NRC is reaching displaced children with education in Meymaneh, Afghanistan.
Read caption NRC is reaching displaced children with education in Meymaneh, Afghanistan. Photo: NRC

Norwegian Refugee Council - USA

In 2016, the Norwegian Refugee Council opened its representation office in Washington, D.C, establishing itself as a leader within the humanitarian community in the United States.

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The NRC USA office has two primary functions: raising money for NRC's overseas programs that meet the needs of conflict-affected refugees and internally displaced people and providing humanitarian policy advice to the administration, Congress, and peer non-governmental organizations. NRC receives financial support from the USAID's Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance and the US Department of State's Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration, as well as private foundations, corporations, and individual donors.

NRC USA assists the field programs in applying for critical support. The policy and advocacy work translates the direct experiences of NRC field staff and programs into practical recommendations as to how the U.S. government and Congress can better meet the needs of the world's refugees.

NRC USA is also a resource to universities, think tanks, and the general public on refugee issues and seeks financial support and partnerships with US-based individuals, foundations, and corporations.

Our Staff


Joel R. CharnyJoel R. Charny

Joel R. Charny is the Executive Director of Norwegian Refugee Council USA (NRC USA). He is responsible for providing overall leadership to the organization, which focuses on fundraising and humanitarian advocacy in the US on behalf of Oslo-based NRC.

Prior to joining NRC USA in March 2016, Mr. Charny was the Vice President for Humanitarian Policy and Practice at InterAction, the alliance of US-based relief and development organizations for five years. He was responsible for leading InterAction’s work on humanitarian response, which involved engaging with the US government, the United Nations, and member non-governmental organizations on both practical and policy matters, including funding availability, impact and effectiveness, and reform efforts in the sector.

Mr. Charny previously held senior positions with Refugees International, the CARERE project of the United Nations Development Program in Cambodia, and Oxfam America. He has an A.B degree in European History from Brown University and a master’s degree in international education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.


Nina Vandraas Eberhart

Nina Vandraas Eberhart

Nina Vandraas Eberhart is the Head of Administration, Finance and Compliance for NRC USA. She joined NRC in June 2016. Ms. Vandraas Eberhart oversees the overall operation, compliance and functionality of the NRC USA office. She has extensive experience in international relations, political, diplomatic and consular affairs from her previous work at Norway’s embassy in Washington DC, as well as from the private sector, working for a Washington-based political consulting firm. Ms. Vandraas Eberhart has also worked in the hospitality industry, and with the Norwegian Labor and Welfare Services Department. Nina Vandraas Eberhart’s area of expertise includes strategic planning, administrative organization, network building, event and project management, finance related matters and human resource.

Nina Vandraas Eberhart was born in Seoul, South Korea, and grew up in Oslo, Norway. She holds a bachelor's degree from Northern Arizona University. She speaks fluently Norwegian, and is currently the Vice President of the Norwegian Ladies Club DC 2020.


Basma Alloush

Basma Alloush

Basma Alloush is the Policy and Advocacy Adviser at NRC USA. She is responsible for implementing strategic advocacy and for providing advice and capacity building support to country operations on effective policy and advocacy strategies and activities as they relate to the United States. She provides policy analysis to strengthen NRC’s understanding of and ability to influence relevant US humanitarian policies and practices. As the policy adviser, Ms. Alloush regularly engages with various interlocutors within the US government including the Department of State, Department of Defense, and Congress to advocate for humanitarian policies that could alleviate the impact of conflict on vulnerable populations. Throughout her time at NRC, Ms. Alloush has conducted field missions to Iraq, Nigeria, Yemen, Lebanon, and Jordan. Ms. Alloush has represented NRC at various public events and has published extensively about her experience and work. Prior to taking this role, she was the Advocacy and Communications Officer at NRC USA.

Ms. Alloush obtained her master’s degree at The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy where she focused on Transitional Justice, Human Security, and Conflict Resolution. Basma Alloush completed her thesis project on the role of diaspora in transitional justice processes with a particular focus on the Syrian and Liberian cases. She also holds a bachelor's degree in Finance from Northeastern University. During her time at Northeastern University, she studied abroad in Lyon, France and worked for IBM in Manila, Philippines. Basma Alloush is a Syrian citizen, she grew up in six different Middle Eastern countries including Yemen and Sudan.


Sophie Ka

Sophie Ka 

Sophie Ka is the US Grants Finance Adviser of NRC USA. She is responsible for quality improvements in donor submissions as well as improved adherence to donor rules and regulations. She monitors and controls the financial aspects of NRC’s US Government grants.

Ms. Ka has extensive experience in Financial Management -Contract & Grant Negotiation and Management-Award Compliance- Donor Relations. 

Prior to joining NRC, Ms. Ka was a Managing Sr. Finance Officer at World Learning for eight years where she oversaw the financial aspects of a portfolio of grants and contracts and ensured compliance as defined by U.S. Govt. and other donors. Prior to that, Ms. Ka served as Contract Analyst at Population Service International (PSI) for two and a half years where she administered grants and contracts, monitored performance, oversaw financial management, provided regulations interpretation and guidance during project implementation. Ms. Ka previously held positions with Global Rights as Sr. Grants and Contracts Officer, Director of Finance and Administration for CHF International-Rwanda, UMCOR as a Grants Finance Manager. She also worked at InterAction as an Accountant.

Sophie Ka has a MS. Economics from the University Cheikh Anta Diop, in Dakar, Senegal. She is currently finishing her MBA at Strayer University.


Aaron Gershowitz

Aaron Gershowitz

Aaron Gershowitz is the Institutional Partnership Adviser for NRC USA. He serves as the focal point for US-based governmental and foundation donors, maintaining strong relationships with these vital partners and ensuring that all submissions and communications meet the highest quality standards. He also provides training and support to NRC’s field operations teams working on US-funded projects worldwide.

Prior to joining NRC USA in November 2019, Mr. Gershowitz served as Associate Vice President for International Program Operations at HIAS, where he was responsible for building the organization’s capacity to implement projects serving refugees in Latin America and Africa. Prior to that Mr. Gershowitz led HIAS’ refugee resettlement and integration programs across the United States. Mr. Gershowitz has a bachelor’s degree in International Relations and Russian Language from the University of Pennsylvania, and a master’s in International Affairs from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs.


Melody Knight

Melody Knight

Melody Knight is the Global Humanitarian Access Advisor for NRC USA and is responsible for managing global projects aimed at improving humanitarian access through policy development, research, advocacy, and capacity building for frontline humanitarian aid workers.

Ms. Knight’s humanitarian experience began when she moved to a refugee camp in South Sudan in 2013. Thereafter she joined NRC, first as the Conflict and Policy Advisor based in South Sudan (2015-2016), and then as the Access Advisor in Afghanistan (2017-2019) . In her five years with NRC she has conducted field missions to its offices in Bangladesh, Iraq, Jordan, Kenya, Myanmar, and Somalia, as well as served as an access consultant in the Field Operations Department of NRC's Oslo Head Office.

Ms. Knight has more than ten years’ experience in the international non-profit sector, previously holding positions with the Woodrow Wilson Institute for Scholars, the World Bank, and the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. She holds a bachelor’s degree from University of Wisconsin-Madison and a master's degree from the George Washington University Elliott School of International Affairs is Washington, DC.


Josie Papazis

Josie Papazis

Josie Papazis serves as NRC USA's eLearning Innovation Manager and is responsible for the development and launch of NRC's courses on humanitarian access in hard to reach areas.

Ms. Papazis is a veteran educator and program leader with extensive experience designing curriculum and leading trainings in a variety of contexts, including higher education institutions and protracted displacement settings. As an instructional leader, she helped lead the implementation of a digital learning initiative at a comprehensive high school and designed trainings for teachers in Harvard University's Teacher Education Program. Ms. Papazis has since led education and training programs in the Dadaab refugee camps and with grassroots youth development organizations in Denver, Colorado. She holds a Master of Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Colorado at Boulder. 


Joanna Trimble

Joanna Trimble

Joanna Trimble is the Administrative Assistant at NRC USA. Ms. Trimble provides support related to administration, finance, and compliance, in addition to communications and external relations.

Before joining NRC USA, Joanna Trimble worked with the non-profit organization, Kiron, in Berlin, Germany. There she acted both as a Communications Associate and the Coordinator of University and Legal Research, investigating, reporting, and making legible access to higher education for refugees in Germany.

Joanna Trimble’s background spans a range of fields. After working professionally as a photographer, she undertook a self-designed, research-driven bachelor’s degree, earning an Honors BA in Philosophy and Social Sciences from Hunter College in New York City. She completed a one-year training program in Cognitive Science at Humboldt Universität zu Berlin, School of Mind and Brain in Berlin, Germany, before earning a Master of Philosophy from the University of Amsterdam as an Academic Merit Scholar. Her research focuses primarily on political, epistemic, and cognitive forms of governance, and in particular their points of intersection and interplay. In her free time, Ms. Trimble tinkers with immersive multimedia compositions that engage viewers and inspire action.

Our Board


Kjell Bergh

Kjell Bergh

Kjell Bergh is a Norwegian-born, Minneapolis-based businessman. He is one of the most senior Volvo automobile dealers in the US and is also owner of an international tour operator specializing in adventure travel to East and Southern Africa, Scandinavia and the polar regions.

With both undergraduate and graduate degrees in International Relations, Mr. Berg has been deeply involved in Health and Education projects for underserved populations in Africa and the US for four decades. Kjell Bergh served as Honorary Consul and Dean of Honorary Consuls for the United Republic of Tanzania for fifteen years. He was also President of the Minnesota Consular Corps.


Berit Enge

Berit Enge

Berit Enge is a former Norwegian diplomat who has held posts at Norway’s embassies in Tokyo and Washington D.C. (twice), and at Norway’s UN Mission in New York. From 2011 to 2015, Ms. Enge was Minister Counsellor of Political Affairs at the Norwegian Embassy in Washington D.C. Prior to joining the Foreign Service, Berit Enge worked as a newspaper journalist in regional and national newspapers in Norway. She has served as speechwriter and adviser to two Norwegian Ministers of Development and one Japanese Diet Member.

Berit Enge currently consults and writes on American politics for a Scandinavian audience.

Ms. Enge holds an undergraduate degree in Political Science and Economics from the University of Oslo, Norway, and graduate degrees in International Relations from Johns Hopkins University/SAIS in Washington D.C. and University of Sussex, UK. Born in Sørfold, Northern Norway, Ms. Enge now lives with her husband and three children in Chevy Chase, Maryland.


Mia HaugenMia Haugen

Mia Haugen is a Norwegian-born seasoned TV, video and multi-media professional with experience leading major news organizations, and producing original content. After getting her first job at NBC News in NYC, Mia Haugen moved on to the CBS affiliate in Tampa as a TV reporter. She then started a career in production and leadership at CNN, including executive positions as Senior Executive Producer, Director of Special Projects, and Managing Editor. After four years of senior leadership at Forbes Media and The Street, Ms. Haugen moved to The Bay Area to launch "The Gavin Newsom Show" on Current TV. Today, she runs her own production company, VorVideo, in addition to advising social enterprises and non-profits on media production and strategy.


Carla-Koppell_portrait_bw.jpgCarla Koppell

Carla Koppell has almost thirty years' experience working internationally in a wide range of sectors for public, private, and non-governmental organizations. Currently, she is a Distinguished Fellow at the Georgetown University Institute for Women, Peace, and Security and teaches in the School of Foreign Service. She leads a nationwide effort to advance the focus on diversity and inclusion in international affairs and public policy education.

Previously, Ms. Koppell was Vice President of the Center for Applied Conflict Transformation for the United States Institute of Peace (USIP). There she oversaw a suite of global programs including those considering violent extremism, non-violent movements, inclusive societies, peace and humanitarian negotiations, youth inclusion in peace building, and Colombia and Ukraine programming, in addition to Institute publications, grant-making, fellowships, and training. Before joining USIP, Ms. Koppell served as Chief Strategy Officer for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) where she stewarded long-term planning and performance tracking for the U.S. foreign aid agency. She also served as USAID’s first senior coordinator for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment.

Prior to joining USAID, Carla Koppell directed The Institute for Inclusive Security and the Washington, D.C. office of Hunt Alternatives Fund. She also was a senior advisor and interim director of the Conflict Prevention Project at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. Earlier in her career, Ms. Koppell served as deputy assistant secretary of international affairs for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. She also worked for the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Ms. Koppell received her M.A. in Public Policy from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and her B.S. from Cornell University.


Jennifer LeaningJennifer Leaning

Jennifer Leaning, MD, SMH, is Director of the Harvard FXB Center and FXB Professor of the Practice of Health and Human Rights at Harvard School of Public Health. She earned her AB magna cum laude from Radcliffe College, her Master of Science from Harvard School Public Health, and her MD with honors from the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine. Dr. Leaning trained in internal medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital and is board certified in emergency and internal medicine.

Dr. Leaning’s research interests focus on issues of public health and international law in response to war and disaster, early warning for mass atrocities, and problems of human security in the context of forced migration and conflict. She has field experience in assessment of issues of public health, human rights, and international humanitarian law in a range of crisis situations. Dr. Leaning has published widely on these topics and has also co-edited two books, including Humanitarian Crises: The Medical and Public Health Response, published by Harvard University Press in 1999.

Dr. Leaning has served on the boards of Physicians for Human Rights, Physicians for Social Responsibility, and Oxfam America, and currently is a member of the Global Health Advisory Committee for the Open Society Foundations, the Steering Committee of the Global Action Against Mass Atrocity Crimes, the Board of Directors of the Humane Society US and the Board of Directors of the American Red Cross of the Massachusetts Region.


Amit PradhanAmit Pradhan

Amit Pradhan is a creator, investor, and speaker, who spends his time creating, evangelizing & investing in the future of responsible AI & Decentralization with a focus on technology, start-ups and systems that have a positive impact on the humans they serve.

Mr. Pradhan travels around the world speaking at events, to evangelize the need and the path to a future society that is driven by responsible AI, around Privacy, decentralization of power/control, recognition of bias and the economic agency in a world that is losing jobs to automation at a rate and scale that is faster than ever before.

He is the President of Silicon Valley Blockchain Society, a network of some of the largest Investors, Thinkers, Practitioners and Creators – with a core mission to ‘Fund the Revolution’ and bring with it a thoughtful and responsible approach to the impact, value and culture in the Decentralized Ecosystem.

As the Executive Chairman at Zero Labs, Amit Pradhan and his team are creating a full private ‘brain’ that lives on user devices to listen, learn, reason, adapt and do tasks for its users without sending private data to the cloud and to give users control and economic agency over this rich data.

As a GP at JetVentures, Amit Pradhan invests in start-ups that use the power of exponential technology, to become a positive part of the daily life of humans around the world. In all of Mr. Pradhan's spare time, he’s often found playing, talking or writing about his love for football or on his bicycle riding the beautiful trails around San Francisco.


Ole SolvangOle Solvang

Ole Solvang is Director of Partnerships and Policy at the Norwegian Refugee Council. Prior to joining NRC, Mr. Solvang spent nearly 10 years documenting violations of international law in armed conflict situations for Human Rights Watch, where he also developed and implemented advocacy plans. Before that, he served as the Executive Director of Russian Justice Initiative, a non-governmental organization providing legal aid to victims of human rights violations in the North Caucasus. He is a member of the board of Russian Justice Initiative.

Ole Solvang has a Master's degree in International Affairs from the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University in New York. He also holds a Bachelor's degree in Political Science from Columbia College.

Our Work

Joel R. Charny and Basma Alloush lead NRC's advocacy program, ensuring that U.S. policies make aid available to and protect vulnerable populations. Charny and Alloush’s policy work and field expertise have established NRC as a trusted resource within the humanitarian community. They serve regularly as panelists at leading institutions and as press focal points, issuing statements about NRC's US policy work and its impact on global operations that assist refugees and internally displaced persons. Together, Charny and Alloush amplify the voices of those we serve to safeguard their futures after conflict.

Melody Knight lead’s NRC’s global operations to improve humanitarian access to vulnerable populations in hard-to-reach environments. Ms. Knight manages a series of trainings, workshops and e-resources that prepare UN and NGO frontline aid workers to negotiate access and provide life-saving assistance in some of the world’s most operationally challenging humanitarian areas. Knight also develops policy and guidance to support NRC’s activities in remote areas, and advocates for neutral, impartial, and independent humanitarian responses.


Photo Gallery


Photo and virtual reality exhibition on Capitol Hill to raise awareness for Yemen’s protracted humanitarian crisis. The event was hosted by Basma Alloush and attended by Congressman McGovern and Congressman Lieu.

Basma Alloush presenting

Virtual reality








Representative McGovern

Representative Lieu














Humanitarian Access

During war people are sometimes forced to flee to remote areas that present physical, operational, or political challenges for humanitarian aid workers to respond. These photos show NRC staff responding in hard-to-reach areas in Herat and Badghis, Afghanistan. Ms. Knight’s work supports the work of NRC and other humanitarian actors to access such challenging environments with life-saving humanitarian assistance through training, advocacy and in-field frontline support.

Photos: Melody Knight and Enayatullah Azad










web1_5_Access_Hirat Afghanistan.jpg

web2_5_Almar IDPs, NRC-Enayatullah Azad (8).jpg

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Contact NRC USA

For media requests or to reach our staff, please send an email to:

To contact our office, please call: +1 (202) 494-4401.

NRC USA is located in the heart of Washington, D.C.

Norwegian Refugee Council USA
818 Connecticut Avenue NW
Suite 650
Washington, DC 20006


We regret to announce that due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we have temporarily suspended our internship program. Please check this webpage for further updates.