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.
Human Rights Advocates Program
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.
Peace-Building and Human Rights
Lindiwe Knutson joined ISHR in 2017, as Program Coordinator for the Peacebuilding and Human Rights Program. Prior to this, Ms. Knutson worked as a Research Analyst at Security Council Report in New York, focusing on issues related to the UN Security Council. Ms. Knutson is an admitted attorney in South Africa and practiced law in Johannesburg before relocating to New York. She holds Bachelor of Social Sciences and Bachelor of Laws (LL.B) degrees from the University of Cape Town, South Africa and a Master of Laws (LL.M) degree from Columbia University, focusing on human rights and international law.
Alliance for Historical Dialogue and Accountability
As director of the Alliance for Historical Dialogue and Accountability (AHDA) program, Ariella Lang oversees a range of research, educational and advocacy based projects. The AHDA fellowship program, founded in 2012, enables human rights practitioners from conflict and post-conflict societies to come to Columbia for a semester of capacity building in the area of historical dialogue; the program's annual conference gives scholars and practitioners an opportunity to meet and share their research and best practices; the online Historical Dialogues, Justice and Memory Network, administered and designed by AHDA allows students, practitioners and scholars to connect and learn about opportunities and work being done in the field year round. Other ongoing research projects include the digital humanities project which Dr. Lang oversees, entitled the Mapping Historical Dialogue Project; the Political Apologies Archive; and numerous workshops and expert meetings on subjects ranging from Perpetrators and Victims to the Legislation of History. Dr. Lang has taught at Barnard College and Rutgers University, and continues to teach at Columbia University. She received her Ph.D. from Columbia University and her B.A. from the University of Chicago and has published extensively in the fields of Holocaust and genocide studies, and minority rights and cultures.
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.
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.
Andrew Rizzardi joined ISHR in 2014 and is responsible for ISHR’s communications, web development, and technology. Prior to joining ISHR, Mr. Rizzardi served as a program associate and researcher with Freedom House and as a media specialist with the Washington College of Law. Mr. Rizzardi holds a M.A. in International Relations and B.A. in Communications from American University.
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 Rights Program
Elsa Stamatopoulou joined Columbia in 2011. Her arrival marked the completion of distinguished service at the United Nations (Vienna, Geneva and New York) with some 22 years dedicated to human 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. Last year she taught the first ever course at Columbia on Indigenous Peoples rights and is developing a program on the topic for ISHR. Her academic background in law, international law, criminal justice and political science and her experience in international normative frameworks, institution-building, the rights of indigenous peoples and other groups, cultural rights, development, private sector and inter-governmental cooperation equip her with a keen understanding of how to impact on public policies, linking this to academic work. She has cooperated closely with non-governmental organizations 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 and others; in 2010 the Museum “Tepee of the World” was given her name in the Republic of Sakha, Siberia, Russia. Her writings include articles on indigenous rights, women’s rights, victims of human rights violations, cultural rights and on the UN; in 1998, she co-edited, with Danielli and Diaz, “The Universal Declaration of Human Rights: 50 Years and Beyond” ; her book “Cultural Rights in International Law” was published in 2007 by Martinus Nijhoff Publishers. She oversaw the first edition of the UN publication State of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, New York, 2009.
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.
Alliance for Historical Dialogue and Accountability, Education
Tim Wyman-McCarthy joined ISHR in 2016 as Program Coordinator for the Alliance for Historical Dialogue and Accountability and the Institute's Indigenous Peoples' Rights Program. Prior to this, Mr. Wyman-McCarthy assisted in the production of online courses for the Department of Continuing and Distance Education at Queen's University, Canada. He holds a BA (Honours) in English Literature and History from Queen’s University, and a Masters in English Language and Literature from Oxford University, UK, where he concentrated in world literatures in English, focusing specifically on South African writing. He then earned a Masters in Human Rights Studies at Columbia University, focusing on Indigenous rights and settler colonialism. Mr. Wyman-McCarthy has worked as an intern with the Disability Rights Division of Human Rights Watch, as the editor of ISHR's blog RightsViews, and consistently as a copy-editor and research assistant in fields across the humanities and social sciences.