Staff by Office

  • Staff by Office


Office of the Director

Elizabeth Andersen, Director, joined the ABA ROLI in September 2014. She has more than 20 years of experience in international law, international human rights and rule of law development. She previously served for eight years as executive director and executive vice president of the American Society of International Law; for three years as director of ABA ROLI’s Europe and Eurasia Division (previously known as ABA CEELI); and for eight years at Human Rights Watch, as a researcher, as director of advocacy and, ultimately, as executive director of its Europe and Central Asia Division. Ms. Andersen began her legal career in clerkships with Judge Kimba M. Wood of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York and with Judge Georges Abi-Saab of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. She is an expert in international human rights law, international humanitarian law and international criminal law, and teaches these subjects as an adjunct professor at the American University Washington College of Law. Ms. Andersen received a B.A. from Williams College, an M.P.A. from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, and a J.D. from Yale Law School. She currently serves as a member of the Board of Trustees of Williams College, as well as a on the governing and advisory boards of several international non-profit organizations. You can contact Ms. Andersen at


Laura Ruch, Special Assistant to the Director, joined ABA ROLI in July 2011. She previously served as a peacebuilding advisor for the Department of State Office of the Coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization, located at the United States Mission to the United Nations in New York. She has also worked in the Office of the Prosecutor at the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, the United Nations Peacebuilding Support Office, the European Centre for Conflict Prevention, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, the Open Society Institute and Heartland Alliance for Human Needs & Human Rights. Ms. Ruch holds a B.A. from the University of Michigan, a J.D. from Boston College Law School, and a M.A. in International Relations from The Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy at Tufts University.You can contact Ms. Ruch at

Administration & Finance

Brian Afeltra, International Support Associate, joined the ABA Rule of Law Initiative in June 2014 to assist with human resources and recruiting efforts, with an emphasis on international staff. Mr. Afeltra previously worked at the American Wind Energy Association and interned with the United Nations Foundation and Sister Cities International. He graduated with a B.A. in international studies from American University’s School of International Service in May 2013. You can contact Brian Afeltra at


Miriam Santos Forrester, Senior Accounting Clerk, joined ABA ROLI as a full-time staffer in March 2012 after multiple temporary stints to support ABA ROLI’s work. She was a University scholar from the University of the East, Manila, Philippines, with a B.S. in business administration. In the Philippines, she worked with Filinvest Credit Corporation, Telefunken Semiconductors (Phils), Inc. and Pathfinder Holding Philippines, Inc. In Saipan, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, she worked as a chief accountant for the Dollar Up Souvenir Mart, Inc., and as staff accountant for the Jones & Guerrero Group, in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI).  With the J&G Group, she helped to manage shopping malls, groceries, wholesalers, distributors and franchises. You can contact her at


Sherry Garay, Business Manager, joined the ABA Rule of Law Initiative in January 2002. Sherry currently assists with financial business management consisting of financial analysis, fiscal planning, grant review, and field based financial training. Ms. Garay also plans conferences and meetings. She has had the opportunity to work with associates in various regions plan and execute meetings, such as the ABA Rule of Law Initiative Annual Meeting. She has formerly served as finance coordinator, grants manager, and senior grants manager during her tenure with the ABA Rule of Law Initiative. You can contact Sherry Garay at


Vladimir Gurin, Senior Financial Analyst, joined the ABA Rule of Law Initiative in April 2001, when he served as field financial manager in ABA ROLI’s Moldova office. In April 2008, he joined ABA ROLI’s Washington, DC office where he is responsible for financial analysis, budgets, spending review and other finance related issues. He graduated from the College of Computer Science and the University of Economic Studies of Moldova in Chisinau and holds a Master’s degree in management and economics. You can contact Vladimir Gurin at

Alesia Kozel, Finance Officer, joined the ABA Rule of Law Initiative in May 2007 shortly after earning her B.S. degree in general business, with a specialization in international business, from the University of Maryland, College Park. She works on budgeting, financial analysis and procurement. You can contact Alesia Kozel at

External Relations

Anita Denning, Director of External Relations, joined the ABA Rule of Law Initiative in 2008. Ms. Denning has worked in the communications and external relations fields for nearly 20 years, specializing in multi-channel communications strategies, stakeholder analysis, marketing, fundraising, grant writing, print and online production, and social media. Ms. Denning holds a B.A. in journalism from the University of Maryland at College Park and an M.A. in communications, culture, and technology from Georgetown University. A native Washingtonian, Ms. Denning has sustained interests in the evolution of media, environmental sustainability and equitable global development—including issues related to gender equality, property rights and education. She is a member of the International Association of Business Communicators and the Society for International Development.You can contact Anita Denning at

Samantha Feinstein, Development Coordinator, joined ABA ROLI in April 2014 and provides research, coordination, tracking and knowledge management support for development and fundraising efforts. Ms. Feinstein has more than six years of experience working in the international development field as a program manager focusing on proposal development, grant management and compliance, program implementation and new country program startups. She has a B.A. degree in government and world affairs from the University of Tampa and an M.A. degree in international relations from Hult International Business School in London. You can contact Samantha Feinstein at


Yoftahe Manna, Outreach and Communications Specialist, has an M.A. degree in communication studies from Eastern Illinois University, where he worked as a research assistant, and a B.A. degree in journalism and mass communication, with minor in political science, from the University of Asmara, Eritrea. Prior to attending graduate school, Mr. Manna worked as a public relations officer at the University of Asmara, where he helped establish an office of public relations and communications and where he taught English and public relations classes. Mr. Manna also speaks Tigrigna, Tigre and Amharic. You can contact Yoftahe Manna at


Jeremy Purcell, Technology Specialist, joined the ABA Rule of Law Initiative in January 2008 and provides web support for ABA ROLI’s various online initiatives. Prior to joining ABA ROLI in his current position, Mr. Purcell supported ABA ROLI’s anti-corruption efforts from 2004 to 2006 as a temporary Web Assistant. Mr. Purcell also worked as an associate database administrator with DigitalNet Government Solutions, providing database administration and web technical support from 2001 to 2003. You can contact Jeremy Purcell at

Monitoring & Evaluation

Salome Tsereteli-Stephens, Monitoring and Evaluation Manager. Ms. Tsereteli-Stephens joined ABA ROLI in 2013, after more than 10 years of experience in international aid and development work, mostly focused on design, monitoring and evaluation. As the lead for design, monitoring and evaluation efforts at  World Vision International in Georgia and German International Cooperation (GIZ) South Caucasus Rule of Law program, she has developed tools, training materials, e-learning and distance learning courses, and published research. Most recently, she was a monitoring and evaluation senior specialist with Save the Children US. Ms. Tsereteli-Stephens holds an M.A. degree in Law from Tbilisi State University in Georgia and is a member of American Evaluation Association. Native speaker of Georgian, she is also comfortable with English, German, Russian and Turkish languages.

Research & Assessments

Simon Conté, Director of Research and Assessments, has contributed to ABA ROLI's research activities on rule of law issues for more than 10 years, particularly in the areas of legislative analysis and assessment tool methodologies. He serves as co-coordinator for both the judicial reform focal area and the Prosecutorial Reform Index. Mr. Conté holds a B.A. from Binghamton University, and an M.A. in political science and a J.D. from the University at Buffalo. He also has an LL.M. in international and comparative law from Georgetown University. A native of Melbourne, Australia, Mr. Conté joined ABA ROLI in 1995. You can contact Simon Conté at


Mary Greer, Senior Criminal Law Advisor, provides substantive program direction, support and expertise to the ABA Rule of Law Initiative’s (ABA ROLI’s) criminal justice programs around the world. She assists with the design and implementation of technical assistance programs for prosecutors, judges, defense advocates, law enforcement officials and representatives of  government ministries, addressing such global issues as corruption, human trafficking, women’s rights, and financial and organized crimes. She conducts comparative models and best practices research in domestic and international criminal law, and designs and implements sector and country assessments to discern compliance with international standards. She also conducts trainings in interactive teaching methodology, adult communication and trial advocacy. Ms. Greer first served as ABA ROLI’s criminal law liaison in Bosnia from 1998–2000. She was then posted at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) with the Coalition for International Justice before rejoining the ABA ROLI in March 2002. Ms. Greer practiced law for 15 years at the Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri, including five years as public defender and eight years as the elected prosecutor, before being posted in Sarajevo. Ms. Greer has a B.A. in political science from Benedictine College in Atchison, KS, and a J.D. from St. Louis University. You can contact Mary Greer at


Olga Ruda, Deputy Director, Research and Assessments, has been providing research support to ABA ROLI’s judicial reform programs worldwide since June 2004. Her primary duties include overseeing implementation of the Judicial Reform Index assessments, which analyze the compliance of national judiciaries with fundamental international standards on judicial independence. Her past experience includes research on human trafficking at Johns Hopkins University, a judicial internship at the U.S. Court of Federal Claims and work with Harvard University's macroeconomic reform program in Ukraine. Ms. Ruda holds a law degree from Kyiv National Taras Shevchenko University and an LL.M. degree in international legal studies from Washington College of Law, American University. You can contact Olga Ruda at


Paulina Rudnicka, Senior Legal Analyst, joined ABA ROLI in September 2005 after completing a Frankel Fellowship at Human Rights First. Ms. Rudnicka has also worked with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Center for Human Rights, the Jagiellonian University Human Rights Clinic and the Halina Niec Human Rights Association. Ms. Rudnicka was a Thomas Burgenthal Scholar at the George Washington University Law School, where she earned her LL.M. degree. Before studying at George Washington University Law School, she earned a master’s of law degree from Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland. You can contact Paulina Rudnicka at

Mridula Shrestha, Senior Legal Analyst, was previously an associate at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom in Washington, DC, where she worked on energy and infrastructure project finance. While studying law, she was a clinical student at Stanford’s International Human Rights Clinic in California and Namibia, as well as a research assistant. Ms. Shrestha has also worked as a senior consultant at Ernst & Young and co-founded a non-profit organization that serves an underprivileged community in Nepal. She has an AB degree in economics from Bryn Mawr College, a J.D. degree from Stanford Law School and an M.A. degree in applied economics from the Johns Hopkins University. She speaks Nepali and English and understands Hindi, Spanish and Thai. You can email her at  


Jessie Tannenbaum, Senior Legal Analyst, conducts research and analysis in the areas of criminal justice reform, judicial reform and legal profession reform, and is coordinator of ABA ROLI’s legal profession reform thematic area. She has conducted and/or coordinated more than a dozen assessments related to criminal justice and judicial reform, and is coordinator of the Detention Procedure Assessment Tool. Ms. Tannenbaum holds an LL.M. degree in international human rights law, summa cum laude, and a J.D. degree, cum laude, from Notre Dame Law School, and a B.A. degree, cum laude, from the University of Denver. Prior to joining ABA ROLI in 2008, she was a fellow at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights of the Organization of American States. She has also practiced immigration law, family law and criminal defense, and is active in several DC-area bar associations. A Chicago native, she is fluent in Spanish and French and has a working knowledge of Italian, Hebrew and Portuguese. You can contact Jessie Tannenbaum at


Jennifer Tsai, Senior Access to Justice Advisor, works on the design and implementation of assessment tools, research criteria and methodologies on access to justice and legal empowerment, atrocity prevention and human rights. In this capacity, she has led research teams and been the principal or co-author of a number of ABA ROLI publications, including the Access to Justice Assessment Tool: A Guide to Analyzing Access to Justice for Civil Society Organizations, related AJAT reports and a technical guide on paralegal service delivery for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities in West Africa. She has also worked on survey and protocol design, sampling methodologies, interviewer training and data collection and analysis as part of several atrocity documentation projects in South Sudan, Ethiopia and Syria. Ms. Tsai is coordinator of ABA ROLI’s Access to Justice and Human Rights thematic area. Prior to joining ABA ROLI, she worked at domestic and international organizations on criminal justice and human rights, including the Vera Institute of Justice and the Beijing office of International Bridges to Justice. In addition, she practiced law in New York for 11 years, including six years as a public defender. Ms. Tsai holds a J.D. degree from Cornell Law School and a B.A. degree from Columbia University. You can contact Jennifer Tsai at

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