Husain Abdulla, MA | Executive Director

Husain Abdulla, originally from Bahrain, is the founder and Executive Director of Americans for Democracy and Human Rights in Bahrain. As Executive Director, Husain leads the organization’s efforts to ensure that US policies support the democracy and human rights movement in Bahrain. Husain also works closely with members of the Bahraini-American community to ensure that their voices are heard by US government officials and the broader American public. Husain graduated from the University of South Alabama with a Master’s degree in Political Science and International Relations and a BA in Political Science and Mathematics.

Rachel Burke Peterson | Director of Communications

As Director of Communications, Rachel oversees ADHRB’s media activities through interaction with media outlets and the public. In addition to managing ADHRB’s social media accounts, website, and newsletter, Rachel is responsible for writing and publishing op-eds on behalf of the Executive Director, writing press statements, as well as other external documents. Rachel also coordinates long-term communications strategies to help to raise awareness of the human rights situation in Bahrain. Prior to joining ADHRB, Rachel developed and helped implement communications and advocacy strategies for the Project on Middle East Democracy (POMED).

Rachel moved to DC from her home in Seattle, WA, where she served as Marketing Coordinator and Member-at-Large for the Arab Center of Washington. Rachel has traveled to Jordan, Syria, and Egypt, as well as a number of other countries in Europe and the Mediterranean. She received a BA in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations from the University of Washington, and is proficient in Arabic.

Michael B. Payne | Advocacy Associate

As Advocacy Associate, Michael coordinates ADHRB’s research and report writing efforts, develops new initiatives, and serves as the primary liaison with ADHRB’s NGO and think tank partners to advance support for democracy and human rights in Bahrain. Additionally, Michael supports ADHRB’s advocacy efforts with the United States Government and the United Nations.  Before joining ADHRB, Michael assisted in the development of research and advocacy initiatives at the Project on Middle East Democracy (POMED) and worked in the United States Senate.

Michael received his B.A. with honors in International Relations from Knox College with a focus on developing political movements in the Middle East. Michael has conducted research and programmatic work for two Egyptian NGOs, the Ibn Khaldun Center for Democracy Development and the Egyptian Democratic Academy, while simultaneously completing a year of intensive Arabic language study at the American University in Cairo.  Michael has traveled extensively in the region including Egypt, Jordan, Tunisia, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates.

R. James Suzano | Legal Officer

As Legal Officer, James implements ADHRB’s international law initiatives and United Nations advocacy campaigns. As well as reporting on the functions of the United Nations as they relate to ADHRB’s mission, James lobbies U.N. organizations to further press for the cause of human rights and democracy in Bahrain. James also provides direct services to individuals that have been harmed by the Bahraini government, advocating on their behalf to the United Nations and other organizations. Before joining ADHRB, James worked for the United Nations in Italy, where he was instrumental in the creation of a legal database on nautical piracy offenders. He has additionally served in multiple managerial roles for companies in China.

James received his J.D. from UCLA School of Law, where he focused on international human rights, refugee, and asylum law, especially as it related to emerging refugee crises resulting from conflicts in northern Africa. While at UCLA, James wrote multiple papers on the potential for international criminal prosecution of war crimes offenders in Libya. He received his B.A. in political science from the University of California, San Diego.

Saman Naquvi | Grassroots Advocacy Associate

As Grassroots Advocacy Associate, Saman coordinates with activists and communities on the ground in the United States to strengthen engagement in supporting human rights in Bahrain. Saman’s work includes planning direct action, such as protests and letter writing campaigns, in relevant constituencies across the US, as well as meeting with community leaders to provide information on ADHRB’s efforts. Before joining ADHRB, Saman was a highly active grassroots organizer in the NYC-Metro area on many issues concerning American Muslims, including Bahraini human rights.

Saman has a BA in Philosophy from Rutgers University and is currently pursuing an MA in Ethics, Peace & Global Affairs from the School of International Service at American University.


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