Paula Kweskin is a human rights attorney and defender of humanitarian causes. She received her B.A. and J.D. from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and is a member of the New York bar.
Paula has worked on various human rights projects including micro-credit initiatives in Argentina, advocacy on behalf of victims of extraordinary rendition, and relief for victims of domestic violence. She is fluent in Spanish.
Heidi serves as the executive director of Women’s Voices Now. Her career as a human rights activist and professional began with her involvement as a volunteer for the Tibetan Nuns Project in Berkeley, CA. In 2003, she continued on to to serve as an intern in the U.S. Congressional Human Rights Caucus in Washington D.C., and was then hired as a congressional staff assistant for Rep. Tom Lantos, former chairman of the Caucus. In her work with the U.S. Congress (2003-06), Heidi served as an non-immigrant visa specialist in the Lantos District Office (CA-12), as well as assisted with international human rights casework. In 2007 she began working with the Palestine-Israel Journal in East Jerusalem, where she launched the Journal’s first online blog. Heidi is the author and editor of numerous print and online articles and op-eds examining the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and women in the Middle East and North Africa. Academically, she specializes in the changing roles of Kurdish women in Turkey from the 1980s to the present day. She lived, worked, studied, and traveled in the Middle East for half a decade before returning to her home in Los Angeles, CA. She holds an MA in Middle Eastern and African Studies from Tel Aviv University (2013), an MA in Public Policy from New England College (2007), and a BA in Political Science from UC Berkeley (2003), with a double minor in Peace and Conflict Studies, and Religious Studies.
Ayaan, an outspoken defender of women’s rights in Islamic societies, was born in Somalia. She escaped an arranged marriage by immigrating to the Netherlands and served as a member of the Dutch parliament from 2003 to 2006. In parliament, she worked on furthering the integration of non-Western immigrants into Dutch society and defending the rights of women in Dutch Muslim society.
In 2004, together with director Theo van Gogh, she made Submission, a film about the oppression of women in conservative Islamic cultures. The airing of the film on Dutch television resulted in the assassination of Mr. van Gogh by Islamic extremists.
Ayaan is a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, where she researches the relationship between the West and Islam, women’s rights in Islam, violence against women propagated by religious and cultural arguments, and Islam in Europe.
In response to ongoing abuses of women’s rights, Ayaan and her supporters established the AHA Foundation in 2007 to help protect and defend the rights of women in the West from oppression justified by religion and culture.
Micah Smith is an award winning narrative and documentary filmmaker. His films have screened in over 40 festivals on five continents. Smith graduated from the Kanbar Institute of Film and Television at New York University’s Tisch School of Arts.
Alex Traiman is a professional journalist and documentary filmmaker covering Middle Eastern affairs.
Traiman is the Director of the award-winning documentary Iranium.
Raphael Shore is an accomplished filmmaker and the founder of The Clarion Project, a non-profit organization dedicated to exposing the dangers of Islamic extremism, while providing a platform for the voices of moderation. Shore’s previous films include the award-winning documentary Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West, The Third Jihad: Radical Islam’s Vision for America, and Iranium. He has been featured on CNN, The New York Times, and other leading media organizations.