Professor. Karen Musalo directs the Center for Gender & Refugee Studies, and the Refugee and Human Rights Clinic. She is lead co-author of Refugee Law and Policy: An International and Comparative Approach (4th edition), and has contributed to the evolving jurisprudence of asylum law through her scholarship, as well as her litigation of landmark cases. Professor Musalo was lead attorney in Matter of Kasinga (fear of female genital cutting as a basis of asylum), which continues to be cited as authority in gender asylum cases by tribunals from Canada to the United Kingdom to New Zealand. She was co-counsel in the Ninth Circuit en banc decision, Abebe v. Gonzales, and attorney of record in Canas-Segovia v. INS and Ramirez-Rivas v. INS. She represented Rody Alvarado, whose case was a landmark in the struggle for the right to asylum for women fleeing domestic violence. She also represented Ms. L-R-, the asylum seeker from Mexico whose high profile victory broke additional ground on the issue of gender asylum. Professor Musalo has been quoted extensively in the media, including The New York Times, Washington Post, The Nation and El Pais, and has been interviewed on other media, such as Nightline, CNN International, The Diane Rehm Show and Talk of the Nation. She was featured in the PBS Documentary, Breaking Free: A Woman's Story, which focuses on Rody Alvarado's case. Professor Musalo is recognized for her innovative work on refugee issues. She was the first attorney to partner with psychologists in her representation of traumatized asylum seekers – a practice that has since become standard – and she edited the first handbook for practitioners on cross-cultural issues and the impact of culture on credibility in the asylum context. She has received numerous advocacy awards for her pioneering legal work, including the 2010 California Lawyer of the Year Award, the 2009 Daily Journal’s recognition as one of the “Top 100” lawyers in California, and the American Lawyer's 1997 recognition as one of the forty-five outstanding young public interest lawyers. Professor Musalo is a frequent speaker at conferences and law schools in the United States, and has lectured extensively in Europe and Latin America.
Managing Attorney. Lisa has extensive experience in asylum law. Both as a staff attorney at Legal Services for Children in San Francisco, and an Equal Justice Works Fellow at the Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center (FIAC) in Miami, Lisa represented immigrant children seeking asylum, protection as victims of human trafficking, Special Immigrant Juvenile status, and other types of relief. Many of Lisa’s asylum cases involved representing young women fleeing gender persecution, such as forced marriage, female genital cutting, and sexual abuse. Lisa has significant appellate experience practicing before the Board of Immigration Appeals, and has represented several clients in federal district court. She has played an integral role in local and national efforts aimed at improving policies and practices for immigrant children. Through her participation in legislative, administrative, and media advocacy, as well as public education campaigns, Lisa has fought for immigrant children’s rights. Lisa has given numerous presentations to judges, attorneys, law students, and community members on a broad range of topics, including children's asylum claims, representing trafficked children, and more. Lisa graduated with honors from Boalt Hall School of Law.
Staff Attorney and Kazan, McClain, Abrams, Fernandez, Lyons, Greenwood, Harley & Oberman Foundation, Clinical Teaching Fellow. Christine co-teaches and supervises the Refugee and Human Rights Clinic at UC Hastings. Prior to joining UC Hastings, Christine served as the Legal Director of Hong Kong Refugee Advice Centre, a non-profit organization that provides pro bono legal representation to asylum seekers in their refugee status determination claims before the United Nations Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Christine has co-taught refugee legal assistance clinics at the University of Hong Kong and the Chinese University of Hong Kong, and has presented on a variety of topics at refugee legal aid trainings and conferences in the Asia Pacific region. Before moving overseas, Christine was an associate at a private immigration law firm in San Francisco, and represented asylum seekers, torture claimants, victims of domestic violence, and criminal aliens before the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, various U.S. immigration courts, the Board of Immigration Appeals, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Through the Attorney General’s Honors Program, Christine began her legal career as a Judicial Law Clerk/Attorney Advisor with the U.S. Department of Justice, Executive Office for Immigration Review, at the Los Angeles Immigration Court. Christine received her J.D. from American University’s Washington College of Law, her Master of International Affairs from Columbia University’s School of International Affairs, and her undergraduate degree from Dartmouth College.
CGRS Fellow/Staff Attorney. Blaine is a graduate, summa cum laude, Order of the Coif, of U.C. Hastings College of the Law where she was Editor-in-Chief of the International and Comparative Law Review, Director of the Hastings-to-Haiti Partnership, and Judicial Extern at the Executive Office for Immigration Review. After law school, she served as a law clerk to the Honorable Dolores K. Sloviter, United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit (2010-11), and as a fellow with the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti (IJDH) and the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI) (2009-10). As a fellow in Haiti, Blaine helped launch the organizations' Rape Accountability and Prevention Project, and was a member of a legal team that brought a successful case on behalf of displaced women at risk of rape before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and the United Nations Human Rights Council. Before law school, Blaine worked as a paralegal at an immigration firm specializing in asylum law. She holds an undergraduate degree from Northwestern University in Social Policy and Gender Studies. Blaine speaks Spanish, Haitian Creole and French, and is admitted to practice in California and the Third Circuit Court of Appeals.
CGRS Fellow/Staff Attorney. Prior to joining CGRS, Stacey received a J.D. and a Certificate in Refugees and Humanitarian Emergencies from Georgetown University Law Center in 2010. During law school she focused on immigration and refugee law and policy and human rights. She worked at Georgetown’s Center for Applied Legal Studies where she represented an applicant for asylum in Immigration Court, and was Executive Submissions Editor for the Georgetown Journal of Law and Modern Critical Race Perspectives. She interned with the Refugee Rights Project at World Organization for Human Rights, USA; with Catholic Charities Immigrant Legal Services; and with the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice in Ghana. Stacey received undergraduate degrees from the University of Washington’s Community, Environment and Planning program and from the Jackson School of International Studies.
Director of Development. Julia has extensive experience in media relations and fundraising for public interest legal services organizations. Before joining CGRS in 2011, she was Director of Communications and Development for the Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund for over 9 years. Prior to her legal services career, Julia taught at Haverford College, where she was Barbara Riley Levin Professor of Comparative Literature. She is the author of Altered Conditions: Disease, Medicine, and Storytelling and The Iron Pen: Frances Burney and the Politics of Women's Writing, and the co-editor of Shaping Losses: Cultural Memory and the Holocaust, and Body Guards: The Cultural Politics of Gender Ambiguity. She received a Ph.D. from Cornell University and her undergraduate degree from Washington University.
Administrator and Office Manager.
Vicky oversees all administrative and operational functions for CGRS. Before joining the Center in February 2011, Ms. Siu spent over 5 years as an Office Manager with San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency Taxi Services where she was the administrative lead in a $50 million Medallion Sales Pilot Program and implemented over $1 million in clean air taxi grant subsidies. She also worked for several years directing administrative and technical support at REM Works and provided technical support at Premier Retail Networks in San Francisco. Ms. Siu received her BA from San Francisco State University.
*Denise Abrams, Of Counsel
Kazan, McClain, Lyons, Greenwood & Harley PLC
Rody Alvarado, Refugee
*Richard Boswell, Professor
University of California, Hastings College of the Law
*Sara Campos, Bay Area Lawyer and Writer
Janet Dench, Executive Director, Canadian Council for Refugees
*Jayne Fleming, Pro Bono Counsel
Reed Smith LLP
Pamela Goldberg, Protection Officer
United Nations HIgh Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
Fauziya Kassindja, Refugee
*Minette Kwok, Partner
Minami Tamaki LLP
Susan Martin, Director
Institute of International Migration, Georgetown University
Bernadette Passade Cisse,
*Darren Teshima, Senior Associate
Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP
Rebecca Wallace, Director
Centre for Rural Childhood, Perth College, University of the Highlands and Islands
* indicates members of the CGRS Executive Committee
CGRS is grateful to all the foundations that have supported, and continue to support, its work.The California Health Care Foundation, Oakland, CA
The Firedoll Foundation
The Ford Foundation
Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund
The Kazan, McClain, Abrams, Fernandez, Lyons, Greenwood, Harley & Oberman Foundation
The Institute of International Education
The Moriah Fund
The Novo Foundation
van Löben Sels/ RembeRock Foundation
Bernard E. and Alba Witkin Charitable Trust
CGRS has played host to visiting international scholars seeking to engage in research relating to gender asylum.
- Dr. Victor Merino Sancho, Professor of Philosophy of Law, 2011
- Maria Diaz Crego, Spanish law professor, 2008
- Nina Truchsess, German doctoral candidate, 2006
- Leonie Newhouse, American doctoral candidate, 2006
- Marei Pelzer, German refugee lawyer, 2006
- Sean Rehaag, Canadian refugee scholar, 2006
- Carmen Miguel Juan, Spanish refugee lawyer, 2005
- Noemi Alarcon, Spanish refugee lawyer, 2005
- Francesca Paltenghi, Italian lawyer, 2004-05
- Shahyar Roushan, Australian lawyer & refugee judge, 2004-05
- Mary Anne Kenny, Australian immigration professor, 2003
The work of law clerks continues to be vital to CGRS. CGRS works with law students (working for credit through the Refugee and Human Rights Clinic, as research assistants for pay, or volunteering), as well as other volunteers from all walks of life. These individuals provide critical support to CGRS's work.
Courtney Avery Moloney
Past students and volunteers