CIANA Spotlight: Interview with Donor Judge Charles Brower

CIANA donor, the Honorable Charles Brower, donates to CIANA because he trusts the organization, but also to do something in the face of the international refugee crisis, December 2018. Photo courtesy of the Honorable Charles Brower

The Honorable Charles Brower has been a CIANA donor since 2017. The international judge shares with CIANA communications intern, Nika Vetkso how he came to know about CIANA and why an organization like CIANA is vital to its community.

Nika Vetsko: How did you first come across CIANA?

Charles Brower: Emira is the sister of Armond Habiby, and we were lawyers together at the firm of White & Case, LLP. We became friends and I helped him at the firm’s request in a legal matter. I was introduced somewhere along the way to what Emira was doing.

Recently I have become excited about the refugee situation in the United States and the kind of work that CIANA does, so I made a contribution to CIANA.

NV: What sets CIANA apart from other organizations for you?

CB: I trust Emira, the Executive Director and Founder. From what I’ve seen in the recent testimonials of some of your volunteers, it’s obviously been effective. It’s spread out in serving people from different cultural and geographical origins who come into the country and need help bridging the gaps between where they came from, what they came with, and what they’re coming into.

NV: Why is CIANA important to the community?

CB: Obviously the organization began in a very small way and has grown to quite a substantial thing, so you’re dealing with people who have already crossed the border and are in the country and need help on this and that’s very important. And you know, it’s a community-based organization, and we need those.

I’m impressed with what I have learned by reading the various things I see about CIANA. It is a community-based organization and so people are dealing with the local community. I’m sure people in the local community benefit not just from the direct handling of CIANA but my guess is, even though they’re from different cultures, through CIANA the community gets to know each other and multiply the effects of what CIANA does.

NV: Do you have a personal connection to the work?

CB: My parents both descended from families that were in the US at the time of the American revolution so in that respect, I don’t have any immediate immigrant links. On the other hand I’ve been married twice to immigrants from Germany and Chile, my son was married for a long time to an immigrant from Russia.

I’m an international judge in The Hague, in the Netherlands, and I’ve been on the Iran-United States Claims Tribunal since 1983. Now I’m sitting also in three cases as Judge ad hoc at the International Court of Justice, the United Nations’ judicial branch. I have law clerks some of whom, well they’re from all sorts of countries, all descriptions, students, foreign students who come to the US, and I know a lot of people in this country who are essentially the children of families from other countries. I’ve been traveling around the world since I was 18 so I have a keen sense of the importance of the US for many people who come here and contribute a great deal.


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