Eleanor Acer is the director of Human Rights First’s Refugee Protection program. She oversees Human Rights First’s research and advocacy on issues relating to refugee protection, asylum, and migrants’ rights. Acer advocates, speaks and writes regularly on issues relating to the human rights of refugees and migrants, including legal representation, detention, U.S. asylum law and policy, U.S. global refugee protection and resettlement policies, and protection from xenophobic and bias-motivated violence. She works closely with Human Rights First’s pro bono legal representation team, conducts field research, has authored numerous reports and articles, and has testified before the U.S. Congress.
Acer was awarded the Louis J. Lefkowitz Award for Public Service by Fordham University School of Law in 2007. She was selected by the American Bar Association to serve on its Commission on Immigration, and serves on the Advisory Board of the International Detention Coalition. She was also vice chair of the Refugee Council USA from 2006 to 2008. She has taught classes on refugee protection and migrants rights as an adjunct professor at the New School’s Graduate Program in International Affairs.
Before coming to Human Rights First, Acer was an associate handling federal litigation at Kirkpatrick & Lockhart LLP. She has coordinated mentoring programs and has served on the International Human Rights Committee and Immigration Committee of the Association of the Bar of New York, as well as the Board of Advisors to the Crowley Program in International Human Rights at Fordham University School of Law. Acer received her J.D. from Fordham University School of Law and her B.A. in History from Brown University.
Jasmine El-Gamal is a resident senior fellow with the Atlantic Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security, where she focuses primarily on the role of narratives in the cycle of radicalization and violent extremism. El-Gamal lived and worked in several Arab countries before joining the Department of Defense in 2008 as a policy advisor on Middle East issues. As the Country Director for Iraq, Lebanon, and Syria, respectively, Jasmine regularly briefed Secretaries of Defense Gates, Panetta, Hagel and Carter as well as foreign counterparts on issues pertaining to her portfolio. El-Gamal also served as the Acting Chief of Staff for the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Middle East Policy, and from 2013 to 2015 was the Special Assistant to three Under Secretaries of Defense for Policy, where she advised on a range of issues related to defense and national security.
Jasmine’s articles have been published in Time Magazine, The Huffington Post, Talking Points Memo, Building Peace Magazine, among others, and she recently filmed a documentary on the Syrian refugee crisis in Greece.
El-Gamal holds an MS from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, and a BS in Marketing from Clarkson University. She is a graduate of the short-term documentary filmmaking program at the New York Film Academy, and a Truman National Security Fellow.
Andrew Kim is the founder of RISE When We Fall, a newly-formed citizen watchdog organization bringing together tens of thousands of Americans to monitor and respond to the Trump Administration, Congress, and state and local governments. Kim previously served at the White House as the Director of Iraq in the National Security Council(NSC) where he coordinated the crisis response to counter the rise of ISIS. Prior to his time at the White House, Kim served in Afghanistan as Strategic Advisor to General David Petraeus, the Commander of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and also worked at the State Department, the Pentagon, USAID, and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. As a Rhodes Scholar and a Truman Scholar, Kim received his Doctorate in International Relations from the University of Oxford focusing on U.S. national security policy.
Leigh O’Neill is the Managing Director for Policy and Legislative Affairs at the Truman National Security Project, an organization that unites the new generation of security leaders to develop and advance strong, smart, and principled solutions to the global challenges Americans now face. As Managing Director for Policy and Legislative Affairs, O’Neill oversees the development and implementation of national security policy initiatives across the organization, and outreach to Congress and the Executive branch, providing policymakers with expertise from the Truman Project membership. Previously, O’Neill served in the Majority Office of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, assisting the Professional Staffer for the Middle East. Prior to that, she was Director of Government Relations at the Arab American Institute. O’Neill has worked on local, state, congressional, and Presidential campaigns, and served as Assistant to the State Director in the Boston office of Senator John Kerry. She has worked as an Election Specialist with the National Democratic Institute (NDI) parliamentary election observation mission in Jordan, and was a Short-Term Observer on The Carter Center election monitoring delegation to Lebanon in 2009 parliamentary elections. O’Neill was awarded a Fulbright fellowship to study the impact of free trade on sustainable economic development in Jordan, where she worked as a research assistant at the Jordan Institute of Diplomacy. She holds a B.A. in Classical Studies from Boston College, as well as an M.A. in American Foreign Policy and International Economics from the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University. Leigh is a proud native of Boston, Massachusetts.