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Vance Center Staff

ALEXANDER PAPACHRISTOU


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Executive Director
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Alexander Papachristou joined the Vance Center as Executive Director in January 2012. He directs the organization's overall operations and focuses on its programmatic and institutional initiatives, as well as fundraising.

Mr. Papachristou previously was president of the Near East Foundation, a participatory, community-based economic and social development organization working in Arab and African countries. For the preceding 18 years, Mr. Papachristou engaged in cross-border corporate finance in advisory and proprietary roles: he served as managing director and general counsel at NCH Capital, Inc, which invests in the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe; he lived in Russia from 1989 to 1993, where he opened and ran the Moscow office of White & Case. Mr. Papachristou also worked in the law firm of Clifford & Warnke in Washington, DC and was policy assistant to New York Governor Mario C. Cuomo. He served as law clerk to US District Judge Myron H. Thompson in the Middle District of Alabama. Mr. Papachristou is a member of the board of the Media Development Investment Fund, as well as the advisory councils of Princeton University's Near East Studies Program and Bard College's Center for Civic Engagement. In late 2011, The New Press published Blind Goddess: A Race and Justice Reader, which Mr. Papachristou edited.

Mr. Papachristou received an LLM and JD from Harvard Law School and an AB from Princeton University, as well as Arabic language training at the American University in Cairo.

 

CLEA BOWDERY


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Staff Attorney,
Environmental Sustainability Program
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Clea Bowdery began working on the Vance Center's Environmental Sustainability Program in the fall of 2011. She develops projects addressing environmental issues in Latin America, Africa, and elsewhere in the world, and is responsible for coordinating law firm pro bono engagement and performing legal work on such projects. She also cultivates and manages relationships with environmental organizations and other partners.

Prior to joining the Vance Center, Ms. Bowdery was an associate at Dewey & LeBoeuf LLP where she worked on litigation, taxation, bankruptcy, and insurance matters, as well as pro bono projects relating to voting rights, LGBT rights, and advice to domestic violence shelters. She has also served as a volunteer attorney at the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, where she handled enforcement actions relating to violations of New York's environmental laws and regulations. During law school, she participated in a semester-long honors externship program at the U.S. Department of Defense, Office of the General Counsel (International Affairs Division), where she provided legal support to a U.S. government program that provides technical assistance to other nations to prevent the proliferation of nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons.

Ms. Bowdery holds a J.D. from UCLA School of Law and a B.A. in Comparative Literature from Columbia University. She speaks French.

 

MARIE-CLAUDE JEAN-BAPTISTE


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Program Director
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Marie-Claude Jean-Baptiste joined the Vance Center in October 2012. She leads the Human Rights and Access to Justice Program at the Vance Center and has general responsibility for programs in Latin America.

Prior to joining the Vance Center, Ms. Jean-Baptiste worked for four years with the International Senior Lawyers Project (ISLP) in New York where she developed and managed ISLP's program in Latin America and the Caribbean which included various pro bono projects with governments and NGOs in the areas of Human Rights and Equitable Economic Development.

Ms. Jean-Baptiste earned a law degree from the George Washington University and degrees in International Studies and Political Science from the City College of New York. While in Law School, Ms. Jean-Baptiste worked with the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in Costa Rica and the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL).

Born and raised in Haiti, Ms. Jean-Baptiste is fluent in Haitian Creole, French, Spanish and speaks advanced level Portuguese.

 

SUSAN M. KATH


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Director
Environmental Sustainability Program
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Susan M. Kath became Director of the Environmental Sustainability Program in February 2013. She directs the program in its work with international and regional environmental NGOs to incubate and develop cross-jurisdictional pro bono projects in the areas of land, marine, and biodiversity conservation, climate change adaptation, toxic waste remediation, and sustainable infrastructure development.

Ms. Kath served as the Chief of the New York City Law Department Environmental Law Division from 1997 to 2010 and as Deputy Chief from 1994 to 1997. Ms. Kath managed and directed the division in its representation of the Mayor of the City of New York and its agencies with respect to all federal, state and local environmental laws and served as a senior advisor to the Corporation Counsel, Deputy Mayors and City Agency Commissioners. Ms. Kath managed complex environmental policy and litigation matters in the areas of climate change and climate resilience, environmental sustainability and public health, transportation, energy and wastewater infrastructure projects, and major New York City economic development initiatives. Ms. Kath participated in the creation of the City’s first sustainability plan, PlaNYC: A Greener, Greater New York and in the design and creation of the City’s long term solid waste management plan. Ms. Kath co-taught a seminar class at Harvard Law School on PlaNYC and the legal issues related to sustainability planning.

Ms. Kath is a member of the Executive Committee of the New York Committee for Human Rights Watch, a member of the Advisory Committee for Health and Human Rights at Human Rights Watch, and a member of the Board of Directors of Prospect Park Alliance. She previously served as a member of the Board of Directors for the Center Against Domestic Violence. She is a graduate of Fordham Law School and Northwestern University.

 

ELIZABETH W. MILLARD


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Managing Director
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Elizabeth Millard is Managing Director of the Cyrus R. Vance Center for International Justice. She oversees the Center's development efforts and relations with its institutional supporters. In addition, she manages the Center’s program to strengthen the legal profession, which comprises its Pro Bono in the Americas, Women in the Profession, and South African Legal Fellows programs; the Center’s Africa program; and the Center’s program to promote free expression, freedom of the press, and access to information.

Before joining the Vance Center, Ms. Millard was a Managing Director at Credit Suisse, where she served as Global Chief Operating Officer of the Legal Department, as a member of the Legal Department Management Committee, and as head of the Corporate Legal Advisory Group.  She had previously been an associate at Shearman & Sterling.

Ms. Millard is a longtime member of the CARE New York Women’s Initiative Steering Committee and for several years was a trustee of the Credit Suisse Americas Foundation Trust and a member of the Board of Directors and the Executive Committee of New York Lawyers for the Public Interest. She holds an A.B. from Connecticut College, an M.A. in South Asian Studies from the University of Pennsylvania, and a J.D. from Brooklyn Law School.

 

DINA STUKANOW de PATERSON


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Director of Pro Bono Partnerships
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Dina Stukanow de Paterson joined the Vance Center in September 2012. She is the Director of the Vance Center’s Pro Bono Partnerships and is responsible for staffing, tracking, and managing the progress of pro bono legal projects placed at law firms in the U.S., Latin America, Africa and other parts of the world. She also leads the Health and Development Program at the Vance Center.

She previously worked at Accion International, a nonprofit organization with the mission of giving people the financial tools they need to improve their lives, where she was most recently Assistant General Counsel. Ms. Stukanow de Paterson has also previously worked at the law firm of Baker & McKenzie in Caracas, Venezuela and as a Professor of Legal Clinics at the Universidad Católica Andrés Bello in Caracas.

Ms. Stukanow de Paterson received an LLM from Harvard Law School in 2009 and completed her primary law degree at the Universidad Católica Andrés Bello in Caracas, Venezuela. Born and raised in Caracas, Ms. Stukanow de Paterson is bilingual in English and Spanish.

VALERIE JEAN-CHARLES


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Communications and Development Associate
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Valerie Jean-Charles joined the Vance Center as a Communications and Development Associate in July 2013.

Prior to joining the Vance Center, Ms. Jean-Charles worked as a Communications and Development Officer for Leadership Enterprise for a Diverse America.

Ms. Jean-Charles holds a BA in Political Science from Fordham University. She is bilingual in English and Haitian Creole.

JANET MEJIA 


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Administrative Assistant
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Janet Mejia joined the Vance Center as an Administrative Assistant in October 2013.

She previously worked as a paralegal for private law firms, working primarily on bankruptcy law and workers compensation cases.

Ms. Mejia holds a BA in Sociology and Latin American Studies from Binghamton University. She was born and raised in the Dominican Republic, and is bilingual in English and Spanish.