Committing to Our Passion. MBBI’s Peace Synergists Spotlight

Peace is a process and it requires full participation. To attain the peaceful world of which we dream, citizens [we], must practice empathy and compassion even when we do not have the full understanding or know the depth of our impact. MBBI, in addition to hundreds of volunteers residing across the globe, is fortunate to have a passionate, dedicated team of interns without whom we could not do the important work. These are the individuals whose contributions help translate our commitments into actions.

We are proud to have such a talented team and would like to share their stories with you. Please feel free to reach out directly to them to connect.

Karly Feinberg, Social Media Coordinator, is an advocate for peace and supportive of MBBI’s mission of creating a more peace “able” world. She enjoys the “passionate, friendly, and supportive members and staff in this organization.” Since her joining the MBBI team in March 2018, utilizing her communication and design skills, Karly has been a key contributor to enhancing the organization’s community engagement. Passionate about digital marketing, she creates and manages content for MBBI’s Social Media platforms.

Make time for what you want to do. You can’t tell yourself you’ll do it ‘when the time is right,’ because that moment may never come.

Currently, Karly is expanding on her academic understandings of peace by being an “avid reader of MBBI projects and attendee for the webinars.” Learning about peacebuilding in this format, she explained “has helped me better understand the intricacies of conflicts.”

Conversational in Spanish, Karly is completing her Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) Certificate with the hope to teach English abroad and make a positive impact in the world. She is currently in Ecuador to enhance her networks in her favorite country.

Balkis Chaaben, Webinar Coordinator, initially joined MBBI as a translator to expand the organization’s reach to wider communities. Soon after joining, however, with the desire to become an effective Peace Builder, she took the initiative to plan and coordinate MBBI’s monthly webinars, which cover a wide-range of peacebuilding-related topics.

You cannot be everything you want to be, but you can be a lot more of what you already are.

One of her proudest accomplishments was receiving the Thomas Jefferson Scholarship Program, where she spent a year studying in the United States. During the program, she gained skills that helped her communicate with the MBBI. “Interacting with Americans and International students boosted my understanding of the American culture better and taught me how to present a fruitful input in a multi-national setting,” she explained.

Balkis, who walked in the peaceful demonstrations in Tunisia during the Arab Spring, is not about to quit on her hopes for the better future her generation deserves. In addition to her work with MBBI, she is active with other non-profits utilizing her multi-linguistic skills and organizing intercultural dialogues across the Middle East and North Africa region.

Determined to continue her engagement in the international peacebuilding realm, she is applying for graduate programs in the US with the goal of amplifying the underprivileged voices. She “dreams of a world where each is respected for their own intrinsic dignity as human beings.”

Angela Hatcher, Resource Development Synergist, joined MBBI because she felt a deep sense of urgency around creating more peaceful communities. She was “looking for an opportunity to work directly with experienced peacebuilders and to learn from giants in the field.”

Consisted of change-agents wholly invested in the success of their communities, MBBI’s global family of peacebuilders inspires Angela the most. “I am quite certain I have made life-long relationships in the brief time since my membership began in June 2018.  I have been fundamentally changed by my participation in this dynamic organization.”

Through MBBI, she mastered her understanding of “the importance of making valuable relationships; to connect with intention and purpose.” A passionate learner, Angela practices her knowledge and skills while completing her Master’s thesis entitled Interest-Based Bargaining: Techniques for Resolving Labor-Management Disputes at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She enhances MBBI’s Member Engagement and supports the organization’s Impact Investment Team.

In all things, begin with love.

Angela describes herself as an activist, a researcher, and a peacebuilder. Like MBBI’s leadership, staff, and members, “I fight for the protection of the environment, for the rights of women and minorities, for racial equality, for racial justice, for a healthcare system that serves all people, and for the cessation of gun violence, terrorism, and war,” she declared.

Confident in the possibility of bettering the world for all, Angela hopes to serve in the Office of the Ombudsman and Mediation Services within the United Nations (UNOMS). She plans to accomplish by attending law school and working in the field as a mediator.

Carissa Ciampaglia, Peace Synergist, is a certified mediator and heavily involved with the Southern California Mediation Association (SCMA). She is engaged with the Center for Conflict Resolution (CCR) and works on the Center’s panel for community zone-based mediation. Carissa’s experience revolves around building vibrant local communities. She is spearheading a dialogue between the Mediators Certification Consortium of California (MC3) and the LA Superior Court on the RFP that was put in affect baring non-attorney mediators from working in the LA Superior Courts. She is interested in facilitating mediators in gaining a wider depth of experience.

Carissa is a graduate student at California State University – Dominguez Hills studying Negotiation, Conflict Resolution, and Peacebuilding. Her thesis, Strengthening the Third Side: Interfaith Dialogue and Community Growth, explores the ways through which dialogues could help communities thrive and prosper by strengthening the third side, providing the necessary tools and insight to handle difficult conversations and resolve conflicts.

She has joined the MBBI team as a Peace Synergist helping the organization develop the Peace Conversation Facilitation (PCF) program, strengthen the Rotary-MBBI Partnership, and expand MBBI’s outreach in the LA region.

Showcasing your value as an important member of society is critical to the community of mediator. To develop and grow we need to be seen as invaluable especially along conflict lines.

Carissa has always been a de facto facilitation. She “fell into the field accidentally. I have always had a keen sense of the value of community and solving issues collaboratively.” Her academic idols are William Ury and Ken Cloke for their ideas on ‘mediating dangerously.’

A facilitated conversation is the strongest kind of conversations. It can push negotiation farther, Carissa believes, thus, she dedicates her efforts and time to master this type of mediation. And with a personal motto calling for international awareness, domestic engagement, Carissa hopes to become an organizational ombudsman, meditating in conflicted settings.

Divya Sugand, Writer and Peace Synergist, is a first-generation lawyer who hopes to “remove the very cause of any prospective/emerging conflict so that the same conflict does not arise in someone else’s life.” This has prompted her to work specifically in the field of Alternative Dispute Resolutions (ADR). ADR “involves modes like negotiations, conciliation, and mediation rather than litigation. These alternative measures inculcate the values of inclusivity, tranquility, and magnanimity.”

Believe you’re worthy of much more than you think. Go out to place to place, approach people, spot problems, initiate and offer solutions. You don’t have to be the best, you just have to be present at the time of need.

She is a self-described hustler since childhood and does not settle with what she already has, but always looks for new, better, and educationally enriched opportunities to develop herself as a better peace builder and reformer with each opportunity. With such spirit, Divya volunteers her time and efforts to spotlight other peacebuilders, expand MBBI’s outreach, and help engage youth in building a more peace “able” world.

Spending her time as a law professional between two countries, India and the UAE, Divya has learned how to be efficient in time-management and has gained a myriad of skills by working for MBBI. The multi-disciplinary, multi-cultural and multi-ethnic team of MBBI enhances the skills of planning, effective and confident communication, online tools’ literacy, and content and resource development.

She cherishes the exuberance and positivity with which each member of MBBI works towards peacebuilding, due to the same reason, “working for MBBI feels more like a community-service than a job.” She shares this same passion while she tutors elementary-age students, providing additional academic support to those that need it most.

Fatoumata Bility, Writer and Peace Synergist, joined MBBI because its mission smoothly aligns with her personal and professional passion for a violent-free, peaceful world. Telling the stories of MBBI members provides Fatoumata with a platform to meet, interact with, and learn from mediation enthusiasts from around the world.

Find your passion and commit to it.

Relying on her experience and education, Fatoumata volunteers her superb writing skills to tell the stories of MBBI members through member and project spotlights. She also plays a vital leadership role in revamping the organization’s writer series, now branded as The Peacebuilders’ Platform. The Platform will publish articles by mediation experts as well as aspiring mediation practitioners from around the world.

Her passion for serving humanity directly translated into her recent Master’s degree in Nonprofit Management. She is grateful for the opportunity presented to her by MBBI to utilize knowledge gained from her graduate program. She hopes to establish her own organization “to fight gender disparity through education for girls.”  The biggest takeaway she has gained from MBBI is active listening and a genuine acknowledgment of emotions goes a long way to fostering peace. Peace is “everybody’s business and mediation is the most effective approach to conflict resolution,” Fatoumata believes.

Currently, Fatoumata operates a website/blog dedicated to amplifying the voices of women war survivors from across the globe, beginning with her native country, Liberia. Visit to learn more. She is also finalizing her first book, Sadjio, telling the story of a girl’s unflinching struggle to attain education amidst daunting challenges, dreams, grief, and years of healing.

Benjamin Lutz, Peace Synergist Writer, joined MBBI inspired by his passion to build peace and connect with so many phenomenal change-makers. Benjamin, an experienced researcher and writer, volunteers his expertise to spotlight members and projects. Highlighting the diverse voices of MBBI global family of peacebuilders gives him an incredible insight into the wide variety of peacemakers, of which he hopes to join. He shares Fatoumata’s leadership in revamping the organization’s writer series, now branded as The Peacebuilders’ Platform.

The road to success is never direct, rather the many failures you encounter along the way makes the successes all the more of an accomplishment.

The week Benjamin graduated from his Master’s degree in Middle East Security Politics and Peace Studies at the University of Bradford, he applied for MBBI. Enhancing his academic studies through an international non-profit dedicated to conflict resolution puts into practice the theory and readings that made up his degrees. “Learning from the field is so much more valuable to me than reading it in a book. MBBI connects me directly to the field.”

Currently, Benjamin lives in Washington D.C., and researches Middle East geopolitics. His interest in the region directly stems from his intensive time in the Middle East, where he spent over half of his four-year Bachelor’s program there. His Master’s thesis entitled “Analyzing Omani Exceptionalism: A Critical Reflection of Sultan Qaboos’s Modernization Policies” included some site visits to Oman as well. Alongside his research, Benjamin worked with local non-profit organizations in the Middle East focusing on sports-based peacebuilding, regional power politics, and medical impartiality research to learn about their function in the diplomatic process.

Proficient in Arabic, Benjamin plans to become an independent diplomat focusing on finding sustainable and effective solutions to some of the problems plaguing the Middle East. He is adamant about the role of local actors, local needs, and local communities being a part of the resolution process. “If you don’t include the local perspective, then you will never find a solution. Ignoring their desires ensures that the conflict continues.”

Article by Benjamin Lutz, MBBI writer.