Content Block Preview: Bios (2:00 pm) ClassAtState Pt.2: Human Rights

ClassAtState Pt.2: Human Rights

Rima Mandwee Rima Mandwee is a campaign manager covering human rights for the Bureau of Global Public Affairs (GPA) at the State Department. In that role, she focuses on driving long-term strategic messaging around racial equity, support for underserved communities, and advocating for diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility. Prior to her work as a campaign manager, Mandwee led the Media Monitoring Unit in the Research and Analytics unit of GPA. From 2017 to 2019, Mandwee served as the primary analytics advisor to White House senior advisors leading the Middle East peace plan for Israeli-Palestinian affairs, supporting the 2019 transition of the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Mandwee received her master’s degree in communication, culture and technology from Georgetown University, where she served as the first female president of the Graduate Student Government. Mandwee received her bachelor’s degree from DePaul University.



Greg Pardo is currently an international affairs officer with the Migration Working Group in the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs. Prior to this assignment, he served as a political officer in the Office of Israel and Palestinian Affairs, where he covered Israeli and Palestinian internal politics and U.S. security coordination with Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA). He was part of the administration’s efforts to reestablish U.S.-Palestinian ties and U.S. security assistance to PA security forces after a period of dormancy. Previously, he served as the public diplomacy officer for India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and the Maldives. In that role, Pardo developed a $2.1 million U.S.-India university research partnership initiative in addition to establishing exchange programs for emerging leaders from the government, civil society and media in the South Asia region focused on regional connectivity and entrepreneurship. He has served as an assistant public affairs officer at the U.S. Consulate General in Kolkata, India, a consular officer and staff assistant to the ambassador at U.S. Embassy New Delhi, and a political officer in the Office of Cuban Affairs. He served as president of the HECFAA from June 2019 to May 2021. 

Pardo is also a 2008 Charles B. Rangel International Affairs Fellow, a fellowship that allowed him to intern on Capitol Hill for the House Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific, and the Global Environment, and in the Political/Economic Section at the U.S. Embassy in Burma. Prior to joining the State Department, he served as a legislative assistant for Texas state representative Joaquin Castro and volunteered for two years in Bangladesh doing rural development. Originally from San Antonio, Pardo holds a bachelor’s degree in international relations and political science from St. Mary’s University in San Antonio and a master’s degree from the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin. He speaks Spanish, Hindi and Bengali. Pardo was named a 2019 Latino National Security & Foreign Policy Next Generation Leader and was included in the 2012 Forbes “30 Under 30 in Law & Policy.” Pardo was selected as a 2020 International Career Advancement Fellow. He returns to San Antonio regularly to encourage students to consider careers in public service.


Lidice Calero Calafell is a foreign affairs officer in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, Office of Multilateral and Global Affairs for the State Department. She is part of the Global Affairs team working, primarily, on civil society and human rights defenders' issues. During her tenure with the Department, Calero Calafell has also served for the Bureau of Consular Affairs, Bureau of Intelligence and Research and Bureau of Diplomatic Security. The Department has given Lidice the opportunity to learn new languages, serve overseas and hone in on her professional skill set. 

Calero Calafell holds a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from the University of Central Florida, a master's degree in intelligence from Michigan State University, and a juris doctor from Mitchell Hamline School of Law. Her passion for knowledge stems from the understanding that receiving an education, without having to swear allegiance to a political ideology, is one of the best privileges afforded to her by her parents' decision to immigrate. A Miami native, Calero Calafell is a first-generation Cuban American and the proud daughter of a Cuban mother who, at 15, was on the maiden voyage to freedom in April 1980 during the start of the Mariel boatlift, and a Cuban father, a political prisoner — jailed at 16 for his desire to leave the island — who was given the opportunity for freedom following the 1985 prisoner exchange agreement between the U.S. and Cuba.


Francisco Bencosme is a senior advisor for the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs at the State Department. Prior to joining the Department, he was a senior policy advisor at the Open Society Foundations covering Asia and Latin America. During his time at Amnesty International USA (AIUSA), Bencosme led a program on U.S. human rights policy and advocacy toward the Asia Pacific. Bencosme has testified before Congress and has provided media commentary on multiple outlets including The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal. In 2018, Bencosme was named one of The Hill’s Top Lobbyists for 2018 for a campaign on Rohingya issues. Before joining AIUSA, he served as a professional staff member on the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, where he assisted Democratic senators on issues related to East Asia/Pacific, South Asia and State Department/U.S. Agency for International Development oversight. Bencosme also served as the president of the Congressional Hispanic Staff Association and as a board member of the Foreign Affairs Congressional Staff Association. Bencosme is also a Truman Security Fellow, a Penn Kemble Fellow, and an International Career Advancement Program alumnus. Bencosme received his master’s degree in foreign service from Georgetown University, a graduate certificate from the United States Air Force Air University, and his bachelor’s degree from Wake Forest University.