DR. NESREEN AKHTARKHAVARI was born and raised in Jordan and educated in Jordan and the United States. She holds a Ph.D. in Multilingual Multicultural Education and she has a background in law and criminology. She currently directs the Arabic Studies Program at DePaul University, teaches Arabic language, culture, media, and literature. She previously worked in the media, business, and non-profit management industries. Through her expertise and experience she taught Intercultural Communications and Arabic in Jordan.
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DR. MARCO TAVANTI is an Italian born sociologist who has received a Ph.D. in Sociology, a Master of Arts degree in Cross-Cultural Theology, and a Master of Divinity degree. He has developed unique perspectives in globalization, religious identities, and international movements while living, working, teaching, and researching in Tanzania, Kenya, Mozambique, Brazil, Mexico, and Italy. He currently teaches for the International Masters of Science degree at DePaul. He taught Refugee Service Management in Jordan.
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MOHAMMAD ZEITOUN came up with the idea for DePaul’s International Public Service Program in Jordan. He has been instrumental in planning the program and he served as the international Service Learning (ISL) coordinator for the trip. He attended College De La Salle in Amman, received his bachelor’s degree in Marketing from Yarmouk University, and graduated from the International Public Service program. He currently works for Heartland Alliance as a Senior Mental Health Worker. He provides mental health services for refugees that were the victim of violence, torture, and trauma. He previously worked for World Relief in refugee resettlement, adjustment, and education. He is a Jordanian American and is thrilled that this trip has become a reality for DePaul and its students.
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CHARLES TUCKER is the Executive Director of the International Human Rights Law Institute. He is a retired Major General. For more than twenty-five years, he has been an international rule of law and humanitarian law practitioner. He served multiple tours of duty with the United Nations in various countries and served as Economic and Legal Adviser for the Office of the High Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina. He is an accomplished lecturer and has authored numerous manuals on international law. He is looking forward to his time in Jordan.
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JENNIFER HANLEY is an intern with the International Human Rights Law Institute. She has worked on several projects with the Institute, including projects focused on human trafficking and the international legal market. She is a law student at DePaul University. She has also spent time working in Geneva, Switzerland with a non-governmental organization focused on initiating dialogue and developing programs on diabetes awareness in the workplace. She is incredibly excited to spend time in Jordan and to immerse herself in the Arab culture.
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NICOLE ADAM is currently working with the North American Council on Adoptable Children. It is a nonprofit that works on post-adoptive services for those adopted through the foster care system through legislation reform and direct service. She has a background in Middle East Politics and an extensive background in Israeli-Palestinian studies. She hopes to eventually work in the realm of refugee law and human rights law, particularly in the Middle East. She is very excited to expand her Arabic and Arab culture knowledge and to learn more about the refugee situation in Jordan and to see Jordan’s response to the situation.
SADAF AJANI was born in Karachi, Pakistan. She moved to the North Side of Chicago while young. She is fluent in Urdu and Hindi. She is a Girl Scout leader for girls that have recently immigrated into the United States from Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan. For the past two years she has worked with Connections, an organization that provides housing, health, and support services to homeless individuals. She is interested in comparing the experiences of refugees with the experiences of the homeless in the United States. She believes that while their problems have different origins, they both have to cope with the loss of their home and the re-connection with or integration into a community.
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SYLVIA CHUNG is currently a research project manager for a marketing research firm for travel and leisure clients. She previously worked for a children’s non-profit organization in the Dominican Republic. She worked with a number of Haitian refugees while there and assisted them by taking down their history and education information. She is very excited to learn about the Arab culture, learn the language and interact with Jordanians. She hopes that immersion into the culture will fuel her passion for racial reconciliation and social justice.
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SARAH CUNNINGHAM spent the last summer working with internally displaced persons in
Columbia with the organization Aid to Artisans. The mission of the organization is to provide technical, business, and capacity building training to groups of internally displaced women artisans. For five years prior to that, Sarah worked with MayaWorks, a nonprofit organization that worked with economic development initiatives focused on women in Guatemala. She is interested in how women collaborate in times of hardship and hopes to study this topic more in Jordan.
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NAOMI CZERWINSKYJ also works at MayaWorks, a nonprofit organization that supports economic development for indigenous artisans in Guatemala through the sale of their handwoven products. She studied anthropology and geography as an undergraduate student and spent time studying in Spain and Guatemala. She is interested in international justice and human rights and hopes that spending time in Jordan will provide her with a deeper understanding of Arab culture. She would like to learn more about women’s perspectives and community building within refugee camps.
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TANIA DUBON received her bachelor’s degree in English literature and French. She works at Rotary International in the areas of graphic design and publication. Her time there has inspired her to pursue a career in public service. Her academic interests are focused in economic development, human rights law and public policy. She looks forward to furthering her educational pursuits in Jordan.
EMAIL ADDRESS: firstname.lastname@example.org
CAMARO ELLIOTT POWERS was originally trained as a journalist. She worked as a political campaign press secretary and communications director. Her goal in the International Public Service Program and with the Jordan trip is to gain knowledge and first-hand experience that will enable her to become an information or communications officer for an international non-governmental organization or inter-governmental organization with a focus on crisis communication. She is eager to learn about the Palestinian refugee situation.
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CATHLEEN EVANS has worked with internally displaced persons in the Gulu region in Uganda. She also has extensive volunteer experience in community and economic development in Uganda. She is interested in learning about the Arab culture and looks forward to combinnig theoretical and practical teachings so that she can begin to cultivate a deeper understanding of the issues that surround various types of refugees and internally displaced persons.
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AMANDA FLEETWOOD is studying Women’s and Gender Studies in addition to this program. She has direct service experience with asylum seekers and has also volunteered with World Relief. Thus far her experience has been limited to the receiving side of refugees and asylum seekers. She is looking forward to observing the other side of the process, particularly the journey to the receiving country. She is excited to study Arab culture and language.
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ELIZABETH HALL is from Michigan and has spent the past six years of her life in Minnesota. While in Minnesota, she noticed various refugee populations emerging in different neighborhoods. She began to take in interest in refugee studies. She enrolled in this program with the hope of becoming a public servant and finding a job that positively reflects her interest in refugees.
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DIANA HOCHMAN has worked with Heartland Alliance, a human rights organization, for the past five years. She is the Manager of Education for shelters for unaccompanied minors. Her projects are funded by the Office of Refugee Resettlement and thus she has been able to observe the opportunities and challenges that immigrants, asylum seekers, and refugees experience. She is interested to see this process from another side in Jordan. She would like to learn about how education plays a role in the lives of the refugees in Jordan.
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NICOLE MEEUWSE completed her undergraduate studies in Social Work and worked in the field for over ten years. She spent time working with adolescents in empowerment and treatment programs; she also worked with Native American foster care families under the Indian Child Welfare Act. She then shifted her focus to refugee resettlement. She believes that there are limited resources in the field and thus she is constantly working to come up with creative and collaborative solutions. She is looking forward to learning new techniques and to be challenged to new ways of thinking in her encounters in Jordan.
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WILMAR MOLINA is originally from Medellin, Columbia. He has lived in the United States for ten years. He previously worked with the Catholic Church on an international and domestic level. He now works as for a non-profit organization as the Hispanic Programs Director in Chicago. He is passionate about global issues, particularly conflict resolution and human rights. He is eager to learn about the refugee situation in Jordan, explore the Arab culture, and learn the language.
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LAUREN PEREZ was born in Costa Rica but grew up primarily in Honduras and graduated from high school in Ecuador. She completed her undergraduate studies in English Language and Literature. After she completed her studies, she moved to Prague and taught at a Czech middle and high school for a year. She then moved to southern France where she attended university to learn French. She now works for Heartland Alliance in Refugee and Immigrant Community Services. She is very excited to travel to Jordan and to learn the language and study the culture.
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JESSICA PLECHATY studied International Studies, European History and French as an undergraduate student. She recently finished an internship with Heartland International where she worked with international education exchange programs. Prior to her work there, she interned for the Institute of International Education which is funded by the United States Department of Defense. She worked for its study abroad program as well as its National Security Education Program. While there, she was able to work with candidates studying in the Middle East. This experience fueled her desire to learn more about the Arab culture and language. She hopes that this trip to Jordan is the first of many visits to the Middle East.
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STACY POTTHOFF’s interest in refugees started during her undergraduate studies where she mentored a family from Sudan and assisted an English as a second language class for a variety of refugees and immigrants. She has continued her English as a second language work at the South-East Asian Center. She is excited for the Jordan program because she would like to understand the services that refugees receive in both second and third nations. She also looks forward to learning Arabic and immersing herself in the Arab culture.
EMAIL ADDRESS: firstname.lastname@example.org
TOMAS RAMIREZ is head of Infinite Conversations, a privately owned provider of consulting and training services which uses indigenous, traditional, and contemporary models. He is of Chichimeca ancestry and a member of various indigenous organizations in the Chicago area. He worked as a human rights fellow abroad with the International Human Rights Law Institute. He currently works with youth involved with gangs, mediation in conflict ridden areas, and as a minister for the Native American Church.
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TIMOTHY SCHEEL studied International Studies and French as an undergraduate student. He spent a year abroad in France and interned at the French Red Cross. While there, he was exposed to several refugee populations. He has since worked with the Ethiopian Community Association of Chicago where he worked with the Cultural Adjustment counselor to welcome refugees to Chicago and conduct cultural adjustment seminars. He is looking forward to immersion in Arab culture and learning more about refugee resettlement.
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ELIZABETH SCHUMACHER studied History and International Studies at her undergraduate institution. She currently works for the American Society of Clinical Pathology in the Institute for Global Outreach as a Project Coordinator. The Society manages projects and training programs for clinical lab scientists in Mozambique and Namibia. She is interested in learning more about the political climate in Jordan and the system of refugee resettlement. She would also like to study the healthcare and systems of sanitation within refugee camps.
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MATTHEW SOERENS currently works at World Relief within their immigrant legal services program as a legal counselor. He assists refugees in understanding and complying with United States immigration law. He is currently advocating for immigration reform as well. He has spent a great deal of time abroad and is eager to attend the Jordan program and study Middle Eastern culture for the first time.
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ALISA TANK studied French, Political Science, and Journalism as an undergraduate student. She currently works with the American Society for Clinical Pathology in their Global Outreach Department. The Society is funded by the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief and works to build up laboratory capacities of AIDS/HIV affected countries. She has been able to travel to some of the affected countries to complete her work. She is looking forward to studying refugee settlement first hand and learning more about the Arab culture.
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BEMNET YIGZAW studied psychology as an undergraduate student which led her to focus on mental health and the policy of forced migration, education, and international economics. She has since taught English as a second language in South Korea, Ethiopia, and Chicago. She worked in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia as a development service worker and she currently works to resettle local refugees. She looks forward to studying in Jordan because she would like to better understand the injustices that refugees and asylum seekers face.
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