Executive Director of Middle-East and North Africa Division at Human Rights Watch
Sarah Leah Whitson, executive director of Human Rights Watch's Middle East and North Africa Division, oversees the work of the division in 19 countries, with staff located in 10 countries. She has led dozens of advocacy and investigative missions throughout the region, focusing on issues of armed conflict, accountability, legal reform, migrant workers, and political rights.
She has published widely on human rights issues in the Middle East in international and regional media, including The New York Times, Foreign Policy, The Los Angeles Times, and CNN. She appears regularly on Al-Jazeera, BBC, NPR, and CNN. Before joining Human Rights Watch, Whitson worked in New York for Goldman, Sachs & Co. and Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton. She graduated from the University of California, Berkeley and Harvard Law School. Whitson is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. She speaks Armenian and Arabic.
Professor Of Law, Director Of Center For Social Justice, Seton Hall Law
Lori A. Nessel's teaching and scholarship focuses largely in the areas of immigration and refugee law and policy, international human rights, rule of law, and access to justice. She is a Professor of Law and the Director of Seton Hall University School of Law's Center for Social Justice. Professor Nessel regularly teaches Immigration and Naturalization Law and the Immigrants' Rights/International Human Rights Clinic, where she supervises live cases and human rights fact-finding and advocacy projects.
In 2006, Professor Nessel was appointed Director of the Center for Social Justice, home of the Law School’s large Clinical and Pro Bono Programs. She has also been actively involved in designing the International Human Rights/Rule of Law Initiative, is the faculty director of the Haiti Rule of Law Project and is in the process of designing a new Guatemala Rule of Law Project.
Professor Nessel has written numerous scholarly articles on various aspects of immigration and international human rights norms. Her scholarship has been published in top academic journals (including University of Minnesota Law Review and Harvard Civil Rights Civil Liberties Law Review) and republished in annual immigration anthologies.
Mohsen Namjoo is an Iranian artist, songwriter, singer, music scholar and setar (traditional Persian lute) player based in California. His unique music style resembles a patchwork of Persian classical poetry of Hafez, Rumi or Saadi with western music, namely rock, blues, and jazz.
Since 2003, Namjoo has recorded parts of his works in Tehran. His debut album titled Toranj was officially released in Iran in September 2007. He has also composed soundtracks for movies and plays, and was featured in the documentary Sounds of Silence (directed by Amir Hamz and Mark Lazarz) which has been screened at international film festivals.
In 2008 Namjoo kicked off his first solo US tour. His album Useless Kisses was released in 2011. Alaki, a live recording from a performance at the Stanford University in February 2011, was released in 2012. In late 2013, Mohsen Namjoo was Brown University Middle East Studies' 2014 Artist in Residence. In 2014, he taught “Revolution and Poets: Content and Form in Iranian Poetry.”
Namjoo continues touring the world and creating new music. Hailed as “the Bob Dylan of Iran” by the New York Times, Mohsen Namjoo is a visionary artist who speaks for and touches the souls of today’s youth. Seamlessly blending the classical with the modern, the ancient and the current, Mohsen Namjoo is a true musical maverick.
Film Producer, Festival Programmer
Sara Nodjoumi is a film producer and festival programmer. She most recently produced the feature documentary The Iran Job, which was released theatrically and on Netflix. In Germany, the film was shortlisted for a German Academy Award. For The Iran Job Nodjoumi managed two of the most successful Kickstarter campaigns of all time.
She co-produced and co-directed I Call Myself Persian: Iranians In America, which aired on PBS and premiered at the MoMA Documentary Fortnight.
Nodjoumi joined director Till Schauder, as an Associate Producer on his feature films Santa Smoke and Duke’s House. Their collaboration continues with the feature documentary The Reggae Boyz, which is currently in post-production, and When God Sleeps, which is in production and has received support from numerous foundations including the Sundance Institute.
From 2004-2009, Nodjoumi worked at the Tribeca Film Festival as an Associate Programmer and is currently the Artistic Director of the New York Sephardic Film Festival. She is frequently invited to serve on and moderate film festival juries and industry panels and is also consulting on crowd-funding and audience engagement campaigns.
Vice President, Global Marketing And Merchandising, Estee Lauder Companies, Inc.
Salima is the Vice President, Global Online MMA Group, overseeing marketing, merchandising and analytic strategies across The Estee Lauder Companies portfolio of 30 leading prestige beauty brands. Prior to rejoining Estee Lauder Companies, Salima served as the Vice President of Ray-Ban at Luxottica and prior to that as the Senior Vice President of Global Ecommerce and Digital Strategy at Stuart Weitzman. Salima holds a Bachelor of Science in Marketing and International Business from the Stern School of Business at New York University.
Composer, Musician, Songwriter
Siddhartha Khosla is a film and television composer and frontman, multi instrumentalist and songwriter for critically acclaimed band Goldspot. Goldspot has released three albums and has been featured on TV shows ( most notably 'How I Met Your Mother', 'The OC', 'The Neighbors'), major brand advertising campaigns (Google, Target, Apple), and films (Basmati Blues, Today's Special). Khosla's songs have also appeared in trailers for "How Do You Know" (Reese Witherspoon), "The Dilemma" (Vince Vaughn), and "Something Borrowed" (Kate Hudson).
Mr. Khosla’s band Goldspot has appeared on KCRW's "Morning Becomes Eclectic," NPR's "Tell Me More," and has shared the bill with the likes of the Arcade Fire, Bjork, Death Cab for Cutie, Franz Ferdinand, and Feist.
Mr. Khosla’s recent composing credits include Lionsgate drama "The Royals," feature film "Liv," and ABC show "The Neighbors."