RCUSA Chair: Hans Van de weerd, Vice President for u.s. programs, international rescue committee

Hans Van de Weerd is Vice President for U.S. Programs at the International Rescue Committee (IRC), which has 29 offices across the nation that support refugees and immigrants with their integration.  Before joining the IRC in 2012, Hans was a General Director for Medicines Sans Frontiers (MSF)/Doctors without Borders and member of MSF’s global Executive Committee, where his work included co- leading MSF’s global humanitarian emergency work, campaigning for access to essential medicines and directing country programs in India and Iraq.  He began his career in the humanitarian field in 2002 at ZOA Refugee Care, where he was Program Director for Afghanistan working with returned Afghan refugees from Pakistan. Hans built his leadership, management and motivational skills with a decade of experience in global finance and logistics, working for multinational companies in China and Shanghai. Currently based in New York City, he is a native of the Netherlands. He holds a Master of Science in Public Health from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and a Master of Science in European Studies from the University of Amsterdam.  

RCUSA EXECUTIVE Director: Mary Giovagnoli

Ms. Giovagnoli brings more than twenty years of experience in refugee, asylum, and immigration law and policy to her new position at RCUSA.  Most recently, she served as the Senior Director for Public Policy at NAFSA: Association of International Educators. From February 2015 to January 2017, Ms. Giovagnoli held the position of Deputy Assistant Secretary for Immigration Policy at the Department of Homeland Security. Ms. Giovagnoli began her legal career as a Department of Justice Honors Attorney with the Immigration and Naturalization Service, later joining the INS General Counsel's office as a member of the Refugee and Asylum Law Division, and, following the creation of DHS, continued to serve in that role at United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. Following several years as the Senior Adviser to the Director of Congressional Relations at USCIS, Ms. Giovagnoli was detailed to the Senate Judiciary Committee in 2007 to assist in comprehensive immigration reform efforts. Between 2008 and 20015, she worked in the non-profit sector as a Senior Director for Policy at the National Immigration Forum,  and as the Director of the Immigration Policy Center at the American Immigration Council.  


Danielle Grigsby is the Associate Director of Refugee Council USA (RCUSA).  Prior to joining RCUSA, Danielle worked as a Project Supervisor at the Resettlement Support Center-Africa in Kenya, facilitating resettlement of refugees to the USA.  Danielle also worked on Internally-Displaced Persons issues in Nigeria for the US Department of State, on coalition advocacy work for refugees across the Asia-Pacific based out of Bangkok, Thailand, as a refugee resettlement Case Manager for the International Rescue Committee, and for UNHCR-implementing partners providing protective services to Afghan and sub-Saharan African refugees in Moscow, Russia.  Danielle also served as a Peace Corps volunteer in sub-Saharan Africa before obtaining a Masters of Social Work from Boston College and completing graduate studies in Forced Migration at Oxford University, UK; she has dual-Bachelor's degrees in Political Science and History from Weber State University. 

Texas Grassroots Organizer: Gislaine Williams

Gislaine Williams is Refugee Council USA’s Grassroots Community Organizer, based in Texas. Prior to joining RCUSA, Gislaine was the Office Manager for the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project (IRP). Before joining IRP, she was a program manager for a refugee resettlement agencyin Houston, Texas, providing social services to international refugees, asylees, and victims of trafficking. She previously worked as the Statewide Advocacy Coordinator for the ACLU of Texas, leading the field organizing efforts for the organization’s criminal law reform, religious freedom, and youth rights campaigns. She has participated in a number of grassroots campaigns related to immigrants’ rights, with a special focus on ending the practice of immigration detention. She serves on the Board of Directors of Grassroots Leadership, a nationwide advocacy organization dedicated to ending for-profit incarceration and reducing the reliance on criminalization and detention. Gislaine holds a Masters of Social Work from the University of Texas at Austin and a B.A. in History from Rice University.