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Leaders will strengthen the permanent anti-genocide constituency in the United States

For Immediate Release CONTACT: Katie-Jay Scott Stauring, 310.738.0285,

LOS ANGELES, CA – June 26, 2014 – The Carl Wilkens Fellowship (CWF), a project of i-ACT, a Los Angeles based nonprofit, has selected 12 individuals to be part of the 2014 Class of Fellows. The new class of Fellows joins a network of 55 other Fellows who actively work to prevent, stop, and heal from mass atrocities and genocide throughout the world. These leaders are already working in their local communities around the country to build a permanent constituency working to prevent and end mass atrocities. Throughout the coming year they will improve their leadership skills, learn how to effectively advocate to end mass atrocities and genocide, and work together on a national campaign for Genocide Awareness and Prevention Month in April 2015.

2014 Class of Carl Wilkens Fellows: Andalisa Lopez, Washington DC Andalisa Lopez is a nonprofit professional working in Washington, DC with extensive experience organizing others around social justice issues and has been working in the nonprofit sector for six years.

Anthony Kasongo, Southbridge, MA Originally from the Democratic Republic Congo, Mr. Kasongo is an activist and advocate of social justice and human rights.

Barbara Baker, Cummington, MA Barbara Baker, Program Coordinator for Project Link at Berkshire Community College, has been a leader in social justice issues for more than 20 years.

Christie Nicoson, Minneapolis, MN As Program and Operations Coordinator at World Without Genocide, Nicoson organizes educational events, supports advocacy initiatives, and engages community members to build an anti-genocide constituency.

Deanna Malmquist, San Diego, CA Deanna Malmquist, Director of Legal Affairs and Human Resources at Invisible Children (IC), manages anything and everything legal for IC corporate governance, intellectual property, contracts, financial audits, employment issues and contracts.

Kelley Szany, Skokie, IL Kelley Szany, Director of Educational Outreach & Genocide Initiatives for the Illinois Holocaust Museum, oversees all educational outreach programs for the Museum.

Larry Grimes, Tampa FL Recently retired high school teacher, Larry Grimes was an Alfred Lerner Fellow through the Jewish Foundation for the Righteous, named Holocaust Educator of the Year in 2010, and was a USHMM Teacher Fellow.

Nare Kupelian, Los Angeles, CA Nare Kupelian holds a degree in Political Science-International Relations and History from UC San Diego and is currently the Executive Director of the Armenian National Committee of America – San Gabriel Valley.

Rebecca Steiner, Novi, MI Rebecca Swindler Steiner is Director of Programs at Michigan’s Holocaust Memorial Center. Where she advocates the ability of museums and communities to work cooperatively to have a positive impact on the world.

Sonia Marie Leikam, Portland, OR Sonia Marie Leikam holds a Certificate in Holocaust & Genocide Studies from Georgetown and is the former Director of the Oregon Holocaust Resource Center.

Tigranna Zakaryan, Los Angeles, CA Tigranna Zakaryan will return to Los Angeles after traveling to Turkey and Armenia to research intercultural connectivity and studying post-genocide restoration in Rwanda.

Yong Joon Park, Terre Haute, IN Dr. Yong Joon Park is an assistant professor in the Department of Elementary, Early, and Special Education at Indiana State University and will use his fellowship year to develop education programming around North Korea.

Fellows will receive leadership training, conflict and advocacy education, organizing tools and resources, and one-on-one and group advising. The year-long Fellowship program includes six main components: 2 retreats; regular training and networking calls; one-on-one, peer, and group advising; participation in national campaigns; political and social networking; skills, tools and resources to continue work in the anti-genocide movement following the inaugural fellowship year.

Fellows will attend their inaugural retreat in Hermosa Beach, CA and be joined by Fellows and anti-genocide organizations working locally and across the nation. In February 2015, the 2014 Class of CW Fellows will have their mid-year retreat in Washington DC and participate in a movement-wide lobbying day to end genocide.

For more information on the Fellows, including full bios, visit


Carl Wilkens Fellowship (CWF) is a selective program that aims to give a diverse cohort of individuals at every level of experience the tools and resources to build unique programs and sustained political will to end mass atrocities. Named in honor of Carl Wilkens, the only American to remain in Rwanda during the 1994 genocide, the Fellowship will provide skills, mentorship, and support to help facilitate programs lead by emerging leaders. For more information visit

The Fellowship is a project of i-ACT. i-ACT empowers individuals within communities, institutions, and governments to take personal responsibility to act on behalf of those affected by genocide, mass atrocities, and crimes against humanity. i-ACT is a global team dedicated to putting a face on the numbers of dead, dying, and displaced while creating mutually enriching relationships between those in danger and those willing and able to act, fostering a new culture of participation. For more information visit


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