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.
Chicago, IL (Catholic Peace Fellowship). Full bio to come.
Isaac has organized around Latin American issues in the 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 (Chair)
Andrea Briggs 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.
yvonne charles was born on the small Caribbean island of Dominica and grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area of northern California. Her peace work is informed by her spiritual path of engaged Buddhism. She has worked in the social services sector for over 20 years, with an emphasis on those living with chronic or terminal illness and the homeless. yvonne lives in Berkeley with her family.
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:
Chicago, IL. Full bio to come.
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 (Vice Chair)
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.
Greta Mickey became acquainted with FOR during the Vietnam war era. She identified strongly with FOR’s Statement of Purpose, signed it, and became a member. While the focus of FOR’s work has changed over the years, the work itself — peace through reconciliation — still calls to her strongly. She feels both honored and humbled to serve as a National Council member.
Greta is also an Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP) facilitator and trainer, a certified Community Dispute Resolution facilitator, and a certified Reiki Master. Since 2009, Greta has traveled annually to the Republic of Georgia as liaison for New York Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), working to revive AVP in Georgia and actively supporting Friends in Tbilisi Friends Worship Group.
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. She also has now returned to work for the last two summers as the assistant director of the PAT program.
Dr. Tashi Rabten is a Tibetan in exile from his native land and a citizen of the United States. In the early Nineties, 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.
Abdelnasser Rashid is a native of Chicago and the son of immigrants from Palestine, where he lived for six years. He currently works at the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, managing a political campaign to mobilize voters from Illinois’ large immigrant community.
Abdelnasser recently graduated from Harvard University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree with honors in social studies, focusing on constitutional design and conflict resolution, and a minor in computer science. Abdelnasser is deeply involved in the Palestinian struggle for equal rights and in efforts to address the rising tide of anti-Muslim fearmongering and hysteria in the United States.
Bill Scheurer (Treasurer)
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.
Phil Stoltzfus (M.Div., Th.D.) is an adjunct professor in the justice and peace studies program at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota, and previously taught at United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities and in religion departments at St. Olaf College (Northfield, Minnesota) and Bethel College (North Newton, Kansas). A Mennonite and conscientious objector, he served in 1987-88 as the first volunteer for Christian Peacemaker Teams and subsequently traveled to Central America and the Middle East on FOR-sponsored human rights delegations.
Recently, Phil has become a nonviolence trainer and board member with Creating a Culture of Peace, a former program of FOR, and he serves on the board of the Minnesota FOR chapter. He is also a scholar of music and theology, and is author of Theology as Performance: Music, Aesthetics, and God in Western Thought (2006).
Rick Ufford-Chase is the director of the Presbyterian Peace Fellowship and the co-director of Stony Point Center, located a few miles north of FOR’s headquarters in Nyack, New York. He previously lived and worked on the U.S.-Mexico border for more than two decades, where he founded and directed BorderLinks and worked to support migrants and refugees in the borderlands. Rick also served as national moderator of the Presbyterian Church (USA) from 2004-06. He and his wife, Kitty, have three teenage children.
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]