New Executive Director

Last reviewed on August 5th

Three months after the announcement of the Board of Trustees, Jessica Carvalho Morris begins as the Executive Director of Conectas Human Rights. She will work alongside Juana Kweitel, Director of Programs, and Marcos Fuchs, Associate Director.

“To continue and develop the work undertaken by Conectas is a big but inspiring challenge, particularly in the social and political context of today, where we are dealing with historical structural violations, but also with the constant threat of further setbacks in the guarantee of rights” says Jessica. “I will embark on this challenge with commitment, responsibility and energy.”

Jessica’s commitment to the promotion of human rights stems from a very personal place: the daughter of an American journalist and missionary who was the victim of the Brazilian dictatorship in the 70s, Jessica grew up in exile in Costa Rica, before returning to Brazil where she later became a lawyer, and worked with the Public Prosecutor of Rio Grande do Norte dealing with women victims of domestic violence and on issues of prisoners’ rights.

In the US, Jessica worked at the National Labor Relations Board and for the international law firm Greenberg Traurig, and more recently at the University of Miami. There, Jessica was responsible for the expansion of the academic programs and taught in the areas of constitutional law, international human rights, international legal education and cross-border practice of law. She is currently responsible for post-graduate programs in International Law within the law school.

Jessica is also an active a member of Amnesty International having served on the Board of Directors of Amnesty International USA for six years and reached the post of Vice Chair. She is the first Latina to serve in that position.

Throughout her career Jessica has acted as a pro bono lawyer in several human rights cases, dealing with both immigration and torture.

At the end of a very competitive selection process that included more than 50 very qualified candidates, Jessica was unanimously chosen by Conectas’ Board of Directors. “We feel confident that her qualifications, her international background, her deep knowledge of human rights issues, and, most importantly, her passion and commitment to the promotion and expansion of human rights, have prepared her to build on Conectas’ accomplishments, and bring the organization to a new level of impact” says Oscar Vilhena, Advisory Board member of the organization.

Click here to read Jessica Carvalho Morris’ academic CV.

Watch an interview with the new Executive Director on the challenges facing the human rights movement in Brazil:

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