IJJO Interviews

Mary Ann Scali serves as the Executive Director of The Gault Center, where she works with youth defenders and advocates dedicated to promoting justice for all children by ensuring excellence in youth defense. After working as a summer law clerk for the then-National Juvenile Defender Center (now The Gault Center) in 1996, Mary Ann became the deputy director in 2000 and the executive director in 2017. The Gault Center is the only US organization dedicated exclusively to supporting, educating, and uplifting youth defenders, to ensure the liberation of all children. The Gault Center advocates for societal responses that are equitable and inclusive of the rights and interests of children and seeks to ensure that the transformation of the legal system includes the protection of the rights of children, most notably, the right to counsel.
Andrea Coomber became Chief Executive at the Howard League for Penal Reform in November 2021. She was previously Director of JUSTICE and, before that, Equality Lawyer and then Legal Director at INTERIGHTS, litigating strategic cases before regional human rights courts. She is qualified as a barrister and solicitor in Australia. She has a BA/LLB (Hons) from the University of Western Australia and an LLM (Dist.) from the London School of Economics. Since 2019, she has served as a Lay Member of the House of Lords Conduct Committee. In 2022, she was appointed Queen's Counsel (Honoris Causa) for making a major contribution to the development of the law in England and Wales.
Bragi Guðbrandsson is a Member of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child as well as the Committee’s Coordinator of the working group on emergencies that address the situation of children in Ukraine following the Russian aggression. He was the Former Director General of the Icelandic Government Agency for Child Protection (1995-2018). In addition, he is also the former Chair (2014-2016) and a member of the Council of Europe Lanzarote Committee, the monitoring body of the Lanzarote Convention. He was a member of the expert groups that drafted the Lanzarote Convention (2009) and the Council of Europe Guidelines for child friendly justice (2010) as well as number of other instruments of the Council of Europe.
Dr. Astrid Podsiadlowski is focal point and project manager on Rights of the Child and Head of Sector on Social Rights in the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA). The Agency is providing evidence-based advice to decision makers on European and national level based on quantitative and qualitative fieldwork research and secondary data analyses of policies, legislation and statistics. Her areas of expertise include child-friendly justice, child participation, child poverty, discrimination and social inequalities. She is a social and cross-cultural psychologist by training and has previously held academic research and teaching positions in Europe as well as New Zealand and the USA.
Dr. Adeela Shafi has a background in psychology and education, teaching in higher education for over 16 years. Her research draws on psychological theories to explore how to re-engage young people in conflict with the law with formal education and learning in custodial settings. Her team at the University of Gloucestershire has recently lead two European Erasmus+ projects, Re-Engaging Young Offenders with Education & Learning (RENYO) and ActiveGames4Change (AG4C) working with partners in 8 European countries with the aim of contributing to the development of policy and practice in this area. In addition, her team is currently working on another Erasmus+ project, Skills4Life, which aims to provide skills to children in conflict with the law which are useful for everyday life and can support their integration into society.