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Home >>Meet our Staff>> Terry Coonan

Terry Coonan, J.D.

Executive Director

Terry Coonan graduated from the University of Notre Dame, subsequently working in Chile and Central America with torture victims and the families of the disappeared. After studying law on a human rights fellowship at the University of Cincinnati, he was selected for the Justice Department Honors Program, and served for several years advising U.S. judges on immigration and refugee law. He went on to litigate asylum and torture victim protection cases throughout the country.

He has also worked with the UN Sub Commission for Human Rights in Geneva and the UN High Commission for Refugees in Washington, D.C. Since its founding in 2000, he has served as the Executive Director of the Florida State University Center for the Advancement of Human Rights and is an Associate Professor in the FSU College of Criminology and Criminal Justice.

Professor Coonan teaches courses in Refugee & Asylum Law; Human Trafficking; and Human Rights & National Security (FSU Law School), International Human Rights and Film (FSU Film School) and International Human Rights Law (FSU College of Criminology and Criminal Justice). He continues to litigate pro bono asylum, domestic violence, and trafficking victim cases nationwide. He has also done leading work nationally on human trafficking, designing and delivering trainings for the U.S. Department of Justice, the Florida Office of the Attorney General, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the Florida Highway Patrol, and the Florida Department of Health. Professor Coonan has also done extensive work training state judges throughout the country, serving as a lead instructor for the National Judicial College. In 2013, Professor Coonan was invited to the White House to advise the Obama Administration on best practices in combating human trafficking. He writes and publishes on topics ranging from human trafficking to immigration law and transitional  justice.