Junior Staff

Socheata Hong

Junior, Institute of Foreign Languages

Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Currently a college student at the Institute of Foreign Languages in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Socheata enthusiastically dedicates herself to helping others improve their lives.  Her selection as class monitor of her high school in Kandal Province set her on this path, beginning with transforming her classmates’ attitudes toward their own education, inspiring dedication to their studies and leadership by modeling her own.

She furthered her skills as an organizer, creating fundraising projects for needy students who could not afford to take additional classes at her high school. Under her guidance, over her last three years of high school she formed a team which collectively raised over $1,000 USD for 30 students who lacked study materials to buy books and lesson materials.  Endorsed by the school administrators,  her emerging initiative, that began with just one student engaged others to assist in the program’s growth and continue.

Driven to learn more about the outside world and other cultures, last year she stepped out of her comfort zone to participate in the 2017 Genesis Academy Summer Institute in Chicago.  Throughout the program, she gained more confidence and learned to share herself and her culture with others.  With self-expression on par with that of young men in the program, she now feels she is a role model for breaking the stereotypic Cambodian norm that girls and women should remain quieter than men and boys.

With her new-found level of confidence from the Genesis program, this past year, she took the initiative to teach in the suburban elementary school of Takhmao City, Kandal Province three afternoons a week.  Recognized for her excellence in teaching both English and social psychology, she was invited to resume her teaching role next year, her university schedule permitting.

As a graduate of the 2017 Genesis Academy Summer Institute, Socheata wants to put her valuable experiences from Genesis’s peace-building curriculum into practice for her future career as a translator.  By translating and sharing her culture with the world, she passionately believes she can help strengthen our society by advocating for non-violent communication to help solve conflicts.

Following a recent drowning accident of a homeless girl just outside of Socheata’s own home, she learned that neither a single bystander offered to help, nor did the police deem it a worthy enough death to document given the child’s impoverished status. Incensed and disturbed by this event, Socheata refined her career goals to one day become a translator for an organization dedicated to human rights. She is deeply committed to speaking out and translating on behalf of the poor and less fortunate to shed light on their condition.  In doing so, she desires to inspire others to create coordinated efforts to assist the poor in rising out from under their circumstances to find and secure a bright future.

Teaching Faculty and Staff

Badi Assad

Musician, Composer, Author

Based in São Paulo, Brazil, virtuoso guitar player, singer, vocal juggler and songwriter, Badi Assad has emerged as one of the most versatile artists of her generation.   With more than 14 albums released worldwide, her 2006 CD Wonderland was selected among the 100 Best from the prestigious BBC London and was also included among the 30 Best on Amazon.com.  The US magazine, Guitar Player, selected her from a pool of artists (that included the likes of Ben Harper and Ani DiFranco), as one of the guitar players that would revolutionize the world.

Embraced by record companies such as Verve (Universal) and eDGe Music (Deutsche Grammophon), she has played an array of international concerts over the past two decades, including innovative collaborations with Bobby McFerrinYo-Yo-Ma and Sarah McLaughlin, among others.  She is also the Guitarist/Vocalist in Genesis at the Crossroads’ Saffron Caravan ensemble.  She has performed in some of the most prestigious international festivals, including North Sea Jazz FestivalStimmen Festival and in theaters including Paris Opera, Palais de Beaux-Arts and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

Badi also represented Brazil in the acclaimed festivals, Farm Aid and Lilith Fair/US. Some of her songs have reached the Top 10 in Europe. Her hit song, Waves was featured in the soundtrack of It Runs in the Family, featuring Michael and Kirk Douglas.  In 2004, with the project, Three Guitars, she toured the world with guitar legends, Larry Coryell and John Abercrombie.   In 2006, she started a new project with her Brothers, the famous Duo Assad, masters of the classic guitar.   In 2010, to celebrate her 20-year career, she released a commemorative DVD entitled, Badi Assad.  Two years later, she went on torelease Between Love and Luck, her first independent album on her own label, for which she was awarded Best Composer of The Year (APCA/BR).  Her Pega no Coco won first prize for Best World Music Song at the USA International Songwriting Competition.  Rolling Stone Magazine selected her as among the Brazilian Guitar Masters of History.

In January of 2014, Badi was commissioned by The Guitar Film Festival Marathon in New York, to compose for the remake of the Chinese silent film, The Goddess (1934).  Invited to also serve in the role of Festival Curator, she not only performed her composition live at New York’s Merkin Hall, but also received a New York Times highlight as Best of the Festival.

Cantos de Casa, her first CD dedicated to children, garnered Trophy Cata-Vento for Best CD of the Year. She writes a weekly column about music for the online version of TOP Magazine and is the author of the newly released book, Around the World in 80 Artists (Pólen Livros).  The film, BADI directed by Edu Felistoque was named Best Film by The FestCine Maracanaú in Fortaleza, Brazil and was selected to be part of the 2018 Brazil Summerfest in New York.

Steve Bynum

Senior Producer, Worldview,

WBEZ, Chicago’s National Public Radio Station

Steve joined WBEZ, Chicago’s National Public Radio (NPR) station in 1998.  For over 16 years and counting, he has served as Senior Producer for Worldview, WBEZ’s weekday global affairs/news program. With Worldview, Steve’s responsibilities include creation of in-depth stories, features, series, film projects and outreach events that mutually connect listeners to Chicago’s global community with those around the world.

He has won numerous awards in editing and producing including:

1996: Gabriel Award winning segment for Sandy Rios Live (Producer) – honoring “works of excellence in broadcasting that serve audiences through the positive, creative treatment of concerns to humankind.”

2010:  Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago’s Excellence in Media Award winning series “Islamic Reform: Towards a Global Reformation Movement” on WBEZ

(Producer and Editor)

2011:  NABJ Radio Excellence Award (Worldview Race Series: “Black Images in Film”)

(Producer and Editor)

2012: Newswomen’s Club of New York’s 2012 Front Page Award in the radio feature category (Editor)

2013:  Associated Press (Indiana) 1st Place-Best Public Affairs Program “Afternoon Shift: Live From Crown Point” (Producer)

Prior to joining WBEZ, Steve worked as the Morning Show Producer for WMBI 90.1 FM in Chicago, as Program Manager for WYLL 106.7 FM in Elk Grove Village, IL and as a freelance sports reporter for the Chicago Tribune.  In addition, he worked in marketing for the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (now Joint Commission) in Illinois.

He currently serves as Program Committee Member for the International Network for Urban Agriculture and serves as a Board of Director for the organizations:  WorldChicagoChicago Cultural AllianceEcoMyths Alliance and was 2016 Board President for Evanston/Skokie Valley Metropolitan Family Services. Steve also serves as Advisory Committee Member for the Chicago Global Impact Network, connecting Chicago-based non-profits with each other to foster collaboration and donor awareness

An International Fellow at the Chester Ronning Centre for the Study of Religion and Public Life at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada, Steve is also near completion of his Master’s Degree in Public Policy and Administration from Northwestern University. His undergraduate degree in American Studies hails from University of Notre Dame.

Josh Coles


BridgeHouse Museum

Since joining Friends of the Chicago River in May 2017, Bridgehouse Museum Director Josh Coles has been using his experience and skills to engage museum audiences on a broad scale. Before Friends, Josh worked as a community organizer for Friends of the Forest Preserves and as a neuroscience laboratory manager at the University of Chicago. Josh continues to carry out the administration of the museum, build its social media presence, and develop new and innovative programming to reach new audiences and tell the river’s story. He works with Friends’ staff to cultivate partnerships with various organizations and sponsors and also leads the evaluation of the museum against measurable goals and outcomes. In his spare time, he enjoys hiking, camping, gardening, and seeing live music. He holds a Bachelor of Science from Kent State University.

Aaron Durnbaugh

Director of Sustainability

Loyola University of Chicago

Aaron Durnbaugh is the Director of Sustainability at Loyola University Chicago. His team supports the 16,000 students and 4,000 faculty and staff across five campuses and three academic centers in creating the most sustainable and transformative educational experience possible. Previously, he served as the Deputy Commissioner leading Chicago Department of Environment’s Natural Resources and Water Quality Division (NRWQ). He holds a Master’s Degree in Geography and Environmental Studies and is a LEED™ accredited professional.

Kevin Erickson

Urban Agriculture Coordinator

Loyola Institute of Environmental Sustainability

Kevin Erickson is the Urban Agriculture Coordinator at the Institute of Environmental Sustainability. (IES) He has an extensive background in rural and urban-based agriculture systems as well as aquaponics. Kevin joined IES in 2013 and created the Urban Agriculture Program, which includes organizing all food production spaces, internships, and research into one cohesive program. The program exposes students to skills and knowledge in sustainable food production including crop planning, year-around harvest and distribution, integrated pest management, aquaponics production, beekeeping, and data analysis. Kevin holds a BS of Business Management.

Allison Glovak-Webb

Farm Director

Uncommon Ground

Allison Glovak-Webb has been passionate about growing food as far back as her memory can take her. She planted, maintained and harvested her first garden at the age of nine, and never set her spade down. While earning a BFA from Columbia, she took a variety of botany courses at the Garfield Park Conservatory. Graduation left her craving more, and she continued taking classes at both the Conservatory and Chicago Botanic Garden to expand her horticulture skills. The knowledge she gained led to an opportunity at Brew and Grow, a local hydroponic store. She became their lead gardening expert, and stayed for four season-free years of indoor gardening.

In the spring of 2014 she connected with Uncommon Ground and spent the summer caring for the sidewalk farm at their Clark street location. Allison was given the opportunity to take over as Farm Director for the 2015 season. Not only does she plan, plant and manage the farm at Uncommon Ground, but she also runs an educational internship program on urban agriculture and hosts groups from all over the world to tour the site. She is overjoyed to be running the first certified organic rooftop farm in the country.

Will Hansen

Curator of Americana; Manager Reader Services

Newberry Library

In his dual role as Director of Reader Services and Curator of Americana, Will Hansen manages the Department of Reader Services, which serves researchers at the reference desks, in the reading rooms, and outside the Newberry’s walls via email and other communications, while also managing the library’s collections in the 10-floor book stack building.  As Curator of Americana, he collects current monographs, antiquarian books, and manuscript Americana for the Newberry. He also facilitates and conducts bibliographic instruction, tours and orientations for visiting groups, classes, and fellows. Mr. Hansen began his career in libraries at the Newberry in 2003 as a Circulation Assistant and then, in 2004, as the library’s Reference Assistant. He holds a Master’s degree in Library and Information Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a Bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. From 2007 to May 2014 he was Assistant Curator of Collections at Duke University’s David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, and returned to the Newberry in June 2014.

Mr. Hansen has published articles on Herman Melville, active learning with primary source materials, archives of “born-digital” materials, and other topics. He has led hundreds of hands-on instruction sessions with rare books and other primary sources, as well as teaching Adult Education Seminars at the Newberry on Moby-Dick and Alexander Hamilton. He has curated or co-curated exhibitions on Charles Dickens, the Bloomsbury Group, female writers of the Victorian era, Alexander Hamilton, and other topics.

Dr. Lynette Jackson

Professor, University of Illinois, Chicago

Dr. Lynette Jackson is an Associate Professor of Gender and Women’s Studies and African Studies at UIC. She received her PhD in African History from Columbia University in 1997. Dr. Jackson is the author of Surfacing Up: Psychiatry and Social Order in Colonial Zimbabwe (Cornell 2005) and numerous other articles and book chapters on topics relating to women, gender and the state in colonial and post-colonial Southern Africa, particularly having to do with the regulation of women’s bodies and sexuality. Dr. Jackson’s current research looks comparatively at African refugees, including child refugees, and the formation of new African diasporas.

Dr. Jackson is engaged in social justice and human rights activism, with a particular focus on the human rights of women and girls, and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered peoples in Africa. She serves on the Chicago Committee of Human Rights Watch, the World Refugee Day Planning Committee and held previous board memberships on Heartland Alliance’s Human Care Services and Vanavevhu: Children of the Soil, an organization that caters to orphans and vulnerable children from Zimbabwe. Dr. Jackson also consults and provides expert witness testimony in gender and sexual violence-based political asylum cases.

Lin Batsheva Kahn


Lin Batsheva Kahn is an experienced artist-educator, choreographer, and performer who created and teaches contemporary dance courses in The Theatre School at DePaul University. She holds a Masters in Contemporary Dance from Case Western Reserve University, an interdisciplinary Masters in Dance, Theater, and Communication from Kent State University, and a BFA Cum Laude in Modern Dance from the University of Illinois/Champaign. Her vast array of choreography for dance companies, university dance programs, musical theater, children’s theater, and Jewish theater, also includes collaborations with actors, poets and musicians, self-produced and women’s concerts and a commissioned piece for Cleveland Contemporary Dance Theater.  The latter was described as “skillfully crafted” by dance critic Wilma Salisbury of The Cleveland Plain Dealer.

Ongoing collaboration with colleagues from DePaul School of Music includes choreography with Michael Kozakis’ Percussion Ensemble, Michael Lewanski’s 20+Ensemble, Harry Silverstein’s Opera Theater, faculty violinist Olga Kaler, and a 1689 Purcell Baroque opera with Dr. Eric Esparza and Jason Moy where her contemporary dance choreography was described as “stunning.” She created the 2017 DePaul event “Celebrating Women and Multiculturalism through the Universal Language of Dance” where she brought in Miriam Engel and Sergey Shamota from Israel to teach multicultural dance students and give a collaborative performance on campus. Kahn is described as “a powerhouse” on stage and “simply a joy to listen to” in the classroom.

Her numerous honors include a current nomination for a DePaul Excellence in Teaching Award, Chicago Jewish News Jewish Chicagoan of the Year, Today Chicago’s Woman magazine 100 Women of Inspiration, 3 DePaul Woman of Spirit and Action honors, and Arts Educator of the Year from the Ohio Alliance for Arts in Education for her dance work with inner-city and international students. Professor Kahn’s course about overcoming adversity with creativity, selected and filmed at PBS WTTW as an inspiring ELI Talk, includes her moving choreographed piece “January Thirtyfirst” to Philip Glass’ Concerto for Violin and Orchestra.

Jamie Kalven

Writer and Executive Director

The Invisible Institute

Jamie Kalven is a writer and executive director of the Invisible Institute.  His work has appeared in a variety of publications; among them, Slate, the Nation, the Columbia Journalism Review, and the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, and Chicago Reader.  In recent years, he has reported extensively on patterns of police abuse and impunity in Chicago.

The first phase of his writing career was devoted to a single project.  His father, Harry Kalven, Jr., a professor of law at the University of Chicago, died in 1974.  At the time of his death, he was working on a massive book on the American tradition of freedom of speech.  Kalven spent more than a decade completing his father’s manuscript and preparing it for publication.  Titled A Worthy Tradition: Freedom of Speech in America, it was published in 1988 by Harper & Row.

While immersed in A Worthy Tradition, Kalven published an analysis of the First Amendment theory of Judge Robert Bork in the Nation.  Bork responded in the American Bar Association Journal; Kalven, in turn, replied in the Nation. Several years later, when President Reagan named Bork to the U. S. Supreme Court, this exchange figured centrally in debate over the merits of the nomination.

In the fall of 1988, Kalven’s wife Patricia Evans was severely beaten and sexually assaulted while running on Chicago’s lakefront. Several years later, he began working on a narrative account of the impact of this act of cruelty on his wife, their family and community. Titled Working With Available Light: A Family’s World After Violence, it was published in 1999 by W. W. Norton.

Since the early 1990s, Kalven has had a parallel career working in inner-city Chicago neighborhoods.  He has served as consultant to the resident council of the Stateway Gardens public housing development and currently serves as consultant to the residents of the Henry Horner Homes. At Stateway Gardens, he created a program of “grassroots public works” aimed at creating alternatives for ex-offenders and gang members.  While immersed in public housing, Kalven extended assistance to other reporters, providing background and access to sources. This aspect of his work was described in a segment of the NPR program On the Media entitled “Man on the Street.”

Kalven’s reporting on patterns of police abuse at Stateway Gardens in 2005-2006 gave rise to a federal civil rights suit – Bond v. Utreras – that figured centrally in public debate over police reform in Chicago. His articles became the focus of a protracted legal controversy, when he refused to comply with a subpoena from the City of Chicago demanding his notes.

He was the plaintiff in Kalven v. Chicago, in which the Illinois appellate court ruled that documents bearing on allegations of police misconduct are public information.

His article “Sixteen Shots” in Slate first brought the police shooting of Laquan McDonald to public attention, for which he received the 2015 George Polk Award for Local Reporting.

He is the recipient of the 2016 Ridenhour Courage Prize, among other prestigious awards.

Neeta Kolhatkar

Editor and Journalist

Free Press Journal

Recipient of the 2008 Mumbai Mayor’s Award for Excellence in Journalism, Neeta has served as a celebrated journalist in India for over 27 years.  Her experience across sectors includes:  violence and conflict, economic and social policies, national and international politics, infrastructure, and especially, coverage of peripheral communities and groups.

She was founding member of a social advocacy organization, Samarthan, in 1993. Since then, with a commitment to peacebuilding through media, she has focused her work on connecting and empowering people. The need to portray in-depth realities through different forms of storytelling in an ever-changing world motivates her to lend a platform to those whose voices need to be heard.  Well-renowned for featuring communities and people belonging to minority groups living on the margin, in 2010 she co-founded TheReportLive in order to showcase their individual and collective efforts to be brought into the mainstream. She has previously been part of the group that conceptualized and formed, Saathi, an NGO to impact the lives of street children in Mumbai. She consistently strives for equal opportunities for all to participate in the peacebuilding process leading to equitable and sustainable global growth. To that end, she has interviewed many powerful decision-making persons of national and international stature.

Neeta currently serves as the City Editor for the Free Press Journal, one of the oldest newspapers. In addition, she authors a column highlighting both the subtle gaps and more overt holes in current social and economic policies divisive to society. Along with eight other journalists, she won a “reported judgement” against the gag order passed by a lower court, which had prevented the journalists from publishing any reports on the Sohrabuddin encounter trial in Mumbai. Her recent TEDx talk addressed issues regarding owning one’s locality.

Neeta received her BA in Anthropology-Sociology from St Xavier’s College, Mumbai and her … MSW in Developmental Communications at Nirmala Niketan College of Social Work, Mumbai.  She was a 2009 Rotary International Peace and Conflict Studies Fellow at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, Thailand.

Edward MacMurdo

Attractions Coordinator; Actor and Director

Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum

Since it’s opening in April, 2005, Edward MacMurdo has been the Attractions Coordinator for the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum (ALPLM).  A stage actor and director for 38 years, Edward has performed, staged and choreographed shows at the ALPLM including Reunion, Lincolnesque, One Destiny, The Civil War and Flight.  At local theaters, Edward has directed and choreographed Peter Pan, Little Shop of Horrors, Guys & DollsSeven Brides for Seven Brothers, Company, The Drowsy Chaperone and The Lion in Winter.  Favorite onstage performances include roles in The Will Rogers Follies, My One and Only, The Light in the Piazza, To Kill a Mockingbird, How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, Mary Poppins and Peter and the Starcatcher.

Alberto Osorio Liebana

Lead Developer and Engineer, Energia del Pacifico (El Salvador)


Invenergy drives innovation in energy. Invenergy and its affiliated companies develop, own, and operate large-scale renewable and other clean energy generation and storage facilities in the Americas and Europe. Invenergy’s home office is located in Chicago and it has regional development offices in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Japan and Europe.

Invenergy and its affiliated companies have developed more than 19,900 megawatts of projects that are in operation, construction or contracted, including wind, solar, natural gas-fueled power generation and energy storage projects. For more information, please visit www.invenergyllc.com.

Mathew A. Rooney

International Human Rights Law Instructor

Retired Partner & Senior Counsel, Mayer Brown

Matt was a trial lawyer and commercial litigator at the major international law firm of Mayer Brown. For 30 years he was a partner in the firm’s Chicago offices and handled complex civil lawsuits throughout the U.S. in fields, such as antitrust, securities, banking and contract disputes, environmental law, and bankruptcy. He worked in numerous industries including energy, telecommunications, natural resources, biotechnology, sports, construction and manufacturing. Matt tried numerous lawsuits, both jury and bench, as well as handled arbitrations and mediations. In 1998, he was elected a Fellow in the American College of Trial Lawyers. For the last three years that he was a partner, Matt chaired Mayer Brown’s Global Pro Bono Committee, which oversees the firm’s efforts to donate its time and resources toward advancing human rights and assisting people of limited means with legal problems. In that role, he led the firm’s efforts to integrate its Asian offices into the program by traveling to offices in China and Southeast Asia to educate lawyers about pro bono work.

For the past six years, Matt has made several overseas volunteer trips a year to help develop the rule of law and human rights in the developing world. In Iraq, he taught trial advocacy skills to better enable lawyers there to represent women and children in the court system and to bring claims on behalf of victims of torture. In South Africa, he worked with the Human Rights Commission to enhance the abilities of its lawyers to represent victims of discrimination. He taught human rights principles and trial advocacy skills to law students in Cambodia, conducted legal analysis training for human rights lawyers in Indonesia, and taught human rights and U.S. law concepts in China. He also has worked with civil society organizations in Myanmar to help them with capacity building and made fact-finding trips to Sri Lanka and Vietnam. Matt returned to South Africa on a project to facilitate use of the Equality Court there.

John Saville

HM Consul General

British Consulate-General, Chicago

John is a career diplomat who joined the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in 1981, after graduating with an MA (Honours) in Geography from Oxford University.

His career has spanned the Americas (three postings), plus Europe and Asia (two postings in each).  While his overseas roles have been mainly political in focus, they have included increasing elements of prosperity, commercial and consular work as the jobs have become more senior.  He has kept a strong interest in the environment since University, and also follows human rights issues closely.

His first overseas posting was to Indonesia (1982-85); and he returned to South East Asia for his first Head of Mission role as High Commissioner to Brunei Darussalam (2005-2009), where he was – and remains – the youngest British official ever to hold the post.  His European postings were to Poland (1988-91), where he covered the fall of the Berlin wall and the consequent political changes; and to Austria (1995-98) immediately following its accession to the EU.

He has enjoyed two postings to Hispanophone Latin America: as Deputy Head of Mission in Havana (2000-03), where he had long periods as Charge D’Affaires and met Fidel Castro on a number of occasions; and to Caracas, where he served as Ambassador from 2014 – 2017 and featured in a New York Times front page picture, while supporting the democratically elected National Assembly.

From 2010-2014 he served as UK Trade and Investment Director for Asia; for Global High Growth Markets; and for the Transport Infrastructure Sector.  After a period as acting Managing Director for Global Trade, he was seconded to Rolls-Royce plc before starting preparations for Caracas.  Other London roles have included writing the FCO’s first ever Climate Change adaptation plan, supervising the FCO’s submission of evidence to the Iraq Inquiry on Intelligence on WMD, and evaluating the role of diplomacy in avoiding armed conflict.

He is married to Fabiola Moreno de Alboran and has one daughter. His hobbies include fly fishing, golf, reading and listening to music.

Allison Shelley


Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting

Allison Shelley is a documentary photographer and multimedia journalist focused on women’s health and justice issues worldwide, including noteworthy work in Haiti in the aftermath of the earthquake.  Her work has spanned all seven continents, examining issues such as the underground abortion market in Nigeria, women soldiers in the D.R. Congo, child motherhood in India, and the Zika crisis in Puerto Rico.

Shelley’s work is regularly featured in publications like The Atlantic, The New York Times and The Guardian.  She is co-founder of the non-profit organization, Women Photojournalists of Washington (WPOW) and has worked not only as director of photography for Education Week newspaper, but also as staff photographer for The Washington Times.

Wendy Sternberg, MD

Founder & Executive Director,

Genesis at the Crossroads


As the founder and creative engine behind Genesis at the Crossroads’ (GATC) mission and vision, Wendy designed all programs to date and oversees production and implementation of performance/artistic programs, arts-education and humanitarian initiatives worldwide.  She forged national/international partnerships with well over 45 institutions on five continents and founded Saffron Caravan, uniting professional musicians from Iran, Afghanistan, Cuba, Morocco, Israel, India, Brazil, Venezuela and the United States for cross-cultural collaborative performance and educational programs under the aegis of Genesis.   She masterminds the creative development/management of the current Genesis Academy Summer Institute and future Genesis Academy for Global Leadership, an academically-rigorous boarding high-school, which embeds art throughout an inter-disciplinary curriculum to foster humanism and deepen critical thinking.  Towards that end, she has created 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.

Under her leadership, Genesis boasts over 120 award-winning programs, internationally-acclaimed by the United Nations, The Kennedy Center, Rotary International, The King of Morocco, the British Council, the US Institute of Peace and the US State Department.  She was featured as a Woman to Watch in Today’s Chicago Woman Magazine, named one of the 10 Jewish Chicagoans of the Year and was a 2011 Charles Bronfman Prize Nominee.  Rotary International selected her as one of 22 world leaders for their 2009 Peace Fellowship at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, Thailand.  In 2014, marking the 100th anniversary of World War I, she was selected along with 59 other global activists, to be a Salzburg Global Seminar Fellow and participate in an international consortium on the power of arts and culture to transform our world.

A participant in the Clinton Global Initiative since 2012, she configured the Genesis Academy for Global Leadership as a scalable global model for peace education (her CGI commitment.

She received both her Bachelor of Arts and her Doctorate of Medicine degrees from the University of Pennsylvania and completed her Internal Medicine Residency Program at the University of Chicago. Affectionately called a Doctor without a Border, her medical career informs the healing aspects at the heart of Genesis at the Crossroads.

Zach Waickman

Biodiesel Lab Manager

Loyola Institute of Environmental Sustainability

Zach Waickman serves as the Biodiesel Lab Manager in the Institute of Environmental Sustainability, overseeing the day-to-day management of the Biodiesel Program. He mentors Loyola students working in the Biodiesel Lab and works daily toward the long-term goal of being a Zero Waste, financially self-sustaining program. He is particularly interested in businesses that utilize local, traditional waste products to create community resources and jobs. Zach holds a BA in Communication and an MBA in Entrepreneurship.


Shuling Yong

Documentary Filmmaker

Shuling Yong is a Singapore-born, Chicago-based documentary filmmaker with a passion for social change. She has worked on films like The Feeling of Being Watched (Tribeca, 2018, dir. Assia Boundaoui), Radical Grace (Hot Docs, 2015, dir. Rebecca Parrish), In Time To Come (Hot Docs, 2017, dir. Tan Pin Pin), and films by the award-winning Chicago media collective Kartemquin Films like In The Game (Madrid Int’l, 2015, dir. Maria Finitzo) and America To Me (Sundance, 2018, dir. Steve James).

Shuling’s film Growing Roots (2015) premiered on the Discovery Channel. She is now directing her first feature-length documentary, Unteachable, which was selected for the Tribeca Film Institute Network Market, Good Pitch² Southeast Asia 2017 and was awarded Best Pitch at the CNEX Chinese Documentary Forum 2017.

Shuling is a Kartemquin Films Diverse Voices in Docs Fellow, a participating filmmaker at the BRITDOC Queer Impact Producers Lab, the DocNet Southeast Asia Strategy Workshop and the KOMAS Video For Change Forum

While pursuing her degree in Radio/TV/Film at Northwestern University, Shuling founded Media For Social Change, a social enterprise dedicated to fostering positive community impact through video and audio storytelling.

Alberto Osorio Liebana

Senior Manager, Thermal Projects, Invenergy

Although Alberto is a civil engineer, that has not slowed down his career in the Energy Industry, commonly conceptualized for mechanical, chemical or electrical engineers. His aim and commitment to continuously look for solutions and alternatives for a better and more sustainable world was the trigger that motivated him to shift from a promising career in the public infrastructures industry, to an even more intellectually challenging profession:  Project Manager/Director of International Power Generation Plants.

After having spent the first three years of his career working for public projects promoted by governmental authorities and private clients in Spain (several highways, bridges and one dam), he decided to start working for international projects in a much more different and technologically advanced environment. The first international project he made was a biorefinery nearby Pau, part of the French Aquitaine, close to the border between France and Spain. After this one, a number of projects and technologies followed the list: bioethanol, biomass, thermosolar (parabollic trough and solar power tower), cogenerations, combined cycles, transmission lines and electrical substations, among others. Also, the variety of countries where those projects where located is not less impressive: Abu Dhabi, Mexico, Uruguay, The Netherlands, UK, France, USA, Spain, South Africa... And of course, he also spent several years living in some of those countries, such as, France, Mexico, USA and, of course, Spain, his homeland.

In addition, along the last 15 years working in the Energy Industry, Alberto has occupied different positions and responsibilities, from Lead Engineer in construction projects to Managing Director of an international engineering company based out of Mexico. As he typically says: “I do not consider myself an expert on anything, just a hard worker, focused on goals, solution-seeker and better fellow that brings people together and only tries to do his best everyday”. That way of approach his daily duties with optimism and duly accountability has served him to continuously grow and undertake different challenges on different companies.

Nowadays, Alberto is Project Manager/Director of a LNG to Power project located in El Salvador (2016-…), Central America: the “Energia del Pacifico” or “EDP” project, owned by Invenergy LLC, a company based in Chicago with projects in operation in North America, Latin America, Europe and Japan. When the EDP project is completed, it will bring many benefits to the local population, more opportunities, jobs, and above all, a new cleaner and more reliable source of energy, in a country where there is no natural gas.

Alberto has a M. S. in Civil Engineering issued by the University of Granada, Spain, and he is a professional engineer licensed in Spain and Mexico. Along his career, he played an active part in the University of La Salle in Mexico City, being a Professor of the M. S. program in Project Management for Construction Companies during 2014, 2015 and 2016, making compatible business management with continuous education.

Chris Roach

Vice Consul (Trade & Investment Officer) Information, Communications & Technology)

Chris joined the Consulate in March 2013 as a Business Development Associate for UK Trade and Investment in the Energy, Environment & Infrastructure sectors. He was briefly promoted to Business Development Manager before moving across to the Foreign & Commonwealth Office where he worked as Vice Consul for Economic Diplomacy for a year. In this role he led on climate change & energy policy, trade policy and higher education issues including managing the Marshall Scholarship program. In November 2016 he moved back to the Department of Trade and Investment as Vice Consul/Trade and Investment Officer for the technology sector.

Chris is also a current member of the Americas Regional Rapid Deployment Team for the Foreign & Commonwealth Office. He was involved in supporting the Sharm El Sheik crisis in 2015, deploying to the Embassy in Cairo. 

Chris grew up in Mid-Wales and is a duel UK-US national. He graduated with a Masters from the University of Chester (England) and prior to joining the Consulate worked in the private sector for a medical device clinical research organization.

Stuart Allen

Trade & Investment Officer, Life Sciences

Stuart has been with the consulate for four years. He began his time with DIT as an intern and has been a BDA and now leads the Life Sciences and Healthcare team. Stuart lived in Zambia and Zimbabwe for nearly seven years as a child. He majored in history at Arizona State University. He has a wife and a Corgi named Kroner.