Founder & CEO
International Bridges to Justice
March 5, 2008
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A former public defender, Karen first developed her interest in the cross section of criminal law and human rights as a Thomas J. Watson Fellow in 1986 after observing Southeast Asian refugees detained in a local prison without trial. She later moved to Cambodia in 1994 to train the country's first core group of public defenders and subsequently served as a United Nations Judicial Mentor. Under the auspices of the U.N., she trained judges and prosecutors and established the first arraignment court in Cambodia. After witnessing many violations of the rights of citizens, Karen founded International Bridges to Justice in 2000 to promote systemic global change in the administration of criminal justice. She has since negotiated and implemented groundbreaking measures in judicial reform with the Chinese, Vietnamese and Cambodian governments. Under her leadership, IBJ has expanded its programming to Rwanda, Burundi and India, and is now working to create a Global Defender Support Program that will bring IBJ assistance to public defenders worldwide. Karen is a graduate of UCLA Law School and Harvard Divinity School. She is the recipient of numerous awards and was recently named by the U.S. News & World Report as one of America's Best Leaders. As a leading social entrepreneur, she has been recognized by the Skoll Foundation, Ashoka and Echoing Green.