Mara Kathleen Khavari (President and Founder)
Mara is a native of New England in the U.S. and holds a Masters degree in International Community Economic Development from Southern New Hampshire University. Her undergraduate work at Lesley University in Cambridge, MA had an Asian focus. She also holds an International Diploma for Humanitarian Assistance from Fordham University in NYC. Since the 1980’s she has worked and volunteered in the international non-governmental arena with experience at the Third and Forth World Conferences on Women in Nairobi and Beijing, and represented various NGO’s at numerous international consultations at the United Nations in New York. Mara worked for three months in Beijing helping to prepare for the Fourth UN Conference on Women and organized and managed the International Marketplace created for that two week global gathering which helped scores of organizations show off their creativity and generate income for their service projects in their home countries. Mara and her husband Paris are members of the Baha’i community, have three grown children and live in New Hampshire.
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Phyllis Edgerly Ring (Secretary)
Phyllis Edgerly Ring listens for voices heard less frequently in popular Western media, including women, children, people of color, and those from indigenous and developing nations. Her articles and essays have appeared in such magazines as Christian Science Monitor, Bay Area Parent, Mamm, Ms., The World & I, and Writers Digest. A book of her collected essays, Life at First Sight: Finding the Divine in the Details, was released by Baha’i Publishing in 2009.
Former editor and contributing writer for several New Hampshire newspapers, she received a Media Excellence Award from the National Foundation for Women Legislators and first-place awards from the New Hampshire Press Association. Previously a columnist for United Press International, her “Ringside” column was a monthly feature in several New Hampshire publications and she has contributed to such anthologies as Traveler’s Tales. Former coordinator of programs at Green Acre Baha’i School in southern Maine, she also worked with Chinese kindergarten students and their teachers under the sponsorship of a local education bureau in Shanghai to integrate early-childhood English-training with character education for world citizenship. An instructor for the Long Ridge Writers Group of the Institute of Children’s Literature and longtime member of the International Women’s Writing Guild, she leads workshops and retreats for writers, and those interested in accessing and using inner vision, the “eyes of the heart.”
Married more than 30 years, the mother of two grown children, she earned a degree in Arboriculture and Park Management from the University of Massachusetts and a diploma in nursing. She divides her time between her New Hampshire home and Germany, her childhood home, also the setting for her current novel project. More information can be found at http://www.phyllisring.com
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Aletta Weiss (Treasurer)
Aletta Reimer Weiss was born in Wisconsin and grew up in Maine. She started playing the flute and piano when she was 9 years old, and the guitar when she was 12 years old. She has studied music at Acadia University in Wolfville, Nova Scotia, as well as piano tuning and musical instrument repair in upstate New York. She also sings and writes songs.
Aletta, and her husband Jon, and their daughter lived and worked in Russia from 1991 to 1998 in the Far Eastern city of Khabarovsk. Their son was born there in 1994. After returning to Maine in 1998 Aletta went back to school for Accounting and earned her Associate’s Degree at Hesser College in Portsmouth, NH. She began working at Exeter Hospital in Exeter, NH in 2003; she has been Staff Accountant there since 2005. Now she has returned to school in the Southern New Hampshire University Online Program to complete her Bachelors Degree in Accounting. She is an avid knitter and enjoys making Aran and Fair Isle sweaters, and Norwegian mittens, even incorporating her own design elements into her works. Aletta lives in South Berwick, Maine, with her husband and son.
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Carol Louise Felker
Carol grew up in Ohio and began her academic career at Bowling Green State University studying Russian, French and German. Her goal was to work at the United Nations as a translator. That goal was set aside as she married, moved to New Jersey, and began a family. After the family moved to New Hampshire in 1978, she returned to school at Plymouth State College. In 1982 she graduated summa cum laude with a BA in History and a minor in Political Science. She then went on to earn a Law Degree from UNH School of Law (Franklin Pierce Law Center) in 1986. Over her lifetime she has been a legal claim representative for several insurance companies, a real estate title examiner, a real estate settlement agent, a Department of State passport adjudicator, a teacher, and most importantly, a Family Law Attorney. Now that she has retired she has time to rediscover her artistic talent, read every book that strikes her fancy, and watch performing arts shows. Carol marvels at the talent, dedication, and soul those young people put into their every performance. She brings to ABC World Citizens her legally trained mind, attention to detail, and organizational skills. Her hope is that ABC World Citizens will be able to assist dedicated young artists, dancers, singers, and writers as they become World Citizens striving to make our world a better place through the use of their precious gifts.
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One of three daughters of immigrant parents from Norway, Inger arrived in America at an early age. Drawing became a consistent lifelong comfort through numerous states, homes and schools. She was the ﬁrst in her family to attend college earning a BS degree in Art Education from the University system of New Hampshire in Plymouth. Becoming an Art Educator fulﬁlled a life long passion and career spanning over 25 years in New Hampshire public schools. Inger holds a Master’s Degree from Lesley University specializing in Integrating the Arts into the Curriculum.She is a juried artist/member of the NH Art Association and has served on it’s Board of Directors. She has also served as past President of the NH Art Educator’s Association.The inﬂuence of technology in Education became a subsequent passion. She has taught Technology Integration in both the North Hampton, Rye, NH and Wells, Maine school districts.Eliot Eisner, Howard Gardner, Steve Jobs but more profoundly, the Writings of the Baha’i Faith engage and sustain her. Inger and her husband Kevin have three wonderful independent children. You can view some of her artwork at at http://onecanvas.wordpress.com/
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Katherine grew up in New Zealand / Aotearoa and has spent most of her adult life living in England, Australia, and in the United States where she has been based in Boston, Massachusetts since 1998. Katherine has extensive experience in educational and professional publishing in marketing, market research, and product development roles. She has worked for a number of international companies including Cengage Learning, Pearson Education, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Reed Elsevier, and Euromoney Publications. Katherine continues to serve as a volunteer in a range administrative, organizational, and marketing roles in the non-profit sector.
Early exposure to potters, painters, educators, and the performing arts in her homeland fueled a lifelong interest in the arts, learning, and community. Katherine has recently returned to making ceramics where she is exploring aspects of Polynesian art and culture. She continues to develop her interest in photography, singing, and is engaged in a variety of community-building activities as a member of the Baha’i community. For more information on Katherine, please visit: www.Linkedin.com/in/KatherineGreig
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Valerie Cunningham is an independent researcher and writer, an historic preservationist committed to working for racial justice. Her research led to the establishment of the Portsmouth Black Heritage Trail, Inc., in 1995, a self-guided walking and driving tour of more than 24 sites. The nonprofit organization also sponsors symposia, workshops and other public events to raise awareness of African American history and culture in the region. http://www.portsmouthhistory.org/portsmouth-black-heritage-trail/
Cunningham actively supports several local and regional organizations, including the Association of New Hampshire Historical Societies, the New England Chapter of the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society, and Mt. Kearsage Indian Museum. Appointed by the mayor of Portsmouth in 2003, she continues as a representative of the ‘descendent community’ on the Portsmouth African Burying Ground Memorial Park Committee. www.AfricanBuryingGroundNH.org
Cunningham served two terms on the New Hampshire Commission for the Status of Women where she co-chaired the committee that created a statewide Women’s Heritage Trail. Although claiming to be “retired,” she continues to create Black New England Tours that go off the beaten track to reveal many fascinating stories of the African American presence in northern New England and beyond. Examples of such stories can be found in her writings, such as the book Black Portsmouth: Three Centuries of African-American Heritage by Sammons and Cunningham. Valerie Cunningham can be reached at: email@example.com
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