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International Team Alumni: Where Are They Now?

Witness for Peace's International Teams (IT) are an engine of growth and creativity for our innovative and inclusive cross-border organizing.  International Team members document the effects of U.S. policy and facilitate educational programs for delegations of U.S. citizens.  They work closely with local civil society partners as well as with the Witness for Peace grassroots network in the United States.  Service with the International Team is also excellent leadership preparation for a variety of future roles. 

Here's a sampling of what some of the International Team members have been up to since their work with Witness for Peace:

Ben Beachy
International Team Service:  Nicaragua, 2004-2007
Current Location:  Cambridge, Massachusetts

Current Occupation:  Public Policy Student at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government
"I am indebted to my three years in Nicaragua with WFP, more than to any other experience, for molding the policy analysis, skill sets, and sense of direction that have guided my work ever since." 

Ryan Calkins
International Team Service:  Colombia, 2001-2003
Current Location:  Seattle, Washington

Current Occupation:  Executive Director, SeaMo (Seattle Microfinance Organization) and 
President, Statements Tile
"Living alongside those who fight daily for social justice, often at very real risk to their own lives, means I can no longer gloss over injustices or ignore inequalities."


Phillip Cryan
International Team Service:  Colombia, 2002-2003
Current Location: St. Paul, Minnesota
Current Occupation: Organizing Director, SEIU Healthcare Minnesota
"By most folks' standards, there's a whole lot of challenge and responsibility in what I do now - but it pales in comparison to my time as a Witness for Peace ITer in Colombia."


Jennifer DeLury Ciplet 

International Team Service:  Nicaragua, 2000-2003
Current Location:  Providence, RI
Current Occupation: Special Lecturer in Global Studies, Providence College
"My three years on the international team in Nicaragua profoundly prepared me with the skills and analysis needed to later work as Amazon Watch's Associate Director (2005-2007), as NISGUA's Executive Director (2007-2009), and now as a university-level teacher in the interdisciplinary Global Studies department at Providence College."

Denise Drake
International Team Service:  Mexico, 2000-2002
Current Location:  London, UK
Current Occupation: nonviolence trainer, group-process facilitator, education and creativity for social change specialist with Turning the Tide
"Facilitating delegations impressed upon me the power of first-hand
experience in helping people to develop awareness of an issue, step into their discomfort zone, find their strength to grow and take action for justice."


Jim Flynn
International Team Service:  Nicaragua, 1986-87 and Guatemala, 1991-1992.
Current Location:  Louisville, Kentucky

Current Occupation: Pastor in several Latino communities around the Louisville area.
"My experiences...impacted me greatly in the sense that they have deepened my love and commitment to struggle for justice and peace, both at home and elsewhere, especially in Latin America."


Michael Joseph
International Team Service:  Nicaragua, 1997-1999; Cuba 1999-2000 and Colombia, 2000-2002
Current Location:  Bogotá, Colombia

Current Occupation: Baptist minister and United Church of Christ missionary working in defense of human rights with the Peace Commission of the Evangelical Council of Colombia
"Being a part of the International Team of Witness for Peace helped me figure out who I was as a human and as a person of faith and to determine how I wanted to spend the next portion of my life."

Patricia Kupfer
International Team Service:  Mexico, 2003-2005
Current Location:  Denver, Colorado
Current Occupation: Managing Director, America's Voice
"My experience with Witness for Peace changed my life, literally.  My time on the IT connected me to the roots of a movement for justice that most people only see flashes of in their work and lives. I got to live it for two years. Plus, a little known benefit of WFP is that being an ITer is a crash course in how to communicate honestly and deliberately not only with your teammates, but also with people who are radically different from you.  What a valuable life skill!"

Betty Marin
International Team Service:  Mexico, 2008-2010
Current Location:  Portland, Oregon
Current Occupation: Student of Contemporary and Social Practice Program at Portland State
"My experience on the International Team was one of incredible growth, for the constant challenges and joy brought on by working with a team that I trusted and respected, in an organization I believe in, and in a country that is very close to home."

Amanda Martin 

International Team Service:  Colombia, 2004-2007
Current Location:  Bangkok, Thailand

Current Occupation:  Training officer with a human rights organization for Burma
"My three years in Colombia with Witness for Peace introduced me to the amazing world of Latin American solidarity; it set me on a career path to work for human rights in Guatemala and now in Southeast Asia. The people I met, the places I visited, and the stories I heard in Colombia have changed the way I think about justice and peace building. "


Riley Merline

International Team Service: Colombia, 2002-2004

Current Location:  Tucson, Arizona

Current Occupation:  Resident Director, Earlham College Border Studies Program
"The years I spent in Colombia with Witness for Peace were some of the most meaningful and formative of my life. I developed lasting relationships and skills that have served me well as I continue to work for justice."

John A. Nelson
International Team Service:  Guatemala, 1991 to 1993
Current Location: Niantic, CT and Housatonic, MA

Current Occupation: Pastor, Niantic Community Church
"On the IT we put our lives and our spirits in one another's hands, sharing deeply the costs and joys of solidarity, forming bonds of intimacy in the crucible of the struggle for justice and dignity."

Andrew Schwiebert
International Team Service:  Mexico 1999-2001, Colombia 2001-2002
Current Location:  Pasadena, CA
Current Occupation:  Associate Pastor, First Congregational Church of Pasadena and United Church of Christ, Pastor of (a)Spire Ministry, an extension of FCC
"Being on the IT broke me open to seeing injustice in the world around us and finding large and small ways to take action to work for change. It exposed me to powerfully inspiring people taking courageous stands for their communities and families. I learned time-tested ways to engage people in transformative education. I formed friendships that I expect to last a lifetime.
"


Kirsten Schwind 

International Team Service:  Guatemala, 1997-1999
Current Location:  Oakland, CA
Current Occupation:  Program Director, Bay Localize
"My experience on the IT taught me I can do anything, but also reinforced the integrity that only some things are worth doing. Researching the Guatemalan oil industry set me on the path of reducing oil consumption in the United States, as well as running a consensus-based organization that puts social justice forefront in the environmental movement."


Tanya Snyder
International Team Service:  Cuba and Colombia, 2002-2004

Current Location:  Washington, DC

Current Occupation:  Editor, Streetsblog Capitol Hill

"I had the rare privilege (for a U.S. citizen) to immerse myself in Cuban culture and society, introducing others to what another economic and social system might look like and working for a sane U.S. policy. I left feeling far more internationally proficient and far more professionally competent than I was when I arrived."

Rebecca Watson
International Team Service:  Cuba and Mexico, 2002-2005

Current Location:  Los Angeles, CA
Current Occupation:
Staff Attorney at the Medical-Legal-Community Partnership at Neighborhood Legal Services
"My experience on the IT and the amazing co-workers, community leaders, and activists I met during those years remain an inspiration and challenge to me to commit my heart and my strength to my work and to fight for change."

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