Board of Directors

Executive Board

Jean AbiNader

Owner/Principal, Jean AbiNader International Advisory Services
Executive Director, Moroccan American Trade & Investment Center

Owner/Principal, Jean AbiNader International Advisory Services

Past Executive Director, Moroccan American Trade & Investment Center

Jean AbiNader has been working internationally since he finished his post-graduate education in intercultural affairs and went off to Europe as a road manager for a rock and roll tour. Getting back to business, he eventually worked in 40 countries in Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and Africa at the intersection of international marketing, organizational change, cross-cultural communications, and workforce development.

He has written broadly on cross-cultural training, workforce diversity, and the role of entrepreneurship in emerging and frontier markets. Jean designs and manages education and training assignments for government agencies, international institutions, and private enterprises. His portfolio includes soft-skills such as project-specific leadership and team building, negotiations, project management, and multi-cultural staff supervision, as well as skills training related to workforce development strategies.

He currently works with clients on issues related to organizational culture and how companies can move from building their strategic vision to defining protocols and teams built around a common mission and dedication to results. Jean’s executive education offerings are highly participative courses on topics such as negotiations, team building, organizational change and agility, leadership, and group dynamics.

He consults on strategic communications and organizational change for both international and US clients; has led a graduate level seminar at Georgetown University; lectures at American University on international development and challenges in intercultural negotiations; and a leads a seminar on effective negotiations at Al-Akhawayn University in Morocco. His blogs can be found on  www.moroccoonthemove.com , www.atfl.org and on his website.

Mohamed Bah

Supply Chain Management Senior Executive, Walgreens

Born in Sierra Leone and grew up in Guinea (West Africa), Mo is a bilingual English/French professional with extensive international experience acquired through multiple overseas projects and assignments across 30+ countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, Middle East, Asia, South Pacific, Europe and North America. He possesses a diverse background that includes Business development and strategy, procurement, financial management, global logistics and supply chain management.

Prior to joining Walgreens Boots Alliance in 2016 as a Supply Chain Project Manager in Chicago, Mo worked in Ottawa as head of Business Development and Strategy in charge of EMEA countries for a leading Canadian company specialized in the procurement and delivery of time sensitive and complex elections and biometric voter registration projects to Electoral Management Bodies worldwide. In his role at ESI Inc., he worked extensively with the United Nations systems (UNDP, UNOPS, UNFPA, UNHCR, WHO, etc.), national governments and other international organizations to help support improved democratic governance practices and promote long-term sustainable good governance programs in the developing world. Previously he also worked for the Federal Government of Canada as a Senior Program Officer and as an Analyst in the banking industry for CIBC Mellon in Toronto.

Mo holds a Master of Public Administration degree from the University of Pennsylvania, a Master of Engineering degree in Logistics and Supply Chain Management from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology – MIT Global SCALE Network Program, and a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Conakry (Guinea -West Africa). Moreover, he completed advanced finance and economics coursework at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

Larry Lifson

President and Chief Executive Officer, Global School Access

Larry partners and works with colleagues around the world who market the Global School Access program and who bring families and students to GSA.  He created strategic partnerships for GSA with educational communities across the U.S. for international-student private middle- and high-school placement and summer and winter educational/cultural camps for younger students who want to learn about American culture and the U.S. education system.

Larry is a business-development executive with a track record of growing businesses, establishing strategic partnerships, organization culture change, and overcoming perceived insurmountable obstacles.  He has over 30 years of experience in the retail, wholesale, and promotional-products industries.  He developed and implemented multimillion-dollar cost-savings programs and operational efficiencies, resulting in significant productivity and process improvement.  He has experience in branding and licensing, and his supply-chain background enabled him to travel internationally and work with people of many cultures, always establishing mutual respect and rapport.  He worked with executives at all levels of corporations such as Macy’s, 1-800FLOWERS, Live Nation, and Disney, and is effective at getting potential partners to see the benefits of a relationship.  He delivered multimillion-dollar programs for Fortune 500 retailers such as Walmart, Staples, Target, and Office Depot

Larry was a founding member, board member, and officer of a major industry trade association. He holds a Bachelor of Psychology degree from the University of Pennsylvania, and an M.B.A. from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.  He is a member of The World Innovation Network global community, a board member of Kellogg Alumni Club Chicago-West, a member of the Education Committee of the United States Heartland China Association, a member of the Asian American Executive Network, and president of Ben’s Memorial Mile Family Festival.

Wendy Sternberg, MD

Physician, Public Health Strategist &

Human Rights Activist

Founder & Executive Director

Genesis at the Crossroads

As the founder and creative engine behind Genesis at the Crossroads, Wendy designed all programs to date and continues to oversee production and implementation of performance/artistic programs, education and humanitarian initiatives worldwide.  She forged national/international partnerships with well over 45 institutions and founded Saffron Caravan, Genesis’ professional music ensemble uniting artists from Iran, Afghanistan, Cuba, Morocco, Israel, India, Brazil, Venezuela and the United States for cross-cultural collaborative performance and educational programs.

Since 2011, Sternberg has created and produced a body of inquiry-based salon programs on the intersection of human rights, human development and the role of the arts to help shape and inform a humanistic society and transform conflict.  One annual salon series focuses on women’s leadership.  She masterminds the creative development/management of the current Genesis Academy Summer Institutes for international youth leaders from areas of conflict as well as the future Genesis Academy for Global Leadership, an academically rigorous boarding high school.  Its surrounding Peace Hub will include a teaching farm, Sports and Social Change Program and a research incubator on creativity and leadership with multiple university partners.  In the face of the COVID19 pandemic, the Academy’s Social Entrepreneurship Center will begin virtually in April 2020 until the physical place-making of its Chicago’s South side campus comes to fruition in 2021.

Affectionately called a Doctor without a Border, her prior 20+ year career as a primary care internal medicine physician informs the healing aspects at the heart of Genesis at the Crossroads.  Under her leadership, Genesis boasts over 150 award-winning programs, internationally acclaimed by the UN, The Kennedy Center, Rotary, The King of Morocco, the British Council, the US Institute of Peace and the US Department of State.  A Rotary Peace Fellow and a Salzburg Global Seminar Fellow, Today’s Chicago Woman Magazine featured her as a Woman to Watch.  She was named one of the 10 Jewish Chicagoans of the Year and was a 2011 Charles Bronfman Prize Nominee.  Sternberg is a member of the Chicago Chapter of the Woods Fund – Kellogg Foundation’s Truth, Racial Healing, Transformation Task Force. On the celebratory occasion of the 150th anniversary of Gandhi’s birth, Sternberg was deeply honored to be chosen as the closing speaker, following the remarks of Gandhi’s Granddaughter, Nelson Mandela’s Daughter and Cesar Chavez’s Grandson at the Gandhi 150:  A Legacy of Peace program in Chicago in 2019.

Sternberg worked alongside human rights legend, Cherif Bassiouni on parts of his memoir which covered co-founding the International Criminal Court at the Hague and prosecuting Milosevic and other despots.  Bassiouni helped her frame her ideas for the Genesis Academy human rights curriculum and mentored her through the early stages of the process.  She had the profound privilege of aiding him during the early stages of the Arab Spring.  During her 2009 Rotary Peace Fellowship at Chulalongkorn University in Thailand, her human rights field research took place in Cambodia while the Khmer Rouge Tribunal was actively in session.  Sternberg interviewed former Khmer Rouge soldiers, UNHCR groups and those documenting civil party lawsuit testimonials.

Sternberg serves as a physician public health strategist and human rights activist focused on the COVID19 pandemic.  In the face of the pandemic, she retooled Genesis’ 2006 Art of Healing initiative into a new three-part participatory development program to serve as a health and wellness remedy during the COVID19 pandemic.  By design, this cross-cultural collaborative program gives impoverished communities agency while prioritizing and addressing immediate life-threatening health issues – namely clean water and personal protective equipment (mask creation/manufacturing).  Its additional components focus on arts, trauma and healing.  She also holds her first independent provisional patent for an anti-COVID19 combined vaccine/therapeutic.

Among other written work, publications include:  For the Sake of Humanity; Research on Cross-Cultural Collaborative Arts for Public Health, Chapter in The Oxford Handbook of Methods for Public Scholarship, Oxford University Press (2019).  Sternberg graduated magna cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania with a BA in French Literature.  She received her Doctor of Medicine from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine with field work in public health in Chennai, India.  She completed her Internal Medicine Residency Program at the University of Chicago.

Genesis at the Crossroads’ Advisory Board

Charles “Chic” Dambach  – Lecturer; Writer; Consultant

Chic Dambach’s wide-ranging career includes serving as Chief of Staff for Congressman John Garamendi and six years and President and CEO of the Alliance for Peacebuilding, during which he established a network of organizations and professionals to help build sustainable peace and security worldwide.  Previously, he restructured and revitalized the National Peace Corps Association, where his career began as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Colombia and helped build Operation Respect’s anti-bullying program.  He recently retired from full-time employment, but continues to consult, teach and lecture at dozens of conferences and campuses.  Dambach’s memoir, Exhaust the Limits:  the Life and Times of a Global Peacebuilder, describes a lifetime of service and successful initiatives that helped end the war between Ethiopia and Eritrea and the Congo civil war.  He also co-wrote Structures and Practices of Nonprofit Boards and the Business Professionals Guide to Nonprofit Board Service, both published by BoardSource, for which he was a senior governance consultant.

Mark Johnson, PhD Community Outreach Liason

Executive Director of the Fellowship of Reconciliation/USA, Dr. Johnson is a graduate of Ohio’s College of Wooster holding a Doctorate in Sociology from Columbia University, with alternative service as a conscientious objector in Lebanon, living and teaching in Beirut for six years. He served as Executive Director of the YMCA Silver Bay Association Conference and Training Center, and as a volunteer in environmental, arts, peace and social justice organizations. Over the past six years, he has been active with the Alliance for Middle East Peace and has supported the development of leadership and training programs for young adults at the Jerusalem International YMCA, as a member of the staff of the YMCA of the USA.  Mark serves on non-profit boards of Associated Solo Artists/Creative Leaps International, Schools That Can and the International Student Exchange Program, the Advisory Boards of Girls Learn International and Whole Women Healing, and is an Executive Committee Member of the Leadership Forum. He recently participated in an inter-faith dialogue trip to Tehran, but stepped down due to illness.

Stacy Keach  – Artistic Advisor, Theater Consultant

A graduate of UC Berkeley, the Yale School of Drama, and England’s London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art where he was a Fulbright scholar.  Stacy has won three Obies, Best Actor Tony nomination and The Helen Hayes Award, the prestigious Millennium Recognition Award for contribution to classical theater, A Golden Globe, Best Actor Emmy nomination for his TV performance in Hemingway and Lifetime Achievement Award by the San Diego Film Festival.

Genesis at the Crossroads’ Advisors

Robert KhouryBusiness Advisor to Sternberg

Robert Khoury is a Palestinian-American whose diverse childhood experiences living in Beirut, Lebanon, Jordan and Rhode Island drew him to Princeton University and eventually to Saudi Arabia with Price Waterhouse. At Duke’s MBA program he co-coordinated the first business school venture in Egypt and Israel to expose MBA students to cross-cultural business practices, which included a private session with Shimon Peres. Rob worked as a derivatives trader for Bank One and NewArc Investments, a project manager for GETCO and partner in WWFI Recruiting.  He was a hedge fund manager and now does leadership development/management consulting.  He was the co-president alongside Sternberg from 2000-2005 and was an Executive Board Member from 2005- 2008.

Stephanie Pace Marshall, PhDStrategic Advisor to Sternberg

Dr. Marshall is the Founding President and President Emerita of the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy®–the nation’s first three-year public residential institution for high school age students academically talented in science, mathematics and technology. She was also the founding president of the National Consortium for Specialized Secondary Schools in Mathematics, Science and Technology, and was a president of the Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD).  She is internationally recognized as a pioneer and innovative leader and teacher and an inspiring speaker and writer on leadership, learning and schooling, STEM education and talent development, innovation, and the design of generative and life-affirming learning organizations.

Dr. Marshall has worked in every level of education: superintendent of schools, a district curriculum administrator, a graduate school faculty member, and an elementary and middle school teacher. She earned a B.A. from Queens College, M.A. from the University of Chicago, and a Ph.D. from Loyola University of Chicago.  She received four honorary doctorates in science and in arts and letters.  She is the author of over 35 published journal articles, an author for the Drucker Foundation’s series Organizations of the Future, an editor/author of Scientific Literacy for the 21st Century, and a contributor to Learning and Understanding: Improving Advanced Study of Mathematics and Science in U. S. High Schools. She is featured in the book, Leaders Who Dare: Pushing the Boundaries and is the inspiration behind the novel, Smart Alex, a story of an adolescent girl talented in mathematics. Her book, The Power to Transform: Leadership that Brings Learning and Schooling to Life, received the 2007 Delta Kappa Gamma Society International Educator’s Award

A partial list of honors include:  Woman Extraordinaire Award from the International Women’s Association, the Distinguished Citizen of the Year Award from the Boy Scouts of America, the Distinguished Alumni Award from Loyola University of Chicago and the Pioneer Award from the Board of Trustees of IMSA. Dr. Marshall received two resolutions from the Illinois General Assembly for outstanding contributions to Illinois education, and she was elected into the Illinois Hall of Fame and into the inaugural Hall of Fame of Chicago Women’s Today. The Chicago Sun Times selected her as one of the ten most powerful women in education and one of the 100 most powerful women in Chicago. She was recognized by the R J R Nabisco Corporation as one of the nation’s most innovative educational leaders and by the National Association of School Boards as one of North America’s “100 Top School Executives.”At the invitation of Mikhail Gorbachev, she became a member of the State of The World Forum, an international “think-tank” designed to study and resolve issues impacting global sustainability. President William Jefferson Clinton invited her to become a member of the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI).  Her current CGI work involves a partnership with Free The Children to build/equip the first residential secondary school for girls in the Masai Mara in Kenya, which will open in 2011.  She is a fellow of the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufacturers, and Commerce in London, England and serves on the board of the Queen Noor Jubliee School’s Foundation in Amman, Jordan, among others.  She is a Trustee of the Society for Science and the Public, a member of the Advisory Board of Games for Change, and a charter member of the Advisory Board for AECT’s Initiative FutureMinds: Transforming American School Systems and The Innovation Council of Chicago.

As a result of her achievements, she was inducted into the Lincoln Academy of Illinois and was designated a Laureate of the Academy, the state’s highest award for achievement that “contributes to the betterment of mankind.”

Genesis at the Crossroads’ Interns

2016-19

Ismail Vohra – Habib University, BS computer Science, 2020

Leadership; peacebuilding/conflict transformation and technology

2016

Moiz Rehan – Williams College, 2019

Theater, food and peacebuilding/conflict transformation

Internship with additional focus on GATC’s social media and communications

2014-6

Ritika Dhawan – Rush Medical College 2020

Biomedical Engineering, Illinois Institute of Technology, 2016

Kaitlin Very – Northwestern University Masters in Communications, 2015

Professional Opera Singer

2012; 2014

Emma Silverman- College of Arts and Sciences, University of Pennsylvania, 2015

Genesis Academy Curriculum Development – The Intersection of Dance, History and Culture 

2011

Emilie Benda – Political Science, Temple University, Class of 2013

Projects include expansion of Genesis’ existing social media platforms with new campaigns to engage Philadelphia-based university community and the Young Professionals for International Collaboration of the United Nations Association of Philadelphia.

Felicia Byrne – currently a UN Diplomat, Kakuma Refugee Camp, Kenya

Refugee trauma and services; DePaul University, MA in Refugee work

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