Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Executive Committee Bios

Shannon Meehan

International Rescue Committee’s Deputy Director for Advocacy, Shannon Meehan has spent more than 17 years working in conflict zones around the world. As Deputy Director of Advocacy at the IRC, Shannon is responsible for covering the IRC’s policy priorities for the continent of Africa. A former Peace Corps volunteer in Senegal from 1989 - 1991, Shannon went on to represent the American Refugee Committee International (ARC) in Guinea and later Kosovo, where she served as Country Director, designing and implementing a multi-sector and cross-ethnic program that reached more than 100,000 beneficiaries. When she was a consultant for Refugees International and the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, Shannon conducted missions in Senegal, Guinea, Liberia, Cote D’Ivoire, Sudan, the DRC, Rwanda and in the Middle East: Kuwait, Jordan and Iraq. She is an expert on the humanitarian and protection needs of displaced populations and refugees. Her humanitarian work was highlighted in the book, Those Who Dare, by Katherine Martin (2004). She is a graduate of the University of Oregon, 1998 with a BS in History and Economics.

Nita Evele

Nita Evele is an activist from the DR Congo. She was born in Kinshasa, the capital, in 1974 and moved to the US in 1996 after the rebellion started in the DR Congo. In 1998, she found her calling and become an activist, which allowed her to connect directly with the struggle of individuals instead of passively watching events unfold. In the US, together with other Congolese activists, churches and other organizations, she has worked to support morally and socially the people in the DR Congo whom war had decimated deeply, especially children. In 2005, after briefly considering political life, she decided to fight for a cause beyond political party membership, and instead work with everyone involved in relieving people’s suffering and bringing them peace and prosperity. In 2006, she joined Coalition of Pluralists and Congolese Patriots (COPPAC) which brings together Congolese that want to bring DR Congo issues into the spotlight. COPPAC primarily deals with issues pertaining to the DR Congo but also the social issues that are common to the entire African continent and African Diaspora. The coalition is rooted in its members’ dedication to freedom, equality, and opportunity. They are devoted to the fight for equal rights and opportunities for all and advancing the sovereignty of their territory and continent.

Hervé de Baillenx

Since March 2007, Hervé de Baillenx has been the Director of the International Rescue Committee’s Belgium office, where he carries out advocacy and represents the IRC global network to the European Union. Prior to this, he had set up and spent four years managing CARDI, the Consortium for Assisting Refugees and Displaced in Indonesia, a collaboration of four major NGOs concerned with populations affected by conflict. He spent another six years as Program Director or Country Director in Iraq, Afghanistan, Algeria, Sri Lanka, Burundi and Guinea for several NGOs, including Oxfam and CARE, always in contexts of conflict, displacement or post-conflict rehabilitation. Most recently, he co-authored the chapter on Enhancing Local Capacities in the NGO Impact Initiative assessment commissioned by the Office of the UN Special Envoy on Tsunami Recovery. His earlier career began in the aeronautics industry, where he ended as the Director of Contracts & Finance for a joint venture between major European aerospace companies, before turning to humanitarian work. He graduated from ESCP, a French business school.

Lisa Shannon

Lisa Shannon, a small business owner and creative professional, was home sick one day watching Oprah when she learned of the crisis in the DR Congo. She set out to raise sponsorships for Women for Women International's Congo program through a lone thirty mile trail run. Since that first run in September 2005, with over $100,000 raised and counting, Run for Congo Women has grown into an international effort, now with run organizers in places from Louisiana to Australia, from Maui to Singapore. Lisa's message of hope for Congo has reach millions through the audiences of National Public Radio affiliates, O- The Oprah Magazine, Runner's World, and soon Fitness Magazine. She holds a B.A. in Environment and Development from Hampshire College.

Maurice Carney

Maurice Carney is the co-founder and Executive Director of the Friends of the Congo. He is an independent entrepreneur and human rights activist who has fought with Congolese for over a decade to bring about positive change in the heart of Africa. Maurice has degrees in French Education and Geography. He also holds a Masters Degree in Geography and is pursuing a Ph.D. in political science with a focus on Africa and Black Politics. He has worked as a research analyst at the nation's leading Black think tank the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies. While at the Joint Center, Mr. Carney worked with civic associations in West Africa providing training on Research Methodology and Survey. He served as the Africa working group coordinator for Reverend Jesse Jackson while he was Special Envoy to Africa for President Clinton. Mr. Carney also worked as a research consultant to the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation addressing issues such as the politico-economic condition of African American communities.

Rocco Puopolo

Rocco Puopolo, a Xaverian Missionary Priest, hails from Norwood, Massachusetts. He was ordained in 1977. During 12 years in Sierra Leone, West Africa he was involved in high school teaching, village evangelization and development as the diocesan administrator of schools, university chaplain, National Chaplain to the Young Christian Students and Catholic Youth Organizations. His last assignment there was as director of the National Pastoral Center in Kenema. He was there both during peaceful times as well as times of civil conflict. In the United States, he was involved in seminary training and advocacy for Africa in Milwaukee and Chicago. While involved in this ministry he served on the board of the Federation of Returned Overseas Missions (From Mission to Mission), the Milwaukee Archdiocesan Mission Office Board, The Midwest Mission Task Force, Youth immersions such as the ReachOut Program of Milwaukee and the International Youth Peace Camp. He has been involved with the Archdiocesan Muslim/Christian Dialogue groups as well as the Archdiocesan CRS advisory Board. He holds a Masters of Divinity in Cross Cultural Ministry from Catholic Theological Union, Chicago (1977), and was a research fellow at the Institute of Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University (1994) in preparation for his return to Sierra Leone in 1995. As of September of 2006 he is the executive director of the Africa Faith and Justice Network in Washington, D.C.

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