About Us

Sue DiCicco

Sue DiCicco

Founder and President

Our founder and president is a former Disney animator and longtime author and illustrator of books for children. In 2012, Sue began to wonder how those in the creative community could move beyond entertainment to guide the world’s youth towards a conversation about peace, community, harmony, and connectedness.

As she mulled the possibilities on Facebook, the discussion caught the eye of Deborah Moldow, the chair of the United Nations Peace Day NGO. Deborah asked if she could create a project for Peace Day. Soon, the Peace Crane Project took flight.

Since launching the Peace Crane Project, the goal to arm our children with the skills to express themselves creatively, and connect them to one another through the arts has been met with astounding enthusiasm and support around the world. Participants engage and communicate with one another every day of the year, often building on the network, and bringing a new level of compassion, appreciation, and understanding to their communities.

For more about Sue, visit Wikipedia.

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Sarah Cowley

Sarah Cowley

Director

Our director Sarah has a passion for peace that started with her curiosity about global development and inequality. This led her to undertake her BA Social Science, majoring in Community Development at the University of Queensland in Australia.

During her studies, Sarah worked for the International Day of Peace Alliance Inc., a grassroots, not-for-profit, non-government organization in Brisbane, Australia, whose aim was to “raise awareness and celebrate” the International Day of Peace each year. Sarah acted as Secretary, then Project Manager, for the group’s local and international programs.

Sarah graduated with a BA in 2011 and since then has worked with sustainable grassroots organizations in Cambodia, Nepal and India, primarily with women and children who’ve faced severe adversity or disadvantage. Her focus is on Peace Education and the power of grassroots programs, such as the Peace Crane Project. In 2016, Sarah was awarded one of two annual Global Grant Scholarships from Rotary International to undertake her MA International Law and Human Rights at the United Nations’ University for Peace (UPEACE) in Costa Rica, which she is due to complete in June this year. While studying her MA, Sarah is concurrently working with refugees and migrants in Costa Rica’s refugee camps and has worked on various Rotary lead projects such as provision deliveries to young mothers in rural communities and a national peace program in El Salvador with UNESCO,

In 2016, Sarah was awarded one of two annual Global Grant Scholarships from Rotary International to undertake her MA International Law and Human Rights at the United Nations’ University for Peace (UPEACE) in Costa Rica, which she is due to complete in June this year. While studying her MA, Sarah is concurrently working with refugees and migrants in Costa Rica’s refugee camps and has worked on various Rotary lead projects such as provision deliveries to young mothers in rural communities and a national peace program in El Salvador with UNESCO, USAid and UN Volunteers. Prior to Costa Rica, Sarah also completed a five month internship with the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) in Sydney. IEP produce the annual Global Peace Index, the world’s leading report quantifying global peace.

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Qayssar Alward

Qayssar Alward

Social Media Guru

Qayssar, our social media guru, was born in Baghdad, Iraq, in 1991. He received the B.E. degree in law from Al-Mamon University College, Baghdad, Iraq, in 2013. In 2012, he joined Baghdad City of Peace Carnival – World Peace Day (BCOPC), as a Photographer,

and in 2014 became a Photographers Team Coordinator. Since September of 2015, he has been with Media Department of (BCOPC), where he was a Media Coordinator, became an IQPeace Center Manager in 2016, (BCOPC) a group of Baghdadi youths who gathered by the initiations and the civil society associations, Believe in the existence of peace within every single individual and aim at bringing the title of “City of Peace” back to Baghdad throughout providing chances of participation between youths and society associations.

Qayssar’s current interests include peacebuilding, innovation, volunteering, youth activities & civil society movements in Iraq. He is Volunteer in Innovation for Development initiative Project (Inno4Dev) led by United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Iraq under the Local Area Development Programme (LADP), which is funded by the European Union (EU). Inno4Dev aims to promote and support young people in Iraq between 16 and 30 years old in the field of innovation and entrepreneurship, using Design Thinking and Lean Startup as main methodology. He was CSO Liaison Officer and Trainer, Trainer on New Media (Trained over 75 NGOs) Following up (M&E) with local CSOs in Baghdad. He was Programme Assistant:Rapid Assessment and Response Team of International Organization for Migration (IOM) Iraq Mission in 2015, Enumerator/Community Stabilization & Revitalization Unit (IOM) in 2016.

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Rubia Braun

Rubia Braun

Creative Savant

Our creative savant, Australian-German Rubia has worked in film, TV, web, music and print in four continents.  She holds dual degrees in children’s development and in media studies, started her own creative venture at the age of 21 and produced her first feature film at the age of 23.

Boris Dzino

Boris Dzino

Web Guru

Boris Dzino was born in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. He studied computer science and holds multiple certificates including Microsoft MTA: IT Infrastructure and Microsoft Technology Associate.

Boris oversees our web presence and is our “go-to” guy for all things tech related.

 Danielle Villoresi

Danielle Villoresi

Communications Assistant

Our Communications Assistant Danielle is a passionate, dedicated and creative dance teacher from Brisbane, Australia. Along with being an accomplished dance teacher she has had a successful career in the fashion industry including owning her own clothing label and being a mentor for managers of one the largest retail companies in the world.

After deciding to pressure her passion of encouraging young people, Danielle has begun a career in youth work and is currently studying her diploma. She is involved in a mentoring program for at risk young people as well as community arts programs. Danielle has aspirations to further her studies and explore art therapy, eventually combining her two passions of young people and the arts in an effort to encourage and improve the lives of young people. She is incredibly excited to be involved with the peace crane project and believes its elegant simplicity is a fantastic way to get children and young people involved and thinking of peace and its global contribution.

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Christina Patras

Christina Patras

Communications Assistant

Our Communications Assistant Christina is an activist and a teacher and believes that “Leaders produce leaders”. She has a strong faith in women and believes that they have the courage to raise the society and must be assertive to make difference with dignity. Her vision is to bridge gaps globally and uplift Christian youth, women, and children. Her father believes in girls’ education, grooming, and empowerment so he encouraged her to accomplish her dreams and allowed her to continue higher studies which lead to a new direction of working and exploring her abilities 

She has more than ten years of nonprofit, educational, semi-government, church and volunteer experience. Currently enrolled in M.Phil. in Applied Linguistics at Kinnaird College for Women, Lahore, Christina recently received a diploma in English Language Teaching (ELT) from the same institute, obtained certification in Peace Building and Conflict Resolution from International Institute of Peace Studies (Thailand), Spanish language course from Colegio Jesus Maria (Spain) and holds a Master’s degree in Human Resource Management from Institute of Administrative Sciences, University of the Punjab, Lahore. Christina also engages children at Children of Sunday school to promote peace building education, socio-cultural exchange activities, and contributes to faith education in children. She wants to plant seeds of peace, love, and kindness. She leads facilitated forums of capacity building for youth and women so they can play their role effectively in society, get educations, become visionary leaders/good role models, change makers, promote volunteerism, and utilize/practice their rights positively. As a facilitator/Secretary General at Christian Youth Development Movement (CYDM) Christina focuses on different activities of Informal Education and sports activities, engages youth in advocating social issues, provides direction, helps them to create job opportunities. Christina has led different campaigns in her community on proper sanitation and maintaining cleanliness, becoming responsible citizens, initiated and executed an institutional based project on cleanliness, energy conservation, recycling, reuse, and clean-green healthy environment. Also served Caritas Pakistan Lahore and developed insight of better understanding of community development, managing soft skills of people, advocacy, and mobilization. The area of focus has been community development and assisting less privileged people. Moreover; she is passionate to impart education, and to utilize her skills in education, development and promote peace activities in Pakistan.

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Mohammed Ihsan

Mohammed Ihsan

Peace Ambassador

Mohammed Ihsan Ameen, a 27-year-old from Iraq! A graduate of Kirkuk University’s College, Mohammed has been a volunteer, activist, and civilian in the field of human rights for the last six years and has been involved in various training programs and organizations. With them, he provides food, clean water and a form of normality for those displaced by war.

Mohammed has recently been involved with a refugee camp in Kirkuk where his role was to entertain the children, working for their happiness. His current projects involve connecting those passionate about volunteering and human rights through social media in order to organize action in their local community! Mohammed is also working with a team to write a book about the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals in both Arabic and Kurdish, as he is passionate about creating a society that is aware and active in them.

One of my greatest achievements with the group , has been creating a platform called Kokar.org with the aim of connecting all those who are interested in volunteer work in Iraq.

The platform, has had a far reaching impact in Kirkuk and has inspired youth from all over Iraq to join in our efforts to uplift society and promote social cohesion.

So far, we have collaborated in many projects including: restoration of The National Museum in Kirkuk, facilitating clothing donations to refugees, providing milk for the children and the restoration of schools.

Additionally, we have organized several workshops, including a workshop promoting social cohesion through dialogue and promoting diversity and peaceful living. 

I’m very happy to be part of peace crane project let’s go!

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Lorna Battista

Lorna Battista

Peace Ambassador

Lorna Battista is a currently a student at the United Nations’ University for Peace in Costa Rica, working on a double MA in International Relations and Natural Resources and Sustainable Development. She has been passionate about the environment since growing up in the Sonoran Desert in Arizona, and got her BS from University of Arizona in Ecology and Chemistry.

Her decision to move away from biological studies and towards environmental impacts and sustainability was based in a desire to work on projects that will have a clear and direct human impact. In the past Lorna has worked extensively with science outreach programs, the U.S. National Parks Service, the U.S. Department of Energy and the Earth Charter Secretariat. “I learned about the Peace Crane Project through Sarah, while we were both attending UPEACE. The project’s simplicity and clarity of message really appealed to me: starting the dialogue of peace early through creativity and international connections. I am really looking forward to helping the project grow and getting more schools involved!” 

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Dafne Calderón

Dafne Calderón

Intern

My name is Dafne Calderón. I hold a Bachelor Degree in Marketing  . I just finish my Masters degree in International Peace Studies from University for Peace, United  Nations mandated University in Costa Rica. 

My professional experience is mostly in public relations, customer service, conflicts, and complaints solving, tourism and hospitality and international marketing for a fashion and textile industry in India.

Currently I volunteer with Habesha project, a humanitarian initiative that sponsors and supports Syrian refugees to complete their  University education in México, Costa Rica and Colombia. 

I also contribute with a  Center for Education from the South of México that advocates for children that come from low-income families and marginalized communities to receive free education. I am developing for them a Disarmament Education Workshop  and a Peace Education one and when I learned from Sarah about the PCP I knew I wanted to be part of it as well, hoping I could also include this project in their education.

After working in India for one year,  my life changed and I decided I wanted to contribute to make our world better.   The more I traveled the more I became aware of the different traditions, religions, beliefs, customs, and perspectives we all have from the world, this was fascinating. On the other hand I also noticed the different gender-based violence in each place, discrimination, lack of security, inequalities,conflicts and fears that people had , no matter where I was and regardless of nationalities,  it seemed  to  me that we, humans,  were so committed to make someone else suffer, it was like we had no empathy. I wanted to learn more about it, understand conflicts and how we behave towards others based on our traditions and ideologies and it seemed to me there could be something I could do to avoid a conflict and people harming and hurting each other.

I started to volunteer in local NGOs in India and México and self-published a zine called ” Go find yourself” to try to encourage people to go abroad and learn from the beauty  of the different cultures and our inner selves in different environments without judging , being afraid and get the best from every culture instead to copy the experiences  it in our own cultures.

I am passionate about contributing to build peace around the world, helping others and tackle grassroots problems and I believe that through education we can change and achieve many good things.PCP allows the educational systems to be more dynamic, creative and appealing for children and this is what I love about it; arts, peace, and education sounds like a great formula with an amazing outcome that can improve the world.

I have the faith and hope that we can prevent many conflicts and that through an integral educational framework that is based on peace narratives we can achieve it.

I love reading, writing, traveling, mangoes, chocolate, languages, art, movies, and coffee.

I love working out, running, dancing, and enjoy outdoor activities.

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Jéssica Viales López

Jéssica Viales López

Jéssica Viales López is a 26-year-old from Costa Rica. She holds degrees in International Relations and International Business. She just finished a Masters Program in International Peace Studies at the United Nations-mandated University for Peace, in Costa Rica. 

Jéssica has been a volunteer in environmental NGOs, and has participated in community development programs for the youth and the elderly in Costa Rica.  

Professionally she has had a very different experience; working first in banking and finance, and then as a primary school teacher for three years. Working with children was an amazing and incredibly rewarding experience. One that was hard to let go, but since a very young age she has been passionate about Peace Studies, Human Rights, and Conflict Resolution; which ultimately led her to move away from education. 

“Today, by joining the Peace Crane Project a wonderful opportunity is presented to me, combining two of my passions: education and peace. The idea of working with children, using art as a tool to create international networks and exchange messages of peace is simply amazing. For a young kid to feel that his or her actions have an impact on others, and that change can be reach with small acts through your own personal peace is something truly inspiring and hopeful. And I want nothing more than to help the PCP grow and be able to reach as many children and people as possible.”