Ben Gordon works in domestic community development finance as an analyst focused on underwriting and portfolio management and analytics. He also provides consulting on budgeting, strategic planning, organization development, leadership and team building issues, and assistance with resumes and cover letters. He has been working with GSE since its founding in 2009 having traveled to Zurite, Peru to assist with the planning and building of the agriculture irrigation canal. He joined its Board of Directors in the spring of 2012. The GSE site in Chacraseca, Nicaragua was his home for several months in 2009 and 2010, shadowing the work of Conchita Montes and the organizations affiliated with her work. He is also an impromptu acrobat, runner, biker, and chef.
A social studies teacher at El Molino High School for the past 16 years, John Grech got his BA in Cold War History from UC Santa Barbara and immediately moved to post-Communist Poland to teach English and History. This experience, along with wandering the world, led to his fascination with political processes and democratic organizing. He got an MA in International Journalism from University of Missouri, a teaching credential from Sonoma State and has been taking students to foreign countries ever since, including Russia, Turkey and Nepal, as well as GSE projects in Tanzania and Nicaragua. In 2007, John was a Fulbright teacher in Northern Ireland and while there participated in the Enniskillen Project to encourage joint projects and travel of Catholic and Protestant students. John sees GSE as part of that spirit of hope and optimism for positive change at the grassroots level.
Jasper grew up in Sebastopol, and attended Analy High School before going Brown University. In the middle of his college career, he took a semester’s leave to volunteer in Zurite, a rural village in the mountains outside of Cusco, Peru. Living in the land of the Incas, he became fascinated with the relationship between human communities and the surrounding natural resources, and decided to pursue a career in geology. After volunteering and traveling through South America for 8 months, he founded GSE with his brother Lucas in August, 2008. Since the fall of 2009, Jasper has been pursuing a PhD in geology and hydrology at UC Berkeley. He is a current board member and trip leader.
Lucas Oshun has four years of experience as GSE’s Executive Director and Co-founder. Born and raised in Sebastopol California, Lucas Oshun graduated from University of California Santa Cruz in 2007 with majors in Community Studies and Politics. Lucas’ grandfather Leonard Unger was a former US ambassador to Thailand, Taiwan, and Laos and stories of his career and efforts to build international community helped inspire travel and the forming of connections with other communities. During his studies Lucas interned at Global Kids in NYC, where he learned about the importance of discussion based workshop and international relations education for high school students. He has traveled extensively in Asia, Europe, the Middle East, Central and South America. Grateful for having had the opportunity to experience different cultures and form friendships around the world, Lucas believes strongly in providing travel, cultural immersion and grassroots organizing opportunities to young people.
Yasha Mokaram grew up in Sebastopol, California and graduated from Analy High School in 2002. In 2007, he graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara with a degree in Sociology and an emphasis on Global Studies. His passion for working with young people led him to volunteer with Global Student Embassy, eventually traveling on three different service learning trips abroad with the organization, once as a trip and project leader. In 2009, he worked as a Director for GSE and is proud to say that he has helped establish a successful and significant international organization. He currently serves on the Board and brings a great deal of knowledge about the history, direction, and mission of Global Student Embassy. His enthusiasm for education and youth leadership continue to influence his life as he begins a career teaching high school students this year. He looks forward to teaching social studies and leading high school students on service learning trips for years to come.
Christopher Szecsey has over 41 years of international development and humanitarian experience in more than 45 countries worldwide. Mr. Szecsey works as a consultant, trainer, and facilitator with international development organizations, local NGOs, government and multi-lateral agencies. Key areas of consulting expertise include: community-based development; programmatic and organizational capacity development for INGOs, NGOs, & CBOs; multi-stakeholder partnerships/networks; strategic and annual planning; leadership and team development; board development; as well as technical areas such as environmental sustainability through agro-forestry, agriculture, & integrated pest management; non-formal education, health systems development, etc. He also has significant experience and skills in designing and using participatory, interactive, & collaborative learning processes to ensure client and stakeholder engagement and ownership for positive, strength-based change, with such approaches as Appreciative Inquiry, Open Space, etc. Christopher began his international work as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Ecuador, worked as a Project Coordinator for the United Nations Development Program in Nepal, and served 9 years as a Country/Field Office Director for Save the Children/US in the Pacific Islands and Indonesia.
Website: www.christophersconsulting.com Email: email@example.com
Larry Diamond, Stanford University, Director Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law
Lisa Folsom-Ernst, Becoming Independent, Development Director
Suzanne Maxson, Windsor High School, Retired Teacher
Christy Pichel, Stuart Foundation, President
Mark Schallert, Doyle and Schallert, Attorney