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Board of Directors

Ellen Dorsey

Chair of the Board

Ellen Dorsey is an impassioned advocate for international human rights and environmental sustainability. Since 2008, she has served as executive director of the Wallace Global Fund, a private foundation that focuses on environmental protection, the advancement of democracy and human rights, and corporate accountability.  Under her leadership, the Fund is recognized for creative philanthropic strategies that promote progressive social change.  She also orchestrated the foundation’s shift to mission-related investing, contributing to a new wave of socially responsible investing in an era of climate change.

She has served on the board of numerous non-profit organizations promoting human rights and sustainable development, including the US Human Rights Network, Global Initiative on Economic and Social Rights, and Amnesty International USA, where she was chair of the board of directors.

Her educational career includes a doctorate in political science from the University of Pittsburgh and a Fulbright Fellowship in South Africa during that country’s historic transformation from Apartheid. She has lectured and written extensively in books, journals and new media outlets on the topic of contemporary social movements and effective strategies of non-governmental organizations. Most recently, Dorsey co-authored, along with Paul J. Nelson, New Rights Advocacy: Changing Strategies of Development and Human Rights NGOs, published in 2008 by Georgetown University Press.


Dave Stamps


David Stamps works in the fields of nonprofit consulting and industrial sales. He has been active in human rights work for over three decades. He currently serves on the Amnesty International USA Board of Directors and the board of the Illusion Theater in Minneapolis. He has served on the Amnesty International Board as Member and Treasurer and also Chair of the International Financial Control Committee.

His non-profit consulting is in the areas of fundraising and board development.

He is a graduate of Lawrence University, Appleton, Wisconsin. He lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota with his wife, children and grandchildren.


Prof. Paul Nelson


Paul Nelson is Associate Professor and director of the international development program at the University of Pittsburgh’s Graduate School of Public and International Affairs. Before joining the university in 1998 he worked as policy advocate for development NGOs including Bread for the World and Church World Service. He directs a Master’s program in International Development, and teaches courses on development, human rights, NGOs, food security, and religion and development. He also serves on the US board of the international social investment organization Oikocredit (

He is the author of The World Bank and Non-Governmental Organizations: The Limits of Apolitical Development (St. Martin’s, 1995), and coauthor, with Ellen Dorsey, of New Rights Advocacy: Changing Strategies of Development and Human Rights NGOs (Georgetown University Press, 2008). He has done research and published on NGO advocacy, transparency in international organizations, the World Bank, the Millennium Development Goals, and human rights and development. He earned his PhD. in Development Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (1990).


Prof. Margaret Satterthwaite

Margaret Satterthwaite is a Faculty Director of the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice (CHRGJ) at NYU School of Law, Professor of Clinical Law, and Director of the Global Justice Clinic.  She also serves as Faculty Direcor of the Root-Tilden-Kern program.  Her recent scholarship includes Indicators in Crisis: Rights-Based Humanitarianism in Post-Earthquake Haiti, published in the N.Y.U. Journal of International Law & Politics in 2011; The Trust in Indicators: Measuring Human Rights (co-authored with AnnJanette Rosga), published in the Berkeley Journal of International Law in 2009, and Human Rights Advocacy Stories (co-edited with Deena Hurwitz and Douglas Ford, 2009), a volume in the Law Stories series. Her current work focuses on empirical methods in human rights settings, especially the creation and deployment of metrics and indicators; on economic and social rights; and on human rights in counter-terrorism.

Satterthwaite joined the NYU faculty in 2006 after many years in the human rights field. Her human rights career began before law school: between 1990 and 1996, she co-founded and then directed Amnesty International USA’s program on the human rights of those persecuted on the basis of their sexual orientation.  Satterthwaite also completed a Master’s Degree and served as International Programs Coordinator for the human rights education organization Street Law, where she helped develop curriculum in human rights and legal literacy, as well as conducting workshops and training sessions for human rights advocates and legal professionals.  In 1995, she was employed as a human rights investigator by the Haitian National Truth and Justice Commission.

After receiving her law degree from NYU in 1999, Satterthwaite clerked for Judge Betty Fletcher of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.  The following year she was the Furman Fellow at the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights, where she focused on emergency law and collusion in Northern Ireland. In 2002, Satterthwaite clerked at the International Court of Justice in The Hague. Between 2002 and 2003, Satterthwaite was a human rights consultant for the United Nations, working with the human rights section of the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM).  In 2003, she was hired as Research Director of NYU’s Center for Human Rights and Global Justice. She joined the full-time faculty in January 2006.

Beginning in 2011, she has served as a consultant to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights to Water and Sanitation.  From 2006-2011, she served as a member of the Advisory Panel of Experts to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights While Countering Terrorism.  In 2009, she received the Pioneer of Justice and Equality for Women and the Law, and in 2011 she was awarded the Podell Distinguished Teaching Award.


Malavika Vartak

Economic, Social and Cultural Rights Policy Coordinator – Amnesty International

Former Coordinator – Global Forced Eviction Programme, Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions (COHRE)


Prof. Lilian Chenwi

Lilian joined the Wits School of Law in South Africa as an Associate Professor in June 2011. Prior to joining Wits, she served as the head of, and a senior researcher in, the Socio-Economic Rights Project of the Community Law Centre, University of the Western Cape, South Africa.

In 2013, she was among the Mail & Guardian 200 young South Africans or permanent residents aged 35 and under who are doing extraordinary things. In 2012, she was co-recipient of the Vera Chirwa Human Rights Award, for epitomising a true human rights lawyer, in recognition of achievements subsequent to obtaining the degree LLM (Human Rights and Democratisation in Africa) at the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria; in particular for her contribution to the development of economic, social and cultural rights. In the same year, she was voted amongst the Top 35 Under 35 Young African Leaders in International Affairs by the YPIA (Young People in International Affairs). She has participated in processes that led to the adoption of two key international documents - the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, a milestone international treaty in the protection of human rights; and the Maastricht Principles on Extraterritorial Obligations of States in the area of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. She is also a member of key international networks focusing on human rights issues.


Mayra Gomez

For a bio of Dr. Gomez, see HERE.


Bret Thiele

For a bio of Mr. Thiele, see HERE.


In Memoriam: Odindo Opiata



Odindo Opiata passed away in Nairobi, Kenya on 16 August 2014.  Opiata was a leader in the field of human rights and social justice not only in Kenya but globally.  He joined the Board of Directors of the Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in 2013 after serving on our International Advisory Council and attending our initial Strategy Meeting in 2011.  We will always be incredibly grateful for his wisdom, insights and support of our work.  Opiata was always such an inspiration to us and we’ll always know how lucky we were to have him as a friend.

Opiata was one of the earliest leaders in the economic, social and cultural rights movement in Kenya and beyond. He was a driving force behind work to combat forced evictions, as a lawyer for Kituo Cha Sheria carrying out litigation against forced evictions even when he knew the chances of success were minimal, and then as the founder of Hakijamii - the Centre for Economic and Social Rights - which he founded in 2005 and which pioneered the work of facilitating the mobilisation of activists in informal settlements around the struggle for the realisation of their rights to housing, water and sanitation and other economic and social rights.  He was also involved in the work of ESCR-Net for many years, including on the Steering Committee of the Working Group on Strategic Litigation. 

We know that Hakijamii and all of the others organizations and persons he’s influenced over the years will carry on his work, and his legacy will only grow.

For more information on the contributions of Odindo Opiata, see HERE.


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