Janessa Gans Wilder
FOUNDER AND CEO
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Janessa Gans Wilder is a former CIA officer turned peacebuilder, social entrepreneur, and nonprofit executive. She is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of The Euphrates Institute, a grassroots peacebuilding organization. She founded Euphrates after five years at the CIA focused on the Middle East, including serving 21 months in Iraq from 2003-2005. Janessa is a frequent speaker in interfaith, community, government, international, and educational settings. She has written dozens of articles and been interviewed by major news outlets, including CBS, CNN, Los Angeles Times, Christian Science Monitor, Democracy Now, and many more.
For over a decade, Janessa has provided the vision and leadership to grow Euphrates Institute into a global network of peacebuilders and changemakers, now comprising over 30 Chapters in 15 countries. She created and leads transformative Travel Study programs to Israel, Palestinian Territories, and Jordan, focused on listening to the ‘Other’. She conceived of the Visionary of the Year program to honor, support, and increase the visibility of groundbreaking changemakers.
Previously, Janessa taught political science at her undergraduate alma mater, Principia College, and was a consultant to the State Department. She has a Master’s degree in International Policy Studies from Stanford University and a bachelor’s in International Relations from Principia College. Janessa lives in Redding, CA with her husband and three young children. She enjoys spending time in nature, running, and yoga.
Strategic impact consultant
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Sylvia is a facilitator of, advocate for, and believer in peace leadership, with practices grounded in uplifting womxn, cultivating co-owned futures, and actualizing community-led change. She is a Co-Founder and Board Member Emerita of Sarus, a peacebuilding nonprofit that inspires and empowers the next generation of leaders to build a peaceful and prosperous Asia.
For over a decade, Sylvia has participated in and facilitated talking circles, based on restorative justice models, in various communities across the United States, Latin America, and Asia. From these talking circles emerged Sylvia’s commitment to and practice of nonviolent communication, community building, and conflict transformation. This commitment brought Sylvia to obtain a BA in Peace Studies from Goucher College, and continue to Southeast Asia working with nonprofits across the region focused on youth peacebuilding. Sylvia then deepened her studies by obtaining an MA in Coexistence and Conflict and MBA in Social Impact at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management, where she focused on conflict transformation, peace programming, and organizational capacity building.
Sylvia holds a deep passion for building and nurturing authentic communities that collectively transform systems and conflict with curiosity, connection, and courage. She currently works as a Program Officer at The Island Foundation and as a consultant in peace leadership, strategy, and organizational alignment.
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Duncan grew up in Westport, Connecticut and graduated from Principia College with a BA in Mass Communication. He is currently a freelance videographer based in New York City. His video production company, Rhythm of You Productions, was founded in 2013 and produces music videos, wedding videos, promotional videos, and short films. He is also the cinematographer of an award-winning dance film company called Wilder Project. His film projects have been selected to multiple international film festivals.
Find his professional website at: www.rhythmofyou.com.
Chief Operations officer
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Kathryn (Katy) Lunardelli is a global leader and listener, having worked in multicultural settings for the last two decades. Katy comes to Euphrates after eighteen years in the field of corporate social responsibility and ethical sourcing where she worked for Reebok International, Hasbro and most recently the Fair Factories Clearinghouse (FFC). At the FFC, she led initiatives for companies and multi-stakeholder groups to collaborate on improving the human rights conditions in supply chains.
Katy holds an MSc in Human Rights from the London School of Economics, a B.A. in Sociology and World Perspectives from Principia College and a certificate from the graduate level “Leadership for Change” program at Boston College, Carroll School of Management. She has served on the Board of Directors for Global Grassroots, a nonprofit organization with a mission to catalyze women and girls as leaders of conscious social change. Other volunteer activities include teaching college courses on corporate responsibility, tutoring refugees in English and volunteering at the Ocean State Montessori School.
Katy’s professional, educational and volunteer experiences have led to her current role at Euphrates. She joins the team with a purpose of seeing and experiencing unity between other people and our environment. She has a deep interest in the connection between personal and societal transformation and the power of grassroots peacebuilding initiatives. Katy resides in Providence, Rhode Island with her husband and three children.
Director of design
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Anna Zoë Herr is from Berlin, Germany, where she currently resides. She has lived for an extensive time in the US, completing her Bachelor’s in January 2018 with a double major in Studio Art and Global Studies. During her time at college she directed two conferences: The International Perspectives Conference in 2015 under the theme of “Empowerment as Equals” and in 2016 the Millennium Campus Network Conference on the Sustainability Development Goals of the UN, held at Howard University in Washington D.C.. Zoë also interned with the Christian Science Monitor, where she published her first written pieces on entrepreneurship and progressive topics.
At her college, she tirelessly worked on building more understanding about sustainability, including bringing more humane meat to the college kitchen and starting a conversation about more plant-based meals in the dining room. Her activism led her to be asked to lecture several times. For her engagement with international issues and activism for those that have less of a voice, she was the awarded the Alfred-Gertsch Freedom award, the Global Perspectives Award and the Bertha Canova Scholarship for a student with a promising career in foreign service.
She has worked as a writer, a graphic designer and in the field of social justice as well as sustainability, all of which have cultivated a keen awareness of the world. Her painting and photography has been shown at several exhibitions (you can see her work at www.stonesandfeathers.com). Zoë currently pursues a MA in Global Studies to then become more active as a researcher, activist and journalist.
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Devin was born and raised in Redding, Califonia as a first-generation Mien American in his family. During his senior year in high school, he enlisted in the Marine Corps on his 17th birthday. After returning from service back to his hometown, he studied at Shasta College and had the opportunity to study abroad in Laos and South Korea. He graduated with his AA both in humanties and history, also having completed the EMT course. He is currently enrolled at CSU Chico pursuing a BA in History.
He currently works part time as an afterschool instructor for elementary school students, an editor for a remote Korean-to-English writing revision team, and a volunteer firefighter.
Devin has always been a believer of service above self. Having met Janessa as one of the interviewers on a scholarship panel, he had been drawn to her incredible and compassionate work and the core beliefs that the Euphrates Institute represents. He brings to the team the deep desire of "giving hope to the hopeless."
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Natalia Garvey was born and raised in Surabaya, Indonesia. Following high school, Natalia moved to the United States to pursue education in Accounting and Management Information Systems at San Francisco State University. After college, Natalia worked at KPMG LLP where she had interned as a student in the Information Risk Management group. Natalia enjoyed the fast-paced environment and working with multiple clients at a time, performing IT advisory and IT audit support.
In 2010 Natalia and her husband left San Francisco for Redding and joined her husband’s family business, where she currently works part time managing the books and doing marketing, advertising and graphic design. She spends most of the rest of her time with her two children, but makes time to volunteer locally for CASA and The Women’s Fund.
Growing up in Indonesia, Natalia was exposed to people of many different faiths. Being raised as a Christian in a mostly Muslim country helped her understand some of the challenges faced by minorities. While there is undeniable tension in the country at times, she is proud of Indonesia’s official recognition of five different major religions and the solidarity of the Indonesian people. It is this concept of co-existence that drew her to the Euphrates Institute, where she enjoys supporting the work and goals envisioned by the Institute’s founder.
Director of communications
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Hollister’s primary focus for the last 17 years has been facilitating the growth and development of her three ‘unschooled’ children in an environment designed to nurture their purpose and authenticity as global citizens. During this time she has worked as a customer advocate for an international newspaper as well as maintained a career in photography. She is also a certified yogi who volunteers her teaching skills with a homeless women’s transition home and a local youth soccer academy.
Graduating from college with a B.A. in International Relations and Photojournalism, Hollister has served in numerous capacities with organizations focused on local and global inclusion and wholistic development. Most recently she has help with social media and content development for InspiredtoGive.org, an organization with the mission to magnify all the good done by the global citizens of the world. Additionally, Hollister serves as a volunteer for Haiti Partners whose mission is to “Help Haitians Change Haiti through Education.” She and her husband have also started two grassroots campaigns – RAK Friday encourages “random/radical acts of kindness” and Hope for the Homeless provides holiday gift bags to local homeless individuals.
Hollister is an idealist and a pragmatist and sees the value of both outlooks in the work of peacebuilding. She enjoys finding opportunities to positively impact her local community and amplify the possibility of peace and transformation in the world at large. Becoming a part of the Euphrates team supports Hollister’s desire to work with an organization that believes in global change through individual transformation….and it finally validates her college major! Hollister can be found on the beach in Jupiter, Florida with her husband, three children and one adorable dog.
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Craig Hunter has been a Los Angeles trial lawyer for about 30 years who likes to think he breaks the traditional mold. He received a B.A. in mathematics from Principia College and a law degree from the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law, serving as an editor of the law review. As his daughters steered clear of the law, Craig branched out from his litigation practice to help commercial wind developers and assist a few Indian tribes in developing their economies through gaming and renewable energy projects. He is also a commercial pilot who enjoys flying as a hobby and is a weekend sailor and surfer.
“I am excited about the work of the Euphrates Institute because I believe that now is the time for a paradigm shift in thinking about Middle East, and ways to get Americans truly excited and engaged about understanding the cultures in the Middle East and taking their own steps to help bring peace. There is no one better to start such a movement than Janessa, and her terrific Board.”