The faculty/staff team shown on this page is a sample of the individuals who may lead your specific program. Faculty and coordinators are subject to change to accommodate each program’s unique schedule and locations.
Chris Westcott, MA, Program Director
Chris is an educator and change-maker with extensive experience working with grassroots human rights NGOs and social change–oriented study abroad programs. Chris’s human rights work has focused predominately on the provision of economic, social, and cultural rights. Chris has worked on housing and workers’ rights campaigns with the Urban Justice Center and the Freelancers Union in New York City. Additionally, Chris was a founding staff member of ENGAGE, where he worked in Thailand and the San Francisco Bay Area on trade justice campaigns affecting the economic rights of farmers and access to affordable medicines for people living with HIV/AIDS. Chris has worked with IHP, first as a traveling faculty member, then as a program manager, since 2012. Earlier, Chris worked for two years on CIEE Thailand’s study abroad program focusing on globalization and development. Chris has a BA in environmental studies from Bates College and an MA in international educational development from Columbia University. Chris has conducted ethnographic research on the land reform process in post-apartheid South Africa and has done participatory action research on housing rights and educational equity in New York City. Chris currently serves on the solidarity board of Community Voices Heard, a social, economic, and racial justice organization based in New York.
Anna Gail Caunca, MA, Program Manager
Anna Gail's work experience has focused on the areas of youth and young adult leadership development, community building, residential life and student welfare, international education, and human rights education. Building on her graduate studies in social justice and international education, Anna Gail worked with World Learning’s Youth Leadership and Peacebuilding Programs, facilitating workshops with the Governor’s Institute of Vermont on current issues and youth activism and traveling with and supporting students through the LondonX and Iraqi Youth Leadership Program for two years. In 2013, she traveled as the IHP Trustees’ Fellow for the inaugural year of the Human Rights: Foundations, Challenges, and Advocacy program. After four adventurous years living in Wellington, New Zealand, she is excited for a new chapter as the IHP program manager in 2015.
Anna Gail earned her BS in psychology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She graduated from SIT Graduate Institute with an MA in intercultural service, leadership, and management and received her educator’s licensure in secondary education in social studies, incorporating social justice in the classroom. She is a vegetarian, photographer-in-the-making, and running enthusiast with a hearty laugh.
Lucas Shapiro, Launch Coordinator
Lucas Shapiro comes to IHP after years of working as a community organizer for housing rights and racial justice in New York City. Most recently, Lucas served as senior organizer at Families United for Racial and Economic Equality (FUREE), based in downtown Brooklyn. At FUREE, Lucas worked with members to fight for living-wage jobs, affordable housing, access to healthy food, and a seat at the table in shaping local development. After earning a degree in studies in social change from Ithaca College, Lucas moved to New York City to become the national organizer for a progressive youth and student organization and later worked as an organizer with a tenants’ rights nonprofit. Lucas is dedicated to multi-issue movement building and strengthening member-driven organizations, and he has a keen interest in political strategy, public policy, and popular education. He is currently working to launch Mayday Space in Bushwick — a dynamic center for social justice organizing, community empowerment, and creative expression. He lives in a cooperative house located in Fort Greene and enjoys reading articles, watching films, playing games, going on bike adventures, and visiting friends and family in Spain.
Dema Al Oun, Country Coordinator, Jordan
Dema received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in law from Jordan University. She has completed her required legal training and is expecting to take the Jordanian Bar exam shortly. She is qualified in many aspects of both civil and criminal law within Jordan and has completed over 35 training courses in legal issues. These courses dealt with civil and criminal law, and several pertained specifically to the rights of the child or the rights of women. Additionally, she is trained in international treaties and agreements pertaining to related human rights issues. Since 2004, she has volunteered at the National Center for Human Rights in Jordan. She is also a member of Talal Abu-Ghazala, a famous law firm in Jordan that trains in civil and criminal law. Her past experience includes two and a half years in a law firm as a legal trainer. She has been a homestay coordinator for SIT since 2008 and was an advisor for SIT students studying topics related to women, culture, and youth.
Carmen Luz Morales, Country Coordinator, Chile
Carmen Luz (“Lula”) is the country coordinator for the IHP program in Chile and has co-constructed the program in Chile from its inception in 2013. She holds a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Santiago and has been working as a consultant at the Observatorio Ciudadano, a leading human rights organization based in Temuco that hosts the IHP Human Rights program, since 2005. With Observatario, Carmen has conducted historical research on Mapuche communities and has coordinated international seminars and workshops to promote the defense of human rights of indigenous communities in Chile. She also has worked at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in Washington, DC, as a consultant at the Special Rapporteurship for Freedom of Expression. Her investigative work as a historian has focused on oral history, particularly on the history of land dispossession and the vulnerability of fundamental rights affecting the Mapuche people in Chile. Carmen also brings teaching experience to her role with IHP, having previously taught history courses in Chile and Spanish language and literature courses in France. She currently spends her time between Santiago and Valparaiso with her husband Matías and daughter Eloísa.
Yanik Shrestha, Country Coordinator, Nepal
Yanik is the director of Passage International, which facilitates experiential education and global understanding by creating opportunities for students to live and learn abroad. He has been working intermittently with study abroad programs since 2002. He has also assisted in guiding several treks in Nepal and India, for Passage as well as for other trek operators.
A man with eclectic tastes and passions, in 2002 Yanik participated in the No Education: No Freedom, No Opportunity seminar in Germany, organized by GTZ, on “whether education should be liberalized or not.” He was involved in an Antenna Foundation project — a dramatized TV series broadcast on the national TV channel that raised issues on women’s rights and attempted to break taboos through the program. He had the opportunity to work with two of Nepal's most acclaimed comedians, Madan Krishna Shrestha and Hari Bansha Acharya, during the project. He has been working in radio since 2005, first with Hits FM 91.2, a 24-hour commercial radio station. At present he is associated with Revolution Radio, an online radio station. He is also a part of a hip-hop / slam poetry group, Word Warriors. The group has played a big role in inspiring other young poets to use poetry and music as mediums of expression.
Clelia Rodriguez, Traveling Faculty
Clelia Rodríguez received her BA from York University and her MA and PhD from The University of Toronto. She has taught undergraduate and graduate courses at The University of Toronto, Washington College, The University of Ghana, and most recently as a human rights professor in the United States, Nepal, Jordan, and Chile as part of the International Honors Program for SIT. Her international expertise conducting inter-disciplinary research and engaged critical pedagogy derives from studies of literature, ethnicity, culture, race, gender, class, religion, cartography, refugees, identity, memory, trauma, and decolonization in El Salvador, the United States, Canada, Mexico, Cuba, Spain, Equatorial Guinea, and Ghana.
Hnin Hnin, Trustee’s Fellow
Hnin has over five years of experience in consumer-driven social change, with a strong focus on the sustainable food, food worker rights, and food sovereignty movements. Born in Burma and based in Brooklyn, she is the founder of Eatable, a startup vegan food discovery app that helps food lovers find the best chef-crafted vegan creations near them. Eatable shows you vegan-friendly dishes at omnivore and vegan restaurants alike, making it convenient to enjoy vegan food while eating out with friends. Not just an app, Eatable connects the food we eat to questions of nonviolence, joy, love, sustainability, and justice as alternatives to oppression in all forms. Prior to founding Eatable, Hnin led lean (startup) experimentation at ROC United, a national restaurant worker advocacy group with 14,000 members in the US. She was previously the associate manager of national programs at Slow Food USA, the US headquarters of an international sustainable food organization with over 100,000 members and 1,500 volunteer-led chapters worldwide. She is a founding board member and current board chair of CoFED, a US national nonprofit that trains college students to start sustainable food coops. She is also the board secretary of SAAFON, a US regional nonprofit that supports black organic farmers in the southeast US and Caribbean to build thriving businesses.
Hnin holds a BA in political economy and international studies from Williams College. She is also an IHP alum.