Hrair Balian, J.D.
Hrair Balian joined The Carter Center in 2008 as director of the Conflict Resolution Program. 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, 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.
Balian received his Juris Doctor degree from Golden Gate University in San Francisco. In May 2009, the New England College awarded him 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 joined the Center in 1994, first as a research assistant in the Conflict Resolution Program, becoming executive assistant to the director of peace programs, then assistant director of the Center's China Village Elections Project, and finally associate director of the Conflict Resolution Program. 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 in Liberia.
Crick received his bachelor's degree from Bristol University and his master's degree from the Queen's University of Belfast. He 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. Crick is a licensed mediator in the state of Georgia and an adjunct faculty member at Emory Law School.
Houda Abadi, Ph.D.
Associate Director, Middle East and North Africa
Houda Abadi joined the Conflict Resolution Program in June 2014 as associate director for the Middle East and North Africa. For the first two years, she worked on Syria and the Israel-Palestine conflict. During that time, she developed what is now the Countering Daesh Recruitment Propaganda Project.
Abadi holds a graduate certificate from Duke-UNC in Middle East studies; an M.A. in international relations and diplomacy, with a concentration in Middle East studies and conflict resolution, from Seton Hall University; and a Ph.D. in political communication and media studies from Georgia State University. She was the 2013-2014 Transcultural Conflict and Violence Presidential Fellow at Georgia State. She was born and raised in Morocco and speaks French, Arabic, and Spanish.
Prior to joining the Center, Abadi served as the director of education in two nonprofit organizations that facilitated dialogue between Jewish and Muslim youth. She worked on curriculum development and youth interfaith dialogue. She also served as a researcher, translator, and writer for Muslim women’s issues at Women’s Islamic Initiative in Spirituality and Equality. While in graduate school, she was the MENA intern in a human rights organization and acted as a liaison between the United Nations Institute of Research and Training and Arab diplomats. Abadi has published scholarly articles and taught at Georgia State and UNC.
John Goodman, Ph.D.
Associate Director, Africa
John Goodman is the Conflict Resolution Program's associate director for Africa, with responsibility for the design, implementation, and evaluation of the program's mission and strategy in East Africa.
Goodman comes to The Carter Center from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), where, since 2010, he served as delegate and head of sub-delegation in the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan. Goodman's responsibilities included representing the ICRC with government officials, armed actors, international agencies, and civil society; managing relief operations; visiting prisoners of war; and promoting international humanitarian law. In particular, in the Congo, Goodman directed the ICRC's programs in eight prisons and multiple transitory places of detention. In South Sudan, his portfolio included ICRC programs in health, civilian protection, and relief along the border with Sudan.
Prior to joining the ICRC, Goodman was an attorney in private practice in the United States, working primarily in civil litigation on behalf of the immigrant community. He holds a bachelor's degree from Centre College, a master's and juris doctorate from the University of Kentucky, and a doctorate from the Graduate Institute, University of Geneva (Switzerland). He spent parts of his youth in Gabon and the island of La Reunion, as well as California, New Mexico, Alabama, and Kentucky. He speaks fluent French, Spanish, and Catalan.
Sara Tindall Ghazal, J.D.
Associate Director, Middle East and North Africa
Sara Tindall Ghazal is an associate director in the Conflict Resolution Program, heading projects in the Middle East and North Africa. She has worked in other capacities at The Carter Center, helping manage the multilateral conflict resolution project in the Great Lakes region of central Africa, serving as the field office director in Liberia from 1998-2000, and observing elections in Liberia, Nigeria, Jamaica, the Cherokee Nation, and Zimbabwe, among other projects. Ghazal also engaged in private law practice in Zürich, Switzerland. She holds a juris doctorate from Emory University School of Law and a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee.
Director, Israel-Palestine Office
Nathan Stock was appointed director of The Carter Center Israel-Palestine Field Office in December 2013. He leads Carter Center efforts to facilitate the reunification of the Palestinian political system while helping to promote viable peace between Israelis and Palestinians. Stock joined the Center in 2008 as an assistant director in the Conflict Resolution Program. He was based in Atlanta and traveled regularly to the Middle East. He designed and managed programming targeting the Fatah-Hamas conflict, supported Carter Center efforts to assert the sovereignty of a Palestinian state in international fora, and implemented programming to monitor and advance political solutions to the Syrian civil war.
Prior to joining the Center, Stock spent two years implementing a USAID-funded civil society strengthening program in Afghanistan. During the Al-Aqsa Intifada, he lived 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.
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.
Manager, Syria Mapping Project
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.
Senior Program Associate
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, 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 and volunteering at an orphanage in Tanzania.
Schutz holds a bachelor's degree in international relations from the University of Birmingham, as well as a Master of Science in NGOs and development from the London School of Economics.
Kate Keator is the program associate for the Syria Conflict Mapping Project, supporting the project's database and resulting analysis and research, as well as performing administrative activities. She joined The Carter Center in March 2014 as an assistant program coordinator.
Before that, Keator worked with Search for Common Ground in the partners in humanity program, promoting Muslim-Western understanding through media outreach training, the commissioning of positive, multicultural news articles, and the coordination of social media campaigns. She also worked with Freedom House in the Middle East and North Africa division, providing administrative and logistical support to the Amman office and the Torture Never Justified project.
Keator holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Florida in political science and international humanitarian assistance. Her professional and academic interests include the intersection of technology and conflict transformation, as well as the role of women and religion in peacebuilding, particularly in the Middle East.
Program Associate, Conflict Resolution Program
Nancy Azar joined the Carter Center’s Conflict Resolution Program in January 2016 and supports the implementation activities of the Countering Daesh project. Prior to joining the Center, Azar’s role was the coordination of all aspects of regional drug prevention programs in more than seven Arab countries for Mentor Arabia, the regional branch of the Mentor International Foundation, established and presided over by Queen Sylvia of Sweden. Azar holds a bachelor’s degree in political sciences and public administration from Université Saint Joseph in Beirut. Her professional and academic interests include the role of youth, women, and religion in peacebuilding. She was born and raised in Lebanon and speaks Arabic and French.
Research Associate, Conflict Resolution
Program Anthony Byrd joined The Carter Center’s Conflict Resolution Program in July 2016 and supports the research activities of the Countering Daesh project. His research interests include both classical and contemporary Islamic thought (particularly in the fields of dialectical theology and ethics), comparative theology, and virtue theory. He has presented and published on such topics as modern Islamic political theology, phenomenology in the field of Islamic studies, and repentance in Mu‘tazilite ethics. Byrd holds a bachelor’s degree in history and philosophy from Kennesaw State University and a master’s degree in religious studies from Georgia State University. He is a Ph.D. candidate in religion at Emory University. He has taught courses in philosophy, comparative ethics, and Islamic history and theology at a number of Atlanta-area universities, including Emory University and the Georgia Institute of Technology. He was a 2009 U.S. Department of State Critical Language Scholar and a 2013-14 Charlotte Newcombe Doctoral Dissertation Fellow in Religion and Ethics. He has studied Arabic in Morocco and Egypt.
Program Assistant, Conflict Resolution Program
Annie Charif joined The Carter Center’s Conflict Resolution Program in June 2016 and manages the logistical and operational aspect of the Countering Daesh Project. Charif worked at The World Affairs Council of Atlanta as an organizational development intern. She was also part of a study-abroad research delegation at Georgia State University for six months, addressing the relationship between Turkish policy, the Syrian refugee crisis, and the role of civil society in post-conflict stabilization. Charif holds a master’s degree in political science with a concentration in international and comparative politics. Her academic interests include conflict resolution and the role of non-state actors in failed states. She was born in Lebanon and speaks Arabic and French.
Cassandra Grant Thomas
Cassandra Grant Thomas is responsible for creating and managing program budgets, providing administrative and logistical support, 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, Kenya, Ethiopia, and Sudan.
Prior to coming to the Center, 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.
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.
Researcher, Syria Conflict Mapping Project
A former Conflict Resolution Program intern, Hampton Stall joined The Carter Center in June 2016 as a researcher for the Syria Conflict Mapping Project. His responsibilities include documenting and analyzing the ongoing Syrian conflict.
Before joining the Center, he aided in Veterans Affairs casework in South Carolina and worked to modernize foreign assistance in D.C. While at university, he started his college’s first online publication on international affairs. He studied intensive Arabic at Qasid Arabic Institute in Amman, Jordan. Stall’s prior research includes work on environmental politics, sophisticated weaponry, and formal and informal institutions focusing on the Levant, Indonesia, and Northern Ireland. He speaks English, Arabic, and Spanish. Stall holds a bachelor’s degree from Davidson College in political science and Arab studies.