Sarah Stephens is the executive director of the Center for Democracy in the Americas. A long-time human rights advocate, Sarah began her work in the 1980s at El Rescate, a center for Central American refugees in Los Angeles, and then worked for the Hollywood Women’s Political Committee on human rights issues from 1990-91. She later founded and directed Artists for a Hate Free America, an entertainment industry-backed organization geared toward encouraging youth involvement in human rights and civil rights issues.
Sarah moved to Washington to work on Cuba policy at the Washington Office on Latin America, and, in December 2001, joined the staff at the Center for International Policy, where she founded the Freedom to Travel to Cuba campaign. In 2006, she left CIP and launched the Center for Democracy in the Americas (CDA).
Sarah works with U.S. policymakers, journalists and others, to change the debate on U.S. foreign policy toward the hemisphere. She has led dozens of delegations of U.S. policymakers, academics, experts, and philanthropists to Chile, Cuba, Ecuador, El Salvador, Honduras and Venezuela on fact-finding and research missions. She has advocated for changes in our policy toward Cuba before Congress, at forums in the U.S. and in Latin America, in editorial columns, and other publications. Opinion pieces authored by Sarah have been published by The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, The Indianapolis Star, The Christian Science Monitor, The Washington Times, The Huffington Post, Alternet.org, and The Havana Note. Her work has been supported by The Atlantic Philanthropies, Arca Foundation, the Christopher Reynolds Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the General Service Foundation, the Open Society Institute, and the Stewart Mott Charitable Trust among others.
Under Ms. Stephens’ direction, CDA has published a series of studies on 21st century Cuba, including “Cuba’s New Resolve: Economic Reform and its implications for U.S. Policy“; a detailed report on Cuba’s plans to drill for energy in the Gulf of Mexico and how the embargo has left the United States vulnerable to the environmental impacts of a potential spill; and “Women’s Work: Gender Equality in Cuba and the Role of Women in Building Cuba’s Future.”
Following the publication of the “Women’s Work” report, Ms. Stephens delivered the keynote address at CDA’s conference titled “Cubans in the New Economy: Their Reflections and the U.S. Response,” co-sponsored by National Foreign Trade Council and the George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs, and participated in a panel hosted by Equality Forum in Philadelphia, which focused on LGBT equality in Cuba.
Regarded as an expert in U.S.-Latin American policy, Ms. Stephens delivered remarks and provided analysis in panels and conferences around the country, including the George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs conference titled “The Obama Administration and Latin America: The First Year”; a panel entitled “Cuba and its reintegration in the Inter-American System” at the American Society of International Law; and at a conference by the Center for International Policy (CIP) on “Questions of Racial Identity, Racism and anti-Racist Policies in Cuba Today,” where participants discussed the implications of race in the Cuban nation, Afro-Cuban initiatives striving for racial equality, and the effect on these issues on U.S.-Cuban relations.
Ms. Stephens has testified before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reforms Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs regarding “National Security Implications of U.S. Policy toward Cuba.” Her testimony can be viewed here. She also testified before the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere regarding “The Crisis in Honduras.”
Andrew Fishbein is Policy and Advocacy Director at the Center for Democracy in the Americas. He works with key stakeholders in the U.S. government and outside constituencies to push for a decisive change in U.S. policy toward Cuba. Andrew previously served as Senior Congressional Affairs Officer at the German Marshall Fund of the United States, where he managed congressional outreach and policy programming, and focused on U.S.-EU relations and energy policy. Andrew received a BSc in Political Science from Carnegie Mellon University and is currently pursuing an MSc in Energy Policy & Climate at Johns Hopkins University. He lives in Washington, DC.
Simone Duval is the Programs Manager and Executive Assistant at the Center for Democracy in the Americas. Simone received a B.A. in Latin American Studies and Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2014. She is fluent in Spanish and proficient in Portuguese.
Before earning her degree, Simone was engaged in a variety of activities in the region and on campus. In 20ll, she served as the Principal Investigator for a summer research project on satisfaction rates among micro insurance customers in Peru. She also worked at the Public Affairs Section of the U.S. Embassy in Quito, Ecuador as an intern in 2012, where she managed cultural and educational outreach programs for Spanish speakers. Simone also spent a gap year in Ambato, Ecuador. During her time on campus, she became involved in the Latino community by hosting and working with area youth on Radio Latijam, the community Spanish language radio program. Simone’s focus for her senior term paper was the 2011 economic guidelines implemented in Cuba. Following her graduation, she received a Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) grant from the U.S. Department of Education to intensively study Portuguese in Rio de Janeiro.
Cullen Moran is the Stephen M. Rivers Memorial Fellow at the Center for Democracy in the Americas. Cullen comes to CDA from American University, where he is working toward a degree in Applied Statistics. Before starting his university studies, Cullen spent a year traveling and working in Central America. During his time as a student, he led two cultural exchange trips to Cuba. Cullen is fluent in Spanish and can stumble through some rusty French when necessary.
Isabel Albee is an international development major at McGill University in Montreal. She is fluent in Spanish. In May 2014, she visited Cuba for the first time to take a course on Food Security. She returned in January 2015 to study for a semester at the University of Havana. Isabel, a Washingtonian, who graduated from Wilson High School, will be helping CDA by working on trips, assembling the news blast, and supporting the staff in all that we do.
Anya Landau French
Anya Landau French, who joins the Center for Democracy in the Americas in the newly-created position of Senior Fellow, has focused on U.S.-Cuba relations for fifteen years. She has made more than two dozen research trips to the island since 2000, and published her views on Cuba policy in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, TheAtlantic.com, The Baltimore Sun, CNN.com, the Christian Science Monitor’s Latin America Monitor, the Huffington Post, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post. In 2009, she published Options for Engagement: A Resource Guide for Reforming U.S. Policy toward Cuba.
Anya served as an International Trade Advisor to then-Chairman Max Baucus of the Senate Finance Committee. In that capacity she focused on trade and worker adjustment policy, U.S.-Cuba relations, and helped draft and pass the 2006 SAFE Port Act. During her time in the Senate, she worked extensively on issues dealing with U.S. agricultural exports to Cuba, Treasury Department sanctions enforcement and the U.S. ban on travel to Cuba.
David E. Dreyer
David E. Dreyer is a senior principal at TSD, Inc. His work has taken him across the U.S. and abroad on assignments that included working at the Sydney and Athens Summer Olympic Games, conducting communications audits for public and private sector organizations, advising the Ecumenical Patriarch of Eastern Orthodoxy, and providing strategic counsel to CDA’s public education campaign to change U.S. policy toward Cuba and the region.
David served previously as Deputy White House Communications Director for President Bill Clinton and as Senior Advisor to U.S. Treasury Secretary Robert E. Rubin. For fourteen years, David was a trusted advisor to Democratic Members of the U.S. Congress.
Linda Garrett is senior policy analyst on El Salvador. Ms. Garrett is a writer, journalist, community organizer and human rights investigator. Her extensive experience with El Salvador started in 1981 when she co-founded two projects in Los Angeles to assist Central American refugees; twenty-eight years later, El Rescate and the Clínica Msr. Romero continue to provide social, legal and health care services in the Pico-Union District of Los Angeles. After serving El Rescate as director and fundraiser, she moved to El Salvador and documented human rights, social, political and military developments from 1985-1995.
Following the 1992 Peace Agreement, Ms. Garrett collaborated on El Rescate’s Index to Accountability Project; she was also a consultant to the United Nations-sponsored Truth and Ad-Hoc Commissions, and an investigator for the 1994 United Nations Commission to investigate illegal armed groups. During this time, she compiled two books on human rights which were published anonymously, and she was also a contributor to the Salvadoran magazine Tendencias.
After 1995, Ms. Garrett worked as a journalist in Vietnam, directed a community organizing project with undocumented immigrants in the state of Georgia, and participated in a reconciliation project in the Balkans. She returned to El Salvador as an election observer in 2009.
Dr. Dan Hellinger is a CDA contributor and the author of our monthly update on Venezuela, Caracas Connect. Dr. Hellinger is a professor of political science at Webster University and has been following Venezuelan events closely since his first visit there in 1978. He has published several books and a wide range of articles on the country, and has served a president of the Venezuelan Studies Section of the Latin American Studies Association.
Collin Laverty is a Cuba consultant at the Center for Democracy in the Americas. He speaks Portuguese and Spanish and has lived, studied and conducted research throughout Latin America. Collin graduated with honors from the College of Charleston, where he majored in Political Science. He coordinated CDA’s Cuba program from 2008-2010, helping to organize and accompanying fact-finding and research delegations of policymakers, academics and experts to Latin America. He has performed extensive research on developments in the region over the years, contributing to CDA publications and offering opinion pieces in the Havana Times, Huffington Post, Progresso Weekly and Venezuela Analysis.
After leaving CDA, Collin studied at the University of California, San Diego. In May 2012, he completed a Master’s degree at the Institute for International Relations and Pacific Studies, where he was a FLAS fellow and managing director of the International Policy Solutions Journal. After graduating, Collin founded Cuba Educational Travel, through which he now organizes and leads people-to-people delegations to Cuba.