Our Staff


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 holds a Master’s degree in Political Science and International Relations from the University of West Florida and a B.A. in Political Science and Mathematics from the University of South Alabama.

R. James Suzano, JD | Acting Director of Advocacy

As the director of the Washington office, James plans and executes advocacy strategies that advance support for human rights in Bahrain and the GCC. He also implements ADHRB’s international law initiatives, lobbying both domestic and international organizations to further press for the cause of human rights and democracy in the GCC. James additionally provides direct victim services to individuals that have been harmed by the GCC governments, advocating on their behalf to the United Nations and other organizations. Before joining ADHRB, James assisted 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.

Michael B. Payne | International Advocacy Officer

Michael leads ADHRB’s international advocacy efforts, develops new initiatives, and serves as the primary liaison with ADHRB’s international NGO and think tank partners to advance support for democracy and human rights in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and other GCC States. Michael directs all of ADHRB’s advocacy to the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva and at the UN General Assembly (Third Committee) in New York. He also works to advocate directly with foreign governments and other international institutions. Michael has represented ADHRB at public events in Geneva and Washington, as well as with national and international media outlets.

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 MENA region including Egypt, Jordan, Tunisia, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates.

Kate Kizer | U.S. Advocacy Officer

Kate leads ADHRB’s United States advocacy efforts and manages the organization’s relationships with the legislative and executive branches of the US government, including the House of Representatives, Senate, White House, Department of State, Department of Defense, and National Security Council. In coordination with our government partners, Kate develops legislative and advocacy strategies to advance policies supporting democracy and human rights in Bahrain and the GCC. Kate also manages the organization’s media relations and serves as the primary liaison with our NGO partners in Washington, and with political activists and opposition members from the region.

Before joining ADHRB, Kate supported the research and development of advocacy strategies for US policy in Bahrain at the Project on Middle East Democracy (POMED), utilizing her previous research and policy experience on political campaigns and in the private sector. Kate received her B.A. in Middle Eastern and North African Studies from the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) with a focus on US foreign policy in the Middle East and extremist movements in the region; her research focused on how the ‘clerics’ of al-Qaeda and other extreme Salafist groups utilize takfir to justify violent jihad. While living in Egypt in 2010, Kate studied at the Arabic Language Institute at the American University in Cairo (AUC), and researched opportunities for political and legal reform under the Mubarak regime while at the Arab Forum for Alternatives. Kate has also traveled extensively throughout the region, including Egypt, Jordan, Israel, Lebanon, and Syria.

Eric EikenberryAdvocacy Associate

Eric executes daily projects related to advocacy done on behalf of human rights defenders in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. His work entails coordinating internal and external communiques, drafting and editing written articles and presentations for public consumption, and supplying the Executive Director, the Director of Advocacy, the International Advocacy Officer, and U.S. Advocacy Officer with reporting and timely updates on the human rights situations in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. Eric also leads ADHRB’s developing Saudi Advocacy Program, directing research projects that record human rights violations in Saudi Arabia while raising awareness about the prevalence of these violations in meetings with U.S. Government agencies and non-governmental partners.

Eric graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he majored in International Studies with a focus on the social and political movements of the Middle East. Eric involved himself in human rights advocacy prior to working for ADHRB, working at The Human Rights Center of Carrboro and Chapel Hill, and at Human Rights First in Washington, DC. He has also lived and studied in Amman, Jordan.

Ellen Duthoy | Advocacy Fellow

Ellen’s assists ADHRB’s advocacy program with its ever-expanding portfolio, with a primary focus on human rights and democratic change in the UAE and Qatar. She received her M.A. in Middle Eastern and Central Asian Security Studies from the University of St. Andrews, where she studied the evolution of global security strategy and completed a dissertation investigating the intersection of political identity and security in Israel. Ellen additionally served on the board of the University Democrats at UVA as an undergraduate, working on progressive campaigns and advocacy. She studied in Cairo in the summer of 2011 and has traveled throughout Egypt, Jordan, Israel, and Palestine.

Sam Jones | Advocacy Fellow

Sam assists ADHRB’s ongoing advocacy programs and will help to implement new projects as the organization expands its mission in the Gulf. Sam received his undergraduate degree in Philosophy & Government from Franklin & Marshall College, where he concentrated in political theory. He is currently a M.A. candidate in the Ethics, Peace, and Global Affairs program at American University’s School of International Service, where he focuses his studies on human rights, conflict analysis, and international social justice.  Sam previously worked with ADHRB as an Advocacy Intern.