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About NRC USA
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.
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.
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 has held several foreign service posts at Norway’s embassy in Tokyo and Washington DC, 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 DC. Prior to joining the Foreign Service, Berit Enge worked as a newspaper journalist in Bodø (Nordlands Framtid) and Oslo (Aftenposten/A-magasinet). She has served as speechwriter and adviser to two Norwegian Ministers of Development, and one Japanese Diet Member.
Berit Enge is currently on leave from the Norwegian Foreign Service, working with the Norwegian web based newspaper High North News and writing on American politics for a Scandinavian audience. In addition, Ms. Enge is involved with Prosjekt Haiti, a Norwegian-run education project for children, youth and women in Port-au-Prince and St Louis du Sud in Haiti.
Berit Enge holds an undergraduate degree in Political Science and Economics from the University of Oslo, Norway, and a graduate degrees in International Relations from Johns Hopkins University/SAIS in Washington DC and University of Sussex, UK. Born in Sørfold, Northern Norway, Ms. Enge now lives in Chevy Chase, Maryland.
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's 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.
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.
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.
Joel 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.
Samer Elchahabi is the Institutional Partnership Advisor (NRC USA). He is responsible for managing relations with US Government and US-based private foundations.
Samer Elchahabi has 13 years of experience in international development, managing programs related to the rule of law, education, Democracy, Governance, and Stabilization. Prior to joining NRC USA, Mr. Elchahabi oversaw a Syria program at Creative Associates International, through managing the stabilization and reconstruction efforts in the country. In this position, he spearheaded the efforts for opportunities to work in Yemen, leading the business development process for this country. Prior to this position, he was a Senior Program Manager at the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES), where he managed several projects requiring close coordination with the donors, including USAID and the Department of State in Tunisia, Morocco, and Libya. He also led several business development initiatives in these countries as well as in Palestine, Algeria, and Turkey.
Mr., Elchahabi held positions with Qatar Foundation International (QFI), working on promoting educational collaboration between US and Qatari students. He also worked on managing grants with CRDF Global to engage scientists globally for civilian purposes and managing programs in the realm of the rule of law with international participants at the International Law Institute (ILI).
Samer Elchahabi has a Master’s Degree in International Relations from Alliant International University in San Diego, CA and a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from Birzeit University in Palestine. He is fluent in Arabic and French.
Nina Vandraas Eberhart
Nina Vandraas Eberhart is the Executive Office Manager for NRC USA. She joined NRC in June 2016. Ms. Vandraas Eberhart oversees the overall operation 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, recruiting, and human resource.
Nina Vandraas Eberhart was born in Seoul, South Korea, and grew up in Oslo, Norway. She holds a Bachelor Degree from Northern Arizona University. She speaks fluently Norwegian, and is currently the President of the Norwegian Ladies Club DC 2017.
Basma Alloush is the Advocacy and Communications Officer at NRC USA. Prior to taking this role, she was the Policy and Advocacy Intern at NRC USA. Basma 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. Ms. Alloush completed her thesis project on the role of diaspora in transitional justice processes with a particular focus on the Syrian and Liberian cases.
Basma Alloush also holds a Bachelor degree in Finance from Northeastern University. During her time at Northeastern University, Ms. Alloush 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 is the US Grants Finance Adviser of Norwegian Refugee Council USA (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.
Violence spiralling to alarming levels in Eastern Congo
Humanitarian agencies are struggling to respond to rapidly mounting needs in Eastern Congo.
Where armed groups rule
Over 230,000 people were forced to flee their homes in the Central African Republic (CAR) in the first half of 2018. “It has gone from bad to worse and there are no signs of improvement,” says Eric Batonon, NRC country director.