The U.S. Baha’i Office of Public Affairs (OPA)
Anthony Vance, Director
Anthony oversees the development of the office’s programs and strategic direction. He joined the office in 2010 after spending four years at the Baha’i World Center in Haifa, Israel representing it to the diplomatic community, civil society, and parts of the host government. A lawyer by training, he spent 21 years in the U.S. Agency for International Development in legal and managerial positions in Washington, Cote d’Ivoire, Kenya, Botswana, and Egypt. Anthony holds a B.A. in Economics, an MBA, and a J.D. from Harvard University.
Naseem Kourosh, Human Rights Officer
Naseem manages the office’s human rights work, engaging with colleagues and partners in discourse and advocacy around a range of civil and human rights issues. Before joining the Office in 2011, Naseem practiced commercial litigation at law firms in New York City, clerked at the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey, and worked with several human rights organizations. Naseem is a graduate of New York University School of Law and holds a B.A. in Plan II and Psychology from the University of Texas at Austin.
Negar Abay, Gender Equality and Advancement of Woman Representative
Negar coordinates the office’s collaboration with individuals, organizations and agencies in the U.S. engaged in public discourses and policy advocacy directed toward advancing the equality of women and men. Prior to joining the office in 2015, Negar was a Fulbright grantee in Ethiopia. She has worked with the Center for Universal Education at the Brookings Institution, the Institute for Studies in Global Prosperity, the Tahirih Justice Center and the development Research and Projects Center (dRPC) in Nigeria among other organizations. Negar holds a Ph.D. in Education from the University of Maryland, College Park, with a specialization in gender and international education policy, a MA in Human Geography from the University of California, Berkeley and a BA in Geography from Middlebury College.
Ian Hamilton, Representative for Sustainable Development
Ian works on a number of related issues including climate change, climate finance and sustainable consumption and production while seeking to promote principled dialogue in the sustainable development space – often in collaboration with other like-minded organizations. Prior to joining the Office, he worked at the World Bank and African Development Bank. Ian holds a B.B.S in Management and an M.Sc in Sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility.
James Samimi Farr, Media Officer
As the Media Relations Officer, James oversees and coordinates publicity for OPA. He also follows media as a discourse, collaborating with journalists, academics, and organizations to shape a productive understanding of media’s role in society. Before joining the Office in 2017, James worked as a writer, editor, and journalist, with clippings in the Toronto Star, Maisonneuve, and other publications. James holds a B.A. in Religious Studies from McGill University.
Lucia Tyson, Administrative Director/Social Media Officer
Lucia joined the Office in 2012 as the Administrative Director and the Social Media Officer. As the Administrative Director, she is responsible for facility and property management as well as working to improve the efficiency of operations in the Office. In her capacity as the Social Media Officer, Lucia provides support to the media relations outreach, particularly in connection with web based services such as Facebook, Twitter, and maintaining the Office’s website. She has a B.S. in Business Administration from the University of Alabama in Huntsville.
Debra Taylor, Communications Manager
Debra, who joined the Office in 2009, manages incoming and outgoing correspondence for the Office, and provides general public affairs guidance and support. With the development of Congressional outreach associated with the defense of the Baha’is in Iran, she works closely with Local Spiritual Assemblies and their delegations to improve the consistency and effectiveness of ongoing delegation contact with members of Congress, and collaborates with the Human Rights Officer in the development of materials for Baha’i delegations and the Local Spiritual Assemblies that supervise their work. She also works on the development and maintenance of internal policies and procedures and external policies and guidelines, and serves as database administrator for the congressional outreach records. Debra has a B.A. in Elementary Education and an M.S. in Written Communications from National-Lewis University in Chicago, Illinois.
Valentina Muraleedharan, Fellow
Valentina joined the Office as the Public Affairs Fellow in July 2017. Her responsibilities include performing a variety of analytical, data collection and organization, research, and logistical support duties across the portfolios of Human Rights, Gender Equality, and Sustainable Development. She assists with advocacy initiatives, social discourse activities, and other outreach efforts. She has a B.S. in Communications Studies and Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies from Gustavus Adolphus College, and an M.A. in Ethics, Peace, and Global Affairs from American University in Washington, DC. She is from Tlokweng, Botswana.
The Baha’is of the United States/United Nations Office
New York, New York
Carl Murrell, Principal United Nations Representative
Carl began working at the U.S./UN Office as an Assistant in 1991,and became the Principal UN Representative in 2008. He works with non-governmental organizations on a number of issues including the advancement of women, sustainable development, human rights, interfaith, and civil society participation. Previously, Carl worked in the private sector in computer software development and securities investments. His undergraduate studies were in psychology and philosophy.