Sandrah Akello is the the International Refugee Rights Initiative’s Programme Assistant and is responsible for ensuring the general administration of the IRRI Uganda office, conference organisation and research as needed. Sandrah holds a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Management from Makerere University.
Djibril Balde is International Refugee Rights Initiative‘s West Africa Focal Point. He focuses on raising public awareness about the refugees and asylum seekers issues and advocates for fair and effective legal processes for asylum seekers. He hosts a weekly French/English radio interview show called Le Banc des Réfugiés, where he interviews asylum seekers and refugees. In addition, he organizes public fora, issues press releases, holds press conferences, issues public statements, and writes articles for print media.
Olivia Bueno is the International Refugee Rights Initiative’s Associate Director. She was previously Program Associate at the International Refugee Program at Human Rights First (formerly the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights). She is responsible for managing IRRI's New York office, monitoring UN policies and diplomatic discussions relevant to IRRI's programmes and coordinating outreach to and collaboration with international NGOs. Olivia also contributes to the oversight and development of IRRI programmes and to institutional development. Olivia has also worked on issues of refugee rights and asylum in the United States, as a part time staff member of Human Rights First's Asylum Program and as Co-Producer of American Purgatory, a radio documentary on the asylum process in the United States. Olivia holds an M.A. in International Affairs from the School for International and Public Affairs and B.A. in Russian Language and Literature from Barnard College both at Columbia University.
Déirdre Clancy is Co-Director of the International Refugee Rights Initiative. She was formerly the Director of the International Refugee Program at Human Rights First (formerly the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights). Before joining Human Rights First, Déirdre worked with the police and human rights programme at the Council of Europe's Human Rights Division and on monitoring commitments to human rights at the Secretary General's Monitoring Unit. Prior to that she was founding director of the first legal assistance service for refugees in Ireland, heading advocacy efforts around the passage of Ireland’s first refugee legislation and the development of asylum policy and practice. Déirdre received her European Masters Degree in Human Rights and Democratization from the Universities of Padua, Italy (1998) and Robert Schumann University, Strasbourg, France (1998). She holds an L.L.B. (law degree) with honours from Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland (1994). Déirdre has lectured on international refugee, human rights and criminal law in Ireland, Uganda, the United Kingdom and the United States.
Lucy Hovil is the Senior Researcher for a research and advocacy project initiated by the International Refugee Rights Initiative and the Social Science Research Council, Citizenship and Forced Migration in the Great Lakes Region. She is also the Managing Editor for the International Journal of Transitional Justice. She was formerly the Senior Research and Advocacy Officer at the Refugee Law Project, Faculty of Law, Makerere University, Uganda, where she founded the organisation's research department and oversaw their working paper series. She obtained her PhD (1999) from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, in which she explored the relationship between violence and identity in South Africa during the period of conflict that preceded the country's first inclusive election in 1994.
David Kigozi is Programme Coordinator of the International Refugee Rights Initiative’s programme in the Great Lakes region. He previously worked in senior international positions with Tearfund’s Disaster Management Team in the region for 10 years, focusing on the needs of conflict-affected people including the displaced, refugees, returnees and vulnerable host communities in both emergency and post-conflict contexts. At various times, he served as Tearfund’s Programme Director for Programmes in the Democratic Republic of Congo, in Burundi and Programme Support Manager for Southern Sudan. Before joining Tearfund, David worked as Executive Director of Global Recordings International in East Africa. He was also Regional Coordinator of the African Development Initiatives Network responsible for the training, capacity building and advocacy programme of member NGOs in the East and Horn of Africa region. He also served as a publications and editorial consultant of the then African Association for Literacy and Adult Education in Nairobi; a teaching assistant at Makerere University, Uganda; and an educator in both Uganda and Kenya. He holds an MBA from Kampala International University, Uganda, a BA in French and Linguistics and a Diploma in Education both from Makerere University, as well as a certificate in French from Vichy, France. He has also done courses in Project Design and Planning and People and Leadership Management, among others.
Dismas Nkunda is Co-Director of the International Refugee Rights Initiative. Dismas serves as the chair of the board of Conscience International, Co- Chair of Sudan Consortium, Co-Chair of Citizenship Rights In Africa Initiative (CRAI), serves on the Governing Council of East Africa Civil Society Forum (EACSOF), on the board of Effective African Court on Human and Peoples Rights, on the board of Reproductive Health Network of Africa (RHANA), board member of Africa CSO Platform on Principled Partnership (ACP) and on International Coalition on Responsibility to Protect (IC R2P) as well as on the Peace and Security cluster of the Center for the Citizen Participation with the Africa Union (CCP-AU).
Dismas was previously Africa Coordinator of the International Refugee Program at Human Rights First (formerly the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights) where he was responsible for designing, coordinating and implementing advocacy strategies to enhance refugee protection in Africa. Before joining Human Rights First, Dismas worked as Programme Officer for Africa Humanitarian Action, an African NGO that provides relief to displaced populations across the continent. An award-winning journalist, Dismas worked as reporter for many years for newspapers in Uganda, where he covered politics and conflicts in the Great Lakes region, including the 1994 Rwanda genocide. Dismas graduated with an M.A. in Humanitarian Assistance from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University (2001). He also holds a B.A. in Mass Communication from Makerere University, Uganda (1992) and a Certificate in the Study of Refugees and Forced Migration from the University of Dar Es Salaam, Faculty of Law, Tanzania (2000).
Michael Pitt is the IRRI Interim Managing Director and joined IRRI as part of the institutional review begun in 2011. Michael has worked for over thirty years in the development and social welfare fields and has many years senior management experience in the not for profit sector. He has also worked as a freelance consultant specialising in organisational change and capacity building in the UK, Ghana and Uganda.
Michael holds a BA in Social Studies from the Open University, an MSC in Care Policy and Management from the Guildhall University London and a Postgraduate Diploma in Global Development Management from the Open University. He is also a qualified counsellor and has studied Consultation, Management and Organisation Process at the Tavistock Institute in London.