About Us

Mission | Board of Directors | Advisory Board | Staff

Mission

The E-Collaborative for Civic Education is a 501c3 organization with a mission to leverage technology — internet communications technology, social networks, television and radio, mobile phones, e-learning classroom platforms, and more — to promote democracy and human rights internationally.

ECCE strives to provide to individuals of all ages in repressive or transitioning political systems civic education opportunities concerning:

  • Citizens’ rights and responsibilities in a democracy
  • Justice, accountability, and the rule of law
  • Democratic constitutions and institutions
  • Civic activism and robust civil societies
  • Journalism, freedom of expression and free access to information
  • Women’s rights
  • Minority rights

Read about our flagship project, the Tavaana E-Learning Institute for Iranian Civil Society, here.

    

Board of Directors

Ladan Archin has over 15 years of experience in public policy, international finance and consulting. Born and raised in Iran, Ladan moved to the United States of America as the home that she knew was transforming into one ruled by an Islamic autocracy. With a bachelor’s degree in physics, and while enrolled in a master’s program in applied mathematics, Ladan decided to change course and began studying international relations and economics at Johns Hopkins School of International Studies (SAIS), where she was research assistant to Professor Fouad Ajami. Subsequent to graduation from SAIS, Ladan joined the Research Department of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. After two years, Ladan moved to Washington, DC and worked for the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector arm of World Bank Group from 1995 until 2001. She then moved to San Francisco to work at a start up company, but after the events of 9/11, moved back to Washington. Ladan was the Iran Country Director for the Office of the Secretary of Defense from 2002 to 2007. Later, Ladan served as Assistant Director at the Department of Treasury’s Terror Finance and Intelligence Department, in charge of the Middle East, Africa and the Western Hemisphere. During her tenure with both US Treasury and DOD, Ladan advised various US Government senior-level staff on strategy and policy via briefings, reports, and presentations. She later lived in Dubai, UAE for two years to help open Grant Thornton’s investment advisory offices there. She is now a consultant at Toffler Associates, and lives in Washington, DC.

Akbar Atri is co-founder and co-director of the E-Collaborative for Civic Education, leading the organization’s strategic vision and outreach. Akbar is a veteran human rights activist and former Iranian student leader. Born in a small village in Iranian Azerbaijan, he brings significant insight into varied strands of the Iranian social fabric, from the rural farm to the urban factory to the large university and beyond. Akbar was elected annually to the leadership of Iran’s largest student organization, Tahkim Vahdat, for ten years and was the organization’s spokesperson. In this capacity he was a regular conduit of human rights information to the international media, delivered hundreds of speeches and engaged in countless civic dialogues, sit-ins, and protests at universities throughout the country. Akbar was one of the original drafters of the Referendum Movement on the Iranian Constitution and has been sentenced in absentia to a minimum of seven years in prison for his human rights activism. Akbar earned his B.A. in Political Science at Allame Tabatabaie University in Tehran, Iran, and an MA in Political Science at Mofid University in Qom, Iran. In 2011, Akbar earned a second MA degree in Conflict Resolution and Analysis at George Mason University.

Kathryn Groth is an education specialist currently serving a second term as a member of the Frederick County, Maryland Board of Education. Katie is a community organizer, avid world traveler and promoter of quality education in sustaining an engaged citizenry. She trained as a speech/language pathologist, having received her BA and MA from the University of Maryland, College Park. During her career, she has worked at the Maryland School for the Deaf and for Frederick County Public Schools.

    

Advisory Board

Rend Al-Rahim is the executive director and a co-founder of the Iraq Foundation, a non-profit organization working for human rights and democracy in Iraq. From November 2003 to December 2004, she served as Iraq's ambassador to the United States and later the Iraqi chief of mission. Ms. Al-Rahim has contributed to numerous reports and books on Iraq and written policy papers and reports for the Iraq Foundation. In addition, she has built partnerships and cooperative relations with several non-governmental and research institutions and has also testified on Iraq before the U.S. Congress. She is co-author of The Arab Shi'a: Forgotten Muslims, published in 2000. She holds degrees from Cambridge University and the University of the Sorbonne in Paris.

Eugenia Kemble is executive director of the Albert Shanker Institute, a non-profit organization endowed by the American Federation of Teachers and dedicated to publishing reports and fostering candid exchange on education, labor, and democracy issues. In her previous work at the American Federation of Teachers as special assistant to AFT president Albert Shanker, she obtained funding to create the union’s main professional development effort for teachers, the Education Research and Dissemination Program, and to start the AFT’s professional magazine, The American Educator, both of which she managed for a number of years. She also revamped the AFT’s annual Quality Educational Standards in Teaching (QuEST) conference and helped Mr. Shanker spearhead the creation of the union’s Educational Issues, Research and International Affairs Departments. In 1983, Kemble was named as the AFL-CIO’s representative to the Democracy Program, a coalition effort including the Republican Party, Democratic Party, U.S. Chambers of Commerce, and AFL-CIO, that recommended the establishment of the National Endowment for Democracy. In 1984 Ms. Kemble was named the executive director of the AFL-CIO’s Free Trade Union Institute, which supported union efforts involved in democracy-building, most notably Solidarity in Poland. Returning to the AFT in 1989, she directed and helped to expand the AFT’s Educational Issues Department, which soon became one of the largest, most influential departments in the union.

Ahmad Nader Nadery is a commissioner at the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission. He represented Afghan civil society at the UN peace talks for Afghanistan at the 2001 Bonn Conference. Mr. Nadery is also the chairperson of the Fair and Free Election Foundation of Afghanistan, a member of the Steering Committee of Citizens Against Terror, and on the advisory board to Open Society Institute’s Afghanistan programs. He has written extensively on politics, human rights, women’s rights and democracy in Afghanistan and is a member of the Board of Editors of the Oxford Journal on Transitional Justice. Mr. Nadery served as spokesperson for the national assembly (Loya Jerga) in 2002. He studied law and political sciences at Kabul University and earned his M.A. in International Affairs from The George Washington University.

Mark Palmer is vice chairman of Freedom House, vice president of the Council for a Community of Democracies, an advisory board member of the Democracy Project, and a member of the American Academy of Diplomacy. During his career in the State Department, he was U.S. Ambassador to Hungary from 1986-90 and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe from 1982-86. He co-founded and sits on the board of the National Endowment for Democracy. Mr. Palmer is the President of Capital Development Company, which supports local partners in launching new enterprises in Washington DC, Europe, and Asia. He founded Central European Media Enterprises Ltd., which develops and operates national television and radio stations from Bucharest, Ljubijana, Prague, Bratislava, Warsaw and Kiev. He is the author of Breaking the Real Axis of Evil: How to Oust the World’s Last Dictators by 2025.

Nima Rashedan is ECCE’s cybersecurity expert and trainer in subjects related to digital safety. He is an expert on cybersecurity, web-based communication, and Internet censorship in the Iranian context. He received his BS.c in Software Engineering from Tehran North Azad University in 1996. He was the publisher of Iran’s first bulletin board systems from 1995 to 1997, and from 1998 to 1999, he served as senior communications adviser to dozens of Iranian reformist groups and newspapers. From 1999 to 2005, he was Project Manager at Gooya.com, the first and most popular Persian web portal. He has been a technology and digital safety adviser to several human rights and pro-democracy web projects and is a regular cyber-security columnist for Radio Farda’s website.

    

Staff

Akbar Atri is co-founder and co-director of the E-Collaborative for Civic Education, leading the organization’s strategic vision and outreach. Akbar is a veteran human rights activist and former Iranian student leader. Born in a small village in Iranian Azerbaijan, he brings significant insight into varied strands of the Iranian social fabric, from the rural farm to the urban factory to the large university and beyond.

Akbar was elected annually to the leadership of Iran’s largest student organization, Tahkim Vahdat, for ten years and was the organization’s spokesperson. In this capacity he was a regular conduit of human rights information to the international media and delivered hundreds of speeches and engaged in countless civic dialogues, sit ins, and protests at universities throughout the country. Akbar was one of the original drafters of the Referendum Movement on the Iranian Constitution and has been sentenced in absentia to a minimum of seven years in prison for his human rights activism. Akbar earned his B.A. in Political Science at Allame Tabatabaie University in Tehran, Iran, and an MA in Political Science at Mofid University in Qom, Iran. In 2011, Akbar earned a second MA degree in Conflict Resolution and Analysis at George Mason University.