The Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter School for Peace and Conflict Resolution relies on the support and guidance from alumni and partners serving on the Carter School Advisory Board. This group of volunteer leaders are an important bridge between the academy and broader community.
K.C. Soares, Chair
K. C. Soares is a senior management consultant focusing on large systems change, community and non-profit organization development and institution building, human capacity building, and executive coaching. She worked for over 18 years in the Organization of American States in social and income generating projects and was responsible for the OAS Center for Training and Development. She has worked in Africa, Europe, and the Americas.
In addition to serving on the Carter School's Advisory Board, K. C. is also involved with credit unions and cooperatives and serves as Chair of the OAS Federal Credit Union. She is the founding president of IODA-International Organization Development Association. With the Carter School she is currently developing programs and projects – for faculty and students – with the School of Management, Federal University of Bahia. She has taught at several other universities.
She holds a Ph.D. from Cornell University and speaks Portuguese, Spanish, and English.
Rebecca Cataldi, MS '10, Vice Chair
Rebecca Cataldi is a conflict resolution specialist and trainer, and serves as Senior Program Officer at the International Center for Religion & Diplomacy (ICRD), where her work has focused on facilitating conflict resolution and countering violent extremism (CVE) initiatives in Yemen, engaging madrasa and interfaith leaders in Pakistan, supporting reconciliation efforts among Syrians, developing peacebuilding and CVE curricular materials, and furthering other initiatives to counter violent extremism.
Ms. Cataldi is a summa cum-laude graduate of Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and holds an M.S. in Conflict Analysis and Resolution from George Mason University’s Carter School. She has served as a conflict resolution trainer for the U. S. Department of State’s Speaker/Specialist Program, the Luminari youth program, and the Arlington County Jail through Offender Aid and Restoration, and as a facilitator of Western-Muslim World dialogue with the Soliya Connect Program. She is the founder of the American-Islamic Friendship Project and has engaged in cultural exchange, interfaith, educational, peacebuilding, and other initiatives in more than 50 countries, including Pakistan, Yemen, Syria, Libya, Egypt, Morocco, Lebanon, Jordan, Oman, Qatar, Indonesia, Thailand, Japan, Cote d’Ivoire, Cuba, Chile, Australia, and the United States.
J. Daryl Byler
J. Daryl Byler is Director of Development and Communications at the DC Bar Foundation. The Foundation is committed to the vision that residents of the District of Columbia have equal access to justice, regardless of income. In 2020, the Foundation will make more that $10 million in grants to civil legal aid organizations in Washington, D.C.
From 2013 until 2019, Byler served as Executive Director at the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding at Eastern Mennonite University in Harrisonburg, Virginia. The Center now has more than 600 M.A. alumni engaged in peacebuilding work around the world.
From 2007 until 2013, Byler lived in Amman, Jordan, serving as a regional representative for Mennonite Central Committee. In this capacity he worked with local civil society organizations in Iran, Iraq, Jordan and Israel-Palestine on a variety of humanitarian assistance, development, interfaith and peacebuilding projects.
From 1994 until 2007, Byler served as director of Mennonite Central Committee’s Washington Office, working with Christian, Muslim and Jewish organizations on a variety of public policy issues.
From 1988 to 1994 Byler served as a staff attorney with East Mississippi Legal Services in Meridian, Mississippi. During this same period, he pastored an inter-racial congregation in the same city.
Byler graduated from University of Virginia School of Law in 1988. He and his wife, Cindy Lehman Byler, have three adult children and four grandchildren.
Carlos Calderón, '82, Treasurer
Carlos R. Calderón is the Chief Executive Officer/ President of the Organization of American States (OAS) Staff Federal Credit Union (1993-to Present). With 25+ years of experience as a Credit Union Executive, he is responsible and accountable for leading a $250 million financial cooperative and ensuring that the organization is successfully serving a discriminating and demanding global membership with unique financial needs. Working closely with the board of directors, sponsoring organizations and senior management, Mr. Calderón prepares and executes the annual budget and strategic plan. Responsibilities include monitoring closely market trends to understand, prepare and respond to economic, financial and regulatory trends affecting the balance sheet, members, family members and prospective members. Mr. Calderón’s academic background includes a Bachelor of Science in Information Systems from George Mason University and an Executive Master’s in Leadership (EML) from Georgetown University - McDonough School of Business. In addition to budgeting, investment portfolio management and high tech competencies, Mr. Calderón has developed a strong mastery of strategic planning, team motivation and the capacities required to resolve ‘stressful and demanding’ situations. With a multicultural and bilingual background, he has practical commitment to diversity, inclusion and peace engineering.
George Dwyer, Secretary
Dr. George Dwyer is an Affiliate Research Scholar at George Mason University’s Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter School for Peace and Conflict Resolution in Arlington, Virginia.
An Emmy Award winning television reporter/producer, now retired, Dwyer most recently served as Executive Producer at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs in Washington, DC.
Before joining the VA in June 2008, Dwyer was employed for 16 years as an International Broadcast Journalist with the United States Information Agency (USIA) / Voice of America (VOA). In 2005 he was awarded VOA’s top honor for program excellence in recognition of a report on the “Israeli Security Barrier,” shot on location in Israel and the West Bank Territories.
Prior to joining VOA, Dwyer served briefly as Director of Broadcast Services for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (aspca), a nonprofit national animal welfare organization based in New York. Between 1983 and 1986 he was employed as a freelance production assistant by film director Stanley Kubrick, providing research and acquisition services for the film “Full Metal Jacket.”
Between 1977 and 1991, Dwyer worked as a research assistant and field producer with ABC News in New York and Washington, D.C. He is a founding board member of the international Society of Environmental Journalists. Dwyer earned a Doctor of Liberal Studies degree at Georgetown University (2015). His thesis examines Public Diplomacy, Public Dialogue, Deliberative Democracy, International Broadcasting, and Public Journalism. Additional degrees include a BA in Sociology from Niagara University (1979), an MA in Irish Studies from the Catholic University of America (1997), and an Executive Master’s Degree in Leadership from Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business.
Dr. Dwyer is a dual citizen of the United States and the Republic of Ireland, and an Overseas Citizen of India. He is married to Krishna Roy, a native of Kolkata, India
Dr. Alan L. Gropman taught at the National Defense University for 20 years. He is an adjunct professor at George Mason University’s Carter School teaching Grand Strategy in Peace and War, and is a member of the School’s Advisory Board, and former chair. He is the distinguished professor emeritus for National Security Policy at the National Defense University. He served for 27 years in the United States Air Force and accumulated more than 4,000 flying hours including two combat flying tours in Vietnam. He was director of Military History Instruction at the United States Air Force Academy and vice dean of faculty at the National War College. He served several tours in various headquarters, including the Pentagon. He taught as an adjunct professor at Georgetown University for 8 years in the Strategic Studies Program. He has written four books and more than 350 book reviews, anthology chapters, OP-ED essays, articles in refereed journals, and currently a monthly article on Think Tank outputs for more than six years. He has taught six courses for the Osher Life Long Learning Institute.
Alan can be reached at email@example.com and 703-569-1549.
Alma Abdul-Hadi Jadallah, MAIS '96, PhD '06
Dr. Alma Abdulhadi-Jadallah is an internationally recognized scholar-practitioner in conflict prevention and mitigation with a personal and professional commitment to global peace and the peaceful resolution of conflict. As an educator, she teaches graduate-level courses in conflict analysis and resolution in lead academic institutions. International experience includes field and research studies in crisis and post-conflict settings, conducting country conflict assessment studies, and advising on policy formulation and development in countries facing transition and humanitarian crises. She also brings extensive organizational development experience to her work coaching parties and groups to identify shared interests and enhance their abilities and skills towards collaborative attitudes and behaviors. Her research and writings focus on political and organized violence, third-party roles, gender, and culture. She has worked extensively in the Arab world and on regional Middle East issues. She currently serves as President of Kommon Denominator, Inc., providing technical expertise to the UN, EU, ASEAN, and a broad range of academic institutions and civil society organizations. She is the US representative on the Eminent and Expert Persons (EEP), ASEAN Regional Forum, where she advises on preventive diplomacy and women peace and security (WPS).
Highlights of her career include serving as the UN Regional Expert and Coordinator for the Panel of Experts on Yemen, established pursuant to Security Council resolution 2140 (2014); Serving as a UN Expert at the National Dialogue in Yemen under the efforts of the Special Advisor to the Secretary-General Jamal Ben Omar; Serving as the Quaker International Affairs Representative to the Middle East, and consulting to the UN and EU Track II diplomatic efforts on Syria.
Dr. Jadallah is an expert facilitator and mediator. She serves on the roster of mediators for the European Union_ ERMES, the Office of Compliance, Advisor, Ombudsman IFC - World Bank, and the UN Rosters of Mediators and Rapid Deployment for Crisis Intervention; She is a member of the International Consortium on Closed Space (iCon), Center for International and Strategic Studies (CSIS).
Dr. Jadallah is the recipient of several business awards and honors, including the 2017 Distinguished Alumni Award for the School of Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University. She serves her community through volunteering and support of causes related to social justice and vulnerable populations. She currently serves as chair of the Nominating Commitee for the Carter School Advisory Board.
Dilafruz Khonikboyeva, '10, MS '14
As a policy, public affairs and communications expert who has worked globally, Dilafruz Khonikboyeva is well-versed in high-risk, high-publicity contexts that require fast-paced planning and partnership building to impact public policy and opinion. She is a skilled public speaker, spokesperson, and leader.
Ms. Khonikboyeva is currently a part of the Biden-Harris Administration. Previously, she spent five years at the Aga Khan Development Network, most recently in global leadership leveraging the for-profit businesses for sustainable international development across four continents through the Aga Khan Foundation. She was formerly with the US government for eight years, where she worked on public affairs, partnerships, and policy in response to conflict and climate crises.
Ms. Khonikboyeva is also a conflict practitioner and certified mediator focused on change management, climate and sustainability, and indigenous rights and DEIA. She was selected by the presidential centers and libraries of George W. Bush, William J. Clinton, George H.W. Bush, and Lyndon B. Johnson as a 2019 Presidential Leadership Scholar. Ms. Khonikboyeva is Co-Chair for the Climate Change Working Group for Women of Color Advancing Peace, Security and Conflict Transformation (WCAPS).
Dilafruz is originally from Khorog, Tajikistan and is indigenous Pamiri Tajik.
Christel G. McDonald grew up in Hamburg, Germany, explored the import/export world, became a European Civil Servant in the first decade of the Council of Ministers of the European Economic Community (now EU), Brussels (Belgium) and Geneva (Switzerland), accredited to the United Nations and it's Specialized Agencies.
In 1970 she married U.S. Foreign Service Officer John W. McDonald and became quickly acquainted with U.S. foreign policy in United Nations and international settings, no longer seeing the world only from a European point of view. Ambassador McDonald retired in 1987 from his diplomatic career of 40 years in the U.S Foreign Service (Track I diplomacy).
Together Ambassador and Mrs. McDonald entered the world of Citizen Diplomacy when Ambassador McDonald became President of the Iowa Peace Institute in Grinnell, Iowa (1989-1991). In 1992 he co-founded with Dr. Louise Diamond the Institute for Multi-Track Diplomacy (IMTD) in Washington, D.C., based on a systems-approach to peacebuilding. ICAR/S-CAR students became the first Interns building a link between academia and practitioners. Over the last 30 years, IMTD had more than 300 Interns from all over the world, allowing Mrs. McDonald a close working relationship especially with foreign students.
As Independent Historical Researcher (M.A. History - fluent in German, English, French), and in partnership, consultation and collaboration with her husband and IMTD, Mrs. McDonald expanded her outreach to global networks and people in and from conflict areas. In addition, Mrs. McDonald was President of the DC Area Phi Beta Kappa Association for almost a decade, introducing several creative and transformative measures enhancing the growth and activities of the Association. Also, she enjoyed for 27 years her role as Chair of the French Group of the American Associates of the Foreign Service Worldwide (AAFSW).
Mrs. McDonald is committed to the mission of the Carter School to provide the best education possible for all students who have chosen to be the peacebuilders in a less violent world. She also serves on the Governance and Nominating Committee of the Board.
Mrs. McDonald believes that every single profession and every single individual can benefit, at any age, from acquiring the skills of solving conflicts non-violently at home, locally, nationally and globally.
Betilde Muñoz-Pogossian (Venezuela-USA) is Director of the Department of Social Inclusion, Secretariat for Access to Rights and Equity at the Organization of American States (OAS). She is responsible for directing the OAS work on social inclusion and access to rights with special focus on populations in situations of vulnerability. She has edited, published, and co-authored numerous pieces on Latin American and Caribbean issues. Some of her latest publications include the Policy Brief “Creativity amidst crisis: Legal Pathways for Venezuelan migrants in the Americas" in cooperation with the Migration Policy Institute, and the article “Where are the Women? Why Expanding our Understanding of Venezuela’s Humanitarian Crisis Matters,” published by the Georgetown Journal of International Affairs.
She is also founder and coordinator of the female political scientists network @ReddePolitólogas #NotWithoutWomen (#NoSinMujeres), a project that seeks to promote and make visible the contributions to the field of female political scientists in the region. She's a regular columnist for the journal El Nacional, and Caracas Chronicles; she is also guest columnist at various media outlets throughout the region.
In 2008, 2016 and again in 2019, Muñoz-Pogossian won the Outstanding Performance Award granted by the Secretary General of the OAS for her impressive contributions to the work of the organization. She has a Master's degree in International Relations from the University of South Florida, and a Ph.D. in Political Science from Florida International University.
Robert B. Nealon is the senior partner of Nealon & Associates, P.C. He has earned the top AV rating by Martindale-Hubbell. He has practiced with this firm, in various incarnations, for over 30 years, and has maintained offices at the 119 North Henry Street building since 1984. Mr. Nealon practices primarily in the areas of corporate law and litigation, commercial litigation, government relations, financial institution law, real estate law, and tax law. In the course of his career, Mr. Nealon has represented hundreds of companies and served as general corporate counsel to many nationwide and international companies, commercial development and high technology asset companies, financial institutions, and a wide variety of small businesses. In addition to the JD he received in 1982 from the University of Bridgeport magna cum laude, Mr. Nealon holds a MBA in finance from the Rochester Institute of Technology and a ML in taxation from Georgetown University. Mr. Nealon is a member of the Virginia and New York state bars, and is also admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court, U.S. Tax Court, U.S. Court of Federal Claims, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, and U.S. District Court and Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Virginia; and the District of Columbia. Additionally, he has litigated in the Delaware Court of Chancery to pursue matters in corporate litigation and has been qualified as an expert in Delaware corporate law as well.
Mr. Nealon has formerly served as chair of the Virginia Small Business Advisory Board and as chair of the Carter School Advisory Board at George Mason University.
Brian Polkinghorn, MS ’88
Brian is a distinguished professor of Conflict Analysis and Dispute Resolution. Since 2000, he has been the program director in the Department of Conflict Analysis and Resolution and executive director of the Center for Conflict Resolution (CCR) at Salisbury University. Prior to 2000, he was the senior faculty member in the Department of Conflict Analysis and Resolution, Nova Southeastern University. He has worked in the conflict intervention field since 1985 as a mediator, arbitrator, facilitator, trainer, researcher, academic program developer, conflict coach, dispute systems designer and ombudsman. His primary research and publications are in the areas of environmental disputes, graduate program developments in the English-speaking world, post conflict development projects, ADR court program assessment and, the evaluation of major government ADR programs. He has published over 40 articles, book chapters and edited books and been the principle investigator or recipient of more than 50 grants. He has practiced in more than a dozen countries primarily in the areas of environmental policy dispute intervention, labor-management. cross border cooperative enterprises, support of peace talks and civil society training.
He is currently facilitating dialogues between Palestinian, Jordanian and Israeli parties on water rights/usage, waste to energy and collaborative agricultural in the Jordan River basin. He has also worked on the peace process in Nepal. Brian is an alumnus of the Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University and the Program on the Analysis and Resolution of Conflicts at Syracuse University (MA, MPhil, PhD 1994). He was also a fellow with the Program on Negotiation (PON), Harvard University Law School (1991-1992), a national fellow with the US Environmental Protection Agency (1991-1993), a United States Presidential Fellow (1991), the University System of Maryland Wilson Elkins professor, a Senior American Fulbright Scholar with the Evens Program in International Conflict and Mediation at Tel Aviv University (2010) and most recently appointed a Fulbright Alumni Ambassador (2015).
Edward Hart Rice
Edward Rice is a computer scientist by training, having studied at The Johns Hopkins University from 1966-1971. He later obtained a Master of Science in Computer Science from The American University (1982). He worked with hospital and medical systems at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine; was involved in the competitive sourcing of computers to the Federal government for Honeywell Information Systems; support of the largest computer system in the Pentagon for the US Air Force and Office of the Secretary of Defense; and development of extensions to database management and operating system software for CACI, Inc.-Federal and the US Geological Survey (USGS). He designed and developed ultra-large database management facilities for the USGS Topographic Division, analyzed financial information flow for the USGS Water Resources Division, and created a real-time performance monitoring tool for Honeywell software. For Information Systems Consultants, he designed major operating system modifications to allow for high-performance transaction processing. Working for Honeywell and afterward, he started and directed the activities of a BSA Explorer Post that guided high school students in studying computer science, the leading group of its kind in Virginia (and possibly the United States).
Starting in 1984, Mr. Rice worked for the Linguistic Society of America, developing management systems for a network of Macintosh computers to allow their employees to manage membership, produce complex documents for print and online, and automated the distribution of their publications through US and numerous foreign postal systems. During the period 1984-1987 he volunteered time to various non-profit organizations that needed his specialized skills.
From 1986 to 1990, Mr. Rice was East Coast Coordinator for a large (2000+ members) grassroots organization called the Earthstewards Network which worked on “Track II diplomacy”: citizen efforts to encourage peaceful and productive relations between country-pairs or interest-pairs such as Irish Catholics and Protestants; Indian and Pakistani people of various faiths; and the United States and the Soviet Union. This required travel to other countries to establish relationships and plan for citizen exchanges, support of hosting for large numbers of foreigners when they came to the United States, and arranging their activities and logistical support while they were in the US. This included the Washington, DC-regional support for Soviet “youth” (late high-school and college students) who stayed in American homes during their visits to Northern Virginia, an historic first. While he was working on these projects, he became involved in the Center for Conflict Analysis and Resolution at GMU (later ICAR, S-CAR, then Carter School).
In 1991, starting with the birth of his first child, Mr. Rice stepped back from high-intensity, travel-oriented activities and became a full-time father to his two children. He did volunteer computer work for the Green Hedges School and supported each of their secondary and college careers. During this period, Mr. Rice and his brother-in-law assumed responsibility for real estate investments and planning that resulted from his late father’s business activities in New York City, Dallas, Phoenix, Hawaii, Pennsylvania and other locations. He remains an active and involved parent, but is now also an experienced investor in commercial real estate.
Mr. Rice was appointed to the Board of Visitors of James Madison University in 2014, and served a four-year term on that Board. He declined a reappointment to James Madison’s Board and was then appointed to serve on the George Mason University Board of Visitors, starting in July, 2018. He remains on excellent terms and in close contact with James Madison University, with Radford University (where his son is an undergraduate), and has ongoing interests at Johns Hopkins University, New York University, Yale, the University of Virginia, and other institutions of higher education.
Mr. Rice is a member of the Board of Directors of WETA and the Greater Washington Educational Telecommunications Association, and is on the Advisory Board of Mason's Carter School. He has held Board positions for several homeowners associations and volunteer groups. He is involved through the Rice Family Foundation (of which he is co-President and a member of the Board) with many educational and other non-profits throughout the United States. He works with grassroots political organizations and with community organizers. He has been a member and officer of the culinary society “Confrérie de la Chaîne des Rôtisseurs” for 26 years.
Prabha Sankaranarayan is the President and CEO of Mediators Beyond Borders International, (http://mediatorsbeyondborders.org/) an international impact organization whose mission is to build local skills for peace and promote mediation worldwide. She is committed to partnership, as evidenced by the organization’s collaboration with over 120 organizations globally. She leads MBBI’s recent partnership with Rotary International, a global network of 1.2 million members, as well as with NAFCM, a North American network of over 300 mediation centers.
She is a conflict transformation practitioner who has mediated, facilitated and trained in Europe, Asia, Africa and the USA. Her public and private sector work includes conflict analysis for public/private partnerships, consultation & assessment for industrial development zones, design and implementation of trainings for multinational corporations; inter faith dialogues as well as facilitation of multi-stakeholder mediations. In her capacity as CEO of MBBI she designs conflict transformation and capacity building programs around the world, serves as a consultant for companies, policy makers, governments, universities and groups engaged in civil resistance and also advises on the role of women in peace and security.
Prabha is involved in regional, national and international civic activities focused on civil liberties, violence prevention, conflict mitigation & mediation and the recovery & rehabilitation of trauma survivors. She is an Adjunct Professor at Washington and Jefferson College. She serves on the ASEAN Regional Forum’s (ARF) Expert and Eminent Persons (EEP) Group for the US Government. Her current board appointments include Visions Inc (a DEI organization in USA) and Women’s International Peace Center (WIPC in Uganda).
Elaine M. Sarao
Elaine M. Sarao, Ph.D. has worked globally as an Investigative Analyst, Strategist and Creator of Goal Oriented Solutions to Dynamic and Complex Problems for Educational, Business and Governmental Institutions.
Currently, Dr. Elaine M. Sarao is the Associate Rector of UACU, Ukrainian-American Concordia University, in Kyiv, Ukraine. UACU awards BBA, MBA degrees and Ph.Ds. in Economics, teaches in English and is the only Ukrainian University, public or private, which is EU accredited.
Dr. Sarao held a Top Secret Security Clearance at the U.S. Department of State 12/2010 – 12/2015 where, as an Expert on Civil Society, she was invited to be a Franklin Fellow at the Department of State from 2010 – 2013.
There, amongst many assignments, including working on the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Team for Secretary Hillary Clinton, Dr. Sarao addressed for the Department an unfunded Congressional mandate to create a global Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) program that every US Mission, world-wide, would implement.
Elaine created a program which leveraged the State Department’s International Visitors Program to maximize that program by including the delivery of an IPR component for each vetted participant. This enhancement did not cost the Department any additional funds and by its design saved the Department millions of dollars in their response to Congress.
This program was approved and announced by then Undersecretary Robert Hormats.
From 2000 – 2007, Dr. Sarao represented Congressman Major R. Owens’ interests as his Congressional Fellow for Foreign Affairs in South Asia, Pakistan, Haiti and Rwanda.
There, amongst other projects for Congressman Owens, she strategized the successful return of the Peace Corps to Rwanda, which was announced by President Bush in 2007.
In 2005, through UACU (then WIUU), Elaine advised Ukrainian President Yushchenko on the capacity of Ukraine to successfully obtain a Millennium Challenge Account.
The award of the Millennium Challenge Account to Ukraine was for more than a half a billion dollars.
Elaine was one of the founders and the Executive Director of Foreign Aid Through Education, FATE, a 501(c)(3) NGO that addressed U.S. foreign-aid policy. Between 1994 and 2002, FATE secured millions of dollars in appropriations from the US Congress.
The legislation was for $25 million in two “appropriations with directive” from Congress for economic development to support the social stability in Haiti and Georgia.
Before entering Foreign Affairs, Elaine’s career in Communications and teaching was at Northern Virginian Community College, NOVA, in the Division of Visual and Performing Arts.
She also taught at the Corcoran School of Art and Trinity University DC.
Besides teaching, Elaine created and directed teams of the 50+ professionals, who volunteered annually for the Career Day programs of the Washington’s Graphic Arts Industry that served 300 to 500 college students in the Mid-Atlantic region.
Elaine also worked for corporate clients as a principal of TD&W Design Concepts in Washington, DC. Clients included the Smithsonian Institution, Marriott, the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the American Psychiatric Association.
Elaine taught from 1982 to 1999. She worked for the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve 1981-1982, as the Exhibit and Publications Designer for the North Carolina Museum of Art 1976- 1981, and as a Book Designer for Prentice Hall Publishing 1971-1975.
Elaine won national design awards from the AIGA, American Institute of Graphic Artists, and served on the boards of the Washington Chapter of AIGA and the Washington Art Directors Club.
Dr. Sarao has traveled and worked in Japan, Haiti, Croatia, Belgium, Switzerland, Ghana, Georgia, Ukraine, Pakistan, India, China, and Rwanda.
She lived in Ukraine 2002 – 2005 and in Rwanda 2005 – 2007.
Elaine’s AA and BFA are from Parsons School of Design and the New School, NYC, NY. Her MFA, a terminal degree, is in Communications from Syracuse University, NY.
Dr. Sarao was awarded a Ph.D. in International Relations and Public Diplomacy, Honoris Causa, by the Ukrainian American Liberal Arts Institute, WIUU, "Wisconsin International University (USA) Ukraine".
Dr. Sarao’s Ph.D. was confirmed in May 2015 by Ukraine’s Minister of Education for the Ministry of Education
In Europe, a Ph.D. Honoris Causa is rigorously reviewed and judiciously awarded.
The Ph.D. was awarded for her body of work in International Relations and Public Diplomacy, calling of note her strategizing the return of the Peace Corps to Rwanda 12 years after the Genocide. The return of the Peace Corps to Rwanda has changed and bettered thousands of lives.
Dr. Sarao was also awarded The Revival of the Spirit of the Nation on the 25th Anniversary of the Independence of Ukraine, May 4, 2016 for Ukraine from the Association of Non-State owned Educational Institutions of Ukraine Coordinating Council.
Then Dr. Elaine Sarao was awarded The Badge of Honor from the City of Kyiv in August 2017 by Mayor Vitali Klitschko the Mayor and the Administration of the Capital City.
Dr. Sarao lives and works in Washington, DC.
Michael Shank, PhD '13
Dr. Michael Shank is the Communications Director for the Carbon Neutral Cities Alliance, a group of international cities committed to achieving aggressive long-term carbon reduction goals. Michael’s professional career includes leading press and/or policy shops at the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network, Climate Nexus (clients included the United Nations, Vatican City, The White House, and Fortune 500 Companies), U.S. Congress, Friends Committee on National Legislation, Institute for Economics and Peace, Biodiversity Northwest, Puget Soundkeeper Alliance and more.
Michael’s academic career includes a Ph.D. from George Mason University’s Carter School for Peace and Conflict Resolution and is focused on climate conflict. Michael is adjunct faculty at New York University’s Center for Global Affairs, where he teaches graduate courses on Sustainable Development, Power and Politics and Climate and Security. Shank also serves as adjunct faculty and advisory board member at George Mason University’s Carter School for Peace and Conflict Resolution, where he teaches graduate courses on Communicating Conflict.
Michael is a former columnist for the Washington Post and US News & World Report and a contributor to USA Today, CNN, The Guardian, TIME, Fast Company, Newsweek and more. Michael lives in Brandon, VT, where he chairs the Planning Commission and Energy Committee, serves on the boards of the Safer Society Foundation and Compass Music and Arts Foundation, created Brandon Films and Brandon Abroad, and runs a small animal sanctuary. Social: Twitter | YouTube | Instagram Contact: michael.shank (@) nyu.edu.
Mark D. Sickles
Mark Sickles has represented the 43rd House District – now including Franconia, Kingstowne, Huntington, Lorton, and Ft. Belvoir neighborhoods of South Fairfax County – since 2004. He currently serves on the Appropriations Committee, including its Higher Education, Transportation, and Health subcommittees, the Health, Welfare, and Institutions Committee, and the Privileges and Elections Committee. From 2011 to 2014, he served as chair of the House Democratic Caucus. As a part-time legislator, he works full-time for a national marine construction company based in Metropolitan New York.
He has two master’s degrees from Georgia Tech and a bachelor’s degree from Clemson University. In civic life, he was appointed by Supervisor Joe Alexander and Supervisor Dana Kauffman to the Fairfax County Library Board, serving for 11 years and one term as chair. In his two years as chair (1998-2000), Mark oversaw the opening of a new library in Kingstowne and the development of a ten-year capital improvement plan that resulted in the renovation of the Richard Byrd and Martha Washington libraries and acquisition of over seven acres for the future development of a regional library on Beulah Street near Manchester Boulevard. He also served as president of United Community Ministries – a social-service non-profit providing employment services, aid to the homeless, and high-quality daycare to low-income children – during a six-year term on its board.
He is currently on the Aerospace Advisory Council and the George Mason University Carter School Advisory Board. He is an active member of the Bioscience Caucus. He was formerly a member of the Substance Abuse Services Council, and the Commission on Military and National Security Facilities.
Pete Swanson, '86, MS '88
Pete Swanson is the Chief Practitioner for the Office of Conflict Management and Prevention at the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS). Prior to re-joining FMCS in late 2018, he was a senior partner with Carr Swanson & Randolph, LLC for eighteen years. Mr. Swanson has extensive domestic and international experience helping a diverse range of national and international clients achieve effective business results. He specializes in merging the disciplines of conflict resolution, leadership development, coaching, organizational development and training/education to provide systemic and holistic approaches to client challenges. He helps people and organizations better connect and communicate with each other. He is an accomplished mediator, coach, facilitator, trainer and consultant in leadership development and alignment and systemic/organizational change.
Over the past two decades, Mr. Swanson has been at the cutting edge of conflict resolution, leadership development and complex systemic organization change efforts. He has worked in over 50 federal/state/local and international agencies and organizations in four continents and 23 countries including Afghanistan, Argentina, Austria, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Greece, Holland, India, Japan, Korea, Kosovo, Myanmar, Nepal, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Serbia, Slovenia, Sweden and Thailand. This work has included mediation training, facilitation, dispute systems design, leadership development, and related areas.
He regularly mediates/facilitates many large and small workplace conflicts, facilitates senior executive leadership programs and culture change efforts for many federal agencies and other organizations; and provides executive coaching services to senior leaders. He has served as course designer and lead trainer and instructor for over 3,000 students in hundreds of mediation, leadership/negotiation, and facilitation courses and workshops. He has designed, taught courses, and coached many leaders who are involved in challenging environments to enhance their communication and negotiation skills to reach a deeper level of connection and understanding and transform adversarial relationships into productive partnerships.
Mr. Swanson has been a mediator and neutral party for three decades, first serving FMCS between 1989-2001 as a Commissioner/ADR mediator and mediation/facilitation training specialist. While at the FMCS he was a principle architect of their domestic and international alternative dispute resolution programs, and served as a mediator and facilitator in many public policy, labor, grant, employment, EEO, and environmental disputes. He has facilitated numerous complex multi-party, public policy and negotiated rulemaking disputes, including extensive work with intergovernmental agencies and Native American tribes and tribal organizations. Mr. Swanson has a masters in Conflict Management as well as an undergraduate degree in Cultural Anthropology, both from George Mason University.
Karyn Trader-Leigh, MA '93
Dr. Karyn Trader-Leigh is the CEO of KTA Global Partners an Organization Development and Change Management consultancy, providing thought leadership and system-wide change interventions to public, private and nonprofit organizations. This work includes Human Capital Development, Strategic Planning, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, Capacity Building, and Culture Change. Karyn has worked in Director roles in Human Resource Management; Employee Relations; Training and Organizational Development, in aerospace and technology organizations. She has served as a consultant, project manager and researcher for the Joint Center for Political an Economic Studies, focused on public policy issues affecting marginalized communities.
Her broad international experience includes capacity building in war torn and emerging country environments. She serves as the Director of the Taia Peace Foundation, previously led by her late husband Major General Fredric Leigh (Ret.) which focuses on public health, gender equity and income security in Sierra Leone and Liberia. Karyn has run COVID public health education projects in six villages in rural Sierra Leone and West Point, Monrovia, Liberia. She also serves on boards focused on HIV youth in South Africa and civic education and governance in Liberia. Her KTA consulting practice includes extensive experience with government clients across federal agencies, NASA, Army Research Laboratory, NSA, DOD, HHS, DHS, SBA and teaching in the Foreign Service Institute. She is an experienced executive coach and has certified coaches for the London based International Coaching Community (ICC). Education: Ed. D., Organization Change (2000), and masters program in Organizational Development, Pepperdine University; She is a proud graduate of George Mason’s masters program in International Transactions (1993), BA Urban Affairs and Sociology, Connecticut College (1973). She is the author of several public policy research studies. Her article “Case Study US Department of State: Identifying Resistance in Managing Change” published in the Journal of Change Management, has been downloaded more than 5000 times, with 242 citations in global publications.
Emeritus Board Members
Frank Duggan passed away in November 2017. During his distinguished career, he served as President of the Victims of Pan Am Flight 103, Inc, the organization of families of those who perished in the bombing over Lockerbie, Scotland in 1988. He has represented this group without charge for 20 years and was instrumental in their receiving some $2.7 billion in compensation from the government of Libya. He also served on the Board of the Cheney Cardiac Institute at George Washington Hospital in Washington DC, and as Chairman of the Head Injury Rehabilitation and Research Service in Rockville, Maryland.
From 1999 to 2004, Mr. Duggan served as a Board member and Chairman of the National Mediation Board (NMB), appointed by President Clinton and confirmed twice by the Senate. The NMB is an independent agency that performs a central role in facilitating harmonious labor-management relations within two of the nation's key transportation modes – the railroads and airlines. Prior to this appointment, Mr. Duggan was an attorney with the Washington law firm of Mullenholz, Brimsek and Belair. For ten years he represented the Association of American Railroads on Capitol Hill, and, from 1989-90, served on the Presidents Commission on Aviation Security and Terrorism. He has been Chairman of the Transportation Section of the Federal Bar Association and an officer of the Washington Foreign Law Society, as well as numerous Bar committees and law enforcement positions. He was a Reserve Deputy Sheriff for twelve years, is a certified Police Firearms Instructor and active in the Fairfax Rod and Gun Club.
Mr. Duggan was a Presidential appointee at the Labor Department during the Ford and Reagan Administrations, serving as Assistant Secretary in the Reagan administration. He worked in the Senate on the Labor Committee and in the office of former Senator Charles Mathias (R-MD), and in the House for Rep. William Steiger (R-WI). He was also the Director of Operations of the Legal Services Program in the Office of Economic Opportunity, and Senior Legislative Manager of the US Department of the Treasury. After attending St. John's College and Law School in New York, Mr. Duggan received two graduate political science fellowships and a research grant from Harvard University.
In 2017, the Carter School and its Advisory Board established the Ambassador John W. McDonald Award to recognize outstanding service and leadership in peacebuilding. This Award is a lasting tribute Ambassador McDonald's profound legacy. Ambassador (ret.) John W. McDonald was a lawyer, diplomat, former international civil servant, development expert and peacebuilder, concerned about world social, economic and ethnic problems. He spent twenty years of his diplomatic career in Western Europe and the Middle East and worked for sixteen years on United Nations economic and social affairs. He served as chairman and co-founder (1992-2017) of the Institute for Multi-Track Diplomacy, in Washington D.C., which focuses on national and international ethnic conflicts, including the Millennium goals of clean drinking water and sanitation. He also was UNEP's North American Representative to the International Environmental Governance Advisory Group.
McDonald retired from the U.S. Foreign Service in 1987, after a 40-year diplomatic career. In 1987-88, he became a professor of law at The George Washington University Law School in Washington, D.C. He was a senior advisor to George Mason University's Center for Conflict Analysis and Resolution and taught and lectured at the Foreign Service Institute and the Center for the Study of Foreign Affairs. From December, 1988, to January, 1992, McDonald was president of the Iowa Peace Institute in Grinnell, Iowa and was a professor of Political Science at Grinnell College. In February, 1992, he was named distinguished visiting professor at George Mason University's Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution, in Fairfax, Virginia. Before his retirement from the State Department in 1987, McDonald joined in 1983 the State Department's newly formed Center for the Study of Foreign Affairs as its coordinator for multilateral affairs, and lectured and organized symposia on the art of negotiation, multilateral diplomacy and international organizations. From 1978-83, he carried out a wide variety of assignments for the State Department in the area of multilateral diplomacy. He was president of the INTELSAT World Conference called to draft a treaty on privileges and immunities; leader of the U.S. Delegation to the UN World Conference on Technical Cooperation Among Developing Countries, in Buenos Aires in 1978; secretary general of the 27th Colombo Plan Ministerial Meeting; head of the U.S. Delegation which negotiated a UN Treaty Against the Taking of Hostages; U.S. Coordinator for the UN Decade on Drinking Water and Sanitation; head of the U.S. Delegation to UNIDO III in New Delhi in 1980; chairman of the Federal Inter-Agency Committee for the UN's International Year of Disabled Persons, 1981; U.S. coordinator and head of the U.S. Delegation for the UN's World Assembly on Aging, in Vienna, in 1982. From 1974-78, he was deputy director general of the International Labor Organization (ILO) in Geneva, Switzerland, a UN Agency, with responsibility for managing that agency's 3,200 person Secretariat, coming from 102 countries, with programs in 120 member nations, and an annual budget of $135 million.
From 1947-1974, Ambassador McDonald held various State Department assignments in Berlin, Frankfurt, Bonn, Paris, Washington D.C., Ankara, Tehran, Karachi, and Cairo. Ambassador McDonald holds both a BA and a JD degree from the University of Illinois, and graduated from the National War College in 1967. He has written and co-edited ten books and numerous articles on negotiation and conflict resolution, and makes more than 100 speeches a year. He was appointed Ambassador twice by President Carter and twice by President Reagan to represent the United States at various UN World Conferences.
Lester Schoene, MS '92
Lester Schoene was a dedicated member of the Carter School Advisory Board, with over ten years of service. In 2018, the Carter School Advisory Board dedicated a bench to honor Lester's memory and his commitment to peacebuilding at our international retreat and research center, Point of View.
Lester Schoene was appointed the Reservist Ombuds for FEMA in February 2014. He joined FEMA in 2005 as one of the first DAE/Reservist ADR Advisors in the newly formed Alternative Dispute Resolution Cadre. He has been deployed to 15 Disasters in 6 Regions and to many special assignments for the ADR Cadre all totaling more than 900 days. In October 2011 he was appointed one of six full-time Deployable CORE ADR Advisors. Lester addressed with compassion, sensitivity, and creativity the concerns of scores of DAE’s, LEAP employees, and Reservists on behalf of the FEMA ADR Division as the Workforce Transformation has been implemented. He played an integral role in developing the Reservist Ombuds concept for the Agency. Lester came to FEMA with expertise in mediation, problem solving facilitation, conflict resolution training, and large and small organization management. Before joining FEMA, Lester had a private practice providing a range of conflict resolution services which included community, divorce, custody, commercial, and business cases. He also provided conflict resolution training for a variety of organizations including the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Social Security Administration, the Maryland National Capital Parks and Planning Commission, and IBM. He is the author of Facing Racial and Cultural Conflict: Tools for Rebuilding Community, second edition 1994, with Marcelle E. DuPraw, for the Program for Community Problem Solving, Washington, D.C.
Before entering the field of conflict resolution, Lester spent 34 years in information systems development engineering and development and project management with Melpar, Inc. (now part of Raytheon, Inc.) and International Business Machines (IBM). Lester received his AB in Engineering and Applied Physics from Harvard and his MS in Conflict Analysis and Resolution from George Mason University. In the past he has served as a member and chairman of the Fairfax County Transportation Advisory Commission, board member and president of the Burgundy Farm Country Day School, Pine Ridge Civic Association, GMU Alumni Association, and Rotary Club of Annandale, VA.
James Scott, MPA '82
Jim Scott was a native Virginian, born in Galax and reared in Winchester. He received a B.A. and M.A. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and in 1982, a M.P.A. from George Mason University. Elected to Fairfax County Board of Supervisors to represent Providence District in 1971, Jim was reelected in 1975, '79, and '83. In 1986 he resigned from the Board to become Director of Community Affairs for the Fairfax Hospital System, later Inova Health System. In 1991, Jim was elected to the Virginia House of Delegates representing the 53rd District until his retirement in 2013. At various times he served on the Appropriations, Science & Technology, Corporations, Insurance and Banking, Priveleges and Elections, and Militia and Police Committees.
In 1991, Jim was named Fairfax County Citizen of the Year by the Federation of Citizens' Associations. In 1997 George Mason University awarded him the Wayne F. Anderson Award for Distinguished Public Service. In 2012 he was elected to the AHOME (Affordable Housing Opportunity Means Everyone) Hall of Fame. In 2014 Jim was recognized for his work in affordable housing by the Virginia Housing Coalition's Legislative Leadership Award. In addition to his service as a member of the Advisory Board of the Carter School, Jim has served on the Board of Directors of AHOME, the Board of Fairfax Partnership for Youth, the Washington Area Housing Partnership, TYTRAN, Inc., and the Board of Directors of the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments. Jim passed away in April 2017, he is survived by his wife Nancy, a retired Fairfax County public school teacher, and two grown daughters.