FOR National Council
Malik Nadeem Abid
Malik Nadeem Abid is a community advocate and human rights activist who works especially with immigrant and minority communities in New York State. His work in the non-profit and health care sectors for the past 15 years has focused on the needs of disenfranchised populations, with particular concern for on health education, civic rights, legal concerns, and community empowerment.
Originally from Kashmir, Malik organizes peace conferences and other educational programs at the United Nations and throughout the United States to represent the needs and concerns of the Kashmiri people. He was appointed by Nassau County in June 2011 as a county commissioner for human rights, and serves as New York chapter president of American Muslim Voice, a national faith-based affiliate of FOR. He lives in Valley Stream, Long Island, with his wife and daughter.
Shaina Adams-El Guabli
Shaina first connected with FOR in 2005 through an Interfaith Peace-Builders delegation, and previously served as a National Council member from 2006-2009. Drawing on her extensive international service — from rural Morocco to Israel, Palestine, and Jordan, and on to aboriginal communities in Australia — she is passionate about global and intercultural education and the ways in which we can leverage learning spaces toward the greater good.
Shaina currently works as associate director of the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate Student Center, implementing programs, trainings, and workshops. Since 2009 she has served on the university’s Intercultural Leadership Program coordinating team, designing and implementing curriculum. She has previously worked at the Penn Women’s Center, Penn Abroad, and as an AmeriCorps volunteer with Project SHINE, a service-learning organization that supports older immigrants.
Shaina received her B.A. in sociology and religion from Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas, and her M.S.Ed. in intercultural communication from Penn’s Graduate School of Education. Through her studies, Shaina focused on discourse and communication across and within diverse communities, and is particularly interested in the intersections of identity and community-building. Originally from the Gulf Coast of Texas, Shaina now resides in Philadelphia where she is involved in several local organizations, including Christian-Jewish Allies and Philadelphia Jews for a Just Peace.
Chicago, IL (Catholic Peace Fellowship). Full bio to come.
Isaac Beachy (Vice Chair)
Isaac Beachy, originally from Harrisonburg, Virginia, has been an activist since he first traveled to Colombia in 2002. He now lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and has also lived in Jamaica, Northern Ireland, Cambodia, and El Salvador.
Isaac has organized around Latin American issues in the United States including labor rights, immigration, military funding, and trade agreements. In 2008, he graduated from Goshen College with a bachelors degree in peace, justice, and conflict studies, and soon after left to Colombia on a two-and-a-half year term as a part of FOR’s human rights accompaniment team.
Will Bontrager is founder of Partners in Restorative Initiatives, a non-governmental organization based in Rochester, New York. He has worked in the areas of agriculture and community development for almost a half-century, starting in the mid-1960s in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where he did his alternative service to the Vietnam war. From 1969-71, Will worked in the Biafra region of Nigeria, and for the next 25 years he ran a dairy farm in upstate New York.
Rooted in his faith as a Mennonite/Quaker, throughout the 1980s Will assisted Latin American refugees fleeing political violence in their home countries, who were headed to Canada. In the late 1990s he pursued graduate studies at Eastern Mennonite University, earning a masters in restorative justice and conflict transformation. His efforts as an FOR National Council member have been particularly focused on the impact of U.S. militarism in Latin America.
Andrea Briggs (past chair, 2010-2013) is a Midwestern transplant to California, where she has grown over 32 years from diffidence and compliance to the embrace of wildfires, earthquakes, and mountain lions. Her peace work focuses on the interpersonal reconciliation that can result from compassion, presence, and radical love of the other, through teaching, modeling, writing, challenging, and mentoring.
Andrea retired from the position of ombudsman at the University of California, and now pursues ministry in the Episcopal Church, and perhaps ordination. Her spouse and grown children wonder what will come next.
Laurie Childers is an artist, ceramics instructor, and singer/songwriter in Corvallis, Oregon. In the 1980s, she worked around the world with artisans building fuel-efficient cookstoves and learned much about the effect of policies upon the lives of real people as well as the land. Her web site is www.lauriechilders.com. [Photo: (c) Mina Carson]
Informed by many spiritual traditions, Laurie attends Quaker meeting and appreciates the 400-year-old commitment to nonviolence and justice, and the openness and shared responsibility of the process. Her first project for the Fellowship of Reconciliation, at the national level, was organizing a music video to help inspire the nonviolent Green Movement in Iran:
Michael Dunn is a scientist whose research involves structure and mechanism studies for hormones and enzymes. He holds degrees in petroleum refining engineering from the Colorado School of Mines and chemistry (M.Sc. and Ph.D.) from Georgia Tech University. He also completed postdoctoral studies at the University of Oregon and Denmark’s Technical University. In 1970, Michael joined the biochemistry faculty at the University of California – Riverside, and chaired its department from 1991-1998. Although he retired in 2007, he continues to teach and conduct research.
Michael is an ardent backpacker, snorkeler, wildlife photographer, racketball player, and Quaker. He has been active in numerous social issues and organizations, including the adoption of special needs children, Amnesty International, the American Civil Liberties Union, sanctuary for Central American refugees, FOR’s Inland Communities chapter (based in Riverside, California), the Nonviolent Peaceforce, and police accountability. He has five children and three grandchildren.
Steve Jacobsen (Treasurer)
Steve Jacobsen joined FOR’s National Council in June 2011. He is a former staff member of the Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America and is currently an active community mediator with the Central Susquehanna Valley Mediation Center.
For most of his career, Steve taught science at the high school and college levels and was a community activist. He has participated in several prisoner support groups, including helping start a parenting program at one of Pennsylvania’s state women’s prisons. He served as a volunteer at a school in South India, has been involved in local interfaith activities, and is a long-time member of FOR.
Doug’s move toward activism started in quiet ways in the weeks surrounding February 15, 2003. The policy of “Shock and awe” affected him deeply, and as they affected countless people in very real ways Doug began to work to honor the lives being lost. With support from the Fellowship of Reconciliation, starting in 2008 Doug worked with others to place markers for civilian Iraqis, Afghans, and Pakistanis (killed by drones) in a number of cities through the Iraq Memorial to Life initiative.
Doug is part of a team of international supporters of the Afghan Peace Volunteers encouraging participation in Global Days of Listening and the 2millionfriends.org campaign. He traveled to Afghanistan in September 2011 through the auspices of a clean water delegation sponsored by FOR. Doug lives in Olympia, Washington, with his spouse Jody.
Eve MacMaster is pastor of Emmanuel Mennonite Church in Gainesville, Florida, and leader of the Gainesville Interfaith Peace Coalition, a chapter of FOR. She has written books, articles, poetry, and curriculum materials for the Mennonite Church and edited a Mennonite women’s magazine. Eve served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Turkey and earned degrees in history from Penn State University and the George Washington University, and a M.Div. from Lancaster Theological Seminary.
Mark Meade is the assistant director of the Thomas Merton Center in Louisville, Kentucky, which is the official repository of Merton’s manuscripts. Thomas Merton was a peacemaker and an influential member of FOR in the mid-20th century. Mark has lectured on Merton in the United States and Argentina, and published in Spain and the United States.
Mark is a member of the steering committee of the Louisville FOR chapter. He also serves as a board member of the Kentucky Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty.
Jim Murphy served in Vietnam in 1966 and again in 1968 as a 1st MOB Radioman (AF). After returning home, he joined Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW) while attending the University of Maryland. After Dewey Canyon III in Washington, D.C., Jim became very active in protesting the war and helping addicted and homeless Vietnam veterans. He participated in VVAW’s Statue of Liberty demonstration at Christmas of 1971.
After the war, Jim was director of education at Shon Tai Wilderness School (an alternative to lockup for juvenile delinquents). Following graduate school at Indiana University, Jim became dean at Westside Alternative High School in New York City, where he spent 25 years working with at-risk youth. He started New York Vets Speak Out, providing truth-in-recruiting to 50-plus schools per year. Currently Jim provides counseling and outreach to Iraq and Afghanistan vets in need through Veterans Sanctuary, near his home in Ithaca, New York.
Bill Northrup is a certified pastoral counselor who holds a doctorate of ministry from Vanderbilt University and was a fellow in the American Association of Pastoral Counselors. He joined FOR’s National Council in 2011, upon retiring from his counseling practice after four decades of professional service, at age 71.
Bill moved to Nashville, Tennessee, in the early 1980s from Rochester, New York, having spent most of his life in upstate New York. In Nashville, he has been active in the local peace and justice center, several church congregations, his neighborhood association, and in housing issues, especially Section 8 housing for low-income families. Over the years, Bill has travelled and worked in several countries in West and Central Africa and Latin America. He is planning a forthcoming hiking trip to Western Wales and Germany along the North Sea.
Kaeley Pruitt-Hamm has been a part of the Fellowship of Reconciliation community since she was a toddler, as she grew up traveling from her conservative Kettle Falls, Washington, hometown to Seabeck regional conferences. She later participated in the Western Washington Fellowship of Reconciliation’s (WWFOR’s) Peace Activist Trainee (PAT) program in 2005 as a high school student. The PAT program inspired Kaeley to use media as a tool for social justice during her studies and research at Willamette University. As an undergraduate, she made a film in Rwanda and studied peace and conflict resolution with American University in the Balkans.
Since 2010, Kaeley has been working with WWFOR on the Bring Our Billions Home campaign, with outreach tactics including a sing-in and die-in at the state capitol, and continues to support its PAT program as its assistant director each summer. Since 2012, Kaeley has also served as a Seattle-area organizer with the Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador.
Dr. Tashi Rabten is a Tibetan in exile from his native land and a citizen of the United States. In the early 1990s, when fleeing Tibet, he worked with the Tibetan exile government in Dharamsala, India.
Dr. Rabten did his medical training in Tibet and received his degree of medicine there. Since 2005, he has served as executive director of Tibetan Home of Hope, a nonprofit organization based in the United States that works to support orphaned children in his homeland. He lives in New York.
Bill Scheurer (Chair)
Bill Scheurer is executive director of On Earth Peace, a Living Peace Church ministry. He holds degrees in religious studies and law, and has worked as a lay minister, lawyer, and technology entrepreneur. Bill and his wife Randi were involved with the peace movement as college students during the Vietnam war, and have been full-time peacebuilders since 2001. They are co-coordinators of the Peace Garden Project — a place for peace in every community.
Bill also was the editor of the PeaceMajority Report — a window on the peace community in America, and is a founding board advisor to Save-A-Vet — dedicated to providing retirement care for military and law enforcement dogs and other service animals. He is active in the intersection of peace with faith and politics, is the author of us & them: bridging the chasm of faith, and has been a peace candidate for U.S. Congress several times.
Reverend Sam is an ordained minister in the Church of the Brethren. He holds a diploma from Moody Bible Institute in pastoral studies, a B.A. from Wheaton College in sociology, and a master of divinity with an emphasis in peace studies from Bethany Theological Seminary.
Sam is deeply engaged with the Fellowship of Reconciliation at local and national levels. He chairs FOR’s Chicago chapter and is also a member of the Historic Peace Churches/Fellowship of Reconciliation Consultative Committee. Sam has been a primary promoter of the I Will Not Kill campaign and currently directs students at DePaul University as service learners regarding this FOR-led national counter-recruitment campaign.
Currently, Sam is a youth speaker/ peace activist with Heavy Light Ministries and is available nationally as well as internationally for speaking engagements, workshops, and seminars. He lives in West Chicago, Illinois.
Ariel Vegosen is a professional dialogue facilitator, youth educator, interfaith community organizer, public relations expert, writer, performer, activist, and world traveler. Ariel is proud to serve on FOR’s National Council and has traveled to Iran, Israel, and Palestine as part of FOR peace-building delegations. Some of Ariel’s most inspirational work includes the Community of Living Traditions, the Shomer Shalom Network for Jewish Nonviolence, Jewish Voice for Peace, the Teva Learning Center, Jewish Funds for Justice, public relations for Dr. Bronners Magic Soaps, and working to get GMO food banned.
Ariel is committed to nonviolence, liberation, growing organic vegetables, and creating safe spaces where people can share their stories. Ariel is the founder of the Gender Blender Collective – a group designed to address how gender impacts and affects our lives. Ariel is available for speaking tours and facilitating workshops and can be reached by email here. [Photo: (c) Daniella A. Rascón]