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SFC International
October 5, 2021

Second Cohort of SFC Fellows Contribute to Signature Human Rights Program

The Fellows Program will bring three new outstanding professionals with expertise in human rights, DEI, sustainability and human trafficking into the St. Francis community this fall, contributing to the development of a signature Human Rights Program. The inaugural cohort of four Fellows was announced in April 2021.

"I am thrilled to welcome this second cohort of exceptional scholars to St. Francis. Their partnership in centering human rights in the education of our students is tremendously important," said Dr. Miguel Martinez-Saenz, President of St. Francis College.

The Fellows will work with faculty in various departments to develop and teach courses, contributing their insights and ideas as they engage with faculty in the Institute for Global engagement at SFC International. They will also render other services such as presenting in the SFC Human Rights Lecture Series, guest-lecturing in classes, mentoring students, working with the Amnesty International Chapter at SFC, and contributing to the comprehensive internationalization of the College.

"The Fellows we invite into the SFC family bring professional experiences and points of view that complement our faculty experts. They provide new perspectives and opportunities to learn, building ties between the College and people and organizations around the world," said Dr. Jennifer Lancaster, Vice President for Academic Affairs.

"Our globally interconnected world requires a new paradigm of enriched and engaged education to develop knowledge, skills and capacities in our students to thrive as responsible global citizens and professionals. Our Human Rights Fellows will greatly contribute toward the realization of that kind of unique education that our students deserve," said Dr. Reza Fakhari, Vice President for Internationalization and recent Chair of Amnesty International USA.

The second cohort of the Fellows include:

  • Aniket Shah, Ph.D., Managing Director and Global Head of ESG and Sustainability at Jefferies Group LLC; Senior Fellow, Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment; and Adjunct Assistant Professor of Sustainable Finance and International Development, School of International & Public Affairs, Columbia University
Aniket Shah
Dr. Shah brings extensive expertise and deep experience from the corporate world and non-profit sectors to develop and teach the "Human Rights, Sustainability and Global Finance" course in collaboration with faculty in the Interdisciplinary Studies Department. Before joining Jeffries Group, he worked at UBS, Oppenheimer Funds, and Investec Asset Management. He was also Program Manager and Special Assistant to the Director of Earth Institute, Jeffrey Sachs, at Columbia University.

Dr. Shah was elected as a Board member and then Chair of the Board of Amnesty International USA and currently serves as the International Treasurer of Amnesty International. He has taught at Columbia, published articles in his area of expertise, and has spoken in key forums. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Oxford.

  • Natalie Jesionka, M.A., researcher, journalist, documentary filmmaker, and former faculty at Rutgers University and John Jay College of Criminal Justice
Natalie Jesionka

Natalie Jesionka has spent the last decade teaching, researching, and speaking about global human trafficking, gender and conflict, human rights, and social good. She has served on the Board of Directors of Amnesty International USA and has written for the Washington Post, Philadelphia Inquirer, Toronto Star, National Post, and The Canadian Press focusing on best practices in international development and social impact.

Natalie has been a Paul and Daisy Soros Fellow. She also served as a Fulbright Scholar in Thailand researching stateless Hill Tribe communities and examining the origins of human trafficking which later turned into the feature-length documentary by the Oscar-Award-winning production team from Shine Global called "The Wrong Light." She was the founder/director of PRIZM, an organization focused on human rights education for Women. She holds a Master of Science in Global Affairs and a B.A. in Journalism from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey.

  • Hakim M. A. Williams, Ed.D., Daria L. and Eric J. Wallach Professor of Peace and Justice Studies, Gettysburg College

Dr. Hakim Williams teaches on human rights; postcolonialism, race, gender and identity; education for social change; Caribbean studies; and globalization. He also adjuncts in the conflict resolution/mediation program at the Morton Deutsch International Center for Cooperation and Conflict Resolution at Teachers College, Columbia University.

He has also taught at Drexel University, the European Peace University, and the University of San Francisco. His research centers on school/structural violence, educational inequities, youth and community empowerment, and cross-national solidarity building. He has given 40 presentations at academic conferences and over 30 talks and served for two years as co-chair of the Peace Education Special Interest Group (SIG) of the Comparative and International Education Society (CIES).

Dr. Williams is the recipient of a Fulbright Global Scholar Award. He was a Visiting Scholar at the Advanced Consortium on Cooperation, Conflict, & Complexity (Earth Institute), and is currently on the editorial board of several journals. He is also the founder of the Consortium of North American Peace Programs and has launched a national peace and justice leadership development program for undergraduate students (conappgburg.com). He completed his Bachelor's in Psychology with honors at St. Francis College, and his Master of Arts, Master of Education, and Doctor of Education in Comparative and International Education/International Development, with a focus in philosophy of education and peace education at Columbia University.

The courses that Dr. Shah, Prof. Jesionka, and Dr. Williams develop in collaboration with SFC's full-time faculty will be among those that fulfill the requirements of a new minor in Human Rights that SFC is establishing. Dr. Shah's course, "Human Rights, Sustainability and Global Finance" and Dr. Williams' course, "Human Rights Activism, Advocacy and Change," will be anchored in the Interdisciplinary Studies Department. Prof. Jesionka's course, "Human Trafficking, Gender and Social Impact," will be anchored in the Sociology and Criminal Justice Department.