Human Rights Defenders Program
Joined Human Rights First in 2013
As Advocacy Counsel with the Human Rights Defenders program, Ben works to ensure that human rights defenders can work free from harm and interference. He engages the U.S. government and other partners to ensure U.S. foreign policy supports the American ideals of a strong rule of law, core freedoms, and human rights.
Prior to joining Human Rights First, Ben served from 2008 to 2013 as Foreign Policy Legislative Assistant to Senator Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, with a focus on human rights and the rule of law. He also served as a legal fellow in 2005 for Senator Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts, and as an intern for House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt in his St. Louis office and on his presidential campaign from 2000 to 2003.
In 2005, Ben founded an international supply chain social enterprise to connect hundreds of Central American farmers with international markets while implementing economic empowerment projects in their communities, including microcredit for female producers, libraries in schools, scholarships, medical assistance, and technical assistance. Ben worked on U.S. immigration law as a legal consultant to the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition (MIRA) in Massachusetts from 2007 to 2008 and as a legal intern for the Political Asylum Immigration Representation (PAIR) Project in Massachusetts in 2005. As a legal fellow at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia in The Hague in 2006, he wrote legal briefs, assisted with witness selection and with trial strategy in cases of crimes against humanity.
In 2004, PBS sent Ben to Guatemala to conduct over 50 screening interviews and to plan all Guatemala-based logistics for a documentary about a precedent-setting legal case of a Guatemalan woman seeking asylum in the United States. In 2003, he worked for the Carter Center in Guatemala to investigate human rights and election law abuses throughout the countryside.
Ben graduated magna cum laude from Washington University in St. Louis (2003) and earned a law degree from Boston College Law School (2007). He is a member of the Massachusetts and DC Bars.