Since his appointment as executive director of the Committee to Protect Journalists in 2006, Joel Simon has led the organization through a period of expansion. Under his guidance, CPJ launched the Global Campaign Against Impunity, established a Journalist Assistance program and spearheaded CPJ's efforts to defend press freedom in the digital space.
Simon has led and participated in CPJ missions around the world, from Argentina to Zimbabwe. Under his leadership, CPJ has been honored with the prestigious Thomas J. Dodd Prize in International Justice and Human Rights and a News & Documentary Emmy for its work in defense of press freedom.
Simon has written widely on press freedom issues for publications including Slate, Columbia Journalism Review, The New York Review of Books, World Policy Journal, Asahi Shimbun, and The Times of India. His analysis of press freedom issues is featured regularly in major media, including The New York Times, Washington Post, NPR, BBC and CNN.
Having joined CPJ in 1997 as Americas program coordinator, Simon became deputy director in 2000 and was chosen to head the organization in 2006. As a journalist in Latin America, Simon covered the Guatemalan civil war, the Zapatista uprising in Southern Mexico, the debate over the North American Free Trade Agreement, and the economic turmoil in Cuba following the collapse of the Soviet Union. A graduate of Amherst College and Stanford University, he is the author of Endangered Mexico: An Environment on the Edge (Sierra Club Books, 1997). His second book, The New Censorship: Inside the Global Battle for Media Freedom, was published by Columbia University Press on November 11, 2014. His public GPG encryption key can be found here.
DEPUTY EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Robert Mahoney worked as a journalist in Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East before joining CPJ in August 2005 as senior editor. He reported on politics and economics for Reuters news agency from Brussels and Paris in the late 1970s, and from Southeast Asia in the early 1980s. He covered south Asia from Delhi for three years from 1985, reporting on the aftermath of Indira Gandhi's assassination, the civil war in Sri Lanka, and the fallout from the Soviet presence in Afghanistan. In 1988, Mahoney became Reuters bureau chief for West and Central Africa based in Ivory Coast, spending considerable time in Liberia covering the civil war. He served as Reuters Jerusalem bureau chief from 1990 to 1997, directing print and later television coverage of the Palestinian intifada, the Iraqi missile attacks on Israel, the Oslo peace process, and the assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. He worked as chief correspondent in Germany from 1997 to 1999 before moving to London to become news editor in charge of politics and general news for Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. In 2004, he taught journalism for the Reuters Foundation in the Middle East, and worked as a consultant for Human Rights Watch. He became CPJ deputy director in January 2007.
» Follow him on Twitter @RobertMMahoney. » Read Robert Mahoney's blog.
DIRECTOR OF DEVELOPMENT AND OUTREACH
John Weis joined CPJ in April 2004. He directs all fund-raising activities of the organization, both annual support and campaign contributions. He has a long and successful record as a fund-raiser, having most recently served as the deputy director of development at the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights (now Human Rights First). Weis has held fund-raising positions at WNYC Radio, the New York Public Library, and the University of Pennsylvania. He has a B.S. in Commerce from Rider University.
DIRECTOR OF FINANCE AND ADMINISTRATION
Sue Marcoux joined CPJ in 2013, where she directs all finance, administrative, and human resource functions for the organization. She has worked as a finance and operations professional in nonprofit media for several years. Prior to 2006, Marcoux worked extensively in the management and production of documentary film and television for cable networks and PBS. Marcoux earned a bachelor's degree from Smith College and a master's degree in documentary film from Stanford University.
BUSINESS & ACCOUNTING MANAGER
Margaret Abam-DePass, CPJ's business and accounting manager, has worked in not-for-profit organizations for 15 years. Prior to joining CPJ in 2010, she worked as a staff accountant at both the PEN American Center in New York and at Friends of Firefighters, a Brooklyn-based organization. She also spent eight years as the office manager for the New York-based Association for Business Communication. A native of Cameroon, Abam-DePass received her bachelor's in accounting from Kean University in New Jersey.
SENIOR PROGRAM OFFICER
Shazdeh Omari joined CPJ in 2011 and served as deputy editor for news and later news editor, before joining the development department in 2015. She was the copy chief at The Village Voice for four years and has worked as a reporter, writer, editor, medical editor, and copy editor in the United States and Greece. Prior to her career in publishing, she taught English at Western Connecticut State University and reported, wrote, and produced radio features as an intern at United Nations Radio. Omari was born in Saudi Arabia and raised in Karachi, Pakistan, where she learned to read, speak, and write Urdu. She holds a bachelor's degree in journalism and sociology and a master's degree in English-TESOL.
» Follow her on Twitter @shazdehz
Elana Beiser is responsible for all of CPJ's online, print, and multimedia publications. Among other pieces, she edited CPJ's landmark special report on press freedom in the United States, " The Obama Administration and the Press: Leak investigations and surveillance in post-9/11 America" as well as " Challenged in China: The shifting dynamics of censorship and control." She joined CPJ as senior editor in 2011. Previously, Beiser edited international and business news for 14 years for The Wall Street Journal and Dow Jones Newswires in New York, London, Singapore, Brussels, and Hong Kong. She developed, launched, and managed the Asian edition of WSJ.com and led the integration of the Hong Kong newsroom's print and digital operations. She is a native of Kansas City and a graduate of Tulane University in New Orleans.
» Follow her on Twitter @elanabeiser
Jessica Jerreat joined CPJ as senior editor in 2014. She worked previously as a chief copy editor and lead editor, including five years of editing foreign news for The Times in London, followed by a period at The Telegraph on the paper's weekend editions and syndication desk. In 2012, Jerreat was lead editor for the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Doha, where she was responsible for setting up and running the host country's newsroom. She has experience in print, online, and tablet editing and design, and has also worked as a reporter in New York City. Jerreat has a bachelor's in English and American literature, and a master's from the University of Kent at Canterbury's Center for the Study of War, Propaganda and Society, where she earned a distinction for her thesis, Propaganda, The Press and Conflict: The Korean War.
» Follow her on Twitter @jessicajerreat
Prior to joining the Committee to Protect Journalists in 2015, Elijah Zarwan worked as an analyst and researcher at the European Council on Foreign Relations, International Crisis Group, Human Rights Watch, Harvard University Law School, and others, based mostly in Cairo, London, and New York. In addition to his work as a consultant to IHS, the Carter Center, and Transparency International, he also worked as a senior Middle East correspondent for Deutsche Presse-agentur, as Egypt correspondent for France 24, as managing editor of the newsweekly Cairo, and as online editor for World Press Review. He speaks Arabic and French, and studied history at McGill University.
DEPUTY EDITOR FOR INNOVATION
Kamal Singh Masuta
Kamal Singh Masuta is a creative professional with more than 10 years of experience in Web site management and design, along with graphic design and production. He joined CPJ in May 2010 to oversee and advance the organization's online presence and electronic communications. Prior to joining CPJ, he served in similar positions at nonprofit organizations, including the Cordoba Initiative and Leader to Leader Institute. He also has experience in for-profit settings, having worked for Nature Publishing Group. He graduated from SUNY at Stony Brook in 1999 with a bachelor's degree in psychology and has taken advanced graphics/Web courses at Pratt Institute and NYU.
SENIOR ADVISER FOR JOURNALIST SECURITY
Frank Smyth is a journalist who has specialized in armed conflicts, organized crime, and human rights, reporting from nations including El Salvador, Guatemala, Colombia, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Sudan, Jordan, and Iraq where, in 1991, he was imprisoned for 18 days. Through the 1990s Smyth investigated arms trafficking for Human Rights Watch. He has reported for CBS News, and written for The Nation, The Village Voice, The New Republic, The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The International Herald Tribune, World Policy Journal, and Foreign Affairs. Smyth has testified on press freedom matters before the Organization of American States, the International Commission of Jurists, and the U.S. Congress. Smyth blogs on journalist security issues for CPJ. He is also the founder and executive director of Global Journalist Security, a firm that provides consulting and training services to journalists and others.
» Follow him on Twitter @JournoSecurity. » Read Frank Smyth's blog.
JOURNALIST ASSISTANCE PROGRAM COORDINATOR
Salazar-Ferro became coordinator of the Journalist Assistance program in January 2009 after serving four years as research associate for CPJ's Americas program. She is a native of Bogotá, Colombia, and grew up in New York. Fluent in Spanish, English and French, Salazar-Ferro has an MA in anthropology at Universidad de los Andes, in Bogotá and graduated from the University of Virginia with a bachelor's degree in anthropology and comparative literature. Salazar-Ferro worked for the United Nations Fund for Population Aid as a researcher in a project on sexual and reproductive health among young refugees in Colombia. She also conducted research on HIV/AIDS prevention in Latin America for the International Planned Parenthood Federation. She worked for Inter-Press Services in New York as an associate reporter.
» Read Maria Salazar-Ferro's blog.
JOURNALIST ASSISTANCE SENIOR ASSOCIATE
Before Nicole Schilit joined CPJ's Journalist Assistance Program in 2012, she worked in communications and multimedia research at the Documentary Photography Project Initiative at the Open Society Foundation (OSF), Human Rights Watch, Doctors Without Borders, and Foundation Rwanda. In 2011, Schilit was part of a consulting team for the women's Refugee Commission, tasked with producing a tool kit to mitigate the risk of gender-based violence among displaced populations. Schilit, who has a background in documentary photography, worked on Photojournalists on War, a history on the Iraq War as told by photojournalists. She has a master's in public administration from the School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) at Columbia University and a bachelor's in documentary photography from Oberlin College in Ohio.
Courtney C. Radsch, PhD, is a journalist, researcher, and free expression advocate with more than 13 years of experience in the United States and the Middle East. She joined CPJ in 2014 after working for UNESCO's Section for Freedom of Expression, where she coordinated the organization's strategy in the Arab region and edited the flagship publication "World Trends in Freedom of Expression and Media Development."
Radsch previously worked as senior program manager for the Global Freedom of Expression Campaign at Freedom House, where she led advocacy missions to more than a dozen countries, U.N. bodies, and the Internet Governance Forum. She has also worked for Al-Arabiya in Dubai, the Daily Star in Lebanon, and The New York Times. She writes and speaks frequently about the intersection of media, technology, and human rights, with a particular emphasis on gender and the Middle East, and is a blogger for the Huffington Post.
Radsch holds a PhD in international relations from American University and is turning her dissertation, "Digital Dissidence & Political Change: Cyberactivism and Citizen Journalism in Egypt," into a book. She holds a master's of science in foreign service from Georgetown University and a bachelor's degree with highest honors in mass communication from the University of California, Berkeley. She speaks Arabic, French, and Spanish.
Samantha Libby joined CPJ as a communications associate in 2013. She worked for two years for a contemporary art gallery in Hanoi, Vietnam, promoting local visual artists, and, while in the region, investigated the effects of mining operations on local tribes in Kalimantan and West Papua. Libby has also worked in southern Ethiopia for USAID and a local NGO on child rights. In graduate school, she specialized in complex emergencies and arms trafficking and worked as a reporter on the Viktor Bout trial and as a researcher for the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. Her writing has won several awards, including the Cordier Essay award from the Journal of International Affairs, the Raphael Smith Memorial Essay Prize, and the Baroness Winchester Prize for Human Rights. Libby is also a playwright and an artist, with a focus in freedom of expression and cultural movements. She received her BFA from the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University, and a master's in international affairs from Columbia University.
Parent joined CPJ in 2015 as its communications associate. Prior to working at CPJ, Parent interned at the Clinton Foundation and Amnesty International USA and traveled extensively throughout the Middle East and Europe. While working as the operations manager for Reboot, an international development consulting firm, she traveled to Nigeria to develop and implement corporate field work policies. Parent is a graduate of Mount Holyoke College and holds a master's in Middle Eastern studies from the CUNY Graduate Center, where she researched the effects of oil companies' public relations outreach on domestic public opinion. She speaks Arabic and American Sign Language.
Tiffany Ommundsen joined CPJ as its program administrator in 2015. Prior to joining CPJ, she served as the development officer and program and executive coordinator at the Global Justice Center. She was the coordinator of global studies at St. Joseph's College in New York, where she was also an adjunct professor of political science and taught civil and political rights, comparative governments, and American politics using peace education pedagogy. Ommundsen was a peace fellow at the Kosovo Women's Network and has worked for and volunteered with Femin Ijtihad, the Sisterhood Is Global Institute, the Iran Human Rights Documentation Center, and the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom's PeaceWomen project. She volunteers at the New York-based Girls on the Run organization. Ommundsen received her master's in international educational development from Columbia University and a bachelor's from Fairfield University in history, with a concentration in politics.
Development Assistant/Board Liaison
Tenzing graduated from Emory University in 2013 with a major in international studies and a minor in Arabic. In 2014, she joined CPJ as its development assistant/board liaison, where she works on the organization's development projects and manages board relations. She also serves as the assistant to the executive director. Prior to working at CPJ, Tenzing interned at Human Rights Watch and Foreign Policy Association. Like many young Tibetans in the West, she spent her early years of childhood in Nepal and India. She later moved to the United States. Tenzing graduated from Emory University in 2013 with a major in international studies and a minor in Arabic.
OFFICE and IT MANAGER
Mehdi Rahmati joined CPJ in 2013 after graduating from Bard College with a bachelor's in human rights and a concentration in global public health. Rahmati wrote his senior thesis on transitional justice in Afghanistan. While at Bard, he interned at both Human Rights Watch and Open Society Foundations, where later he also worked as a consultant. In 2005, Rahmati co-founded the Marefat Educational Center in Mazar-e-Sharif, Afghanistan, by acquiring a building to rent, advertising the school, and hiring and training teachers. Today, more than 400 students attend the school. Rahmati is fluent in English, Dari, and Farsi.
TECHNOLOGY PROGRAM COORDINATOR
King joined CPJ in 2013 to coordinate the organization's Internet and technology policy efforts. Based in San Francisco, he protects the rights of journalists through advocacy, public education, and engagement with policymakers worldwide.
Prior to joining CPJ, King, an attorney by training, represented U.S.-based individuals in constitutional matters involving the freedoms of speech, press, and petition. He is also a documentary photographer whose work has focused on human rights and social movements.
In addition to his work as an advocate and journalist, King teaches courses at UC Berkeley on digital privacy law and policy, as well as the intersection of media and social change. He is also a 2014-2016 Non-Residential Fellow at the Stanford Center for Internet and Society.
King holds a bachelor's degree in Mass Communications, Phi Beta Kappa and with Highest Distinction, from UC Berkeley. He earned his law degree from Stanford Law School. His public key fingerprint is 4749 357C E686 71B1 4C60 F149 9338 5A57 27FA 494C.
Tom Lowenthal, CPJ's first-ever staff technologist, has a special interest in operational security and grassroots surveillance self-defense. A strong believer in individual privacy and personal freedom, Lowenthal has worked as project coordinator at the Tor Project and as a technologist on Mozilla's privacy and public policy team. He is also a freelance journalist, and has written for Ars Technica on security and tech policy. He earned his bachelor's in political theory, with minors in computer science and technology policy, from Princeton University. The fingerprint of his GPG public key is 1ADE 9951 1A97 95FA 3557 53DC 51E7 1B75 4A09 B187.
Marthoz is a Belgian journalist and longtime press freedom and human rights activist. He teaches international journalism at the Université catholique de Louvain in Belgium and has reported from many countries for the Brussels daily Le Soirand the quarterly Enjeux internationaux. He is the associate editor of the policy quarterly Europe's Worldand is the vice-chair of the Europe and Central Asia division at Human Rights Watch, where he was European press director from 1996 to 2006. He has written several books on journalism, human rights diplomacy, and international relations as well as reports for a number of think tanks and international organizations. He is currently working on the role of the press in reporting mass atrocities and genocides.
CONSULTANT, CAMPAIGN AGAINST IMPUNITY
Elisabeth Witchel has more than 15 years' experience in human rights and international journalism. She began working at the Committee to Protect Journalists in 2001 as the Journalist Assistance Program Coordinator, and in 2007, she launched CPJ's Global Campaign against Impunity. Witchel has authored several reports for CPJ, including Getting away with Murder: Global Impunity Index in 2009, 2010, and 2012; CPJ's Survey of Journalists in Exile in 2007, 2008, and 2011; 2004's The Fixers; and 2005's Zimbabwe's Exiled Press. Witchel, who is now based in the United Kingdom and serves as CPJ's Impunity Campaign Consultant, has presented at international forums, including UNESCO, and served on panels in London, Paris, Manila, and New York. Prior to joining CPJ, she worked at Grassroots Enterprise in San Francisco and reported from Seoul, Korea, for The Korea Times and US News & World Report. Witchel has a bachelor's in history from Stanford University and a master's in International Studies and Diplomacy from the University of London's School of Oriental and African Studies.
AFRICA RESEARCH ASSOCIATE
Prior to joining CPJ in 2014, Kerry Paterson worked with the Initiative for Conflict-Related Trauma in Northern Ireland, where she consulted on a project to develop a mobile platform to deliver mental health services for trauma and PTSD to people in war zones and refugee camps. She has worked with Médecins Sans Frontières, the Women's Media Center's Women Under Siege, Ujenzi Trust, The Lupina Foundation, Harvard University, and Massachusetts General Hospital's Division of Global Health and Human Rights, and has engaged in health and human rights-related work and research in Latin America, East and Central Africa, and the Balkans. Paterson was an associate editor of the Journal for International Law and International Relations, the inaugural Munk One Fellow, and has worked with the Global Justice Lab to examine the manipulation of law by perpetrators of violence against women. She holds a master's in global affairs from the University of Toronto, and has an honors degree in peace and conflict studies and political science, which focused on the experiences of women in war. She is fluent in French.
» Follow her on Twitter @kerrykpaterson.
PROGRAM DIRECTOR and SENIOR PROGRAM COORDINATOR, THE AMERICAS
Originally from Buenos Aires, Argentina, Lauria began his journalistic career as a contributor to regional newspaper Diario La Unión, where he was promoted to managing editor. In 1991, he began working at Playboy Magazine Argentinaand later became managing editor. In 1994, Lauria settled in New York City as U.S. bureau chief correspondent for the largest magazine publisher in Argentina, Editorial Perfil. In this position, he wrote and edited hundreds of stories that were published in the various magazines owned by the company, particularly Noticias, the world's largest Spanish-language newsmagazine. He has been invited to speak about the current crisis in Argentina by the American Jewish Committee (June 2002) and to discuss developments in the murder of photographer José Luis Cabezas, who worked for Noticias, by the Freedom Forum (April 1997). He is a journalism graduate of Universidad Católica Argentina.
» Follow him on Facebook @ CPJ en Español. » Read Carlos Lauria's blog.
THE AMERICAS RESEARCH ASSOCIATE
Alexandra Ellerbeck joined CPJ in 2015. Prior to that, she worked as the senior research assistant and regional Latin America expert for Freedom House's annual publication "Freedom on the Net," which surveys Internet freedom in 65 countries. Ellerbeck served as a Fulbright teaching assistant in the State University of Pará, in northern Brazil. She has reported on environmental and social issues in Latin America, and was awarded a Mongabay fellowship to write about nonprofits and indigenous groups in Bolivia. Ellerbeck earned a bachelor's in government from Wesleyan University. She was a teaching fellow with the Wesleyan Center for Prison Education and, after graduation, worked as an intern for the Public Defenders Service for the District of Columbia. Ellerbeck has lived in Chile, Bolivia, and Brazil, and speaks Portuguese and Spanish.
ASIA PROGRAM COORDINATOR
Since 1977, Bob Dietz has worked as a journalist in Africa, the Middle East, Asia, and the United States. He started as a freelance journalist in Tanzania, moving to Uganda after the departure of Idi Amin, and then to Somalia in 1981. He was a cameraman and bureau chief in Cairo and Beirut for Visnews, now Reuters TV, covering the Israeli invasion of Lebanon and its aftermath. He moved to Asia as a bureau chief for NBC News in Seoul and then in Manila, where he opened the network's bureau shortly before the downfall of the Marcos regime. In 1988, he was awarded a William Benton Fellowship for Broadcast Journalists at the University of Chicago, studying international relations. He later served as interim general manager for a start-up PBS station in his hometown of Philadelphia, before working for the newly launched CNN International in Atlanta. In 1995, Dietz moved to Hong Kong with his wife, Donna Liu, who opened CNNI's Asia Production Center. After seven years as a senior editor at Asiaweekmagazine, he returned to the United States and worked with the World Health Organization, handling media relations and risk communication during the SARS and avian influenza outbreaks. WHO assignments took Dietz to Beijing, Manila, Hanoi, Geneva, New Delhi, Phnom Penh, and Indonesia's Aceh province following the December 2004 tsunami. While at WHO, he worked closely with local and foreign reporters across Asia. Since starting at CPJ in January 2006, Dietz has continued to travel widely in Asia, including reporting trips and CPJ missions to Afghanistan, China and Hong Kong, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Thailand.
» Follow him on Twitter @cpjasiaand Facebook @ CPJ Asia Desk.
» Read Bob Dietz's blog.
ASIA PROGRAM SENIOR RESEARCH ASSOCIATE
Sumit Galhotra served as CPJ's inaugural Paul E. Steiger Fellow. Prior to joining CPJ, he was awarded the prestigious Margaret Moth Fellowship at CNN International. He earned his dual master's degrees in journalism and human rights from Columbia University. His reporting has taken him to Israel, Palestine, India, South Africa, and the U.K. His work has appeared in CNN.com, The Huffington Post, The Jewish Daily Forward, as well as publications in India. Prior to his graduate studies, Sumit served as a William J. Clinton Fellow in Bangalore, India, where he worked on minority rights. He earned his undergraduate degree in international relations and journalism from New York University. Sumit has also interned at Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice at NYU School of Law. Sumit is an Indian-Afghan American from New York City with a focus on South Asia, human rights, and religion.
» Follow him on Twitter @cpjasia and Facebook @ CPJ Asia Desk.
» Read Sumit Galhotra's blog.
SENIOR SOUTHEAST ASIA REPRESENTATIVE
Shawn W. Crispin
Shawn W. Crispin has worked as a journalist and editor in Bangkok, Thailand, for more than 15 years. He was bureau chief for the Hong Kong-based Far Eastern Economic Review in Bangkok from 1999 to 2004, where he wrote on a range of political, business, and social issues. From 2001, Crispin also served as bureau chief for the Review's sister publication, The Asian Wall Street Journal. His coverage of Asia's AIDS epidemic was part of a package recognized in 2004 for the Excellence in Magazines award of the Society of Publishers in Asia. From 2006 to 2015, Crispin was Southeast Asia editor at Asia Times Online, where he wrote a regular column and edited news and analysis from a team of more than 20 regular contributors. Crispin is currently Southeast Asia columnist at The Diplomat. His reporting has appeared in the International Herald Tribune, Institutional Investor, and YaleGlobal Online Magazine, among other publications. In 2005, Crispin served as an investigative consultant with Human Rights Watch, researching press freedom issues in Thailand. For the past decade, he has been an advocate, researcher, and spokesperson for CPJ on Southeast Asia. He has conducted research missions and published special reports on Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam. Crispin has a master's in Southeast Asian studies and international economics from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, where he was a recipient of the Freeman fellowship. He speaks fluent Thai.
EUROPE AND CENTRAL ASIA PROGRAM COORDINATOR
Since becoming coordinator of the Europe and Central Asia Program in 2006, Nina Ognianova has led fact-finding and advocacy missions to Russia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, and Turkey. Starting in 2007, Ognianova has organized and participated in yearly CPJ missions to Moscow and the European Union, focusing on the issue of impunity in Russian journalist killings. She is the lead author of two major CPJ special reports - Anatomy of Injustice, issued in September 2009, which exposes flaws in the official investigations of unsolved journalist murders in Russia; and Turkey's Press Freedom Crisis, issued in October 2012, which examines the anti-press campaign under Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Ognianova previously worked as CPJ's Europe and Central Asia researcher. Prior to joining CPJ in December 2003, Ognianova was a staff writer for the International Journalists' Network, the media-assistance website of the nonprofit International Center for Journalists in Washington, where she covered Central, Eastern, and Southeastern Europe. Ognianova earned a bachelor's degree in journalism and mass communications from the American University in Bulgaria and a master's degree from the Missouri School of Journalism--Columbia. Her commentaries have appeared in the Guardianof London, the International Herald Tribune, and The Huffington Post,among others. Ognianova is a native Bulgarian speaker, fluent in English and Russian.
» Read Nina Ognianova's blog.
EUROPE AND CENTRAL ASIA SENIOR RESEARCH ASSOCIATE
Muzaffar Suleymanov joined CPJ in 2007. A contributor to Central Asia news Web sites, he holds a master's degree in international peace studies from the U.N. University for Peace in San Jose, Costa Rica, and a bachelor's degree in international and comparative politics from the American University-Central Asia in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. Prior to joining CPJ he worked for non-profits focused on Central Asia, including the Open Society Institute-sponsored Civic Education Project and American University-based East West Center. While in Costa Rica, he volunteered for the U.N. University for Peace and co-founded the Human Dignity Project, a nonprofit that promotes respect for human rights. As part of the Human Dignity Project, Suleymanov coordinated a two-week mission to Kyrgyzstan to explore possibilities for human rights training. He speaks Russian and Uzbek, and is proficient in Tajik.
» Read Muzaffar Suleymanov's blog.
MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA PROGRAM COORDINATOR
Sherif Mansour is an Egyptian-American democracy and human rights activist. Before joining CPJ, he worked with Freedom House, in Washington, D.C., where he managed advocacy training for activists from the Middle East and North Africa. In 2010, Mansour co-founded the Egyptian Association for Change, a Washington-based nonprofit group that mobilizes Egyptians in the U.S. to support democracy and human rights in Egypt. He has monitored the Egyptian elections for the Ibn Khaldun Center for Development Studies and has worked as a freelance journalist. In 2004, he was honored by the Al-Kalema Center for Human Rights for his work in defending freedom of expression in Egypt. Mansour has authored several articles and conducted research studies on civil society and the role of the new media and civil society in achieving democracy. He was named one of the top 99 young foreign policy professionals in 2013 by the Diplomatic Courier. He received his master's in international relations from the Fletcher School at Tufts University and his bachelor's in education from Al-Azhar University in Cairo. He speaks Arabic fluently.
MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA SENIOR RESEARCH ASSOCIATE
Jason Stern has dedicated his academic and professional career to supporting political reform and human rights in the Middle East. Before joining CPJ in 2013, he earned his master's degree in Middle East Studies from George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs. While at the Elliott School, Stern conducted field research for his master's thesis on political reconciliation in Bahrain. Stern also holds a bachelor's in government from Cornell University. His political commentary has appeared in Foreign Policy, BBC World Service, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, and other news outlets. Stern speaks Arabic proficiently.
MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA RESEARCH ASSOCIATE
Yasmin el-Rifae joined CPJ's MENA team as its Middle East and North Africa Research Associate in March 2015. Previously, she worked in journalism and human rights in Egypt, focusing on the struggle against sexual harassment, working with a volunteer group to intervene in cases of assault against women in Tahrir Square, and writing about the issue in various capacities. El-Rifae also helps run the Palestine Festival of Literature (PalFest), which takes place annually in the West Bank and Gaza. She has studied political science, history, and law in Cairo and in London, and is fluent in Arabic. Follow her @yasminelrifae.