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Our Board Of Directors

HFO International is advised and governed by a distinguished board of Directors:

Benina Gould

Benina Gould

Benina Gould received her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology. She was awarded a Carnegie Fellowship at the Belfer Center for International Studies at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government and Grants from the Center for Middle Eastern Studies , UC Berkeley and the Fetzer Foundation. She is former Director of the Social Transformation Program at Saybook Graduate School in San Francisco and a visiting scholar at the University of California, International and Area Studies.

Benina has completed a research study in Indonesia with colleagues at Pesantrens in Solo, Central Java entitled "Breaking the Barrier; The Muslim Youth Internet Survey: Use of the Internet for Current Islamic and Non-Islamic Issues." The purpose of this research is to examine the stereotype that 'madrassas' are the breeding grounds of fundamentalism." This research has also taken place in the Islamic community in California and in Pakistan. The outcome of this research will hopefully further our understanding of the next generation of Islamic youth.

Benina's present work "Religious Based Peace Education" is a long term project with the "Abrahamic Family Outreach" project at the Center for Theory and Research at Esalen Institute. As part of this she has developed the "Student Religion/Pluralism Survey" that asks questions in order to understand the role that religion plays in the daily lives of high school students both at school and with their friends. This work will take place in the United States and Germany.

Sajid Christopher

Sajid Christopher

Sajid Christopher is the Founder and President of Human Friends International based in New York, USA. He is a peace & Human Rights Activist, having profound experience in justice and peace sector since 1995. He earned his Masters degree in Business Administration (MBA) from College of Business Administration Lahore, Pakistan in 1998, graduated from University of the Punjab majoring in finance and administration. He is the founder of Human Friends Organization in Pakistan too. He lead the organization very boldly in doing advocacy for religious freedom and conducting interfaith dialogues. He participated and presented papers in international conferences. He also attended international conferences and exposure visits on human rights & peace issues in USA, Italy, France, Malta, Pakistan, Germany, Bangladesh and Canada.

He has deep working experience as he worked as Director of HFO Pakistan and a catalyst in Caritas Pakistan Lahore for more than a decade. Touching upon the issues, needs and factors of people's marginalization he has been a great source to capacitate groups, communities and organizations to act as catalysts for sustainable community development and peace prevailing society. He conducted several studies, researches and surveys to help support people and institutes to know the cause and reasons of human rights violations in our society and remedies to lead a just and peaceful lives where human rights are dreams of every human being.

Claudia Rosseau, Ph.D.

Claudia Rousseau, Ph.D.

Born and raised in New York City, Dr. Rousseau completed her B.A. at Hunter College, City University of New York, and her M.A. and Ph.D. in Art History at Columbia University in New York.

Dr. Rousseau is Professor of Art History at the School of Art and Design at Montgomery College (formerly the Maryland College of Art and Design) where she has been teaching since fall 2001. She came to the School of Art and Design after spending four years as Guest Professor of American Art at two major German institutions: the University of Bonn (Kunsthistorisches Institut and Englisches Seminar, NordAmerika Programm) and the Free University in Berlin (Freie Univerisit�t, Berlin, Kunsthistorisches Institut and the John F. Kennedy Institute for North American Studies). Prior to this, she was Assistant Professor of Art History and Archaeology at Washington University in St. Louis, and has taught at Hunter College in New York, as well as in various American university programs in Italy.

Dr. Rousseau is an internationally published scholar, and a recognized critic, curator and art consultant. In the Washington DC area she has been, and continues to be active in the field of contemporary art criticism. She is currently the art critic for the Gazette Newspapers in Montgomery County, a contracted position she has held for over eight years, publishing extended monthly reviews of exhibitions. In 2010 she received the honor of membership in the prestigious International Association of Art Critics for her work in this area.

Dr. Rousseau has is also deeply committed to her Catholic faith. She has been Cathedral Lector at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle in Washington DC for almost a decade, and published a book about the Cathedral�s art and history with Richard Schmidt in 2008. Married to Foreign Service Officer Thomas Pickrel, she has worked with youth groups, independent arts groups and governmental councils on the arts in countries in South and Central America as well as here in the United States. She is currently on the Board of Directors of the Teatro de Danza Contemporanea de El Salvador located in Washington DC.

Debra Chaves Norwood

Debra Chaves Norwood

Debra Chaves Norwood is an attorney, writer, public speaker, and World Laughter Tour Certified Laughter Leader. Her law practice has included immigration law, conflict resolution, cultural diversity, minority rights and humanitarian law.

She has been an International humanitarian law instructor for the Mid South Chapter of the American Red Cross, and was founder and organizer of the Tennessee Language Project; a pilot project that culminated in the creation of the first foreign language court interpreter program for the state of Tennessee. She has represented the Native American Inter-tribal Association of Tennessee and helped create one of the first interfaith alliances in Memphis for the purpose of protecting Native American burial sites.

She also helped compile testimony for a US. Congressional Commission on the 1933 Famine of the Ukraine and lobbied strongly for the United States ratification of the anti-genocide act. She is a member of the Positive Psychology Association, and is a strong advocate of therapeutic laughter as a vehicle towards world peace.

Debra is currently serving as a facilitator for LDS Social Services Addiction Recovery program in Linden, Tennessee. She promotes and conducts therapeutic laughter clubs for professionals in her area. She is wife to Dan M. Norwood, who also an attorney and benefactor to HFO. Debra is mother to four children.

Mohammad Shafique

Mohammad Shafique; is a proactive Peace Catalyst, moderate and learned Sunny Muslim. He has dedicated his life in building bridges among different faiths, religions and sects. He is serving as an active member of Long Island Islamic Center Westbury New York. He has been a great source of changing lives interventions and learning opportunities. He is working as a manager of HESS Corporation in Plainview New York. Having deeper insight and broader perspectives of true Islam, he is struggling to bring followers of all prevailing religions to composite points that promote harmony and oneness in God.

Mohammad Shafique strongly believes in interfaith harmony and dialogues, as he says that dialogue is the only way to reduce conflicts and follow the path of pluralism, peaceful and a just society.

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