Letter from the Executive Director
This has been quite a year, and I don’t just mean the recent political events in the United States, Europe and the Middle East.
Thanks to your ongoing support, HRDAG has a number of accomplishments to be proud of this year:
- Patrick’s testimony in the trial of Hissene Habré for crimes against humanity was cited by the judges three times in their determination of guilt.
- We launched a book describing ten years of collaborative work with the Historic Archive of the National Police in Guatemala.
- We contributed quantitative analyses to Amnesty International’s report on deaths in Syrian custody, and published an accompanying technical memo describing our methods.
- Our policing project published its work in a variety of venues, including USAToday, Significance Magazine, and Granta.
- Our team gave a lot of talks! Some highlights from our video page include Databites from Kristian Lum and Patrick Ball and two keynotes from me, at PyData SF and Strata+Hadoop World.
- Several of our colleagues were recognized with awards this year, including Kristian Lum and Jule Krüger who won the Robert H. Durr award for the best paper applying quantitative methods to a substantive problem from the Midwest Political Science Association; Anita Gohdes who won the Dina Zinnes Award for Scientific Study of International Processes and the 2016 Walter Isard Award for best dissertation in peace science; and Sam Sinyangwe who won the Mario Savio Young Activist Award.
- I also got some friendly coverage in the NYTimes Sunday Review.
Sadly, I should also mention that we’re closing out 2016 missing one of our mentors, Stephen Fienberg, who passed away on 14 December.
Lastly, this December marks the 25th Anniversary of Patrick beginning this work in El Salvador. If you haven’t clicked through to our timeline yet I urge you to do so, and not just for the vintage photo of Patrick at age 26.
It is certainly true that the conclusion of 2016 has been…challenging. But we think this makes the work that we do all the more important, and to have the energy to do the work we must make space to celebrate the wins. HRDAG was fortunate to have a number of wins this year, thanks in large part to the support of our amazing community of friends and donors who make this work possible.
Thank you for sharing our commitment to truth and accountability. As we have for the past quarter century, we continue to commit to holding heads of state accountable for human rights violations, both at home and abroad. We hope you’ll consider including us in your end-of-year giving, and continuing to support us in the years to come.
Please click here to make your donation now.
ps – Something else announcement-worthy happened this year, which is that I’m expecting! Our HRDAG team will grow by one in early 2017. I am truly grateful to be able to go on leave feeling relaxed and confident that Patrick, the rest of the team, and the HRDAG board will handle things brilliantly in my absence.
Image: Machine Learning for Human Rights Advocacy, Keynote Speech, Strata + Hadoop World, London 2016. (source: O’Reilly Media)