Human Rights in a Changing Middle East

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Sherif Mansour

Senior Program Officer, Middle East North Africa
Freedom House

Sherif Mansour is the Senior Program Officer for Freedom House’s Middle East North Africa programs. He has ten years of experience working on democracy and human rights issues in Egypt and elsewhere in the Middle East. Mr. Mansour was a program manager for the Cairo-based Ibn Khaldoun Center for Development Studies for three years where he led a national coalition of NGOs as they monitored the Egyptian elections in 2005. He worked as a visiting fellow with the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy where he researched Challenges of Democracy and Women Rights in the Muslim World. He is a co-founder of the International Quranic Center in Washington, DC, an organization devoted to empowering moderate voices of Islam around the globe. He is a member of Network of Democrats in the Arab World and the Global Academy Network for Applied Strategic Nonviolent Conflict. Mr. Mansour has written many articles, reports, and book chapters on democracy and human rights in Egypt and the Arab world, including Annual Reports on Development of Civil Society, Democratization and Minorities in the Arab World (2003, 2004). He was honored by the Word Center for Human Rights in Egypt for promoting Freedom of Speech in 2004. Mr. Mansour earned his Bachelor’s degree in Educational Technology from Al-Azhar University in Cairo and his Masters degree in International Relations from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.

Joe Stork

Deputy Director
Middle East and North Africa Division

Human Rights Watch

JOE STORK is the Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa division of Human Rights Watch, an independent human rights monitoring organization, and is based in Washington, DC.  In that capacity he supervises the research and reporting of field staff, represents the division in meetings with officials from the U.S. and other governments, and responds to inquiries and interview requests from the media. His current work focuses on violations of international human rights and humanitarian law by states and armed groups, particularly in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and freedom of religion issues in Egypt.  

Before joining Human Rights Watch, he co-founded the Middle East Research & Information Project (MERIP) and from 1971 to 1995 was the chief editor of Middle East Report, its bimonthly magazine. His articles on Middle East developments also appeared in The Nation, the Middle East Journal, World Policy Journal, Index on Censorship, Le Monde Diplomatique, Colliers Encyclopedia, the Oxford Companion to World Politics, and in other journals and books. He has lectured widely at universities and public forums in the United States, Europe, and the Middle East.  

His books include Erased in a Moment: Suicide Bombing Attacks against Israeli Civilians (New York: Human Rights Watch, 2002) and Routine Abuse, Routine Denial: Civil Rights and the Political Crisis in Bahrain (New York: Human Rights Watch, 1997). He co-authored the introductory essay for Political Islam, a book he co-edited and which was published by the University of California Press in 1997. He contributes a regular column to Al-Sijjil, a Jordanian monthly.  

Joe Stork served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Turkey, and has an MA degree in International Affairs/Middle East Studies from Columbia University. From 1999 to 2006 he served as chair of the Middle East Studies Association’s Committee on Academic Freedom. In 2006-2007, he was a Visiting Fellow at the Institute for the Study of Islam in the Modern World (ISIM), in Leiden, the Netherlands. He has served on the advisory committees of the American Friends Service Committee, Foreign Policy in Focus, and the Iraq Revenue Watch project of the Open Society Institute.

Catherine Powell

Secretary of State's Planning Office
U.S. Department of State

Catherine Powell is responsible for human rights, international organizations, and women’s issues. She is on leave from Fordham Law School, where she is on the faculty and teaches international law, human rights, and comparative constitutional law. Before joining the State Department, she was also a Senior Fellow with the Center for American Progress on national security issues, a member of the Human Rights Watch Board of Directors, and chair of the Human Rights Watch/ U.S. Program Advisory Committee. She has a BA from Yale College; JD Yale Law School; and MPA from Princeton University.

Hadar Harris

MODERATOR

Executive Director
Center for Human Rights and Humanitarian Law
American University Washington College of Law

Hadar Harris is the Executive Director of the Center for Human Rights and Humanitarian Law at American University Washington College of Law in Washington, DC.  She is an international human rights attorney and specializes in issues of civil and political rights, gender equality, prevention and punishment of genocide, and domestic implementation of international norms. She has worked extensively in assessing and reviewing national compliance with international human rights treaties working both with NGOs and governmental bodies. In Spring 2002, she piloted an assessment tool developed by the American Bar Association/CEELI to review national compliance with the provisions of the Convention for the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).  The pilot project was run in Armenia and the final report was submitted for review to the United Nations and to the Armenian government.  She has also consulted on implementation of the assessment tool in Serbia, Kazakhstan, Georgia and Macedonia.  She assisted in developing shadow reports to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) with the Association for Civil Rights in Israel and since 2004 has worked with the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Treaty Implementation of the Government of Botswana to assist it in developing its State Party report to the United Nations Committee for the Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD) as well as its State Party report to CEDAW. She has also assisted UNMIK and the Government of Kosovo in preparation of a supplemental report to CEDAW.  She serves on the National Coordinating Task Force for US Treaty Compliance, providing technical assistance on preparation of coordinated shadow reports being developed by a large coalition of US-based organizations on United States compliance with the ICCPR and ICERD. She is also on the Training Committee of the US Human Rights Network. In addition, Ms. Harris has worked on a variety of other human rights issues.  In 2002, she consulted on proposed reforms to the Moroccan Criminal Procedure Code which resulted in 70% of recommended changes being adopted by the Moroccan parliament.  In 2001, she was involved in a trial on behalf of four Bosnian Muslims suing their Serbian torturer in US Federal Court in Atlanta, Georgia which resulted in nearly $140 million in damages being awarded to the victims. Over the past three years, she has helped to create the first-ever network of legal academics and activists discussing gender mainstreaming and legal education in India, the Gender and Law Association of India (GALA). Ms. Harris has worked as an international election observer with the UN/OSCE joint mission in Azerbaijan and taught law at Khazar University in Baku.  She also lived and worked in Jerusalem where she was the Director of Program and Resource Development for the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI).  She formerly served as the Executive Director of the Congressional Human Rights Caucus, a bipartisan legislative service organization of the United States House of Representatives. Ms. Harris has her BA in Political Science from Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island and her Juris Doctor in Law from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).