An estimated 15 million refugees around the world need protection, safety, and durable solutions. Congressman Donald Payne (NJ-10) worked tirelessly to bring attention to displaced situations in Africa and around the world. He advocated on behalf of those who were persecuted and those affected by violence and war. We celebrate Congressman Payne’s commitment, inspiration, and service this World Refugee Day and his honor dedication to the refugee cause.
George Biddle is the executive vice president of the International Rescue Committee (IRC), a global humanitarian organization which responds to the world’s worst crises and helps people survive, recover and rebuild their lives. He served as acting president from May to July 2002.
Prior to joining the IRC in 2000, Mr. Biddle was the vice president of the International Crisis Group, an organization that works through field-based analysis and high-level advocacy to prevent and resolve deadly conflict. He was also president of the Institute for Central American Studies, an organization he founded in 1989 to assist post-Cold War Central America in its transition from violent conflict to peace and democracy. He serves on several non-profit boards, including as chairman of World Connect, as a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and holds an A.B. degree from Harvard and an M.A. in International Relations from Johns Hopkins.
Anne C. Richard is the Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees, and Migration. Prior to her appointment, Ms. Richard was the vice president of government relations and advocacy for the International Rescue Committee, Director of the Secretary’s Office of Resources, Plans and Policy at the State Department, deputy chief financial officer of the Peace Corps, Senior Advisor in the Deputy Secretary’s Office of Policy and Resources at the State Department and Budget Examiner at the U.S. Office of Management and Budget.
Ms. Richard was also a non-resident Fellow of the Center for Transatlantic Relations at Johns Hopkins University/SAIS and a board member of the Henry L. Stimson Center, an International Affairs Fellow of the Council on Foreign Relations, a fellow of the Robert Bosch Foundation in Germany and a Presidential Management Intern.
Ms. Richard has a B.S. in Foreign Service from Georgetown University and an M.A. in Public Policy Studies from the University of Chicago. She has lived overseas in Austria, Germany and France. She is married with two children.
William D. Payne served as a member of the New Jersey General Assembly from 1998 to 2008. He was the Deputy Majority Conference Leader of the assembly and chair of the Regulatory Oversight Committee. He also served as the vice chair of the Budget Committee and as a member of the Human Services Committee. Mr. Payne has been a commissioner and chairman of the Newark Housing Authority and vice chairman of the Essex County Improvement Authority. He is the Vice Chairman of The Chad Foundation, an education improvement organization. Mr. Payne has worked as campaign manager for several politicians, including his brother, Donald M. Payne.
Mr. Payne is currently the NJ Essex County Deputy Chief of Staff and serves as commissioner of the Amistad Commission.
He is a graduate of Rutgers University and holds a B.A. in Political Science.
Abdalmageed Salih Abker Haroun is a Sudanese human rights activist from West Darfur. Mr. Haroun has a distinguished record of human rights advocacy in Sudan and in the United States. He was one of the most dynamic Darfuri youth activists in Khartoum, where he co-founded the Darfur Democratic Forum in 2005 and served as the President of the Youth for Peace Society from 2002 – 2008. He served as Protection officer in West Darfur for Terre des Hommes, a French humanitarian aid organization in 2007 and from 2007 to 2009 he traveled many times to the International Criminal Court (ICC) presenting evidence and reports of the crimes committed in Darfur by the Sudan government and militia of Janjaweed.
In 2009, Mr Haroun was kidnapped by the Sudanese Security and Intelligent Service (NISS) on his way to meet with rape victims of the 2008 Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) attack in Khartoum. He was released in January 2010 as a result of increasing international pressure calling for his release.
Mr. Haroun was quickly arrested again in March 2010 for his work as a local observer monitoring the 2010 Sudanese Elections. He was held in prison for four months, where he was beaten and tortured by the Government. While Mr. Haroun was in prison, Congressman Payne wrote a letter to the Sudanese government calling for his release. With the weight of Congressman Payne behind him, Mr. Haroun was released, evacuated to Uganda and ultimately came to the United States where he received asylum with the assistance of Human Rights First and a team of pro bono lawyers at Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP in New York. Today Mr. Haroun is a vocal advocate for human rights and is Chair of the Human Rights and Advocacy Network for Democracy (HAND).
The Honorable Emanuel Cleaver, II is now serving his fourth term representing Missouri’s Fifth Congressional District. Congressman Cleaver served twelve years on the city council of Kansas City and was elected mayor of Kansas City in 1991. He was unanimously elected the 20th chair of the Congressional Black Caucus of the 112th Congress.
Congressman Cleaver has received five honorary Doctoral Degrees augmented by a bachelor’s degree from Prairie View A&M, and a Master’s from St. Paul Theology of Kansas City. He is married to the former Dianne Donaldson and has four children.
The Honorable Keith Ellison has represented the Fifth Congressional District of Minnesota in the U.S. House of Representatives since 2007. He currently serves on the House Financial Services Committee and the House Democratic Steering Committee. He is also a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, founded the Congressional Consumer Justice Caucus, and belongs to 18 other caucuses that focus on issues ranging from social inclusion to environmental protection.
Congressman Ellison served two terms in the Minnesota House of Representatives. He received a B.A. from Wayne State University and a J.D. from University of Minnesota Law School. He has four children.
The Honorable Sam Farr has represented California’s 17th District since 1993. He serves on the House Appropriations Committee, is the Ranking Member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development and Food and Drug Administration, as well as sits on the Subcommittee on Military Construction and Veterans Affairs.
Congressman Farr co-chairs the Congressional Organic Caucus, Congressional Travel & Tourism Caucus, Defense Communities Caucus, House Oceans Caucus, and Unexploded Ordnance Caucus. Prior to serving in Congress, Farr served twelve years in the California State Assembly and six years as Monterey County Supervisor. He graduated from Willamette University in Salem, Oregon and attended the Monterey Institute of International Studies and the University of Santa Clara. Congressman Farr began his career in public service in 1964 serving in the Peace Corps in Colombia. He is married with one daughter and two grandchildren.
The Honorable Zoe Lofgren has represented California’s 16th District since 1994. She currently serves as Chair of the 34 Member California Democratic Congressional Delegation and on the Committee on the Judiciary, Committee on Science, and Technology and the Committee on House Administration. She practiced immigration law as a partner in the firm of Webber & Lofgren and taught immigration law at the University of Santa Clara School of Law.
Congresswoman Lofgren received a B.A. in Political Science from Stanford University in 1970 and a J.D. from the University of Santa Clara School of Law in 1975. She is married with two children.
The Honorable Jim McGovern represents Massachusetts’ 3rd District and is currently serving his eighth term in Congress. He is currently Senior Minority Whip; and a member of the House Agriculture Committee. Congressman McGovern is also the co-chair of both the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission and the House Hunger Caucus. Before his election he spent fourteen years working as a senior aide for the late U.S. Representative John Joseph Moakley. Congressman McGovern earned his B.A. (’81) and Masters of Public Administration (’84) degrees from The American University. He is married with two children.