- Elazar Barkan, Director
- Yasmine Ergas, Associate Director
- J. Paul Martin, Senior Scholar
- Kristina Eberbach, Director, Education
- Stephanie Grepo, Director, Capacity Building
- Ariella Lang, Director, Alliance for Historical Dialogue and Accountability Program
- David L. Phillips, Director, Peace-building and Rights Program
- Maya Sabatello, Director, Disability Rights in Society Program
- Liz Ševčenko, Director, Guantánamo Public Memory Project
- Elsa Stamatopoulou, Director, Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Program
- John Washburn, Adjunct Research Scholar, International Criminal Court Program
- Danielle Goldberg, Program Coordinator, Peace-building and Rights Program
- Jillian Carson, Program Coordinator
- Janine White, Program Coordinator
- Irene Atamian, Business Manager
- Joe Kirchhof, Coordinator
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).
Yasmine Ergas is the Associate Director of the Institute for the Study of Human Rights and Adjunct Professor of International Law and International Human Rights Law at the School of International and Public Affairs of Columbia University. She is currently engaged in a study on The Transnationalization of Everyday Life, Human Rights and the Dilemmas of International Law, which examines such issues as the emergent market in reproductive surrogacy. She is also completing work on the Proceedings of a symposium on Human Rights Impact: General Issues and Sectoral Perspectives. Her previous work includes many published essays, and Nelle maglie della politica: femminismo, istituzioni e politiche sociali nell’Italia degli anni settanta (Milan, 1986). A graduate of the Universities of Sussex and Rome and Columbia Law School, she is a former member of the School of Social Science of the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton; fellow of the Center for European Studies at Harvard University; and a Pembroke Fellow of Brown University. Among other honors, she has been awarded fellowships and grants from the American Council of Learned Societies, the Ford Foundation and the Italian Consiglio Nazionale della Ricerca. She has served on the staff of the Social Science Research Council and as a consultant to leading international organizations, including the OECD and UNESCO. She led a working group of the Committee on International Trade of the New York City Bar Association on child labor and international trade. More recently, she served as the coordinator of, and an adviser to, the gender program of the Millennium Village Project. She is an advisor to the Human Rights Commission of the City of New York, a member of the Advisory Board for the Social Sector of the Millennium Cities Initiative, the editorial board of the Journal of Human Rights Practice, the Human Rights Program Education and Information Resources Working Group of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Scientific Council of the Centro di Ricerca sul Sistema Sud e il Mediterrraneo Allargato of Universita’ Cattolica di Milano, and the board of New York City Global Partners. Her work has been published in English, Italian, French, German, Japanese, Spanish and Portuguese.
J. Paul Martin
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.
Ms. Eberbach joined ISHR as interim director of capacity-building programs in August 2008 and served as program coordinator before becoming director of education prorgams in August 2010. She received her Masters of International Affairs in 2008 from SIPA, where she concentrated in human rights. She earned her undergraduate degree from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service. Her interest in human rights in conflict and transitional contexts led her to pursue research and programmatic work in Kenya, The Netherlands, Uganda, and South Africa.
Stephanie V. Grepo
Director, Capacity Building
Stephanie V. Grepo joined ISHR in August 2008. She leads the Human Rights Advocates Program (HRAP), an annual training program for human rights activists from around the world. From 2000 to 2007, Ms. Grepo was seconded by the U.S. Department of State to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, the world’s largest regional security organization. She organized elections and developed multi-ethnic experiential education programs in Kosovo, managed confidence-building projects in the former crisis region of Macedonia, worked on return and integration issues and led a field office of 10 staff in central Croatia, and served as the youth and education advisor in Serbia. Ms. Grepo has observed elections in Bosnia and Georgia and taught at the New School. She earned a master’s degree in human rights from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. Previously, she worked as an editor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Director, Alliance for Historical Dialogue and Accountability Program
Ariella Lang joined the Institute for the Study of Human Rights in May 2011. As director of the AHDA program, she oversees fundraising and the curricular development of the fellowship program; she has worked to establish the Historical Dialogues network, a virtual resource for practitioners and scholars interested in historical dialogue; she organizes the annual historical dialogue conference at Columbia University, and she works to increase the collaboration between practitioners and scholars working on issues relating to historical dialogue. Prior to becoming the AHDA director, Dr. Lang focused on expanding the Institute’s grant-writing initiatives, particularly for new programs and on strengthening the Institute’s publications. She organized and supported many of the workshops, trainings and conferences that the Institute has hosted, and she continues to serve as a member of the admissions committee for the Master’s Program in Human Rights at Columbia. Dr. Lang has taught at Barnard College, Columbia University and Rutgers University, and her interests include minority rights and cultures, genocide studies, and the relationship between religion and nationalism. She has published a number of articles in these areas and her book, Converting a Nation, was published in 2008. Ms. Lang received her M.A. and Ph.D. in Italian Studies from Columbia University and her B.A. from the University of Chicago.
David L. Phillips
Director, Peace-building and Rights Program
David L. Phillips is currently 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 and as a foreign affairs expert and senior adviser to the U.S. Department of State. He has held positions as a visiting scholar at Harvard University’s Center for Middle East Studies, 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 as a professor at the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna. He has also been a senior fellow and deputy director of the Council on Foreign Relations’ Center for Preventive Action, senior fellow 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, project director at the International Peace Research Institute of Oslo, president of the Congressional Human Rights Foundation, and executive director of the Elie Wiesel Foundation. Mr. Phillips is author of From Bullets to Ballots: Violent Muslim Movements in Transition (Transaction Press, 2008), Losing Iraq: Inside the Postwar Reconstruction Fiasco (Perseus Books, 2005), Unsilencing the Past: Track Two Diplomacy and Turkish-Armenian Reconciliation (Berghahn Books, 2005). He has also authored many policy reports, as well as more than 100 articles in leading publications such as the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, International Herald Tribune, and Foreign Affairs.
Director, Disability Rights in Society Program
Maya Sabatello is the Director of the Disability Rights in Society Program. Maya holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Southern California and an LL.B. from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She was appointed a Research Fellow in Medical Ethics (2011-12) at Harvard University’s Medical School. Maya has litigated cases of medical negligence and has worked as a legal advisor to national and international non-governmental organizations to promote health-related human rights and disability issues. As a permanent representative for a nongovernmental organization at the United Nations (UN), she also participated in the UN sessions on the formulation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Maya teaches at Columbia University’s Institute for the Study of Human Rights and at NYU’s Center for Global Affairs. Her research interests include comparative human rights, law and society, international law, politics of identity, disability studies, and bioethics. Maya has published in journals including Human Rights Quarterly, The Journal of Medicine and Law, Disability and Society, and the International Journal of Children’s Rights. She is author of Children's Bioethics: The International Bio-Political Discourse on Harmful Traditional Practices and the Right of the Child to Cultural Identity (Martinus Nijhoff/ Brill Publishing, 2009), and her book Voices From Within: Civil Society’s Involvement in the Drafting of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (co-edited), is forthcoming by Penn University Press.
Director, Guantánamo Public Memory Project
Liz 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 over 250 members in more than 40 countries; 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; established as an independent organization; and grew from a budget of $100,000 to $1.3 million. 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. Ševčenko has a B.A. from Yale University and is ABD in history at New York University. The Guantánamo Public Memory Project builds public awareness of the long history of the US naval station at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, before and after 9-11, and fosters dialogue on the future of this place, its people, and its policies. It produces digital media, a traveling exhibit, and teaching and research resources.
Director, Indigenous Peoples’ 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, International Criminal Court Program
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.
Program Coordinator, Peace-building and Rights Program
Ms. Goldberg joined ISHR as program coordinator in September 2010 for the Darfur Development Initiative. As a conflict resolution, diversity and education program management specialist, she has coordinated various international study tour programs funded by the U.S. State Department and U.S. Department of Education and directed regional anti-bias and Holocaust education programming for the Anti-Defamation League. Since 2008, she has been instrumental in facilitating the strategic development of the U.S.-based Sudanese coalition, Voices for Sudan, as well as in leading a research initiative on the plight of Sudanese refugees in Israel, resulting in the report, “Voice for the Voiceless: Southern Sudanese Voice for Freedom Report on Sudanese Refugees in Israel.” As a 2009-2010 Atlas Service Corps Fellow in Bogota, Colombia, she served as Program Coordinator for the non-profit organization, Give to Colombia, channeling international resources to social development projects throughout the country. Most currently, she serves as an educational adviser to the United States Institute for Peace in construction of its new Global Center for Peace. She has published research on the role of women in peace-building and on international intellectual property rights. Ms. Goldberg graduated from American University with a B.A. in International Relations and an M.A. in International Peace and Conflict Resolution.
Jillian Carson is a Program Coordinator, and she works with the Alliance for Historical Dialogue and Accountability (AHDA and Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Programs. Ms. Carson is a graduate of the Human Rights Studies Master’s program at Columbia University. Her Master’s concentration was Indigenous Rights and her thesis discussed the right to education for First Nations in Canada and reconciliation processes in settler colonial nations. She received her undergraduate degree in Aboriginal History from the University of British Columbia. Ms. Carson also assists the ISHR Business Manager with financial operations, manages the work study program and coordinates office and programmatic activities.
Janine White works with ISHR on its education and gender-related programs. She has worked on human rights issues with refugee populations in the U.S. and has conducted research and programming on displacement, peace-building, and gender issues in the Caucasus and the Balkans. She completed her master's in international affairs at SIPA with a concentration in human rights and her bachelor's in history and German from Rutgers University.
Ms. 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.
Mr. Kirchhof joined ISHR in February, 2007. He manages ISHR's student and public outreach and information systems. Mr. Kirchhof also supports many functions of the Human Rights Advocates Program and other ISHR capacity building initiatives. He holds a Masters in American Studies from Columbia University and a Bachelors in Cultural Studies and Political Science from the University of Minnesota and previously worked at Amnesty International in Chicago.