Our Staff

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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.

Michael B. Payne | International Advocacy Officer

As International Advocacy Officer, Michael leads ADHRB’s international advocacy 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, 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. Additionally, Michael supports ADHRB’s advocacy efforts with the United States Government both in DC and abroad.

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.

R. James Suzano, JD | 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.

Amanda Milani | UN Liaison

As UN Liaison, Amanda serves as a direct point of contact for ADHRB’s international advocacy at the United Nations in Geneva. Advancing ADHRB’s consultative engagement in non-governmental and inter-governmental forums, Amanda also assists in the development of strategy and the execution of advocacy campaigns to garner international support for the promotion and protection of human rights in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia at the United Nations. Amanda further coordinates ADHRB’s engagement with UN Member States and other International Organizations in Geneva.

Amanda earned her B.A. with Honors in Politics and International Relations from Royal Holloway, University of London with a focus on diplomacy, transitional justice mechanisms, and gender in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia regions. Prior to joining ADHRB, Amanda served as Advocacy Associate of ADHRB’s London-based sister organization, the Bahrain Institute for Rights & Democracy (BIRD). She also worked previously with the Division of External Relations at the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Geneva. Amanda is fluent in English, Portuguese, and French.

Eric Eikenberry | Research Assistant

Eric is a first year Masters candidate at the Elliott School of International Affairs at the George Washington University. Originally from Indianapolis, Eric holds a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he specialized in the politics and social movements of the Middle East and minored in Arabic. Eric currently assists the Saudi Advocacy Program, and his research focuses on the involvement of Saudi governing institutions in human rights violations.