Who We Are

NGO PROOF creates exhibitions, publications, and workshops in war-torn and conflict-ridden places. Find staff, annual report, and board members.


Who We Are

PROOF uses visual storytelling and education to inspire action on human rights.

PROOF: Media for Social Justice is a non-profit organization based in New York City that uses visual storytelling and education to inspire global attitude and policy changes. It was founded in 2006 under the vision of Leora Kahn, a longtime photo editor, documentary producer, and human rights advocate, who sought to unite the skills and experiences of internationally renowned photojournalists for social good.

PROOF brings together photographers, documentarians, journalists, academics, students, and activists to create photo exhibitions, publications, and educational workshops that document social injustices and empower people to act. Our exhibits and workshops aim to engage the broader public in conversations about human rights, peace, and justice through moving firsthand testimonies and powerful photo narratives.


Leora Kahn | Executive Director

Leora Kahn is the founder and Executive Director of PROOF: Media for Social Justice. A photo editor for over 25 years, in 2006, she and a group of internationally known photojournalists decided to combine their skills and experience to make an impact in the world. PROOF was born six months later.

Leora was previously the director of photography at Workman Publishing and at Corbis. She has also worked for Time, The New York Times Magazine, Rolling StoneThe New Yorker, and US News and World Report as well as for the Ford and Annie E. Casey Foundations.  She has curated exhibitions for the Ford Foundation, ABC Television, Amnesty International, Women’s Refugee Commission, and the Holocaust Museum in Houston.

Leora’s film credits include "Rene and I," an award-winning documentary about the life of an extraordinary woman who, as a child, was experimented on by Josef Mengele during the Holocaust. She also co-produced "Original Intent," a documentary exploring the judicial philosophy promoted by Supreme Court Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas.

Leora was previously a fellow at the Genocide Studies Center at Yale University where she conducted research on rescuers and rescuing behavior. She was the Cathy Cohen Lasry Visiting Lecturer at Clark University’s Holocaust and Genocide Center. She is a recipient of The Adriane de Rothschild Fellowship for Social Entrepreneurship and is a Fulbright Senior Specialist.

Willhemina Wahlin | Creative Director

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Willhemina Wahlin has worked as a journalist, editor, copywriter and graphic designer in Australia and Japan, and has been the Creative Director of PROOF since 2009. She is a Lecturer in Graphic Design at Charles Sturt University in Australia, where she is also a doctoral candidate. Her practice-led research focuses on the design of exhibitions that deal with ‘difficult knowledge’ topics, such as genocide, gender violence and contested histories.  

Advisory Board

Jonathan Alter | Bloomberg Review     Jimmie Briggs | Man Up Campaign
Olivia Drier |
Karuna Center for Peacebuilding
Adrian Edwards | Panos Pictures
David Garrison | 
The Brytemoore Group
Alex Gibney | Jigsaw Productions
Ed Kashi | V11 Photo Agency
Ben Kiernan | Yale University
Peter Mantello |
Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University
Erik Parens | Hastings Center
Tali Nates |
Johannesburg Holocaust Centre
Mark O’Brien | Pro Bono Net
Marc Skvirsky |
Facing History and Ourselves
John Withers II | 
Former U.S. Ambassador

Staff

Leora Kahn | Executive Director
Willhemina Wahlin | Creative Director
Laura Trainor | Associate Director

Abby MacPhail |
Human Rights Educator
Andrew Lichtenstein | 
Photography Teacher         Cinthya Santos-Briones| 
Photography Teacher   Mansura Khanam | 
Photography Teacher       
Beatriz Arango |
Photography Associate Tara Ruff | Digital Content Associate


Board of Directors

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Dean Foster | Chair

For over two decades, Dean Foster, President, DFA Intercultural Global Solutions (a Dwellworks company), has been involved in researching, writing about, and consulting on the nature of culture and its role in society, work and politics in a globalizing world. As founder and former Worldwide Director of Berlitz Cross-Cultural, as well as the current founder and President of his own company based in NYC, Dean has played a central role in the development of the field of cross-cultural training and consulting. Dean works with most major Fortune 500 companies, national governments and NGOs (the United Nations and World Trade Institutes, among others), and as guest lecturer and faculty for a variety of premier educational institutions, such as the Harvard Business School, Columbia University School of Business, NYU, Darden Business School, and others. His work has taken him to over 95 countries. He is the CNN host of the nationwide “Doing Business in…” series, a frequent guest commentator on culture, global work and social issues for CNN, CNBC, the BBC and other radio and TV shows, and has been interviewed in Newsweek, USA Today, the New York Times, and elsewhere.

Dean has written many articles, as well as the book, Bargaining Across Borders, published by McGraw-Hill and voted as one of the top ten business books of the year in 1994 by the American Library Association. Dean is on the faculty of the American University, Intercultural Management Institute, Washington, DC, and he received his Master’s degree in Sociology from the Graduate Faculty of the New School for Social Research, NYC. He was inducted into the Worldwide Employee Relocation Council Hall of Fame in 2013, and received the Forum for Expatriate Management’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2014.

Fran

Fran Kaufman | Vice Chair

A lifelong New Yorker, Fran Kaufman was a partner in Rosenberg + Kaufman Fine Art for 17 years, a contemporary gallery known for its commitment to an international roster of artists and a dedicated center for dialogue between visual art, literature, criticism and music. After closing the gallery in 2006, she went on to run palmbeach3 contemporary art fair for three seasons while maintaining her active practice as an art advisor to private and corporate collections.

She has curated numerous projects in the US, Italy and Germany, including Lucio Boschi: Una Argentina, the first solo photography exhibition at the Museo de Bellas Artes in Buenos Aires and To Photograph a Stranger, a traveling exhibition which will open in Italy in June 2019. In 2011 she envisioned and directed the premier international Houston Fine Art Fair, remaining as a consultant for its second year. She is a partner in Kaufman Vardy Projects, an international consultancy based in New York and Miami, focused on strategic marketing and curatorial practice as well as advising private and corporate clients on the acquisition and sale of artwork. Fran is a regular lecturer and panelist on art market issues, and frequently writes about art. 


 
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Eli Rubenstein | Treasurer

Elie Rubinstein is native of Belarus and a graduate of Belorussian Polytechnic Institute and received his Master’s degree in Management from Brandeis University. Elie has worked in non-profit organizations almost for most of his professional life.  Elie served as the Executive Director of The Blue Card, a national non-profit organization that is the only agency in the United States that provides cash assistance to needy victims of Nazi persecution in the United States. In 2013, Elie currently serves as the Executive Director of Emergency USA – an international non-profit organization that provides free medical care to the victims of war and poverty. In his spare time, Elie likes to play chess and run marathons.

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Crystal Parham

Crystal Parham is a highly skilled trial attorney in the field of criminal law.  Raised in Belgium, Crystal spent much of her life traveling the world and has visited over 40 countries to date.  Crystal has worked in the European media market for France 3, TV Brussels and BRTN Television. In New York, Crystal produced documentaries for the United Methodist Church, specifically dealing with social justice issues facing Africa, South America, Eastern Europe, and India.  Currently,  she works as a Criminal Defense Attorney in New York City.  She also has significant experience in Legal Guardianship Proceedings.   

Crystal is a graduate of Cardozo School of Law and Bennington College. In her spare time,  she speaks to New Yorkers about the Criminal Justice system.  Additionally, Crystal has also authored two books.

 
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Corey Andrew

Corey Andrew’s career as a media personality began on the stages of New York City’s most famous comedy clubs, among them; Boston Comedy Club, Gotham, Catch a Rising Star and Caroline’s on Broadway. As an all around performer, Corey is also a vocalist and songwriter. Using his singing voice often in his comedy routines, it wasn’t long before he caught the attention of theater producers who encouraged him to audition for Broadway musicals.
To date, Corey has a robust catalog of co-written songs and commercial releases on Sony Music Canada, EMI Records, Universal, Armada Music, and more. With a passion for marketing and advertising

As one of today most active micro social media influencers, Corey has worked with top brands including Rayban, Lumee Smartphone Case, and food giant General Mills, who featured Corey in a digital media campaign for “Honey Nut Cheerios”.  Recent television acting appearances include “In Pursuit with John Walsh” (ID Channel) and “Mysteries at The Museum” (The Travel Channel)In 2019 Corey Andrew expanded his media presence to new heights, lending his voice and perspective to national causes, people issues and politics. As an out spoken pop culture commentator, he currently hosts his own Facebook Live video blog called “Core Issues” and is a contributing writer at Instinct Magazine - one of the leading LGBTQ pop culture and lifestyle publications in the US.

 
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Melissa Marr

Prior to partnering with Gary Lichtenstein, Melissa was the chief operating officer of Global Media Services, the innovative digital media force behind, among others, MTV’s iCarly website, the FOX Sports Big Ten Network, the Domino Magazine Deco File, Speed TV’s multi-camera
racing platform and the Spirits Marque One SVEDKA_Grl online advertising campaign.
Melissa was the co-founder of Elevation Filmworks, LLC, an independent feature film production company that produced a number of films including Rebecca Miller’s The Ballad of Jack & Rose (Daniel Day-Lewis, Catherine Keener, Beau Bridges – an IFC Films release). She was also the co-founder of Blue Magic Pictures, LLC, the indie production house behind Rebecca Miller’s Personal Velocity (Kyra Sedgwick, Parker Posey, Fairuza Balk – a United Artists release) and John Sayles’s Casa de los Babys (Maggie Gyllenhaal, Daryl Hannah, Marcia Gay Harden – an IFC Films release).

As the director of streaming media communications at Digital Island, Inc., Melissa supervised the deployment of media services production centers in Tokyo and Los Angeles and produced behind-the-scenes live webcasts for The Hollywood Stock Exchange at the Academy Awards and the News Corp “Gatecrashers” at the Billboard Music Awards. She was underground with MTV’s Bunker Participants during the Millennium and on stage with David Bowie at The Kit Kat Club in New York City. Other clients included SFX Entertainment and Clear Channel Communications.


If I did not do good things, perhaps there is no today for me.
— Huy Sarin, rescuer, Cambodia