Our Staff

CHRISTOPHER ALLBRITTON | COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER

Christopher Allbritton is the communications manager at Center for Civilians in Conflict. He joined CIVIC after more than 25 years in journalism, reporting from conflict zones such as Iraq, Lebanon, and Pakistan. His work has appeared around the world in TIME, New York Magazine, Reuters, the Wall Street Journal, the Associated Press, the New York Daily News, the San Francisco Chronicle, and Der Spiegel, among others. As bureau chief for Reuters in Pakistan, he oversaw the coverage of the death of Osama bin Laden and broke stories on the plight of civilians caught in the war between militants and the Pakistani military.

Chris also started the award-winning blog, Back-to-Iraq.com, in 2002, which helped start the now-common crowd-funding model for quality journalism. Chris specializes in writing, editing, and photography and holds an MS in journalism from Columbia University in New York and a BA from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. In 2008-9, he was awarded a Stanford University John S. Knight Fellowship.

David Azutoru | Program/Training Officer, Northeast Nigeria

David Azutoru is an experienced facilitator in Peace Support Operation courses with subject matter expertise in the protection of civilians, disarmament, demobilization and reintegration, security sector reform, governance, diplomacy for peace and security, civil military cooperation, and international humanitarian law. He has nine years of experience in programs and training and has trained military, police, and civilians in Italy, Sweden, Kenya, and Egypt. He has developed and facilitated courses for the UN, AU and ECOWAS sponsored courses. He holds a bachelor of science in accounting and a masters degree in peace and conflict studies from the National Open University of Nigeria. Prior to joining CIVIC, David was the lead facilitator at the Nigerian Army Peacekeeping Centre in Jaji, Kaduna.

Federico Borello | Executive Director

Federico Borello is the Executive Director of Center for Civilians in Conflict as of July 2014. He brings to the team more than fifteen years of experience working on human rights and international justice issues. Federico previously served as Director of Investments at Humanity United where he managed the International Justice and the Democratic Republic of Congo portfolios. Prior to this, he worked with the United Nations, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and the International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ). Federico holds a law degree from the University of Milan, where he graduated magna cum laude. He also earned a master’s degree in international affairs from Columbia University in New York. Read Federico’s full bio here.

Evan Cinq-Mars | United Nations Advocate and Policy Adviser

Evan Cinq-Mars is the United Nations Advocate and Policy Adviser for the Center for Civilians in Conflict based in New York City. He brings more than five years experience as an advocacy and policy specialist on the prevention of mass atrocity crimes and the protection of civilians. His work has included on-the-ground engagement with UN peace operations in the Central African Republic and Mali to enhance the protection of civilians. Prior to joining CIVIC, Evan worked with the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, the Centre for International Governance Innovation, and the World Federalist Movement-Institute for Global Policy. 

Evan holds an MA in Global Governance, specializing in Conflict and Security, from the Balsillie School of International Affairs at the University of Waterloo, and a Bachelor of Public Affairs and Policy Management degree from the Arthur Kroeger College of Public Affairs at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada. 

KYLE DIETRICH | SENIOR PROGRAM MANAGER

Kyle Dietrich manages the Africa and Peacekeeping program at CIVIC. An experienced manager and technical adviser in complex humanitarian crises, international development, and Interagency coordination, Kyle and his team conduct research, advocacy, training, and technical assistance in Nigeria, Mali, South Sudan, and DRC aimed at helping peacekeepers, governments, militaries, armed groups, and civil society organizations adopt the policies, tools, and practices needed to better protect civilians in armed conflict. A graduate of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and Harvard Divinity School, Kyle has also worked with UN Peacekeeping, Mercy Corps, USAID, the Peace Corps, Navanti, the Carter Center, and Peace in Focus, a boutique peacebuilding organization he co-founded in 2007. An anthropologist by training, Kyle is proficient in French, Portuguese, Turkmen, and Spanish and specializes in creative program design, conflict analysis, countering violent extremism, civilian protection, foreign assistance, youth engagement, strategy development, facilitation, and high impact management.

EMILY ERFANI | OPERATIONS MANAGER

Emily brings years of experience in non-profit management. She supported CARE USA’s Policy and Advocacy efforts, including a temporary assignment in Afghanistan to write a series of policy briefs focused on the health and legal rights of women and girls. Emily speaks French and holds a BA in Political Science from the University of the Pacific.

JESSICA GINTHER | DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS

Jessica Ginther is Center for Civilians in Conflict’s new Director of Operations and has more than 15 years of financial, program, and management experience working in a variety of industries, national and international, nonprofit and for-profit. At her most recent position as the Chief Business Officer within the IT Department at Amtrak, she developed an innovative organization focused on increased efficiencies in processes and tools for improved program implementation. Her prior experiences include financial consulting, grant, cooperative agreement and contract proposal development and auditing.

Jessica began her career as a Peace Corps volunteer in Bolivia where she lived and worked with small, indigenous communities as a Micro-Enterprise development volunteer. She is fluent in Spanish and English and has lived and worked in Bolivia, Egypt, and El Salvador. She studied Accounting and Business Administration as an undergraduate at Ohio Dominican University and received her MBA from George Washington University. She currently resides with her husband and two sons in Alexandria, Va.

MARLA KEENAN | DIRECTOR OF PROGRAMS

Marla Keenan is Director of Programs at Center for Civilians in Conflict and is a subject matter expert on civilian harm mitigation, civilian casualty tracking mechanisms and consequence management of civilian casualties. She is a Truman Security Fellow at the Truman National Security Project. Marla has trained military officers at several advanced schools and staff colleges. In addition to her work with the military, Marla helps shape CIVIC’s programs in conflict zones and oversees operational aspects of the organization. Since joining the organization in October 2005, she has managed programs and research in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Somalia, Syria, Lebanon, Mali, Israel, Jordan, Nepal, Georgia, and the Central African Republic. Prior to joining CIVIC, Marla was an Edward Rawson Fellow at Citizens for Global Solutions, working on US global engagement on issues as varied as the conflict in Darfur to Avian Influenza. A former management consultant, Marla has held senior communications and marketing positions with a range of private sector organizations.

Marla holds a Master's of Science in Public Policy and Management with a concentration in policy analysis and international policy from the H. John Heinz III School of Public Policy & Management at Carnegie Mellon University and earned her Bachelors degree in Business Administration from the University of Arizona. To view Marla’s Media Bio click here.

HADI MARIFAT | AFGHANISTAN PROGRAM OFFICER

Hadi was born in Afghanistan and studied Politics and International Relations at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) in the UK. He did his Master's degree in Peace and Conflict Studies with the International Institute of Social Studies of the Erasmus University of Rotterdam, in The Netherlands. Hadi has worked as a director of the Afghanistan Human Rights and Democracy Organization, researcher with Human Rights Watch, Human Rights Associate with the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), Regional Election Coordinator with the Afghanistan Joint Electoral Management Body (JEMB) and advisor with the Save Children Alliance in Afghanistan.

LEE MCCLURE | DEVELOPMENT MANAGER, GOVERNMENTS & FOUNDATIONS

Lee joined CIVIC as the Development Manager in 2016 to grow our institutional support. He brings seven years experience in fundraising for international anti-slavery and other human rights programs and a deep commitment to serving the most vulnerable and marginalized people. He also has experience in program design and strategic planning. Out of the office, he’s usually found riding or tinkering with his bicycles.

JOSEPH MORSE | SENIOR ADVOCATE, US PROGRAM

As the Senior Advocate for the US Program, Jay brings more than twenty years of active duty military experience as both an Army aviator and, for the last fifteen years, an Army Judge Advocate. His areas of expertise include the Law of Armed Conflict, IHL/IHRL, and investigations. He has professional and personal experience in more than fifty countries. Jay is a native of Nevada and is a graduate of The Colorado College with a B.A. in political science. He earned his J.D. from the James E. Rogers College of Law at the University of Arizona, and an LL.M. from the U.S. Army’s Judge Advocate General’s School.

SAHR MUHAMMEDALLY | SENIOR PROGRAM MANAGER

Sahr manages CIVIC’s work on civilian protection and harm mitigation in the Middle East and Asia as well as US counterterrorism policies. In this position, Sahr also advises militaries and governments on harm mitigation policies and training. Sahr has worked for over a decade in the fields of armed conflict, human rights, and counterterrorism in Afghanistan, China, Iraq, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, and Syria. Prior to joining CIVIC, Sahr was a consultant with Human Rights Watch working on South Asia and Southeast Asia and was the 2004-2005 Alan R. Finberg Fellow. From 2007-2009, Sahr was a Senior Associate at Human Rights First and undertook research and advocacy on US counterterrorism practices and policies.

Sahr practiced law in New York with Gibbons PC and has been a consultant to the American Civil Liberties Union, Human Rights in China, and the International Rescue Committee. Sahr is a graduate of Mount Holyoke College and Brooklyn Law School (cum laude).

Chitra Nagarajan | Senior Advisor

Chitra Nagarajan is the Senior Advisor leading CIVIC's programs in Borno, North East Nigeria supporting civil-military relations, training, research, and advocacy to prevent and address civilian harm in the ongoing conflict. Chitra has specialist knowledge and experience of peace and security, gender, and human rights and humanitarian law having spent almost 15 years working in programming, policy and advocacy, including in China, Guinea, Liberia, Myanmar, Nigeria, São Tomé and Príncipe, and Sierra Leone. Prior to joining CIVIC, Chitra worked for the Nigeria Stability and Reconciliation Programme, Gender Action for Peace and Security, International Alert and UNIFEM (now UN Women). Chitra has a LLM (Distinction) in Human Rights, Conflict and Justice from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), and is currently completing a MSc in Social Research Skills from the University of Ulster.

Saman Omar | Program Officer, Iraq

Saman Omar is Program Officer for Center for Civilians in Conflict in Erbil, Iraq. In this role, he is leading advocacy with the Kurdish government and training with Peshmerga forces.  Prior to joining CIVIC, Saman worked as the Director of the Language Center at Salahaddin University-Erbil, worked for USAID in Iraq, and was the Director General of the Emergency and Disaster Coordination Center of Kurdistan Regional Government. Saman has a PhD in Modern American Literature and worked in academia for 13 years.

MIKHAELA PAYDEN-TRAVERS | DEVELOPMENT Manager, INDIVIDUAL & CORPORATE GIVING

Mika serves as CIVIC’s Development Officer, ensuring that CIVIC supporters see the vital work being done on behalf of civilians that their support makes possible. Mika brings to CIVIC over a decade of experience working as a fundraising professional for grassroots nonprofits across the United States and Latin America. She has also worked in nonprofit administration, program design and evaluation, strategic planning, and community organizing--often all at the same time!

Mika holds a BA in English Literature from the College of William & Mary and a Master's in Nonprofit Leadership and Management from the University of San Diego. She is also fluent in Spanish, loves rescuing street dogs, and is passionate about human rights.

SADEEQ GARBA SHEHU | REGIONAL PROGRAM MANAGER, Nigeria and LAKE CHAD Basin REGION

Sadeeq Shehu manages CIVIC’s Nigeria and Lake Chad Basin program. Sadeeq is a retired Group Captain (Colonel equivalent) with the Nigerian Air Force, and has more than 20 years of experience and field deployments to 50 African countries as a security expert with experience in African peace and conflict, protection of civilians, international humanitarian law, human rights law in military operations, international refugee law, countering violent extremism, humanitarian diplomacy, security sector reform, peacekeeping operations, disarmament, demobilization and reintegration, weapons systems, and training of military and security forces.

Sadeeq is a UK British Chevening Scholar, a graduate of the University of Bradford African Peace and Conflict Studies, the French École de Guerre Paris, holds an IFRC Diploma in Humanitarian Diplomacy, and has worked with the African Union Commission, African Union/ECOWAS Africa-led International Support Mission in Mali (AFISMA), and as a Volunteer Facilitator on Law of Armed Conflict with the ICRC in Nigeria and other places. Sadeeq speaks English, French, Hausa, and understands German, Portuguese, Arabic, and Amharic.

Lauren Spink | Program Officer, Africa and Peacekeeping

Lauren works on the Africa and Peacekeeping program at CIVIC and is based in East Africa. She brings to CIVIC four years of experience in refugee resettlement, primarily within sub-Saharan Africa, where she was deployed to UNHCR offices throughout the continent to interview civilians fleeing conflict. Lauren has worked as a researcher for the World Peace Foundation, Conflict Dynamics International, the International Committee of the Red Cross, and the Humanitarian Evidence Program at the Feinstein International Center. She has also worked as a procurement manager for security sector reform programs in East Africa.

Lauren holds a B.A. from American University in International Relations (magna cum laude) and an M.A. from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University where she studied Human Security and Migration (magna cum laude).