STAND’s Advisory Board includes advocacy partners, educators, and STAND alumni who advise and support STAND’s strategic growth. Meet the 2021-2023 Advisory Board members:
Ursala Knudsen-Latta (Chair)
Legislative Representative, Peacebuilding | Friends Committee on National Legislation
Ursala is the Legislative Representative for Peacebuilding. Ursala lobbies Congress to change U.S. foreign policy from an overly militarized and security-driven approach to one that prevents, mitigates, and transforms violent conflict and builds sustainable peace. Ursala received her B.A. in religions and theology from the University of Manchester (U.K.), where her research focused on religion and conflict in south Asia. She worked with the Anchorage Interfaith Council, and the North American Interfaith Network before graduating with a M.A. in international peace and conflict resolution from American University. Prior to joining FCNL, Ursala was the policy and advocacy coordinator for Saferworld’s Washington, D.C. office, where she advocated for U.S. foreign policy driven by the needs and interests of conflict-affected communities. She has facilitated advocacy strategy development workshops in Nepal, Kyrgyzstan, and Somalia with Saferworld’s country teams and partners. Ursala chaired the U.S. Civil Society Working Group for Women, Peace and Security for two terms and has previously worked at the Alliance for Peacebuilding (AfP) and Women in International Security. Ursala is also a volunteer and troop leader with the Girl Scout Council of the Nation’s Capital.
President and Founder | Darfur Women Action Group
Niemat Ahmadi is the founder and president of the Darfur Women Action Group, a women-led anti-atrocities organization working to amplify the voices of affected communities and to provide a platform for action to end human rights abuses and promote peace in Darfur and in Sudan at large. A Darfuri survivor herself, Niemat has worked with a variety of international NGOs on human rights advocacy. Since settling in the U.S., Niemat has been a vocal advocate on behalf of Darfuri genocide survivors and women victims of sexual and gender-based violence. She is the former director of global partnerships for United to End Genocide and in 2008, she was recognized by President George W. Bush as one of the eight global human rights fighters for freedom of their people.
Deputy Digital Director | Office of United States Senator Edward J. Markey
Grace Fernandes is the Deputy Digital Director for the Office of United States Senator Edward J. Markey. In 2020, she graduated from Simmons University with her bachelor’s in political science, after transferring from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design where she was a part of the Studio for Interrelated Media (SIM). Prior to joining the Markey campaign, Grace served as the Student Director and Digital Media Coordinator for STAND: The Student-Led Movement to End Mass Atrocities.
Advocacy Director | Women’s Action for New Directions
Mac Hamilton is the Advocacy Director at Women’s Action for New Directions. She completed a joint masters degree in security, intelligence, and strategic studies at the University of Glasgow, Dublin City University, and Charles University, where her dissertation focused on the role of regional organizations – specifically the African Union – in conflict mitigation and peacebuilding. Prior to this, Mac was the Youth Coordinator for the Aegis Trust, where she managed STAND: The Student-Led Movement to End Mass Atrocities, working with students across the U.S., the U.K., Canada, and France on education and advocacy efforts to end and prevent genocide and mass atrocities. She holds a B.A. in Government and African Studies from Smith College in Massachusetts, USA.
Program Assistant | National Democratic Institute
Ashley L. Morefield, originally from Columbia, Maryland, holds a Bachelor’s degree from Dickinson College in International Studies and French & Francophone Studies. She spent her junior year studying abroad in Toulouse, France, where she studied at Institut d’Études Politiques de Toulouse. She has interned as a Journalism Intern at the Borgen Project. Following graduation, she spent a year in Yamoussoukro, Côte d’Ivoire as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant, teaching English and American culture at Lycée Scientifique de Yamoussoukro. She currently works at the National Democratic Institute, where she began as a Project Assistant on the Central & West Africa team, and is now a Program Assistant on the Southern & East Africa team. She supports the Institute’s programs in Ethiopia, Uganda, and Mozambique. She is proficient in French. She also holds numerous volunteer roles, such as Social Media Coordinator for Fulbright Noir and Holton Fund Young Alumnae Chair for her high school alma mater. Ashley joined STAND during her sophomore year in college as a member of the Communications Task Force. She then served as a Genocide Prevention Intern during the Summer of 2017, and as Co-Communications Coordinator on the Managing Committee from 2017-2018. Since graduation, she has enjoyed engaging with current STAND students and witnessing the organization’s growth. She is excited to join the inaugural Advisory Board!
Visiting Fellow | SNF Agora Institute at Johns Hopkins University
Scott is a Visiting Fellow at the SNF Agora Institute at Johns Hopkins University, a new institute focused on strengthening global democracy through powerful civic engagement, and informed, inclusive dialogue. Through this role, Scott is teaching an undergraduate class on Social Entrepreneurship, Policy, and Systems change, organizing a global network of youth activists and scholars focused on the topic, starting a Democracy Cities initiative to explore the role of municipalities in promoting civic engagement, and helping the university to emphasize its own role as a beacon of civic engagement and democracy. Prior to the SNF Agora Institute, Scott co-founded Generation Citizen, and served as the organization’s CEO for more than eleven years. Scott co-founded the organization at Brown University with fellow student Anna Ninan during their senior year, working with students in the local Providence community. From that starting point in 2008, Scott has grown Generation Citizen to become one of the preeminent civics education organizations in the country, promoting Action Civics across diverse geographies through best-in-class programming and concrete policy change. Scott has also served as a Social Entrepreneur in Residence at Brown University and Tufts University, and published a book in 2019, Generation Citizen: The Power of Youth in Politics. Scott was named an Echoing Green Fellow in 2010, and a Draper Richards Kaplan Fellow in 2012. He continues to write on subjects ranging youth political engagement to African politics to sports, and has been published and featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, the Christian Science Monitor, Education Week, the New York Daily News, Huffington Post, San Diego Union Tribune, Sports Illustrated, Philadelphia Inquirer, and the Providence Journal.
Co-Founder & Director | World Outside My Shoes
As a humanitarian aid worker, Carl Wilkens moved his young family to Rwanda in the spring of 1990. When the genocide was launched in April 1994, Carl refused to leave, even when urged to do so by close friends, his church and the United States government. Thousands of expatriates evacuated and the United Nations pulled out most of its troops. Carl was the only American to remain in the country. Venturing out each day into streets crackling with mortars and gunfire, he worked his way through roadblocks of angry, bloodstained soldiers and civilians armed with machetes and assault rifles in order to bring food, water and medicine to groups of orphans trapped around the city. Working with Rwandan colleagues, they helped saved the lives of hundreds. Carl returned to the United States in 1996. After being featured in the 2004 PBS Frontline documentary, “Ghosts of Rwanda”, about the Rwanda genocide, he began to receive letters, phone calls and offers from teachers around the country to come and share his experiences with students. In January 2008, with no end in sight to the ongoing genocide in Darfur, Sudan, Carl decided to quit his job and dedicate himself full time to accepting these invitations. He and his wife Teresa have since formed an educational nonprofit, World Outside My Shoes, to facilitate this important work. In 2011 Wilkens released his first book titled I’m Not Leaving. It is based on tapes he made to his wife and children during the genocide. A 40-minute documentary also titled I’m Not Leaving has also been produced. Regarding the book and documentary, Carl said, “While these stories happened during the genocide, the book and documentary are not really about genocide. They are more about the choices people made, actions people took, courage people showed, and sacrifices people gave in the face of genocide. For over a decade, Carl and Teresa have been speaking in schools on nearly every continent about their experiences in Rwanda and sharing the power of stories and service to build bridges to peace with “The Other.”