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Home / Press Release / Jay Carney, Sarah Cleveland, Benedict Morelli, Nazanin Rafsanjani, and Mara Frankel Wallace Join Human Rights First Board
February 02, 2021

Jay Carney, Sarah Cleveland, Benedict Morelli, Nazanin Rafsanjani, and Mara Frankel Wallace Join Human Rights First Board

WASHINGTON – Human Rights First today announced the addition of five new members to its board of directors:  Jay Carney, Sarah Cleveland, Benedict Morelli, Nazanin Rafsanjani, and Mara Frankel Wallace. 

“We are thrilled to welcome such distinguished colleagues to the board of Human Rights First, given the urgency and importance of the organization’s mission advancing human rights and justice in the U.S. and around the world,” said Human Rights First’s board co-chair Mona Sutphen.   

Michael Rozen, co-chair of the board of Human Rights First added, “The expertise these new board members bring from media, law, policy, and nonprofit management will add to the depth and quality of the organization’s already strong work. We very much look forward to their contributions.”

“It’s exciting to add such breadth of experience and knowledge to our already formidable board of directors,” said Human Rights First’s president and CEO Michael Breen.  “Our new members are at the forefront of law, policy, and advocacy and join a board intent on working toward justice in American and around the world.”

  • Jay Carney is the senior vice president of global corporate affairs at Amazon. He is a former White House press secretary to President Barack Obama and was director of communications for Vice President Joe Biden. Prior to his government service, Carney worked for 20 years at Time Magazine, serving as Washington bureau chief from 2005 to 2008. In 2003 he won the Gerald R. Ford Prize for Distinguished Reporting on the Presidency. 
     
  • Sarah Cleveland is a leading figure in human rights law and a noted expert in the areas of human rights, national security, international law, and U.S. foreign relations.  She is the Louis Henkin Professor of Human and Constitutional Rights at Columbia University Law School, a chair named for one of the founders of Human Rights First, and Faculty Co-Director of the Human Rights Institute at Columbia Law School.  She is a member of the UK/Canadian  High-Level Panel of Legal Experts on Media Freedom, a council member of the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute, a Commissioner with the International Commission of Jurists, and a member of the Secretary of State’s Advisory Committee on International Law. 
     
  • Benedict Morelli leads the Morelli Law Firm and is a past president of the New York State Trial Lawyers Association and the Brooklyn-Manhattan Trial Lawyers Association.  He was appointed by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo in 2012 to his judicial screening panel for the Court of Claims and Appellate Division, 2nd Department.  He is a member of the American Association for Justice, emeritus on the Board of Directors of the New York State Trial Lawyers Association, advocate rank in the American Board of Trial Advocates, member of the New York State Bar Association, American Bar Association, New York County Lawyer’s Association, and National Employment Lawyers Association. 
     
  • Nazanin Rafsanjani is the former head of new show development at Gimlet Media and Spotify. Previously she was creative director at Gimlet Media and before that a Senior Producer for The Rachel Maddow Show. She was named one of Fast Company’s Most Creative People in Media and in 2013 nominated for an Emmy, with The Rachel Maddow Show team, for Outstanding News Discussion and Analysis. As a producer for New York Public Radio, her stories have appeared on NPR’s All Things Considered, Morning Edition, On The Media, and This American Life.
     
  • Mara Frankel Wallace spent ten years in nonprofit management before joining Bain & Co. in San Francisco. There she was a founding member of The Bridgespan Group, a strategic consulting firm serving the nonprofit sector. She has served on numerous boards in the education sector including Teach For America and Peninsula Bridge, and currently serves as a Trustee of The Nueva School in the San Francisco Bay Area and the North Country School/Camp Treetops in Lake Placid, NY.  Wallace is the daughter of Judge Marvin E. Frankel, founder and long-time board chair of Human Rights First.