Andrew Beiter, Board President
Drew Beiter is a co-founder of the Educators’ Institute for Human Rights and an 8th Grade Social Studies teacher at Springville Middle School. Graduating with a Bachelor's in Political Philosophy from Michigan State and a Master's in Education from Fredonia State College, Drew is a Regional Education Coordinator for the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, the Education Director for the Holocaust Resource Center of Buffalo, a Teacher Fellow for the Lowell Milken Center, and a consultant for the Robert F. Kennedy Center's Speak Truth to Power program. He also Director of the Summer Institute in Buffalo, New York, an annual conference for students.
Louise Lawrence Israels, Board Vice President
Louise went into hiding at six months of age in Amsterdam with her parents and older brother. After liberation in 1945, the family moved to Sweden where her father was able to find work. In 1948, they returned once again to Holland where her education was completed with a degree in Physical Therapy, specializing in children with Cerebral Palsy. There she met her husband, married in 1965, and in 1967 immigrated to the USA. Their family now includes three daughters, their husbands, and six grandchildren. Louise, among other pursuits, is a volunteer at The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) where she works as a translator. As a member of the Museums’ Speakers’ Bureau and a hidden child during the Holocaust, she has told her war experiences to various groups for over 15 years. She also has been a Member and Co-coordinator of the USHMM’s Volunteer Advisory Board (VAB) from 2009 to 2013; is Co-president of Jewish Holocaust Survivors and Friends of Greater Washington (JHSFGW); and a Board Member of the Holocaust Survivors Foundation (HSF), a National Group of Survivors with the mandate to obtain services and entitlements for aging Holocaust Survivors. Louise has shared her experiences at EIHR conferences in Kigali, Rwanda, and Jahorina, Bosnia & Herzegovina, much to the appreciation of all participants.
Kelley Szany, Board Secretary
Kelley joined the Board of Directors for EIHR in 2015. As Director of Education at the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center in Skokie, she oversees all of the Museum’s education and public programming initiatives. During her tenure Kelley has been instrumental in the development of the Museum’s broader genocide and human rights mission and vision. She has become recognized as a leading contemporary genocide educator, speaking to audiences not only on the Holocaust but the genocides of Armenia, Cambodia, Bosnia, Rwanda and Darfur, as well as the power of social change and youth activism. In 2011, she served as Co-Project Director on the Make A Difference! The Harvey L. Miller Family Youth Exhibition enhancement project at IHMEC, developing the conceptual framework for three new interactive exhibits for the Museum based on the lessons of character education and social justice. In 2012, she created the Museum’s education framework, On Our Watch: Genocide and Human Rights which uses literature, film and primary resource materials to teach about 20th and 21st century genocide and human rights crimes. Kelley currently sits on the advisory board of The Unsilence Project, a real-time and internet based program that delivers story-driven learning experiences that inspire young people to ask critical questions about marginalized narratives of atrocity and to develop individual and collective responsibility for human rights at home and around the world. She is a recipient of the Friend of the Jewish Community Award from the Jewish Federation of Northwest Indiana, and the Samuel Goldsmith Award from the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago. In 2014, Kelley was awarded a 2014 Carl Wilkens Fellowship, a year long program focused on expanding the visibility and impact of genocide awareness in Illinois, with a specific focus of bringing programming to underserved communities in Chicago, and fostering partnerships to create a larger network of anti-genocide advocates across the region.
Christine Ashley, Board Member
Christine Ashley is the Quaker Field Secretary for the Friends Committee on National Legislation in Washington, D.C. In this role, she develops and sustains FCNL's engagement with individuals both within the Religious Society of Friends and with seekers for the Quaker way of living Faith in to action. Christine came to FCNL after having served over 15 years as a Quaker educator. After being awarded the Maguire Fellowship from Vassar College, she lived two years in Yogyakarta, Indonesia where she taught at IKIP Sanata Dharma, a teacher’s college. Christine spent an additional 5 years living, working, and volunteering in Southeast Asia, including Singapore, India and Sri Lanka. Upon returning to the United States, she then pursued graduate studies in International Education at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. Christine has served over 15 years as a Quaker educator. Most recently, Christine was Scattergood Friends School’s Head of School in West Branch, Iowa, which historically served as a haven for European refugees fleeing Hitler from 1939-1943. Her work in Quaker education also includes Thornton Friends Middle School as principal, and Thornton Friends Upper School (MD) as dean of students.
Carol Danks, Board Member
Carol Danks was a high school English and journalism teacher in Ohio for 30 years, during which time she was very involved in Holocaust education, both in her local school district and at the state level. In 1987 she participated in the Vladka Meed three-week study program in Israel on Resistance in the Holocaust. She served on the Ohio Council for Holocaust Education from 1994-2004 and, among other publications, co-edited Prejudice Unleashed, the Holocaust curriculum published by the state of Ohio. She has done teacher education programming with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum as a Museum Teacher Fellow since 1997 and as a Regional Educator since 2005. Since moving to the Washington, D.C. area in 2004, she serves as a docent for the museum’s permanent exhibition and temporary exhibits and volunteers with the museum’s Visitors’ Services division.
John Heffernan, Board Member
In October 2009, John Heffernan was named the Director of Speak Truth To Power at Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights. Heffernan brings to the board of EIHR over twenty-five years of experience in development, human rights, rule of law, democracy and governance, humanitarian relief and post-conflict reconstruction projects in the United States, Africa, South America, Asia and Europe. In 2014, Heffernan became the Executive Director of RFK’s Speak Truth To Power human rights education initiative.
Before arriving at RFK Human Rights, Heffernan was the Director of the Genocide Prevention Initiative at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum where he supervised advocacy efforts aimed at responding to genocide today, which included: the opening of a major Museum exhibit, From Memory to Action; the development and implementation of the Museum’s Genocide Prevention Mapping Initiative in partnership with Google Earth, Crisis in Darfur and World is Witness; and the Genocide Prevention Task Force, co-chaired by former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and former Secretary of Defense William Cohen.
As a Senior Investigator with Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) he led three investigations to the Darfur region of Sudan and was the lead author of PHR’s report, Assault on Survival. He presented the report to the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands in February 2006. In 2002, he conducted a PHR investigation to Afghanistan where he discovered a mass grave which was later the subject of a Newsweek magazine cover story.
Previously, he served as the Chief of Party for the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs in Guyana, South America. In 1995, Heffernan established and ran as, Executive Director, the Coalition for International Justice, a Washington-based non-governmental organization created to support the work of the international war crimes tribunals for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia.
As Country Representative for the former Yugoslavia, he managed a humanitarian relief program for the International Rescue Committee (IRC) and from 1990 to 1993 he managed IRC’s refugee resettlement program in Khartoum, Sudan. Prior to working overseas, Heffernan served as the Vice President of the Business Council for the United Nations in New York City. Heffernan has written opinion articles for the New York Times, Washington Post, International Herald-Tribune, San Francisco Chronicle, San Diego Union- Tribune and other publications.
Heffernan is a graduate University of California, Santa Barbara and of Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs. He is also a former Coro Fellow. He serves as the board chair for Disability Rights International and is on the Advisory Board of the Dodd Center for Human Rights. He lives in Washington, DC with his wife and three daughters.