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For Immediate Release
Office of the First Lady
September 19, 2006
Participant Bios for Roundtable on Burma at the United Nations
Dr. Paula Dobriansky, Under-Secretary for Democracy and Global Affairs
Paula J. Dobriansky is responsible for a broad range of foreign policy issues, including democracy, human rights, labor, refugee and humanitarian relief matters, and environmental/science issues. She has also been designated as the Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues. Prior to her appointment, Dr. Dobriansky served as Senior Vice President and Director of the Washington Office of the Council on Foreign Relations. Previously, Dr. Dobriansky served as Senior International Affairs and Trade Advisor at the law firm of Hunton & Williams, and also as Co-Chair of the International TV Council at the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Her government appointments include Associate Director for Policy and Programs at the United States Information Agency, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs, Deputy Head of the U.S. Delegation to the 1990 Copenhagen Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE), Advisor to the U.S. Delegation to the 1985 U.N. Decade for Women Conference in Nairobi, Kenya, and Director of European and Soviet Affairs at the National Security Council, the White House.Dr. Dobriansky received a B.S.F.S. summa cum laude in International Politics from Georgetown University School of Foreign Service and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Soviet political/military affairs from Harvard University. She is a Fulbright-Hays scholar, Ford and Rotary Foundation Fellow, and a member of Phi Beta Kappa.
Mr. Ibrahim Gambari, U.N. Under-Secretary for Political Affairs
Born in Nigeria in 1944, Mr. Gambari attended Kings College, Lagos, as well as the London School of Economics, where he obtained a bachelor's degree in political science with a specialty in international relations. He received his M.A. in 1970, and his Ph.D. in 1974 in Political Science/International Relations from Columbia University in New York. Prior to this appointment as Under Secretary-General for Political Afairs, Mr. Gambari held the position of Under-Secretary-General and Special Adviser on Africa at the United Nations. In that capacity, his functions included promoting UN and international support for African development, in general, and the New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD). Mr. Gambari served as Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Mission to Angola, from September 2002 to February 2003. Before joining the UN Secretariat in 1999, Mr. Gambari served as the Permanent Representative of Nigeria to the United Nations. He was also a senior member of the Nigerian delegation to 10 sessions of the General Assembly. Mr. Gambari served as President of the Security Council on two occasions when Nigeria was a member of the Security Council. He also chaired the UN Special Committee against Apartheid, which successfully saw the demise of apartheid and the establishment of democratic rule in South Africa . Prior to his tenure as Ambassador/Permanent Representative, Mr. Gambari served as Minister of External Affairs of Nigeria. He had served as Director-General, Nigerian Institute of International Affairs.
Mr. Elliott Abrams, Deputy National Security Advisor for Global Democratization Strategy and Deputy Assistant to the President
In his capacity as Deputy National Security Advisor for Global Democratization Strategy and Deputy Assistant to the President, Mr. Abrams assists with in work on the promotion of democracy and human rights, and provides oversight to the NSC's directorate of Democracy, Human Rights, and International Organization Affairs and its directorate of Near East and North African Affairs. Working with Secretary Rice and Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs Stephen Hadley, Mr. Abrams is also involved in Israeli/Palestinian affairs. Elliott Abrams has served as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Near East and North African Affairs. Prior to holding that position, he was Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Democracy, Human Rights and International Operations. He was a member and then Chairman of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom from 1999 to 2001, and President of the Ethics and Public Policy Center from 1996 to 2001. Mr. Abrams served as an Assistant Secretary of State during the Reagan Administration from 1981 to 1989. Mr. Abrams received his bachelor's degree from Harvard, earned a master's in International Relations from the London School of Economics, and received his J.D. from Harvard Law School.
Ms. Hseng Noung, Burmese activist, founding member of the Shan Women Action Network (SWAN)
Hseng Noung lives in Thailand and is member of the Shan Ethic Group. In 1999, she helped to establish the SWAN (Shan Women Action Network) and is a member of the advisory board of SWAN. Ms. Noung is a member of the Presidium Board of Women's League of Burma, on which she served as General Secretary from 2002 - 2004. In 1995, Hseng was awarded by the Human Rights Monitor for her engagement in favor of women, especially focused on girls forced into prostitution. Hseng contributed to the documentary "License to Rape" which examines the use of rape as weapon. In 2005, SWAN was nominated candidate for the Nobel Price for Peace.
Mr. Zaid Ibrahim, Head of the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Burma Caucus
Zaid Ibrahim is the Founder and Chairman of Zaid Ibrahim & Co (commonly known by its acronym ZICO), a full service premier Malaysian law firm. The firm's practice is primarily in corporate and financial law, including litigation in these areas. In the political arena, Zaid is actively involved in United Malays National Organization (UMNO). He won the Kota Bharu UMNO Division Chief post in April 2001. Zaid was conferred the Darjah Mulia Seri Melaka (DMSM) which carries the title "Datuk" by the Governor of Malacca in October 2003. Zaid is currently a Member of Parliament representing Kota Bharu which constituency seat he won in the last general election. He is also Chairman of the Pro-Democracy Myanmar Caucus (Malaysian Parliament) and ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Myanmar Caucus (AIPMC).
Mr. Jack Dunford, Director, Thailand Burma Border Consortium
The Thailand Burma Border Consortium (TBBC) began its work in 1984 without any staff. A Seventh Day Adventist missionary offered to purchase rice and unwittingly effectively became BBC's first field coordinator. Jack Dunford became chairperson of BBC in May 1984, and acted as de facto director until 1997, when he officially became full-time director. TBBC, a registered charity in England and Wales, is a consortium of nine international NGOs from seven countries providing food, shelter and non food items to refugees and displaced people from Burma. TBBC also engages in research on the root causes of displacement and refugee outflows. Programs are implemented in the field through refugees, community based organizations and local partners. With increased focus on a rights-based approach, the organization is committed to meeting international humanitarian best practices.
Dr. Chris Beyrer, Associate Professor, Johns Hopkins University; Director, Johns Hopkins Fogarty AIDS International Training and Research Program; Director, Johns Hopkins Center for Public Health & Human Rights; Senior Scientific Liaison, HIV Vaccine Trials Network
Dr. Chris Beyrer is a medical epidemiologist active in HIV/AIDS prevention, research, and policy. From 1992-1997 he was based in Chiang Mai, Thailand, as Field Director for U.S. funded HIV/AIDS research programs. He has advised the National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma on HIV/AIDS and health issues since 1994. He currently serves as Director of the Johns Hopkins Fogarty AIDS International Training and Research Program and as a consulting epidemiologist to the U.S. Department of Defense HIV/AIDS research program. He has active HIV/AIDS research projects ongoing in Thailand, China, Malaysia, and Ethiopia.
Mr. Jim Jacobson, President, Christian Freedom International
As president of Christian Freedom International (CFI), Jim Jacobson directs the course of the organization in its international and national efforts to help persecuted Christians. An experienced human rights advocate, Mr. Jacobson is active in the political process in the nation's capital and around the world. Before joining CFI, he served as a policy analyst in the Reagan White House, and a senior legislative assistant in the U.S. Senate. He is a graduate of the University of Michigan.
CFI is a faith-based organization that has been working in Burma for the past ten years. They work primarily with Karen and Karenni displaced persons and refugees by providing medicine and medical care for over 100,000 Karen and Karenni displaced persons a year, running dozens of small schools in Burma, and have orphanages in refugee camps in Thailand. They were highly involved in Congressional action to waive Patriot Act provisions to help Karen refugees.
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