A Turkish translator by trade, Damian Harris-Hernandez co-founded the Refugee Translation Project in 2017 as an urgent response to the growing requests he was receiving to translate asylum applications following the post-coup attempt crackdown in Turkey. Unable to handle the volume of requests and reluctant to charge for services, he initiated a crowdfunding campaign at the suggestion of his wife, Jennifer. Since founding RTP, he has built a network of translators and donors to expand the size and scope of the organization. Prior to his career in translating, Damian worked as a youth educator at Recycle-A-Bicycle, an environmental education non-profit. He trained foreign-born teenagers in bicycle mechanics and environmental stewardship in a program that placed the students in related jobs, giving them an employment advantage while still in high school. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies from Columbia University, where he learned Turkish. Damian also teaches English to refugees living in Europe via online classes.
Board of Directors
Mohamed Khelifi, (Hammadi Khlifi) is a law graduate and writer from Tunisia. He holds a degree from Penn State University and Carthage University. He worked in several human rights organizations in Tunisia and New York such as the World Federalist Movement/Institute for Global Policy, the World Organization Against Torture and I Watch Organization/Transparency International. Mohamed has published two novels: Escape in 2016 that was awarded the Rambourg Foundation Award for Art and Culture, Dhawat National Students Bureau Award, and Prose Not For Publication in 2019. Mohamed’s work has also appeared in several journals around the world, including DAWN in D.C, Ultra Sawt in Doha, and Akhbaroukom in Beirut. Mohamed also participated in several social movements against corruption and impunity in the Tunisian government such as “I Will Not Forgive” and “Free Writers.”
Jessica Rofé is the Toni Rembe and Arthur Rock Immigrant Defense Fellow and Supervising Attorney at New York University School of Law, where she co-teaches the Immigrant Rights Clinic and the Advanced Immigrant Rights Clinic. Together with clinic students, she represents immigrants and community organizations in advocacy to advance immigrant rights locally and nationwide. Prior to joining the Immigrant Rights Clinic, Jessica was an Immigrant Justice Corps Fellow and staff attorney at Brooklyn Defender Services, where she advised clients, families and attorneys about the potential immigration consequences of contact with the criminal legal system, and represented individuals facing deportation before immigration agencies and the federal courts. She was also an associate in the Latin America practice at Cleary Gottlieb. Before law school, Jessica was a secondary social studies educator in New York City public schools for nearly 5 years. She received her J.D. from New York University School of Law, where she was an Arthur Garfield Hays Civil Liberties Fellow, her M.S.T. in Teaching from Fordham University, and her B.A.in History (with honors) from New York University.
Courtney Scullin-Taylor is currently working as the Accounting Supervisor at the California Association of Food Banks, based in Oakland, California. In this position she merges her interests in a love of numbers, sustainability and fighting food insecurity. The Refugee Translation Project drew her attention due to her background in economics and immigration studies. She is thrilled to have an opportunity to support such an invaluable organization by sharing her wealth of knowledge in Not-For-Profit Accounting with the RTP team. She is enjoying the process of helping the organization grow and thrive. As often as possible, Courtney balances her accounting side by getting outside for a bike ride or some time in the garden.
Lee Wellington is the Founding Executive Director of the Urban Manufacturing Alliance (UMA), a national nonprofit that builds robust, inclusive manufacturing sectors in more than 250 cities across the United States. Prior to UMA, Lee worked in the public sector at the NYC Mayor’s Office of Industrial and Manufacturing Businesses and the New York City Council. While at the New York City Council, she was Chief of Staff to Carlos Menchaca where she had the privilege of working on New York City’s municipal identification card program, the launch of the New York Immigrant Family Unity Project to provide free legal services for immigrants facing deportation, and the expansion of adult literacy programs. Lee also worked at nonprofit planning organizations including the Pratt Center for Community Development and the Waterfront Alliance, and at legal services organizations including the Urban Justice Center’s Street Vendor Project and South Brooklyn Legal Services. Lee holds a J.D. from Brooklyn Law School, an M.S. in City and Regional Planning from Pratt Institute, and a B.S. in Economics from the Stern School of Business at New York University.