Staff and Board
Marina Garde, Executive Director
Marina Garde comes to ALBA with a decade of experience at the United Nations, where she worked closely with Kofi Annan, and the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU). A native of Madrid, Marina holds an MA in Political Science from the Universidad Complutense, did post-graduate work at the Diplomatic School in Madrid, and holds a Certificate in International Relations from NYU. Among her areas of expertise at the UN and the IPU, Marina has dealt with democracy-related issues, human rights, and peace and security. She speaks English, Spanish, and French.
Xóchitl Gil-Higuchi, Educational Outreach Coordinator
Xóchitl Gil-Higuchi was born in Nogales, Sonora, México and raised in Arizona. She graduated Cum Laude in Studio Art from the University of Arizona and apprenticed with artist Sheila Divine in Guanajuato, México. Since then she has worked in alternative education with a variety organizations including the Tucson Children's Museum and Lehman College Art Gallery. She has a long history with grass-roots organizations and non-profits with specific interest in human rights and immigration. She is bilingual in Spanish and English.
Chris Yong-García, Graphic Designer
Chris Yong-Garcia began his career as a student in Lima, Perú. He moved to New York in 2003 to start his own studio: www.eyestormonline.com. Together with Indika Advertising, he oversaw campaigns for HBO, Miramax Films, IFC Films and the Weinstein Company. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of Latin Lover Food & Travel Magazine, a new online quarterly magazine on food and travel.
Board of Governors
Sebastiaan Faber, Chair
Sebastiaan Faber was born and raised in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, where he studied Spanish; his doctorate is from the University of California, Davis. He is Professor of the Department of Hispanic Studies at Oberlin College, where he directs the Center of Languages and Cultures. Sebastiaan is the author of Exile and Cultural Hegemony: Spanish Exiles in Mexico (Vanderbilt, 2002), and Anglo-American Hispanists and the Spanish Civil War (Palgrave, 2008), as well as some sixty articles on Spanish and Latin American literature, history, and politics (www.oberlin.edu/faculty/sfaber). In 2000 he won the George Watt Essay Prize in the graduate category, and has been on the ALBA board since 2004. In addition to chairing the Board, he is editor of the online edition of the Volunteer.
James D. Fernández, Vice-Chair
James Fernandez is Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Spanish and Portuguese Languages and Literatures at New York University. He has a PhD from Princeton University and a BA from Dartmouth College. His areas of interest are literature, history, and culture of modern Spain; autobiography; cultural relations between Spain and Latin America; visions of Spain in the United States.
Fraser Ottanelli, Vice-Chair
Fraser Ottanelli is Professor and Chair of the Department of History at the University of South Florida in Tampa. His areas of specialization are post-1865 US History, US radical movements, ethnic and labor History, US immigration and ethnic history; comparative migration, and US history in a global age.
Fredda Weiss, Vice-Chair
Born and raised in New York City, Fredda Weiss graduated from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor in Art History and Theater. Moving back to New York, she worked as an advertising Account Executive for major fashion manufacturers and then Advertising and Publicity Director for the largest division of Jonathan Logan manufacturing. In 1969 she began a fifteen-year career as a freelance costume designer for commercials, TV series, and feature films in New York and Los Angeles. This segued into feature film and television production in1984. Her involvement with ALBA began as a consulting producer on “Into The Fire,” a film about the 80 American women were volunteers in the Spanish Civil War. She is also on the board of the Weizmann Institute of Science and is a member of the UCLA Hospital Ethics Committee.
Ellyn Polshek, Secretary
Prior to attending law school, Ms. Polshek worked in publishing as Managing Editor at Grossman Publishers, a Division of the Viking Press, later as a Senior Editor at Holt, Rinehart and Winston and later at William Morrow.Ellyn Polshek received her JD in 1985 at the Columbia Law School. Following graduation,she practiced law as an Assistant District Attorney in the Appeals Bureau at the Manhattan District Attorney's Office. She argued her cases before the Appellate Division in New York County and when necessary at the Court of Appeals in Albany.
Joan Levenson Cohen, Treasurer
Joan Levenson Cohen is a retired New York City teacher, who specialized in early literacy,
coinciding with an ongoing extracurricular life in union, peace and health care activism. She is the daughter of a vet, Leonard Levenson.
Peter N. Carroll, Chair Emeritus
Peter N. Carroll is the author and editor of 17 books, including The Odyssey of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade: Americans in the Spanish Civil War (Stanford, 1994), The Good Fight Continues: World War II Letters from the Abraham Lincoln Brigade(2006), and Facing Fascism: New York and the Spanish Civil War (NYU, 2007). He is Chair of the Board of Governors of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archives (ALBA) and co-curator of two museum exhibitions: Shouts From the Wall: Posters of the Spanish Civil War (with Cary Nelson) and They Still Draw Pictures: Children’s Art in Wartime From the Spanish Civil War to Kosovo (with Anthony L. Geist). He is the editor of The Volunteer, journal of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archives. He serves as a trustee of the Puffin Nation Prize for creative citizenship and teaches history at Stanford University. He is the author of a poetry volume, Riverborne: A Mississippi Requiem (2008).
Kevin Dyer, Executive Committee
Kevin M. Dyer is an attorney and managing partner of Dyer Harris LLP (New York), which specializes in immigration issues for artists, academics and entrepreneurs. He has represented foreign clients (and particularly clients from Spain and Latin America) for 27 years. He graduated from Hastings College of Law (J.D. 1979) and the University of California at Irvine (B.A. magna cum laude History 1976). He is on the Board of Directors of the Mexican Cultural Institute of New York.
Anthony L. Geist, Executive Committee
Anthony Geist is Professor of Spanish and Comparative Literature at the University of Washington. He received his PhD from the University of California, Berkeley.
Geist's research concerns art and literature of the Spanish Civil War. He published a photo-essay on Seattle-area Lincoln Brigade veterans, coauthored with the Spanish photojournalist José Moreno, Passing the Torch: The Abraham Lincoln Brigade and its Legacy of Hope / Otra cara de América: Los brigadistas y su legado de esperanza. He has also curated ALBA’s traveling exhibit They Still Draw Pictures: Children’s Art in Wartime from the Spanish Civil War to Kosovo. The accompanying book was published in 2002. In 2006 he co-produced and co-directed a documentary film on the American volunteers who fought in the Spanish Civil War, Souls without Borders: The Untold Story of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade, 1936-2006.
Gina Herrmann, Executive Committee
Gina Herrmann is Associate Professor of Spanish Literature and Culture at the University of Oregon, and is on the editorial board of The Volunteer. She is the author of articles on Spanish political culture, particularly communist literature and history, and is an oral historian. Her first book, Written in Red: The Communist Memoir in Spain, will be published by the University of Illinois Press in 2009.
Nancy Yanofsky, Executive Committee
Robert Coale, Université Paris 8
Robert S. Coale is a Maître de Conférence (Associate Professor) of Hispanic Studies at the Unversité de Paris 8, Vincennes-Saint Denis in France. Originally from Baltimore, Maryland, he holds a B.A. in history and Spanish from Washington College. One day some thirty years ago he went off to Madrid to improve his Spanish and never looked back, eventually earning a Doctorat from the Université de Paris IV-La Sorbonne. In 1996 he actively participated in the 60th anniversary Homage to the IB in Madrid and thus began his relationship with ALBA. He has been the moderator of the ALBA listserv, or discussion forum, since 1999. His area of specialization is 20th century Spanish history, especially the Spanish Civil War, the International Brigades and the exile of Spanish Loyalists in France. He occasionally returns to the US so as not to forget how to pronounce Bawlmer.
Burt Cohen has devoted his life to standing up for what he believes. He served on the office staff of Boston Clamshell and was active in the anti-nuclear movement of the late seventies. In the eighties, he was deeply involved in efforts to halt US aid to the right-wing regime in El Salvador. In the nineties, Burt was elected to the New Hampshire State Senate where he would go on to win re-election six times and become the first Democratic Majority Leader of that body since 1912.
When he is not on the frontlines of political action, Burt is a well-respected academic and prolific political commentator. He serves on the faculty of Southern NH University and the College for Lifelong Learning, where he teaches 20th Century American History, the War in Vietnam, and most recently, American's Transformation in the 1930s. His articles have appeared in The Nation.
Daniel Czitrom is Professor of History at Mount Holyoke College, where he has taught since 1981 with a focus on recent American cultural and political history. He joined the ALBA Board in 1987 and served as its Chair from 1990-94. His latest book is Rediscovering Jacob Riis: Exposure Journalism and Photography in Turn of the Century New York (with Bonnie Yochelson, 2007). Czitrom is also the author of Media and the American Mind: From Morse to McLuhan (1982), which received the First Books Award from the American Historical Association, and has been translated into Spanish and Chinese. He is also co-author of Out of Many: A History of the American People (Pearson Prentice Hall, 6th ed., 2008), a best selling U.S. History college textbook. In 2003 Czitrom’s historical drama, Red Bessie, (co-written with playwright Jack Gilhooley), was produced at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. It is based on the letters and experiences of two Lincoln Brigade vets, the brothers Joe and Leo Gordon.
Soledad Fox is Associate Professor of
Spanish and Comparative Literature, and Chair of the Jewish Studies
Program at Williams College. She has a BA from Sarah Lawrence College,
and an MA and PhD in Comparative Literature from the Graduate Center of
the City University of New York.
Her main fields of research are peninsular literature, the Spanish Civil War women in twentieth century Spain, exile, autobiography and memory, and relations between Spain and the United States; she is also interested in comparative studies of the Holocaust and the Spanish Civil War. She is the author of Constancia de la Mora in War and Exile: International Voice of the Spanish Republic (Sussex Academic Press, 2006) and Flaubert and Don Quijote: The Influence of Cervantes on Madame Bovary (Sussex, 2008).
Peter Glazer is Associate Professor in the Department of Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. He holds a PhD in Performance Studies from Northwestern University. He is a professional director and playwright whose plays, adaptations, collaborations and directing projects include Woody Guthrie's American Song (Bay Area Drama Critics award winner at Berkeley Rep and San Jose Rep; Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle nominations Off-Broadway at Melting Pot Theater Co.; Joseph Jefferson Award winner at Northlight Theater in Chicago), O'Carolan's Farewell to Music (Delaware Theater Co.), Michael, Margaret, Pat & Kate (Marin Theater Co., Victory Gardens Theater), Heart of Spain and Foe (Northwestern University), My Fair Lady (American Musical Theater of San Jose), Unidentified Human Remains and the True Nature of Love (Industrial Strength Co. at the Magic Theater).
Jeanne HouckJeanne Houck is a historian with a PhD from New York University in American social and cultural history. She served as Executive Director of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archives from 2008-2010. She is a public historian who has worked on diverse projects in museums, oral history projects and filmmaking, serving as the executive producer for the documentary films No Job for a Woman: The Women Who Fought to Report World War II (2011) and There She is: A history of Miss America (2001), and as writer for the documentary film, The Ballad of Greenwich Village (2005 ). For the Tribeca Film Institute she has served as Project Curator for national documentary screening and discussion programs, Including From Broadway to Bluegrass: the History of American Music and Jazz: America’s Music. She is Director of Foundations at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum.
Jo Labanyi is Professor of Spanish at New York University, where she directs the King Juan Carlos I of Spain Center. A founding editor of the Journal of Spanish Cultural Studies, she has published widely on nineteenth- and twentieth-century Spanish culture. She is currently writing the volume on Spanish Literature in the Oxford University Press’s Very Short Introduction series; co-authoring a Cultural History of Modern Literatures in Spain (Polity); and co-editing a Companion to Spanish Cinema (Blackwell). She has a particular interest in the memory of the Spanish Civil War, on which she has published several articles, and in the early Franco Dictatorship.
Howard Lurie is the Associate Director for Educational Productions at WGBH Boston. For more than 20 years he has led professional development efforts for K-16 teachers featuring the use of digital media, technology and inquiry based learning. He holds degrees from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and Teachers College, Columbia University.
Julia Newman worked in advertising as a producer of television commercials for many years and as a journalist whose writings have appeared in the New York Daily News, Miami Herald, Travel and Leisure, and Metropolitan Home. Her award winning documentary, Into the Fire: American Women in the Spanish Civil War, was broadcast on Public Television and Spanish Television and is distributed in the U. S. by First Run Features. She was Executive Director of ALBA for 5 1/2 years.
Nancy Wallach is the daughter of Abraham Lincoln Brigade Veteran Hy Wallach, and active VALB board member who served in the capacities of Treasurer, Corresponding Secretary and Executive Secretary at various times. She is a retired NYC public school teacher with a background in art education and professional development and support. She has been a recipient of the NYC Schools and Culture Award, the Lincoln Center Institute's Creative Teaching Award, NYCATA/UFT's Art Educator of the Year and received many other grants in the area of arts education. She considers her participation in the 75th Anniversary Tribute to the Founding of the International Brigades in Spain to be a highlight of her activities on behalf of preserving the legacy of the Veterans of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade.Aaron Retish
Aaron Retish is Associate Professor of history at Wayne State University in Detroit where he helps coordinate Wayne State’s Abraham Lincoln Brigade Veterans Scholarship. He is the author of Russia’s Peasants in Revolution and Civil War: Citizenship, Identity, and the Creation of the Soviet State, 1914-1922 (Cambridge University Press, 2008) as well as articles on violence and peasant identity in the Revolutionary era. He is currently working on a book project that studies local courts and popular ideas of legality and justice in the early Soviet era.
Josephine Nelson Yurek
Josephine Nelson Yurek is a founding member of the Bronx National Organization for Women. Founding member of the Cinnamon Tree Day Care Center. Member of the board of directors of Lehman College Performing Arts Center for ten years. Retired as a high school administrator from the New York City public school system. Daughter of a veteran of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade, Steve Nelson.
Larry Cox Larry Cox was appointed executive director of
Amnesty International USA (AIUSA) in January 2006. A veteran human
rights advocate, he served 11 years as senior
program officer for the Ford Foundation, Human Rights unit, where he
focused on the promotion of international justice and the advancement of
domestic human rights.
In 1990, Cox became the executive director of the Rainforest Foundation, an international organization that works with indigenous peoples in the Brazilian Amazon to protect their rights. During his time at the Rainforest Foundation, Cox dedicated much of his time to the issue of demarcation of indigenous territories in Brazil.
Cox holds a B.A. in history from Mount Union College, has completed graduate work at the University of Geneva and is currently pursuing an M.A. in religion and human rights at Union Theological Seminary in New York City.
Henry Foner, president of the Joint Board, Fur, Leather and Machine Workers Union (FLM) and social activist, grew up in Brooklyn, New York. After serving in World War II, Foner was appointed Welfare and Educational Director of the FLM; in 1961, he was elected union president, and held the post for the next 27 years. Foner worked on a wide range of progressive issues, from promoting civil rights to protesting the Vietnam War. After retiring in 1988, Foner taught labor history and wrote a column for the journal Jewish Currents, among many other activities. In 2003, Foner received a Lifetime Achievement Award from Jews for Racial and Economic Justice.
Dr. Meyer Gunther
Gabriel Jackson was educated in the public schools of Mount Vernon, New York; he received his A.B. in History and Literature at Harvard College (1942), and served as a cartographer during World War II. He taught English and flute at the Putney School (1946-49) and, with the aid of a Fulbright Scholarship, received his doctorate from the University of Toulouse with a thesis on the Spanish sociologist Joaquin Costa (1952). His principal teaching posts were at Wellesley College, Knox College, and the University of California at San Diego. His principal writings (if he can be the judge of the matter) are The Spanish Republic and the Civil War (Princeton Press, 1965) and the Juan Negrin, Pysiologist, Socilats, and Spanish Republic War Leader (Sussex University Press, 2010).
Robin D.G. Kelley
Robin D.G. Kelley is a professor of history and American
studies and ethnicity at the University of Southern California. From
2003-2006, he was the William B. Ransford Professor of Cultural and
Historical Studies at Columbia University. From 1994-2003, he was a
professor of history and Africana Studies at New York University as well
the chairman of NYU's history department from 2002-2003. Robin Kelley
has also served as a Hess Scholar-in-Residence at Brooklyn College. In
the summer of 2000, Dr. Kelley was honored as a Montogomery fellow at
Dartmouth College, where he taught and mentored a class of sophomores,
as well as wrote the majority of the book, Freedom Dreams.
He has published several books focusing upon African-American history and culture as well as race relations, including Race Rebels: Culture, Politics, and the Black Working Class, and Yo' Mama's DisFunktional!: Fighting the Culture Wars in Urban America. Kelley is also a prolific essayist, having published dozens of articles in scholarly journals, anthologies, and in the popular press, including the Village Voice and the New York Times.
Judith Montell started her directing career in theater, producing and directing professional summer theaters in Buffalo, New York and Bismarck, North Dakota. From theater she moved into the world of film as a production manager for Amram Nowak Associates, a New York producer of documentary and educational films. After taking a 15-year break to raise two daughters, she began producing her own documentaries. Forever Activists: Stories from the Veterans of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade, which received an Academy Award Nomination for Best Achievement in Documentary Feature, was her first feature-length documentary. You are History, You Are Legend is a 25-minute sequel to Forever Activists, commemorating the 60th anniversary of the Spanish Civil War. Professional Revolutionary: The Life of Saul Wellman is the story of another veteran of the Spanish Civil War and is an in-depth look at one man and the ways he was impelled to make a difference in the world around him throughout his long life.
Antonio Muñoz Molina
Antonio Muñoz Molina is a Spanish writer and, since 1995, a full member of the Royal Spanish Academy. He studied art history at the University of Granada and journalism in Madrid. He began writing in the 1980s and his first published book, El Robinsón urbano, a collection of his journalistic work, was published in 1984. His columns have regularly appeared in El País and Die Welt.
Cary Nelson received a BA from Antioch College in Ohio and a PhD from the University of Rochester in New York. Since the fall of 1970 he has taught modern poetry and literary theory at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he is Jubilee Professor of Liberal Arts and Sciences and Professor of English. His campus work has included a decades-long project of building up the holdings in modern poetry and the Spanish Civil War in the library’s Rare Book and Special Collections Department. His twenty-five authored or edited books include Academic Keywords: A Devil’s Dictionary for Higher Education (1999), Revolutionary Memory: Recovering the Poetry of the American Left (2001), and Office Hours: Activism and Change in the Academy (2004). He is the author of over 100 essays, including a number published in Academe, the Chronicle of Higher Education, and Inside Higher Education.
Michael Ratner received his law degree from Columbia Law School. He is an attorney and the President of the Center for Constitutional Rights, a non-profit human rights litigation organization based in New York. He has represented Guantanamo detainees in front of the United States Supreme Court. Ratner is a past president of the National Lawyers Guild and the author of numerous books and articles including “The Trial of Donald Rumsfeld: A Prosecution by Book,” “Against War with Iraq,” and “Guantanamo: What the World Should Know,” as well as a textbook on international human rights. Ratner is the co-host of the radio show, “Law and Disorder,” and joins three other lawyers on a radio show that reports legal developments related to civil liberties, civil rights, and human rights. He currently lectures on international human rights litigation at Columbia Law School.
John Sayles is the writer and director of acclaimed independent films including Return of the Secaucus Seven, Lianna, Baby It’s You, The Brother From Another Planet, Matewan, Eight Men Out, City of Hope, Passion Fish, The Secret of Roan Inish, Lone Star, Men with Guns, Limbo, Sunshine State, Casa de los Babys, Silver City and most recently, Honeydripper. Sayles has also written novels and short stories. Among his awards: John D. MacArthur Award, Eugene V. Debs Award, John Steinbeck Award, John Cassavettes Award, Ian McLellan Hunter Award. He has been nominated twice for an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay.
Jim Skillman is a social justice activist/organizer from Atlanta, Georgia. He serves as a coordinator with the Georgia Peace and Justice Coalition, the Atlanta Jobs with Justice Organizing Committee, and as a member of the Atlanta chapter of Veterans for Peace and the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism.