Vanessa Cardenas, Chief Operations Officer
Vanessa received a B.A. in Global Affairs and B.A. in Conflict Analysis & Resolution from George Mason University in 2016. In 2017, she went on to obtain her Masters in International Law & Diplomacy at the American University of Paris. She has also studied at the University of Oxford, taking classes on International Human Rights Law and Feminist Political Theory. Since 2019, Vanessa has served as Board Member & Treasurer at the ACLU of Northern Virginia. She has maintained membership in the prestigious Carnegie New Leaders Program (CNL) since 2018. Previously, Vanessa was a Research Fellow at the Schaeffer Center for the Study of Genocide, Human Rights, and Conflict Prevention, focusing on genocidal rape & survivor testimony in Rwanda. As a researcher, her areas of interest include international criminal law, rape and sexual violence, and victim testimonies & narratives. As Chief Operations Officer at Genocide Watch, Vanessa manages day-to-day operations while overseeing all research projects and website improvements.
Deanna Wilken, Chief Program Officer
Deanna Wilken is a graduate of the University of California, Los Angeles with a B.A. in Sociology and has an M.A. in International Relations from the University of Nottingham. She has lived in Australia, Thailand, China, and England, and traveled within various other countries outside of her home in the United States. During her time abroad, she developed a passion for human rights and decided to write her M.A. thesis on the effects of war and conflict on human trafficking in Southeast Asia. As Chief Program Officer, Deanna expands and manages the education, development, and communications programs for the organization, and manages interns in producing publications for the Genocide Watch website. In addition, Deanna is the Executive Director of her nonprofit called Project Trafficked, which focuses on helping survivors of human trafficking, and works for Torture Abolition and Survivors Support Coalition (TASSC) International as the Operations Manager.
Lola Flomen, Senior Research Advisor
Lola Flomen graduated from George Washington University with a B.A. in International Relations and Affairs (concentration in Global Public Health) and a minor in Public Health. She is a Princeton in Africa Fellow (2019-2020) and is currently working at Population Services International in Côte d'Ivoire as a Regional Evidence and Reproductive Health Fellow. Lola has extensive volunteer experience working in developing countries such as the Jones Safe House for Youth in South Africa, the Chiang Rai Special Education School in Thailand, and Oleleshwa’s Girls Secondary School in Kenya. She has also interned at the United Nations, Save the Children, and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Kenya. Lola is passionate about creating culturally sensitive and evidence-based health interventions to reduce the burden of infectious disease amongst girls and women of reproductive age. As Senior Research Director, she conducts research and manages interns at Genocide Watch. Lola aspires to become an epidemiologist and alleviate global preventable communicable diseases.
Lauren Salim, Alliance Operations Manager
Lauren has a BA in International Development Studies from Dalhousie University and a MA in Human Rights from the University of London. Her research interests include monitoring Uganda, rights to participation, digital rights and access to information. During her undergraduate degree, she spent some time in Uganda where she was inspired by the people and their stories of resiliency. Lauren is also the Leader, Special Projects and the Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies where she helps to implement projects on a variety of topics at the intersection of human rights and technology.
Tom Shacklock, Senior Research Analyst
Tom Shacklock is a graduate from the University of Bristol, UK, where he completed his MSc in International Relations and focused on peacebuilding, minority rights, and genocide with a concentration on sub-Saharan Africa. He previously graduated with a BA in French Studies from the University of Birmingham, for which he also spent a year abroad in Lyon, France. Tom used his time at university to explore his interest in international affairs through student journalism. He joined French student online site Le Journal International before becoming Current Affairs Editor with the Linguist Magazine in Birmingham and Deputy Head of News with Bristol University's radio station. Since graduating, Tom has worked in London as a freelance private tutor in French, English, and History, keeping in touch with his favorite subjects, and volunteered as a researcher for diplomacy consultancy Grassroots Diplomat. At Genocide Watch, he focuses on producing reports and Timestreams for countries in Central and Eastern Africa, additionally running a side-project on cases of persecution of LGBTQI+ people where there is genocidal intent. He eventually plans to undertake a Ph.D. in conflict and genocide studies.
Nat Hill, Deputy Chief of Research
Nat Hill is a graduate of James Madison University with a B.A. in International Affairs and an MSc in Violence, Conflict, and Development at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London. He has worked abroad in Ghana as an intern at an experimental poultry farm and in Armenia, where he conducted a research project on ethnic and religious minorities in Armenian politics. Nat has also interned at the National Institute for African Studies in London, contributing regular blog articles to their website. He has a keen interest in the South Caucasus region and wrote his graduate thesis on history's role in the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict. Nat hopes to earn his Ph.D. soon and hopes to eventually master the Azerbaijani and Georgian languages.
Sarah Kane, Timestream Manager
Sarah Kane is a recent graduate in Public Policy with a minor in History and a certificate in Human Rights from Duke University. As an undergraduate, Sarah focused specifically on migration, although she is passionate about the promotion and protection of human rights on an international scale. Sarah has previously worked with two NGOs that service refugees: Kiron in Berlin, Germany, which provides access to higher education for refugees, and InfoPark in Belgrade, Serbia, which provides resources and programming for recent arrivals and young boys and girls in the nearby reception center. At Genocide Watch, she monitors countries in the MENA and Southeast Asian regions. As Timestream Manager, she focuses on creating and editing Timestreams. Sarah also produces Genocide Watch's biweekly newsletters as part of her role in communications.
Jennifer Kirby-McLemore, Legal Director
Jennifer received her B.S. in Biology with a concentration in Sustainable Development at Appalachian State University in 2007. Before graduate school, she worked as the Office Manager/Event Coordinator for the Center for Judaic, Holocaust, and Peace Studies in Boone, North Carolina where she helped establish a new Peace Studies minor at Appalachian State University. In 2009, she earned her M.A. in Social Sciences at the University of Chicago, where she studied Human Rights. Following her time in Chicago, Jennifer moved to Mississippi to join the Mississippi Teacher Corps. After teaching in underserved schools for three years, she enrolled at the University of Mississippi School of Law. Since earning her law degree, Jennifer has published a few law journal articles; clerked for a federal bankruptcy judge; practiced government procurement and admiralty law; and moonlighted as a freelance academic editor. As a legal contributor at Genocide Watch, Jennifer hopes to assist in the organization's effort to advocate on behalf of victims of genocide and against perpetrators of genocide in courts and within the international human rights community.
Eric Ross, Senior Early Warning Analyst
Eric Ross is an MA student in History at the University of Massachusetts Amherst where he also received his BA in History and International Relations. At Genocide Watch, Eric covers the Sahel and West Africa alongside a number of other countries including Afghanistan and Mozambique. Previously, Eric assisted in atrocity prevention and CVE research at the Simon-Skjodt Center for the Prevention of Genocide at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and at George Washington University’s Program on Extremism.
Irene Soteriou, Early Warning Analyst & Alliance Coordinator
Irene is a student at the University of Connecticut pursuing a double major in Statistics and Cognitive Science and a minor in Communication. Having founded an organization committed to human rights coalition building, Irene is working to facilitate opportunities for collaborative problem-solving at the intersection of conflict prevention and victim empowerment.
Eli J. Szydlo, Cultural Genocide Analyst
Eli received his Masters of Science in Criminology and Criminal Justice from the University of Glasgow under the Saltire Scholarship as well as the Future World Changers program. Prior to attending for his MSc, he completed his Postgraduate Certificate in Antiquities Trafficking and Art Crime through Glasgow. Throughout his postgraduate studies, he has examined the role that cultural heritage plays within largescale conflicts and genocides. This has led him to investigate the possible roles that cultural heritage can play post-conflict, in societies dealing with trauma and promoting a positive association with objects that were taken during the conflict.
In addition to his work in cultural heritage, he has developed an interest in behaviors behind criminality, which has led to conceptual analysis of various criminal actions. Through the use of criminological theory, he has taken a risk-assessment perspective to genocides and largescale conflicts and begun to examine the factors that present opportunities for these atrocities to take place. Prior to joining Genocide Watch, he has been published in the Journal of Art Crime, co-authoring Stealing History: Art Theft, Looting, and Other Crimes Against Our Cultural Heritage with his undergraduate advisor, in addition to experience volunteering with local police in the United States and supervising hospital security.
Copyright University of Glasgow 2019.
Photo by University Photographic Unit.
Şehnaz Güven, Educational Research & Timestream Creator
Şehnaz is a recent graduate from Leiden University with a BSc in Political Science: International Relations and Organizations. Throughout her studies, she has specialized in Global Affairs, International Law, and Politics of Memory. In her final thesis she covered the United Nations’ interventions and inactions in four African countries (Libya, Rwanda, Sudan-Darfur, Somalia), in which she tackled Darfurian and Rwandan genocides in detail. Her work criticizes the motives of great powers which are responsible for the decision-making of institutions such as the United Nations and ties strong links to possible ulterior motives, such as oil, in the region. Her thesis is a critique of how international law can serve as a Trojan Horse for great powers to pursue their self-interests through conflict, civil-war, regime change, and even genocide.
Her previous work comparing the remembrance of the Armenian Genocide and the Holocaust has tackled a different perspective on how to look at collective memory in different societies. The work analyzes the remembrance of these atrocities in Germany and Turkey, and whether there are similar occurrences of such minority exploitation in the countries today. As an intern at Genocide Watch, Şehnaz is mainly responsible for several timestream projects and country reports. Her main areas of expertise are the MENA region and Kosovo. She is aiming to pursue a Master’s degree in International Criminal Law in the upcoming years and raise awareness of the injustices in the world.
Giada Corsoni, Alliance Coordinator & Legal Associate
Giada Corsoni is about to graduate in International Relations and European Studies (LM) at the ‘Cesare Alfieri’ School of Political Sciences at the University of Florence (Italy). She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Political Sciences and International Studies in 2018, by presenting a dissertation on human rights violations and alleged acts of genocide committed against the Muslim Rohingya minority in Myanmar. In 2019, Giada interned at The Coalition for the International Criminal Court (CICC) in The Hague, in the context of which she participated in supporting the organization of the 18th Session of the Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute and also contributed to the organization of CICC’s events. During her stay in The Hague, she participated in several meetings of the Hague Working Group at the International Criminal Court and she attended one of the hearings in the case The Gambia v. Myanmar at the International Court of Justice. Previously, Giada carried out an internship at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean in St. Julians (Malta), within the Erasmus+ Traineeship Program. As an intern in Genocide Watch, Giada’s work will be focused on maintaining contacts with the Alliance members and on providing legal advice on ongoing and past international crimes.
Vian Teresa Saggo, Legal Associate
Vian received her law degree from City, University of London, and is due to commence her LLM degree with a specialism in Public International Law at the start of 2021. Prior to the pursuit of her master’s degree, Vian worked at the Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Court as the legal intern for President and Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji. As an undergraduate student, Vian wrote her dissertation on international criminal law, focusing on the goals of international criminal justice. Throughout her research, Vian assessed the role of the International Criminal Court in ending impunity, particularly examining the ICC’s deterrent effects for both state and non-state actors. Vian is particularly interested in international criminal law, international human rights law, and international humanitarian law and aspires to practice as a Barrister in the UK, specializing in these legal fields.
As a legal associate at Genocide Watch, Vian’s work will be focused on organizing efforts to prove that the massacres of Christians in Nigeria by Boko Haram and the Fulani jihadists constitute genocide, monitoring high-risk situations, producing country reports, and assisting Dr. Stanton with writing articles on various legal issues pertinent to international criminal law and genocide prevention.
Jessa Mellea, Early Warning Analyst
Jessa is currently pursuing her B.A. in International Relations and Religious Studies at Brown University. In her studies, she focuses in the intersection of politics, violence, and social identities. Previously, Jessa has assisted in researching online extremist movements at the Institute for Research on Male Supremacism and worked to curb the spread of disinformation at humanID. At Genocide Watch, she will be monitoring Sudan, Venezuela, Colombia, and Hungary.
Faith Marie Stahl, Communications Coordinator & Early Warning Analyst
Faith Marie Stahl is currently studying for an MLitt in Museum and Gallery Studies at the University of St. Andrews. In 2019, she received her B.A. in History and minors in Art and European Studies from Washington College. Her undergraduate research primarily focused on the Tudor dynasty and analysis of their use of propaganda. Various lessons from this research serve as the foundation for her current research into museums and their mostly untapped potential as activist institutions for inclusivity, accessibility, and human rights. She is starting work on her dissertation exploring the need to revise the mission statements of Holocaust museums. As an intern for Genocide Watch, she will be developing Timestreams, writing alerts, and monitoring countries in Eastern Europe, East Asia, and East Africa. She has been accepted for Seton Hill University's Fall 2021 start for a Certificate in Genocide & Holocaust Studies. In the future, she plans on working at either a Human Rights or Holocaust Museum in order to develop and strengthen their potential for activism.
Gargi Upmanyu, Early Warning Analyst
Gargi Upmanyu is pursuing her under graduation in Sociology at Delhi University. She has a keen interest in the study of state crimes and how models of transitional justice can respond to mass human rights violations. She has previously worked with the Centre for Criminology and Public Policy, India as a Data Assistant for the National Crime Victimisation Survey. Gargi believes that theatre as an art form can help promote discourse on genocide and has been a part of various plays that have focused on Indian and global genocides. At Genocide Watch, she wishes to monitor South and Southeast Asian countries. She is aiming to pursue a Master’s degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice in the upcoming years. Her dream is to advance state crime scholarship and explore novel ways to mitigate historical injustices.
Sarah West, Legal Associate
Sarah is finishing her master's in law at Dublin City University (Ireland) where she has focused on international and European law and is writing her dissertation on international humanitarian law and the protection of healthcare in armed conflict. During her undergrad, she studied law and international development, part of which included a year of study in Ljubljana (Slovenia) where she studied subjects relating to human rights law. Sarah has previously interned in New York with the International Coalition for the Responsibility to Protect (ICRtoP) and the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect (GCR2P) where she was captivated by the work of mass atrocity prevention and the promotion of states’ responsibility to protect populations from mass atrocity crimes. At Genocide Watch, she hopes to continue to learn about international law and its use as a tool for both preventing the worst of human suffering and finding justice for its survivors.
Twyla Frid, Alliance Coordinator
Twyla Frid is a high school student from Bowen Island, a small island off the coast of Vancouver, BC, Canada. She spent her early years in a rural community of the Yukon, with caribou, boreal forest, and a river out her door. She will be graduating from high school in the spring of 2022. For university, she plans to major in International Relations (with a focus on Global Public Health) and to minor in math.
As a descendent of Jews who left Eastern Europe barely ahead of the Holocaust, she has a deep interest in genocide prevention. That interest has recently expanded to include public health. Her interest in these topics was catalyzed by her love of reading and constant appetite for knowledge. She hopes to do her part to, in the words of Paul Farmer, “repair the world”.
Andrew Wilson, Early Warning Analyst
Andrew Wilson received a B.A. in Political Science from Boston College in May 2021. As an undergrad, he focused his academic study on political violence and justice-seeking American foreign policy. Outside of the United States, his university courses in the Balkans and Argentina both highlighted the lived experiences of victims of genocide and state violence. In his final year, Andrew assisted in developing the course material for the class "Genocide and Film" and wrote his senior thesis entitled "Intersectionality and Genocide." As an intern at Genocide Watch, he will be monitoring Argentina, South Africa, and Ukraine.
Kylie Henry, Alliance Coordinator
Kylie Henry is a senior at the George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs, where she is pursuing a B.A. in International Affairs and minors in Economics and German Language & Literature. Her studies focus on legal accountability for atrocity crimes as a mechanism of transitional justice. Previously, Kylie worked as the Outreach and Partnership Building Intern at Darfur Women Action Group, a member organization of the Alliance Against Genocide. There, she focused on outreach campaigns to raise awareness about the Darfur genocide and organized a virtual conference on the importance of accountability in genocide prevention. In addition, Kylie recently published a law review note, Impossible to Determine: Inferring Dolus Specialis at the Ad Hoc Tribunals in The George Washington University Undergraduate Law Review. The piece examines how international courts, past and present, determine specific intent in genocide prosecutions and advocates for a more comprehensive understanding of genocidal intent by the International Criminal Court. As an Alliance intern at Genocide Watch, Kylie will be establishing and supporting partnerships with member organizations that are dedicated to creating a world without genocide. She will also be monitoring Bulgaria, Zimbabwe, Sudan, and South Sudan. After completing her undergraduate degree, Kylie hopes to pursue a law degree with a specialization in international criminal law in order to advocate for victims of genocide in court.
Natalie Westrick, Alliance Coordinator
Natalie is a senior at Brandeis University, double majoring in International and Global Studies, and History, with a minor in Near Eastern and Judaic Studies. Her studies focus on war and conflict resolution, especially through history. Natalie plans to write an honors thesis next year chronicling the experiences of a small Eastern European town prior to, during, and after the Holocaust. Natalie is a firm believer in the importance of genocide education and looks forward to both learning and teaching others in an effort to prevent future atrocities. After finishing her undergraduate degree, she hopes to earn a doctoral degree focusing on conflict deterrence and resolution, in an effort to prevent conflict before it starts, inspired by Genocide Watch’s emphasis on prevention. As an alliance intern at Genocide Watch, Natalie looks forward to working with member organizations of the Alliance Against Genocide to prevent genocide.
Wei-Ting Shih, Alliance Coordinator
Wei-Ting Shih is currently an undergraduate student at Yale University double-majoring in History (International and Diplomatic History track) and Ethics, Politics and Economics. She had a multicultural upbringing; she was born in Taiwan, but raised in Nicaragua. At Yale, she is involved in research, writes for publications and serves in student leadership positions for a number of clubs. She is passionate about international politics, law, and international relations, as well as human rights in the context of peace-building, security and mass conflict prevention.
Shari Gordnier, Early Warning Analyst
Shari Gordnier is a current grad student at George Washington University pursuing an MA in Security Policy Studies with a concentration on conflict resolution. She attended undergrad at Baldwin Wallace University, where she majored in National Security with minors in Statistics and Applied Math. Her research focus is primarily on Asia, specifically, the CCP’s treatment of ethnic minorities. Shari will continue to monitor China while at Genocide Watch in addition to Indonesia and Oceania. Prior to joining Genocide Watch Shari worked at Asian Services in Action Inc. conducting research on U.S. immigration policy.
Krista Jones, Alliance Coordinator
Krista Jones is a junior studying in the Honors College at Southern Connecticut State University with a focus in Political Science and English. On campus as the new Vice President for the Board of Academic Experience in the Student Government Association and the managing editor for the undergraduate research journal focusing on social justice, Krista strongly believes in the power of using one’s voice. After taking an honors seminar on the artistic responses to genocide that explored the international community’s failure to prevent the genocides of the twentieth century and the subsequent effect it had on the survivors of genocide, Krista became determined to learn more about the far-reaching effects of genocide and contribute to restitution, justice, and the prevention of further harm. Starting last semester, Krista began research on social media’s effect on personal judgment and metacognition, which she hopes to expand in the future to explore its effect on groupthink and the early stages of genocide. Following her graduation in 2023, she wishes to pursue further education in global affairs and international law to cultivate her voice for the service of others. Krista works on the Alliance and Advocacy teams at Genocide Watch, communicating with alliance organizations as a means to further the genocide prevention cause. She will be monitoring China, Togo, Romania, Australia, and Afghanistan. She hopes learn more about and grow in this field at Genocide Watch and contribute to the acquisition of justice and the restoration of the best of humanity.
Margaux Dandrifosse, Alliance Coordinator
Margaux Dandrifosse is 22 years old and from Belgium, so her native language is French. After graduating from high school in 2016, she spent six months in Vancouver, Canada to learn English in an international school. In the second part of the year, she went to Bali for two months to volunteer as an English teacher in a primary school. In 2017, she started her 3-years Bachelor's Degree in European Studies at Maastricht University, in the Netherlands. Margaux wrote her final thesis on the Guatemalan Truth Commission and its influence on human rights practices in the country. Working on this thesis has deepened her understanding of the Guatemalan Genocide and the politics surrounding genocide. Finally, after graduating with her Bachelor's in June 2020, Margaux started a Master's in International Security at the Institut Barcelona d’Estudis Internacionals in Barcelona, Spain. During the Master, she has focused on the study of genocide, ethnic conflicts, and state-sponsored mass killing during civil wars. She will finish the Master in September 2021 and continue for a second year in the same institute in a Research Master in International Studies. She is currently writing her final thesis on the relation between the location of natural resources and the likelihood of state massacres during civil wars in Sub-Saharan Africa. In the future, Margaux would like to conduct a Ph.D. on the study of genocide or mass-killing during civil wars.
Muhammad Atcha, Legal Associate
Muhammad is a Master’s in Human Rights graduate from University College London, where his dissertation analyzed how Facebook can be held legally accountable for being complicit in crimes against humanity during the 2017 Rohingya Crisis. In 2019, Muhammad graduated with an Honours Bachelor of Arts from the University of Toronto where he double majored in Criminology & Socio-Legal Studies and History, with a minor in Diaspora and Transnational Studies. Muhammad has experience researching mass atrocities and human rights violations in Asia, Europe, and the Americas. His research interests involve political violence, gendered violence, technology/AI and human rights, transitional justice, and the criminology of mass atrocities. As part of the legal team at Genocide Watch, Muhammad hopes to make a meaningful contribution in holding perpetrators of mass atrocities accountable and expanding his research on Facebook’s role in the 2017 Rohingya Genocide. Starting Fall 2021, Muhammad will be further pursuing his graduate studies at the University of Cambridge.
Barbara Labbate, Early Warning Analyst
Barbara Labbate is currently a student at the University of Edinburgh studying international relations and international law. She was born in Tbilisi, Georgia, and was raised in Panama, where she worked in the Embassy of Kosovo. Throughout high school she was an active debater, winning multiple awards. She also partook in engineering summer courses at the University of California, Berkeley, and international relations and debate courses at Murray Edwards College at the University of Cambridge. In addition, she is also an avid artist and has an interest in astrophysics and astronomy. At Genocide Watch she specializes in research about the ongoing destruction of cultural heritage, discrimination, and genocide denial in the Caucasus and Latin America.
Fiona Neibart, Early Warning Analyst
Fiona Neibart is a rising senior at the Marymount School Of New York, located in Manhattan. As part of her Global History course in 2020, she spent two months researching the genocide of the Rohingya in Myanmar, specifically the circulation of social media that amplifies hate speech towards the Rohingya. In her 20-page historical research paper, she cited 28 sources, including academic books, government documents, scholarly databases, news articles, and individual interviews. After learning about Genocide Watch, Fiona joined as an intern in 2020, conducting research and writing reports on Southeast Asia, as well as co-creating Timestreams. At university, Fiona hopes to pursue a degree in Social Policy or Global Studies with a minor in Mathematics or Data Science. Her goal is to one day pursue the use of data and/or digital media to create a healthier, more equal, and diverse society to challenge, shape, and change the world.