Sue DiCicco - USA
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.
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.
Sarah Cowley - Australia
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.
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.
Qayssar Alward - Iraq
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,
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.
Rubia Braun - India
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 - Bosnia Herzegovina
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 - Australia
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.
Christina Patras - Pakistan
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
Mohammed Ihsan - Iraq
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!
Belinda Gritsch - Australia
Lorna Battista - Costa Rica
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!”
Rayan Ezzeddine - Lebanon
Rayan is from Lebanon but grew up in Zimbabwe, and is passionate about human rights, child rights, refugees and migration and of course, peace. Rayan helped to organise the facilitation of the Peace Crane Project in Costa Rica’s refugee camp. She studied MA International Law and Human Rights at the United Nations University for Peace in Costa Rica. Rayan will be contributing to project growth in Lebanon, Zimbabwe, South Sudan and Ghana.
Esteban Hernandez - Costa Rica
Esteban has a long history of working in the community and has a strong social focus. He runs his own business and also volunteers with refugees and migrants in Costa Rica. Esteban is passionate about film and no photography and is joining the Peace Crane project because he believes in it’s ability to empower all participants.
Mohammed Baqer - Iraq
Mohammed Baqer is joining us from Najaf, Iraq. Mohammed is a medical student and is the organizer of Start up weekend in Najaf and also the organizer of speak up in Najaf. Mohammed is a member at Akito team, as well as a freelance translator and designer Leader of PAT TEAM. His hobbies are basketball , swimming, climbing, taking photos and he’s worked in many societal activities for peace. Mohammed is keen to grow the Peace Crane Project through his networks and projects in Najaf.
Dafne Calderón - Mexico
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.
Jéssica Viales López - Costa Rica
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.”
Georgia Flood - Australia
Georgia’s professional stage debut was for the Melbourne Theatre Company’s production of Blackbird. Her other stage credits include Don Parties On, also for MTC and Arcadia for Sydney Theatre Company in 2016. This mixed body of work has seen Georgia twice (2013 & 2016) be named runner up for the Heath Ledger Scholarship. Georgia’s training includes study at the Paris-based L’cole Internationale de Theatre Jacques Lecoq, masterclasses with Larry Moss, the six week Ivana Chubbuck intensive, Carol Rosenfeld Workshop, Lisa Robertson Studio Privates and The 2017 Elizabeth Kemp Masterclass. Flood is currently pursuing her first album, as a singer-songwriter, whilst promoting two new Television show’s in Australia.