Co-Founder of the International Refugee Assistance Project
Becca Heller took a humanitarian trip to Jordan in 2008, when she was in her first year at Yale Law School. Listening to the stories of Iraqi refugees seeking asylum, it was clear that what they most needed was legal assistance.
With a handful of fellow Yale Law students, Becca founded the International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP) to provide pro-bono legal assistance and policy advocacy on behalf of Iraqi refugees seeking resettlement.
Since launching with Echoing Green’s support, IRAP staff and 3,000 volunteers have expanded to provide legal aid to refugees in the U.S. from roughly 70 countries. The organization is politically active on immigration matters and led the challenge to President Trump’s travel ban on the ground and in court. Becca is the recipient of The Charles Bronfman Prize, a Skadden Fellowship, a Gruber Human Rights Fellowship, and the Dartmouth College Martin Luther King Jr. Emerging Leader in Social Justice Award. In 2018, she received a MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship and the accompanying award of $625,000. Becca is a 2010 Echoing Green Fellow.
Photo credit: John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation