- Director, Guatemala City Office
Isabel Solis is a Mayan activist who has been working for over 20 years as a grassroots community organizer. Isabel specializes in communal land rights, indigenous rights, the impacts of international extractive industries, and defense of human rights. She studied legal and social science at the University of San Carlos in Guatemala and joined GHRC in July 2017 as the Director of our Guatemala City office.
- Guatemala City Assistant
Marta received her Masters degree from the University of San Carlos and since then has worked with an array of human rights organizations and think tanks as a researcher, writer, and organizer. As a researcher, she has worked at the Association for the Advancement of Social Sciences (AVANCSO), the Latin American School of Social Sciences (FLACSO), and Rafael Landivar University. She has also worked with the Association for the Integral Development of Victims of Violence in the Verapaces, Maya Achi (ADIVIMA).
- Director of Outreach & Development, Washington Office
Veronica Serrano Tama
Veronica has demonstrated a longstanding commitment to international development and human rights in Latin America. She holds an LL.M. in National and Global Health Law from Georgetown University Law Center, an M.S. in International and Transnational Law from the University of La Rioja, a certificate in fundraising from New York University, and a bachelor’s degree in law. Prior to joining GHRC, Veronica served as a Human Rights Fellow at the external Office of the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion. She also worked as a research assistant at the O’Neill Institute, focusing on women’s rights and development. Additionally, Veronica gained valuable experience as an intern at the UN in the Office of the President of the General Assembly, contributing to projects related to global health, climate change, and gender equality. In Ecuador, she dedicated her time to a pro bono office, providing assistance to victims of gender and domestic violence.
Board of Directors
President and Treasurer
Pat Davis is a writer and long-time human rights activist. She began her involvement with GHRC as Communications Director from 1992 to 1998. With GHRC colleague Sister Dianna Ortiz, she wrote Ortiz’ story (The Blindfold’s Eyes: My Journey from Torture to Truth, published by Orbis Books in 2002). Pat returned to GHRC as Interim Director from 2003-2005 and has served on the board at various points throughout the organization’s history. She has written on Guatemala for The Nation, Counter Punch, Common Dreams, and Foreign Policy in Focus. Her work has also been published by the North American Congress on Latin America, the Copenhagen Initiative for Central America and Mexico, and the Center for International Policy. Her plays on human rights related topics have been produced in Mexico and in the US.
Rob Mercatante has been working closely with human rights defenders in Guatemala since the late 1980s. He led GHRC’s work on behalf of defenders from our Guatemala City office for several years before founding his own organization, the Human Rights Defenders Project.
Jean Garland is a human rights attorney with over twenty-eight years’ experience in international development and human rights, including nineteen years overseas and ten at a senior management level. She has held numerous leadership positions with USAID, heading programs on human rights and the rule of law and working with civil society in Mexico, Colombia, Rwanda, Haiti, Guatemala, and various other countries. Before working with USAID, she was legal director of the European Roma Rights Center, in , Budapest, Hungary, where she supervised 30 cases pending before European Court of Human Rights and other international fora and oversaw grants funding 100+ cases before domestic courts.
Carmen Valenzuela-Dall is Co-Founder and Partner of Maternal and Child Health and is an international consultant at Human Facets Internal, SCL (Costa Rica). A public health physician and pediatrician trained in Guatemala and the United States, she specializes in maternal and child health; health and communications training; and health monitoring and evaluation. Other specialties include the planning, development, implementation, management, and evaluation of health programs/projects. Her involvement with the Guatemala Human Rights Commission began in 1992, and she has regularly supported GHRC’s efforts. She earned degrees in Public Health from Columbia University and Johns Hopkins.
Michael Seifert has worked for years as the Rio Grande Valley Equal Voice Network Weaver, a coalition of eight community-based organizations serving more than 100,000 residents on the Texas/Mexico/Gulf Coast border. Mr. Seifert, a former priest, worked for more than two decades on issues challenging the communities of both sides of the southeast Texas border. He served as a community facilitator for Community for Children, an international elective in community pediatrics offered to medical students and residents of all disciplines, and focusing on advocacy for social justice and human rights.
Stef Arreaga is a journalist and photographer living in exile in the US. She was born during the bloodiest period of the war in Guatemala that lasted almost four decades. She lived in exile during her childhood and became involved in political and social issues at a very young age. She began working as a journalist with the Comité de Unidad Campesina -CUC- on issues mainly related to evictions in the Polochic area, in the north of the country. She then carried out investigative journalism for the alternative media Prensa Comunitaria, where she has worked on issues related to historical memory, mining, extractivism, megaprojects, monocultures, land dispossession, criminalization and malnutrition, especially communities that have historically been beaten. In 2017, she began working on the investigation and documentation of the case of the Hogar Seguro Virgen de la Asunción, where 41 girls were burned to death and 15 managed to survive. Through Prensa Comunitaria, she facilitated workshops on Community Journalism for Central American journalists working in popular, peasant and women’s organizations, most of whom are criminalized and persecuted for documenting.
We are always grateful for the dedicated work of our interns who bring their energy, creativity and talents to the work of GHRC.