission on Human Rights, CENSIS (a major applied social research institute in Italy) and on the staff of the Social Science Research Council. She has been recognized for her teaching at SIPA, co-led a working group of the Committee on International Trade of the New York City Bar Association on child labor and international trade, and practiced law at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher and Flom, and Studio Legale Pedersoli. Among other current engagements, she serves on the Executive Committee of the Institute for Research on Women, Gender and Sexuality at Columbia University, is the co-convener of Columbia University’s Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies Council, and is a member of several editorial boards, including the Journal of Human Rights Practice. Ergas has written widely on issues regarding gender and human rights, including most recently, essays on Babies without Borders: Human Rights, Human Dignity and the Regulation of International Commercial Surrogacy (Emory International Law Review, 2013), Placing Gender on the Agenda of International Affairs: Changing Conceptual and Institutional Landscapes (Journal of International Affairs, 2013). She is currently co-editing a book on Bodies and Borders: Negotiating Motherhood in the 21st Century.
Director, Capacity Building
Stephanie V. Grepo joined ISHR as the Director of Capacity Building in 2008. During her tenure, she has increased the number of female participants in the Human Rights Advocates Program, secured funding to create openings in HRAP for LGBT and disability rights advocates, and encouraged HRAP alumni—who can be found in 88 countries around the globe—to cooperate across class years and geographic boundaries. She has advised alumni on their work ranging from youth empowerment in South Sudan and Bosnia to capacity building for indigenous peoples to advocacy around prisoners’ rights in Nigeria. She has assisted them with grant proposals that have garnered more than $1.5 million in funding from the Global Fund for Women, the National Endowment for Democracy and United States Institute of Peace. In 2011, she created a summer program at ISHR through which Columbia University students volunteer at organizations led by HRAP and AHDA alumni around the globe. With the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe from 2000 to 2007, Stephanie developed multi-ethnic experiential education programs in Kosovo; created and led a $2 million euros grants program to support confidence-building projects at the grassroots level in Macedonia; worked on return and integration issues and led a field office of 10 staff in one of the most politically sensitive regions of Croatia; and served as the youth and education advisor to the OSCE Head of Mission in Serbia. She has observed elections in Bosnia and Georgia. A lecturer at The New School, Stephanie has led graduate-level practicums with clients including the International Rescue Committee and Transparency International. She earned a master’s degree from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. Her volunteer experience with resettling refugees through Catholic Charities led her to work in human rights.
Gergana Halpern is a program coordinator working primarily with ISHR’s human rights education programs. Prior to joining ISHR, Ms. Halpern was a legal advocacy associate at the Scholars at Risk Network, working on SAR’s Academic Freedom Advocacy initiative. Ms. Halpern also served as a research associate with Amnesty International USA and as the Millennium Development Goals campaign organizer at Amnesty International’s United Nations office in New York. Ms. Halpern holds a JD with a concentration in International and Comparative Law from Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law.
Professor Martin, together with Professor Louis Henkin (University Professor Emeritus/Special Service Professor, Columbia University), founded ISHR (then the Center for the Study of Human Rights) in 1978, and served as its executive director through June 2007. Before coming to Columbia to complete his PhD at Teachers College (with a dissertation on education in Africa during the 19th century), he spent several years as a missionary and university teacher in Africa. Over the years, Professor Martin’s primary research interest has been human rights education, especially in Africa, as well as religion and human rights. Currently, his work is focused on the impact of multinational corporations on developing countries from a human rights perspective.
Director of Graduate Studies
Lara J. Nettelfield is a Senior Lecturer in the Discipline of Human Rights at the Institute for the Study of Human Rights and the Department of Political Science at Columbia University. She is currently working on an oral history project, The New Humanitarians, about the refugee crisis in Europe and the Middle East. Her research interests include human rights, forced migration, transitional justice, technology and society, and social movements.
In 2015, she published a co-authored manuscript, Srebrenica in the Aftermath of Genocide (Cambridge University Press). This book reveals how interactions between local, national and international interventions - from refugee return and resettlement to commemorations, war crimes trials, immigration proceedings and election reform - have led to subtle, positive effects of social repair, despite persistent attempts at denial. Srebrenica in the Aftermath of Genocide received Honorable Mention for the International Studies Association's Ethnicity, Migration and Nationalism (ENMISA) Distinguished Book Award (2015) and was shortlisted for the 2015 Rothschild Prize of the Association for the Study of Nationalities (ASN). In 2015, Senado Kreso translated it into Bosnian for the Institute for History (Sarajevo).
Nettelfield is also the author of Courting Democracy in Bosnia and Herzegovina: The Hague Tribunal's Impact in a Postwar State (Cambridge University Press, 2010), which former Hague prosecutor Richard Goldstone has called “essential reading, well-balanced, and realistic.” Courting Democracy won the 2011 Marshall Shulman prize of the Association for Slavic, East European and Eurasian Studies (ASEEES).
A political scientist by training, Nettelfield received Ph.D., M.Phil. and M.A. degrees from Columbia University and an A.B. degree from the University of California, Berkeley. She also completed a certificate at Columbia's Harriman Institute. She has worked for international organizations such as the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP), the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, in addition to serving as an advisor for non-governmental organizations. She has served on the editorial board of the British International Studies Association’s (BISA) flagship journal Review of International Studies (RIS), East European Politics, and the Sarajevski žurnal za društvena pitanja (Sarajevo Social Science Review). She frequently contributes to the press, including the New York Times, the Guardian, Buzzfeed, Foreign Policy, the BBC, the Edmonton Journal, OpenDemocracy, NBC, the Detroit Free Press, and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She is a fellow of the Higher Education Academy (HEA) (UK).Twitter: @LJNettelfield
Peace-Building and Human Rights
David L. Phillips is Director of the Program on Peace-building and Rights at Columbia University’s Institute for the Study of Human Rights. Phillips has worked as a Senior Adviser to the United Nations Secretariat (Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (1999-2000). He was a Senior Adviser and Foreign Affairs Expert to the U.S. Department of State during the administrations of Presidents Clinton (Bureau for European Affairs 1999-2001), Bush (Bureau for Near Eastern Affairs 2001), and Obama (Bureau for South and Central Asian Affairs 2010-2011).
Phillips held academic positions at Harvard University's Center for Middle East Studies, Belfer Center for Science in International Affairs, and the Program on Humanitarian Affairs. He was Executive Director of Columbia University’s International Conflict Resolution Program, Director of the Program on Conflict Prevention and Peace-building at the American University, Associate Professor at New York University’s Department of Politics, and Professor at the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna.
Phillips worked at think tanks, as Senior Fellow and Deputy Director of the Council on Foreign Relations/Center for Preventive Action, Senior Fellow and Program Director at the Atlantic Council of the United States, Senior Fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Director of the European Centre for Common Ground, and Project Director at the International Peace Research Institute of Oslo.
Phillips has also served as a foundation executive, as President of the Congressional Human Rights Foundation and Executive Director of the Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity.
Phillips worked in media as an Analyst, Expert, and Commentator for NBC Universal, CNBC, and the BBC World Service.
Phillips is author of The Kurdish Spring: A New Map for the Middle East (2014), Liberating Kosovo: Coercive Diplomacy and U.S. Intervention (2012), From Bullets to Ballots: Violent Muslim Movements in Transition (2008), Losing Iraq: Inside the Postwar Reconstruction Fiasco (2005), Unsilencing the Past: Track Two Diplomacy and Turkish-Armenian Reconciliation (2005). His upcoming book is Turkey: An Uncertain Ally (2017).
Phillips has also authored dozens of policy reports, as well as more than 100 articles in leading publications including The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, International Herald Tribune, Los Angeles Times, Huffington Post, CNBC.com, and Foreign Affairs.
Guantánamo Memory Project
Liz Ševčenko directs the Project from Columbia University’s Institute for the Study of Human Rights. Ševčenko was Founding Director of the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience, a network of historic sites that foster public dialogue on pressing contemporary issues. Starting in 1999 as a meeting of nine sites under the auspices of the Lower East Side Tenement Museum, under her leadership the Coalition grew to an independent organization with over 250 members in more than 40 countries, and launched regional networks in Russia, South America, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East; as well as an international Immigration Sites of Conscience network and a bi-national (US and Canada) Indian Boarding Schools Project.
As Coalition Director, Ševčenko worked with initiatives in more than 60 countries to design replicable programs and practices that reflect on past struggles and inspire citizens to become involved in addressing their contemporary legacies. Before launching the Coalition, Ševčenko had over ten years of experience developing public history projects designed to catalyze civic dialogue in New York and around the country.
As Vice President for Programs at the Lower East Side Tenement Museum, she developed exhibits and educational activities that connect the dramatic stories of the neighborhood’s immigrants past and present. She also developed national and community initiatives to inspire civic dialogue on cultural identity, labor relations, housing, welfare, immigration, and other issues raised by these stories. She has published extensively on Sites of Conscience in journals and edited volumes in a variety of fields, from human rights to cultural heritage to transitional justice, and has taught Museum Studies at New York University.
Indigenous Peoples' Rights Program
Elsa Stamatopoulou joined Columbia University in 2011 after a 31-year service at the United Nations (in Vienna, Geneva and New York) with some 22 years dedicated to human rights, in addition to 8 years exclusively devoted to Indigenous Peoples’ rights. Indigenous issues were part of her portfolio since 1983 and she became the first Chief of the Secretariat of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in 2003. In 2011, she taught the first-ever course at Columbia on Indigenous Peoples’ rights, the first course on cultural rights (2016) and is the first Director of the Indigenous Peoples Rights Program at the Institute for the Study of Human Rights at Columbia, also co-chairing Columbia’s University Seminar on Indigenous Studies. Her academic background is in law, international law, criminal justice and political science (Athens Law School, Vienna University, Northeastern University and Graduate Institute of International Studies at the University of Geneva) and she has worked on international normative frameworks, institution-building, the rights of Indigenous Peoples and other groups, women’s rights, cultural rights, development, private sector and inter-governmental cooperation. She has cooperated closely with non-governmental organizations in her native Greece and elsewhere and has received the Ingrid Washinawatok El Issa O’Peqtaw Metaehmoh-Flying Eagle Woman Peace, Justice and Sovereignty Award; the award of the NGO Committee on the Decade of the World’s Indigenous Peoples; the Eleanor Roosevelt Award of the Human Rights Center and of Voices 21; the Innovation in Academia Award for Arts & Culture, 2016, by the University of Kent (UK); and in 2010, the Museum “Tepee of the World” was given her name in the Republic of Sakha, Siberia, Russia. In 2016, she was featured as one of the UN’s 80 Leading Women from 1945-2016. She co-chairs the International Commission on the Chittagong Hill Tracts.
Books: Cultural Rights in International Law, 2007, Martinus Nijhoff Publishers (Brill); Indigenous Peoples’ Rights and Unreported Struggles: Conflict and Peace (ed.), 2017, Columbia University Institute for the Study of Human Rights; Indigenous Peoples’ Access to Justice, Including Truth and Reconciliation Processes, (ed. with W. Littlechild), 2014 Columbia University Institute for the Study of Human Rights; The Universal Declaration of Human Rights: 50 Years and Beyond (ed. with Y. Danieli and C. Diaz), 1998, Baywood Publishing Co. She oversaw the first edition of the UN publication State of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, New York, 2009.
Book chapters and articles she has published deal with Indigenous Peoples’ rights, women’s rights, historical injustices and human rights responses, cultural rights, development and international organizations, among other topics.
At Columbia, Prof. Stamatopoulou is affiliated with the Institute for the Study of Human Rights, the Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race and the Department of Anthropology.
Adjunct Research Scholar
American NGO Coalition for the ICC
John Washburn has had an extensive career in diplomacy and international governmental and non-governmental organizations. He was a director in the Executive Office of the Secretary-General of the United Nations between January 1988 and April 1993. Thereafter he was a director in the Department of Political Affairs at the United Nations until March 1994. He is currently Convener of the American Non-Governmental Organizations Coalition for the International Criminal Court (AMICC), co-chair of the Washington Working Group on the International Criminal Court (WICC), and a past president of the Unitarian Universalist United Nations Office. In association with the international NGO Coalition for the International Criminal Court (CICC), he attended most of the United Nations negotiations on the International Criminal Court since 1994 including all of the 1998 diplomatic conference in Rome. He writes and speaks frequently on the United Nations. He has published extensively on relations between the United Nations and the United States on the International Criminal Court. Mr. Washburn was a member of the Foreign Service of the United States from 1963 to 1987. Mr. Washburn was also Night Shift Chairman of the Iran Hostage Task Force in 1979. Mr. Washburn is a graduate of Harvard College and the Harvard Law School. He is a Member of the Bar of the District of Columbia and of the bars of the District Court and Circuit Court of Appeals in that jurisdiction. He has worked as a volunteer attorney in an area office of the Neighborhood Legal Services Program. He belongs to the American Society of International Law and the Council on Foreign Relations, and is a founding member of the Academic Council on the United Nations System.
Director of Undergraduate Studies
Dr. Inga Winkler is a lecturer at the Institute for the Study of Human Rights at Columbia University. Her research focuses on socio-economic rights, development, gender, social justice and substantive equality. Current research projects address menstrual health and wellbeing, the human right to sanitation, and the UN Special Procedures.
Her books include the first comprehensive monograph on the human right to water, an edited volume on the Sustainable Development Goals, and the forthcoming Handbook on Critical Menstruation Studies. Her articles have appeared in the International Journal of Human Rights, the Journal of Human Development and Capabilities, the Columbia Human Rights Law Review, and the Human Rights Law Review among others.
Inga is the Director of the Working Group on Menstrual Health & Gender Justice and a member of the Executive Committee of the Center for the Study of Social Difference. She leads the programming on socio-economic rights in the Institute for the Study of Human Rights. She is affiliated faculty at the Institute for Research on Women, Gender and Sexuality, the Columbia Water Center in the Earth Institute, the Economic and Social Rights Working Group at the Human Rights Institute at the University of Connecticut, and the Center on Law and Social Transformation at the University of Bergen, Norway. Previously, she was in residence as a visiting scholar at the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice at NYU, at Stellenbosch (South Africa) and at Berkeley.
Inga teaches in the interdisciplinary human rights program at the graduate and undergraduate level and serves as the program's Director of Undergraduate Studies.
From 2009 to 2014 she was the Legal Adviser to the UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights to Water and Sanitation, Catarina de Albuquerque, who was appointed by the UN Human Rights Council. Inga has also consulted for various international organizations and NGOs including the European Parliament; the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations; the Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights; the United Nations Development Programme; the Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions; WaterAid; the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ); and the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC).
Inga holds a German law degree and a doctorate in international human rights law (summa cum laude).