d'Estree small 160X17 2014Professor Claude d’Estrée – Director

M.T.S., J.D., is the Director of both the International Human Rights Program and the Center on Rights Development at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies as well as the Buddhist Chaplain at the University of Denver. He is a graduate of Harvard Divinity School where he studied comparative religion and was appointed as the first Buddhist Chaplain at Harvard University by His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, and a graduate of Northeastern University School of Law where he focused on critical legal studies and prisoner’s rights. Before coming to the University of Denver in 2002, he was at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Washington, DC.

Jessica Ruch – Associate Director

Jessica is a second year M.A. candidate in the International Development program, focusing on education, gender rights, and International Project Cycle Management. She received her B.A. in International Development and German at the University of Oregon. After receiving her degree, Jessica worked as a Youth Developer with Peace Corps in Kushugum, Ukraine – a small farming village outside Zaporizhia from 2010-2012. She focused on developing programs to improve healthy lifestyles and youth engagement in community development at a rural school. This experience inspired her to teach and travel in Europe and Asia before refocusing her goals and returning to the states to pursue a career in education and youth development. She loves traveling and exploring new cities, playing soccer, and quilting.

Joanna Beletic – Symposium & Events Coordinator

Jo is a first year M.A. Candidate in International Human Rights with a concentration in refugee and migrant rights. Having been raised in an Air Force family sparked an early interest in world affairs that lead to a B.A. at The College of William and Mary. The degree in International Relations set an interdisciplinary foundation and allowed her to study alongside Argentine students in Buenos Aires. After graduation, she moved to New York City to work in the business world before pivoting back to her true passion. She enjoys the outdoor activities of Denver, traveling when possible, and spending time with other Korbel students.

Fawn Bolak – Symposium & Events Assistant

Fawn is a first year M.A. candidate in the International Studies program, with a certificate in International Law and Human Rights, and a focus on civil conflict, peacebuilding, and human trafficking, specifically in the Middle East. She received her undergraduate degrees from the University of Central Florida in 2014, earning a B.A. in Political Science, a B.S. in Psychology, and a certificate in Women’s Studies. For the past two and a half years, she worked as a Victim Advocate at the University of Central Florida Police Department where she provided comprehensive services for victims of crime and participated in community violence prevention efforts. She is currently working with CORD and The Human Trafficking Center. In her spare time, Fawn enjoys hiking, being with her dogs, and drinking coffee.

rougiRougui Toure – Service Events & Outreach Coordinator

Rougui has Mauritanian and Senegalese origins. She is currently pursuing her M.A. in International Human Rights with a certificate in Humanitarian Assistance. She completed a dual Bachelor degree program in International Relations and French at the University Of Virginia College at Wise. As an undergraduate, she studied abroad to the Institut Politiques of Rennes in France. The following year, her desires to explore unknown realms led her to go to South Korea. There, she was presented with the opportunity to assist North Korean refugees’ conferences and observed the 2013 Ambassadors dialogues which aimed to fortify South Korean and American relations. She became interested in humanitarian assistance while interning at Mission Results after the 2010 Haitian earthquake. To further her knowledge in this field, she interned at UNHCR specifically focusing on the current Malian crisis. Her duties included observing various phases of humanitarianism from donor relations to Ebola prevention procedures. For fun, Rougui enjoys dancing, hiking, and traveling.

Eli Banghart – Research & Education Coordinator

Eli is a second year M.A. candidate in International Security with concentrations in North & West African Terrorism and Intelligence. He received two B.A.’s in International Studies and French from Washington College in Chestertown, MD. At Korbel, Eli focuses on smuggling and trafficking routes in the Sahel and counterterrorism strategy. His study abroad experience in Morocco proved as a means to focus on human rights after working for the Azrou Centre on Development and studying the Sahwari people’s journey to independence. Eli also interns for the Terrorism Research & Analysis Consortium (TRAC) and bartends at the Blue Bonnet Café in Denver.

Kate Morgan – Research & Education Assistant

Kate is a first year M.A. candidate in International Human Rights and plans on getting a certificate in Religion and International Affairs. She received her B.S. in Psychology from Ball State University in Muncie, IN. She has done research in the areas of psychology, sexual orientation and identity, and drug use among college students. Kate is also working with the Human Trafficking Center. She plans to focus on gender rights and human trafficking in Eastern Europe and plans to complete fellowships once graduated to further her interests.

Christy Dehus – Communications & Media C0- Coordinator

Christy is a second year M.A. candidate in International Human Rights with concentrations in state building and the extractive industries in the Democratic Republic of Congo. She received two B.A.’s in International Relations and Political Science focusing on African Development from the American University in Washington, DC. Christy’s research has focused on forecasting political killings in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the effectiveness of UN peacekeeping operations in Democratic Republic of Congo, the history of the Mobutu regime and U.S. influence, and implications of foreign aid in African countries. Her background includes Teach for America, teaching in an international school in China, field work in Kenya, starting a non-profit for homeless services, and corporate experience recruiting within multiple industries. She has consulted for International Development Exchange, Kaskazi Environmental Alliance, Teach with Africa, Do Good Lab, and Warzone Initiatives within data management, performance improvement in teams, and organizational effectiveness. She’s an active yogi, snowboarder, and guest blogger.

Briana Simmons – Communications & Media Co-Coordinator

Briana is a first year M.A. candidate in the International Human Rights program with a specialized concentration to encompass a broad scope of human rights violations for populations of the African Diaspora. At the forefront of Briana’s work are education, reproductive justice, and modern slavery. She earned a B.S. in Journalism with a minor in international relations at Missouri State University. While earning her first degree, Briana also worked as a journalist for three publications including KSMU Radio 91.1 FM. Briana plans to use her knowledge of international issues and expertise in writing to bring awareness to human rights violations occurring daily around the world. She is currently working with CORD and as a research assistant with the Human Trafficking Center. When she’s not working, Briana enjoys exploring new places, cooking, and anything with an artistic flair.

Melissa Rary – Communications & Media Intern

Melissa is a first year M.A. Candidate in International Studies with concentrations in development and human rights. She is also a participant in the International Law and Human Rights certificate program with the Sturm College of Law. She received her B.A. from the University of Georgia in International Affairs and German. During her undergraduate education, she studied in Germany for two years, where she learned to speak the language and immersed herself in the culture. The recent migrant crisis in Europe has sparked her renewed interest in European foreign policy. She hopes to return to the region to tackle the issues of human rights and development emerging rapidly across the continent. When she is not studying or traveling, she enjoys exploring Colorado’s beauty with her pup, photography, and a good slice of pizza.

elizabethElizabeth Kirchhoff – Research & Education Intern

Elizabeth is a first year M.A. candidate in the International Human Rights program with interests in alleviating social, economic, and political inequalities in public education and public development, especially as related to the oppression of minority communities. She received her B.A. in English from the University of Missouri in Columbia, MO, where she interned with the Missouri Review. Previously, she has lived and worked in Seattle, WA, has traveled throughout the United States and Europe, and aspires to work for an effective humanitarian organization. When she is not working, she enjoys laughing, dancing, reading, and making art.