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.
Sarah Kane, Senior Early Warning Analyst & Communications Coordinator
Sarah Kane is a senior pursuing a major in Public Policy, a minor in History, and a certificate in Human Rights at Duke University. As an undergraduate, Sarah has 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 creates reports and Timestreams for the MENA and Southeast Asian regions. Sarah also produces Genocide Watch's biweekly newsletters as part of her role in communications.
Lauren Salim, Senior Early Warning Analyst & Alliance Against Genocide Coordinator
Lauren is currently pursuing her M.A. in Human Rights at the University of London. She previously received her B.A. in International Development Studies from Dalhousie University. As a member of the research team, she will be monitoring events and developing reports on the Horn of Africa region as well as co-coordinating the Alliance Against Genocide. During her undergraduate degree, she spent some time in Uganda where she was inspired by the people and their stories of resiliency. In the past she has served on the board of directors for an organization aimed at helping youth through their experiences with grief and loss. She is also a Student Fellow at the Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies. Lauren is interested in the intersection between human rights and the digital realm, particularly the polarizing effects of online hate, propaganda, and social media and their role in exacerbating offline conflicts. After completing her studies, she would like to pursue research, advocacy and policy work for upholding and internalizing human rights.
Tom Shacklock, Senior Research Analyst & Educational Research and Timestream Creator
Tom Shacklock is a recent graduate from the University of Bristol, UK, where he completed his MSc in International Relations. During the course of his master’s, he 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 at Lumière University Lyon 2, France. Tom used his time in Birmingham and Lyon to explore his interest in international affairs through student journalism. He joined French student online news team Le Journal International before becoming Current Affairs Editor with the multilingual, internationally themed Linguist Magazine during his final year at Birmingham. In Bristol, he took up the role of Deputy Head of News with the university’s radio station, creating podcasts on a range of political, social and cultural issues, including for the Global Affairs Podcast series, which he launched with a fellow student. Since graduating, Tom has worked in London as a freelance private tutor for high school students in French, English and History, keeping in touch with his favorite subjects while also volunteering as a researcher for diplomacy consultancy Grassroot Diplomat. While interning at Genocide Watch, his focus is on producing Timestreams and Genocide Alerts for Francophone Africa, additionally running a side-project on cases of persecution of LGBTQI+ people where there is genocidal intent. He plans for this experience to prepare him for future research opportunities including a PhD in the field.
Julia Sierra, Legal Associate
Julia Sierra is a fourth-year student at the Pablo de Olavide University (Seville, Spain), where she is pursuing a double degree in Law and Political Science and Public Administration. As a part of her studies, she completed a year at Sciences Po Bordeaux, obtaining a Political Studies Certificate. She also broadened her knowledge in Conflict Resolution after attending a course on “Development and Conflict” at SOAS University of London. She has been involved as a collaborator with diverse non-profit organizations, notably in the refugee field. Last summer she travelled to Saida (Lebanon), where she worked at a non-formal education program in Ouzai refugee camp, supporting Syrian and Palestinian communities. In 2017, she collaborated with the local NGO FEOX Rescue Team at Vial and Souda refugee camps in Chios, Greece. Last year, she began to volunteer at the Spanish Refugee Aid Commission, where she assists in matters of law refugees in her hometown. These experiences have greatly contributed to her formation in the humanitarian field and given her a greater appreciation for non-profit efforts. As a law student, her academic and professional interests focus on the use of international law for the protections of human rights in situations of risk and threat. Working as an intern for Genocide Watch, her work is mainly focused on providing legal assistance and advice, as well as drafting legal documents.
Holly Scala, Early Warning Analyst
Holly Scala is a recent graduate of the University of Nevada, Reno, where she received her Master’s in Political Science. She holds a B.A. in International Relations and Philosophy, with a minor in Holocaust, Genocide, and Peace Studies. Holly’s passion for genocide studies began when she was in middle school and first encountered Holocaust and genocide curriculum. Upon entering college, she realized that most of her peers were only aware of the Holocaust perpetrated by the Nazis, and was inspired to increase awareness and understanding of other genocides, past and present. Her research has focused on the role of language in the genocidal spiral, which culminated in her Master’s thesis examining language in RTLM transcripts prior to and during the Rwandan Genocide. She currently works for a sexual violence prevention non-profit in Santa Barbara, California, and volunteers for the Genocide Education Project, a San Francisco-based non-profit. As an intern for Genocide Watch, she will be reporting on El Salvador, Lebanon, and South Africa, as well as assisting in monitoring Syria. She would like to pursue a lifelong career in genocide prevention, awareness, and intervention.
Nat Hill, Early Warning Analyst
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.
Anna Killen, Early Warning Analyst & Timestream Creator
Anna is a recent history graduate from the University of Leeds, UK where she will also be pursuing a Masters in International Relations in the New Year. As an undergraduate student, her research was focused on the causes and consequences of Partition in India and on genocide and ethnic cleansing in the 20th century. Anna is particularly interested in the repercussions of the British Empire and in women’s studies; having written her dissertation on the intersectionality between class and gender in the Indian women’s movement during the 1940s. As an intern at Genocide Watch Anna’s work will be focussed on producing Timestreams, monitoring Guatemala and Peru, and posting articles for India and Pakistan.
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.
Copyright University of Glasgow 2019.
Photo by University Photographic Unit.
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.
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.
Jennifer Kirby-McLemore, Legal Associate
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.
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.
Eli Finkelson, Executive Producer of "Conversations on Genocide"
Eli Finkelson is a senior journalism major at Hofstra University in New York, with a concentration in broadcast and a minor in Global Studies. Outside of academics, Eli has been the Station Manager of WRHU Radio Hofstra University, the #1 noncommercial radio station in the country, for the past year. She hosts her own international news show, “Around the World in 30 Minutes” on 88.7FM Monday nights, and earned her first national Gracie Award this past year for a piece on single motherhood. She has interned with News organizations such as CBS News and ABC News, and is currently a freelance writer for Backstage Magazine. Eli became a journalist to lend a voice to those who cannot tell their own stories themselves, and she hopes to shed light on those stories through the podcast, “Conversations on Genocide”.