Heshi Gorewitz, M.B.A.— Director of Operations
Heshi grew up in New York’s Rockland County and graduated from Clarkstown High School in New City, New York, just 15 minutes away from FOR’s headquarters in Nyack. He holds an M.B.A. in organizational and environmental sustainability from Antioch University New England.
Heshi farmed 900 acres as a founding member of Kibbutz Gezer in Israel. During his 15 years in Israel, he was drafted into the Israeli Air Force and during his service attained the rank of sergeant. His experiences in the military led to an active and growing belief in nonviolence, and he was actively involved in the Peace Now movement in Israel.
Heshi has been active in the local food movement, co-founding the Rockland Farm Alliance (RFA) and currently serving as vice president of its board of directors. RFA’s first project, the Cropsey Farm Initiative, created the first farm of its size in Rockland County in several decades. This sustainable local business model was described as “cutting edge” by the American Farmland Trust. In 2011, Heshi received the Zipporah Fleischer Environmental Award.
Mary Heckler — Peace House Host and Event Coordinator
As the Peace House host and event coordinator, Mary manages the care and grooming of Shadowcliff, the mansion that is the national headquarters for the Fellowship of Reconciliation. As host, she is the contact person for anyone wishing to use the facility for their celebration or event. In the role of event coordinator, Mary assists in planning the function and is on duty throughout the celebration to help insure a seamless, wonderful experience.
A member of the hospitality industry, she previously owned and operated The Purple Plum, Inc., a restaurant and catering company located in Austin, Texas between 1981 and 1995. She catered to the likes of Willie Nelson, Ann Richards and Lady Bird Johnson before making a left hand turn and moving to the Bay of San Francisco. In the Bay Area, Mary was the volunteer coordinator for Catholic Charities of the East Bay, where she fulfilled CCEB’s strategic plan to develop a volunteer program. She cultivated the project, recruited, placed and directed 1500 volunteers in fourteen different programs including emergency services, refugee resettlement and prison ministry. She managed the holiday programs for what is now part of the Christmas Community Project: Toys for Children Without, and the Adopt-A-Family project.
In her spare time, Mary is one of the creative forces behind the local Hudson Valley FOR chapter. Its mission is to promote the work of FOR through peaceful conversation, timely education and the use of music, art and spoken word to encourage the growth of the beloved community.
Rev. Lucas Johnson — Southeast & Mid-Atlantic Regional Coordinator/Organizer
Lucas was born in Erlangen, Germany, and grew up in Coastal Georgia with family roots in Live Oak, Florida. He has studied at Mercer University, Emory University, and the University of Goettingen (Germany), and was ordained to ministry by Oakhurst Baptist Church in Decatur, Georgia.
Lucas identifies strongly with the tradition of freedom fighters who engaged in what is often known as the American Civil Rights Movement. In that spirit, he has worked with such organizations as the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change, The Veterans of Hope Project, and the National Council of Elders. He was a member of the historic delegation of veterans of the U.S. civil and human rights struggles lead by the Dorothy Cotton Institute to meet with Palestinian nonviolent activists and their Israeli allies.
Mark C. Johnson, Ph.D. — Executive Director
Mark has served on FOR’s team since early 2007. On behalf of FOR’s domestic and international work, Mark travels regularly throughout the Americas and the Middle East. He is a writer, speaker, facilitator, and organizer who has led and supported dozens of campaigns for progressive, transformational social change.
Mark was a conscientious objector to the Vietnam war, doing alternative service in Lebanon, living and teaching in Tyre and Beirut between 1967 and 1974. In his previous career with the YMCA, Mark also traveled widely in the United States and the world on special projects related to peace and leadership development. He served for 18 years on the staff of the Silver Bay Association for Christian Conferences and Training, located on Lake George in upstate New York.
Under the influence of Parker Palmer, Mark likes to describe himself as a poet doing the work of peacemaking. His favorite pastimes are writing, reading, and sailing. Married for 40 years, he and Mary have three daughters and two sons-in-law.
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- full résumé (PDF)
Linda Kelly — Communications Associate
As a creative writer whose first grade-school poem was a quatrain written in crayon with an alternating love and peace dove rhyme scheme, Linda is delighted to be a part of the expression of FOR’s venerable work toward realizing the beloved community. Her contributions include writing and editing articles for online and hardcopy publication, creating brochures, press releases, member and donor correspondence, collaborating on the design of FOR’s first video billboard, and organizing the selection process and presentations of FOR’s annual peace awards.
In her spare time, Linda plays tennis, scratches away at a second novel and writes a blog called Lump Lessons: a Healing Journey. She lives in Nyack, New York with her husband, Reade; teenaged daughter, Acadia; and adored though quirky dog, Bert.
John Lindsay-Poland — Research and Advocacy Director
John edits FOR’s Latin America update; founded the FOR’s Colombia peace team; and is author of numerous articles, reports, and books on U.S. military policy and history in Latin America, including Military Assistance and Human Rights: Colombia, U.S. Accountability, and Global Implications (2010), Emperors in the Jungle: The Hidden History of the U.S. in Panama (2003), and Inside Panama, with Tom Barry.
Previously, John served with Peace Brigades International in Guatemala and El Salvador, and co-founded PBI’s Colombia project. He lives and works in Oakland, California.
Jonette O’Kelley Miller, M.P.A.— Development Director
Jonette’s professional career began in dance and theatre. As an actress-dancer, she appeared in the Broadway and National Tour productions of Ntozake Shange’s For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf, and Shange’s off-Broadway production of Spell #7. As a writer, her essays on African-American artists Nina Mae McKinney and Beulah Woodard were published in African American National Biography, edited by Drs. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham. Her articles have also been published in ArtSpace and SpiritLed Woman Magazine.
Jonette presented her research on the impact of historical, racist stereotypes on people of color during the 2007 Eastern Psychological Association’s annual conference. Currently, she is also an adjunct at Nyack College, teaching courses on African American art and public speaking. She is a member of the Public Relations Society of America, Society of Community Research and Action, and the National Council of Artists.
Meredith Krashes Nicolich — Administration Assistant
Meredith was pleased to start working at FOR in 2011. Her experience working for a number of international and local nonprofit organizations serves her well as she assists her colleagues at FOR’s national Shadowcliff offices and beyond on an ever-growing variety of tasks.
Meredith has taught English as a second language in Chiangmai, Thailand; coordinated a job skills training program for youth in Westchester County, New York, and has studied at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, while working in the Office for the Advancement of Women at the Bahá’í International Community’s United Nations Office. She currently splits her working time between FOR and her local library, where she enjoys being an assistant children’s librarian.
Shauen V.T. Pearce — Social, Economic, and Racial Justice Director
Shauen is a conscientious objector with a background in national campaigning and organizing across cultures, youth justice work, anti-violence training and harm reduction, popular education, graphic arts, spiritually-grounded organizing and education founded upon tangible nonviolence and more. Ze is an Afro pen-and-paper artist and writer from the Midwest and beyond. Often found studying the sciences or drawing, Shauen enjoys the intersections of life and encourages everyone to think critically about what makes us who we are.
As a native of Chicago, Shauen has first line experience living in and beyond the intersections of racism, economic injustice, violence, and war. Stemming from a place filled with beauty, progress, rebellion, wise elders, visionary leaders, and constant struggle marked by corruption, violence, and displacement, Shauen continues the fight for justice, self-determination, authentic love, and fearless community building. Shauen lives in the Twin Cities region of Minnesota.
Susana Pimiento Chamorro — Action and Advocacy Director
Susana co-leads FOR’s campaign to transform U.S. militarism in the Americas, undertaking grassroots outreach and raising awareness on the impact of militarization. She is the U.S. representative at the Continental Campaign Against Military Bases coordinating committee. Susana also supports FOR’s accompaniment program in Colombia by helping to oversee the implementation of the program, coordinating actions in response to security emergencies, and recruiting and training accompaniment volunteers.
A Colombian attorney with a M.A. in public policy from the Institute of Social Studies in The Hague, Susana’s previous experience includes advocacy work in the fields of environmental justice, arms control, and indigenous peoples’ rights. Before joining FOR, she led successful civil society efforts to bring changes in policy. As a co-founder of the Sunshine Project, she was involved in the design and implementation of the Agent Green campaign, which halted U.S.-led plans to use biological agents in the eradication of illicit crops in South America and Asia. Susana also worked at the Colombian 1991 constitutional assembly and has contributed to several publications on human rights. She resides in Austin, Texas, with her husband, Edward Hammond, and daughter, Amelia.
Liza Smith — Latin America and the Caribbean Accompaniment Director
Liza is an activist, writer, and singer/songwriter, as well as the director for the FOR accompaniment teams in Colombia. For more than ten years, she has worked with various organizations such as Global Exchange and Peace Brigades International to protect the lives and rights of people and communities in Colombia.
Originally from Boulder, Colorado, Liza lives and works in Bogota, Colombia. In her spare time, she likes to contemplate the rate at which we are spinning through the universe and dreams about disappearing into the sunrise in a purple van.
Nicole Taylor — Data Entry Assistant
As the Fellowship of Reconciliation’s data entry point person, Nicole facilitates the labor-intensive duties of inputting donations, handling donor inquiries, processing acknowledgement letters, and updating donors’ mailing and email addresses. Nicole was excited to join FOR’s team in 2008 and is fortunate to be a part of an organization that continues the vision of educating and advocating peace in all nations.
Besides working with her FOR family, most of Nicole’s time is spent with her family at home, which includes her husband, four-year-old son, and two-year-old daughter. Nicole enjoys keeping up with current events, fashion magazines, and the tranquility of the beach.
Ethan Vesely-Flad — Communications Director
Ethan is FOR’s director of communications and editor of Fellowship magazine, FOR’s journal since 1918 on peacemaking, human rights, and interfaith understanding. Ethan became a “full-time” justice activist as a college undergraduate in the late 1980s, when he was involved in movements for racial justice, South Africa divestment, and prisoners of conscience.
For the past two decades — and since 2005 at FOR — Ethan has worked to strengthen faith-based justice networks promoting anti-racism engagement, environmental justice, LGBTQ rights, and demilitarization. His commitments have taken him throughout the Americas, Southern Africa, the Middle East, and the Pacific Rim. He serves on the North American board of the Institute for the Healing of Memories and is an active member of several organizations in the Anglican/Episcopal church working for justice and peace.
His writings have appeared in ColorLines, The Source, The Witness, Episcopal Life, and other national publications. Ethan, a devotee of global soccer and old hip-hop, lives along the mighty Hudson River with his beloved spouse Rima and son Matai.
Leila Zand — Middle East Director
Leila is an Iranian-American who lived in Iran during the Iran-Iraq war, the Iranian reconstruction period following the war, and the Iranian reform years. In 2006 Leila joined FOR to help to create bridges of understanding between the diverse peoples of Middle East and the people of the United States.
Since immigrating to the United States, Leila has shared her experience of war in academic settings, peace rallies, and community gatherings. She has written numerous articles and essays, some of which have been translated into other languages and received international publication. Through writing and public speaking, Leila raises awareness about U.S. militarization in the Middle East and the impact it has on the lives of ordinary people, and she strives to make inroads to reconciliation.
CONSULTANTS, FELLOWS, and INTERNS
Click here to access bios of current and past members of FOR’s Colombia human rights accompaniment peace team.
Rev. Patricia Ackerman — Freeman Fellow
The Rev. Patricia Ackerman is senior trainer of Gender-Sensitive Active Non-Violence & Masculinities for the Women Peacemakers Program in the Netherlands, a former program of the International Fellowship of Reconciliation (IFOR). She is an accredited U.N. representative for the Fellowship of Reconciliation (USA) and IFOR.
Patricia is also director of women’s studies at The City College of New York (CUNY), located in Harlem, Manhattan. An Episcopal priest, her other work experience includes serving as director of environmental programs at the Garrison Institute. She is currently completing a doctorate in political science/ international relations at the CUNY Graduate Center, New York City.
Sol Ras Assanti — Social, Economic, & Racial Justice program (consultant)
Sol is human. They find it important to create space that was not available for them when they were younger, spaces where people can learn from each other, laugh, heal, and be forgiving. Sol is committed to connecting people and serving in various communities offering all talents and energy they can give. Sol loves to bake; have deep conversations with black folk, acknowledging everyone’s existence; and call people to be their better selves.
Sol serves as outreach coordinator for “Our Future Is Now” national conference, which is being organized for the spring of 2013. Sponsored by the Fellowship of Reconciliation and other justice and activist groups, the conference will bring together hundreds of young people. Sol lives in the Twin Cities region of Minnesota.
Shervin Boloorian — Freeman Fellow
Writer and peace activist Shervin Boloorian (M.A.) serves as a policy advisor to the Fellowship of Reconciliation. He is a former government and community relations coalition strategist for Middle East peace, pro-environment, and nuclear disarmament campaigns in Washington D.C., serving the Union of Concerned Scientists and the National Iranian American Council. Shervin has organized meditation meet-ups at the U.S. Congress and supported advocacy groups such as Peace Action USA, the Communities of Peace Foundation, the Friends Committee on National Legislation, and United for Peace and Justice, among others.
Shervin is also a certified sound therapy practitioner and graduate of the Tama-Do “Way of the Soul” Academy (started in 1988). He recently co-founded the Bali Sound Healers Collective and currently practices sound therapy in Ubud, Bali. A former media manager for the BaliSpirit holistic group, Shervin is also the author of numerous articles and still serves as writer and communications consultant for BaliSpirit.
Ivan Boothe — Online Communications Associate (consultant)
Ivan works with FOR to maintain and improve the website, oversee and author email messages to supporters, and coordinate online actions.
Ivan is the creative director of Rootwork.org, working with nonprofits and social change groups in similar capacities. He is a community organizer with Casino-Free Philadelphia, and co-founded the Genocide Intervention Network. Despite having moved to the west coast, Ivan continues to help facilitate Philadelphia NetSquared, which brings together nonprofits and tech experts for discussions about using social technology for social change.
Ivan has presented on technology and activism at the U.S. Social Forum, Nonprofit Technology Conference, New Organizing Institute, Internet Advocacy Roundtable, Peace and Justice Studies conference, DrupalCon and the National Press Club, and authored a chapter in the textbook Online Social Networking.
Ivan holds a degree in peace and conflict studies and authored a thesis on third-party nonviolent intervention. He also serves on the board of the Peace and Justice Studies Association and the American Friends Service Committee Nobel Peace Prize committee. He is a professional handbell ringer and an enthusiastic member of his local member-owned food cooperative.
Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb — Interfaith Peacewalks Coordinator (consultant) & Freeman Fellow
Rabbi Lynn is author of She Who Dwells Within: A Feminist Vision of Renewed Judaism and coordinator of the Shomer Shalom Network for Jewish Nonviolence. Lynn celebrated her 40th year in rabbinic service in 2012. She is a storyteller, author, and peace activist who has received several human rights awards. Her writing appears in more than 40 publications and she has performed her work throughout the world.
Lynn is cofounder of the Muslim-Jewish Peacewalk and was a founding elder of The Community of Living Traditions. She currently works with the Fellowship of Reconciliation as coordinator of the Interfaith Peacewalks project, a co-leader of Artist Delegations to Palestine, and as a contributing editor to Fellowship magazine.
Lynn’s forthcoming book is Trail Guide to the Torah of Nonviolence (2013, in French and English). She lives in Berkeley, California.
Fakhira Halloum — Freeman Fellow
Fakhira Halloun is a Palestinian woman and citizen of Israel. She holds degrees in social work and criminology from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and is currently undertaking Ph.D. studies at George Mason University in Arlington, Virginia, where she also serves as public relations associate for the Center for World Religions Diplomacy & Conflict Resolution.
Fakhira has acquired considerable professional experience in conflict transformation, and specializes in facilitating dialogue between Jewish and Palestinian mixed groups. She is an educator and advocate for human rights and democracy, as well as a social and political feminist activist, who strives to bring about change within the Arab community and to achieve equality for the Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel.
Rev. Michael Harrington — Freeman Fellow
Michael has spent almost 40 years as a youth minister, Christian educator, campus minister, and camp director. He has been responsible for the development and organization of broad youth programs for students (pre-K through college) that included curriculum design, service project models, seminars, and summer mission work. As a campus minister and chaplain he instructed peer leaders, taught sociology, comparative world religions, and ethics.
Michael is the director of The Culture Zone which he describes as “a virtual gathering place for social comment relating to human behavior and beliefs. It stands to engage the institutions that will continue to affect all of creation throughout the 21st Century. The Culture Zone is a post post-modern shelter in the storm-of-ambiguity toward the human condition. The Culture Zone is distinguished by our unwavering stand for the poor and marginalized of our world. Care for the ‘other’ is a sacrament in the Culture Zone.”
Michael is an author, illustrator, and journalist, and he publishes the Occupy Faith web site. He works in New Orleans in conjunction with Tulane University and was a program director of “The Other America” project. He was a recent TEDx featured speaker at Seattle University.
Nathaniel Mahlberg — Organizational Advancement & Communications intern
Nathaniel is a senior M.Div. student at Union Theological Seminary in New York City, and an ordination candidate with the United Church of Christ. Long dedicated to peace work, his justice experience includes: service as a facilitator and board member of Creating a Culture of Peace nonviolence trainings; coordinator of truth in military recruitment efforts with Veterans For Peace; nonviolent accompaniment in El Salvador; and serving as a protest chaplain with Occupy Wall Street.
Nathaniel is currently involved in housing defense efforts with Organizing for Occupation. He is interning with FOR during the 2012-13 academic year.
Rev. Osagyefo Uhuru Sekou — Freeman Fellow
Reverend Osagyefo Uhuru Sekou is an author, documentary filmmaker, public intellectual, organizer, pastor, and theologian. Considered a leading religious leaders of his generation, he has published two books on the moral and spiritual crises facing our world, Urban Souls (2001) and Gods, Gays, and Guns: Essays on Religion and the Future of Democracy (2012).
Rev. Sekou served as the founding director of Clergy and Laity Concerned about Iraq and was the faith community organizer for United for Peace and Justice. He has given more than a thousand lectures throughout the country and abroad, and his writings have appeared in numerous publications, including Fellowship magazine, for which is a contributing editor.
Rev. Sekou is recipient of the Keeper of the Flame Award from the National Voting Rights Institute and Museum in Selma, Alabama. He is founding senior minister of The Freedom Church of New York City and currently lives in Massachusetts.
Rev. Sam Smith — Freeman Fellow
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’s is deeply engaged with the Fellowship of Reconciliation at local and national levels. He chairs FOR’s Chicago chapter and also served six years on FOR-USA’s National Council, concluding in 2011. He is also a member of the prestigious 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.