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About Us

Our Leaders: Expertise and Experience

Refugee Projects is run by experts who have spent their entire professional lives assisting and protecting the human rights of refugees.  Experts with the knowledge and experience to provide what is needed, when it is needed, to whom it is needed.  Our founder and CEO is a preeminent expert in the fields of human rights, refugee and asylum law and policy, migration and immigration law, and the law and policy of human trafficking -- all areas of law and policy that intersect with refugee flows, making these important factors for understanding the complex and dangerous legal routes that refugees must navigate. 


With our decades of experience in direct legal representation,  teaching, advising, litigation and human rights law practice in over twenty countries, we aim to respond with legal advice during emergencies, even while we use our policy skills and networks to work on ensuring that the next does not arise.


Founder & President

Dina Francesca Haynes is a Professor of Law.  She has taught human rights and refugee law and policy and provided direct legal representation to refugees and asylum seekers for over twenty years. She has taught immigration, refugee and asylum law, human trafficking, public international law, human rights law, transitional justice, clinical legal practice, and constitutional law at Georgetown University, American University, UNLV and New England Law. 


Prior to teaching law, she spent a decade practicing international law within several UN agencies and international organizations.  She served as Director General of the Human Rights Department for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and as Human Rights Advisor to the OSCE in Serbia and Montenegro.  She was a Protection Officer with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Croatia.  She also received appointments by the Office for the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Rwanda and with UNHCR in Afghanistan. Prior to these international positions, she was an Honor Graduate attorney for the United States Department of Justice, and clerked on the Constitutional Court of South Africa during its first session.  

Dina engages in extensive pro bono representation of refugees, asylum seekers and their advocates, and other constitutional and human rights legal matters relating to migration.  She has worked with detained families, separated children, and with refugees in camps in Greece, Malta, Croatia and Mexico. She researches, writes, and engages in policy work, legal advocacy and direct client representation in the areas of refugee and asylum law, immigration, human trafficking, human rights, defending human rights defenders, and gender during and after conflict. Her most recent two books, on the topic of gender and conflict, are published by Oxford University Press.  Her most recent articles, on immigration, gender and authoritarianism, and human trafficking during and after times of war, are published in the Human Rights Quarterly, the Yale Journal on Regulation, and the University of Pennsylvania Law Review.  You can find her publications here.

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Board Consultant


Zahra Bahremandi holds a degree in English liternature from the University of Tehran, where she also pursued a Master's Degree in Linguistics. She taught at Kabul University and Kateb University in Afghanistan, where she also wrote for local newspapers, and worked as an editor, translator and interpreter. 


Now based in the United States, she works as an ERP coordinator and warehouse manager.  She is fluent in Dari, Farsi and English, and passionate about using her skills and experience to support immigrant and refugee communities.  Her personal experiences have taught her that without friendly and competent assistance, surviving persecution, fleeing one's home, seeking and obtaining refugee status, and adapting to a new life is a difficult path.  This motivates her to assist others to survive these challenges, to find new opportunities, and to thrive. 


Board Consultant


Hadar Harris is an international human rights attorney who has worked for more than two decades on a broad range of human rights issues in more than 25 countries. She has specialized in issues of civil and political rights, gender equality, ending torture and genocide, and promoting domestic implementation of international norms. Over the past decade, she has focused a large part of her personal work on creating and growing the movement for human rights in the United States.

In September 2017, Hadar became the executive director of the Student Press Law Center (SPLC), the nation’s only legal assistance organization devoted exclusively to supporting student news media in their struggle to  cover important issues free from censorship. SPLC promotes critical inquiry and exacting journalism by young people as an important part of encouraging civic engagement and robust civil society, and as a cornerstone to promoting the freedoms of expression and association.

Most recently, Hadar served as the executive director of the Northern California Innocence Project, which works to exonerate the innocent and to reform the criminal justice system. She previously served for 13 years as the executive director of the Center for Human Rights & Humanitarian Law at American University Washington College of Law, Prior to that she was the director of Program and Resource Development for the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) and earlier, the executive director of the Congressional Human Rights Caucus.

In 2016, she received the Rafael Lemkin Award from T’ruah: the Rabbinic Call for Human Rights. She currently serves on the boards of directors of Amnesty International USA and B’tselem USA.  She is a graduate of Brown University and UCLA Law.



Board Consultant

Adrienne Fricke is a Senior Fellow at the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, a Senior Peace Fellow at the Public Interest Law and Policy Group, and a consultant specializing in human rights and refugee-related issues in the Middle East and Africa. She is the lead author of HHI's publication, "Window of Hope: Sustaining education of health professionals in northwest Syria." Since 2007, she has worked with Physicians for Human Rights, serving as an Expert Consultant on both Syria and Sudan and author of its report ‘Chaos and Fire’: An Analysis of Sudan’s June 3, 2019 Khartoum Massacre.


Adrienne has conducted field missions in Bangladesh, Chad, Colombia, Lebanon, Sierra Leone, Syria, Sudan, and Turkey. She was an investigator on the Darfur Atrocities Documentation Team (2004) and PILPG’s Bangladesh Investigation Mission (2018).


She holds a J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania, an M.A. in Near Eastern Studies from New York University, and a B.A. in African Studies from Yale University, and is fluent in Arabic, French, and Spanish.



Board Consultant

Adonia R. Simpson is the Director of Policy and Pro Bono at the ABA Commission on Immigration (COI).  Adonia has substantial experience in both private practice and legal services.  She started her legal career as the Fellow for the Center for Law and Social Responsibility providing representation on Special Immigrant Juvenile cases at Greater Boston Legal Services.  Following her fellowship, Adonia worked in private practice providing representation on defensive immigration and criminal matters.  She returned to nonprofit work as the Managing Attorney at Catholic Charities of Baltimore’s Immigration Legal Services at the Esperanza Center.  Prior to joining the COI team,


Adonia spent five years developing and directing the Family Defense Program at Americans for Immigrant Justice in Miami, Florida. The program provided immigration education, screening, and representation to vulnerable immigrants throughout South Florida.  Her on-the-ground experience provides valuable insights on policy issues and pro bono engagement. Adonia serves on various local and national immigration committees and working groups. She  frequently lectures, writes, and gives interviews on immigration topics. 

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Vice President

Jebb Dykstra is the founder and co-founder of three VC backed companies, including Meetrix Communications, Cloak, and Coax. He is also the co-founder of Diddychat, EventChat and DavosChat, which were community and interest based chat apps. Jebb is trained as a lawyer and has served as Counsel and General Counsel to many different technology companies, including most recently as Deputy General Counsel of Fornetix, Inc. a leading key management and encryption solution. 


Prior to joining Fornetix, he served as General Counsel to EdgeTV, LLC, one of the world’s leading action sports channels. He also worked with Irdeto Access as a Senior Strategic consultant for the Office of the CTO and CEO. Back in 2001, he started his own boutique law firm called Technology Sector Law Corporation. He taught Introduction to Intellectual Property Law at UCLA from 2002 - 2009. In 2011, he started teaching as an Adjunct Professor of online courses at University of Denver, including Cybersecurity Law, GIS and the Law, Cloud Computing and Internet Law. 


Jebb and Meetrix won the first ever Beacon Award from IBM for Best Cloud Computing Innovation. His patent(s) describe a novel way of distributing and licensing software using cloud-based infrastructure to any wifi or 5G endpoint, including but not limited to people, robots, drones and sensors. Early in his career, he worked as a contract attorney for Price Waterhouse Coopers closing on the sale of over 1,000 Unocal gas station sites, for Howrey Simon on the $14 Billion acquisition by Boeing of McDonnell Douglas and for the FDIC as an Assistant Bank Examiner.  Jebb obtained his Juris Doctor from University of The Pacific in 1994 and obtained his B.S.B.A from University of Denver in 1987.



Secretary & Treasurer

Ken O'Brien comes to Refugee Projects as a seasoned technical executive and business startup entrepreneur and serves as our technical advisor, secretary and treasurer. His executive leadership experience with both publicly and privately held corporations brings a strong business acumen to Refugee Projects and helps keep us organized, efficient and fiscally compliant.  


Ken owns and operates his own Fractional CTO consulting company specializing in  technology-related research & design, software architecture, technical reviews for mergers/acquisitions, and general process-improvement and technical team building for start-ups or established companies.

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Marketing Advisor 

Anne Redfern Greenhaw is an experienced marketing writer and leader, primarily for software companies, where she has managed public relations, analyst relations, national and international media campaigns, and the marketing of acquisitions and Initial Public Offerings. As marketing advisor for Refugee Projects, Anne brings deep expertise in sharing our refugee and asylum law training articles, videos, support materials, and fundraising efforts to wider audiences. 


She lives in Nosara, Costa Rica, where she also teaches English as an Additional Language (EAL) to elementary students at the Biblioteca David Kitson. She is a graduate of the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville in Journalism, and also has extensive training in leadership, sales, and content and social media management. 


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