Suchith Abeyewickreme is a Sri Lankan passionate about peace-building, ethics education, youth leadership, social healing, reconciliation, development and advocacy. He currently works as an International Trainer for Arigatou International’s Geneva offices’s interfaith and intercultural ethics education program – Learning to Live Together. Locally in Sri Lanka, Suchith serves as a Board Member of the Walpola Rahula Institute for Buddhist Studies and is a co-spokesperson for ‘Rally for Unity – Hate has no place in Sri Lanka’ - an initiative countering hate speech and violence. He was a United Religions Initiatives (URI) Global Youth Ambassador for 2011 and a Fellow of the US Department of State’s Community Solution Programme in 2013. Suchith also has over 3 years of community development experience working with Sarvodaya (Buddhist-Gandhian development organization) and 7 years of international leadership experiences with AIESEC. Suchith is currently pursuing a Post Graduate Diploma in Conflict and Peace Studies at the University of Colombo.
Ramy Boulos is from Egypt. He is an Egyptian Chief Program Manager in Koz Kazah Foundation. He studied his Master’s degree in Fundamentals and Perspectives of a Culture of Unity with Specialization in Political Studies. He graduated last year from Sophia University Institute in Florence, Italy. Ramy not only participated in the Egyptian Revolution but he also dreamt of it before its inception. He started working for Ana Masry Band, or “I’m Egyptian” Band, since he was still a student in his third year of the Faculty Systems and Biomedical Engineering in Cairo. Ramy worked as a biomedical engineer for his first year after his graduation. He feels his passion is for something more. He decided later to shift his career for the social development in his home country as well as for human rights. He made use of social-media to access his next step as a Social-Media Coordinator for The Egyptian Center for Women’s Rights.
Scott Darby is from the UK and he has an interest in restoring degraded landscapes in a manner that sustainably increases food production while enhancing biodiversity. This builds a more resilient ecosystem and results in increased food security at this time of unpredictable climate change. He holds two MSc degrees in Arid Land Studies from Texas Tech University and the University of Sheffield, respectively. He also has a BSc in Environmental Science from the University of Wales, Bangor. Recently he was an editor of the textbook, Land Restoration: Reclaiming Landscapes for a Sustainable Future, (Helgeson et al, Academic Press 2015). His expertise lay firstly, in determining what the native climax community for an arid landscape should be. Secondly, it resides in deciding how best to restore that landscape back to its full potential or how to work with the present climate conditions to produce a food production system that is diverse and multi-layered (secure). This can be particularly difficult in severely degraded landscapes, such as Somalia where he worked in 2015. There, for instance, in the face of opposition, Scott insisted that the land should be lush grassland instead of barren shrub. This assessment was eventually confirmed after accessing local historical sources. Arid Lands often tend to be volatile and conflict prone areas; it is in these areas that Scott hopes to use the skills that he has learnt on the Caux Scholar Program to manage and transform any conflicts that may arise during the extended period of time that it can take to restore degraded landscapes.
Ahmed Ekzayez is from Syria but lives in Turkey. His background is in agricultural sciences - International Center for Agriculture Research in the Dry Area (ICARDA). His specialty work is in food security and climate change. Ahmed was a Livelihood manager in Shafak organization (NGO) which was an implementation partner for several INGOs and UN agencies in Syria (FAO, UNHCR, OCHA, Save the Children, IRC, GIZ, CARE). He has extensive networking connections with local and international NGOS and non-profit organizations in Turkey. Currently, Ahmed is a Research Assistant for plant virology in the ICARDA (in Syria and Tunisia). He finished his MSc thesis in which he conducted research on wheat dwarf virus distribution and characterization in Syria, Turkey and Lebanon (2008-2011). The thesis focused on a survey, which covered the major cereal-production areas of Syria, Turkey and Lebanon.
Zainab Feroz is from Pakistan. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Social Sciences, and majored in Economics. During her studies, she worked on a project with the British Council, and has also been on the Steering Committee of a project undertaken by the Commonwealth. Developmental work is what she has always craved for, and it is due to this, she has also worked with home-based workers in Pakistan. Right after her graduation, she went to work in Northern Ireland in a Peace and Reconciliation Center. During her year in Northern Ireland, she learned a lot about community living. She opened her eyes to a new culture and custom where people came from all sorts of faiths and backgrounds, thus expanding her horizons. Living in a beautiful town, right at the Atlantic Ocean, she woke up to beautiful scenery of hills and islands. She wants to work across oceans and make a positive change in the lives of other people. Being brought up in a liberal conservative Muslim family, it has been a blessing to achieve things that she had a passion for.
Ehsan Fteyih is from Syria. He has nine years of experience with the UNHCR Agency. Ehsan earned a BA and graduate degree in Agricultural Engineering from Aleppo University. Ehsan volunteered with UN volunteers program in Syria in March 2007 to contribute to humanitarian development through working with UNHCR to assisting Iraqi refugees in Syria. Ehsan has worked as Community Service Assistant and as a Registration Case Worker with UNHCR in Syria for providing humanitarian assistance and international protection to refugees, asylum seekers and internally displaced people. Ehsan has helped in registering +17580 Iraqi and non-Iraqi refugees and asylum seekers, provide them with legal advice and counseling, identifying vulnerable cases and addressing their needs. Ehsan helped in conducting needs assessment to refugees and internally displaced people via conducting home visits and participatory assessments for the community. Ehsan participated in an emergency mission in Tunisia to assist and protect rights of refugees, who fled to Tunisia, Shousha Camp during the Libyan crisis.
Akop Gabrielyan is from Armenia. He has a Masters of Political Science from Central European University in Hungary. He is currently pursuing his PhD at Russian-Armenian University Yerevan, Armenia and is expected to graduate in 2017. He won the international AGBU (Armenian General Benevolent Union) Scholarship for excellence in studies; has a number of scientific publications; his major interests are political economy of developing states, conflict transformation in the South Caucasus; political philosophy. Akop co-founded CONSENSUS, an NGO organization that seeks to create, develop and maintain international platform for cross-cultural, ethnic dialogue among the young specialists from a number of fields (from math to economics and IR). They are organizing the first ever regional Model-conference of security, engaging young specialists from the given field, trying to see the perspectives of international organizations like OSCE, or CSTO in his region, their role, positions and interests. Since 2012, Akop serves as an Officer at South Caucasus Railway. In addition, he is also an Intelligence analyst at Noravank Foundation Centre for Strategic Researches and Innovation. In October 2015, Akop participated in the Final of All-Russian Competition "Young Analyst 2015". Among 20 finalists he achieved second place, becoming laureate of the Competition, and was awarded the opportunity to study for free at a chosen program in the Institute for Economic Strategies in Moscow. Akop’s article, "Development, Globalization and the Dependency Theory in South Caucasia" was published in World Affairs - the Journal of World Economic and Strategic Studies. Together with his counterparts, he began developing an online platform aimed at raising investments and crowdfunding from all over the world. It is called InvesTutor.
Milica Garic was born in Bosnia Herzegovina but lives in Switzerland. Milica is a psychology student. She is interested in multicultural environments and diversity. She has been a member of the student association AIESEC (Association Internationale des Étudiants en Sciences Économiques et Commerciales) for 3 years; Milica's work was focused on providing international experiences for young people (internships and volunteering all around the world). In 2012, she volunteered in India, working with children affected by cancer. She wants to work in cross-cultural mediation and conflict resolution; her goal is to help immigrants and/or refugees in the process of cultural integration and resilience. Milica graduated from the university of Fribourg, Switzerland (Bachelor of Science in Psychology), and she is completing her Master's degree at the University of Geneva (Master's in Psychology).
Martin Healey is an aspiring International Relations professional with a German/British background. After recently completing his IR Bachelor’s degree, he is currently evaluating which Master’s degree to pursue. Martin has lived in Germany, the United States and Belgium and has a passion for language learning and travelling the world. He has a particular interest for the Middle East and is always working on improving his Arabic. While studying in the US, with a DAAD scholarship, he worked as Manager of the BEYOND Initiative, increasing awareness and facilitating dialogue about Diversity. Martin has been a volunteer for IofC since he was 14 and is currently part of the Caux Winter Gathering Planning Team.
Ielyzaveta (Lisa) Iasko is from Ukraine. Despite coming from a family of musician and ballet performers, since her early years, Lisa decided to study Politics in order to learn how to make a change in Ukraine. During her time at university, she volunteered for social projects, did an internship in the Ukrainian parliament, won numerous academic and leadership contests and was a scholar of prestigious scholarship schemes. She now works in Ukrainian Crisis Media Center, where she helps fight against propaganda and develops art initiatives at the Presidential Administration and works on cultural policy proposals. Lisa founded her own social startup Kyiv Music Labs (www.kyivmusiclabs.com). She has a great passion for music and theatre. Lisa believes the biggest problems in Ukraine are distrust which comes from non-effective communication on the governmental and community levels and the absence of cultural strategy and policies. Lisa dreams about a happy non-conflict future of Ukraine and is aware of her personal responsibility for it.
Amos Izerimana is from Burundi but lives in the USA. He is a junior at Berea College, studying peace and Social Justice. He was born in Burundi during a civil war and as a result became a refugee until he came to the United States May of 2007. He learned English in the U.S. and went on to graduate from high school as a valedictorian. His experience as a refugee child inspired him to seek change for the lifestyles of refugee children, thus why he is studying Peace and social Justice. He is an interpreter for newcomer Kirundi- speaking families in medical and legal matters. As a Researcher and Project Assistant with Innovations in Peacemaking International (IPI) in 2014, he participated in a book titled “In the Line of Fire: Raising Kids in a Violent World.” In addition, he wrote a grant proposal for an upcoming project titled “Voiceless Victims.”
Didace Kamana is from Rwanda but living in the United States. Didace Kamana is a Rwandan Catholic Priest. Currently, he is a MA student in Ethics, Peace and Global Affairs at the American University, School of International Service after completing a MA in Theology at Catholic Theological Union( Chicago), focusing on peace studies. He holds a BA in theology from Urban Pontifical University, Holy See. As a Rwandan who witnessed the genocide and as a priest living in post-Genocide Rwanda, peace is not an idea but a beautiful reality that both his church and country desire. Father Kamana sees his vocation of priesthood and peacebuilding like that of the proverbial builder of bridges, bridges bringing people from different sides together to co-operate where separation has sewn conflict and division. Caux Scholar Program will provide Didace a poignant life experience that will continue to bring children, women and men together with one another on a pathway of peace and reconciliation in Rwanda and in Africa.
Reuben J.B. Lewis is from Sierra Leone. He is pursuing his graduate degree at Hiroshima University, Japan. Before graduate school, he worked for West Africa Network for Peace Building and the ECOWAS Commission on early warning and conflict prevention, and supporting various peace-building initiatives, and a consultant for Sierra Leone on a risk assessment study respectively. In Japan, he is engaged with Hiroshima Peace Builders Centre’s Program for Peace building as well as designing a Peace education program for Hiroshima with LbE Japan (Global Human Resource Development Solutions). He served in various organizational structures as the president of the Society for Peace and Conflict Resolution at Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone. Currently, he is the president of the African Student Forum and was nominated by the President of Hiroshima University to be the first president of the All International Student Association.
Zeina Mohanna is from Lebanon. She is a specialist in Human Rights. She has been active in the humanitarian developmental field for more than ten years. She is also pursuing her PhD in Human Rights, Citizenship and building a state with the case of Lebanon. Her long experience with Amel Association International, a leading NGO, ranged from Human Rights programming, impacting Public Policy, Emergency Preparedness and Response, and other fields. She also worked on the strategy planning of the institution. Her professional experience includes being a Program Associate with United Nations Population Fund following 2006 War on Lebanon, a Faculty Member in the Faculty of Health Sciences at the American University of Beirut, and a Consultant to the United Nations Office of the High Commissionaire of Human Rights which brought her insight about the performance of NGOs, international organizations, public policy with the governmental organizations and the academic sector.
Mercy Muchemi has directly experienced the effects of the post-election violence on human life and property. Mercy hails from the western part of Kenya that was rocked with violence after the 2007 elections. She has a degree in Bachelor of Arts (B.A), in International Relations from the United States International University-Africa. She is also an accomplished Program Coordinator and Volunteer Manager. Mercy has an extensive experience working with minority groups especially women and children. She is currently the Volunteer Infrastructure Program Coordinator (AmeriCorps VIP Fellow) at Team Kids, in Irvine California, a position she has held since September 2015. She is also a Program Support Coordinator at Sam’s Children of Hope Foundation, Tustin, California. Her duties and responsibilities included assisting volunteer develop fundraising ideas and tools. She is also in charge of material management, correspondence as well as monitoring and evaluation. Between May 2012- July 2012, Mercy worked with Mama Fauzia Children's Home in Kasarani, Kenya as Program Support Coordinator where she was tasked with overseeing the smooth operations of the children’s home by creating new administration policies and providing psychological support to the orphaned children.
Srijana Nepal is from Nepal. She is a Project Coordinator at Nepal Peacebuilding Initiative (NPI), an independent organization which works on peacebuilding and humanitarian issues within Nepal. She is responsible for coordinating some interesting but challenging projects. Prior to this, she worked with Informal Sector Service Center (INSEC), one of the leading human rights organizations in Nepal, where her work was mainly based on human rights promotion and armed violence reduction. She has the experience of working with grassroots level stakeholders, as well as the national government. She was also field coordinator for a study on Communicating with disaster-affected communities (CwC) for the CDAC Network working in Nepal. In 2014, she worked for a year as a Fredskorpset (FK) Norway fellow in a Bangkok based organization, Thai Volunteer Service Foundation. She was responsible for working with young people in the issues related with human rights, peace and conflict in Southern Thailand. She frequently travels to the conflict affected communities in Terai regions and provide training to the young people on conflict transformation, peace building and transitional justice issues. Her work allows her to engage with people from affected communities (especially those from ethnic minorities) and to provide a space in which to discuss the issues that matter to them, assessing and diffusing their grievances to promote peace in the communities. Furthermore, she is coordinating field work of the quake affected districts and seeking to fill a knowledge gap from the perspectives of affected communities. She is also working with rural women on equal opportunities for them through economic empowerment activities.
Barbara Olivieira (PhD, MBA, LLM) is from Brazil. She is an expert in multi-stakeholder negotiations and complex problem solving involving internal and external organization environments. She founded the Collab - the Laboratory of Collaboration and Social Innovation, a social business whose purpose is to foster a culture of facilitation and participatory processes in public policy decision making in Brazil. She is also the founder of Ecosynergy – Facilitation and Capacity Building for Sustainability, a consultancy that for the last 8 years has assisted and coached companies and organisations in their development of a strategic sustainability agenda, change management, collaborative innovation and social investment in Brazil and abroad, using consensus building, collaborative decision making and interest based mediation and negotiation as a foundation of its work. Barbara is a member of the Art of Hosting, the CBI Global Network and the HUB (network of social innovators). Barbara is an Associate Professor at Fundação Dom Cabral Business School (Center for Responsible Leadership).
Kathryn Pentz is from the USA. She is an honors student at Florida State University working towards a double major in International Affairs and Russian and Eastern European Studies. She competes with the World Affairs Program in international Model United Nations Conferences and serves as the Program's Assistant Director of Outreach and Head Delegate of the traveling team. Kathryn is a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority, where she serves on the Academic Committee. She works in the Florida Capitol developing an appreciation for the impact of state legislation. Because of her passion for public service leadership, Kathryn has been nominated by FSU for the national Truman Scholarship. Last summer she interned for an anti-human trafficking organization in Central America, Rahab Foundation, which provides the community with prevention and intervention programs to fight against human trafficking. These experiences have culminated in a passion for human rights and a desire to study international law after graduation.
Muhammad Dawood Sheikh is from Pakistan. He is a Lahore-based social entrepreneur and youth activist. He earned his Masters degree in Political Science from the University of Punjab. Recognizing that Pakistan needs a skilled and trained labor force for sustainable peace and development in the region, Muhammad established Young Development Trust in 2008. This organization aims to decrease unemployment, radicalization, and terrorism through education, with a primary focus on vocational skills. Dawood‘s dream to build a modern vocational university in Pakistan is already underway in Gujranwala, a town located at the crossroads of several industrial zones with an increasing unemployed youth population. This university will not only equip youth with vocational skills but also educate them about peace, human rights, and democracy. Dawood is also working on conflict resolution as he is supporting “Wana Youth Movement” in their peace projects, which aim to eradicate misconceptions in the minds of youth from South Waziristan about Punjab. Wana is the largest town of South Waziristan. The town's most violent incident in the War on Terror was the Battle of Wana which took place in March 2004 and included fighters from the Pakistani Army against Al-Qaeda and Taliban forces. He was selected for the “Takeda Young Entrepreneurship Award 2015” of Japan as the first Pakistani to receive this prestigious award. Additionally, Dawood was awarded the prestigious fellowship, “Emerging Leaders of Pakistan” in 2014 by the Atlantic Council and the US State Department. This allowed him to visit various US states and state institutions over a 3 week period. Furthemore, he worked with BARGAD (Leading Youth organization) on a project titled “Umeed Jawan” (Young Hope) funded by USAID to counter violent extremism. In October 2015, Dawood was invited by PUAN (USAID) and the USA Embassy to share his thoughts at an International Peace Conference.
Indee Thotawattage was born in Sri Lanka but lives in Qatar. She graduated from Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in Qatar in May 2014, where she majored in Culture & Politics. Soon after graduation, she joined their Office of Student Development where she oversees several co-curricular programs including new student orientation, first year retreats, leadership trainings and service learning initiatives. Prior to Georgetown, Indee was involved in Sri Lankan civil society, serving as Project Coordinator for a U.S. Department of State funded legal aid initiative offering assistance to internally displaced persons in the north of Sri Lanka. Indee believes in the power of education to improve the quality of life for both individuals and wider society. She is passionate about creating vibrant learning communities for people to come together to appreciate their life journeys.
Ricardo Velázquez is from Mexico. After high school he did voluntary service at the National Star College in England, a centre for disabled young people. Ricardo holds a BA in Psychology from Escuela Libre de Psicología in Puebla, Mexico and a M.A. in Intercultural Conflict Management from Alice Salomon University in Berlin, Germany. He served as Delegate and State Secretary of the left-wing party MORENA and has worked as a Psychologist at Secretary of Education of Veracruz since 2010. In addition, he was the Spokesman for the Magisterial Popular Movement of Veracruz and represented the movement in negotiation with the government. In Germany, he continued being a committed activist and forms part of several organizations. After the disappearance of 43 students in Mexico he co-founded the organization Colectivo 43. They organize different activities to raise awareness on this case and others. Ricardo uses his networks to make social movements visible and leverage their spheres of influence by connecting different stakeholders. He promotes social movements and their cause in the academic and governmental field, but also on several international radio and television programs. E.g.: Interview on 43 students, Interview on protests in Mexico, Melton Share, Discussion round on Journalism in Mexico, Documentary produced by Colectivo 43.