Meet the 2011 Community Solutions Leaders
The distinguished 2011 Community Solutions Leaders come from 21 countries worldwide to build their capacity to lead community interventions and to share their expertise with community organizations in the U.S. Leaders build on their local experiences and forge cross-cultural bonds, becoming even more effective agents of positive change in their home countries.
Click below to meet the Community Solutions Leaders by thematic area:
Ricky Anywar has worked in a variety of capacities on conflict resolution programming. He is Founder and President of Friends of Orphans in Uganda, working to reintegrate child soldiers into their home communities, train IDPs in managing and resolving disputes, and increase food production in local areas. Anywar plans to implement youth leadership programs upon return to Uganda.
As Program Officer at the African Child Peace Initiative, Thomas Barlue coordinates and evaluates peacebuilding programs for youth in Liberia. One program aims to create “Community Peace Cells,” which spark dialogue and collaboration among schools, Parent-Teacher Associations, and community organizations, addressing issues like conflict resolution in local classrooms and communities. Barlue hopes to create a Peace Festival upon return from the program.
Abel Hurtado Espinoza
National Congress of American Indians
Abel Hurtado Espinoza works with Empresa Minera Vancouver as the companies Manager Consultant where he liaises between the company and the surrounding communities in order to promote human rights awareness, sustainable development, and conflict resolution strategies. Espinoza is a professor of human and environmental rights at San Pedro University, as well as Associate atthe Peruvian law firm, Estudio Jurídico Peñaranda.
Tibusius Pradeep Fernando volunteers at the Center for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights in Sri Lanka. He organizes human rights awareness campaigns, lectures on human rights, and designs course curricula in human rights and conflict resolution. He hopes to start an education initiative that promotes multiculturalism and peace within his community, using conflict mediation and negotiation techniques.
Albert Gasake is a Program Coordinator with the Student Survivors Association, where he helps students who have survived genocide find employment after graduation. As Project Manager of the Prison Project, he provided legal aid, mediation, and advocacy for the unlawfully imprisoned. He advocated to amend provisions in the criminal procedure code and help increase justice for vulnerable people. Gasake wishes to start a legal advocacy pilot project for genocide survivors.
As Program Director at the organization Alternatives, Ashis Himali manages projects that seek to increase local communities’ tolerance for minorities and break down remnants of the caste system. One of Himali’s recent projects focused on promoting peace and multiculturalism through street theater and performance for youth. He hopes to increase the public’s knowledge of civic and human rights through civic education campaigns that highlight the content of the most recent draft of the Nepali constitution.
As the Head of Communications for the Institute of Research and Dialogue for Peace in Kigali, Ariane Inkesha shares the Institute’s research findings with the public via publications, videos, radio broadcasts, and online platforms. The Institute’s aim is to engage key stakeholders in a variety of peacebuilding initiatives. Inkesha hopes to expand her knowledge of and skills in communication tools used in the U.S. and how to use those tools to advocate for change more effectively.
Lamii Kpargoi is the Program Director at the Liberia Media Center, where he implements the Good Governance through Strengthened Media project to train media institutions in human rights reporting. He also promotes conflict-sensitive reporting and trains community radio media practitioners across the country in conflict mapping and response. He hopes to start a conflict-sensitive reporting and rumor management program, as well as election monitoring training.
As Program Officer at Liberia’s Trauma Healing and Reconciliation Program, Abel Learwellie works with conflict-affected community members on peaceful coexistence, healing, and reconciliation. Many of the programs Learwellie implements target the communities’ most at-risk members, including child soldiers, war affected youth, and women who have been raped. Learwellie is directly responsible for monitoring and evaluating program impact. He hopes to organize violence awareness campaigns.
Angela Marin is a founding member of the Technology and Disability Association of Peru, which trains blind and visually impaired people such as herself to use adaptive computer software for communication. She is also a switchboard operator and English translator for Peru's Business and Securities National Supervisory Commission. She hopes to gain experience in fundraising and networking in a community development organization.
As a Program Manager at Buchanan Child Community-Based Care, Joseph Mehdeh administers conflict resolution programs in communities affected by civil war and religious tension. Mehdeh worked on a youth sports and theater program promoting peace; community outreach campaigns; peacebuilding trainings; counseling sessions; and the creation of conflict resolution community committees. He hopes to strengthen his community conflict resolution capacity building programs.
Luis Melgarejo directs the program Artistic LGBT Group, which brings local artists and intellectuals into the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) community for advocacy in Bolivia. Melgarejo oversees project implementation; monitoring and evaluation; assisting in new business development; and performing public outreach. In the U.S., he hopes to gain a greater understanding of the operations of U.S.-based organizations working on issues related to the LGBT community.
Sam Muhumuza works with the Development Foundation for Rural Areas to mitigate the violence and conflict that often result from land disputes. He provides economic opportunities to young farmers, advocates for land rights, and educates communities on land policies and reforms. Muhumuza seeks experience in peace education and tolerance programs. Muhumuza also hopes to be exposed to the successes and challenges of the LGBT community in the U.S.
As Program Officer at Christian Care, Mutsa Mukome works with individuals affected by political violence in Zimbabwe. She helps facilitate psychosocial support and income-generating programs for these individuals, including Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs). Mukome also administers programs that seek to help reintegrate these IDPs into their home communities. Mukome hopes to advocate for the importance of incorporating conflict resolution into all development programming.
As Coordinator with the Teso Children’s Development Foundation, Martin Mwanga works on providing a safe, secure, and healthy environment for street children through peace education programs and sports activities. Mwanga focuses on monitoring and evaluating the efficacy of the program, assisting in program development, and handling community outreach and fundraising. Martin plans to construct a psychosocial rehabilitation center for Ugandan street children.
Chaithri Ranatunge conducts research for Ryerson University on domestic violence in Sri Lanka. She conducts field-based research, including collecting and maintaining data and coding and analyzing data. Prior to becoming a researcher, she worked for a local community organization that facilitated therapeutic sessions for couples experiencing abuse in the home. Ranatunge hopes to establish community-based support groups that can aid in the mitigation and prevention of domestic violence.
As Senior Youth Educator with Families in Action in Trinidad, Reynold Samuel works with at-risk youth and their families. To strenghten family support for child wellbeing, his program seeks to build skills in communication, effective coping mechanisms, conflict resolution at home and in school, confidence, and problem solving. Samuel hopes to strengthen his skills on conflict mitigation within the household.
As the President of Youth Initiative Nepal, Anita Thapa works on projects to transform the way youth participate in the civic and political arenas in Nepal. Her work focuses on mobilizing youth and engaging them in the country’s democratization process and transition to peace. Thapa hopes to create a youth toolkit that will focus on conflict mitigation, tolerance, and issues related to human rights.
As Peacebuilding and Conflict Resolution Thematic Leader with the Women Foundation Nepal, Bandita Thapa organizes workshops on conflict resolution and conducts training of trainers programs to create Peace Ambassadors in communities across Nepal. Thapa also has participated in UN resolution workshops focused on peacebuilding and conflict transformation. She seeks to build on her existing work by strengthening organizational networks around peacebuilding and conflict resolution.
As Senior Program Officer at the Center for Natural Resource Studies, Md. Mehdi Hasan manages programs targeting the most vulnerable populations in Bangladesh. He helps empower low-income individuals through a “green” micro-credit institution and provides trainings on land cultivation, climate change adaptation, and food security. Hasan hopes to increase coastal communities’ capacity to adapt to climate change and provide the proper technology to these communities.
As the Director of Property Rights and Environmental Law at Luris Veritatis, José Alonso Huaman organizes educational fora to discuss and educate the public about Peru’s laws in genetically modified foods, food security, and consumer protection. He hopes to organize a registry of all endemic plants in Peru, including traditional knowledge of these plants. He also plans to research the safe introduction of genetically modified plants into certain parts of the country and explore avenues for changing national laws regarding GM food production.