Staff and Board

 

Staff

Eric D. Dawson 
CEO and Co-founder 
Eric has been with Peace First since its inception as a student-run program at Harvard University. He has been the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including the National Point of Light Award, the Youth Service America’s Fund for Social Entrepreneurs, the Echoing Green Fellowship for Public Service, the Ashoka Fellowship for leading social entrepreneurs, and Pop!Tech’s Social Innovation Fellowship. He received his A.B. from Harvard University, his Ed.M. from the Harvard University Graduate School of Education, and his M. Div. from Harvard Divinity School.
edawson@peacefirst.org

 

Amy Harris
Director of Youth Investments
Amy is passionate about aligning philanthropy with anti-oppression practices and principles of justice, including ensuring youth are valued and recognized as leaders and visionaries in the development field. Her community building through fundraising work, both in the U.S. and abroad, has helped: to reduce disparities in health outcomes for women from under-resourced communities and populations; to provide economic opportunity for all; to educate young people on the science of climate change; and to engage youth action to affect public policy.
aharris@peacefirst.org

 

Khanh Nguyen
Director of Finance and Operations
Khanh brings over 15 years of experience in designing and implementing tools/systems to support projects and teams on a local, national, and global scale. She is responsible for ensuring internal systems and resources align with organizational strategies. She also manages all of the core business operations functions from financial planning, analysis, and reporting, to human resources, IT, contracts, and workflow planning. Khanh earned her M.Ed in International Education Policy from Harvard University following a BA in Political Science and Psychology from UCLA, and subsequently held consulting, management, and operations/finance positions before joining Peace First. Prior to her role at Peace First, Khanh was the Senior Director of Global Implementation at Rare Conservation, a global organization that specializes in behavioral adoption to address urgent conservation issues in Asia, Latin America, the Pacific, and Africa.
knguyen@peacefirst.org

 

Kelsey Thompson-Briggs 
Director, Program Design and Quality
Kelsey leads our work to evaluate our programs, understand our impact, and translate learning into better practices. This includes overseeing our work to improve existing programming and processes and to design new program offerings. Prior to joining Peace First, she worked in the peacebuilding sector in Northern Ireland, facilitating programs for children, young people, and adults at the Corrymeela Community, where she also contributed to the integration of environmental sustainability into the organization’s programmatic work. She received her MPhil in Conflict Resolution and Reconciliation from Trinity College Dublin, and her BA in Peace and Conflict Studies from UC Berkeley.
kthompsonbriggs@peacefirst.org

 

Fish Stark 
Director of Program Management
Fish, a Peace First Fellow, leads Peace First’s team of Fellows-in-Residence responsible for implementing Peace First’s programs around the globe: recruiting, training, funding, and supported young people to make peace in their communities. Prior to joining Peace First full-time, Fish trained to become a classroom teacher, and founded the Teaching Peace Initiative, a nonprofit that trains high school peer educators across the US to build school communities where everyone belongs. He studied Political Science and Education Studies at Yale, where he received a Dean's Prize for his work to bridge divides between the university community and New Haven. Fish lives in West Virginia, where he volunteers as a Youth Leadership Coach in Boone County with the American Friends Service Committee. He is on the board of the International Bullying Prevention Association.
fstark@peacefirst.org

 

Mohamad Merheb
Director, MENA Region
Mohamad Merheb has a diverse career in the medical/healthcare industry and in NGO development. During his twelve years working in the medical/healthcare sector, he held leadership positions for Johnson & Johnson (Country Manager, Kuwait) and Medtronic (Sales Supervisor - MENA) where he drove sales and led marketing initiatives to ensure corporate growth.Inspired by his own experience as a young person growing up in Lebanon and his belief in the potential of young people as changemakers, Mohamad has volunteered for regional NGOs such as INJAZ, LOYAC, Tripoli Entrepreneurs Club, and others. In 2017, Mohamad relocated from the Gulf to his home country where he engaged locally with Concern Worldwide as their Project Manager for the  Livelihoods program in Lebanon, which further ignited his passion to drive social and economic innovation in the region.As Director, MENA Region for Peace First, Mohamad leads resource and partnership development, program design and strategy, and works closely with the MENA Advisory Council to build the visibility of Peace First and the work of young leaders throughout the region. Mohamad holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management from the American University of Beirut.
mmerheb@peacefirst.org

 

Mohammad Sammour
Senior Program Manager
Mohammad Sammour is a social entrepreneur with several years of experience in social innovation, cultural management, and youth policies. Mohammad has pursued a career in entrepreneurship and impact-centered business through practice and self-learning by embarking on an entrepreneurial journey by co-founding a multi-awarded social venture that concern about the role of culture and art in promoting social inclusion and creative industry under the name of MedeArts. Besides his degree in Urban Design from JUST, Mohammad is a Global Business Institute scholar - Kelley School of Business, Indiana University, a Global Shaper under the World Economic Forum, and a Global Fellow at UNAOC, International Youth Foundation and AMENDS Stanford University. msammour@peacefirst.org

 

Jenny Love
Special Projects Manager
Since 2010, Jenny has been working with nonprofits supporting children and families experiencing social injustice. She has helped to design, fundraise for, and operationalize programs in a range of settings, from public high schools, to a center for street-children in Morocco, and community activities for refugee youth in London, UK. She has a B.A. in European Studies from the University of Bath (UK), is a certified ESL teacher, and holds graduate qualifications in Nonprofit Management and Child and Adolescent Psychotherapeutic Counseling.
jlove@peacefirst.org

 

Tammy Tai 
Senior Advisor 
Tammy brings over twenty years of experience in the nonprofit sector, primarily in the areas of youth development and mentoring. She has served as Vice President and Chief Mission Officer at MENTOR and Teen Development Program Officer at Hyams Foundation. Tammy has a BA in Sociology from Harvard University and an MBA from the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University.
ttai@peacefirst.org

 

Fellows-in-Residence

 

Hammed Kayode Alabi
Fellow-in-Residence & Regional Manager, Sub-Saharan Africa
Hammed is a Social Entrepreneur, author, SDGs Youth Champion and Educator with 12 years of experience in active citizenship and volunteering.  He is the founder of Kayode Alabi Leadership and Career Initiative(KLCI), a youth-led NGO that ensures secondary school students in underserved communities develop life skills needed for the workforce and future of work through education for sustainable development (ESD), mentorship and advocacy. The initiative had engaged over 60 volunteers and reached over 3057 underserved secondary school students through several Education for Sustainable Development, Leadership, Career, and Global Citizenship Seminars.halabi@peacefirst.org

 

Josiane Atallah
Fellow-in-Residence & Regional Manager, Middle East & North Africa
Josiane is a Peace First Fellow-in-Residence for the MENA region and is additionally pursuing her master’s in Public Health at the American University of Beirut, while serving as a researcher for Restless Development. Josiane leads all her work with creativity, hope and passion, which is evident in her previous experience teaching in underprivileged communities in Lebanon where she emphasized the importance of becoming global citizens through play, stories and communal projects aimed at educating women and children. jatallah@peacefirst.org

 

Jasmine Babers
Fellow-in-Residence & Lead Storyteller
Jasmine is a Peace First Prize winner and Fellow who started Love Girls Magazine when she was 15 years old, and is now working at Peace First to tell stories on an ever bigger scale. Jasmine founded Love Girls Magazine in response to bullying, sexism and other injustices that she saw regarding women and girls around her community. Rooted in self-esteem, social justice and women empowerment, Jasmine created the magazine to provides girls across the country with opportunities in writing, photography, event planning, and leadership. Today, Love Girls have impacted over 25,000 girls across the nation. Currently, Jasmine serves as a Soros Justice Youth Activist Fellow with her initiative Fostering Incarceration, focusing on the foster care to incarceration pipeline. Through her work, Jasmine has been honored to receive numerous awards and accolades. Jasmine has been featured on the Harry Connick Jr. Show, Seventeen.com, and the Huffington Post. jbabers@peacefirst.org

 

Sushmina Baidya
Fellow-in-Residence & Regional Manager, Asia & Oceania
Sushmina believes that youth’s age is best utilized when given a space to learn and explore. So, she started developing herself as a youth activist, at the age of 13, in Nepal. Since 2014 she worked at 'We' for Change – a youth-led NGO in Kathmandu, Nepal. She was elected as the President at the organization from 2017-19. She is a graduate of Bachelor’s in Development Studies from National College (Kathmandu University). sbaidya@peacefirst.org

 

Tahmid Islam
Fellow-in-Residence & Regional Manager, UK & Europe
Tahmid is a community organiser in the UK. He has spent over the last 5 years supporting the leadership of some of London's most talented civil society leaders. He co-founded and led a migrant and diaspora youth held campaign called Stand Up, Stand Out that centred around teaching young people to organise around issues that migrant communities face. He spent two years as a community Organiser for Citizens UK, UK's largest community organising charity, working in two London boroughs. Tahmid's interests has always been centred around youth led justice and achieving change using the practises of community organising. Tahmid is keen to uplift and develop young leaders across the UK particularly those from marginalized communities. In his spare time, Tahmid is a keen music nerd and a DJ. tislam@peacefirst.org

 

Oluwaseun Kayode
Fellow-in-Residence & Regional Manager, Sub-Saharan Africa
Oluwaseun is a social entrepreneur and leads a team at Schoolinka that leverages technology to create an ecosystem of highly skilled teachers for schools. With a six years experience in the education space, he has worked on a lot of local and over fifteen international education projects. His social enterprise has reached over 2000 teachers in Nigeria with both in person and online training programs. As a major contributor to conversations around improving teacher quality, he was Invited to speak at the Teach For All Global Conference in Armenia about his work and also got accepted into the Peace First Accelerator Program in Austin, Texas.

Oluwaseun is a TeachSDGs Ambassador, Global Girls Education Fellow, Teach For All Connector, Kectil Colleague, and an Empatico Research Fellow with Stanford University. When he is not working at Peace First, He spends time at Rebook Africa (a nonprofit he founded), expanding digital learning opportunities for young people living in low income communities. okayode@peacefirst.org

 

Brennan Lewis (they/them)
Fellow-in-Residence & Regional Manager, US & Canada
In 2015, Brennan joined the Peace First community as a Fellow and recipient of the Peace First Prize for their statewide work with LGBTQ youth across North Carolina through QueerNC. Their previous roles include working as an organizer for Equality North Carolina and internships with the Human Rights Campaign Government Affairs team in D.C. and the Asheville-based Campaign for Southern Equality. Brennan graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a BA in Public Policy and Women’s and Gender Studies. blewis@peacefirst.org

 

Mariano Miranda
Fellow-in-Residence & Regional Manager, Latin America
My work at Peace First takes me across the region scouting for great projects to support and fund. I am inspired by the ability of young people to spark change. Personally, I am passionate about identifying opportunities to leverage technology to improve access to education, financial services, etc! mmiranda@peacefirst.org

 

 

Board

Dr. Anousheh Ansari 
Prodea Systems, Board Chair
Dr. Anousheh Ansari is a Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Prodea Systems. As she launched her company, she blasted off for an eight-day expedition aboard the International Space Station and captured headlines around the world as the first female private space explorer. She also earned a place in history as the first astronaut of Iranian descent, the first Muslim woman, and the fourth private explorer to visit space. Prior to Prodea Systems, Anousheh co-founded Telecom Technologies Inc., where she served as Chief Executive Officer and Chairwoman. Anousheh is CEO of the X Prize Foundation, as well as its Board of Trustees. She is a life member in the Association of Space Explorers and on the advisory board of the Teacher's in Space project. Anousheh earned a bachelor's degree in electronics and computer engineering from George Mason University, followed by a masters degree in electrical engineering from George Washington University. She received an honorary doctorate from George Mason, as well as Utah Valley University and International Space University. She is currently working towards a master's degree in astronomy from Swinburne University.

 

Jonathan Mandle 
Corrum Capital Management
Jonathan Mandle began working with Peace First in 2004. He is a Partner and portfolio manager with Corrum Capital Management. Previously, he was a portfolio manager at the University of California, Office of the Treasurer of the Regents and began his career as an analyst at Fidelity Investments. He currently serves on the board of Peace First, is an adjunct professor at the University of San Francisco, and is an Investment Committee member for the Silicon Valley Community Foundation. He received a BS and an MBA from Boston College and is a CFA Charterholder. Jonathan lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with his wife, Stephanie, and their three daughters.

 

Wei Chen 
Peace First Fellow
As a fifteen-year-old immigrant from China, Wei encountered daily hostility and harassment at his large south Philadelphia public high school. Realizing that it was the school culture and administration (rather than the aggressors) who were truly responsible for these challenges, Wei organized an eight day student boycott, which resulted in a new administration, new policies, and legislative change. He has built on this success through reaching out to other schools to help more young people organize for their rights. Currently, Wei is Asian American United’s Civic Engagement Coordinator, where he draws on his many years of experience as a youth leader and youth organizer. In February 2015, he was appointed by the Mayor of Philadelphia to serve as a Commissioner on the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations. The Commission is mandated by the Home Rule Charter to enforce the Philadelphia Fair Practices Ordinance, which prohibits discrimination in the areas of employment, housing, public accommodations, and the provision of City services.

 

Jasmine Babers
Peace First Fellow
At 15 years old, Jasmine founded Love Girls Magazine in response to bullying, sexism and other injustices that she saw regarding women and girls around her community. Rooted in self-esteem, social justice and women empowerment, Jasmine created the magazine to provides girls across the country with opportunities in writing, photography, event planning, and leadership. Today, Love Girls have impacted over 25,000 girls across the nation. Currently, Jasmine serves as a Soros Justice Youth Activist Fellow with her initiative Fostering Incarceration, focusing on the foster care to incarceration pipeline. Through her work, Jasmine has been honored to receive numerous awards and accolades. Jasmine has been featured on the Harry Connick Jr. Show, Seventeen.com, and the Huffington Post. She was awarded The Peace First Prize in 2014, marking the start of her exciting journey with the organization and joined the Peace First Board of Directors in June of 2018.

 

Rashida Jones 
Actress and Philanthropist
Ms. Jones is a successful actress, well known for her roles on such hit television shows as Parks and Recreation and The Office. She has starred in several films including The Social Network, I Love you, Man, Our Idiot Brother, and The Muppets. She has participated in Stand Up to Cancer events, EDUN and ONE: The Campaign to Make Poverty History and The Art of Elysium's volunteer program, which runs artistic workshops for hospitalized children. In 2007, Ms. Jones was honorary chair of the annual Housing Works benefit, which fights AIDS and homelessness in New York City. She graduated from Harvard University in 1997 where she studied Religion and Philosophy. Ms. Jones is a resident of New York City. She joined the Peace First board in 2004.