Bios

Delphine Ndayikeza

Delphine Ndayikeza, is the National Coordinator at World Outreach Initiative (WOI), and has coordinated a number of programs for women, peace and healing throughout Burundi for over 16 years. WOI is a Christian NGO based in Burundi supporting community development and peace and reconciliation throughout the Nation. As National Coordinator for 14 years, Delphine has developed and led a number of projects on agriculture, health, income generation and environmental protection with partners such as UNHCR, UNICEF, Christian Aid and ICCO. Prior to her role as National Coordinator at WOI, she was the Program Manager of the Women and Family Department leading projects for marginalized women and children in specific provinces in Burundi. Throughout her career, Delphine has also developed and facilitated several workshops on healing and reconciliation for families following the Burundi crisis. She currently serves on several National Boards, including the Leadership Team for Samaritan’s Purse.

Dr. Elizabeta Jevtic-Somlai

Professor Elizabeta Jevtic-Somlai, or simply Dr. L, is native of Serbia and a passionate advocate for children’s inclusion and active participation in peacebuilding and peacekeeping. Dr L did her BA in International Relations, with a focus on Law and Diplomacy, as well as her BA and MA in German, with a focus on Persecution of Roma during WWII, at Brigham Young University. She finished her PhD in International Conflict Analysis at the University of Kent, in Canterbury, England, researching international law and therein prescribed approaches to reintegration and rehabilitation of child soldiers and assessing their feasibility on grass roots levels. Her study and humanitarian efforts have taken her to many countries transitioning to peace, including Uganda, DRC, and Nepal. Dr L returns to BYU as a visiting professor after working full-time with CTBTO, or Preparatory Commission for the Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization, in Vienna, Austria for past 9.5 years. In her work, she was involved in development of policy, procedures and operations to facilitate nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament.

Natalie Wright Romeri-Lewis, J.D., M.Sc.,

Natalie studied international development, forced migration, and law, exploring judicial reform and women’s informal power in developing nations.  She has worked in judicial chambers and NGOs, consulted internationally, and presented at the UN on women negotiating peace.  Currently, she teaches international development and is designing new classes at Brigham Young University. She also manages projects and collects data for The WomanStats Project, the largest compilation of information on the status of women, examining 360 variables on laws, institutions, practices, and prevalence across 175 countries.  Natalie’s current research focuses on women in urban poverty in Colombia, the benefits of and points of entry for high female involvement during peace negotiations and transitional justice periods, and the pro-development outcomes of legislatures with larger ratios of females.

Mara Rabin, M.D.

Mara Rabin, MD is the Medical Director of Utah Health and Human Rights (UHHR), a non-profit organization, founded in 2003. It is a direct service and advocacy agency that promotes the health, dignity, and self-sufficiency of refugees, asylum seekers, and immigrants who have endured severe human rights abuses, including torture and war-related trauma. As Medical Director, Dr. Rabin advocates for UHHR clients, serves as a medical consultant to physicians who provide care to UHHR clients, provides forensic medical examinations for asylum seekers, and runs a Wellness group for UHHR clients. In addition, she does outreach in the medical community to increase awareness among Utah’s health care providers on the unique health issues facing refugee and immigrant survivors of severe human rights abuses. For thirteen years, Dr. Rabin was one of two physicians in the state of Utah to conduct health screenings on all newly arriving refugees. She currently cares for many refugees, asylum seekers, and asylees in her primary care practice.

Dr. Rabin has served on the National Consortium of Torture Treatment Programs (NCTTP) and the refugee health advisory committee for the Utah Department of Workforce Services. In 2011 the Utah Refugee Services Office recognized her for her “invaluable contribution to improving the health of refugees resettled in Utah”. In 2012, she was the co-recipient of Jewish Family Service’s “Tikkun Olam: Healing the World” award.

Samira Harnish

Samira Harnish is passionate about ensuring refugee women are self-reliant! Because of her perseverance out of an arranged marriage and into a senior engineering role in a male dominated engineering culture, even before she founded her refugee service non-profit Women of the World in 2009, Samira was a dedicated volunteer to women’s causes like Meal’s on Wheels, Women in Engineering, and cancer survivor support at numerous hospitals. With Women of the World (WoW), Samira has been able to increase her impact, serving hundreds of refugee women fleeing violence in countries like Iraq, Afghanistan, Congo, Somalia, and Burma to name a few. The women that WoW serves have gotten advanced educations, continued to be promoted within their companies, formed their own small businesses, and even returned back to their home countries to teach some of the lessons that Women of the World had taught them.  Samira’s life-saving efforts truly have a global reach. Samira has led Women of the World to be recognized and funded as the preeminent women’s refugee service organization in Utah. She has raised tens of thousands of dollars in funds, spoken at many venues including the Utah Hunger Banquet, the Bennion Center, universities, schools, and churches and was awarded the Enlightened 50 award by the Utah Community Foundation. Women of the World was awarded the 2014 Salt Lake City Human Rights Award for its efforts in customized refugee service and advocacy.

Gerald Brown

Gerald Brown became interested in other cultures and social justice during a three-year assignment with the YMCA in Cairo Egypt and Taichung Taiwan in the late 1970s. Looking for similar work in the U.S., he learned of the  refugee resettlement program and has worked with refugees in one way or another since 1980.  He has resettled newly arrived refugees in Texas and overseen U.S. refugee resettlement for one of the national resettlement organizations in New York City.  For four years he served as an Asylum Officer for the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), adjudicating applications for asylum in the U.S.  He is featured in the PBS documentary on the U.S. asylum program,  ”A Well-founded Fear”.  Gerald has worked with refugees outside of the United States in Saudi Arabia, Croatia, Macedonia, and Cuba.  Gerald is the first director of the Utah Refugee Services Office, within the Department of Workforce Services.  The office administers federal funding designated for refugees resettled in Utah and oversees and coordinates all services for refugees in the state.

 

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