Geneva Team

Global Headquarters of International Bridges to Justice

64, rue de Monthoux, 1201 Geneva, Switzerland


Karen Tse – Founder and CEOKaren Tse – Founder and CEO

Karen founded International Bridges of Justice in 2000 to promote systemic global change in the administration of criminal justice. A former public defender, Karen first developed her interest in the cross section of criminal law and human rights as a Thomas J. Watson Fellow in 1986, after observing Southeast Asian refugees detained in a local prison without trial; thousands of prisoners of all ages being held without trial, often having been tortured into making so called confessions. In 1994, she moved to Cambodia to train the country’s first core group of public defenders and subsequently served as a United Nations Judicial Mentor. Under the auspices of the U.N., she trained judges and prosecutors, and established the first arraignment court in Cambodia. In the initial stages, she negotiated groundbreaking measures in judicial reform with the Chinese, Vietnamese and Cambodian governments.

Under her leadership, IBJ has expanded its programming to include Rwanda, Burundi, Zimbabwe and India. In addition to the Defenders Resource Centers in those countries, IBJ also sponsors independent Justice Makers in 25 countries. IBJ has created a Global Defense Support Program to bring IBJ assistance to public defenders worldwide. In 2010, IBJ launched the Justice Training Center in Singapore. A graduate of UCLA Law School and Harvard Divinity School, Karen was named by U.S. News & World Report as one of America’s Best Leaders in 2007. She has been recognized by the Skoll Foundation, Ashoka and Echoing Green as a leading social entrepreneur. Karen was the recipient of the 2008 Harvard Divinity School’s First Decade Award, and the 2008 American Bar Association’s International Human Rights Award. She also received the 2009 Gleitsman International Award at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. More on Karen

Sanjeewa Liyanage – International Program DirectorSanjeewa Liyanage – International Program Director

Sanjeewa oversees IBJ’s international portfolio of programs and is working to develop new initiatives that bring IBJ methodologies to defenders worldwide. Originally from Sri Lanka, Sanjeewa assumed the role of IBJ”s International Program Director in October 2006 after over 12 years of experience in project management in Asia. He began his career as the Asian Coordinator for International Young Christian Students (IYCS) in 1988, where he conducted social awareness and leadership training programs for students in 14 Asian countries. In 1995, he joined the Asian Legal Resource Center (ALRC), a regional human rights NGOs based in Hong Kong, where he assisted human rights related legal training programs for different groups including civic group leaders, lawyers and judges from the Asia-Pacific region. He represented ALRC at numerous UN forums including the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) and the Human Rights Committee in Geneva, preparatory meetings leading to the World Conference against Racism in Warsaw and Bangkok and the Committee against Torture. Sanjeewa was the East Asian focal point for the NGO Coalition for International Criminal Court (CICC). He has undergone human rights training at the Institute of Social Studies (ISS) in the Hague and Danish Institute (formerly Danish Centre) for Human Rights (DIHR) in Copenhagen. He obtained his Masters of Law (LLM) (Human Rights) at the University of Hong Kong in 2004.

John SimpkinsJohn L. S. Simpkins  – Senior Counselor

John L. S. Simpkins is the former General Counsel of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).  Prior to joining USAID, he was the Deputy General Counsel in the White House Office of Management and Budget.  Mr. Simpkins has held a variety of positions in private practice and academia, including serving of counsel at Wyche, P.A., in Greenville, SC; as a visiting professor in Canada, China, New Zealand, and Spain; as an assistant professor and Associate Director of the Richard W. Riley Institute at Furman University; and as an assistant professor and Director of Diversity Initiatives at the Charleston School of Law.  As a member of the African Network of the International Association of Constitutional Law, he has consulted and conducted research in comparative constitutional law and constitutional design in Nigeria, Liberia, Kenya, Uganda, and South Africa, among other countries.  Mr. Simpkins received his A.B. in government from Harvard College and a J.D. and LL.M. in international and comparative law from Duke University School of Law, where he is a Visiting Senior Lecturer for the Spring 2017 Term.  He is a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network at the Aspen Institute.

Ramin Hashemi – Chief Operating OfficerRamin Hashemi – Chief Operating Officer

Ramin serves as IBJ’s Chief Operating Officer, where he aims to apply his experience in technical, academic, and business environments to accelerate IBJ’s rate of achieving its goals. His work experience ranges from teaching at the University level, to risk and quality assurance analysis on the International Space Station at NASA’s Johnson Space Center, to starting and growing two companies in the United States. This has given him a wide array of business and project management experience, with a solid understanding of technical environments, multi-stake business environments (including Public Private Partnerships), as well as stand alone business units. In addition, his experience in both large organizations as well as small businesses makes him adaptable to multiple business environments.

Ramin holds a bachelors degree in Physics, and Masters Degree in Electrical Engineering, and has completed various business programs, including the Program for Executive Development at IMD and Advocacy in International Affairs at the Geneva Graduate Institute.

Theo Forbath – Technology Strategy Adviser to IBJTheo Forbath – Technology Strategy Adviser to IBJ

Theo Forbath is the Global Vice President of Innovation Strategy at frog. Theo is an expert in managing product innovation, business strategy and global collaboration. For the last 20 years, Theo has assisted leading technology vendors, service providers, multi-national corporations, early stage startups and NGOs in developing successful product and service strategies, transformative business models, and innovative go-to-market plans. Theo brings a passion for improving the human condition through the innovative use of technology, mobile communications, social networks, government and corporate leadership.

During the last decade, Theo has worked to improve educational, medical, legal and professional opportunities in regions throughout the world that are still coming “online”. Currently, much of Theo’s work focuses on the third wave of computing, and on helping organizations identify and leverage new opportunities in the post-PC, post-Mobile Phone/Tablet world of the Internet of Everything. Theo regularly writes and speaks about the evolution of technology, along with tracking the impact of the Internet, emerging computing applications and globalization on technology adoption and strategies to improve the quality of life for those who have the least. Theo’s writing, speaking and thought leadership has focused on how organizations can develop cultures of innovation, on creating new business models within a data-rich world, and on understanding the impact of global collaboration on product and service innovation.

Theo has worked with Harvard Business School and MIT Sloan School of Business on researching these areas, and his work has appeared in Fortune, Harvard Business Review (HBR), Rotman Management Journal, Design Mind, IEEE conference papers, Harvard Business School Working Papers, and in the 2006 book Global Sourcing – Issues and Perspectives. Theo has spoken at TEDx conferences, Mobile World Congress, given Keynotes for Innovation in Africa, China Smartricity Conference, and as part of Intel”s Distinguished Speakers” Series. Along with serving on the Advisory Boards for a number of companies, Theo also served on the World Economic Forum”s ICT Advisory Board for five years. Theo holds a BA with honors in Philosophy and Sociology from Brandeis University. Theo attended Harvard Business School’s Executive Program on Leading Product Development, and he holds a Professional Certificate in Data Communications from Northeastern University.

Karen S Hirschfeld – Development and Communications ConsultantKaren S Hirschfeld – Development and Communications Consultant

Karen S Hirschfeld of KSH Associates was raised in Canada, the U.S. and Switzerland and specializes in time and results-focused consulting, training and development. Interested primarily in personal effectiveness and goal setting, Karen’s work explores all that impacts our ability to be as effective as possible whether working independently or in teams. She has been volunteering part-time at IBJ since 2013, writing and editing documents, and working closely with interns, associates and management on effective goal setting, clear objectives, and increased efficiency. She is often consulted as a sounding board for new initiatives and ideas. A client once referred to her as his ‘thinking partner’ – a very apt description of the way she likes to work with people. Her teamwork tends to focus on strengthening the individual so that (s)he may be a strong contributor to the group. Karen continues to serve some preferred corporate clients in Europe, Canada and the States as well as working with small NGOs on an ad hoc basis.

Maryam Montague - photoMaryam Montague – Senior Program Manager & Development Executive

Maryam Montague has 25+  years experience in over 30 countries in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East.  An experienced program manager, her work includes programs funded by USAID, the British Foreign Office, the Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI), the US Institute for Peace (USIP), and the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). Ms. Montague’s fields of expertise include: rule of law; civil society capacity building; media and communications; women’s and youth participation; elections and good governance; and research, evaluations, and assessments. Ms. Montague has written numerous guides and other training materials to support international development programming. Ms. Montague holds an MA from the John Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and a BA with honors from Smith College.

Andrew Ozanian – Program Management and Development Associate

Andrew Ozanian was called to the U.K. bar in July 2014, having completed both undergraduate and masters law degrees at the University of Manchester. His desire to pursue a career protecting Human Rights has led him to the city of Geneva where he is continuing to specialise in the prevention of investigative torture. Previously, Andrew has interned at the International Criminal Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) where he assisted the prosecution of those accused of war crimes during the Yugoslav conflicts. Andrew has also spent time in Georgia U.S.A where he worked for Georgia Capital Defenders, assisting the preparation of capital trials and defending prisoners’ rights on death row.

Georgia Filice – Volunteer Associate

Georgia Filice has lived in Switzerland since 1987. After completing her Diplome de virtuosité at the Conservatoire de Musique de Genève, she pursued a career in opera. She sang in opera houses in France and England as well as at the Grand Théâtre de Genève. A year of travel brought with it desire to change focus and leave music to become engaged on social issues, particularly those of women and social justice. Georgia is now making use of her Bachelor’s degree in communications and marketing. She works with the IBJ team in Geneva focusing on editing and media.

Outside the office, Georgia is a proud mother of twin sons and an avid fan of all sports. She travels when possible with her equally adventurous husband and counts herself fortunate to live in beautiful Geneva, Switzerland.

Sonia Liang – Program Management and Development Associate

Sonia assists in the development, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of IBJ’s programs. Graduating from the University of Toronto with an Honours Bachelor of Arts with High Distinction in Political Science and English Literature, Sonia’s interest in the way countries’ institutional frameworks impact democracy development and rule of law is what drew her to IBJ.

Having lived and worked in North America, Europe and Asia, Sonia’s international background developed in her early on an interest in global affairs and human rights. Having previously worked in several different editorial capacities, including as a content writer and a copy editor, Sonia brings with her an eye for detail and a passion for writing.

Marie Suggitt

Marie is a second year law student at the Open University, a distance learning university based in the UK. She left the UK seven years ago and developed an interest in human rights whilst travelling, becoming aware that violations of fundamental rights were taking place in various countries. She has previously spent time working with refugees in the illegal camps in Calais, something which fuelled her passion for defending human rights.

Marie has lived in France for five years and loves the outdoor life, spending her free time in the mountains, skiing in winter and hiking during the summer.

Virginia Palomba

Virginia completed her undergraduate law degree and legal training in Italy. After experiencing the legal field at the national level she decided to explore the field of International Law. It is for this reason that in 2015 she went to the University of Nottingham where she studied International Human Rights Law. In February 2016 she also interned at the Syrian Legal Development Programme where she had the opportunity to put into practice her passion for human rights and humanitarian law.

In her spare time, she likes travelling and running and, when it is possible, she likes to spend some time in Italy with her family, friends and dog.

Picture1Kwan-Hiu Yiu

Kwan-Hiu  is a law graduate from Queen Mary, University of London and has previously completed several internships at law firms in London. Having participated in much pro bono work as an undergraduate student, she became interested in providing access to justice on a global scale which attracted her to IBJ. She is excited to use this experience to further develop her skills whilst fighting for human rights .

Aside from pro bono work, Kwan-Hiu enjoys travelling and learning languages. Additionally, she is looking forward to making the most of Switzerland.

_Haasgold_8628Mia Haas-Goldberg

Mia is a recent graduate of Connecticut College in New London, Connecticut where she studied International Relations, History, and French. She has worked briefly in international development and immigration law, and just ended her post as a personal research assistant for Dr. Eugene Kogan of Harvard University. She has conducted research at various institutions, including Centre de Documentation Historique sur l’Algérie, les Archives Nationales d’Outre Mer, the Library of Congress, and Yale University Special Collections. Mia has a regional interest in the Maghreb, as well as the rest of Francophone Africa, and conducted a three-year project on colonial and post-colonial connections to contemporary human rights abuses in Algeria and France, with an emphasis on displacement and migration.

She is originally from Los Angeles and lived in both Tunisia and France before interning with IBJ.