Susana El Halabi (June 2018- November 2018)
Dianna Almanza (January 2018 -November 2018)
Dianna E. Almanza is grateful for the opportunity to explore more profoundly the links between rights, law, and peacebuilding within human rights and conflict. Moreover, she seeks to further develop expertise of how she can contribute, and affect the rise of human rights through the empowerment of local communities around the world. She holds a Master of Arts in International Human Rights, with a specialization in Conflict Resolution, from the Josef Korbel School of International Studies, at the University of Denver.
Elliot Wheeler (October 2017 – October 2018)
Elliot is a Houston, Texas native with prior field experience in conflicts zones. Upon graduating from Columbia University with a MSc. in Conflict Resolution and Negotiation, he sought an opportunity to work more closely with social movements at the local level. Elliot joined the SJA team in October 2017 in order to broaden his knowledge and experience of peacebuilding practices.
Pendle Marshall-Hallmark (January 2017 – July 2018)
Pendle is originally from the mid-sized postindustrial city of Rochester, New York, USA. She grew up writing short stories and going to anti-war protests for fun, and went on to study Sociology and Latin American & Spanish Literature at Swarthmore College. Her thesis contextualized the efforts of undocumented immigrants seeking legal status in the United States within the country’s broader history of civil disobedience and activism. Before coming to FORPP, Pendle worked as a case manager and resource coordinator for a refugee resettlement agency in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She has also been a community organizer for the international “Fight for $15” movement for economic and racial justice, and for a state-wide healthcare advocacy organization.
Kati Hinman (December 2016- July 2018)
Kati is from the small town of Norfolk, Connecticut. After 18 years in the woods, she was ready to broaden her horizons by attending the University of California at Berkeley. She majored in Peace and Conflict Studies with a minor in Global Poverty and Practice. Through her minor program she was able to intern in Cochabamba, Bolivia with a sexual health education program that also focused on promoting the rights of people with HIV/AIDs and survivors of sexual violence. As a student and since graduating she has focused on working with survivors of trauma, such as women and children that are homeless, human trafficking survivors, and adolescents that have been abused or abandoned. She spent a year in the Dominican Republic working as Assitant Director and Volunteer Coordinator for a small organization that served primarily Haitian migrants and Haitian children that were on the streets. She was excited about the opportunity to do human rights accompaniment to work more on the political side of conflict resolution, and was particularly drawn to FORPP’s commitment to solidarity over charity for human rights defenders in Colombia.
Ilaria Izzo (January 2017 – December 2017)
Ilaria is FORPP’s first Italian accompanier! She is a social educator in her country and has been working primarily in the field of migration, refugees and juvenile violence. In Argentina, Ilaria spent 6 months working as a social worker in a youth detention center, where her interest in violence, its causes and tools for its prevention was first ignited. These became the focus of her Master’s degree thesis, for which she spent 4 months in Nicaragua doing research. There, she investigated community-based and psycho-pedagogical strategies to end youth violence. Interested in Latin American social movements and politics, she turned her focus to Colombia, attracted to its unique contemporary history of conflict. Ilaria became engaged with FORPP, fascinated by its non-violent and peace-based approach to providing accompaniment to peace communities and local social organizations.
Tom Power (January 2016- May 2018)
Tom was born and grew up in New Hampshire, USA. After graduating from the state university with a degree in Music Liberal Studies in 2012, he spent some time working with youth with special needs. In 2013 he moved to Argentina where he lived and worked for a year and a half in Buenos Aires. There, he met people involved with non-violence and social justice who worked in Colombia. In 2015 Tom moved to Bogotá to work in the SENA and it was in this time when he met FORPP. He decided be an international accompanier to be involved with movements dedicated to non-violence and human rights.
Sophie Duval (July 2015 – January 2017, January 2017 – June 2017 staff)
Sophie grew up in La Rochelle (France) and she graduated at the Institute of Political Sciences of Bordeaux with a Master’s degree in Political Sciences and International Relations. During her studies, Sophie coursed two years in Colombia at Rosario University where she fell in love with the culture and the history of this country. She concentrated her attention on Colombian internally displaced people for her Master’s thesis and on the role of the international humanitarian community in the aftermath of a potential peace agreement between the Colombian government and the FARC, during an internship at the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. After different research works about the evolution of the humanitarian action in Latin America, the gender approach in the Colombian public policy for victims of the armed conflict and the human rights impact of oil corporations in the region of Meta, Sophie looks forward to be involved in the field and is very excited about joining FOR international accompaniment team.
Márton Diószegi (November 2015 – December 2016)
Born in Budapest, Márton (Maresz) spent several years back and forth between the United States and Hungary, eventually graduating from Corvinus University of Budapest with a Masters in International Relations with a minor in Peace and Conflict Studies. Having written his master’s theses on the transformation of the Colombian conflict, he has been eager to live and work in Colombia for quite some time. Prior to joining FOR, he worked as a community outreach person at Belmont Race Track in New York where he taught computer literacy and English to Latin American migrants working at the track, while also teaching language and computer skills to seniors. Having lived in a number of urban jungles (Istanbul, Mexico D.F., NYC) he hopes to enjoy rural life in the Peace Community before exploring the Bogotá metropolis.
Sandra Amolo (January 2016 – December 2016)
Sandra grew up between Kenya and the United States, completing her bachelors in Business Administration with a minor in Global Studies from Seattle University. Her final undergrad project focused on the impact of eco-tourism initiatives on indigenous communities in Belize, and a feasibility study about the creation of a Q’eqchi education center at the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Center in western Belize. Learning about the challenges of indigenous people seeking recognition of their rights to land and justice moved her to be more involved with marginalized communities in the United States. After college, Sandra spent six years working in grassroots organizations dedicated to social and environmental justice in Washington and California. Sandra joined FOR Peace Presence to gain a deeper understanding of the impact of international relations between the United States and countries in Latin America. She is especially interested in the connections between business and human rights in Colombia. She looks forward to making connections between social movements happening in Colombia, Kenya, and the United States to amplify the voices of communities resisting displacement and economic injustice.
Laetitia Sengseis (September 2015 – August 2016)
Born and raised in Austria, Laetitia finished her Master studies in Public Policy at the Willy Brandt School of Public Policy in Erfurt, Germany. Prior to her studies in Public Policy she completed a degree in Political Science at the Universities of Vienna and Geneva. Since her first internship at the Intervention Center for victims of human trafficking in Austria, she’s been interested in human rights issues and therefore completed a course with the Straniak Academy for Human Rights and Democracy and researching on post-conflict issues in the Balkans. Besides working with the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Human Rights in Vienna, Laetitia also worked for organizations in Geneva and La Paz, Bolivia. She decided to join the FORPP Team as she got inspired to contribute and learn more about non-violence and international accompaniment.
Adila Nasir (February 2015 – February 2016)
Julia Schutt (October 2014 – November 2015)
Julia is a Massachusetts native, but moved to Colombia from Colorado, where she graduated from the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver with a Masters in International Human Rights. While at Korbel, Julia concentrated her studies on Colombia, with an emphasis on human rights in the context of the armed conflict. She also researched and reported on corporate human rights violations and responses in Latin America as part of the Corporations and Human Rights Database Project. Julia has spent time in Neiva, participating in a course on Gender and Transitional Justice and collaborating on research with the Grupo de Investigación Yumatambo at the Universidad Surcolombiana, and in Bogotá, interning with the Comité Permanente por la Defensa de los Derechos Humanos. Julia is thrilled to be back in Colombia, and cannot wait to immerse herself in the world of international accompaniment.
Michaela Soellinger (March 2013 – October 2015)
After growing up in the Upper Austrian countryside, Michaela studied physics and specialized in magnetic resonance imaging in medicine. Besides academics she tried to satisfy her passion for relating to people with different sociocultural backgrounds by volunteering, e.g. accompanying asylum seekers. A few years ago Michaela decided to focus on peace work and went to Guatemala to volunteer as an International Accompanier. She fell in love with the idea of International Accompaniment and studied peace and conflict transformation. In March 2013 Michaela joined the FOR Peace Presence Team.
Robin Llewellyn (July – September 2015)
Robin (Robinson) is from Wales, and studied International Relations and Human Rights before settling on a career as a freelance journalist. Having written about land conflicts in Latin America from Guatemala to Peru he is eager to contribute to Peace Presence’s work with the Peace Village of San Jose. Outside of work Robin loves riding horses, a skill that will be used on the hills of Apartadó, and playing football – preferably against children so he can show off his abilities without losing the ball.
Nikki Drake (July 2014 – June 2015)
Kaya Marie Allan Sugerman (January 2014 – April 2015)
Kaya grew up jointly in Kona, Hawaii and Los Angeles, California. In 2012 she completed her B.A. in Peace and Conflict Studies with a focus on International Conflict Resolution and Political Ecology at the University of California, Berkeley. It was there that she developed a passion for investigating grassroots resistance to environmental exploitation and human rights abuses. She spent time in Malaysia working with a research institute and reporting on a consent policy which could curb the appropriation of indigenous traditional knowledge and customary lands by both foreign and national corporations and governments. As a seeker, activist, and writer, deciding to work with La Comunidad de Paz de San José de Apartadó presented itself as a grand opportunity to learn how one group has developed nonviolent alternatives to Colombia’s long-standing, violent, and in part US-funded conflict.
Gale Stafford (November 2013 – April 2015)
Gale (or Virginia, as she is known by her middle name in the field) grew up in Massachusetts, learning about creativity, teamwork, and Spanish. It was in high school with past FORista Janice when she first learned about Colombia and some of the conflict within it. Gale has spent the last several years at Bennington College in the hills of southwest Vermont, investigating various education systems and how they relate to democracy and socioeconomic disparity, and thinking about how students and teachers learn and connect with each other both within classrooms and without. There she completed both her BA and her MA in Teaching, and is looking forward to flexing her understandings of how communities work and support each other, both within the Community and on the Peace Presence team. To learn more about Gale’s experience, check out her blog here.
Isabel Moris Look (January 2014 – January 2015)
Isabel spent half her childhood in Colombia, and the other half in Maryland suburbs. She found the solidarity movement during her studies at American University, while focusing on peace and conflict resolution, and participated in a very memorable delegation to Colombia, organized by Witness for Peace, visiting some of the peace communities, whom she promised she would visit again. After graduation, and some traveling, she returned to work and interned at Peace Brigades International in Washington D.C., working closely with governmental and non-profit institutions like the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA), the US Office on Colombia (USOC), United States Institute of Peace (USIP), and the Organization of American States (OAS). Where she learned more about coordinated action in the US, political activism, and international refugee law.