Our Team

Biographies

PRESENTERS

Saqib Bhatti is a fellow at the Roosevelt Institute and the Director of the ReFund America Project (RAP). He works on campaigns to rebalance the relationship between Wall Street and local communities by exposing the role that financial deals play in contributing to public budget distress and advances solutions to fix inefficiencies in the municipal finance system, which cost taxpayers billions of dollars each year. He works closely with labor unions and community organizations across the country to develop campaigns that are based on a populist critique of the banking industry, as informed by his research. He also serves on the board of the Responsible Endowments Coalition. Bhatti was previously a fellow at the Nathan Cummings Foundation. Prior to that he spent several years working on corporate social responsibility campaigns with the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and the Culinary Workers Union, Local 226 in Las Vegas. He was graduated from Yale University in 2004.

Cynthia Boaz is a scholar-practitioner and associate professor of political science at Sonoma State University where her areas of expertise include quality of democracy, strategic nonviolent action, gender and politics, and media. Her work on civil resistance, particularly on the role of women in nonviolent struggles around the world, has appeared in numerous academic journals, books, and media outlets. Cynthia is an affiliated scholar at the UNESCO Chair of Philosophy M.A. Program in Peace, Conflict and Development Studies in Castellon de la Plana, Spain. She is the former Rochester, New York area coordinator of CODEPINK: Women for Peace (2005-2008). She has also collaborated closely with leaders of Burma’s Saffron Revolution and activists from Iran’s Green Movement. She considers her interview of Nobel Laureate Shirin Ebadi to be a highlight of her work in this field. Since 2005, Cynthia has been an academic advisor to ICNC, and has presented on civil resistance in India, Australia, Chile, Spain, Canada, and across the United States during the past ten years. Cynthia was a presenter at the inaugural Lawson institute concerning the history of effective major historical campaigns led by women in the United States, from the abolition of slavery to women’s suffrage.

Kevin Connor is Public Accountability Initiative’s director. He leads PAI’s research efforts and investigations from his home base of Buffalo, NY. Before co-founding LittleSis.org and PAI, Kevin worked as a researcher at SEIU 1199. He is a graduate of Harvard University.LittleSis is a project of Public Accountability Initiative, a 501(c)3 organization focused on corporate and government accountability, whose mission is to facilitate and produce investigative research that promotes transparent and accountable governance. PAI was founded in early 2008 by a group of activists, public interest lawyers, and academics associated with leading universities and major social change organizations.

Philippe Duhamel: With decades of experience as a master strategist, trainer, and campaign organizer in his home province of Québec, Canada, Philippe Duhamel has helped to lead successful efforts to stop hydraulic fracking in Québec and been critical to many other significant environmental campaigns. His experience pertaining to successful citizen action on environmental preservation and climate-change related matter is unexcelled. He is also a specialist in developing effective educational exercises for planning and preparation of effective nonviolent campaigns. Philippe is affiliated with Via Strategia.

Paulina Gonzalez is Executive Director of the California Reinvestment Coalition (CRC), the largest state reinvestment coalition in the country. She has for more than twenty years led economic justice organizing campaigns to expand worker rights, immigrant rights, and the rights of low income and underrepresented communities of color. Under her leadership, CRC has conducted campaigns against some of the largest banks in the country, organizing and mobilizing communities so that they have a seat at the table, while also shifting the balance of power so that banks, corporations, and government officials are held accountable to the needs of historically marginalized communities. These campaigns have resulted in community negotiated multi-billion-dollar bank reinvestment agreements offering affordable housing financing, small business lending, and safe, affordable, and transparent financial services and products. In 2016, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced the appointment of Gonzalez to its Consumer Advisory Board. Prior to this, she was Executive Director of Strategic Actions for Just Economy (SAJE), a community development center for residents of South Central Los Angeles. An Hispanic organizer who emigrated to the United States from Mexico as a small child, while still young she became active in organizing for the United Farm Workers in orange fields and grape vineyards. Seasoned at organization-development issues, she is an exceptionally astute designer of group learning exercises, who was a convener and principal for both previous Lawson institutes.  

Molly Gott is a researcher at the Public Accountability Initiative (PAI), a watchdog research group focused on corporate and government accountability. PAI specializes in conducting and facilitating investigative, public interest research on power and corruption at the intersection of business and government. PAI got its start by launching LittleSis.org (named as the opposite of Big Brother), a database and research platform that tracks information on power holders and organizations in the United States. LittleSis is used by journalists, academiciansorganizers, and activists who are researching and challenging networks of power and influence. At PAI, Molly works on a variety of power research projects in collaboration with social movements and civil society organizations. She also coordinates PAI’s “Map the Power” project, which aims to train and support activists and organizers to carry out power research that can strengthen their organizing and deepen their analysis of how corporate power shapes and influences our economy and society. Before working with PAI, Molly was a community organizer with Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment (MORE), where she worked on a variety of economic, racial, and climate justice campaigns. She was also part of the team that established jail and legal support during the Ferguson Uprising ​

Ange-Marie Hancock (“AMHA”) is an activist scholar on the faculty of University of Southern California in Los Angeles, California. She has worked with organizers in the areas of marriage equality, economic justice, immigrant rights, black equity, and women of color movements here in Los Angeles as both a trainer and ally. She is a globally recognized scholar on intersectionality – the study of the intersections of race, gender, class, and sexuality politics, and their impact on public policy. Her recent collaborative work includes service on the Community Funding Board of the Liberty Hill Foundation and work with both Hispanas Organized for Political Empowerment (HOPE) and the Los Angeles African American Women’s Public Policy Institute (LAAAWPPI). She wrote her second book as an accessible intergenerational handbook for understanding intersectionality. In 2015 she founded RISIST, the Research Institute for the Study of Intersectionality and Social Transformation, a new online certification and collaboration platform. RISIST consolidates fifteen years of work done by her across the country to consult with and train individuals, groups and organizations in intersectionality. AMHA’s commitment to gender equity has existed for decades. In 1993, under the mentorship of NBA Hall of Famer Tom “Satch” Sanders, Hancock conducted the original survey research and designed the business model for the Women’s National Basketball Association. The only women’s professional basketball league to succeed in the United States, the WNBA will play its twenty-first season in May 2017. She is the first African American female full professor in USC’s College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences and a popular commentator on KPCC-FM and KCAL/KCBS.

Tom Hastings: As full-time faculty on conflict resolution for Portland State University, and with a doctorate in education, Tom is a founding member of two Catholic Worker communities and an author or editor of six books on aspects of nonviolence. A veteran of Native American treaty rights struggles, he lives at Whitefeather Peace House. He was one of a small group of organizers who led the successful nonviolent struggle to close and dismantle a U.S. thermonuclear command facility, during which Tom offered two Plowshares acts of nonviolent resistance that earned him two peace felonies (one in Michigan, one in Wisconsin) and corresponding prison time. His family is mixed-race. He has 300-500 students in his Portland State University courses annually and coordinates the largest Peace and Conflict Studies undergraduate program in his region. His presentation on Native American nonviolent historical accomplishment at the 2014 Lawson institute was highly praised. He has been on the Academic Advisory Council of ICNC since 2004.

Mary Elizabeth King, Director Professor of peace and conflict studies at the UN-affiliated University for Peace (main campus Costa Rica), Mary is also Distinguished Rothermere American Institute Fellow at the University of Oxford, Britain, and affiliated with American University’s School of International Service, Washington, DC. Political scientist and author of a number of recognized books on civil resistance, her latest is Gandhian Nonviolent Struggle and Untouchability in South India: The 1924–25 Vykom Satyagraha and the Mechanisms of Change, Oxford University Press, 2015. Her academic specialty in the study of nonviolent civil resistance movements dates to her decision at age 22 to go to work for the U.S. civil rights movement, first in Atlanta and then Mississippi, on the staff of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC, pron. snick) in the 1960s. At age 23, she spent Christmas in Atlanta’s city jail “Big Rock.” She is co-author of the historical document “Sex and Caste,” published by Liberation magazine in April 1966, which resulted from conversations among women SNCC organizers and is now considered a catalyst for the women’s liberation movement of what would become called second-wave feminism. She is Co-Chair (with Erica Chenoweth) of the Academic Advisory Council for the ICNC (2016–2017), in Washington, DC, and serves on the board of the Albert Einstein Institution, Boston. In 2011, she received the James M Lawson Award for Nonviolent Achievement.

Lester R. Kurtz is the editor of the Encyclopedia of Violence, Peace and Conflict (Elsevier), co-editor of Nonviolent Social Movements (Blackwell), an editor of The Web of Violence(University of Illinois Press), as well as author of books including Gods in the Global Village (Pine Forge/Sage), The Politics of Heresy (University of California Press), and The Nuclear Cage (Prentice-Hall). He is a co-editor of the two-volume Women, War, and Violence (Praeger, 2014). Currently, Kurtz is working on a book called Gandhi’s Paradox, another on The Paradox of Repression, and a project called “Peaceful Warriors.” He has lectured in Europe, Asia, Africa, and North America and served as chair of the Peace Studies Association and the Peace, War, and Social Conflict Section of the American Sociological Association, which recently awarded him its Robin Williams Distinguished Career Award.

Hardy Merriman is President of the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict (ICNC). He has worked in the field of civil resistance for nearly 15 years, presenting at workshops for activists and organizers around the world, while speaking widely about civil resistance movements with academicians, journalists, and members of international organizations. Merriman has developed resources on civil resistance for practitioners and scholars, and his writings have been translated into numerous languages. In 2016, he was appointed adjunct lecturer at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy (Tufts University), in Boston. He has contributed to a number of books on civil resistance, including Waging Nonviolent Struggle: 20th Century Practice and 21st Century Potential (2005) by Gene Sharp. He has worked with ICNC since 2005, and prior to that with the Albert Einstein Institution from 2002. Merriman was Director for the James Lawson Institute assemblies in 2013 and 2014. He is a graduate of Oberlin College.

Jamila Raqib is Executive Director of the Albert Einstein Institution, Boston, which promotes the study and strategic use of nonviolent action worldwide. Since 2002, she has worked with scholar Gene Sharp to facilitate the worldwide spread of knowledge of the dynamics of nonviolent struggle and requirements for its effective application. In 2009, Sharp and Raqib developed a curriculum intended to provide in-depth guidance for planning a nonviolent struggle titled Self-Liberation: A Guide to Strategic Planning for Action to End a Dictatorship or Other OppressionRaqib has since 2016 been a Research Affiliate at the MIT Media Lab and is being inducted in June 2017 as a Director’s Fellow at the lab, where her work involves exploring how innovations in technology and education can contribute to greater effectiveness in nonviolent struggle. See her TED talk at https://www.ted.com/talks/jamila_raqib_the_secret_to_effective_nonviolent_resistance?language=en

Stephen Zunes is professor of politics at the University of San Francisco. His research interests range from U.S. Middle East policy to strategic nonviolent action. He is the author of several books and hundreds of articles, and serves as a contributor to The Progressive, Huffington Post, Open Democracy, Common Dreams, Truthout, Foreign Policy in Focus, In These Times, and the National Catholic Reporter. He has spoken at more than 150 colleges and universities and scores of community groups in the United States, Canada, Europe, Africa, Asia, and Oceania, and is a frequent guest on National Public Radio, Pacifica Radio, PBS, BBC, MSNBC, CNN, Voice of America, Al-Jazeera, China Radio International, and other media outlets for analysis on world events. He serves as a consultant and board member for a number of peace and human rights organizations in both the United States and overseas. He has been a trainer and workshop leader in strategic nonviolent action for progressive activists in the United States, as well as pro-democracy activists and community organizers, in Latin America, Africa, and the Middle East. During his twenties, Zunes worked with Movement for a New Society and other groups advocating nonviolent direct action in opposition to nuclear power, the nuclear arms race, U.S. intervention in Central America, and foreign investment in apartheid South Africa. He served as chair of the academic advisory committee for the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict between 2006 and 2015 and was a resource person at the previous James Lawson Institutes.

FACILITATORS

Austin Belali is Director of the Youth Engagement Fund at the Democracy Alliance. Belali believes youth development and engagement is the key to a more generative economy. Before coming to the YEF, Belali led a major organizational change process at the 2.1-million-member Service Employees International Union to put youth and emerging leaders in the drivers’ seat of progressive social change. In 2013, his thought leadership and fundraising ability helped create a leadership network for minority youth and students promoting racial equity and inclusion on college campuses. Belali is currently a member of Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy and co-chairs the Development Committee on the board of a low-wage immigrant organization known as CASA. His philanthropic endeavors gained him recognition in the September 2016 issue of Washington Life Magazine, and his writing about young people and social change have been published in the Non-Profit Quarterly, Huffington Post, the Hill and MSNBC among other outlets. Belali is a music composer and recently produced original music for the New York-based think tank Demos. Belali has a B.A. in Political Science from Howard University in Washington D.C. As an undergraduate he interned at a cheese micro-enterprise in the Andes mountains of Ecuador and studied abroad in New Delhi, India. After graduation, Belali spent a year teaching high school students in Dakar, Senegal, and established the school’s first Advanced Placement course in Comparative Government.

Marcia Hale is a social scientist interested in conflict and change, especially the drivers of conflict within and between people, organizations and systems. She has studied inequality, identity and diversity for more than a decade and uses this knowledge in the practice of conflict resolution. As a mediator she facilitates conflict transformation between victims and offenders in restorative justice cases, and within families and other social systems. Marcia teaches this practice and builds conflict resolution systems within organizations in order to create more collaborative and creative environments. As a researcher Marcia is interested in climate change and resource conflicts with emphasis on water; identity conflicts; urban systems in transition; alternative governance and organizational structures; and the role of governance in facilitating both conflict and system transformation. She has studied the institutional architecture of water governance and the homeless court systems in Southern California, and conducted both policy research and community-based, participatory action research for city-level environmental justice policy. Marcia served as a rapporteur for Track II talks on Mid East security. With a BA from UCLA in international development and a master’s degree in urban planning, Marcia is currently a PhD candidate completing her dissertation on urban water systems in transition and human security in Athens, Istanbul and Los Angeles.

James Hayes is an organizer from Columbus, OH. James started organizing after taking part in mass mobilizations with the Occupy movement and to protest the murder of Trayvon Martin. In 2012 he helped to found the Ohio Student Association and spent four years leading campaigns to end the criminalization of young people of color. These campaigns helped stop Stand Your Ground law (which provided legal cover for George Zimmerman to murder Trayvon Martin) from entering Ohio, stop the corporate school takeover of the Columbus City Schools, and generate resistance to police brutality. James is now the Training Director for the Ayni Institute. Ayni serves the ecosystem of social change through research, training, and supporting communities of practice that bring more balance to the world.

Cristina Jiménez is Executive Director and Co-founder of United We Dream (UWD). The largest immigrant youth-led organization in the country. Originally from Ecuador, Cristina came to the U.S. with her family at the age of 13, attending high school and college as an undocumented student. She has been organizing in immigrant communities for over a decade and was part of UWD’s campaign team that led to the historic victory of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in 2012 that protects over one million young immigrants from deportation. Under Cristina’s leadership UWD has grown to a powerful network of 57 affiliates in 25 states and over 300,000 members. Under Cristina’s leadership, UWD has grown to a powerful network of 57 affiliates in 25 states and over 300,000 members. Cristina is one of Forbes’s 2014 “30 under 30 in Law and Policy;” was named one of “40 under 40 Young Leaders Who are Solving Problems of Today and Tomorrow” by the Chronicle of Philanthropy; and one of “50 Fearless Women” by Cosmopolitan. She co-founded the New York State Youth Leadership Council, the Dream Mentorship Program at Queens College, was an immigration policy analyst for the Drum Major Institute for Public Policy and an immigrant rights organizer at Make the Road New York. Cristina holds a Masters degree in Public Administration & Public Policy from the School of Public of Affairs at Baruch College, CUNY and graduated Cum Laude with a B.A. in Political Science and Business from Queens College, CUNY.

Daniel Lee, MSW – Daniel Wayne Lee, alumnus of the 2014 James Lawson Institute (JLI), now serves as Project Manager for the new JLI. Daniel earned his MSW from UCLA in 2015 and his B. A. in Cinema from USC in 2001. He is a veteran of the United States Air Force And Air National Guard. Daniel has served on the board of directors for Move to Amend since 2012, has worked as the Southern California organizer for Americans for Democratic Action, earth day to may day organizer for the Liberty Tree Foundation and campaign lead for Los Angeles County Federation of Labor. He completed an Environmental Justice fellowship with the Liberty Hill Foundation in 2014, regularly volunteers with the Sierra Club, and has worked with organizations such as Community Coalition, Common Cause and Youth Justice Coalition in the Los Angeles area.

Carinne Luck is an organizer and campaign strategist who works with emerging and established groups to build healthy and effective organizations with membership engagement and grassroots organizing at their core. Most recently, Carinne has been working with the domestic worker movement to reach and organize domestic employers, and in the summer of 2014 co-founded the If Not Now collective. Carinne was a founding staff member and Vice President for Field and Campaigns at J Street, where she oversaw one of the largest national Jewish grassroots operation to date. She also worked at MoveOn.org as Acting Director of Grassroots Campaigns, and as a consultant with Moore and Associates. She is a proud board member of The Wildfire Project. Carinne was born in Israel, raised in Tel Aviv and London, and has been a New Yorker for 11 years. After first moving to this country with her mother as an undocumented immigrant, Carinne became a proud US citizens during the summer of 2012. (just in time to vote!)

Jeff Ordower comes to us from St Louis with 25 years of experience in community organizing for economic and environmental justice.  Prior to joining the Global Exchange team, Jeff held multiple leadership positions for ACORN, then the largest community organization in the country. He eventually rose to the position of Midwest Director, working to raise the minimum wage and take on predatory lenders on Wall Street. Until ACORN ceased operations in 2009, Jeff worked tirelessly to push for social justice, as well as helping to spark the ACORN International department. In 2010, Jeff helped found Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment, a group that works at the intersection of economic, climate and racial justice. Under Jeff’s leadership, MORE ran a 6 year campaign against Peabody Coal, at one time the largest coal company in the world. MORE also provided movement support, both to Occupy St. Louis and the Ferguson Uprising. As a member of the #NODAPL Solidarity Network and Rising Tide, Jeff is keeping Global Exchange in the loop on ways GX can be in solidarity with Sioux at Standing Rock against the pipeline. Jeff is excited about combining his community organizer’s mentality with the sophistication and history of Global Exchange, and hopes to attract new participants from the organized labor community into their Reality Tours.