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The Center for Victims of Torture Welcomes New Board Members

Published February 16, 2022

ST. PAUL, Minn. — The Center for Victims of TortureTM (CVT) announces the election of three new members to its board of directors, elected at the December 2021 board meeting. In addition, at that meeting these individuals were re-elected board officer roles: Carleen Rhodes as board chair, Charles P. Henry as vice chair, Richard Senese as past chair and Connie Magnuson as treasurer.

CVT is delighted to welcome these new members:

Noura Aljizawi is a researcher at the Citizen Lab at Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, University of Toronto. Her work takes an in-depth look at human rights issues connected to disinformation, digital authoritarianism and digital transnational repression. Originally from Homs, Syria, she was a prominent figure in the Syrian uprising. She played a key role in the peaceful movement, and has written and spoken publicly about her experience of abduction, detention and torture. Ultimately, she was forced to flee to Turkey, where she became vice president of the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces. She was elected to a role on the organization’s Geneva negotiation panel and participated in peace talks in 2014.

While still in Turkey, Noura founded Start Point, a nongovernmental organization dedicated to human rights and psychosocial support for Syrian women and girls who had been detained and tortured. She subsequently moved to Canada and completed her Master’s degree in Global Affairs from the University of Toronto Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy. Noura has extensive experience with civic and social organizations and focuses on political strategy, business development, global affairs, human rights and gender issues.

Julia Classen has been making an impact at state and national levels over many years, with specialization in issues related to women and youth, equity and social justice, and LGBTQ rights, in her career as a nonprofit organizational and governance consultant. Her areas of focus have included board development, organizational assessment, capacity building, performance management, leadership development, strategic management and planning, public policy formation and facilitation. Julia served as a Public and Nonprofit Leadership Center’s Hubert fellow at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota and as senior fellow for the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits.

Julia was an adjunct faculty member at the University of Minnesota, Humphrey School, teaching a graduate course on Nonprofit Board Development and Leadership. In addition, she taught Management and Governance of Nonprofits as a core course of the undergraduate major/minor in nonprofit management. She has served on numerous state and national nonprofit boards.

Sunanda Ghosh is a nonprofit strategy consultant. She has worked with national and international nonprofits for over 20 years – from grassroots organizations focused on community organizing to large institutions working on capital campaigns. These organizations include the American Friends Service Committee, Native Organizers Alliance, Human Rights Watch, the Philadelphia Mural Arts Program, Artists for Humanity and Philadelphia Contemporary. Sunanda’s work has entailed organizational development, fundraising strategy, leadership gifts, campaign management, planned giving and board development. With smaller organizations, she has focused on strategic planning, capacity building and fund development; with larger organizations, she has focused on strategic planning with an equity lens.

Sunanda participates on the boards of the Rail Park, BlackStar Film Festival and Science Leadership Academy. She is based in Philadelphia and has worked in India, South Africa and Brazil, and speaks fluent Bengali.

“I am honored and so very happy to have these three distinguished individuals join our board and play a role in guiding CVT,” said Dr. Simon Adams, CVT president and CEO. “I have deep appreciation for their expertise and long histories of dedication to human rights and humanitarian work. I look forward to working with them and learning from them.”


The Center for Victims of Torture is a nonprofit organization with offices in Ethiopia, Iraq, Jordan, Kenya, Uganda, United States and additional project sites around the world.

Visit www.cvt.org

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