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Members

Leo Nevas Human Rights Task Force


Felice Gaer (Chair), Jacob Blaustein Institute for the Advancement of Human Rights

Felice Gaer is the Director of the Jacob Blaustein Institute for the Advancement of Human Rights. She is the Vice Chair of the United Nations Committee against Torture, a treaty monitoring body composed of independent experts, to which she has been elected four times. Gaer has been appointed to the bipartisan federal U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom on which she has served three terms as Chair. She was a public member of U.S. delegations to the Vienna World Conference on Human Rights, the Beijing World Conference on Women, and other multilateral human rights negotiations. A member of the Council on Foreign Relations, she was Regents Professor at UCLA in 2010, recipient of the First Freedom Center's National Religious Freedom Award, and is the author of more than 40 articles on international human rights, including women's rights.

Diego Arria, former Permanent Representative of Venezuela and President of the Security Council

Diego Arria is a former Special Adviser to the UN Secretary General and former Permanent Representative of Venezuela to the Security Council at the UN, serving Security Council President in 1993. He has been a Visiting Diplomatic Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations; has served on the Board of Directors of the International Peace Academy; a member of the UNILEVER Advisory Board for Latin America; a member of the Advisory Board for the International Center for Ethics, Justice and Public Life of Brandeis University; and a member of the Advisory Council of the Latin American Advisory Board American Dialogue. He was a Director of the Columbus Group and has also served as Governor of Caracas, Minister of Information and Tourism, and Congressman for the State of Miranda. He is also the founding Editor of Diario de Caracas and of the Columbus Group.

Kirk Boyd, Boalt Hall School of Law at University of California, Berkeley

Kirk Boyd is the executive director of the 2048 Project, a project at Boalt Hall School of Law at University of California, Berkeley, and president of UNA-USA's Marin County Chapter. The mission of the Project is to draft an enforceable international framework of human rights that can be in place by the year 2048, the 100th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. He has been a litigator with Morrison & Forester and a partner in the firm Boyd, Huffman, Williams and Urla, litigating primarily civil rights and environmental law cases. Kirk has taught at U.C. Santa Barbara and U.C. Berkeley, and researches the evolution of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in regional Conventions such as the European Convention on Human Rights and the potential for an International Convention on Human Rights, enforceable in the courts of all countries. The 2048 Project is presently working with a major grant to commission 100 papers from Middle Eastern scholars to discuss and draft a Middle Eastern Convention on Human Rights. Kirk is also working on a book: 2048: Humanity's Written Agreement to Live Together. He completed his B.S. in political science at the University of California, Santa Barbara, (1981), followed by his J.D. (1985), LL.M (1996) and J.S.D. (2000) from Boalt Hall.

Joshua Cooper, University of Hawaii

Joshua Cooper is a lecturer at the University of Hawaii teaching classes in Political Science & Journalism focusing on International Human Rights Law, Nonviolent Social Movements, Ecological Justice in Oceania and Indigenous Peoples' Rights. Cooper is also a lecturer at the International Training Center for Teaching Peace and Human Rights in Geneva, Switzerland. He also lectures on human rights at Galway University, Ireland and University of the District of Columbia School of Law in Washington D.C. in human rights summer programs. Cooper is elected to the National Council of Chapters and Division for the United Nations Association-United States of America. He serves as the Area Coordinator for Amnesty International USA and formerly served as chair of the AIUSA Indigenous Peoples Task Force. He is on the Board of Directors for Peace Action and is a senior advisor to the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization based in The Hague, the Netherlands. Cooper has been selected to work with Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and U.S. Vice-President Al Gore on The Climate Project.

A. Edward Elmendorf, World Bank

A. Edward Elmendorf has been actively involved in international organizations for more than 40 years. As a Foreign Service officer, he participated in US delegations to the UN handling human rights issues, including the concluding negotiations and General Assembly adoption of the Human Rights Covenants. Mr. Elmendorf then joined the World Bank, where he had a 30 year career working in policy planning, loan programming and negotiation, staff development and career management, country assistance strategy, lending and macroeconomic policy. Since retiring from the World Bank Mr. Elmendorf has taught on health issues in developing countries at Johns Hopkins SAIS in Washington DC and Johns Hopkins School of Public Health in Baltimore. Mr. Elmendorf has served in a number of voluntary and elected positions in UNA, including as President of the UNA National Capital Area Division (UNA-NCA), member of UNA-USA Board of Directors, and President and CEO of UNA-USA. He was educated at Yale University, earning a B.A., magna cum laude, in German literature; at George Washington University, earning an M.A. in economics; and at Johns Hopkins University, receiving a master's in public health. He served as co-author of the book, Better Health in Africa, published by the World Bank in 1994.

Toby Gati, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP

Toby T. Gati is Senior International Advisor at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, where she focuses on Russia, Central Europe, the Newly Independent States, and various politically sensitive regions of the world, as well as the workings of international political and economic institutions. Mrs. Gati served as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Russia, Ukraine and the Eurasian States at the National Security Council in the White House in 1993 and then as Assistant Secretary of State for Intelligence and Research (INR) until May 1997. Before joining government, Mrs. Gati was Senior Vice President for Policy Studies at the United Nations Association of the United States of America (UNA-USA), where she worked for over 20 years. Mrs. Gati received her B.A. from Pennsylvania State University. She received her M.A. in Russian language and literature, her M.I.A. in international affairs and a Harriman Institute Certificate in Russian studies from Columbia University. She is fluent in Russian. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, a Board member of the U.S.-Russia Business Council (USRBC), and a member of the Board of Directors of the Moscow School of Political Studies (MSPS).

Mark P. Lagon, Georgetown University
Ambassador Mark P. Lagon is International Relations and Security Chair at the Master of Science in Foreign Service Program at Georgetown University.  He is also Adjunct Senior Fellow for Human Rights at the Council on Foreign Relations. Lagon directed the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (TIP) at the U.S. Department of State, from 2007- 2009. From 2004 - 2007, Lagon served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in the Bureau of International Organization Affairs, with lead responsibility for United Nations-related human rights and humanitarian issues, among others. Earlier, he served as a member of Secretary of State Colin Powell's Policy Planning Staff, where he focused on the UN, democracy and human rights. Prior to that, he was a member of the senior staff of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Lagon is currently on the Board of Directors of the Council for a Community of Democracies, as well as the Advisory Board of End Child Prostitution Child Pornography and Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes. Lagon is also the Founding Counselor of the Global Business Coalition Against Human Trafficking.

Lawrence Moss, City University of New York

Lawrence Moss is the Director of the Human Rights program at Roosevelt House, Hunter College, City University of New York. He was previously Special Counsel at Human Rights Watch from 2005-2012, representing the organization in the General Assembly negotiations to create the UN Human Rights Council and in the annual elections for its members. He also administered the Hellman/Hammett grant program for writers who face persecution. His published work includes papers on advocacy in the Universal Periodic Review process, legal issues pending at the UNGA's Sixth Committee, and U.S. adherence to international treaties. Moss also represents the New York City Bar Association at the UN, serves on its Council on International Affairs, and previously served as founding Chair of the Association's Special Committee on the UN, and as a member of its Committees on International Law, International Human Rights, and International Security Affairs. He led the formulation of the Association's positions on the legality of the Iraq War, payment of arrears to the UN, and the attempted reinterpretation of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. He served 16 years as a member of the New York State Democratic Committee, with eight years as Chair of its Reform Caucus, and led the state Democratic Party to oppose the war in Iraq and to support ratification of the Rome Statute creating the International Criminal Court. Moss received his B.A. with Honors in History from Brown University in 1973, and his J.D. from Stanford Law School in 1976.

Susan Myers, UN Foundation

Susan Myers serves as Vice President, UN Relations for the UN Foundation, created through Ted Turner's historic $1 billion gift to support UN causes. In this role, she runs the Foundation's New York office and serves as its spokesperson and representative to the UN and the New York community. As a member of the Foundation's leadership team, she provides overall guidance and participates in the development of long-term strategy for the organization. Previously, she served as Executive Director of the UN Foundation's New York office and as Legislative Director of the Better World Campaign, a bi-partisan, non-profit national education and outreach effort dedicated to enhancing the awareness of and appreciation for the vital role the United Nations plays around the world. In this position, she led successful campaigns for the payment of over $1 billion in U.S. arrears to the UN and for the re-entry of the U.S. to UNESCO (the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) after an 18-year absence from the organization. Susan holds a B.A. from Duke University and an M.A. from the Elliott School of International Affairs at George Washington University. Previous experience includes working in the Governmental Relations and Public Affairs Office of the Legal Services Corporation and Governmental Affairs Office of the American Bar Association. She has also served on the boards of the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition and Citizens for Global Solutions, and is a current member of the U.S. National Commission for UNESCO.


Suzanne Nossel, PEN America Center

Suzanne Nossel is the Executive Director of the PEN American Center. Previously, she was the former Executive Director of Amnesty International USA.  Suzanne served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for International Organizations, where she was responsible for multilateral human rights, humanitarian affairs, women’s issues, public diplomacy, press and Congressional relations.  Prior to that she served as Chief Operating Officer for Human Rights Watch where she was responsible for organizational management and spearheaded a strategic plan for the global expansion of the organization.   During the early 1990s she worked in Johannesburg, South Africa on the implementation of South Africa’s National Peace Accord, a multi-party agreement aimed at curbing political violence during that country’s transition to democracy. Nossel has done election monitoring and human rights documentation in Bosnia and Kosovo.  She is also the author of Smart Power (Foreign Affairs, 2004) and Presumed Equal: What America’s Top Women Lawyers Really Think about Their Firms (Career Press, 1998) as well as numerous other articles on human rights and U.S. foreign policy.  Nossel is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School.

Robert Rifkind, Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP

Robert S. Rifkind is Senior Counsel at Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP, where he served as partner from 1971 to 2001. Mr. Rifkind is a member and former chairman of the Administrative Council of the Jacob Blaustein Institute for the Advancement of Human Rights and a former member of the board of Brandeis University. He is a member of the boards of the United Nations Association-USA, the Leo Baeck Institute and the Jewish Theological Seminary of America. He has served as chairman of the board of the Charles H. Revson Foundation and Cardozo Law School and is a former president of the American Jewish Committee. A graduate of Yale University and Harvard Law School, he served as Assistant to the Solicitor General in the US Department of Justice (1965-68). Mr. Rifkind is a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, The American Law Institute and the London Court of International Arbitration, and the Council on Foreign Relations.

Nancy Rubin, former U.S. Ambassador to the UN Commission on Human Rights

Nancy Rubin served as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Commission for Human Rights during the Clinton Administration and is currently a Presidential Appointee to the White House Council for Community Solutions. Ms. Rubin is on the Board of Directors of the National Democratic Institute where she chairs their Women's Initiatives. She serves on the Strategy Committee of the UN Foundation, the Advisory Council of the U.S. Committee for UNIFEM, the Brookings Expert Committee on UN Human Rights Mechanisms, the Innovation Council of America's Forward and Freedom House International's Solidarity Committee. Ms. Rubin was formerly a Director of the International Human Rights Law Group (Global Rights) and chaired election observation for countries in transition to democracies. She served on the Leadership Council for Amnesty International and co-Chaired their 50th Anniversary Year of Activities to expand the scope of human rights protection. She also served on the Board of Directors UNA-USA and chaired their Adopt-A-Minefield program. Ms. Rubin serves on the Board of Directors of Women for Women International, chaired the Coalition for Women in International Development (WID), and is on the Women's Foreign Policy Group. She was previously on the board of the Overseas Development Council and on the Strategy Committee for Harvard University's Project on Justice in Times of Transition. She also served as a Director of the Overseas Education Fund International, was a delegate to the Third and Fourth UN World Conferences on Women and chaired of the Committee on Women, Law & Development. Ms. Rubin worked for the Corporation for National and Community Service and was on the founding team that built Americorps, which has engaged over half a million young Americans in public service programs. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

William Vanden Heuvel, Allen and Company (former U.S. Ambassador)

William Vanden Heuvel is Chairman of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute and is Of Counsel at the law firm of Stroock & Stroock & Lavan. He is also Chairman and CEO of Amromco Energy LLC, and has served as Deputy US Permanent Representative to the UN from 1979 until 1981 and as US Permanent Representative to the European Office of the UN from 1977 to 1979. He has served as President of the International Rescue Committee; Chairman of the New York City Board of Corrections and as Chairman of the Board of Governors of the United Nations Association. A graduate of the Cornell University Law School, he was Editor-in-Chief of the Cornell Law Review and later served as Executive Assistant to General William J. Donovan, Special Counsel to Governor Averell Harriman and Assistant to Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and has received the Four Freedoms medal and the Theodore Roosevelt Distinguished Medal. He has held directorships in a number of public companies, including the U.S. Banknote Corporation, Time Warner, Inc., and others. Currently he is Co-chairman of the Council of American Ambassadors. He is a Governor and former Chairman of UNA-USA, and has written extensively on the UN and American foreign policy.

Joanna Weschler, Security Council Report

Joanna Weschler is the Deputy Director and Director of Research at Security Council Report. From 1994 until 2005, Ms. Weschler was the UN Representative for Human Rights Watch, regularly representing Human Rights Watch at the UN Human Rights Commission. A native of Poland, she was previously a reporter for the Solidarity Union press agency, in charge of covering most meetings between Union President Lech Walesa and the communist government, and meetings of the executive leadership of the union. Ms. Weschler holds a master's degree in Spanish and Latin American Studies from the University of Warsaw and a master's in journalism from Columbia University.

 
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