Our Staff

MARLA BERTAGNOLLI-KEENAN | managing Director & ACTING PROGRAM DIRECTOR

Marla Keenan is managing director 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 Masters 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.

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.

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.

Natasha Hall | PROGRAM OFFICER

Natasha brings over ten years of experience in the MENA region to CIVIC. She has lived and worked on education and protection issues in Jordan, Syria, Iraq, and Egypt.  Prior to joining CIVIC, she worked at USCIS Refugee Affairs Division where she traveled 70 percent of the year interviewing refugees from over 15 countries. She has created training materials and trained over 400 people on crises in Syria and Iraq. While Natasha’s expertise is in humanitarian and refugee issues, she has also worked on security sector and governance reform, counterterrorism, and civilian-military cooperation. 

Natasha received a Master of Science in Foreign Service from Georgetown University with a certificate in Refugees and Humanitarian Emergencies and a BA from the University of Virginia in Foreign Affairs and Middle East Studies.  She is a Fulbright recipient for educational development research in Jordan (2006-2007) and a Boren Fellow for Iraq refugee and protection work in Syria (2010).  When she is not traveling, Natasha works on Art in Exile, which raises awareness of crises in the Middle East through artistic expression. She speaks Arabic.

HADI MARIFAT |  AFGHANISTAN ANALYST

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 Masters 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. 

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).

MIKHAELA PAYDEN-TRAVERS | DEVELOPMENT OFFICER

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 Masters 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.

Cynthia H. Sadler | Director of Development

Cynthia Sadler supports CIVIC's ability to expand its impact and operations by leading and coordinating efforts to attract the financial support that is critical to the organization's continued success.  Cindy brings more than three decades of experience in the political, public relations, nonprofit management, and fund development fields to her position. She has directed development, communications, and external relations functions at, and helped to drive significant growth for, international assistance organizations that include the Institute for War & Peace Reporting, Civic Education Project, and Accordia Global Heath Foundation and at public policy organizations including the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the Economic Policy Institute and The American Prospect.  As a consultant, she has provided fundraising and public relations support and advice to national and international nonprofits and helped educational organizations to build their development and communications programs.  She speaks publicly and publishes on nonprofit fundraising, grant proposal development, and philanthropic sector issues.

MATT WELLS | PROGRAM OFFICER

Matt works at CIVIC on Africa and Peacekeeping. He brings eight years of experience in human rights and transitional justice, including fact-finding research in Côte d’Ivoire, Senegal, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Zambia, Guinea, and Guinea-Bissau. Prior to joining CIVIC, Matt worked at Human Rights Watch as a West Africa Researcher and at International Rights Advocates on human rights litigation in US federal courts. He has also performed research on US counterterrorism investigations and prosecutions.

Matt holds a bachelor’s degree in history and psychology from Rice University and a law degree from Harvard Law School, where he graduated magna cum laude and worked with the International Human Rights Clinic. He speaks French.