Board of Directors

The SJAC Board of Directors establishes organisational policies and guides institutional strategy. Members include:

Laila Alodaat

Crisis Response Programme Manager, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom

Laila is a Syrian human rights lawyer specialising in the international law of armed conflicts. Her law practice focused on international accountability and the responsibility to protect civilians and marginalized groups. She also conducts trainings on humanitarian law and has worked on several conflict situations including Syria, Libya, Iraq, and Pakistan. Laila currently works as the Crisis Response Programme Manager at the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF). Laila is the Chair of the Board of Directors of SJAC.

Jill Miller

Director, Center for Applied Learning and Impact, IREX

Jill Miller is an international development professional with 18 years of progressive experience in democracy and governance, education, gender and youth. In her current capacity leading the Center for Applied Learning and Impact at the International Research & Exchanges Board (IREX), Jill heads a team that develops cutting-edge new program approaches, fosters learning across the IREX portfolio and beyond, and assesses IREX’s impact. Jill received her master’s degree from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) with a concentration in Social Change and Development and her bachelor’s degree from Seattle University in Political Science and Economics.

Erica Razook

Director, Titania Returns, LLC

Erica Razook sits on SJAC’s Board of Directors and is a Syrian-Lebanese American anti-corruption lawyer and certified fraud examiner living in New York. She participated in the 2014 Arab Forum on Asset Recovery and supported civil society efforts to repatriate stolen assets to Equatorial Guinea, Nigeria, and Ukraine in her former role at the Open Society Foundations, including coordination of the civil society-led event on the topic at the 2015 UN Financing for Development Conference in Addis Ababa. Erica is the Treasurer of the Board of Directors of SJAC.

Daniel Serwer

Academic Director of Conflict Management , Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies

Daniel is a Professor of the Practice of Conflict Management, director of the Conflict Management Program and a Senior Fellow at the Center for Transatlantic Relations, at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. Serwer is also a research scholar at the Middle East Institute in Washington D.C. Serwer served as a minister-counselor with the U.S. Department of State. He was deputy chief of mission and charge’ d’affaires at US Embassy Rome from 1990 to 1993 and from 1994 to 1996, special envoy and coordinator for the Bosnian Federation. During this posting, Serwer mediated between the Croats and Muslims and was the negotiator who brokered the first agreement reached at the Dayton peace talks. Serwer is the author of Righting the Balance: How You Can Help Protect America (Potomac, 2013). Serwer holds a Ph.D. and M.A. from Princeton University, an M.S. from the University of Chicago, and a B.A. from Haverford College.

Advisory Board

The SJAC Advisory Board provides ad-hoc guidance on transitional justice and documentation issues. Members are legal and transitional justice experts and practitioners, including:

  • Nael Georges, University of Geneva
  • Habib Nassar, Director for the Middle East and North Africa at PILnet
  • Dan Saxon, Former senior prosecutor at the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia and former legal adviser to the United Nations
  • Salam Kawakibi, Arab Reform Initiative
  • David Kaye, Professor of Law, University of California Irvine
  • Mark Vlasic, Senior Fellow & Adjunct Professor of Law, Georgetown University
  • Susana SaCouto, Professor of Law, American University, Office on War Crimes
  • Suhaib Albarzinji, Network of Democrats in the Arab World
  • Mohammed Neshnash, Moroccan Organization for Human Rights

Staff

Mohammad Al Abdallah

Executive Director

Mohammad Al Abdallah is a Syrian human rights and democracy researcher and activist. He received a Bachelor’s of Law from the Lebanese University in 2007, and a Master’s of Public Policy from George Mason University in 2014. He previously worked as a research assistant for Human Rights Watch in Beirut from where he covered Syria. Al Abdallah is a former political prisoner who was imprisoned in Syria on two separate occasions for his work defending human rights and lobbying for political reform.

Shabnam Mojtahedi

Legal & Strategy Analyst

Shabnam Mojtahedi is an international lawyer specializing in legal reform and rule of law in the MENA region. Prior to joining SJAC, she taught international and commercial law in Istanbul, Turkey, and worked with the Public International Law & Policy Group on issues of transitional justice, decentralization, constitutional reform, and anti-corruption.

Vijay Rao

Technology Officer

Vijay Rao is a software engineer specializing in data-oriented and open-source projects. He focuses on building robust back-end systems and simplifying technology implementations. Prior to joining SJAC, Vijay was a lead software engineer at a health care nonprofit. He has also consulted for the World Bank and other NGOs.

Supporters

SJAC emerged from a multilateral effort: the Group of Friends of the Syrian People. We continue to receive political and/or financial support from 36 nations: Angola, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iraq, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kuwait, Libya, Malaysia, Morocco, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Qatar, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Tunisia, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States.

SJAC also receives support from several organizations: the European Union, the International Research and Exchanges Board (IREX), the League of Arab States, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, and the Moroccan Organization for Human Rights.