Speakers

Mara Rabin

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.

Elizabeta Jevtic-Somlai

Professor Elizabeta Jevtic-Somlai, or simply Dr. L, is native of Serbia and a passionate advocate for children’sinclusion 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.

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.

Samira Harnish

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.

Professor Susan Merrill is adjunct professor at Brigham Young University. Her previous assignments included Senior Governance Advisor at the U.S. Peacekeeping and Stability Operations Institute (PKSOI), U.S Army War College (USAWC). As a senior official with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), she has had extensive experience in conflict and post-conflict countries in Latin America, Asia, and Africa. She has served in El Salvador, Liberia, Nicaragua, and Cambodia, as well as Bosnia and Iraq. Ms. Merrill was the first USAID representative to the USAWC and PKSOI in 2005. In 2002-03, she was selected to lead a USAID-wide Taskforce on U.S. Foreign Aid in the National Interest, an examination of the successes and failures of foreign aid and the role of aid in U.S. foreign policy. In her overseas assignments, she was Acting Mission Director, Cambodia, and held senior level positions in missions in El Salvador, Liberia, Nicaragua, and Cambodia. She is an expert in post-conflict reconstruction and governance, conflict prevention and mitigation, and economic stabilization and recovery.

Natalie Romeri-Lewis 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.

Kif Augustine-Adams

Kif Augustine-Adams, Charles E. Jones Professor of Law, returned to BYU Law School in August 2014 after spending a year as Fulbright Distinguished Lecturer at Renmin University of China Law School in Beijing. She has also been a visiting professor at Peking University School of Transnational Law in ShenZhen, China (September 2009) and at Boston College Law School (2007-2008). She spent six months in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on a Fulbright Fellowship in 2003. Just prior
to her time in Beijing, Professor Augustine-Adams completed five and a half years of service as Associate Dean for Research and Academic Affairs. Professor Augustine-Adams joined the J. Reuben Clark Law School in 1995.

Applebaum_photoAnna Applebaum

Anna Applebaum is a Hillary Rodham Clinton Research Fellow at the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security. In this role, she develops and implements in-depth research on a variety of topics related to women’s roles and experiences in peace and conflict settings around the world. Her current work focuses on education in emergencies, through a research partnership with the White House-led Let Girls Learn initiative, gender-responsive disaster risk reduction policies, and countering violent extremism. She has conducted multiple international research projects, including extensive fieldwork in Kigali, Rwanda. Her prior experience includes serving as a non-profit consultant for monitoring and evaluation and organizational infrastructure development, working with Vital Voices Global Partnership, the ROP, and the East Arkansas Planning and Development District.

Thomas Neilson

Tom NielsonThomas Neilson provides a voice for those who believe in the power of folk music to effect change. His award-winning songs of humor and compassion have been performed in 21 countries on 5 continents. His lyrics are celebrated for their sophistication, political astuteness, & wit. Known as the Bard Insurgent, Tom is a veteran of stage and street theater with his writing, acting, and directing. His songs draw the listener into his musical response to globalization.

 

 

Donna Lee Bowen

dlbProfessor of Political Science and Middle East Studies at BYU where she teaches courses in comparative politics, Middle East politics, Middle East area studies, and gender politics. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. Professor Bowen writes on the intersection of religion, tradition and politics in the Middle East and has authored articles and a forthcoming book on attempts to construct policy which reflects Muslim sensibilities, specifically social policy concerning family planning and abortion. Her edited book, Everyday Life in the Muslim Middle East (with Evelyn A. Early), is widely used in universities and a third edition of this popular work is in press. She is currently working on research determining the relationship between family law and state peacefulness.
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