Jai-Ayla Sutherland is an associate program officer for the Stanley Foundation in the human protection program. She started with the foundation in 2015 after graduating with her M.A. in international security from the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver. Prior to graduate school, she worked for two years on safe-water and sanitation projects at PATH in Seattle, Washington, and before that received her B.A. in international relations from the University of Southern California.
What do you do at the foundation and how long have you been here?
I started as an intern at the foundation in January 2015 and began working as a program associate in August. I work with my team and collaborators to convene important thinkers and stakeholders to discuss policy issues related to genocide and mass atrocity prevention. One of my main goals is to help ensure our discussions and outputs are meaningful, thoughtful, and make a strong contribution to the policy process.
What do you like most about your job?
I learn something new every day and work in a field that meets my interests, skill sets, and passions. I am surrounded by hard working, incredibly intelligent, and very fun people—truly an amazing group—and I am happy to have their constant positive influence. Our days are filled with thinking critically about how to make the world a better place and developing activities to pursue that agenda. I feel very lucky.
Where are you from?
I am from Casper, Wyoming, a place most people know because they drive through it on their way to Montana, Colorado, or Yellowstone National Park. Growing up I could not wait to leave Wyoming and see the world. Now that I have had a chance to do a little exploring, I have also learned to love and appreciate where I am from. Wyoming has a lot to offer, especially for people who love the outdoors. Shhh! Its beauty is our little secret.
What are your hobbies?
I am an incredible athlete, so I play any sport you can think of… Actually, that isn’t true at all. I have never been known for my athletic abilities, but I do like bike rides, walks, and pilates. I love food, which I am better at eating than cooking, but I am trying hard to improve my culinary skills. I love to bake because the end result is such a reward! On a typical Saturday morning you will find me at the dog park with my only child, a miniature Goldendoodle named Malcolm.Genocide Prevention
Genocide and mass atrocities can be prevented by promoting the acceptance of states' sovereign responsibilities to ensure basic human protection. The world must help countries meet those responsibilities and ensure an effective multilateral response when states prove unwilling to honor them, a preventive framework outlined by the United Nations' Responsibility to Protect.
Strategic Early Prevention, Capacity Building
To prevent the next mass atrocity, the Stanley Foundation engages UN officials, diplomats, and policymakers to support full implementation of the Responsibility to Protect—particularly as a preventive framework. We work to promote strategic policy approaches to pre-crisis atrocity prevention and greater international coordination in both preventing and responding to mass atrocity threats.