Leadership

  • ESKINDER NEGASH
    ESKINDER NEGASH

    PRESIDENT AND CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER

    Eskinder Negash is President and CEO of the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI), an organization founded in 1911 to protect the rights and address the needs of persons in forced or voluntary migration worldwide and support their transition to a dignified life. Mr. Negash is a recognized senior executive leader and brings nearly 40 years of proven non-profit management experience on behalf of refugees and immigrants.

    Prior to joining USCRI, he served from 2009-2015 as Director of the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), the largest government-funded refugee resettlement organization in the world. With a budget of over $1.5 billion, the ORR plays a critical role in providing essential services to a wide range of vulnerable people through the Resettlement Program, Rescue & Restore anti-trafficking campaign, and the Unaccompanied Children’s Program. Under his leadership, ORR served more than 850,000 people in six years.

    Under Negash’s leadership, ORR served more than 400,000 refugees, 150,000 asylees, 125,000 Cuban and Haitian Entrants, nearly 21,000 Iraqi and Afghan Special Immigrant Visa holders, 3,200 Victims of Trafficking, over 32,000 U.S. repatriates, and almost 116,000 unaccompanied children, totaling more than 850,000 people during his six years of service.

    Prior to his appointment by the Obama Administration, Mr. Negash served as the Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of USCRI for seven years. He also was the Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer of the International Institute of Los Angeles for 15 years. Mr. Negash served as a board member with several non-profit organizations, including two years as Chair of the Joint Voluntary Agencies Committee of California, Chair of the California State Refugee Advisory Council, and Board Member of the Coalition for Human Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA).

    In 2016, Mr. Negash served in the Secretary of State’s Advisory Committee for Public-Private Partnership considering the formulation of U.S. polices, proposals, and strategies for developing public-private partnership that promote shares value with the private sector worldwide. In 2009, Mr. Negash received an “Outstanding American By Choice” award from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services in the Department of Homeland Security, which recognizes naturalized U.S. citizens who have made significant contributions to both their community and their adopted country. In 2010, the International Rescue Committee (IRC) honored Mr. Negash as one of ten distinguished men and women whose stories of hope and transformation epitomize the refugee journey.

  • ANNAMARIE BENA
    ANNAMARIE BENA

    SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT

    AnnaMarie Bena is responsible for overall management, growth, and quality service delivery of USCRI’s programs for unaccompanied immigrant children, including residential care program, unaccompanied minors post-release and home study services; legal services program; and trafficking survivors support programs. Her portfolio includes USCRI’s policy and advocacy unit. AnnaMarie brings over 20 years of experience working on refugee and immigrant issues. Most recently, she served as the Director of Policy in the Office of Refugee Resettlement. She also has worked for UNHCR, the HHS Office of the General Counsel and CLINIC. AnnaMarie holds a J.D. from the University of Notre Dame and a B.S. in journalism from the University of Maryland. AnnaMarie served for two years as a Peace Corps volunteer in Cameroon.

  • XAVIER GRAHAM
    XAVIER GRAHAM

    CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER

    Xavier Graham joined USCRI in 2019 as the Director of Finance and Compliance. Prior to joining USCRI, Mr. Graham served as the Executive Director of Finance with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children leading the finance operations. He also served in several leadership positions in New York City and London. He has over 15 years of accounting and finance experience working with private, non-profits and public practice. Mr. Graham is a Certified Accountant and holds a Master’s degree in Accounting & Finance studies.

  • KEVIN STURTEVANT
    KEVIN STURTEVANT

    VICE PRESIDENT FOR STRATEGIC DEVELOPMENT

    Kevin has spent a large portion of his career leading the fund development and communications efforts for various non-profits. He recently served as Chief Development Officer for the Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS). CSIS is a leading bipartisan DC-based think tank and under Kevin’s leadership, CSIS completed its $85 million-dollar endowment campaign focused on support from the private sector, all while weathering the worst economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Among other organizations with which he has worked, Kevin has led fundraising efforts for World Food Program USA, the US-based affiliate of the UN’s World Food Program, and Public Justice, a public interest law firm that fights polluters, unjust payday lenders, and unscrupulous corporations.

    He is a recognized leader among his peers, achieving his CFRE (Certified Fundraising Executive) credential and serving as President of the association of Fundraising Professionals DC chapter in 2016. He currently serves on the Membership Task Force for AFP Global. He received both his master’s degree in non-profit management and his bachelor’s degree in Political Science/International Studies from American University in Washington, DC.

Directors

  • TWAFIK ALAZEM
    TWAFIK ALAZEM

    DIRECTOR, DEARBORN, MI OFFICE

    In July 2007, Tawfik joined USCRI as the Director of USCRI’s Detroit, Michigan field office in Dearborn. Since that time, Mr. Alazem has been responsible for the operational and personnel management of the field office. Mr. Alazem administers the Reception and Placement, Matching Grant, Healthy Marriage & Relationship Education, Individual Development Accounts, and Preferred Communities programs. He also oversees office operations and programs delivery to immigrants and refugees who settle in the greater Detroit, Michigan area. Before joining USCRI, Mr. Alazem held several management positions in finance, marketing, sales, and general business management. Mr. Alazem holds a Bachelor of Science degree and is fluent in Arabic.

  • CHELSEY BUTCHEREIT
    CHELSEY BUTCHEREIT

    STATE REFUGEE HEALTH COORDINATOR, MISSOURI OFFICE

    Chelsey Butchereit leads the USCRI Missouri field office and serves as the Refugee Health Coordinator for Missouri. She brings with her 10 years of experience coordinating community-based programs and most recently was employed as a Health Program Coordinator in the Refugee Health Program at the Utah Department of Health where efforts focused on offering culturally and linguistically appropriate health screenings, health education, and referrals to all newly arriving refugees to the state of Utah. She also previously taught an undergraduate course on refugee and migrant health at Brigham Young University. Chelsey has a bachelor’s degree in Social Work from Utah State University, a master’s degree in Public Health from Brigham Young University, and a certificate in Forced Migration from the Refugee Studies Centre at Oxford University. For more than a decade she’s volunteered with new Americans in different capacities including as a family mentor, English tutor, and Citizenship tutor.

  • DYLANNA GRASINGER
    DYLANNA GRASINGER

    SENIOR FIELD OFFICE DIRECTOR

    An expert in the field of refugee resettlement, Dylanna has spent more than 17 years working to help refugees and immigrants throughout the Midwest. Prior to joining the International Institute of Erie in April 2012, Dylanna served as the Director of Community Assistance and Refugee Resettlement for the Northern Area Multi-Service Center (NAMS) and as Director of Refugee Resettlement and Educational Programs at the International Institute of Akron (IIA). Experienced in a variety of direct service and administrative functions, including grant-writing, curriculum design, teaching, program evaluation, fiscal management, volunteer management, and program development, Dylanna combines her commitment to refugees and immigrants with her superpower of simplifying complexity to create strong client-centered programming that works. Dylanna earned her B.A. in English from Kent State University, where she also received certification in Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL), as well as her Master of Science in Negotiation and Conflict Resolution from Creighton University.

  • DARREN HAMM
    DARREN HAMM

    DIRECTOR, CLEVELAND, OH OFFICE

    For more than fifteen years, Darren Hamm has worked as a volunteer, intern, staff, manager and director in the non-profit sector, helping to improve operations, build nationally-recognized programs, secure highly-competitive awards, and maintain quality during periods of significant organizational growth. Much of Darren’s work has involved developing collaborative partnerships and seeking innovative ways to address systematic issues. Darren earned a Bachelor of Arts in Painting and Drawing from Kent State University and a Master’s of Nonprofit Management from Case Western Reserve University. He has been serving as a part-time instructor of Nonprofit Management and Leadership at the Oberlin College & Conservatory. Darren served as Executive Director of the Refugee Response in Cleveland, an organization focused on supporting refugee community integration through youth mentoring and support, employment support, multilingual resources, and agricultural programming. Through his service on the leadership committee of the Refugee Services Collaborative, he has experience working in partnership with Cleveland’s refugee resettlement and social services organizations. Darren was selected as the first executive director of Oberlin Center for the Arts in 2017, providing leadership for establishing the organization’s vision and programming and support for advancing arts and culture throughout the region.

  • MATT HAYGOOD
    MATT HAYGOOD

    DIRECTOR OF CHILDREN'S SERVICES & POST RELEASE MANAGER AT USCRI

    Matt is responsible for the oversight of USCRI’s Children’s Services including Post Release and Home Study Services for Unaccompanied Children. These programs connect children, who have arrived in the United States without their parents or guardians, to vital services that facilitate the successful integration into their new communities across the country. Matt is a clinical social worker who has been working with refugee and immigrant youth for more than 13 years in the areas of behavioral health, youth development, and child welfare. Having worked as a PRS case manager himself, Matt is dedicated to supporting the national network of case managers serving vulnerable unaccompanied children. His professional career has been driven by the belief that serving children and youth can have the greatest impact on the well-being of communities. Matt served as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Dominican Republic and received his Masters of Social Work from Columbia University. He has been working at USCRI since 2016.

  • AMILA MERDZANOVIC
    AMILA MERDZANOVIC

    DIRECTOR, COLCHESTER, VT OFFICE

    Amila Merdzanovic came to Vermont in 1995 as a refugee from Bosnia and Herzegovina and is the first former refugee leading the USCRI Vermont field office. She brings over 10 years of experience working in refugee resettlement providing direct services, program management, and advocacy on behalf of refugees and asylees in Vermont. Most recently, she graduated from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University with a Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy. She holds an undergraduate degree in International Relations from Mount Holyoke College. Her interests span across disciplines including forced migration, human rights, and conflict resolution. Amila is fluent in Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian and has basic knowledge of Russian.

  • JESSICA MONTOUR
    JESSICA MONTOUR

    STATE REFUGEE HEALTH COORDINATOR, AUSTIN, TX OFFICE

    Jessica Montour leads the USCRI-Texas field office and serves as the Refugee Health Coordinator (RHC) for Texas. Prior to joining USCRI, Ms. Montour served as the RHC for 8 years under the state-administered refugee health program. Jessica works closely with the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention and is a member of the executive board of the Association of Refugee Health Coordinators. She has a Bachelor’s of Arts degree in International Relations and East Asian Studies from the University of Minnesota and a Master’s in Public Health, Epidemiology and Biostatistics from Texas A&M University. Jessica has published several articles and presented at international refugee health conferences. She tutored refugees learning English and has in-country experience in China, Malaysia and the Dominican Republic.

  • OMER OMER
    OMER OMER

    DIRECTOR, RALEIGH, NC OFFICE

    Omer is a community development specialist with over 20 years in the international and humanitarian development sector. He graduated with a PhD. from the University of North Carolina Greensboro and Msc. in International Development from the University of London. Omer has led senior leadership, advisory, and consulting positions with various international organizations across four continents in challenging and complex contexts. Omer joins USCRI North Carolina with knowledge and wide skills to address institutional, organizational, and programmatic priorities and needs.

    In North Carolina, Omer previously worked for the Center for New North Carolinians and Lutheran Services in the Carolinas, before leading the North Carolina African Services Coalition for Refugee Resettlement in Greensboro as Executive Director for 12 years. He is happy to return to the refugee services in North Carolina, and to have opportunity to engage the broader community in our mission.

    Since 2013, he has worked internationally for the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) and Mercy Corps on operations and M&E for emergency food security, sanitation, and health programs, as well as on Syrian refugee programming in Turkey. Most recently, he has served as Chief of Party for German Portfolio Health Programs for ADRA in Yemen.

  • WONY PAK
    WONY PAK

    DIRECTOR OF MANAGEMENT INFORMATION SYSTEMS

    Wony plans, coordinates, directs, and designs all operational activities of the MIS department, as well as provides high availability and security solutions that enhance mission-critical business operations and continuity. He has over 22 years of information technology experience in both the private and nonprofit sectors. Prior to joining USCRI, Mr. Pak worked as a Network Engineer and System Integrator at various companies including Technology Automation Management Inc., Comstor Inc., and RHI. He completed Local Area Network study at Computer Learning Center and has achieved various IT training and certifications including CNE, MCSE, and CCSA. Mr. Pak holds B.A. in Music Composition at the University of New Orleans.

  • JILL PECKENPAUGH
    JILL PECKENPAUGH

    DIRECTOR, ALBANY, NY OFFICE

    Jill is the Director of USCRI’s field office in Albany, NY, which resettles refugees arriving from Burma, Iraq, Bhutan, Afghanistan, and various African nations. She has over twenty years of experience in organizational development, specializing in multicultural populations in both the for-profit and nonprofit sectors. Prior to joining USCRI Albany, Jill was the Director of Program Management at Cross-Cultural Solutions, an international volunteering organization. She holds an M.S. in Training and Development from Lesley University and a B.A. in International Relations from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Associate Directors

  • BART BACHMAN
    BART BACHMAN

    ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR OF TRAFFICKING SERVICES

    Bart Bachman is the Associate Director of Trafficking Services at the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI), where he oversees administration of the Trafficking Victim Assistance Program (TVAP). He started with USCRI’s TVAP program in 2017, and previously served as the regional Program Officer monitoring project implementation in ACF Regions 1, 2, 3, and 10. Prior to joining USCRI, Bart worked at the Migration Policy Institute in its International Program, where he published an article in the Migration Information Source entitled “Diminishing Solidarity: Polish Attitudes toward the European Migration and Refugee Crisis.” He holds an M.A. in German and European Studies and a B.S. in International Politics from Georgetown University.

  • TANISHA ELIZAIRE
    TANISHA ELIZAIRE

    ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR OF REFUGEE HEALTH SERVICES

    Tanisha oversees USCRI’s Refugee Health Services Program and serves as the HIPAA Privacy Officer. She brings more than 15 years of experience managing an array of health and mental health programs, including HIV medical screening and education; psychological preparedness training for military personnel; counseling programs to Unaccompanied Children and victims of human trafficking; and coordinating the multi-state Refugee Medical Assistance program. Prior to taking the position at USCRI, Tanisha was the Assistant Director for a child welfare agency where she led a multidisciplinary team of group home managers, behavioral health specialists, HIV medical screening specialists and frontline team members, who were responsible for overseeing the health and mental health of youth in care.

  • HILA MOSS
    HILA MOSS

    ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR OF LEGAL SERVICES

    Hila Moss joined USCRI in November 2015 as a Staff Attorney with the Nuevo Comienzo, unaccompanied minor program, in the North Carolina field office. In March of 2019, she was promoted to Managing Attorney and currently oversees USCRI’s legal department. Before joining USCRI, Hila worked at a small non-profit providing legal representation to unaccompanied minors and asylum seekers in North Carolina. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication Studies from Appalachian State University and a Juris Doctorate from Campbell Law School.