Fri June 9 at 8PM | “The Long Journey to Freedom” featuring Noura Erakat (Palestinian American legal
Noura Erakat is a human rights attorney and activist. As of Fall 2014, she is an Assistant Professor at George Mason University. She has taught international human rights law in the Middle East at Georgetown University since Spring 2009. Noura is a Co-Founding Editor of Jadaliyya, an electronic magazine on the Middle East that combines scholarly expertise and local knowledge.Most recently she served as Legal Counsel for the Domestic Policy Subcommittee of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee in the House of Representatives. Prior to her time on Capitol Hill, Noura received a New Voices Fellowship to work as the national grassroots organizer and legal advocate at the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation where she helped seed BDS campaigns nationally as well as support the cases brought against two former Israeli officials in U.S. federal courts for alleged war crimes. For several years, Noura worked as the Legal Advocacy Coordinator for the Badil Center for Refugee and Residency Rights. In that capacity, she drafted their submissions to the human rights treaty bodies and lobbied the US Congress as well as diplomatic missions at the United Nations on their behalf. Prior to attending law school, she helped launch the divestment campaign along with the Students for Justice in Palestine at UC Berkeley in 2001. She has helped to initiate and organize several national formations including AMWAJ-Arab Women Arising for Justice and the U.S. Palestinian Community Network (USPCN). She currently serves on the board of the Institute for Policy Studies; on the board of the Arab Studies Institute; is a Policy Advisor to Al-Shabaka; serves of the Editorial Board of the Journal for Palestine Studies; and is a founding board member of the DC Palestinian Film and Arts Festival. Noura spent the Spring 2010 academic semester in Beirut, Lebanon where she worked with human rights attorney, Nizar Saghieh, on several issues including administrative detention of Iraqi refugees. Noura helped Saghieh establish the Legal Agenda, a Lebanon-based NGO dedicated to studying law and society and that advocates for legal reform in the Arab world through civic and judicial empowerment. Noura has appeared on MSNBC’s “Up With Chris Hayes,” "All In With Chris Hayes," "Ronan Farrow Daily," Fox’s “The O’ Reilly Factor,” NBC’s “Politically Incorrect,” PBS-THIRTEEN, PBS News Hour, NPR, BBC World Service, Democracy Now, and Al-Jazeera America, Arabic, and English. Her publications have appeared in The New York Times, The LA Review of Books, The Nation, The Hill, Foreign Policy, Al Ahram English, Fair Observer, The Interdependent, IntLawGrrls, The Huffington Post, Al Jazeera, and Jadaliyya. Noura’s scholarly publications include: “US v. ICRC: Customary International Humanitarian Law and Universal Jurisdiction” in the Denver Journal of International Law and Policy; "New Imminence in the Time of Obama: The Impact of Targeted Killings on the Law of Self-Defense" in the Arizona Law Review; and "Overlapping Refugee Legal Regimes: Closing the Protection Gap During Secondary Forced Displacement," in the Oxford Journal of International Refugee Law. Her multimedia productions include the Black Palestinian Solidarity video and website as well as the Gaza In Context Pedagogical Project. Noura earned her J.D. and undergraduate degrees from the University of California at Berkeley (Phi Beta Kappa) and a LLM in National Security from Georgetown University Law Center (Distinction & Dean’s List). She also completed the Abraham L. Freedman Teaching Fellowship at Temple University, Beasley School of Law. The Washington Peace Center awarded her the 2014 Activist of the Year Award and Harvard Law School International Development Society and Women's Law Association selected her as one of their 2015 honorees of Women Inspiring Change and the Palestinian American Women's Association awarded her the Activist of the Year Award in 2016.
Parisa Pirooz is a passionate human rights advocate whose career path is devoted to advancing the lives of all women alike. Her drive for achieving gender-equality has led her to travel extensively around the world to study and work on specific issues pertaining to women. Parisa’s interest in gender issues stemmed from her acceptance as a visiting student at Oxford University, where she studied international human rights law and feminism in the Middle East. This led to her most recent journey of moving to the Middle East to work for a Jordanian NGO that promotes for national policies and practices towards women to become consistent with international standards. Here, Parisa assisted local human rights attorneys with outreach programs that involved refugees and youth groups on matters regarding sexual violence, honor killings and combating gender inequality in society. Much of Parisa's free time is devoted to volunteering for causes involving women and human rights. She has provided volunteer services for conferences at the United Nations and has worked directly for the Coalition for the International Criminal Court. Her leadership involvement for working with marginalized populations was personally recognized by the U.S. White House, who deemed Parisa as a “trusted voice and leader in the community.” Upon completing her Masters Degree in Political Science from George Mason University, Parisa decided to pursue her dream of becoming an international human rights lawyer. She is currently a J.D. candidate at The George Washington University Law School in Washington, D.C., where she is simultaneously working to assist overseas clients in obtaining refugee status in the U.S.