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The goal of Transcendence is to reveal human stories, to move beyond statistics, to question the status quo and to engage audiences in discussions about human rights.  Because this is such a rich topic with many perspectives, we have brought together a wide range of academic advisers.









is the Executive Director of the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect and a Senior Research Fellow at the CUNY Graduate Center.  Adams studied at the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa and at the University of New South Wales, where he received his Ph.D.  He is also a graduate of the Executive Leadership Program at the Harvard Business School. 


Mr. Adams was chosen for his firsthand knowledge and insights into the political, historical and regional context for many of our survivors’ stories.  In addition, Mr. Adams has personally experienced the ripple effects of torture.  Not only was his uncle held and tortured by the British in Northern Ireland, but many of his friends and colleagues were tortured and killed during the height of the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa.  


is an Associate Professor in the History Department of Yale University. Cabanes is particularly interested in the period of transition that followed World War I. He has analyzed this topic from a variety of angles: the demobilization of combat troops, the traumatic impact of war on soldiers and civilians, a comparative study of the different post-war periods in the twentieth century, and, more recently, the environmental history of war and its aftermath.  


He has co-authored a book on Albania following the fall of Communism and has written on America in the post 9-11 period. In his next book, “Turning away from War: Humanitarian Rights in the Aftermath of the First World War”  (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming), he explores the transformation of humanitarian practices, the institutional formation of discourse and new legal structures for humanitarian rights in the 1920s.  


At Yale, Cabanes teaches undergraduate and graduate courses, including The Experience of War in the Twentieth Century, Shell Shock to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, The Cultural History of World War I, Surviving War in the Twentieth Century, The Body in Modern Warfare and War and the Environment.  Professor Cabanes’s research is helping us thread links to some of the greatest traumas of the twentieth and twenty-first century to the current impact of conflict in the global community. 


is an Argentine-Chilean novelist, playwright, essayist, academic, and human rights activist.  A citizen of the U.S. since 2004, he has been a professor of literature and Latin American Studies at Duke University since 1985.  Dorfman has written extensively about torture and authored the world-renowned play, “Death and the Maiden".


Dorfman is working with us to select a bibliography for an anthology of prose and poems relating to the film’s focus.   Some quotes from this work may be included as text in the film and as part of the transmedia outreach campaign.


is the former Senior Director of Torture Treatment Services and International Training at the Heartland Alliance Marjorie Kovier Center.  Previous positions include Program Director for the Bosnian Mental Health Program and the Refugee Mental Health Training Program at Heartland Alliance. Fabri provides national and international training and consultation on issues of torture and severe trauma. She currently works in East Africa (Rwanda, Burundi, and Congo) training healthcare providers on the long-term consequences of trauma and implications for treatment.  She also trains Kurdish and Arab health care providers at Heartland Alliance's Torture Rehabilitation & Training Center in Northern Iraq.  As one of the pre-eminent pioneers in the area of survivor care in the United States, Dr. Fabri provides insight into the history of the care movement, both nationally and internationally. 


has been teaching at Harvard Law School since 1961. He was educated at Princeton, Oxford and Columbia Law School.  1985-1989 he was the US Solicitor General, and, worked as Associate Justice of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts 1995-1999.  His scholarly and teaching interests focus on the connection between normative theory and the concrete institutions of public and private law. 


is the Chair of the Philosophy Department at Suffolk University.  He, together with his colleagues, founded a new interdisciplinary masters program in Ethics and Public Policy, which integrates the study of ethical and political questions in the philosophical tradition with the techniques and politics of policy analysis and implementation.  With his father, Charles Fried, he co-authored “Because It Is Wrong: Torture, Privacy and Presidential Power in the Age of Terror” (W. W. Norton, 2010.)


Through their work, father and son bring a wealth of understanding—moral, philosophical, political and legal— to contemporary American discussions about torture and democracy.


is the Executive Director of Advocates for Survivors of Torture and Trauma, and, an adjunct professor of law at Georgetown University.  As a psychologist she has provided training in the field of torture treatment both nationally and internationally. In 2001, she received the International Humanitarian of the Year Award from the American Psychological Association. In 2005, she was the recipient of a Maryland Psychological Association Award for Outstanding Service to the Public.  Hanscom provides national and international context and perspective to the work of The Survivor Program.


is the Gerard C. and Bernice Latrobe Smith Professor of International Law and Director of the Center for Global Legal Challenges at Yale Law School.  She served as a Law Clerk for Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor and D.C. Circuit Judge Patricia Wald.  Her current research focuses on the intersection of domestic and international law.  Hathaway’s expertise untangles the rich and complex web of law and healing. 


has worked in human rights since 2000, primarily in war zones and post-conflict areas such as Iraq and Liberia.  She worked as a researcher with Human Rights Watch in and around the Ivory Coast; as a Senior Research Fellow and General Project Coordinator at the International Human Rights Law Institute; as Amnesty International's West Africa researcher; and as a consultant to UNICEF, Open Society, and the Iran Human Rights Documentation Center.  


is Associate Professor of Pastoral Care and Counseling at the Yale Divinity School, whose research, broadly speaking, uses ethnographic methodology to investigate issues of pastoral care in conflict and post-conflict disaster zones. She is the author of “Building the Resilient Community: Lessons from the Lost Boys of Sudan” (2011), a study on field research in South Sudan in which she challenges conventional Western models of healing and explores how faith serves as a resource for resilience in refugee communities facing traumatic circumstances in times of war and displacement.  Her pastoral and clinical experience includes chaplaincy at a level-one trauma center. She is an ordained elder in the United Methodist Church. 


Since many of the clients at The Survivor Program maintain a deep connection to their faith, which provides a tremendous source of strength and community, Holton’s expertise contextualizes the spiritual aspect of survival and healing.


is the Executive Director of the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA), a freedom of press/freedom of expression advocacy organization based in Accra, Ghana.  Covering all 15 countries in the Economic Community of West African States and Mauritania, MFWA engages in media law reform, legal defense of journalists, press freedom monitoring, and protection for persecuted journalists.  He is a professor of journalism and mass communication at the University of Ghana.  An articulate and impassioned observer, Karikari adds a unique perspective on the experiences of the film’s main characters.


is a Visiting Professor of Law at the American University, Washington College of Law.  Since November 2010, he has functioned as a United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment. In 2009 and 2010 he was the Special Advisor on Prevention to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court. He is also Co-Chair of the Human Rights Institute of the International Bar Association. Until May 2009, he was the President of the International Center for Transnational Justice.  Concurrent with those duties, the Honorable Kofi Annan named Méndez his Special Advisor on the Prevention of Genocide, a task he performed from 2004 to 2007.  As a survivor of torture, Méndez adds an invaluable perspective on the current landscape of torture in the international community.


teaching and scholarship focus 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. Nessel regularly teaches Immigration and Naturalization Law at the Immigrants' Rights/International Human Rights Clinic. She has also taught International Human Rights Law, Gender and the Law, Selected Topics in Immigration Law and Advanced Comparative Issues in Refugee Law. In her Immigrants' Rights/International Human Rights Clinic, Nessel supervises advocacy projects, including claims under the Refugee and Torture Conventions, as well as cases involving human trafficking, family reunification and other forms of relief from deportation. 


Part of the survivor’s story is the search for safety.  For many of the survivors who come to America seeking refuge, this involves asylum, working with immigration law for individuals and their families. Nessel supplements our understanding the nuances of legal issues confronting survivors.


is the Director of the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Human Rights in Vienna, and, Professor for International Human Rights Protection at the University of Vienna. Formerly, a judge at the Human Rights Chamber of Bosnia-Herzegovina, he served as the United Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment.  Nowak served as a member of the United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances.  He is the author of more than 350 publications in the fields of constitutional, administrative and international law with a focus on fundamental and human rights.  Nowak provides the project with an intimate knowledge of international law as it relates to torture and survivors.


the Henry Charles Lea Professor of History at the University of Pennsylvania, Peters specializes in the early history of Europe, from the second to the seventeenth centuries. His chief interests are political and constitutional history, including church history, intellectual and legal history, and historiography. His current research deals with various aspects of crime and punishment, and the idea of curiosity and the limits of intellectual inquiry.  As one of the pre-eminent scholars on the subject, Peters brings humor and historical perspective to our inquiry.


is the Jey Tsong Khapa Professor of Indo-Tibetan Buddhist Studies in the Department of Religion at Columbia University; President of the Tibet House U.S., a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation and promotion of Tibetan civilization; and President of the American Institute of Buddhist Studies, a non-profit affiliated with the Center for Buddhist Studies at Columbia University. 


Thurman is an author of books on Tibet, Buddhism, art, politics and culture.  A former Buddhist monk, he is dedicated to the publication of translations of important texts from the Tibetan Tengyur.


is a Research Scientist at the Harvard School of Public Health and Associate Faculty with the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative.  In 2011 he directed and co-founded the Initiative for Vulnerable Populations at U.C. Berkeley’s Human Rights Center, where he focused on managing and implementing empirical studies on the process of social reconstruction in countries affected by mass violence. His work is informed by several years of experience working on development projects in Africa. Vinck also co-founded KoBo, a digital data collection project that advances human rights research. He serves as a member of the Committee on Scientific Freedom and Responsibility of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and a consultant on vulnerability analysis to the United Nations World Food Program.  Vinck adds empirical insight into the field conditions experienced by many of the film’s main characters, especially during periods of conflict.











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