Fall-winter 2013-14 updates on alumni, faculty and staff of CJP

December 1st, 2013


William (Bill) Goldberg, MA ’01, Harrisonburg, Va., became the director of the Summer Peacebuilding Institute in the summer of 2013. He has worked for EMU for a total of 13 years.

Carl Stauffer ’85, MA ’02, PhD, assistant professor for CJP, gave the keynote address at the 15th annual Urban Initiatives Conference in Milwaukee, Wis. on May 29. The conference theme was “Restorative Practices: Repairing Harm and Building Community.”

Elaine Zook ’75, MA ’03, STAR program director, and Howard Zehr, EMU distinguished professor of restorative justice, presented at the Pikes Peak Restorative Justice Council Symposium on May 9-10 in Colorado Springs, Colo. Elaine presented on “Trauma and Restorative Justice” and Howard on “Shame and the Implication for Resorative Justice.” Together, they led discussion on high-risk victim-offender conferencing.


Wilbur (Will) Bontrager ’69, MA ’99, Shortsville, N.Y., was selected to receive the 2013 Community Service for Peace Award by the Center for Dispute Settlement in Canandaigua, N.Y. The award is given to a local citizen who, by word and deed, has promoted the causes of peace and nonviolence, civility and conciliation. Will founded the Finger Lakes Restorative Justice Center in 2000, now named Partners in Restorative Initiatives, and currently serves on its advisory board. He also serves on the board of directors for the National Council of the Fellowship of Reconciliation and is active in his faith community’s Peace and Social Concerns Committee.

Nathan Barge ’84, MA ’99, Harrisonburg, Va., works as a restorative justice consultant based in Harrisonburg, Va. He recently returned from three weeks of training with the Mennonite Churches in Paraguay. He has edited a Spanish manual PREVIO for training restorative justice facilitators in victim- offender conferencing. Nathan himself speaks Spanish, having spent 14 years working in Latin America with Mennonite Central Committee. He also volunteers with the Fairfield Center in Harrisonburg with their Restorative Justice Programs.

Gilberto Pérez Jr. ’94, Grad. Cert. ’99, Goshen, Ind., is associate professor of social work at Goshen College. He was recently appointed as a Plan Commission member. In 2012 Gilberto launched Bienvenido Community Solution (BCS), LLC, a company that works with community-based organizations to implement the Bienvenido mental health curriculum. BCS also works at building bridges with immigrants and the host dominant culture. A recent initiative is bringing law enforcement and Latino immigrant congregations for trust-building and open conversation on community policing efforts. Finally, BCS is working with Indiana University School of Medicine to conduct a research study on discrimination and mental health in Latino youth.

Fidele Lumeya, MA ’00, Silver Spring, Md., is the executive director for Congolese American Council for Peace and Development.

Laura Brenneman ’96, MA ’00, PhD, Champaign, Ill., is an academic and peace activist who teaches as an adjunct for both EMU and Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary, as well as the University of Illinois, including a program in a local men’s prison. In addition to teaching and writing, she volunteers with restorative justice programs in her community. Previously, she was professor of religion and director of peace and conflict studies at Bluffton Univesity.

Gopar Tapkida, MA ’01, Zimbabwe, is pursuing a PhD through Africa International University in Kenya and has been assigned to Zimbabwe as the Mennonite Central Committee representative with his wife, Monica. Previously he was MCC’s regional peace adviser in West and Central Africa.

Jonathan (Jon) Rudy, MA ’01, Manheim, Pa., is currently teaching half time in the peace and conflict studies minor at Elizabethtown College in central Pennsylvania as the peacemaker in residence. He is working to connect the college with the University of Hargeisa in Somaliland. Jon continues to facilitate at the Mindanao Peacebuilding Institute in the Philippines.

Kaushikee, MA ’02, PhD, New Delhi, India, recently became an associate professor with the Nelson Mandela Centre for Peace and Conflict Resolution. In August 2013, she published a simple reader on issues in peace and conflict for postgraduate students. She also authored “Gandhian Nonviolent Action: A Case Study of Aung San Suu Kyi’s Struggle in Myanmar” in the December issue of Gandhi Marg, a quarterly journal of the Gandhi Peace Foundation.

Jae Young Lee, MA ’03, Seoul, South Korea, founding director of the Korea Peacebuilding Institute and the Northeast Asia Regional Peacebuilding Institute, works as a peace educator, restorative justice practitioner, and mediation trainer. He is one of the first facilitators for the victim-offender reconciliation program in Korea, including at Seoul Family Court, and has conducted various trainings for school personnel, government officers, NGO activists, and organizations in Korea. In addition, Jae Young facilitates a mediation course at Mindanao Peacebuilding Institute in Philippines.

Lam Oryem Cosmas, MA ’04, Kampala, Uganda, led a training for county peace mobilizers from six counties of Jonlei in June 2012 with a project of the Sudan Council of Churches called “Peace from the Roots.” It was intended to organize church leaders, representatives of civil society groups, women leaders, and local administrators to form a cohesive group for engaging in transformative peacebuilding in their respective communities, between and among their neighbors.

Rania Kharma, MA ’04, Brussels, Belgium, is currently pursuing a master’s in European policies with the Institut d’études européennes (Institute of European Studies) at the Université catholique de Louvain. The program provides skills and knowledge pertinent to the history and integration of the European Union and its system as a whole, especially with regard to economic integration.

Seneviratne (Shyamika) Jayasundara-Smits, MA ’04, PhD, Voorburg, the Netherlands, successfully defended her doctoral dissertation titled “In Pursuit of Hegemony: the Politics and State Building in Sri Lanka.”

Susan Peacock, MA ’04, Minneapolis, Minn., is the liaison for “sponsors coordinating travel seminars” in Bolivia, Cuba, Guatemala, and Mexico with the Center for Global Education. Prior to rejoining the staff in 2012, she worked at the National Academies’ Committee on Human Rights, the Washington Office on Latin America, the National Security Archive at George Washington University, and the Guatemala Human Rights Commission.

Dianne Warren ’94, MA ’04, Buckeye, Ariz., earned her master’s in information resources and library science with a concentration in digital information management in 2012 and is now communication and training coordinator at the Family Involvement Center in Phoenix, Ariz. Among other tasks, Dianne coordinates communications outreach, trainings, and special events, including events to raise awareness about children’s mental health and family-professional conferences. She updates the company website, creates a monthly newsletter, and has created a digital library of resources accessible from the center’s website.

Jay A. Wittmeyer, MA ’04, Elgin, Ill., executive director for Global Mission and Service for the Church of the Brethren, is the Church’s representative to the Board of Directors of Heifer International. Heifer International began as the Church of the Brethren’s Heifer Project, but is now independent of the church.

Ashok Gladston Xavier, MA ’04, PhD, was appointed dean of the Faculty of Arts at Loyola College, Chennai, India. As dean, Ashok will be able to facilitate joint research, along with promoting student and faculty exchange.

Katherine (Katie) Resendiz, MA ’05, Phoenix, Ariz., is program director of Training and Resources United to Stop Trafficking, a multidisciplinary effort to coordinate anti-trafficking efforts in Arizona and ultimately increase public awareness about the crisis as it relates to Arizona’s children. The program works to identify and collaborate with stakeholders, including key lawmakers, law enforcement, medical providers, educators, local and state government officials, business leaders, faith-based community groups, and non-profit providers and funders.

Megan Scott, MA ’05, Alexandria, Va., is a reentry advisor for Offender Aid and Restoration in Arlington, Va. She provides pre-release counseling and conflict resolution and anger management classes for individuals at local jails and the Coffeewood Correctional Facility. She hopes to begin reentry circles for families out of Coffeewood before the end 2013.

Rosario (Charito) Calvachi-Mateyko, MA ’06, Lewes, Del., a restorative justice consultant and trainer with the Latino Initiative on Restorative Justice, Inc., was appointed a member of the Delaware Heritage Commission by Governor Jack A. Markell on January 29, 2013. Additionally, Charito led training sessions on restorative justice at the Judicial School and the Instituto de la Protección de la Ninez in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, provided a three-day training session on trauma healing and resilience at the Foro de la Mujer por la Vida, a presentation on restorative justice to the family court judges and staff in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, and gave a four-hour seminar to the youth in three juvenile detention centers in February 2013.

Judah Oudshoorn, MA ’06, Kitchener, Ontario, Canada, is a professor of community and criminal justice at Conestoga College, a sessional lecturer in peace and conflict studies at the University of Waterloo, a restorative justice mediator with the Correctional Service of Canada, and a PhD student in social work at the Wilfrid Laurier University. His work centers on making justice systems more trauma informed and finding meaningful ways to hold men accountable who have used violence toward partners and children. Judah also reports that he likes hot coffee, cold beer, warm sunshine, and comfortable chairs, but most importantly, that he is a proud dad and husband.

Brian Bloch, MA ’07, Washington, D.C. area, has been the ombudsman at the U.S. Department of the Interior since the summer of 2011. He currently serves on the Board of the International Ombudsman Association and volunteers with ISKCONResolve, the integrated conflict management system for the Hare Krishna community.

Jeff From, MA ’07, Berea, Ky., is associated with the Horizon Program in Ohio, which has graduated more than 700 inmates, with 90% of those released not returning to prison. The program, currently supported by a $125,000 grant from the state attorney general’s office, teaches inmates everything from computer skills and how to write a resume to how to end an argument.

Leymah Gbowee, MA ’07, Accra, Ghana, was the keynote speaker for the 2013 Ware Lecture on Peacemaking hosted by Elizabethtown College, Elizabethtown, Pa. She additionally spoke at Lancaster Mennonite High School (LMH) to a packed auditorium, sharing her own dreams as a 17-year-old in Liberia. She had this to say about the experience: “It’s truly an honor to be [at LMH], in a space where there’s so many young people who will go on to be the next generation of leaders.” Leymah was a co-recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2011.

Rina Kashyap, MA ’07, Surrey, British Columbia, Canada, is pursuing a PhD in human security about the “responsibility to protect” initiative. Rina is also teaching political science (international relations and political theory) and conflict transformation and peacebuilding (gender, violence and human rights, and conflict analysis) at the University of Delhi, Lady Shri Ram College in India.

Godfrey Ntim, Grad. Cert. ’07, Maputo, Mozambique, program coordinator for Counterpart International, is currently using peacebuilding methods and strategies to execute food security and resiliency development program activities.

Thaddeus (Thad) Hicks, MA ’08, Marysville, Ohio, a faculty member at Ohio Christian University, was instrumental in developing and launching a new law enforcement program oriented more toward restorative than the usual criminal justice. He attributed his success to CJP and thanked professor Howard Zehr for introducing him to “this way of doing justice work!” Thad also acts as the editor-in-chief of the quarterly academic journal Trauma Healing. The journal focuses on the primary and secondary trauma of those working in professions connected to suffering, death, and dying.

Alan Marr, MA ’08, Victoria, Australia, is one of the pastors at St Kilda Baptist Church, a relatively small, but courageous congregation in inner-city Melbourne. St Kilda has developed a reputation for its commitment to supporting people on the margins of society and “[they] have a good time doing it!” As well as his commitment to the church, Alan has a part time mediation consultancy, working mainly in the nonprofit sector. He also chairs the Peace Commission of the Baptist World Alliance.

Keith Lyndaker Schlabach ’91, Grad. Cert. ’08, Mount Rainier, Md., is the co-founder of PeaceGrooves, a project centered around the creation of alternative media, stories, and games that reflect an Anabaptist nonviolent perspective. Additionally, Keith writes a monthy column for PeaceSigns, the newsletter of the Mennonite Chuch USA’s Peace and Justice Support Network.

Jacqueline (Jackie) Shock, MA ’08, Pittsburgh, Pa., a mental health therapist at Associates in Behavioral Diagnostics and Treatment, is a licensed clinical social worker in the state of Pennsylvania.

Annette Lantz-Simmons, MA ’09, Kansas City, Mo., executive director of Community Mediation Center, focuses on a three-pronged approach to mediation: (1) Prevention – conflict resolution and restorative justice training and processes for children and youth in schools, churches, and neighborhoods. (2) Education – interpersonal conflict resolution training, mediation training, circle facilitation training, restorative discipline for teachers and parents training, and neighborhood accountability board training. (3) Restoration – transformative mediation for families, neighbors, court cases, students, and divorcing or separating parents, victim-offender dialogue, and neighborhood accountability board facilitation.

Jennifer Lynne, MA ’09, Austin, Tex., is the director of thecontractproject, a conduit of resources and information for leadership and community development. Through facilitation, training, consulting, and assessment, she serves individuals, communities, and organizations seeking sustainable relationships and solutions.

Mack Capehart Mulbah, MA ’09, St. Paul, Minn., works as an independent consultant for organizations engaged in transforming conflicts around the world. For the past three years, Mack has worked mostly with organizations and governments in West Africa (Ghana, Sierra Leone, and Liberia), promoting social justice, gender equality, and peaceful coexistence among youth.

Grant Rissler, Grad. Cert. ’09, Richmond, Va., is pursuing a PhD in public policy and administration at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Va. His research focuses on immigration policy and as such, he is an associate at the Commonwealth Education Policy Institute. Additionally Grant serves as chair of the board of directors for Ten Thousand Villages – Richmond, is a member of the advisory council for Hope in the Cities, and is a member of the newsletter committee for Richmond Peace Education Center.

Linda Swanson, MA ’09, Warrenton, Va., has currently completed over 200 hours of training at the ADD Coach Academy and is in the process of completing the final requirements for graduation and certification. Her work so far has been with adults, though she hopes to begin coaching young people as well. Since graduating from CJP, Linda has not worked directly in the field of restorative justice, but hopes to combine it with her current work as a coach for adults with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder.

Brenda Waugh, MA ’09, Winchester, Va., has opened a new practice in Washington D.C., Brenda Waugh, Attorney at Law, L.C. She is active in the implementation of restorative justice practices in the Eastern Panhandle of Maryland, including victim-offender mediation and circle processes.

Dawn Miller Sander, MA ’10, Harrisonburg, Va., recently retired from her career of 20-plus years with AT&T in order to pursue her area of passion, addressing conflict within families and organizations using various tools, training, and dialogue. She currently leads Conflict Transformation Associates, LLC, an organization that provides comprehensive conflict and security management solutions. Dawn offers mediation, training, and ombudsman services. She credits CJP for providing her with the skillset she needs to provide such valuable services.

Valerie Luna Serrels, MA ’10, Harrisonburg, Va., is associate director of Kids vs Global Warming, with which she is working to strengthen the youth voice as key stakeholders in the climate crisis.

Mary Beth Spinelli, MA ’10, Ontario, N.Y., is a restorative practices coordinator at the Ibero-American Development Corporation (IADC), a local non-profit community development organization. Her position is a combination of working with people in challenged neighborhoods and using conflict transformation to address local issues. IADC has been working with residents in a low-income, violence-prone neighborhood over the last eight years. Residents have said that their number one concern was drug sales on the streets and in the parks, especially marijuana. IADC built a coalition with a variety of local partners to address the issue and recently received funding. They are working with residents to protect victimized neighborhoods and engage sellers into restorative processes that offer them new opportunities for their lives.

Pushpika Weerakoon, MA ’10, Colombo, Sri Lanka, received the “Rotary International Avenues of Service Citation” award from the Rotary Club of Colombo Mid Town. Pushpi demonstrated support of the goals of Rotary through active participation in about 90% of projects in each of five avenues of service: club, vocational, community, international, and new generations. In June 2011, Pushpi was awarded the ‘”Rotary National Peace Award for building bridges across communities” given to a non-Rotarian for outstanding services for humanity. She is the coordinator of the National Reconciliation Secretariat at the Sri Lankan Presidential Secretariat and public relations chair and service director of Rotary Club of Colombo Mid Town.

Raad Amer, MA ’11, Harrisonburg, Va., is the employment and matching grants specialist for Church World Service. He began in July 2012 after completing two months as a caseworker with Virginia Council of Churches.

Muhammad Asadullah, MA ’11, Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada, is the author of “Community Policing and Restorative Justice: Exploring Common Themes and Values,” published in both French and English in the summer issue of Justice Report, by the Canadian Criminal Justice Association.

Ryan Beuthin, MA ’11, Flint, Mich., is living an experiment in peacebuilding as a way of life. He and his family moved to one of America’s most dangerous cities and got a job running a community-oriented restaurant, Flint Crepe Company. He leverages restaurant resources for community development and change, and is part of a church working on racial reconciliation.

Linda Herr, MA ’11, along with her husband, James Wheeler ’86, co-directed the MCC Egypt program from 2003-09 and are currently in Egypt leading a group of Lancaster Theological Seminary students on a cross-cultural experience.

Cheryl Woelk, MA ’11, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada, is currently working as the LINC and literacy program coordinator for Saskatchewan Intercultural Association. She enjoys bringing a peacebuilding perspective to her work with newcomers to Saskatoon through coordinating programs, facilitating language classes, and assisting the organization’s “Equity and Anti-Racism Committee” with various workshops and events. Cheryl also facilitates a course for international graduate students through the University of Saskatchewan’s Language Centre and coordinates the “Language for Peace” project hosted by Mennonite Partners in China, which provides a network for language educators engaged in peacebuilding.

Sandra Kienitz, MA ’12, formerly of Harrisonburg, Va., is working in northern Mexico with communication, organizational development, planning, monitoring, and evaluation. She is northern program coordinator with Mennonite Central Committee.

Lauren (Cole) Parke, MA ’12, Barnstable, Mass., is an LGBTQ rights researcher with Political Research Associates, a small progressive think-tank located in Boston, Mass. She largely concentrates on tracking right-wing evangelical Christians in the U.S. and the role they play in exporting politicized homophobia and transphobia around the world. Through her research, Cole endeavors to support on-the-ground organizers and activists in developing more strategic approaches to the work of creating a safer and more just world for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people.

Suraya Sadeed, MA ’12, Fairfax, Va., gave a spring semester (’13) convocation talk “Peace Through Education” at Bridgewater College, Bridgewater, Va. Born and raised in Kabul, Afghanistan, Suraya, who returned to her homeland from the U.S. at the height of the Afghan Civil War in 1993, established the nonprofit organization, Help the Afghan Children, Inc. Since then, her efforts in providing humanitarian aid, medical care, education, and hope against seemingly insurmountable odds in some of the most inhospitable conditions imaginable, have directly benefited an estimated 1.7 million Afghan children and their families. She is also the author of Forbidden Lessons in a Kabul Guesthouse, which chronicles her story and efforts to educate Afghan women and children.

Nathan Toews, MA ’12, Bogota, Colombia, is an accompaniment worker with victims of sociopolitical violence with Mennonite Central Committee. His assignment is to develop and conduct research and evaluation initiatives for Inter-Church Coordination for Psychosocial Action. The organization is an initiative of the Brethren in Christ, Mennonite Brethren, and Mennonite Church denominations to assist churches in their efforts to provide psychosocial and pastoral support to members in their church communities who are living in vulnerable situations.

Jennifer (Jenn) Bricker, MA ’13, SEM ’13, a facilitator with Key Bridge Foundation Community Conferencing Program, now lives in Washington D.C. and works with a restorative justice program in neighboring Prince George’s County, Md., within the Department of Juvenile Services in the county courthouse. She continues to be interested in the intersection of restorative justice, trauma healing, and community building.


Roxy Allen, MA ’07, to Felix Mutinda, July 27, 2013.

Jodi Read, MA ’03, to Alicia Dueck, Sept. 22, 2013.


Atieno Fisher, MA ’99, and Shawn Bird, Washington, D.C., Silas Lochlan, Aug. 30, 2012.

Jennifer ’00, MA ’06, and Kerry Saner-Harvey, Grad. Cert. ’05, Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Newfoundland, Canada, Halid Robert, July 7, 2013

Amy, MA ’02, monitoring coordinator for CJP, and Bart Czajkowski, Culpepper, Va., Peter William, Mar. 25, 2013.

Tracey King-Ortega, MA ’05, Managua, Nicaragua, twins, Ruby Amanda and Benjamin Desmond, July 31, 2013.

Ryan, MA ’11, and Jacqueline Beuthin, Flint, Mich., Starling Eliot, June 23, 2013.

Raad, MA ’11, and Lauren Amer, Harrisonburg, Va., Jenna Lee, May 9, 2012.

Claudia, Grad. Cert. ’11, SEM ’11, and Jimmy Winter, Curitiba Parana, Brazil, Jayden, Sept. 17, 2013.

Theodore, MA ’13, and Sharmilla Peiris Sitther, Takoma Park, Md., Santhosh Jeevan Peiris Sitther, April 10, 2013.

The People of CJP section is compiled by Braydon Hoover in EMU’s alumni office. Braydon relies heavily on information that arrives via the CJP alumni update form, found at the bottom of each graduate’s individual entry at:
Feel free to provide information directly to Braydon at braydon.hoover@emu.edu or at 540-432-4294. This section will appear annually in the fall-winter issue of the print version of Peacebuilder.

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