IILHR Executive Director William “Spence” Spencer is Executive Director of the Institute for International Law and Human Rights. Spencer has more than 22 years of professional experience in international diplomacy, human rights, democracy and governance, international law, and crisis management and response, both in and out of government. He is intimately familiar with post-conflict rebuilding and peace and constitutional negotiations in the former Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, and Iraq.
In 1996 Spencer, serving as Senior Political Advisor at the OSCE Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina, helped to configure Bosnia’s first post-war elections and oversaw implementation of human rights components of the Dayton Agreement. As a career foreign service officer with the U.S. State Department, Spencer worked closely on human rights monitoring and protection and the rule of law in Kosovo, Chechnya, Macedonia, and Albania. While at the State Department, he coordinated policy and resource support for human rights initiatives in the former Yugoslavia and the Yugoslav War Crimes Tribunal. He served as a delegate to the Rome Conference to establish an International Criminal Court in 1999.
From 2001 to 2005, he was a senior manager at International Resources Group, a consulting firm with experience in over 120 countries, and served as Washington Director for the Public International Law & Policy Group from 2005 to 2007. Mr. Spencer has extensive experience in Afghanistan and Iraq, from reporting on Afghanistan’s human rights and democracy landscape in the aftermath of the fall of the Taliban, to providing the first international legal training to Afghan judges, police and prosecutors. In Iraq, he has advised the government of Iraq on a wide range of Constitutional and legislative issues since 2005.
IILHR Senior Fellow and Washington Director Charles J. Brown has spent the past 20 years promoting human rights and democratic governance around the world. From 2004 to 2007, Brown served as President and CEO of Citizens for Global Solutions. From 2001 to 2004, he served as Deputy Executive Director at Amnesty International USA (AIUSA). From 1998 to 2001, he was Chief of Staff to Assistant Secretary Harold Koh and Director of the Office of Strategic Planning and External Affairs in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor in the U.S. Department of State. He also served as Spokesperson for U.S. Delegations to the Rome Conference on the Establishment of the International Criminal Court, the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, and the Warsaw Ministerial Meeting of the Community of Democracies. From 1988 to 1998, Brown served in a variety of roles at Freedom House, including Director of Program Development. He is co-author of The Politics of Psychiatry in Revolutionary Cuba and co-editor of Judges and Journalists in Transitional Democracies.
IILHR Brussels Director Nicola Giovannini also serves as President of Droit au Droit (Right to Law), an international non-governmental organization committed to the promotion of human rights and rule of law in judicial and penal procedures. From 2005 to 2009, he served as European Public Affairs & Media Coordinator for No Peace Without Justice. From 1999 to 2004, he served as Senior Political Advisor to the Lista Bonino, a European Parliament bloc. From 1993 to 1999, he served as Advocacy Advisor to several international NGOs committed to the promotion of human rights and international justice. He is the author as well as translator of numerous books and articles on political and legal theory, as well as co-editor of The Use of Solitary Confinement in European Prisons.
Teuta Gashi is a program officer at IILHR and works with our partner organization the International Network to Promote the Rule of Law (INPROL). As a knowledge management specialist her role is to manage rule of law knowledge with the goal of sharing resources and information among the INPROL Community. Teuta also worked on the Rule of Law Training Project at the United States Institute for Peace as an adult education adviser. From 2001-2003, she worked for the UN Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) Civil Administration Pillar where she was involved in the creation of a new Ministry of Education for Kosovo. During the early days of the UN Mission in Kosovo, she worked on the establishment of an UNMIK Regional Office in Prizren. In 1999, Teuta served as an advisor/interpreter for the OSCE Verification Mission in Kosovo. In 2004, Teuta received a Ron Brown Fellowship from Kosovo and, consequently came to the US to obtain a Master's degree in Educational Leadership from Lehigh University.
Erin Houlihan is the Legal Advisor for IILHR’s Iraq program in Baghdad and Washington. As Legal Adviser, she focuses on legislative development and comparative analysis, as well as building awareness and capacity among women, minorities, and other vulnerable groups within the government and civil society. Having previously served as the IILHR Charlotte Ann Temple Fellow, she also continues to support the establishment of the Iraqi High Commission for Human Rights and the development of laws and policies to combat gender-based violence within Iraq. Prior to joining IILHR, Erin worked as a teacher in Los Angeles, California and Istanbul, Turkey. She holds an MA in Special Education from Loyola Marymount University and earned her Juris Doctor from the University of Virginia. She will finish a Master's in Comparative Politics from the same institution in 2011. In addition to her work with IILHR, she also serves as a Court Appointed Special Advocate for abused and neglected children in Virginia, and works with the American Bar Association’s Africa Committee on gender equity and other issues in Africa.