Melissa Hooper Director, Human Rights and Civil Society, Human Rights First Panel 1
Melissa Hooper is the Director of Human Rights and Civil Society at Human Rights First. She studies laws and methods that governments use to restrict NGOs and civil society activity, and works with international experts to develop effective responses. From 2011 to 2015, she served as the U.S. Chair of the Human Rights Working Group of the Bilateral Presidential Commission’s Human Rights Committee, bringing together Russian and American experts to engage on human right issues. Hooper has directed rule of law and human rights programs, monitored conditions, and engaged in advocacy in several countries of the former Soviet Union. Prior to joining Human Rights First, Hooper worked for the American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative in Moscow as Regional Director for Russia and Azerbaijan, providing support and training to local lawyers, NGOs, human rights defenders, and journalists. Hooper received her J.D. from U.C. Berkeley School of Law.