Columbia Law School Human Rights Institute Welcomes International Education Leader Maya Alkateb-Chami as Managing Director
New York, April 30, 2018—Maya Alkateb-Chami, international education leader, UNESCO Expert, and former Fulbright Scholar, who has extensive experience in management and consulting in the nonprofit sector, joined Columbia Law School’s Human Rights Institute this month as Managing Director.
Alkateb-Chami has led numerous educational projects benefiting refugees, students in war-zones, and those residing in the Global South. Most recently, she was the Executive Director of Jusoor, an international nonprofit organization helping Syrian youth and children through education, which received the prestigious Middle East Studies Association’s Academic Freedom Award. On joining the Institute, Alkateb-Chami, who is a member of the UNESCO Expert Group on Syrian Cultural Heritage, said she was excited to work side-by-side with world-class international human rights lawyers and experts to advance human rights.
“We are thrilled that Maya Alkateb-Chami has joined the Human Rights Institute to lead strategic vision and expansion of our work with communities and civil society, investigating abuse and advocating for justice,” said Professor Sarah Knuckey, Lieff Cabraser Associate Clinical Professor of Law, Human Rights Institute Faculty Co-Director, and Director of the Columbia Law School Human Rights Clinic. “Maya’s vast portfolio of skills and unique expertise will help us capture and expand our impact in the substantive areas of the Institute’s work at a time of growth for the organization.”
Alkateb-Chami’s work has spanned the areas of international education, positive youth development, culture, and the arts. At Jusoor, she led programs helping more than 5,000 Syrian youth and children, particularly focused on access to higher education, remedial education for refugee children, and entrepreneurship training in four countries. Prior to that, Alkateb-Chami consulted and taught in the areas of NGO capacity building and youth engagement, including for clients such as the Maastricht School of Management and the U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees. Alkateb-Chami is the author of multiple publications on traditional arts, and as a Fulbright Scholar, her research on arts-based youth empowerment garnered an award from the U.S. Society for Education through Art.
“The work of the Human Rights Institute is vitally important in the world we live in today, where populism and authoritarianism are on the rise across the globe, and entrenched armed conflicts threaten the full spectrum of rights. We must train the next generation of advocates with the skills to tackle these problems, and also in how to harness new tools, technologies, methods, and increasing opportunities for communication and citizen-driven impact,” Alkateb-Chami said. “I am thrilled to join an institute with an incredible mission, expertise, and network at this moment in history, advancing deserved equal rights and dignity for all.”
The Human Rights Institute advances international human rights through education, advocacy, fact-finding, research, scholarship, and critical reflection. It works in partnership with advocates, communities, and organizations pushing for social change to develop and strengthen the human rights legal framework and mechanisms, promote justice and accountability for human rights violations, and build and amplify collective power. Alkateb-Chami joins the Institute’s staff of 11 people, who work on issues ranging from health, labor, and gender-based rights internationally and in the U.S., to international law, counter-terrorism, and armed conflict, and business and human rights in the global economy.
“We are delighted to welcome Maya Alkateb-Chami to Columbia Law School,” said Professor Sarah H. Cleveland, Louis Henkin Professor of Human and Constitutional Rights at Columbia Law School, and Faculty Co-Director of the Human Rights Institute. “She brings a track record of building high-performing teams, growing social justice programming, advocating for human rights issues in an educational context, and fostering partnerships to increase impact.”
The Institute’s Managing Director will manage and lead the programming, operations, communications, and fundraising of the Institute, in addition to providing overall strategic direction in collaboration with its Faculty Co-Directors and Project Directors.
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The Human Rights Institute advances international human rights through education, advocacy, fact-finding, research, scholarship, and critical reflection. It works in partnership with advocates, communities, and organizations pushing for social change to develop and strengthen the human rights legal framework and mechanisms, promote justice and accountability for human rights violations, and build and amplify collective power.
Founded in 1998 by the late Professor Louis Henkin as the anchor for human rights within Columbia Law School, the Human Rights Institute promotes engagement and knowledge of human rights within the law school, throughout the University, and around world. Across the many substantive areas of its work, the Institute builds bridges between scholarship and activism, develops capacity within the legal community, engages governments, and models new strategies for progress.
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