Our Team

11165093_731603034532_718240960252004429_oDr. Sa’ed Adel Atshan, Advisory Board

Dr. Sa’ed Adel Atshan is a Visiting Assistant Professor of Peace and Conflict Studies at Swarthmore College. He has conducted research on the politics of humanitarian aid provision in the Palestinian Territories. Dr. Atshan has worked with a range of organizations that include Human Rights Watch, the American Civil Liberties Union, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Seeds of Peace International Camp, the Palestinian Negotiations Affairs Department, and the Government of Dubai.

Dr. Atshan holds a BA in Political Science and Middle Eastern Studies from Swarthmore College, an MPP from the Harvard Kennedy School, and an MA and PhD in Anthropology and Middle Eastern Studies from Harvard University. He completed a post-doctoral fellowship at the Watson Institute for International Studies at Brown University.

Dr. Atshan has won awards and fellowships from the National Science Foundation, the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, Social Science Research Council, and the Paul and Daisy Soros Foundation. He was also awarded a Kathryn Davis Fellowship for Peace.

Nafisas-Author-Photo (1)Nafisa Haji, Advisory Board

Nafisa Haji is a novelist and educator.  She is the author of “The Sweetness of Tears” (HarperCollins, 2011) and “The Writing on My Forehead” (William Morrow, 2009).  Ms. Haji was born and mostly raised in Los Angeles, and has lived in Chicago, Karachi, Manila, and London. Her family originally migrated from Bombay to Karachi in 1947 during Partition, when the Indian Subcontinent was divided into two states, and later to the United States.  Ms. Haji previously taught elementary school in downtown Los Angeles for seven years in a bilingual Spanish program, and speaks Spanish fluently. She has served on the board at the Marin Interfaith Council, where she represented the International Association of Sufism. She holds a BA in American History from the University of California at Berkeley and a PhD in Education from the University of California at Los Angeles.

Rahim Kurwa, Advisory BoardProfile-RahimKurwa-FF-cropped

Rahim Kurwa is a member of the steering committee of the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation. He previously served for four years on the steering committee of the National Students for Justice in Palestine.  Mr. Kurwa is a doctoral candidate in Sociology at the University of California, Los Angeles, where he studies the transition in federal housing policy from traditional public housing to housing choice vouchers. His academic focus is on locational outcomes of tenants moving between these programs, the social consequences attached to their movement, and the broader public discourse around the voucher program and its participants.

1480626_10151820100185670_983416879_nJosh Ruebner, Advisory Board

Josh Ruebner serves as Policy Director for the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation.  He is the author of “Shattered Hopes: Obama’s Failure to Broker Israeli-Palestinian Peace” (Verso Books, 2013) as well as the forthcoming “Israel: Democracy or Apartheid State?”  Mr. Ruebner’s analysis and commentary on U.S. policy toward the Middle East appears frequently in media such as NBC, ABC Nightline, C-SPAN, Al Jazeera, USA Today, Los Angeles Times, The Hill, Detroit Free Press, Huffington Post, Middle East Report, and more.  Mr. Ruebner is a former Analyst in Middle East Affairs at Congressional Research Service, a federal government agency providing Members of Congress with policy analysis.  He holds a graduate degree in International Affairs from Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, DC.

Team. Bery, SunjeevSunjeev Bery, Director

Sunjeev Bery (@SunjeevBery) serves as director of Freedom Forward. Previously, Bery served as advocacy director for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) at Amnesty International USA, where he lobbied U.S. officials, diplomats, and officeholders regarding human rights concerns across the MENA region; as a regional director for the American Civil Liberties Union, where his work included advocacy on post-9/11 security policies; as a public interest lobbyist on student financial aid issues in Washington, DC; and as a fundraiser for environmental and human rights organizations. His commentaries on U.S. foreign policy and human rights have appeared in a range of U.S. newspapers and publications.

Bery holds a B.A. from UC Berkeley and an M.P.A. from the Harvard Kennedy School, where he was a Harvard Public Service Fellow. He is a recipient of the 2007 Asian Law Alliance Community Impact Award and has received commendations from the California State Senate and Assembly for his human rights advocacy.

Team. Cook, LorraineLoraine Cook, Research Fellow

Lorraine Cook is an independent scholar passionate about human rights issues, human security, foreign policy, and the interdependence of anthropology and political work. She is a Syria Campaign research fellow with Freedom Forward, where she does research on U.S. action in Syria, Chinese influence in the destabilization of the Syrian Civil War, and Sino-Russian and -Syrian relations.

Ms. Cook holds a B.A. in political science with a concentration in global politics from the University of Delaware (UD) with a double minor in Italian and anthropology. At UD, she was a staff illustrator for UD’s student-run newspaper, The Review; a conference staffer and facilitator for UD’s Model United Nations Conference, HenMUN; and a member of UD’s co-ed service fraternity, Alpha Phi Omega. She was also a community outreach intern for the 2016 Greater Washington Immigration Film Festival, hosted by the Washington Ethical Society.

Her passion for human rights issues, global challenges, and foreign policy developed from her personal and academic backgrounds. Her mother is from Brazil and her father is a former U.S. Foreign Service Officer. During her college career, Ms. Cook studied an array of regions and issue areas through multiple courses, including transatlantic colonization; the history of modern Asia, including European imperialism; Middle Eastern cultures and politics; and the history and current state of Latin America and the Caribbean.


Team. Pipkin, EliEli Pipkin, Research Fellow

Eli Pipkin is a research fellow with Freedom Forward, where he explores the relationships between Syria and external actors, focusing mainly on China, Russia, and the United States.

He previously interned for the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, researching and monitoring all policy updates related to the organization’s key issue areas, organizing and attending rallies at the Capitol, and planning coalition-wide events highlighting the most pressing concerns of the United States.

Pipkin graduated cum laude from the College of Charleston in spring 2017 with a major in political science and a minor in international relations. Additionally, he has international work experience with the Center for International and European Studies at Kadir Has University in Istanbul, Turkey, during spring 2016.

Team. Reyes, Kevin D.Kevin D. Reyes, Social Media Fellow

Kevin D. Reyes (@KevinDReyes) is an independent scholar on national security and a fellow with Freedom Forward, where he works on capacity-building and branding. He is also consulting editor for the American University National Security Law Brief.

He previously served as a fellow and research associate at the award-winning Human Rights Center at UC Berkeley School of Law, working on issues of international criminal law and sexual violence with organizations such as the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Reyes holds a B.A. in U.S. national security history and international political economy from the University of California, Berkeley, and author of articles in the Global Societies Journal, Columbia East Asia Review, and the Globe Post. Among serving as a fellow at Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, Reyes has contributed to work with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, the Colombia Steering Committee, the Foreign Law Guide, the International Crimes Division of the High Court of Uganda, the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, and several U.S. House representatives.

Freedom Forward also benefits as a capstone client from contributions from students in the Wagner School of Public Service at New York University (NYU).


Julia Malleck, 2017 Research Fellow

Julia Malleck is a fellow at Freedom Forward, where she focuses on researching China and Syria’s economic and political ties and avenues for justice and accountability in Syria.

She is also currently a program associate at the Society for International Development, where she assists in communications strategy, marketing, and event planning. Julia previously interned with the EastWest Institute, where she helped organize track 2 diplomatic dialogues between Chinese and U.S. officials, and in the UK Parliament for former MP Rt Hon. Simon Hughes.

Malleck graduated from Tufts University in 2016 with a B.A. in international relations and a concentration in security studies. She has also studied at SOAS, University of London, and at Suzhou University, China, on a U.S. Department of State scholarship.