Biographical Information about Speakers,
Respondents, and Workshop Leaders


Back to Schedule
Rachel Mayanja, Special Adviser of the Secretary-General on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women at the UN is a long-serving career international civil servant with vast experience in normative, policy and operational work of the United Nations including peace-building, peace-keeping and inter-agency collaboration.
    Ms. Mayanja’s career with the UN started in the Women’s Division shortly after the first World Conference in Mexico in the midst of sensitization of the world to women’s right to equality, development and peace. As Secretary to the drafting committee of the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, she was actively involved in the establishment of this landmark legal instrument. Ms. Mayanja actively participated in peace-building and peacekeeping missions and therefore possesses an understanding of the suffering created by conflicts and the challenges facing the UN in such situations. This first hand knowledge is essential in her role as the Secretary-General’s Special Adviser, especially in the area of women, peace and security.
    Ms Mayanja, a national of Uganda, obtained law degree from Makarere University, as well as Master’s Degree in Law from the Harvard University Law School. She has three children.
Lina
Nealon
Back to Schedule
Lina Sidrys Nealon is policy specialist and trainer for Initiative for Inclusive Security, a research and advocacy organization that promotes the full participation of all stakeholders - especially women - in peace processes. She has conducted capacity-building workshops for women leaders in government and civil society around various aspects of conflict prevention, resolution, and reconstruction in conflict areas such as Palestine, Afghanistan, and Liberia . In addition to working closely with the Women Waging Peace Network of over 500 women peacebuilders from over 40 countries, Ms. Nealon focuses her efforts on United Nations advocacy work and Liberian women's engagement in security sector reform. Ms. Nealon graduated with honors from the University of Notre Dame, earning a BA in Political Science with a Concentration in International Peace Studies. Lina is an active member of the Lithuanian- American community, specifically mentoring students and engaging them on social justice issues. Along with her husband, Boston bookstore owner Brian Nealon, Lina has organized over 10,000 books to be sent to Liberia and Afghanistan. Lina is fluent in French and Lithuanian.

Back to Schedule
Mishkat Al Moumin, Women Waging Peace Network
  The former minister of the environment in the interim Iraqi government and current Futrell Visiting Scholar at the Environmental Law Institute, Mishkat Al Moumin is a well-known Iraqi lawyer, and a lecturer of human rights in the University of Baghdad’s College of Law. Since Iraq did not previously have a ministry of the environment, Dr. Al Moumin designed its entire structure. In this post, she also developed new environmental law, led campaigns to support Iraqi people living in environmentally dangerous areas, and initiated awareness and cleaning projects. Prior to joining the government, she served as the women’s issues director for the Free Iraq Foundation, where she successfully advocated for women to hold 25 percent of the seats in the new Iraqi parliament. In this role, she also conducted trainings for NGOs and women leaders. In 2004, Dr. Al Moumin worked with the International Federation of Election System as an adviser on the elections in Iraq. As a practicing member of the Iraqi Bar Association, Dr. Al Moumin represented clients in cases concerning personal status and labor. Dr. Al Moumin was a lecturer at University of Baghdad College of Law, where she lectured human rights, fundamental rights, international and constitutional law. She has participated as a speaker and facilitator at several conferences on women’s issues in Iraq. Dr. Al Moumin, a scholar at the Middle East Institute in Washington, DC, recently graduated as a Mason fellow at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, where she earned a master’s degree in public administration. She took courses related to environmental justice, gender, civil society, and human rights. Dr. Al Moumin already has a master’s degree and a PhD in public international law from the University of Baghdad. She has published articles in various Arabic newspapers on environmental developments and women’s roles in public life. She has also authored articles on international law and international justice in a number of legal journals. Finally she is the founder and director of Women and Environment Organization that operates in Iraq; and a member of the board of directors in the PATH organization, an international, nonprofit organization that creates sustainable, culturally relevant solutions, enabling communities worldwide to break longstanding cycles of poor health.

Back to Schedule
Carol Shaw Austad, Professor of Psychology at Central Connecticut State University
  Carol is very active in university and community service and in peace studies. She has been president of the local chapter of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), chair of CCSU’s Psychology Department, secretary of the University Senate, and is a member of the Board of Community Mental Health Affiliates. She was presented CCSU’s prestigious Distinguished Service Award (DSA) for 2005.
  She has conducted teach-ins in the area of Peace Studies, designed a new course titled, Peace Psychology, been personally involved in humanitarian programs, and a position on the Advisory Board of Pax Educare -- a resource center for the research, study and the teaching of peace.
  Austad is author of journal articles and books and earned a graduate degree from Stephen F. Austin State University and a Ph.D. from the University of North Texas. (adopted from: http://www.ccsu.edu/CCSUnews/Austand.htm)

Back to Schedule
Melinda Salazar, Senior Education Fellow at the Cloud Institute
is presently on sabbatical leave from teaching at a high school and for the Women’s Studies Program at the University of New Hampshire to develop curricula materials and deliver professional development services for K-12 school systems in Education for Sustainability (EfS). Her teaching and research interests include Youth Leadership and Sustainability Education, Gender and Third World Development Studies, Indigenous Studies and Peace Education. She has worked closely with colleagues and community leaders statewide, and within international NGO communities to create programs for youth and adults on topics related to diversity and cultural competencies, parenting, education for sustainability and social and economic development, service learning and environmental stewardship. Under her leadership, the Teaching Peace Conference, the Durham/Bronx Youth Coalition for Social Justice, and Race Unity/Diversity Day were launched to further the goals of peace education, race dialogues and grassroots community development. Dr. Salazar received a Masters in Education in Feminist Peace Studies and Human Development from Lesley University and a Ph.D in Natural Resources and Environmental Studies from the University of New Hampshire.

Back to Schedule
Gordie Fellman, Professor of Sociology, Brandeis University
Professor Fellman is a faculty member of Brandeis' Peace, Conflict, and Coexistence Studies. He seeks to understand how liberating social change is impeded by structures and psychological forces, and how social change is furthered by structures and psychological forces. His website is here.

Back to Schedule
Joanna Niemann facilitates NonViolent Communication groups in Connecticut and says: “Learning NVC has been the single most important skill I have come across. It wasn’t that I spoke in a violent fashion, mostly I didn’t speak at all, because my internal critic was busy saying “You shouldn’t say that!,” because I was not free of past experiences and cultural conditional, because if I disagreed with someone I believed one of us was right and the other was wrong and I was not willing to make the other person wrong by being right, because I did not know how to resolve conflicts peacefully (personal, domestic, public or international), because I did not know how to create social structures that support everyone’s needs being met, and because I was sorely lacking when it came to developing relationships based upon mutual respect, compassion, and cooperation. I am still learning, and would love to share some of this with you today.” NonViolent Communication is based on the life-long work of Marshall B. Rosenberg, Ph.D. and you may learn more about it at www.cnvc.org. Joanna is also a fiber artist. You can see some of her works here.

Back to Schedule
Maryann E. Auguste-Kožnar Maryann started her journey in the photography realm nine years ago at the Cooper Union Out-Reach Program in New York City. She not only studied the arts in the city she grew up in, but she also was influenced by her city. Maryann then went onto the Hartford Art School here in Connecticut-- one of the nine schools on the University of Hartford Campus. The Hartford Art School became the catalyst to create the art that her every thought, her every move, idea, meaning and breath wanted to see happen: a change in global thinking towards a humane society.


Back to Schedule

Marela Zacarias Marela Zacarias graduated from Kenyon College with a major in Social Movements through Art. She did her thesis on Mural Art as a Tool for Social Change and has gone on to teach mural art in Washington, DC, Mexico City and Hartford, CT. She is now an art teacher at Farmington High School.
  Marela is a recognized artist who has painted more than two dozen murals in the United States and Mexico. She has had a number of exhibitions of her artwork and was chosen as artist-in-residence for the Corcoran Gallery of Art in 2001-02 and for the Art Department at Central Connecticut State University in 2003.
  Sponsors of Marela’s artwork have included the National Endowment for the Arts, the Corcoran School of Art, the New Britain Museum of American Art, American University, the Latin American Youth Center of Washington, DC, the Charter Oak Cultural Center of Hartford, The Greater Hartford Arts Council, the Mexican Autonomous University, and the Mexican Electrical Workers Union.

Back to Schedule

Diane Weinholtz lives in Windsor and is Head of Watkinson Middle School and Chair of the PAX Educare Board. She has been involved with HIPP for the last five years working with Watkinson and Burr Schools bringing together students from different neighborhoods and schools to increase understanding and to build student leadership around peace and nonviolence.

 


Back to Schedule
Dawn Fuller-Ball works at the University of Hartford’s Center for Social Research with a home visiting program that supports 1st time mothers. She is a 7 ½ year resident of Hartford and has been a community organizer with the West End Civic Association, and A Better Way Foundation (ABWF). As Vice President of WECA she facilitated conversations around race, is a founding member of the West End Community Center and a founding member of the West End Undoing Racism Committee. Ms. Fuller-Ball is a student at the University of Hartford in the Bachelor of University Studies program where her interests include Women’s Studies and African American Studies, and works with ABWF towards the abolishment of mandatory minimums, and equal treatment for people of color.

Back to Schedule

Marcia Hughes is Assistant Director of the Center for Social Research, University of Hartford and received her Ph.D. in Human Development and Family Studies at the University of Connecticut. Her areas of interests include family and community outreach, culture and health, education reform, and child and youth development. Her professional training is in program development and evaluation, and she has been providing consultation services to state agencies, schools systems, and non profit organizations for over fifteen years.


Back to Schedule

Sharon Shepela, Professor of Psychology, Hillyer College.
  Sharon Toffey Shepela is an award-winning professor of psychology at the University of Hartford and co-author of Courageous Resistance: The Power of Ordinary People, which examines how ordinary people find the courage to stand up for justice and peace. Sharon is also trained as a Pace e Bene nonviolent living presenter and gives workshops about creating nonviolent communities. See www.couragematters.info.


Back to Schedule
Peter Oliver.   Peter is an Associate Professor of Educational Psychology and Human Development. His special Interests include personal growth and development, and teacher/counselor preparation. Peter is a full-time faculty member in the College of Education, Nursing and Health Professions, and has been teaching at the University of Hartford since 1989. He teaches psychology-oriented courses to undergraduate and graduate-level students in the areas of educational psychology, human development, and self-awareness. Peter is also licensed as a professional counselor, studies Theravada Buddhism, and practices meditation in the Vipassana (Insight) tradition.
  
He is currently planning a study-abroad program for University of Hartford students in Thailand for Summer, 2008. For fun, Peter plays guitar and is a hiking/traveling enthusiast who has climbed on Mt. Everest in Nepal, explored the rain forests of Central America, and visited the Artic Circle of Norway.

Back to Schedule
David Amdur is originally from the Boston area and has lived there most of his life. He has 16 years of experience in community organizing for peace, social and economic justice, and in solidarity with social movements in Latin America. His Latin American work includes dozens of trips to El Salvador and Mexico supporting the Boston chapter of the Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador (CISPES) or Tonantzin: the Boston Committee in Support of the Native Peoples of Mexico, a Chiapas solidarity group. From 1996 until 2000 David lived and worked in El Salvador, first as volunteer with CISPES doing human and labor rights work and helping organize an election monitoring delegation in 1997, then as the El Salvador Coordinator of US.-El Salvador Sister Cities. David coordinated their advocacy campaigns in support of economic justice and human rights for rural repopulated communities and also ran the delegation program.
   In September 2000 David moved to New York City and worked as the National Program Director of CISPES and helped develop and coordinate their "El Salvador not for Sale Campaign". In 2002 David returned to the Boston area and worked doing outreach, education, and advocacy to help stop the Free Trade Area of the Americas and Central American Free Trade Agreement. In 2003 David worked as a community organizer with the Latino community in East Boston, focusing on immigrant rights and parent organizing. David also worked as a Spanish interpreter for Salvadorans, Guatemalans, and Colombians with political asylum cases. From July, 2004 until recently David worked in the Interfaith Department at Equal Exchange, one of oldest and largest worker owner cooperative fair trade organizations in the US.
  David has worked as the Connecticut Program Coordinator of the American Friends Service Committee since July, 2006. His main focus is working on education, outreach, and advocacy to help end the war in Iraq, military counter-recruiting work, working towards the abolition of the death penalty and for reform in the criminal justice and prison system in Connecticut, and organizing and advocacy with immigrant communities.

Back to Schedule
Shaazka Beyerle is Senior Advisor at the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict in Washington, DC. She speaks, writes, and facilitates seminars on civilian-based power and strategic nonviolent action.
   She has published articles/op-eds on people power, the Middle East, foreign affairs, culture, and art in Al Hayat/Dar Al Hayat, CommonDreams.org, European Affairs, Europe Magazine, Foreign Policy, International Herald Tribune, OpenDemocracy.net, The Independent, and the Washington Times. Formerly a journalist, she covered the Middle East and Southern Africa for WorldView Magazine (National Peace Corps Association), and reviewed fiction and nonfiction books. Ms. Beyerle lived in Jerusalem from 1997-2000. While overseas, she consulted twice with the Bethlehem 2000 Project through the United Nations Development Program and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development. She was also the International Press Manager for the Jerusalem Film Festival (2000). Prior to moving to the Middle East, Ms. Beyerle was the founding Vice President of The European Institute, a leading Washington-based public-policy organization devoted to transatlantic affairs.

Back to Schedule
Cynthia Boaz is assistant professor of political science and international studies at the State University of New York at Brockport. Her areas of expertise include political development and quality of democracy, nonviolent conflict, and political communication with an emphasis on media coverage of war. Her work has appeared in numerous venues, including Peace Review: A Journal of Social Justice, Feminist Media Studies, Comparative Political Studies, and Sojourners Magazine. Boaz is an affiliated scholar at the UNESCO Chair of Philosophy MA Program in Peace, Conflict, and Development Studies in Castellon de la Plana, Spain.. She serves on the academic advisory board for the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict, and formerly volunteered as a Rochester-area coordinator for CODEPINK: Women for Peace.
   Boaz has recently been published, referenced, or interviewed by various media about strategic nonviolent conflict, especially Burma's "Saffron Revolution." These media include the BBC Radio Newshour, Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR)'s radio show "Counterspin", WHEC News 10 NBC (Rochester, NY affiliate), the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, the Toronto Star, CommonDreams.org, Truthout.org, and International Herald Tribune.

Back to Schedule
Maria Johnson worked as a reporter for 20 years in Connecticut and Rhode Island., covering a range of beats and specializing in the multi-part series. She now teaches writing at the University of Hartford’s Hillyer College.

Back to Schedule
Rev. Denise Clapsaddle is both an administrator for Interreligous Eco-Justice Network (IREJN) and acts as Pastor at Riverton Congregational Church (UCC) in Riverton, Connecticut. She has been active in a variety of peace and justice issues for over twenty years. Her work at IREJN is her first major foray into the environmental area. Prior to coming to IREJN, Denise served in an administrative capacity at The Christian Conference of Connecticut and at CrossCurrents (formerly the Association for Religion and Intellectual Life), an Interfaith organization. (adopted from http://www.irejn.org/Whoweare.htm )

Back to Schedule
Natalia Zakharova: Ms. Zakharova started to work on gender issues in 1985 with the Institute for Socio-economic Studies of the Population at the Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow. A sociologist by education and trade, she co-founded and co-directed the First Russian Gender Studies Centre in Moscow. In 1990 she joined the United Nations Division for the Advancement of Women. She was one of the team leaders responsible for the preparation of the Beijing Conference on Women, coordinated the preparation of the World Surveys on the Role of Women in Development. In 2006 she started to work in the Office of Special Adviser to the Secretary General on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women. One of her main responsibilities is working on the issues of women, peace and security at the international, regional and national levels.

Back to Schedule
Emma Bracker lives in Hartford and is in 9th grade at Watkinson. She has been involved in HIPP for 3 years and this summer went to Johannesburg, South Africa and did a HIPP work shop with a group of 30 6th grade girls with her brother, Mason who is also a HIPP facilitator.

Back to Schedule
Sage Hardesty lives in Hartford and is a sophomore at Watkinson School. He has been involved with HIPP for four years, a facilitator for three years and a Board member of PAX Educare.

Back to Schedule
Elizabeth Petrow from Granby is a sophomore at Watkinson School. She’s been involved in HIPP for four years. She thinks HIPP is a great way to spread messages of peace and hopes the program can keep growing.

Back to Schedule
Lori Reynolds lives in Bloomfield and is a freshman at Watkinson. . She been involved with HIPP for three years and helped to facilitate a workshop with her class at Watkinson. She says “HIPP is a great program where you can learn about diversity and how to resolve problems by talking to each other. “

Back to Schedule