IHP Human Rights: Foundations, Challenges, and Advocacy
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Faculty and Staff
The faculty/staff team shown on this page is a sample of the individuals who may lead your specific program. Faculty and coordinators are subject to change to accommodate each program’s unique schedule and locations.
|Dema Al Oun,
|Sarah Marusek, Fall||Padmini Biswas, Fall|
|Noam Schimmel, Spring||Clelia Rodriguez, Spring|
|Anna Gail Caunca, Fall||Rachel Reider, Spring|
Padmini Biswas, PhD
Padmini Biswas received her doctorate in urban planning from Columbia University in 2011. She has a master's degree with distinction from the London School of Economics and Political Science (2001), and dual undergraduate degrees in English literature (Vassar College, 1997) and civil engineering (The Cooper Union, 2000). Her dissertation research compared the organizing strategies of highly skilled and low-skilled South Asian immigrants in the New York metropolitan area in their respective campaigns for labor rights, each of which engaged international human rights law in pursuit of economic justice. She has served for several years as the assistant director of the Center for Place, Culture, and Politics, a forum for research in critical geography at the CUNY Graduate Center. From 1999 to 2003, she founded and edited Salt, a community-based literary journal supported by the New York State Council on the Arts.
Chris Westcott, MA, Program Manager
Chris is a social justice educator, and changemaker based in Brooklyn, New York. Chris’s professional background combines experience working with social change–oriented study abroad programs, along with on-the-ground experience with grassroots US-based and international NGOs. Before becoming program manager of the Human Rights and Climate Change programs, Chris was a traveling faculty member, then country coordinator with the Cities program. Additionally, Chris was a program facilitator for two years on CIEE Thailand’s study abroad program focusing on globalization and development. Through his work experience with NGOs, Chris has coordinated NYC-based campaigns for worker’s rights and the right to housing and international campaigns for trade justice and sustainable agriculture. For three years, Chris worked in San Francisco as a founding staff member of ENGAGE, a network that organizes returned study abroad students to effect local and global change. Chris has a BA in environmental studies from Bates College, and an MA in international educational development from Columbia University. While at Columbia, Chris was a teaching assistant for courses on social identity, social change, and human rights education.
Dema Al Oun
Dema received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in law from Jordan University. She has completed her required legal training and is expecting to take the Jordanian Bar exam shortly. She is qualified in many aspects of both civil and criminal law within Jordan and has completed over 35 training courses in legal issues. These courses dealt with civil and criminal law, and several pertained specifically to the rights of the child or the rights of women. Additionally, she is trained in international treaties and agreements pertaining to related human rights issues. Since 2004, she has volunteered at the National Center for Human Rights in Jordan, and is a member of Talal Abu-Ghazala, a famous law firm in Jordan which trains in civil and criminal law. Her past experience includes two and a half years in a law firm as a legal trainer. She has been the homestay coordinator at SIT since 2008, and was advisor for SIT students studying topics related to women, culture, and youth.
Sarah Marusek earned her PhD in social science from the Maxwell School of Syracuse University. During her graduate studies she conducted fieldwork in Lebanon, Iran, and Senegal. Her doctoral research focused on Islamic activism in Lebanon and was funded by the generous support of the Mellon Foundation, and her dissertation was awarded an All-University Doctoral Prize in social science. She holds a master’s degree from the Graduate Program in International Affairs at The New School in New York City, where her concentration was socioeconomic development. Prior to her graduate studies, Sarah worked in the arts and publishing in London and New York, and received her bachelor’s degree in literature and art history from Goldsmiths, University of London.
Noam Schimmel earned a BA in English and political science from Yale University in 2002 and an MSc in philosophy, policy, and social value from the London School of Economics in 2004. His master’s thesis explored the application of human rights law to street children. He is currently completing a PhD at the London School of Economics on the rhetoric of American presidents who attempted to expand and/or universalize healthcare and the ethical principles that inspired their proposed reforms. He has volunteered extensively in the area of international development, advocating for the rights of street children and indigenous people and the pursuit of restorative justice for survivors of the Rwandan genocide. Since interning with the Office of the Prosecutor at the UN International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in 2008 he has published in the Journal of Human Rights on the human rights challenges facing Rwandan genocide survivors and in other journals on a range of human rights issues including the responsibility of the media to report on human rights violations. Noam is a passionate traveler and has had particularly formative experiences volunteering and living in South Africa, India, Argentina, Tanzania, and Rwanda.
Clelia O. Rodríguez is joining SIT after working as a visiting scholar and assistant professor in the Department of Modern Languages at the University of Ghana. She earned a doctor of philosophy and a master of arts in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at the University of Toronto in Canada (supported by a number of grants and fellowships). She also completed the Graduate Collaborative Program in Women and Gender Studies at the Women & Gender Studies Institute, also at the University of Toronto. She received a bachelor of arts (specialized honors in Spanish literature) at York University. She has the additional distinction of undertaking professional teaching trainings: Graduate Professional Skills Program (GPS) and Teaching Assistants’ Training Program Certificate (TATP).
She possesses international expertise conducting interdisciplinary teaching and research in human rights and advocacy with a comparative approach in the areas of memory, identity, cultural exiles, transatlantic, gender and postcolonial studies (Spain, the United States, Mexico, El Salvador, Canada, Guatemala, Cuba, Equatorial Guinea). The bulk of her teaching and professional development at the undergraduate and graduate levels has centered primarily on ethical questions of justice and human rights in regards to the personal and political agency of marginalized individuals and societies throughout the globe in fictional and non-fictional literary and cultural texts.
Anna Gail Caunca
Anna Gail is based in Wellington, New Zealand, where she has worked the past two and a half years in residential life, building community, managing residential assistants, and overseeing the well-being and academic support of first-year students studying at Victoria University.
Her previous work experience focused in the areas of youth leadership development, community building, international education, and social justice. Building on her graduate studies in international education and social justice, Anna Gail has worked with World Learning’s youth leadership and peacebuilding programs, facilitating workshops with the Governor’s Institute of Vermont on Current Issues and Youth Activism and travelling with and supporting students through the LondonX and Iraqi Youth Leadership Program for two years.
Anna Gail has a BS in psychology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She graduated from SIT Graduate Institute with an MA in intercultural service, leadership, and management and received her educator’s licensure in secondary education: social studies, incorporating social justice in the classroom. She is a vegetarian, photographer in the making, and running enthusiast with a hearty laugh.
A 2010 alumna of the Health and Community program, Rachel is passionate about creating equal opportunity and believes in the power of both collective action and community-based solutions. In 2011 she received her BA in human biology and international relations from Brown University, focusing her studies on the social determinants and causes of international public health issues. She currently works for Feeding America, assessing gaps and implementing programmatic changes in order to alleviate childhood hunger in the Upper Midwest. She works extensively with public sector programs, collaborating with nonprofit organizations and community partners to ensure effective, holistic, and compassionate delivery of services.
Duration: Fall or Spring, 17 weeks
New York, NY, USA; Kathmandu, Nepal; Amman, Jordan; Santiago, Chile Read more...
Prerequisites: Coursework in social sciences (anthropology, history, economics, sociology, and/or political science). Learn More...
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