Speakers

Please check this page for updates. More speakers will be added in the coming weeks.

Lionel Beehner

Lionel Beehner is a fellow with the Truman National Security Project, a member of the Atlantic Council's Young Atlanticist Working Group and term member and former senior writer at the Council on Foreign Relations. He is currently a PhD student at Yale University, where he focuses on conflict, non-state actors, and the use of force. He is a member of USA Today's Board of Contributors, and is a frequent contributor to the New York Times' Travel section and has published articles in the Christian Science Monitor, Los Angeles Times, Guardian Online, Baltimore Sun, Slate, Chicago Tribune, The New Republic, The Atlantic Monthly, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, Russia Journal, Kiev Post, Small Wars Journal, McSweeneys, Seed, New York and Worth Magazine. His commentary has appeared on NPR's All Things Considered, CNN International, BBC Radio, CNBC's Closing Bell with Maria Bartiromo, C-SPAN's Washington Journal, CBC, Bloomberg TV, and Voice of America, as well as in publications like the New York Times Magazine, Washington Times, Newsweek International, Weekly Standard, and San Francisco Chronicle. He teaches Op-Ed Writing at Mediabistro.com. He was the 2006 recipient of a German Marshall Fund journalism fellowship for a research project on post-Soviet youth movements in Ukraine and Belarus. He holds a master’s degree from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs.

Anika Binnendijk (Humanity in Action Senior Fellow)

Anika Binnendijk is a member of the Policy Planning Staff at the Department of State. Previously, she served as the Country Director for Egypt at the Office of the Secretary of Defense. Prior to that, Anika was the special assistant and policy advisor to the Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs. During the 2008 presidential campaign, she was an aide to senior foreign policy advisor Richard Danzig. Her doctoral research, supported by a United States Institute of Peace dissertation fellowship, examined security force responses to episodes of popular uprisings. Anika received her undergraduate degree from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University, and her masters and doctorate from the Fletcher School, Tufts University. Anika participated in the Humanity in Action Fellowship in 2002 in Amsterdam.

Dr. Zachary D. Kaufman (Humanity in Action Senior Fellow)

A 1999 Humanity in Action Fellow (Denmark), Humanity in Action Senior Fellow and member of the Humanity in Action American Planning Board, Dr. Zachary D. Kaufman is an attorney, political scientist, professor, author, speaker and social entrepreneur. Dr. Kaufman currently practices law at O’Melveny & Myers LLP—through which he serves as pro bono counsel to Ashoka, the global association of social entrepreneurs—and teaches at George Washington University. He is the founder, president and chairman of the Board of Directors of the American Friends of the Kigali Public Library. Dr. Kaufman is the co-editor of After Genocide: Transitional Justice, Post-Conflict Reconstruction, and Reconciliation in Rwanda and Beyond and editor of Social Entrepreneurship in the Age of Atrocities: Changing Our World, to which Senior Fellow Sophie Raseman contributed and for which HIA Executive Director Dr. Judy Goldstein provided a blurb. Dr. Kaufman received his DPhil (PhD) and MPhil degrees, both in International Relations, from the University of Oxford, where he was a Marshall Scholar. He received his JD from Yale Law School, where he was the Editor-in-Chief of the Yale Law & Policy Review and co-founder and co-president of Yale Law Social Entrepreneurs. Dr. Kaufman received his BA degree in Political Science from Yale University, where he was the student body president and co-captain of the wrestling team.

Natalie Jesionka (Humanity in Action Senior Fellow)

Natalie Jesionka is a lecturer, reporter and human rights activist. Natalie is the founder of the Prizm Project, the first human rights education organization for young women. She has researched and reported on human trafficking, the arms trade and women in conflict throughout Asia. She is also the founder and Editor of Shatter the Looking Glass Magazine, a human rights and ethical travel magazine examining the complexity of moving across borders in the modern world. She lectures on women and war, international conflict, and human rights at Rutgers University and serves as the Program Director of Human Rights for the Center for the Study of Conflict Resolution, Genocide and Human Rights. She pens the column "Travel Mirror" for the Daily Muse and her work has been featured in Forbes and Glamour Magazine. Natalie is a Fulbright Scholar and continues her research on human trafficking and media literacy in Northern Thailand. Natalie participated in the Humanity in Action Fellowship in Berlin in 2006.

Ethan Kay (Humanity in Action Senior Fellow)

Ethan is a social entrepreneur and academic focused on building inclusive businesses for low-income households in developing countries. As Managing Director of Emerging Markets for BioLite, Ethan is commercializing an innovative smokeless cookstove for low-income families in developing countries. Prior to BioLite, Ethan helped build Sakhi Retail, a distribution channel in rural India that supplies essential goods and services (e.g., toilets and groceries) to low-income households through a network of 800 female rural sales agents.  He also helped design a ‘Social Business’ between Grameen Bank and a US Multinational Company to retail low-cost, micro-nutritional supplements to malnourished villagers in rural Bangladesh.

As a Ph.D. candidate and Fulbright Scholar at the University of Oxford (University College), and 2011-12 Sauvé Scholar at McGill University, Ethan studies how to effectively structure and implement corporate-NGO clean cookstove partnerships in India.  He holds an M.Phil. in Politics from Oxford, and a B.S. in Economics from the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, where he was a Benjamin Franklin Scholar and a Sol Feinstone Award recipient.

Ethan is a Board Member of Re-Emerging World, an emerging market strategic advisory firm; Hands Up For Darfur, which raises funds for local relief organizations in Sudan; and Vice President of the Board of Ahuyu, a U.S.-based non-profit that is expanding access to clean cookstoves for poor people in Latin America. He is also a Senior Fellow of Humanity In Action (Denmark 2003); served as a district leader in Ohio on the 2008 Obama Presidential Campaign; worked as an economic development consultant to UNDP in Chernobyl; and served as Head of the U.S. Team on Climate Change for the G8 Research Group. 

Jerry Mitchell

He has been called "a loose cannon," "a pain in the ass" and a "white traitor." Whatever he's been called, Jerry Mitchell has never given up in his quest to bring unpunished killers to justice, prompting one colleague to call him "the South's Simon Wiesenthal."

Since 1989, the 53-year-old investigative reporter for The Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, Miss., has unearthed documents, cajoled suspects and witnesses, and quietly pursued evidence in the nation's notorious killings from the civil rights era.

His work so far has helped put four Klansmen behind bars: Byron De La Beckwith for the 1963 assassination of NAACP leader Medgar Evers; Imperial Wizard Sam Bowers, for ordering the fatal firebombing of NAACP leader Vernon Dahmer in 1966; Bobby Cherry, for the 1963 bombing of a Birmingham church that killed four girls; and Edgar Ray Killen, for helping organize the June 21, 1964, killings of James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Schwerner (popularized by the movie, Mississippi Burning, about that case).

And he continues to collect other possible evidence. Two suspects are alive in the Mississippi Burning killings, including Olen Burrage, who owned the property where the trio's bodies were buried.

For his work, Mitchell has received more than 30 national awards, including being a Pulitzer Finalist and a MacArthur "genius" award winner. He has appeared on all the major television and cable networks and has been a guest on Nightline, The Lehrer Report and The Colbert Report. He is currently writing a book for Simon & Schuster on his experiences titled Race Against Time.

Denver Nicks (Humanity in Action Senior Fellow)

Denver Nicks is an independent journalist based in New York. His work has appeared in Newsweek, The Daily Beast, The Nation, The Huffington Post and This Land Press. Author of the groundbreaking book, PRIVATE: Bradley Manning, WikiLeaks, and the Biggest Exposure of Official Secrets in American History, Nicks has been featured as a commentator on NPR, Al Jazeera, CBS News, Democracy Now! and the Young Turks. He served as a Fulbright Scholar in the Philippines in 2007-8 and participated in the Humanity in Action Fellowship in Warsaw in 2009. Nicks is a graduate of Southern Methodist University and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.

Kennedy Odede (Humanity in Action Senior Fellow)

Kennedy Odede is an internationally recognized community organizer and social entrepreneur. He was born and raised in Kibera, the largest slum in Africa. As the oldest of eight children, he assumed responsibility for his family at the age of ten. The first time Kennedy ever had extra money—20 cents in 2004—he bought a soccer ball and started Shining Hope for Communities. As President and CEO of Shining Hope, Kennedy started The Kibera School for Girls, the slum’s first tuition free school for girls. Under Kennedy’s leadership, Shining Hope has gone on to open and run a community health clinic, has built eco-friendly toilets, and operates a community center from which the organization runs extensive community programming such as health care and education outreach, gardens, gender violence support groups, microenterprise and entrepreneurship, literacy/computer training and the creation of hundreds of jobs. Kennedy was awarded the 2010 Echoing Green Fellowship, which is awarded to the world’s best emerging social entrepreneurs. He won the 2010 Dell Social Innovation Competition, wrote an Op-Ed that appeared in the New York Times, and is a member of the Clinton Global Initiative. Kennedy speaks six languages, and is one of very few people from Kibera to ever attend an accredited four-year college—Wesleyan University—from which he recently graduated. Kennedy is a Humanity in Action Senior Fellow and has been featured on CNN and NBC Nightly News.

Sophie Raseman (Humanity in Action Senior Fellow)

Sophie Raseman is a Senior Fellow of Human in Action and was a Human in Action Fellow in Berlin in 2003. Currently, Ms. Raseman serves as the U.S. Treasury Department Director for Smart Disclosure. Smart Disclosure is a new area of consumer policy focused on expanding access to data in order to fuel private and social sector innovation that uses data to empower consumers. She also co-chairs the Obama Administration’s interagency Task Force on Smart Disclosure, under the National Science and Technology Council. Since 2009, Ms. Raseman has worked on a range of issues related to consumer policy, technology policy and financial services for the U.S. Treasury Department, including financial reform and the creation of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Before joining the federal government, Ms. Raseman worked as a management consultant at McKinsey & Company, where she focused on retail financial services strategy. Prior to McKinsey, Ms. Raseman was Co-Director of the National Vision for Sierra Leone, a human rights organization. Ms. Raseman co-authored a chapter on the National Vision for Sierra Leone in the forthcoming book, Social Entrepreneurship in the Age of Atrocities: Changing Our World, edited by Zachary Kaufman. Ms. Raseman has a JD from Yale Law School and attended Yale University. She has conducted research on the use of smart disclosure-style personal data feedback to help consumers save money and conserve energy.