Conflict Resolution Program Staff
Hrair Balian, Director
Hrair Balian joined The Carter Center in 2008 as director of the Conflict Resolution Program. Mr. Balian oversees the program's efforts to monitor conflicts around the world and coordinates the Center's cross-program efforts in the Middle East. He is also an adjunct professor at the Emory University Law School, teaching an advanced international negotiations seminar.
Since 1991, Mr. Balian has worked in the Balkans, Eastern Europe, the independent states emerging from the former Soviet Union, the Middle East, and Africa, serving in intergovernmental organizations (the United Nations and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe) and nongovernmental organizations (International Crisis Group and others). He has worked on elections, human rights, and conflict resolution.
Mr. Balian received his Juris Doctor degree from Golden Gate University in San Francisco. In May 2009, the New England College awarded Mr. Balian the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, for his "lifetime commitment to the dignity, respect, and self-determination of all peoples" and for his "uncompromising effort to resolve international conflicts."
He is fluent in English, French, and Armenian, with a basic knowledge of Arabic. He was born and raised in Lebanon, moving to the United States for university studies.
Tom Crick, Associate Director
Mr. Crick joined the Center in 1994, first as a research assistant in the Conflict Resolution Program, becoming executive assistant to the director of the Peace Programs, then assistant director of the Center's China Village Elections Project, and is now associate director of the Conflict Resolution Program. Mr. Crick has worked on numerous Carter Center election and conflict resolution projects, primarily in Africa, including the Carter Center-brokered 1995 Guinea worm cease-fire in Sudan, the Great Lakes peace initiative from 1995-1997, and the Center's mediation between Sudan and Uganda. Most recently, his work has concentrated on peacebuilding issues in Liberia.
Mr. Crick received his bachelor's degree from Bristol University, his master's degree from the Queen's University of Belfast, and has conducted doctoral research at the London School of Economics and at Emory University. Prior to joining the Center, he lectured in political science at a number of polytechnics in the United Kingdom and worked as a journalist and as a project leader at an interdenominational youth project in Northern Ireland. Mr. Crick is a licensed mediator in the state of Georgia and an adjunct faculty at Emory Law School.
Nathan Stock, Assistant Director
Nathan Stock joined The Carter Center in 2008 as assistant director of the Conflict Resolution Program, with a focus on Middle East issues.
Before coming to the Center, he spent two years implementing a civil society strengthening program in Afghanistan, where he led the effort to establish a sustainable network of local NGOs capable of providing capacity-building assistance to grassroots civil society organizations throughout the country. He spent two years in the Gaza Strip, working with a Palestinian NGO to fundraise and design conflict resolution programs targeting the Palestinian community. He has also taught English in Palestine and China.
Mr. Stock holds a bachelor's degree in international relations from Colgate University and a master's degree in international peace and conflict resolution from American University's School of International Service. He speaks varying degrees of Mandarin, Spanish, Arabic, and Dari.
Itonde A. Kakoma, Assistant Director
Itonde A. Kakoma is the assistant director of the Conflict Resolution Program at The Carter Center, managing the Center's peace initiatives in Sudan and South Sudan. His current efforts are focused on the Sudan-South Sudan Dialogue Group, a track-two diplomatic effort in partnership with the Ebony Centre (Juba) and Future Studies Institute (Khartoum). Kakoma regularly briefs the international community on political and security developments within the region and served as an international observer for Sudan's National Referendum on the Right to Self-Determination in 2011. Previously, he worked on the Center's peace initiatives in Liberia, where he was a report writer for the Liberian Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Concurrently, he is the guest editor for the Journal of Religion, Conflict, and Peace and has worked for the World Council of Churches, consulted for the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue's Nairobi Bureau, and has advised inter-disciplinary initiatives at Emory University and the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs.
Mr. Kakoma was selected for and completed the 2013 peace mediation course organized by the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs. He holds a bachelor's degree in religion from Wartburg College and has conducted post-graduate research on the intersections between reconciliation and ritual at the University of Pretoria. He is in the ordination process with the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America.
Christopher McNaboe, Program Associate
Christopher McNaboe joined The Carter Center in 2012 as an intern and then graduate assistant in the Conflict Resolution Program. During that time, he developed what is now the Syria Conflict Mapping project, and he joined the program to formalize and expand the project in December 2012. He primarily works on Syria-related initiatives, but occasionally assists with other peace program activities.
McNaboe is a dual U.S.-U.K. citizen, but has spent the majority of his life abroad, growing up in Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, and Kuwait, before coming to the United States at the outset of the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Since that time, McNaboe has lived in several countries while pursuing his undergraduate and graduate degrees. Prior to coming to the Center, he worked as a mediator and interpreter in the Superior Court of California and with community-building projects with Palestinian and Lebanese youth in Lebanon.
McNaboe holds two bachelor's degrees in politics and language studies (linguistics and Spanish), as well as a master's degree in international policy studies with a concentration in conflict resolution from the Monterey Institute of International Studies. He speaks English, Spanish, and Arabic, with a limited knowledge of French.
Catherine Schutz, Assistant Program Coordinator
Catherine Schutz joined The Carter Center in March 2011 and supports the financial and administrative activities of the project from the Atlanta headquarters.
Prior to joining the Center, Ms. Schutz spent a year as an English language teacher at a high school in Chongqing, China. While at university, Schutz worked for the International Volunteering Society, an organization that sends students to volunteer with NGOs around the world. She also volunteered for a number of programs abroad, including working with communities in Thailand affected by the 2004 tsunami, as well as volunteering at an orphanage in Tanzania.
Ms. Schutz holds a bachelor's degree in international relations from the University of Birmingham, as well as a master's of science degree in NGOs and development from the London School of Economics.
Cassandra Grant Thomas, Program Assistant
Cassandra Grant Thomas is responsible for creating and managing program budgets, providing administrative and logistical support for the program, and coordinating with local and international partners to ensure the efficiency and effectiveness of the program. She has served on Carter Center missions in Venezuela, Liberia, Tanzania and Kenya.
Prior to coming to the Center, Ms. Thomas served as administrative officer for the National Training Agency of Jamaica, where she coordinated the application and testing process for new recruits and managed the fiscal and administration functions of the organization for the northeastern region of the island. She also has worked with the National Development Foundation of Jamaica, a financial institution providing loans to small businesses.
Ms. Thomas holds a bachelor's degree in management from Nova Southeastern University in Florida and a master's degree in business administration from the University of Phoenix.