Who we are


Elizabeth Norville is the founder of Three Chairs for Refugees, a digital arts enterprise that represents a new twist on her professional background as an educator.  Born and raised in the analog era, Liz researched, published, and taught in the field of international political economy for over fifteen years. She’s held teaching posts at the University of California-Berkeley, Lewis & Clark College, and the University of Puget Sound.  


 A five year employment stint at a start-up internet company provided a good vehicle for joining the digital age, and ignited her interest in utilizing new media strategies to foster educational and civic engagement goals. 

Liz is pleased to have found in personal multimedia narrative, an effective way to meld together her affection for the arts of verbal and visual communications, her abiding interest in international relations, and her commitment to work that brings greater social justice and personal well-being to  relatively less privileged pockets of our society.  Liz earned a BA in English Literature from Whitman College, and a PhD in Political Science from the University of California-Berkeley.


Close collaboration with a variety of nonprofit and educational organizations has sustained Three Chairs for Refugees from the beginning. We look forward to deepening ties with existing partners, as well as developing new organizational ties in the community.  Our partners have included: 

  • Center for Digital Storytelling 
  • International Rescue Committee 
  • Coalition for Refugees from Burma
  • World Affairs Council
  • University of Washington, Center for Global Studies
  • University of Washington-Bothell
  • KCTS9 - PBS Station
  • East African Community Services
  • Kent School District
  • Qatar Foundation International

Finding the fuel to keep this community arts initiative afloat is an ongoing challenge. We would especially like to acknowledge the generosity of the family and friends who supported the launch of the refugee youth digital storytelling project in 2010. Besides the familial circle, our "Founding Funders" include:

  • The Adobe Foundation
  • Leslie Fund
  • Peter Miller and Jean Johnson
  • Roberts Family Charities
  • UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)