Liz Ševčenko was inspired to develop HAL after launching the Guantanamo Public Memory Project, an international collaboration of universities and organizations, which she coordinated from Columbia University’s Institute for the Study of Human Rights, to build a global conversation about the past, present, and future of the US naval base at Guantanamo Bay. Ševčenko was Founding Director of the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience, a network of historic sites that foster public dialogue on pressing contemporary issues. Starting in 1999 as a meeting of nine sites under the auspices of the Lower East Side Tenement Museum, she grew the Coalition into an independent organization with over 250 members in more than 40 countries.
As Coalition Director, Ševčenko worked with diverse communities to design replicable programs and practices that reflect on past struggles and inspire citizens to become involved in addressing their contemporary legacies. Prior to starting the Coalition, Ševčenko served as Vice President for Programs at the Lower East Side Tenement Museum, developing exhibits and educational activities that connect the stories of the neighborhood’s immigrants past and present. She also created national and community initiatives to inspire civic dialogue on cultural identity, labor relations, housing, welfare, immigration, and other issues raised by these stories. She has published extensively on Sites of Conscience in journals and edited volumes in a variety of fields, from human rights to cultural heritage to transitional justice. She received her BA in history from Yale University and her MA in history from New York University.