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

 

Bobby Jones
Chief Marketing and Communications Officer 
As an entrepreneur, strategist and active participant in youth culture, Bobby has traveled the world engaging young people to better understand their values and passions, and turning those insights into innovative and award winning campaigns for leading global brands. In his current role as Peace First’s Chief Marketing and Communications Officer, Bobby is responsible for leading all marketing and communications efforts to help achieve Peace First’s vision to create a new social norm where millions of young people are prepared, empowered and committed to collaboratively solving the world’s biggest challenges with courage and compassion. 
bjones@peacefirst.org

 

Bonnie Benjamin-Phariss
Chief Strategic Engagement Officer
Bonnie brings decades of experience as an executive with a proven track record of building strategic relationships to mobilize engagement, lead people to action and drive impact. Her passion is bringing public and private sectors together to build and implement campaigns - all in the service of amplifying shared value, driving impact and contributing to a more equitable world.  As a leader in strategic storytelling, she has worked with the film industry’s greatest brands, including Disney, CNN, HBO, PBS, Discovery and National Geographic. She has tackled a range of issues, including educating girls in the developing world, domestic violence, promise and perils of Big Data, global health, environmental stewardship, destigmatizing nuclear power, gun violence, high school graduation rates, and supporting our veterans and their families.  Prior to joining Peace First, she ran Vulcan Production’s documentary division, the independent media company founded by Microsoft co-founder Paul G. Allen, noted for telling powerful stories and campaigns to help audiences understand the world around them, respond to challenges and bring about lasting change.  Prior to Vulcan, she was Manager of Creative Development and Business Administration at the Disney Institute in Orlando, Florida. She began her career as Director of Research and Development for public affairs programming for WNET in New York.
bbphariss@peacefirst.org

 

Jenny Love
Development Manager
Since 2010, Jenny has been working with nonprofits supporting children and families experiencing social injustice. She has helped to design, leverage funds for, and implement activities in a range of settings, from public high schools, to a center for street-children in Morocco, and community-run after school clubs for refugee children in London. 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

 

Kelsey Thompson-Briggs 
Senior Manager, Program Implementation
Kelsey oversees the implementation of the Peace First Challenge. Previously, 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 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 
Youth Activation Manager, Fellow-in-Residence
Fish, a Peace First Fellow, leads Peace First's work to mobilize young people to start peacemaking projects in their community, and manages relationships with youth-serving partners. 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

 

Ochen Kaylan
Director of Technology, General Counsel
For decades, Ochen has been leading the development and implementation of large-scale scale, mission-critical business applications for non-profit organizations of all sizes. Bringing that talent and expertise to Peace First, Ochen is leading the development of the Peace First Platform - a place where young peacemakers can find support and resources for their peacemaking work. In addition to his technology expertise, Ochen is a practicing attorney, specializing in non-profit administration, negotiation, and international privacy compliance issues. okaylan@peacefirst.org

 

Amani Al-Nsairat
Program Manager, International Partnerships
Amani has five years of experience in the nonprofit sector and earned a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations and Strategic Studies from Hashemite University in Jordan, and a Master’s degree in Media, Peace and Conflict Studies from the United Nations Mandated University for Peace in Costa Rica. Amani worked as a Programs Officer with the international non-governmental organization Generations For Peace based in Jordan, with the main focus on two key programs: Social Cohesion in Host Communities Program and Violence in Schools Program. Amani enjoys focusing on the topics of youth, peace, dialogue, and education.

 

Andrea B. Calderón Díaz
Program Associate
Andrea Calderón is the Program Associate at Peace First. Here, she supports young people implementing peacemaking projects all over the world. Her life experience in her country of origin, El Salvador, and her academic training in International Relations and Peace Studies resulted in interest for conflict transformation. Andrea has also participated in border and immigration programs, youth conflict mediation, and gang prevention in San Diego, California. She has also conducted evaluations for international organizations such as Lima Rural Development in South Africa.
acalderon@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

 

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.

 

Jesse Peretz 
Film and Music Video Director
Mr. Peretz is a film, commercial and Grammy-winning music video director. His past projects include music videos for artists The Foo Fighters and The Roots, commercials for Nike, Ikea, and Sony Playstation, as well as the feature length films The Ex and Our Idiot Brother. He has led our advisory board outreach in New York City where he resides, and he also helps raise awareness of work in Los Angeles. Mr. Peretz is a graduate of Harvard University where he received a BFA and has been a longtime supporter of Peace First prior to joining the board in 2005.