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Cassandre C. Théano, Board Member

Cassandre C. Théano is as an international human rights lawyer and advocate.  Cassandre began her career as a law clerk followed by a number of years in private practice before engaging in strategic litigation and advocacy on various human rights issues.

Currently, she is the Assistant Director of Human Rights and Public International Law at Columbia Law School and is an Adjunct Professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Previously, Cassandre was the Associate Legal Officer for Inclusion and Equality at the Open Society Foundations (The Justice Initiative), focusing on citizenship and equality. In that capacity, she led the litigation and advocacy work related to the restoration of citizenship rights for Dominicans of Haitian descent in the Dominican Republic, Black Mauritanians in Mauritania and various ethnic minorities in Cȏte d’Ivoire and Kenya. She was also instrumental on Temporary Protected Status advocacy and other related immigration policies affecting black migrants at the US/Mexico border. She regularly provides advice on strategy, policy, and funding to human rights and advocacy organizations.

She was also a Human Rights Legal consultant for MADRE, an international women’s human rights organization and for Netflix on the docuseries, Rotten, which explores human rights abuses in the food supply chain.

Cassandre grew up in Haiti and moved to the United States at sixteen. She earned her undergraduate degree in International Relations and French Literature and her Master’s degree in French Society, Politics and Culture from New York University. She holds a law degree from Georgetown University Law Center, with a concentration on International Human Rights Law and a certificate in Refugees and Humanitarian Emergencies.  At Georgetown Law, she participated in the International Women’s Human Rights Clinic where she successfully advocated including protections for women’s land and property rights in Kenya’s 2010 Constitution. She was also the Senior Articles Editor of the Georgetown Journal of Gender and the Law.  

She is fluent in French, Haitian Creole and Spanish.