Meet Our Teams

Vance Center Staff

  • Alexander Papachristou

    Alexander Papachristou

    Alexander Papachristou joined the Vance Center as Executive Director in January 2012. He directs the organization’s overall operations and focuses on its programmatic and institutional initiatives, as well as fundraising.

    Mr. Papachristou previously was president of the Near East Foundation, a participatory, community-based economic and social development organization working in Arab and African countries. For the preceding 18 years, Mr. Papachristou engaged in cross-border corporate finance in advisory and proprietary roles: he served as managing director and general counsel at NCH Capital, Inc, which invests in the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe; he lived in Russia from 1989 to 1993, where he opened and ran the Moscow office of White & Case. Mr. Papachristou also worked in the law firm of Clifford & Warnke in Washington, DC and was policy assistant to New York Governor Mario Cuomo. He served as law clerk to US District Judge Myron H. Thompson in the Middle District of Alabama. Mr. Papachristou is a member of the board of the Media Development Investment Fund, as well as the advisory council of Bard College’s Center for Civic Engagement. In late 2011, The New Press published Blind Goddess: A Race and Justice Reader, which Mr. Papachristou edited.

    Mr. Papachristou received an LLM and JD from Harvard Law School and an AB from Princeton University, as well as Arabic language training at the American University in Cairo.

  • Marie-Claude Jean-Baptiste

    Marie-Claude Jean-Baptiste

    Marie-Claude Jean-Baptiste joined the Vance Center in October 2012. She leads the Human Rights and Access to Justice Program at the Vance Center. In this role, Ms. Jean-Baptiste advises clients on projects related to transitional justice, prevention of mass atrocities, accountability for grave human rights violations, and business and human rights. Ms. Jean-Baptiste works with local and international NGOs and international organizations such as the United Nations, The International Committee of the Red Cross, and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.

    Prior to joining the Vance Center, Ms. Jean-Baptiste worked for four years with the International Senior Lawyers Project (ISLP) in New York where, as the Human Rights Program Officer, she developed and managed ISLP’s program in Latin America and the Caribbean. At ISLP, Ms. Jean-Baptiste worked with governments, international organizations, and NGOs worldwide providing legal support on human rights and equitable economic development projects. These projects included, among others, capacity building of local lawyers and government officials, international human rights litigation, human rights monitoring, and legislative reform and advocacy.

    Ms. Jean-Baptiste is Co-Chair of the Transitional Justice and Rule of Law Interest Group of the American Society of International Law. Her publications include: The Bashir Debacle: How South Africa Betrayed Itself and the World, Vance Center Bulletin (June 13, 2015) co-authored with Justice Richard Goldstone; and The Unfinished Business of Transitional Justice in Brazil: The Hopes and Promises of the Brazilian National Truth Commission, RE-VISTA Verdade, Justiça e Memória (December 2014).

    Ms. Jean-Baptiste earned a law degree from the George Washington University and degrees in International Studies and Political Science from the City College of New York. While in Law School, Ms. Jean-Baptiste worked with the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in Costa Rica and the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL).

    Born and raised in Haiti, Ms. Jean-Baptiste is fluent in Haitian Creole, French, Spanish, and Portuguese.

  • Susan M. Kath

    Susan M. Kath

    Susan M. Kath became Director of the Environment Program in February 2013. She directs the program in its work with international and regional environmental NGOs to develop cross-jurisdictional pro bono projects in the areas of human rights and the environment, climate change, biodiversity conservation, international humanitarian law, toxic waste and protecting environmental defenders.

    Ms. Kath served as the Chief of the New York City Law Department Environmental Law Division from 1997 to 2010 and as Deputy Chief from 1994 to 1997. Ms. Kath managed and directed the division in its representation of the Mayor of the City of New York and its agencies with respect to all federal, state and local environmental laws and served as a senior advisor to the Corporation Counsel, Deputy Mayors and City Agency Commissioners. Ms. Kath managed complex environmental policy and litigation matters in the areas of climate change and climate resilience, environmental sustainability and public health, transportation, energy and wastewater infrastructure projects, and major New York City economic development initiatives. Ms. Kath participated in the creation of the City’s first sustainability plan, PlaNYC: A Greener, Greater New York and in the design and creation of the City’s long term solid waste management plan. Ms. Kath co-taught a seminar class at Harvard Law School on PlaNYC and the legal issues related to sustainability planning.

    Ms. Kath is a member of the Executive Committee of the New York Committee for Human Rights Watch, a member of the Advisory Committee for Health and Human Rights at Human Rights Watch, and a member of the Board of Directors of Prospect Park Alliance. She is a graduate of Fordham Law School and Northwestern University.

  • Karina Benzaquen

    Karina Benzaquen

    Karina Benzaquen Joined the Vance Center in November 2015 as the Communications and Development Assistant and currently holds the position of Program Manager where she works on managing the Women in the Profession Program (WIP).

    Ms. Benzaquen holds a Master degree in International Business from Hult International Business School in Boston. She also holds a BA in International Relations, with a concentration in Global Business from Roanoke College in Virginia.

    Ms. Benzaquen was born in Peru and has lived in Germany, Greece, and the United States. She is bi-lingual in English and Spanish and also speaks Russian.

  • Jorge Escobedo

    Jorge Escobedo

    Jorge joined the Vance Center in June 2018 as the Director of Pro Bono Partnerships. In his role, he is responsible for managing the Vance Center’s partnerships with law firms, pro bono clearinghouses, and other legal institutions worldwide. Jorge also co-manages the Pro Bono Network of the Americas, which aims to foster collaboration among clearinghouses in Latin America in order to institutionalize pro bono practice in the region.

    Jorge started his career as the Pro Bono Specialist at Shearman & Sterling, LLP in 2008, where he co-managed a global pro bono program. He was honored by inMotion (now HerJustice) with the “Commitment to Justice” Award in both 2010 and 2012 for his assistance to immigrant women and children. After Shearman & Sterling, Jorge worked in different non-profit organizations focusing on homelessness prevention and social services for some of New York City’s most vulnerable residents.

    From 2014 to 2017, Jorge was invited to join the Global Shapers, an initiative of the World Economic Forum that convenes emerging leaders to address pressing needs in their home cities. He also sits on the advisory board of the “Give Me 5” Campaign, which promotes the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

    Jorge holds an M.A. in Human Rights from Columbia University and an A.B. in Social Anthropology from Harvard University, where he was named a Mellon-Mays Undergraduate Research Fellow and a grant recipient of the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies.

    Jorge speaks English, French, Italian, and Spanish. He has also studied Classical Nahuatl, German, and Portuguese.

    nch, and English.

  • Alexandra M. Zetes

    Alexandra M. Zetes

    Alexandra joined the Vance Center as Human Rights Fellow in October 2017. She will be working with Marie-Claude Jean-Baptiste on the Human Rights and Access to Justice Program.

    Alex is a recent graduate of New York University School of Law, where she received her JD in 2016. Before joining the Vance Center, Alex was the Masiyiwa-Bernstein Fellow with the Global Justice Clinic at NYU School of Law, where she worked as a staff attorney and research fellow on a variety of human rights issues.

    During her time in law school, Alex was the NYU Law Chapter Chair of the International Refugee Assistance Project and the co-chair for the Courtroom Advocate’s Project. She spent her summers working on international human rights issues, first at the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Ankara, Turkey, and then with the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Human Rights in Washington DC. Alex also engaged in international human rights research as a student in the Global Justice Clinic and with the Clinic on Policy Advocacy in Latin America in Buenos Aires. Both before and during law school, Alex’s work has largely focused on transitional justice and refugee issues, and she has been published on both topics.

    Alex holds a JD from NYU School of Law, and a dual BA in Political Science and Psychology from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where she graduated magna cum laude in 2010. She speaks English, German, Spanish and French.

  • Maria Antonia Tigre

    Maria Antonia Tigre

    Ms. Tigre, an environmental lawyer from Brazil, joined the Vance Center in March 2015. She is an attorney in the Environment Program, working with international and regional environmental NGOs to develop cross-jurisdictional pro bono projects in the areas of human rights and the environment, climate change, biodiversity conservation, international humanitarian law, toxic waste and protecting environmental defenders.

    Ms. Tigre began her career working in boutique environmental law firms in Rio de Janeiro, advising clients in the infrastructure sector on environmental impact assessments, permitting procedures and due diligence. In addition to working for law firms, she was seconded to an infrastructure holding company, where she assisted the sustainability board, and an energy subsidiary with projects in Brazil and Chile. She oversaw the permitting procedures of several projects throughout Brazil. After relocating to the United States, she interned at the United Nations Mission of Saint Kitts and Nevis, working on climate change issues, especially the effects of sea level rise on small island nations. Ms. Tigre was a fellow at the World Resources Institute. At WRI, she developed a toolkit for urban governance in cities through a comparative analysis of best practices.

    Ms. Tigre holds a double LL.M. from Pace Law School (Environmental Law and Comparative Legal Studies), from where she graduated magna cum laude. She received her LL.B. from the Pontifícia Universidade Católica of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Ms. Tigre was a visiting scholar at Widener Law School and at Maurice A. Dean Law School at Hofstra University. Her current research primarily focuses on comparative environmental law in Latin America. She is writing a book on the cooperation between the countries that share the Amazon rainforest, through an analysis of national, regional, and international forest law and the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization. She recently published an article entitled ‘Cooperation for Climate Mitigation in Amazonia: Brazil’s Emerging Role as a Regional Leader’ in the Transnational Environmental Law (TEL) journal published by Cambridge University Press (forthcoming Fall 2016), and a book chapter about the Urgenda Case, entitled ‘Trends in Climate Justice Litigation: The Dutch Case and Global Repercussions’ in Climate Justice (ed. Randall S. Abate, forthcoming December 2016). Ms. Tigre is fluent in Portuguese, English and German, with basic understanding of French and Spanish.

Vance Center Committee

The governing body of the Vance Center is the Vance Center Committee, composed of leading members of the legal profession in New York City and elsewhere in the United States, including law firm partners, members of the judiciary, and corporate counsels. They provide core funding and are actively engaged in the Vance Center’s programming and planning. The governing body of the Vance Center is the Vance Center Committee, composed of leading members of the legal profession in New York City and elsewhere in the United States, including law firm partners, members of the judiciary, and corporate counsels. They provide core funding and are actively engaged in the Vance Center’s programming and planning.

Co-chairs & Executive Sub-committee

  • Eruch P. Nowrojee

    Principal, The Carlyle Group
    Eruch P. Nowrojee
    Principal, The Carlyle Group

    Elchi Nowrojee is a Principal in the Private Client Group. He is based in New York.

    Prior to joining Carlyle, Mr. Nowrojee was Director and Counsel at Credit Suisse from 2006 to 2014, where he served as head of Alternative Investments Legal for the Americas. Prior to joining Credit Suisse, Mr. Nowrojee worked for nine years at Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton, LLP, an international law firm.

    Mr. Nowrojee received his J.D. degree from Harvard Law School, an M. Phil. in International Relations from Oxford University and a B.A. from Yale College.

  • Sabrena Silver

    Partner, White & Case
    Sabrena Silver
    Partner, White & Case

    Sabrena has over 20 years’ experience in completing US domestic and cross-border financing transactions. She advises financial institutions and companies on complex financing transactions, including structured finance deals, acquisition financings, syndicated and bilateral loans, bridge loans, margin loans, investment grade loans, private equity and hedge fund financings, private banking transactions, debt restructurings, sovereign loans, trade financings, supplier financings, receivables purchases and non-performing loan (NPL) transactions.

    Sabrena has broad international experience, and has worked extensively in Europe, Asia and Latin America, including Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Mexico, and Peru, as well as other Latin American jurisdictions. Named by Latinvex in 2016 as one of Latin America’s top female lawyers, Sabrena has led on many high-profile finance deals.

  • Todd Crider

    Partner, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett
    Todd Crider
    Partner, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett

    Todd Crider is a Partner at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett where he is a member of the Firm’s Corporate Department. He advises client in international corporate finance transactions, mergers and acquisitions and project finance.  Fluent in Spanish and French and proficient in Portuguese, Mr. Crider concentrates primarily on transactions in Spain and Latin America. Mr. Crider is an active member of The Association of the Bar of the City of New York, where he is Chairman of the Committee for the Cyrus R. Vance Center of International Justice Initiatives and a member of the Inter-American Affairs Committee.  In such capacities he participated in 2001 and 2002 as an organizer and speaker at pro bono conferences in Buenos Aires, Argentina and Santiago, Chile. He has previously served pro bono as a legal adviser to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.  He was a speaker at the First Annual Latin American Corporate Counsel Institute on Introduction to International Joint Ventures and Strategic Alliances in 1998 and, among other articles, is a co-author of Indigenous Peoples, the Environment, and Commercial Forestry in Developing Countries:  the Case of Awas Tingni, published in Human Rights Quarterly (May 1996). Originally from the American South, Mr. Crider lived in Spain for 10 of his first 20 years.  Mr. Crider received his B.A. magna cum laude in 1987 from Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama, where he was student body president, his License d’histoire in 1988 from the University of Paris IV, Sorbonne, where he was a Rotary Scholar, and his J.D. in 1991 from Columbia University School of Law, where he was a member of Journal of Transnational Law and a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar.

  • Edwin S. Maynard

    Partner, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison
    Edwin S. Maynard
    Partner, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison

    Edwin S. Maynard is a partner in the Corporate Department and head of the Canadian Practice Group. He focuses primarily on corporate finance and mergers and acquisitions, with an emphasis on cross-border transactions. Ted has represented many U.S., Canadian and other non-U.S. issuers in a broad range of securities offerings, public and private, equity and debt and in cross-border acquisitions and restructurings, both public and private.

    Ted has advised numerous issuers, underwriters and placement agents in connection with cross-border offerings made in Canada and the United States. Ted regularly advises U.S., Canadian and other non-U.S. public companies with respect to cross-border mergers and acquisitions and on their U.S. reporting obligations. He is recognized as a leading lawyer in the area of Capital Markets by Chambers Global, The Legal 500, The Best Lawyers in America and Who’s Who Legal.

    Ted speaks frequently on a range of securities law and mergers and acquisitions topics, most often on the effects of legal developments in the United States on Canadian companies and their underwriters/agents. From 2002 to 2004, he served as the sole American representative on the Securities Advisory Committee of the Ontario Securities Commission.

    A member of the Advisory Committee of the Cyrus R. Vance Center for International Justice, the international pro bono arm of the NYC Bar Association, Ted was actively involved in the Vance Center’s efforts that led to the 2008 launch of the Pro Bono Declaration of the Americas, committing signing law firms and other legal institutions throughout the Americas to do pro bono work. He received a number of awards for his pro bono work on behalf of micro-entrepreneurs in Harlem. Ted is also a director of the Classic Stage Company.

    During his academic career, he studied in France, Mexico and Guatemala. He speaks French and Spanish.

  • Antonia E. Stolper

    Partner, Shearman & Sterling
    Antonia E. Stolper
    Partner, Shearman & Sterling

    Ms. Stolper is the Americas Regional Managing Partner, head of the Latin America affinity group and a member of Shearman & Sterling’s Capital Markets-Americas practice group.  Ms. Stolper’s practice focuses primarily on corporate finance transactions in emerging markets. She has extensive registered public offering experience for foreign private issuers.  Her practice focuses on debt and equity securities offerings for Latin American corporate and sovereign issuers, representing both underwriters and issuers, and on restructuring transactions in Latin America, representing issuers, dealer managers and creditors.  In addition, she advises a number of Latin American issuers on their ongoing SEC reporting requirements and corporate governance matters. Ms. Stolper has also advised the Climate Bonds Initiative pro bono on establishing standards for financing the transition to a low carbon economy.  Ms. Stolper is also a member of the executive committee of the Cyrus R. Vance Center of the New York City Bar Association, promoting pro bono work by private lawyers in Latin America and working with lawyers throughout the region on promoting the status of women in the legal profession.

    Ms. Stolper is currently ranked Band 1 in Latin America-wide Capital Markets Chambers Latin America and Band 1 in Latin American Investment in Chambers Global. She has recently been selected amongst the Latin America’s Top Lawyers (2017), Latin America’s Top 100 Female Lawyers (2016) for Capital Markets. She was named one of the National Law Journal’s Outstanding Women Lawyers in 2015 and selected by Latinvex in 2015 as among Latin America’s top 50 female lawyers.

Law Firm Members

Werner F. Ahlers Sullivan & Cromwell

Lorraine S. McGowen Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe

Maurice Blanco Davis Polk & Wardwell

Patricia Menendez-Cambo Greenberg Traurig

Rachel Brandenburger Hogan Lovells

Maria Elena Millerman White & Case

Randy A. Bullard Greenberg Traurig

Christopher Morvillo Clifford Chance

Hunter Carter Arent Fox

Marcelo A. Mottesi Milbank, Tweed Hadley & McCloy

Carrie Cohen Morrison & Foerster

Inosi M. Nyatta Sullivan & Cromwell

Rubén Kraiem Covington & Burling

Vijaya Palaniswamy Linklaters

Dietmar Prager Debevoise & Plimpton

Julissa Reynoso Winston & Strawn

Richard L. Levine Weil, Gotshal & Manges

Paul T. Schnell Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom

Marcia Maack Mayer Brown

Ruti Smithline Morrison & Foerster

Taisa Markus White & Case

Michael J. Volkovitsch Cleary Gottlieb

Michael L. Fitzgerald Paul Hastings

Janet Whittaker Clifford Chance

David Flechner Allen & Overy

Timothy Wilkins Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer

Carlos Martinez Proskauer Rose

Rossie E. Turman III Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom

Theodore V. H Mayer Hughes Hubbard & Reed

Veronica Rodriguez Paul Hastings

Corporate Counsel

David E. McCraw The New York Times Company

David J. Sorkin Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co

Emeritis Members

Michael A. Cooper Sullivan & Cromwell

Evan A. Davis Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton

Public Service Members

Robert Cusumano

Hon. George B. Daniels U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York

Elsie N. Vance


Roger Maldonado President, New York City Bar

Bret Parker Executive Director, New York City Bar

International Council

The Vance Center benefits from the wisdom of many legal practitioners and scholars worldwide. The International Council provides cutting edge guidance and unparalleled contacts throughout the legal profession, the United Nations and other international systems, and academia. We are enormously grateful for the service of these world-class experts.

  • Hon. Louise Arbor

    Hon. Louise Arbor

    Former President & CEO of the International Crisis Group (2009 – present)

    From 2004 to 2008, Ms. Arbour served as the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. She previously served for five years on the Supreme Court of Canada.

    In 1996, the UN Security Council appointed Ms. Arbour as Chief Prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and for Rwanda, where she served for three years.

    Ms. Arbour was appointed to the Supreme Court of Ontario in 1987, and in 1990 to the Court of Appeal for Ontario. In 1995, as commissioner of an inquiry into the Prison for Women in Kingston, Ontario, she produced a report that accelerated the move towards modern institutions specifically designed to meet the security and programming needs of women inmates.

    In 2009, Ms. Arbour became a member of the Advisory Board for the 2011 World Bank Development Report: ‘Conflict, Security and Development; in 2010, she joined the Global Commission on Elections, Democracy and Security; and in April 2011, became a member of the Global Commission on Drug Policy.

    The International Crisis Group is an independent, non-profit, non-governmental organization committed to preventing and resolving deadly conflict.

  • Hon. Hans Corell

    Hon. Hans Corell

    Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs and the Legal Counsel of the United Nations (1994 – 2004)

    From 1962 to 1972, Hans Corell served in the Swedish judiciary. In 1972, he joinedthe Ministry of Justice where he became Director of the Division for Administrativeand Constitutional Law in 1979. In 1981, he was appointed Chief Legal Officer of the Ministry. He was Ambassador and Under-Secretary for Legal and Consular Affairs in the Ministry for Foreign Affairs from 1984 to 1994.

    Since his retirement from public service in 2004, Ambassador Corell has been engaged with many different organiza tions in the legal field: the International Bar Association, the International Center for Ethics, Justice and Public Life at Brandeis University and the Hague Institute for the Internalisation of Law. He is Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law at Lund University, Sweden.


  • Hon. Richard J. Goldstone

    Hon. Richard J. Goldstone

    Former Justice South Africa Constitutional Court (1994-2003)

    From 1994 to 1996, Judge Goldstone served as the chief prosecutor of the United Nations’ International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda.

    From 1999 to 2001, he was the chairperson of the International Independent Inquiry on Kosovo. In 2004, the secretary-general of the United Nations appointed Goldstone to the independent committee to investigate the Iraqi oil-for-food programme (the Volcker Committee). In 2009 he led the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on Gaza. From 1995 to 2007, he served as the Chancellor of the University of the Witwatersrand. He chairs the advisory boards of the Institute for Historical Justice and Reconciliation, the International Center for Transitional Justice, and the Brandeis University Center for Ethics, Justice and Public Life. He is a foreign member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and an Honorary Member of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York.

  • Hon. Juan E. Mendez

    Hon. Juan E. Mendez

    Former UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment (From November 2010)

    Professor Méndez is a Visiting Professor of Law at the American University – Washington College of Law and the author (with Marjory Wentworth) of Taking a Stand: The Evolution of Human Rights (New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2011). In 2009 and 2010 he was an advisor on crime prevention to the Prosecutor, International Criminal Court. He is also Co-Chair of the Human Rights Institute of the International Bar Association.

    Until May 2009 he was the President of the International Center for Transnational Justice (ICTJ) and in the summer of 2009 he was a Scholar-in-Residence at the Ford Foundation in New York.  Concurrent with his duties at ICTJ, Professor Méndez served as Special Advisor to the Honorable Kofi Annan on the Prevention of Genocide, a task he performed from 2004 to 2007.

Nyc Bar Association

A Message from New York City Bar Association Executive Director and President:

  • Bret I. Parker

    Executive Director, New York City Bar Association
    Bret I. Parker
    Executive Director, New York City Bar Association

    The Cyrus R. Vance Center for International Justice was founded in 2003 to honor the memory of Cyrus R. Vance, a past president of the New York City Bar Association (1974-1976) and former U.S. Secretary of State, and gives continuing substance to his conviction that lawyers have an ethical obligation to play an active role in the promotion of peace, democracy, and social justice.

    The Vance Center collaborates with committees of the Bar Association on complex pro bono projects, international delegations and push events. The Vance Center has been key in transporting the best ideas and practices of the Bar Association, especially the very concept of pro bono legal services, around the globe.

  • Roger Maldonado

    President, New York City Bar Association
    Roger Maldonado
    President, New York City Bar Association

    Having become president of the bar association in May 2018, I already have joined in several Vance Center programs and have been impressed with the scope and substance of its work.  I’ve met corporate lawyers from all over Latin America committed to pro bono representation as signatories of the Vance Center’s Pro Bono Declaration of the Americas.  I’m involved with a September 2018 conference in Colombia on global solutions to the problems of incarcerated women.  The Vance Center, along with the bar association’s many international committees, fulfills the association’s long-standing and active commitment to engaging with our skills and values all over the world on behalf of the rule of law, fundamental human rights, and access to justice.