Saltzman East Memorial Address Essay

Sudikoff Annual Interdisciplinary Seminar on Genocide Prevention

Countering Dangerous Speech, Protecting Free Speech: Practical Strategies to Prevent Genocide

February 20–21, 2014


MiKe Abramowitz

Mike Abramowitz is the director of the Museum’s National Institute for Holocaust Education and former director of the Center for the Prevention of Genocide. Prior to the Museum, he had worked as a reporter and editor for the Washington Post since 1985, covering local and national politics, foreign policy, health care, and business. Between 2006 and 2009, he served as the Post’s White House correspondent, reporting on the Bush administration’s conduct of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and on the crisis in Darfur, and he served as national editor from 2000 to 2006. A graduate of Harvard University, he is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, a former nonresident fellow of the German Marshall Fund, and a former media fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. 

Shahed Amanullah

A serial Silicon Valley entrepreneur, Shahed Amanullah currently serves as CEO and co-founder of LaunchPosse, a Washington DC–based startup that helps people turn entrepreneurial ideas into reality by leveraging their social networks. Prior to starting LaunchPosse, he served as senior advisor for technology at the US Department of State, where he worked on digital diplomacy in the bureaus of Secretaries of State John Kerry and Hillary Clinton and was responsible for building and launching the Generation Change and Viral Peace projects. He worked closely with the White House and other government agencies on social entrepreneurship, social media policy, combating online extremism, and fostering innovation. He is also the founder of Halalfire, a producer of online content and market research for global Muslim communities. In 1998, he created, the original and world’s largest halal restaurant guide, with 10 million annual users and 500,000 mobile-app downloads. He also created, an award-winning online magazine with 2.5 million annual unique users, and served as its editor-in-chief for 10 years before its 2011 acquisition by Patheos. Earlier, he served as co-founder and CEO of Relatia, a venture-backed mobile software company that was acquired in 2001. He has written and/or been featured in pieces about technology, foreign policy, and media trends in venues such as Wired and CNN, has spoken at the Council on Foreign Relations and Center for American Progress, and has published essays in academic journals and newspapers such as the Washington Post and Chicago Tribune. He has been named three times (2009, 2010, and 2011) as one of the 500 most influential Muslims in the world by Georgetown University and the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre in Jordan, one of the top ten most visionary young Muslims by Islamica Magazine (2007), and the winner of the SXSW Dewey Winburne Award for Community Service (2007). He has also served on the boards of nearly a dozen national nonprofit organizations focused on building stable Muslim-American identities. He has a BS from the University of California, Berkeley, and an MBA from Georgetown.

Susan Benesch

Susan Benesch is a faculty associate of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University. She also teaches at American University’s School of International Service and directs the Dangerous Speech Project (, which she began in 2010 to find and test methods for preventing atrocities, including genocide, by limiting the impact of inflammatory speech without curbing freedom of expression. She has worked on particular countries at risk for mass violence and focuses on online speech. She also served in 2012–13 as the Museum’s Edith Everett Fellow for Genocide Prevention.

Michael Best

Dr. Michael L. Best is associate professor at the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs and the School of Interactive Computing at Georgia Institute of Technology, where he directs the Technologies and International Development Lab. He is director of the PhD Program within the Sam Nunn School. He is also a faculty associate of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University. He is co-founder and editor-in-chief Emeritus of the journal Information Technologies and International Development. He is a frequent consultant to the World Bank, ITU, and USAID. He holds a PhD from MIT and has served as director of Media Lab Asia in India and head of the eDevelopment group at the MIT Media Lab.

Ben Blink

Ben Blink is a public policy analyst at Google and a founding member of its free expression and international relations team. Based in Washington, he focuses on issues related to free speech, Internet governance, and human rights. Prior to joining the DC office, he worked as an advertising account manager at Google, specializing in online marketing for major US and international newspapers.

Sara J. Bloomfield

Sara J. Bloomfield has led the Museum for more than a decade, working to build a global institution that raises Holocaust awareness, deepens understanding of the lessons of the Holocaust, confronts denial, and advances genocide prevention. She is a member of the International Auschwitz Council, serves on the board of the International Council of Museums/USA, and is a recipient of the Officers Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland and three honorary doctorates. She joined the planning staff of the Museum in 1986 when it was a project in development and served in a variety of roles before becoming director in 1999.

Rachel Brown

Rachel Brown is the Founder and CEO of Sisi ni Amani–Kenya (SNA–K), which builds the capacity of local peace and civic engagement leaders to strategically combine traditional and innovative communication. SNA–K aims to prevent violence and build civic dialogue and participation in Kenyan communities and, through civic education, engagement, and dialogue, it leverages SMS text messaging to support the peace efforts of community leaders. She is interested in how communication can be used strategically for behavior change and increasing civic participation. She has a BA in international relations from Tufts University with a focus on global conflict cooperation and justice. She conducted international research on the relationships between power structures, corruption, violence, and poverty while at Tufts. She also has previous experience as a tenant organizing coordinator in Boston Massachusetts and as project coordinator for Ushahidi's Tanzania elections monitoring in 2010.

Agnès Callamard

Dr. Agnès Callamard is the director of Colombia University’s Global Freedom of Expression and Information Project, a new initiative focused on global legal and jurisprudential trends in free speech. She is also a special advisor to the president of the University, first-amendment scholar Lee Bollinger. She has a distinguished career in human rights and humanitarian work globally. She spent nine years as the executive director of ARTICLE 19, an international human rights organization promoting and defending freedom of expression and access to information globally. Under her leadership, ARTICLE 19’s reach and reputation flourished and earned global recognition for its cutting-edge public policy thinking on diverse issues including national security, equality, and development. She founded and led the Humanitarian Accountability Partnership, the first self-regulatory body for humanitarian agencies at the international level. Prior to this, she was chef de cabinet for the secretary general of Amnesty International and its research-policy coordinator, leading the organization’s policy work and research on women’s human rights. She has advised senior levels of multilateral organizations and governments around the world and has led human rights investigations in more than 30 countries. She has published broadly in the field of human rights, women’s rights, refugee movements, and accountability and holds a PhD in political science from the New School for Social Research in New York.

Simona Cruciani

Simona Cruciani works on early warning and risk assessment in the United Nations Office on Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect. She joined the office in July 2008, after having served in UN field operations in Burundi and Sudan. From 2004 to 2006, she served in the UN peacekeeping operations in Burundi as an electoral and civil affairs officer. From 2006 to 2008, she worked as civil affairs officer for the UN peacekeeping mission in Sudan. Her focus has been primarily on supporting human security, democratization, and human rights in conflict and post-conflict situations. She has master’s degrees in contemporary history, international affairs, and public health.

Adama Dieng

In July 2012, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced the appointment of Adama Dieng of Senegal as UN special adviser on the prevention of genocide. Mr. Dieng has served as registrar of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda since 2001. He began his career as registrar of the Regional and Labour Courts in Senegal and served as registrar of the Supreme Court of Senegal for six years. From 1982 to 2001, he worked for the International Commission of Jurists, serving as its secretary-general for the last ten years of his tenure. During this period he was appointed as envoy of the United Nations Secretary General to Malawi in 1993 and as the United Nations independent expert for Haiti from 1995 to 2000. A legal and human rights expert, he has contributed to strengthening of the rule of law, fighting impunity and promoting capacity building of judicial and democratic institutions. He has also contributed to the establishment of several non-governmental organizations in Africa and to strengthening African institutions. He was the driving force behind the establishment of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights as well as the draft African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption. He has lectured on international law and human rights at academic institutions around the world and acted as consultant for many organizations, including the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Ford Foundation, and the African Union.

Edwin Fountain

Edwin Fountain is a litigation partner in the Washington office of the law firm Jones Day. Among his recent representations, he obtained a $356 million judgment on behalf of JPMorgan Chase in a breach of contract case arising from the 1980s savings and loan crisis; he won dismissal of takings and other claims brought against the Kingdom of Belgium in Virginia federal court; and he defended the artist Shepard Fairey against copyright infringement claims involving the well-known “Hope” poster from President Obama’s 2008 campaign. In addition to his law degree from the University of Virginia, he has a master's degree in international relations from the London School of Economics. He led a team at Jones Day that produced a 200-page report for the Museum on issues relating to incitement to genocide. He is a member of the US World War I Centennial Commission and a founder of the World War I Memorial Foundation, and he has been active in several arts and historic preservation organizations.

Abdullahi Boru Halakhe

Abdullahi Boru Halakhe is a security and policy analyst on the Horn of Africa and Great Lakes regions. He has represented various organizations as an expert on these regions at the UN, the State Department, and other various fora as well as in the international media. He has authored and contributed to numerous policy briefings, reports, and articles on conflict and security in East Africa. Previously he worked as a Horn of Africa analyst with the International Crisis Group working on security issues facing Kenya and Uganda, where he was the principle author of several security reports and briefings. He has liaised with government representatives, international stakeholders, and the United Nations in conducting research into prevailing security, policy, and social conditions in and around the Horn. As a reporter with the BBC East Africa Bureau, he covered the 2007 election and subsequent violence from the ground. Additionally, he has worked with with various international and regional NGOs on security and development issues. He has a master’s degree in international affairs from Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs and a bachelor’s degree from Makerere University in Uganda.

Sadia Hameed

Sadia Hameed is the program officer for Wellspring Advisors’ Emergencies and Crises Program and has over 13 years of experience in the human rights field. The Emergencies and Crises Program supports the prevention of and response to large-scale, systematic violence against civilians by improving mechanisms for early warning and rapid response and by mobilizing these mechanisms to protect civilians from imminent or ongoing mass violence. In this role she serves as an advisor for The Nexus Fund. Before joining Wellspring, she most recently worked as the director of the atrocity prevention team at Human Rights First where she led her team in mapping complex conflict supply chains to Syria and Sudan and led advocacy campaigns and capacity building efforts toward the US Government’s newly created Atrocities Prevention Board. Her previous experience includes field research, advocacy, and capacity building work to advance human rights protections in South Asia, Central America, West Africa, and Central Africa. She has worked for Amnesty International, Oxfam America, the Center for American Progress, Save the Children–UK, the Center for Women’s Global Leadership, and RAASTA Development Consultants. She has led international advocacy campaigns to stop the practice of enforced disappearances, end the use of rape as a tactic of war, and promote greater transparency and accountability in the global natural resource extraction industry. She graduated from American University with an MA in international development and, in addition to her fieldwork, has spent many years living and working overseas in the United Kingdom and Pakistan.

Eric Han 

Eric Han works in the Trust and Safety department at Twitter, where he concentrates on policy pertaining to user safety and rights. Recently, his work is concentrating on issues around counterspeech, which involves a deep-dive analysis of key habits on Twitter. In addition to his work in policy, he also works closely as a point of contact with product and engineering teams to advocate for safety features. Previously, he worked at Google and Flickr in similar legal and user-safety roles.

Miklós Haraszti

Miklós Haraszti is a Hungarian author, professor, and human rights promoter. His books are translated into many languages. He has been awarded numerous states’ honors for his role in promoting human and civil rights internationally. He has taught on free speech rights and democratic transformation at several universities; in 2010 and 2011, at Columbia University, he co-taught courses on global press freedom issues with Lee C. Bollinger, the university’s president. As a convicted and banned author, he co-founded Hungary’s human rights and free press movement in 1976. In 1989, he participated in the Roundtable Talks between the opposition and the authorities, held to clear the path to free elections. He was a ember of parliament in the 1990s. From 2004 to 2010, he served as the OSCE’s representative on freedom of the media. Recently, he headed the OSCE’s election observation missions for the US midterm elections in 2010; for the elections in Kazakhstan in 2012; and for the elections in Bulgaria in 2013. In 2012, he was appointed as the UN’s special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Belarus.

Sheldon Himelfarb

Sheldon Himelfarb is director of Media, Technology, and Peacebuilding at the United States Institute of Peace. He joined USIP from The Corporate Executive Board, where he was on the Technology Practice Leadership Team, working with chief information officers from governments, universities, and multinational corporations. Prior to this, he served as foreign policy adviser to a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the head of North American Documentary Development for Yorkshire TV, and the CEO/executive producer for Common Ground Productions, the media division of Search for Common Ground. He is an award-winning filmmaker, former commentator for National Public Radio (Sunday Morning Edition), and author of numerous articles on politics, popular culture, and conflict. He has managed peacebuilding programs in numerous conflicts, including Bosnia, Iraq, Angola, Liberia, Macedonia, and Burundi and he received the Capitol Area Peace Maker award from American University. He holds a doctorate from Oxford University and a bachelor’s degree in political science from Johns Hopkins University. He has held visiting or guest scholar positions at the Brookings Institution, Harvard University, and the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University.

Deborah Lipstadt

Deborah Lipstadt is Dorot Professor of Modern Jewish History and Holocaust Studies at Emory University. She is the author of The Eichmann Trial, which was published in 2011 in conjunction with the 50th anniversary of the trial. Her 2006 book History on Trial: My Day in Court with a Holocaust Denier is the story of her libel defense trial in London against David Irving, who sued her for calling him a Holocaust denier. The judge found Irving to be a Holocaust denier whose writings demonstrate antisemitism and racism. History on Trial won the National Jewish Book Award and is currently in active production by the BBC and Participant Media for a feature film. She is also the author of Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory (1993) and of Beyond Belief: The American Press and the Coming of the Holocaust (1986). She served as a consultant to the Museum, helping design the section of the exhibition on America and the Holocaust. She was appointed to the Museum’s governing board by President Bill Clinton and then reappointed by President Barack Obama. From 1996 through 1999 she served as a member of the United States State Department Advisory Committee on Religious Freedom Abroad. In this capacity she, together with a small group of leaders and scholars, advised Secretary of State Madeline Albright on matters of religious persecution abroad. In 2005 she was asked by President George W. Bush to be part of the official delegation which represented the White House at the 60th anniversary commemoration of the liberation of Auschwitz. In 2009 she was appointed the Judith B. and Burton P. Resnick Invitational Scholar at the Museum’s Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies.

Steven Luckert

Steven Luckert is curator of the Museum’s Permanent Exhibition.  In this capacity, he serves as the director of the exhibition, which encompasses three floors of the Museum’s building, displays thousands of individual artifacts, and features more than 70 audio-visual components. In addition, he has curated or co-curated seven special exhibitions at the Museum: Father Jacques (1997); Kristallnacht: The November 1938 Pogroms (1998); The Voyage of the St. Louis (1999); Life Reborn: Jewish Displaced Persons, 1945–1951 (2000); The Art and Politics of Arthur Szyk (2001); Life in Shadows: Hidden Children and the Holocaust (2003); and State of Deception: The Power of Nazi Propaganda (2009). He is the author of two companion volumes to the exhibitions, The Art and Politics of Arthur Szyk and State of Deception: The Power of Nazi Propaganda (with Susan Bachrach). Prior to coming to the Museum, he taught European history at several campuses of the State University of New York and at George Mason University. In 1993, he received a PhD in modern European history from Binghamton University. 

Matar Ebrahim Matar 

Mr. Matar Ebrahim Matar is a well-known political activist who served as Bahrain’s youngest-elected member of parliament, representing its largest constituency. In February 2012, along with 18 members from his al-Wefaq political party, he resigned from parliament in protest of the Bahraini regime’s crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators. During the February 14 uprisings, he encouraged youth participation and informed the media and foreign officials of ongoing developments, actions that later made him a government target. He continues to speak out on behalf of the pro-democracy movement in Bahrain and has testified before the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission of the United States Congress. The author of several articles and book chapters on prospects for democratic reform in Bahrain, he was awarded the Leaders of Democracy Award by the Project on Middle East Democracy in 2011. Through extensive engagement with political experts on the Gulf region, during his fellowship he refined his understanding of the kelpotocratic nature of the Gulf states. His interactions with various think tanks and academic institutions in Washington further enabled him to gauge the perspectives of policymakers who are invested in Bahrain. 

Sarah Mendelson

Sarah E. Mendelson currently serves as deputy assistant administrator in USAID’s Bureau for Democracy, Conflict, and Humanitarian Assistance responsible for Democracy, Human Rights, and Governance. She is also the agency lead on combating human trafficking. She joined the Obama administration in May 2010. At USAID, she directs a staff of nearly 100 with an annual budget of approximately $110 million. She has led a number of initiatives at the agency to elevate and refocus work on democracy, human rights, and governance, including the new USAID Policy on C-TIP and the Campus Challenge on CTIP; “the Tech Challenge,” a public-private partnership with Humanity United announced by the President of the United States in April 2012; and “Making All Voices Count: A Grand Challenge for Development” a $55-million public-private partnership with DFID, Omidyar Network, SIDA, and Open Society Foundations. Prior to her current position, she was the director of the Human Rights and Security Initiative at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). She has worked for nearly two decades on a wide variety of issues related to human rights and democracy, including in Moscow as a program officer with the National Democratic Institute in 1994 and 1995. Before CSIS, she was a professor of international politics at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. At CSIS, she conducted over a dozen public opinion surveys in Russia, tracking views on Chechnya, military and police abuse, as well as knowledge and experiences with human trafficking. She has researched the links between human trafficking and peacekeeping operations in the Balkans, and her work helped shape US legislation and policies at NATO on this issue. She received a BA in history from Yale University and a PhD in political science from Columbia University. Prior to joining the Administration, she served on the advisory committee for the Europe and Central Asia Division of Human Rights Watch. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. A frequent contributor to the media, she has authored over 70 scholarly and public policy publications.

Bridget Moix

Bridget is currently serving as Atrocity Prevention Fellow with USAID’s Office of Conflict Management and Mitigation, and also works as a research fellow with the Genocide Prevention Program at George Mason University, where she is pursuing her PhD in peace and conflict studies. She has worked for 15 years on peacebuilding and violent conflict prevention issues with a variety of nongovernmental organizations, including Oxfam America, the Quaker United Nations Office, and the American Friends Service Committee. For nine years she lobbied on peace and foreign policy issues with the Friends Committee on National Legislation, a Quaker lobby in the public interest in Washington, DC, where she developed and led the Peaceful Prevention of Deadly Conflict program. She helped launch and chaired the Prevention and Protection Working Group, an advocacy coalition working to advance US policy on atrocity prevention and peacebuilding. In her current work, she focuses on community-based approaches to atrocity prevention, including locally led early warning and response systems. Bridget serves on the board of Peace Direct US, the International Programs Executive Committee of the American Friends Service Committee, and the advisory board of Darfur Women Action Group. She has lived and worked with community-based peace organizations in Mexico and South Africa. She has taught courses on the role of religion in war and peace, development and peacebuilding, and Quaker social witness. She holds a master’s in international affairs from Columbia University’s School for International and Public Affairs and a BA in sociology and writing from Ohio Wesleyan University. She and her family live in Washington, DC.

Bessma Momani 

Dr. Bessma Momani is an associate professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Waterloo and Balsillie School of International Affairs in Canada. She is a senior fellow at the Centre for International Governance and Innovation in Waterloo and the Brookings Institute in Washington, DC. She was a Canada-US Fulbright Scholar, a visiting associate at the Mortara Center at Georgetown University, and a fellow of the Amman Institute. She is a frequent media contributor to CBC, CTV, and Al-Jazeera on the global economy and the Arab Spring. She is the author of many op-eds that have appeared in the New York Times, the Economist, Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, and Ottawa Citizen, Open Canada Online, Huffington Post, and CIGI.  

Murithi Mutiga

Murithi Mutiga is an editor and columnist with the Sunday Nation newspaper in Nairobi, Kenya. He has reported from a number of zones in the Horn of Africa for the last decade, including South Sudan and Somalia, and also covers Kenyan politics. He is a contributing op-ed writer for the International New York Times, where he writes a monthly column. His work has also appeared in the Guardian, the Observer, the Financial Times, and the Independent. He is currently a Chevening Scholar at the London School of Economics, where he is studying comparative politics.

Suzanne Nossel

Suzanne Nossel is executive director of PEN American Center. Previously she served as executive director of Amnesty International USA, where she led a strategic reorganization to strengthen its external human rights impact and focus on building the next generation of human rights activists. She also led successful efforts to secure passage of the Afghan Women and Girls Security Promotion Act of 2012 and convened a historic youth town hall with Burmese Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi. She also previously served in the Obama administration, where, as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for International Organizations, she oversaw US engagement in the UN Human Rights Council, championing groundbreaking resolutions on freedom of expression; lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender rights; and human rights abuses in Iran, Libya, Syria, Cote d’Ivoire, and elsewhere. Prior to that she was the chief operating officer of Human Rights Watch and deputy to the US Ambassador for UN Management and Reform at the US Mission to the United Nations. She has also served as a Visiting Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and as an executive at Dow Jones/The Wall Street Journal and at Bertelsmann. She spent two years in South Africa working to address political violence during that country’s transition into democracy, a formative experience in her development as a human rights activist. She has published pieces on international affairs and human rights in the New York Times, the Washington Post, Dissent, the National Interest, and Foreign Affairs magazine, where she coined the term “smart power,” the title of a 2004 article. Nossel received an AB from Harvard College and a JD from Harvard Law School.

Sarah Ogilvie

Sarah Ogilvie is the Museum’s director of program and former director of its National Institute for Holocaust Education. After a brief career as a caseworker at Henrico County Mental Health Services in Richmond, Virginia, she joined the founding staff of the Museum in 1989. She conducted photographic research for the Museum’s Permanent Exhibition in archives in the United States, Europe, and Israel. Since the Museum opened in 1993, she has held a variety of positions overseeing technology, research, and educational initiatives. She initiated a research project on the refugee ship St. Louis in 1996, served on the curatorial team for a special exhibition on the topic in 1999, and authored Refuge Denied: The St. Louis Passengers and the Holocaust together with Scott Miller in 2006. She was a 2004 recipient of the Smithsonian Institution’s Fellowship in Museum Practice. She conducted a research project on memorial museums and sites of conscience, which remains her current research interest. She holds a BA in psychology from the University of Virginia and an MA from the Institute for Liberal Arts at Emory University.

Angela Okune 

Angela Okune studies the spread of information through ICTs, especially looking at use amongst disadvantaged communities in East Africa. In her current position as research lead at iHub, she provides strategic guidance for growth of tech research in the region and supports the team to run the 15+ research projects being undertaken at any given time. Prior to moving to Kenya in 2010 on a Fulbright fellowship, she was involved in corporate outreach to engage businesses in dialogue on sustainability at the World Wildlife Fund (Washington, DC, USA). She has experience working with infoDev (World Bank), the US State Department, and the Environmental Law Institute (ELI). She studied at Georgetown University and University of Cape Town. She is also the co-founder of Waza Experience, an initiative aimed at prompting underprivileged children to explore innovation and entrepreneurship concepts grounded in real-world experience.

William S. Parsons

William S. Parsons is the Museum’s chief of staff. Before that, he served as its director of education and was responsible for developing educational programs both in Washington and throughout the nation. For the past 40 years, he has been involved in writing, speaking, and creating programs that advance public awareness and knowledge about the Holocaust and genocide and the implications of this history for the world we live in today. He is a co-founder of the Massachusetts-based Facing History and Ourselves National Foundation, Inc., and his published works include Facing History and Ourselves: Holocaust and Human Behavior (co-author, 1982); The Middle Passage (contributing writer and editor, 1986); A World of Difference: Teacher/Student Study Guide (contributing writer, 1987); The African Meeting House: A Sourcebook (co-author, 1988); Everyone’s Not Here: Families of the Armenian Genocide, A Study Guide (1989); and Century of Genocide: Eyewitness Accounts and Critical Views (co-editor, revised for 2004 publication and again in 2008 under a new title: Century of Genocide: Critical Essays and Eyewitness Accounts). A fourth expanded edition was published in 2012 with the title Centuries of Genocide: Essays and Eyewitness Accounts. He holds a BA in history from Cornell College and an MA in teaching from the University of Wisconsin. In 2002, he received the Distinguished Achievement Award from Cornell College for his career work in Holocaust and genocide education.

Dinah PoKempner

Dinah PoKempner is general counsel of Human Rights Watch, one of the largest international human rights advocacy groups. Her work has taken her to Cambodia, the Republic of Korea, Vietnam, the former Yugoslavia, and elsewhere in documenting and analyzing compliance with international humanitarian law, war crimes, and violations of civil and political rights. She has written on freedom of expression, peace-keeping operations, international tribunals, UN human rights mechanisms, cyber-liberties and security, and refugee law among other human rights topics, and oversees the organization’s positions on international law and policy. A graduate of Yale and Columbia University School of Law and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, she also teaches at Columbia University.

Robert C. Post 

Robert Post is dean and Sol and Lillian Goldman Professor of Law at Yale Law School. Before coming to Yale, he taught at the University of California at Berkeley School of Law. His subject areas are constitutional law, First Amendment, legal history, and equal protection. He has written and edited numerous books, including Citizens Divided: A Constitutional Theory of Campaign Finance Reform (spring 2014), which was originally delivered as the Tanner Lectures at Harvard in 2013.; Democracy, Expertise, Academic Freedom: A First Amendment Jurisprudence for the Modern State (2012); For the Common Good: Principles of American AcademicFreedom (with Matthew M. Finkin, 2009); Prejudicial Appearances: The Logic of American Antidiscrimination Law (with K. Anthony Appiah, Judith Butler, Thomas C. Grey & Reva Siegel, 2001); and Constitutional Domains: Democracy, Community, Management (1995). He publishes regularly in legal journals and other publications; recent articles and chapters include “Theorizing Disagreement: Reconceiving the Relationship Between Law and Politics” (California Law Review, 2010); “Constructing the European Polity: ERTA and the Open Skies Judgments” in The Past and Future of EU Law: The Classics of EU Law Revisited on the 50th Anniversary of the Rome Treaty (Miguel Poiares Maduro & Loïc Azuolai eds., 2010); “Roe Rage: Democratic Constitutionalism and Backlash” (with Reva Siegel, Harvard Civil-Rights Civil-Liberties Law Review, 2007); “Federalism, Positive Law, and the Emergence of the American Administrative State: Prohibition in the Taft Court Era” (William & Mary Law Review, 2006); “Foreword: Fashioning the Legal Constitution: Culture, Courts, and Law” (Harvard Law Review, 2003); and “Subsidized Speech” (Yale Law Journal, 1996). He is a member of the American Philosophical Society and the American Law Institute and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He has an AB and PhD in the history of American civilization from Harvard and a JD from Yale Law School.

Diane Saltzman

Diane Saltzman is director of the Museum’s Initiative on Holocaust Denial and Antisemitism and coordinates the many programs and activities related to the Museum’s efforts in confronting denial and contemporary antisemitism. She also serves as the director of survivor affairs, managing a program for Holocaust survivors who volunteer at the Museum. Previously, she was director of institutional stewardship, a position charged with developing and enhancing relationships with the Museum’s core constituencies. Prior to that, she served as the director of the Museum’s Collections Division and chief curator, where she supervised the daily operations and administration of the collections and acquisitions program and oversaw the development and management of the Museum’s collection of artifacts, documents, photographs, film, video, and other historic material documenting the Holocaust. For more than 25 years, she has been involved with curatorial and collections work, developing policies and procedures for collections management, as well as creating and managing numerous exhibitions on Jewish history, art, and culture. Prior to joining the Museum, she spent ten years on the staff of the Jewish Museum in New York and after several years as an assistant curator assumed the additional role of project manager and co-curator of the Museum’s 11,000 square foot permanent exhibition. She has a BA and MA in American civilization with a specialization in museum studies from the University of Pennsylvania.

Jill Savitt

Jill Savitt is a human rights advocate with expertise in the fields of genocide prevention and strategic communications and advocacy campaigns for human rights issues. Since 2009, she has been a special advisor to the Museum, working with the Center for the Prevention of Genocide. She is also the human rights curator for the National Center for Civil and Human Rights, a new museum in Atlanta that opened in May 2014 and displays the papers and artifacts of The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  She is curating the 6,000 square feet of space devoted to telling the contemporary global human rights story. Before taking on these projects, she founded and directed Dream for Darfur, a public advocacy campaign to urge the Chinese government to take specific actions regarding the Darfur crisis in the lead up to the 2008 Beijing Games. The New York Times Magazine profiled her and the initiative in March 2008. Dream for Darfur was widely recognized as a major factor in influencing the Chinese government to change its policies on Sudan in the lead-up to the 2008 Beijing Games. She also served on the board of the Save Darfur Coalition. Before founding Dream for Darfur, she was the communications director and then the director of public programs at Human Rights First, where she worked from 2001 to 2007. She designed and supervised the organization’s advocacy campaigns, including organizing retired military leaders to call for US interrogation and detention policies to conform with US and international law after 9/11. She began her career as a reporter for WAMU, the NPR affiliate in Washington, DC. She graduated summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, from Yale University. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Eric Sears

Eric Sears is a program officer for human rights and international justice at the MacArthur Foundation. Prior to joining the Foundation in May 2009, her served as program officer in the Crimes against Humanity Program at Human Rights First. In this capacity he engaged in research and advocacy within the United Nations system on a range of issues related to ending atrocity crimes and strengthening international justice mechanisms. He also worked for several years at Amnesty International USA, where he served in a number of capacities, including directing the organization’s campaign aimed at reforming US counterterrorism policies. He played a key role in developing the organization’s capacity to more effectively respond to human rights emergencies. He holds an MSc in human rights from the London School of Economics and a BA in peace and conflict studies and political science from Saint Louis University.

John Shattuck

John Shattuck has been president and rector of Central European University and professor of legal studies and international affairs since August 2009. From 2001 to 2009, he served as CEO of the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation. He was also senior fellow and lecturer on human rights and international relations at the College of Citizenship and Public Service at Tufts University. From 1998 to 2000, he served as US Ambassador to the Czech Republic, and from 1993 to 1998 as Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor. Previously, he was at Harvard University, where he served as vice president for government, community and public affairs from 1984 to 1993, lecturer at the Harvard Law School, and research associate at the Kennedy School of Government. His career began at the American Civil Liberties Union, where he was executive director of the ACLU Washington office and national staff counsel from 1971 to 1984. He served as vice-chair of Amnesty International USA from 1988 to 1992. He appears frequently in the US and international media and as a commentator on international security and human rights. He is the author three books and many articles on international security, foreign policy, human rights, civil liberties, higher education and public service. He received his JD from Yale Law School, MA with first class honors in international law from Cambridge University, BA magna cum laude from Yale College, and four honorary degrees from universities in the US and the Czech Republic.

Sally Smith

Sally Smith is the managing director of The Nexus Fund, established in 2012 to support the global community to end mass atrocities. Prior to that, she coordinated the Sudan Now campaign through Humanity United. Over the past decade, she has worked for numerous campaigns and nonprofit organizations, including The Enough Project, the Partnership for Public Service, Obama for America (2007–2008), and Walmart Watch. She has written pieces for the Washington Post and is author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Getting Government Jobs, a book designed to promote public service. She is an alumnus of EMILY’s List Campaign Corps.

Ma Thida

Ma Thida is a Burmese medical doctor, writer, human rights activist, and former prisoner of conscience. She has published under the pseudonym Suragamika which means “brave traveler.” In Myanmar, she is best known as a leading intellectual, whose books deal with the country’s political situation. She has worked as an editor at a Burmese monthly youth magazine called Shwe Amyutay and a weekly newspaper called Pae Tin Tharn. She worked at Muslim Free Hospital, which provides free services to the poor, for more than a decade. Now she is volunteering at a free clinic run by a local NGO, FFSS. She studied medicine in the early 1980s, earning a degree in surgery, and also took up writing at a young age. She said, “I wanted to become a writer because I want to share what I observe around me, like poverty.” Her interest in health care developed after falling ill as a child. In October 1993, she was sentenced to 20 years in Insein Prison for “endangering public peace, having contact with illegal organizations, and distributing unlawful literature.” In fact, she was actively supporting Aung San Suu Kyi, a Nobel laureate and founder of the main opposition party in Burma. She served nearly six years in unhealthy, mostly solitary conditions. She contracted tuberculosis without adequate access to medical care. During this time she was awarded several international human rights awards, including the Reebok Human Rights Award (1996) and the PEN/Barbara Goldsmith Freedom to Write Award (1996). In 1999, she was released on “humanitarian grounds” after serving five years, six months, and six days. She was released due to declining health, increasing political pressure, and the efforts of human rights organizations like Amnesty International and PEN International. From 2008 to 2010 she lived in the US as an International Writers Project Fellow at Brown University and a fellow of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Studies at Harvard University. In 2011, the Norwegian Writers Union awarded her the Freedom of Speech Prize. She also joined many international literature festivals. Her first book was The Sunflower which was only released in Burma 1999 as it was banned upon international release in the early 1990s. The book argues that the Burmese people have high expectations of democracy icon Suu Kyi that made him “a prisoner of applause.” The Roadmap (2012) is a fictional story based on events in Burmese politics from 1988 to 2009. The Myanmar-language book Sanchaung, Insein, Harvard is a memoir, as the title suggests about her early life in Sanchaung, imprisonment in Insein, and time in the United States.

Salil Tripathi

Salil Tripathi was born in Bombay, India. For many years a correspondent in India, Singapore, and Hong Kong for publications including India Today and Far Eastern Economic Review, he moved to London in 1999. He is a contributing editor at Mint (India's second-largest business daily) and at Carava‘ (India’s premier long-form journalism magazine). In the UK, he was on the board of English PEN from 2009 to 2013, and with novelist Kamila Shamsie, he co-chaired PEN’s Writers-at-Risk Committee. In November 2011, he won the third prize at the Bastiat Awards for Journalism about free societies, in New York. His first book, Offence: The Hindu Case (Seagull, 2009), is about the rise of Hindu nationalism and its implications on free expression. Currently, he is working on several book projects—one on the Bangladesh war of liberation and its aftermath, a collection of travel essays, and a book with Devangshu Datta on a corporate scandal in India. He has written for many other publications, including the Wall Street Journal, the International Herald Tribune, the Washington Post, the New York Times, the New Republic, the New Yorker, Salon, and the Philadelphia Inquirer in the United States, and the Guardian, the Independent, the New Statesman, the Spectator, Prospect, and Index on Index in the UK. He has been a senior visiting fellow for business and human rights at the Kennedy School, Harvard University, and is also an adviser to several global initiatives involving business and human rights. He graduated from the University of Bombay and later obtained an MBA from the Amos Tuck School of Business Administration at Dartmouth College in the United States.

Beth Van Schaack

Beth Van Schaack is a visiting scholar at the Center for International Security and Cooperation at Stanford University. She just stepped down as deputy to the Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Issues in the Office of Global Criminal Justice of the US Department of State. Prior to her State Department appointment, she was a professor of law at Santa Clara University School of Law, where she taught and wrote in the areas of human rights, transitional justice, international criminal law, public international law, international humanitarian law, and civil procedure. She has been a member of the US Department of State’s Advisory Council on International Law and served on the United States interagency delegation to the International Criminal Court Review Conference in Kampala, Uganda, in 2010. She joined the Santa Clara faculty from private practice at Morrison & Foerster LLP, where she practiced the areas of commercial law, intellectual property, international law, and human rights.  Prior to entering private practice, she was acting executive director and staff attorney with The Center for Justice and Accountability, a nonprofit law firm in San Francisco dedicated to the representation of victims of torture and other grave human rights abuses in US, international, and foreign tribunals. She was also a law clerk with the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. She is a graduate of Stanford University and Yale Law School. 

Elizabeth B. White

Elizabeth B. (“Barry”) White was appointed research director of the Museum’s Center for the Prevention of Genocide in September 2012. Prior to that, she worked for nearly 30 years at the US Department of Justice, serving as chief historian and deputy director of the Office of Special Investigations and, most recently, as deputy chief and chief historian of the Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section. In both positions, she directed research for civil and criminal cases against the perpetrators of genocide, war crimes, Nazi persecution, and other human rights violations. She also contributed to interagency efforts to deny safe haven to human rights violators in the United States and to develop effective strategies for preventing and responding to genocide and mass atrocity. She has a PhD in history from the University of Virginia and is the author of German Influence in the Argentine Army, 1900–1945 and numerous articles and papers.


Stacey Shubitz

Stacey Shubitz is the Chief of Operations and Lead Writer for Two Writing Teachers. She is a certified literacy specialist and a former classroom teacher who taught fifth grade at P.S. 171 in East Harlem, NY and fourth grade at The Learning Community in Central Falls, RI.  In 2009, Stacey turned her passion for supporting teachers with balanced literacy instruction into a career as a literacy consultant based in Central Pennsylvania.  In addition, Stacey works as an adjunct professor. She has taught graduate courses at Lesley University and Penn State – Harrisburg.

Stacey is the author of Craft Moves: Lesson Sets for Teaching Writing with Mentor Texts (Stenhouse Publishers, 2016) and the co-author of Day by Day: Refining Writing Workshop Through 180 Days of Reflective Practice (Stenhouse Publishers, 2010).  She’s presently working, with Lynne Dorfman, on her third book for Stenhouse, which has a working title of WELCOME TO WRITING WORKSHOP (Anticipated Publication: Winter 2018/19). Stacey has a M.A. in Literacy Education from Teachers College at Columbia University and a M.S.Ed. in Childhood Education from Hunter College of the City of New York.  A Kappa Delta Pi Teacher of Honor, Stacey presents at local, state, and national conferences and has published articles published for a variety of publications. She is also on the editorial review board for The Language and Literacy Spectrum, the New York State Reading Association’s Journal.

Stacey resides in Pennsylvania with her husband and children.  She also blogs about literacy and parenting at Raising a Literate Human and tweets @sshubitz.

If you’re interested in having Stacey speak at a conference or in your school district, then please contact Kelly Ernest, kernest[at]stenhouse[dot]com, at Stenhouse Publishers. Kelly can provide you with more information regarding speaking engagements. You may also e-mail Stacey directly at stacey[at]staceyshubitz[dot]com.

In 2007, Stacey co-founded Two Writing Teachers with Ruth Ayres, a widely-followed blog solely devoted to the teaching of writing.  In September 2013, when Ruth stepped away from the blog, Stacey gathered a dynamic team of co-authors and re-launched with new voices, all dedicated to maintaining the blog’s original mission.


Betsy Hubbard

Betsy Hubbard is a certified early childhood educator. She received her B.A. in Early Childhood Education in 2001. Her teaching career began in Kalamazoo, MI with preschool and kindergarten students. She has continued to teach early and elementary levels in Michigan. She is a poetry advocate and hopes more educators will share their poetry appreciation with their students. Betsy is the creator of Chalk-A-Bration, a monthly celebration of poetry and poem illustrations using chalk. She loves music, running and blowing on dandelions. Betsy can be found at I Think in Poems, Teaching Young Writers, and on Twitter @Betsy_writes.

Beth Moore

Beth Moore has over a decade of experience working as a national literacy consultant for the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project (TCRWP) based at Columbia University. This work has taken her into K-8 classrooms all over the country to support teachers and administrators with reading workshop, writing workshop, and all aspects of a balanced literacy curriculum. She has been a contributing author to many TCRWP resources, including the Running Records Assessments, the Curriculum Calendars, the Learning Progressions for Writing, and the Performance Assessments for Reading and Writing.

Beth began her teaching career as a first-grade teacher in Orange, MA and then was a fifth-grade teacher in Newtown, CT. She holds an M.Ed in Curriculum and Teaching from Teachers College, Columbia University. She has taught numerous graduate courses at Columbia University and presents at conferences around the country.

Beth coauthored the book How-To Writing: Writing to Teach Others with Lucy Calkins and Laurie Pessah as part of the Units of Study in Opinion, Information, and Narrative Writing (Heinemann, 2013). Recently she coauthored with Lucy Calkins the book If…Then…Assessment-Based Curriculum, K-2, part of the Units of Study for Teaching Reading (Heinemann, 2015).

Beth and her family live in the mountains of northern Vermont, not far from where she grew up. She currently works as a district literacy consultant, graduate course instructor, writer, and editor.

If you are interested in having Beth come to your school for a speaking engagement or to work with your teachers, or if you are interested in scheduling her to speak at a conference, please contact her directly at beth [at] elizabethmoore [dot] work.

In June 2015, we added two additional classroom teacher voices, Deb Frazier, and Kathleen Neagle Sokolowski, to Two Writing Teachers. 

Deb Frazier

Deb Frazierworks with educators and students in Central Ohio as an instructional technology coach. She supports teachers and students as they create blended learning environments where technology serves to amplify student learning. Deb holds a license as an Early Childhood Educator and Special Education K-12 and a master degree in Curriculum and Instruction.  Deb has taught kindergarten, first grade, second-grade, and students with special needs grades kindergarten through fifth grade. She lived Japan and found this experience broadened her thinking about the world, the students, and teachers she works with each day. Deb strives to help students understand the varying perspectives of others, to be accepting, and to learn about the person behind the one they see. Her passion for acceptance and connecting with others is what led her to working as an instructional technology coach. Deb is co-founder of Global Classroom. She blogs about teaching at Primary Perspective and tweets @Deb_Frazier. Deb and her students find digital tools have become their hands into the world. They blog at Behind The Scenes in First Grade and tweet @Frazier1st.  Deb resides in central Ohio with her husband and two daughters.

Kathleen Neagle Sokolowski

Kathleen Neagle Sokolowski is a third-grade teacher at Saltzman East Memorial Elementary School in Farmingdale, NY.  Certified in Elementary Education, Special Education, and Literacy Studies, Kathleen has experience in general and special education, previously working with sixth grade and kindergarten. One of the co-directors of the Long Island Writing Project, Kathleen has facilitated the Summer Institute, book clubs, workshops, and writing retreats for teachers. She is a wife and mother, residing in Wantagh, New York. Kathleen shares stories from the classroom and life at her blog, Courage Doesn’t Always Roar, and tweets @MrsSokolowski. She is thrilled to be part of the Two Writing Teachers community, where so much collegial conversation and sharing leads to inspiration in the classroom.

In May 2016, Melanie Meehan became part of the Two Writing Teachers co-author team. 

Melanie Meehan

Melanie Meehan began her teaching career in 1992 as a special education teacher at a residential school for elementary students. She learned about the writing workshop model, attended a week-long course given by Katie Wood Ray, and has been a believer ever since. After ten years at home raising her four daughters, Melanie returned to teaching special education in 2008 and has been the Elementary Writing and Social Studies Coordinator in Simsbury, CT since 2011. Melanie is passionate about developing young writers, as well as human beings with curiosity, empathy, and responsibility for the world we all share. She is a regular contributor to Choice Literacy and Lead Literacy, was a member of the writing team for the Connecticut Social Studies Frameworks, and she shares a blog, Two Reflective Teachers, with Melanie Swider.

Melanie holds a B.A from Cornell University, a Masters in Special Education from the University of Hartford, and her Sixth Year in Educational Leadership from Central Connecticut State University. In addition to writing professionally, Melanie loves to write narrative stories and is working on her Masters in Creative Writing, as well as several fictional stories. She has published articles in Highlights Magazine, and won the 2016 Tassy-Walden Award for New Voices in Children’s Literature.  You can find her on Twitter @MelanieMeehan1.

In February 2017, we added another new member to our co-author team.

Lanny Ball

Lanny Ball is a certified reading consultant and reading specialist, as well as a former classroom teacher. For fifteen years, Lanny taught English Language Arts to seventh and eighth graders in both Oregon and Connecticut. In 2009, Lanny left the classroom to become a literacy coach and eventually a national staff developer for the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project (TCRWP) based at Columbia University in New York City. Lanny holds an M.A.T. from Willamette University in Salem, Oregon, as well as degrees in Remedial Reading and Remedial Language Arts and Reading Consultancy, both from the University of Bridgeport in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Lanny has taught graduate courses at Portland State University, where he is an adjunct professor.

After growing up an Oregonian, Lanny and his wife now reside in Northwestern Connecticut with their three daughters. He truly enjoys being a dad, as well as playing the piano in his band. Currently, he works as a reading consultant and literacy specialist for Region 15 Schools in Middlebury/Southbury where he continues to support teachers and students in literacy. He also blogs about supporting middle school readers and writers at home at You can find Lanny on Twitter at @LannyBall.


Anna Gratz Cockerille

Anna Gratz Cockerille is an editor for Heinemann Publishing. In addition, Anna blogs, writes for journals, and consults in schools. She lives with her family in New York City.

Anna has taught in K-8 classrooms all over the world in places such as Sydney, Australia; San Pedro Sula, Honduras; and Auckland, New Zealand. Anna has been a staff developer for the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project at Columbia University (TCRWP) and an adjunct instructor for the Literacy Specialist Program at Teachers College. She frequently presents at TCRWP institutes, where she helps teachers and administrators learn balanced literacy and reading and writing workshop fundamentals. She also presents at national conferences, such as the National Council of Teachers of English and International Reading Association Conventions. Anna also conducts on-site staff development in schools, helping teachers hone their balanced literacy practices.

Anna co-wrote Bringing History to Life with Lucy Calkins, part of the 2013 series Units of Study in Opinion, Information, and Narrative Writing (Heinemann). She has been a researcher for Lucy Calkins, contributing especially to Pathways to the Common Core (Heinemann, 2012) and Navigating Nonfiction in the Reading Units of Study series (Heinemann, 2010). Anna is branching out into writing for children. Her article, “Different Voices”, about the Children’s Crusade in Birmingham, 1963, appears in the October 2013 issue of Appleseeds magazine. Anna can also be found blogging at AnnaGCockerille Literacy and tweeting at @AnnaGCockerille.

If you’d like to get in touch with Anna regarding speaking, writing, or staff development for your organization, please email her directly at AnnaGCockerilleLiteracy [at] gmail [dot] com.


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