Board of Directors
Paul Ropp, Chair
Claire Schaeffer-Duffy, Vice-Chair
Véronique Orcel, Treasurer
Libby Westie, Secretary
H. C. "Lan" Goodwin
H.C. “Lan” Goodwin is Director of Marketing of Touchstone Consulting Group. He has more than 30 years of experience in Human Resources, and has been awarded designations as a Certified Personnel Consultant and Certified International Personnel Consultant. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Employment Consultancy of Great Britain. He has served as Treasurer and President of numerous human resource organizations, including President of the International Confederation of Personnel Services. Lan is an experienced corporate mediator, both US and international, who has conducted seminars in long range planning, staff development, and organizational planning. He has also appeared as an expert witness in employment related issues, and has testified before congressional committees on various employment related subjects. In his early life, Lan served in the US Army with the Intelligence and Security Command, under the director of the NSA. Lan has been on many Worcester area non profit Boards of Trustees over the last several years.
John Gunther is a 1966 graduate of the University of Notre Dame with a BS in Electrical Engineering and a 1969 graduate of Georgetown Law Center with a JD degree. John is now retired from the EMC Corporation where he served as Vice President and Assistant General Counsel heading their Intellectual Property group. During his 40-year legal career John was certified to practice before the US Supreme Court, the CAFC, the USPTO and was named a Massachusetts Super Lawyer in 2006. John formerly served on the Board of Directors for the Intellectual Property Owners Association in Washington, D.C. and currently serves on the Finance Committee of the Sacred Heart Church in Webster, Massachusetts.
Michael Langa is a native of South Africa and holds two masters degrees, in Religious Studies and in Psychology, both from South Africa-University of Westville and University of Natal. He has worked for African Constructive for the Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD), from 1998-2001. Michael has traveled extensively to African war-torn countries, including Zimbabwe, Sudan, Nigeria, and Zambia doing Peace Education. In addition, he worked with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa, a court-like body assembled after the end of Apartheid. Anybody who felt they had been a victim of violence could come forward and be heard at the Commission. Perpetrators of violence could also give testimony and request amnesty from prosecution. Michael does consulting in the U.S. on Intercultural Conflict Management. He and his family live in Worcester, MA.
Sean Minahan is a Rhode Island native and a graduate of Clark University, where he received a BA in history, with a focus on the ancient world. While an undergraduate, he spent several months living in London where he worked at AgeUK, a major British nonprofit. He is continuing his study of antiquity at Clark, and expects to receive his MA in October 2013. He has been involved with the Center for Nonviolent Solutions since 2011, serving in programs aimed at middle school students, high school students, and teachers. He has also worked with developmentally and psychologically disabled adults.
Joseph O'Brien is a former Mayor of Worcester, MA. He and his family live in Worcester, MA.
Véronique Orcel, Treasurer
Véronique is a native of France where she volunteered in youth organizations and with the Red Cross in First Aid and Emergency Teams. She has also lived in South America where inequalities and injustice appeared in more obvious and greater scales, and her need/duty to prevent and combat them strongly became reinforced. In the United States, she has worked in various industries to raise her family. Her most influential and rewarding employer was The Health Foundation of Central Massachusetts and its ”Grantmakers in Sustainable Changes”. Véronique is passionate about youth development and empowerment, justice, good health care for all, literacy and empowering education, diversity and inclusiveness, all of which will contribute to a more just and peaceful world. Another way to develop a more empathic society is through Nonviolent Communication, of which she is an adamant and active Supporter.
Marjorie Ropp is currently Database Manager at Abby’s House in Worcester, MA. Her past employment includes Information Systems Consultant at Clark University, Education Technology Assistant at the Ecotarium in Worcester, and owner and manager of the Computer Learning Center of Memphis, Tennessee. She has an M.A. in Speech and Language Pathology from Memphis State University. She is an active member of the First Unitarian Church in Worcester having served as head of the Lay Leadership Council and the Peace Group. Since 2004, she has been active in assisting Worcester’s Sudanese refugees through the Sudanese Education Fund and Friends of the Sudanese organizations based in Lincoln, MA. She has three children and three grandchildren and lives with her husband Paul in Worcester, MA.
Paul Ropp, Board Chair
Paul Ropp grew up on a small Mennonite family farm near Normal, Illinois in the 1950s. He graduated from Bluffton College in 1966, and went on to graduate school at the University of Michigan where he finished his doctorate in Chinese history in 1974. He has taught Chinese history at Clark University since 1985. He is active in the First Unitarian Church of Worcester, and retains his lifelong interest in nonviolence as the most effective tool for conflict resolution and the promotion of social justice and positive social change. At the First Unitarian Church, he serves on the Peace and Justice Committee that is chaired by his wife, Marjorie. Paul and Marjorie are also active in the Friends of the Sudanese, a support group for Sudanese refugees in the Worcester area. He and his wife, Marjorie, live in Worcester, MA.
Ruth is a Unitarian Universalist and interested in promoting peace. For several years, she joined the Quakers and the Catholic Workers in their peace vigil at Lincoln Square in Worcester. Her daughter, Alice Swanson, inspired her to believe that peaceful protest and non-violent action were viable methods for resolving conflicts and achieving peaceful goals. When Alice was killed in 2008, Ruth chose to carry on the spirit of Alice’s work.
Ruth has a Masters in Business Administration from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 25 years of experience in corporate finance, holds a Chartered Financial Analyst charter and is currently adjunct faculty in finance at Clark University.
Claire Schaeffer-Duffy, Vice-Chair
Claire Schaeffer-Duffy is a graduate of the University of Virginia with a BA in Political and Social Thought. In 1987, she and her husband,
Scott, founded the Saints Francis and Therese Catholic Worker in Worcester, MA, a lay community that offers hospitality to men and women in need
and works for peace and justice. Claire began writing for the National Catholic Reporter in 2000. She has reported from Bosnia, Afghanistan,
India and Haiti and has received several awards from the Catholic Press Association for her writing. A founding member of the Central
Massachusetts Coalition for Peace and Justice, she has helped organize Worcester's Middle East Film Festival for the past three years. She and
her husband, Scott Schaeffer Duffy, are the recipients of the Paulist Center's 2007 Isaac Hecker Award for Social Justice. They are the proud
parents of four children.
Michael True, is professor emeritus, Assumption College, and the author and editor of twelve books, including An Energy Field More Intense
Than War and The Nonviolent Tradition, 1995, and People Power: 50 Peacemakers and Their Communities, 2007. His essays,
reviews, and poems have appeared in scholarly and general periodicals, including Commonwealth, America, New Republic, The
Progressive, Boston Globe, Harvard Divinity Bulletin. A native of Oklahoma, he is former chair, International Peace Research
Association Foundation (IPRAF), and former co-chair, Consortium on Peace Research, Education, and Development (COPRED).
A National Endowment for the Humanities Fellow, and twice a Fulbright Scholar in India, Michael True has taught at twenty colleges and
universities in this country and abroad, including Duke University (where he completed a doctorate in American literature), Columbia University,
University of Hawaii, Nanjing University and Nanjing Normal University (China), Utkal University, Bubaheshwar, and University of Rajasthan,
Jaipur (India). The father of six children and ten grandchildren, he lives with his wife, Mary Pat Delaney True, in Worcester, Massachusetts.
Elizabeth Hope Westie, Secretary
Elizabeth Hope Westie is a native of Michigan, where she received her BA from the Residential College of the University of Michigan, concentrating in Social Sciences and Social Change. She did undergraduate research on the phenomenon of teacher burnout. She received her Master of Library Science degree from San Jose State University. She has worked in private, public and school libraries, including the Citizen’s Educational Resource Center in Worcester, the Gale Free Library in Holden, and the Leicester Middle School. While at the Leicester Middle School she was part of a task force which developed a curriculum to address the issues of bullying and school climate. She has been a youth group and Coming of Age advisor, and has experience in youth empowerment models. She and her husband Joel Brattin have two children.
Martha Yager has worked for American Friends Service Committee since 1993, first in New Hampshire and most recently Southeast New England. Much of her work has been addressing the roots of war -- the social and economic injustices that breed the violence and anger at the root of conflict. More recently, her work has included efforts to end the violent interventionism of the United States government.
Martha Yager earned a BA from George Washington University and a Masters of Divinity from Yale Divinity School.