Our Team

The U.S. Baha’i Office of Public Affairs (OPA)

Washington, D.C.



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.



Tschika McBean, Human Rights Officer

As the Human Rights Officer, Tschika works to defend the rights of persecuted Baha’i communities around the world; to advance international religious freedom; to promote U.S. ratification of international human rights treaties, and to engage with colleagues and partners in discourse around human rights issues, including human trafficking, racial justice and race unity. Before joining the Office, Tschika prosecuted Child Abuse and Maltreatment cases in New York City and provided legal defense to the re-entry population in New York State as an Equal Justice Works AmeriCorps Legal Fellow. Tschika has also worked on deportation defense proceedings and has conducted a wide range of legal research and writing on various international law issues. Tschika is a licensed attorney, holds a B.A is Sociology, a J.D., and an LL.M. in International Law.



Negar Abay, Gender Equality and Advancement of Woman Representative

Negar coordinates the office’s collaboration with thought leaders, organizations and government agencies engaged in public discourses and policy work to advance gender equality and economic justice. 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.



PJ Andrews, Race Discourse Officer

PJ co-coordinates the office’s collaboration with individuals, organizations, and agencies in the U.S. engaged in public discourses and policy advocacy directed toward racial justice and racial unity. Prior to joining the office in 2017, PJ worked in ethical culture development for the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), in government relations for national service programs with the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), as a case manager for U.S. Congressman Chris Van Hollen, and supported the work of the International Teaching Centre at the World Center of the Bahá’í Faith in Haifa, Israel. PJ holds a M.Ed in Human Development and Psychology from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and a BA in American Studies from Tufts University.



May Lample, Race Discourse Officer

May co-coordinates the office’s collaboration with individuals, organizations, and agencies in the U.S. engaged in public discourses and policy advocacy directed toward racial justice and racial unity. Prior to joining the office in 2017, May worked in health education and community mobilization for Southeastern Health, in maternal health research for Kimanya Ngeyo in Uganda, and in global discourse on the equality of women and men for the Institute for Studies in Global Prosperity in Israel. May has a MPH in Maternal and Child Health from University of California, Berkeley, and a BA in Political Science from Haverford College.




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.



Prosper Ishimwe, Fellow

Prosper joined the office in July 2018. As a Fellow, he supports the work of all the portfolios. Before joining the office, Prosper worked with the Junior Chamber International in Rwanda as the Business Plan Competition coordinator, the Peace Corps as a language and cross-cultural facilitator, and Never Again Rwanda as project officer. He has also done translation work for the German Agency for International Cooperation and the Thought Field Therapy Foundation among many other clients. Prosper holds an M.A in Global Policy from the School of Policy and International Affairs, University of Maine; and a BA in French-English with education from the University of Rwanda.



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.



Rosleny Ubinas

Rosleny Ubiñas, Executive Aide

Rosleny joined the USUN office in August 2017. As the Executive Aide, she assists in administrative duties of the office along with working with non-governmental organizations and youth advocates on issues such as racial inequality, advancement of women, and the role of religion in society. Her previous work experience includes adolescent counseling and development for academic and non-profit organizations. She holds a B.A. in Psychology and Africana Studies from Franklin & Marshall College.