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Unitarian Universalist United Nation's Office Advisory Board

When the Unitarian Universalist United Nation’s Office (UU-UNO) and the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) merged in early 2012, the merger agreement specified the creation of an Advisory Board. At the recommendation of Peter Morales, President of the UUA, the purpose of the UU-UNO Advisory Board is to give advice and support the UU-UNO. Under the Chairmanship of David Overton and the UU-UNO Director, Bruce Knotts, each Advisory Board member has selected a UU-UNO program to champion and support.

Member Biographies

Holly Atkinson

Holly Atkinson, MD, FACP, is Director of the Human Rights Program for the Mount Sinai Global Health Center and Assistant Professor in the Department of Medicine, where she co-directs the Advancing Idealism in Medicine Program, along with Dr. Jon Ripp. She serves as faculty advisor to the Human Rights and Social Justice Scholars Program and the Physicians for Human Right student chapter at Mount Sinai.

While working in Indonesia during her medical internship at the University of Rochester’s Strong Memorial Hospital, Dr. Atkinson became interested in global health. She subsequently became involved with Physicians for Human Rights, the Nobel Peace Prize-winning organization, serving on its board for more than sixteen years, including four years as its president. Her particular focus is on the intersection of health and human rights, especially as it applies to advancing the health of women and girls.

Holly is a member of the Unitarian Church of All Souls in New York City (since 1993) and is married to Senior Minister Galen Guengerich. She has served on the All Souls Board of Directors as well as co-chaired a capital campaign for the church. Holly also previously served on the UU-UNO Advisory Board.

Derick Bowen

Derick Bowen is passionate about the application of data analytics to international development projects. He recently relocated to Washington, DC. where he works for the World Bank’s Development Research Group. His focus is on impact evaluation and research related to Agriculture and Rural Development, and his work has brought him to projects in South Sudan, Sierra Leone, and Ghana. He holds a Master in Public Administration and International Development (MPA/ID) degree from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. A lifelong Unitarian Universalist (UU), Derick served on the UU-UNO Board of Directors from 2008 through 2011.

Derick attends All Souls Church Unitarian near his home in Washington, D.C.In his spare time, he enjoys practicing yoga and spending time with his family, who are based in New Jersey and Jacksonville, Florida.

Charles Du Mond

Charles Du Mond, married to Barbara, with two daughters: Jennifer and Emily.

Barbara and Charles joined the Unitarian Universalists of San Mateo (UUSM) in 1993. He started his religious life attending “generic” Protestant churches on Air Force bases. His father was in the Air Force for the first 12 years of Charle's life and they lived in England, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico, Massachusetts, and California.

In college, Barbara and Charles started attending Quaker meetings. She had grown up as a Lutheran. They joined the Iowa City Monthly Friends Meeting when we were both in graduate school at the University of Iowa. They were married under the care of the Meeting in 1982. During their time in Iowa City, they both served as Clerk of the Meeting. Their Meeting also partnered with a local United Church of Christ (UCC) church to provide sanctuary for a Guatemalan refugee family.

In 1988, the Du Mond's moved to San Mateo, after receiving their graduate degrees. At first, they attended the Palo Alto Friends Meeting, but found the community focused on activities in Palo Alto, so they looked for a new spiritual home, compatible with their beliefs and active in their neighborhood. Some friends suggested the UU church. For many years, Charles described the UU church as a kind of United Nations of Religion, and he was a Quaker representative in this multi-faith church. Sometime in the last five years, he stopped using that phrase and now he simply describes himself as a Unitarian Universalist.

Charles has served in leadership positions at UUSM for the past 15 years (President, Vice President, Treasurer, and Financial Secretary). He has chaired the Pledge Drive and other fundraising events. When he made the change to policy-based governance, he served on the first Coordinating Team. He has a continuing commitment to religious education at UUSM, teaching all grade levels, Coming of Age, and OWL for junior high students (even AYS before the OWL curriculum was developed).

Charles has served on the UUA President’s Council for 4 years. For the last 2 years, he has been a member of the steering committee for that group. He is also on the discernment committee for the next UUA major fundraising campaign. His Unitarian Universalist experience includes many multicultural experiences and challenges. UUSM has a partner church in Ulay, Philippines. The Du Mond's visited Ulay in March 2011 and supported the community as they performed a community capacity building workshop. In May 2012, they traveled to Ghana with the UU United Nations Office delegation and the monitoring trip for the Every Child is our Child program.

Professionally, Charles has a Ph.D in Statistics and he has worked in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry since 1988.

Mary Ann Lang

Mary Ann is a founding partner of North Star Vision Group (NSVG). The purpose of NSVG is to enable organizations and professionals to provide people who have impaired vision with accessible and appropriate services and products. This includes consultation to develop high quality low vision clinical and rehabilitation services through low vision training/awareness initiatives. North Star is currently engaged in projects in the Middle East, South America, and Europe.

Mary Ann retired from her position as Vice President for International Programs for Lighthouse International in 2005. She had been with the Lighthouse since 1976, serving consecutively as director of children's services, professional training, client programs, the National Center for Vision and Child Development, and the Lighthouse International Center on Low Vision.

In addition, Mary Ann has been a university educator of professionals in the United States and Chile in the fields of psychology, education, and blindness and visual impairment. Among the topics she has addressed are: the impact of visual impairment on people and their families; the interface between impairments and environments; and the development of low vision care worldwide.

She received her M.S. in special education from Hunter College, her M.Phil.and Ph.D., both focused on psychology, human development, and education, from the University Center and Graduate School, City of Univeristy New York (CUNY). She is a member of the American Psychological Association, the Association for the Education and Rehabilitation of People who are Blind and Visually Impaired, International Council for Education of People with Visual Impairment and an honorary member of the Pan American Society on Low Vision.

Mary Ann is a member of Unitarian Church of All Souls in New York City. She served as a member of the UU-UNO Board of Directors from 2006 to 2010. In this capacity, for the most part, she focused her attention on developing grant proposals to raise funds for the general operations of the office and its programs. Mary Ann has two daughters, Diane and Linda, and five grandchildren, Benjamin, Jonathan, Anna, Nicolas, and Alexander.

Marilyn Mehr

Dr. Marilyn Mehr is a teacher, psychologist, writer and social activist. She earned her Ph.D. from the University of Southern California, taught physicians and health care professionals Behavioral Sciences, at Children's Hospital of Los Angeles, the University of Southern California Medical School and then at Glendale Adventist Family Practice Residency Program. She joined the University of Kentucky Medical School as a Professor of Family Medicine in 1993 for three years.

For approximately the last ten years, Dr. Mehr devoted herself to writing and social activism. She has written a book, The Courage to Achieve, with Betty A. Walker, Ph.D., published by Simon and Schuster in 1994, and published numerous research articles in professional journals. Her most recent publication is a novel, Holding the World Together, about her Mormon ancestry.

In 1997, she joined the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the South Fork, Long Island, NY, and shortly thereafter, became Co-President. She has served as the President of the UU-United Nations Office for the past five years and has recently joined the Board of All Souls, New York.

Shawn Newton

Shawn is the minister of the First Unitarian Congregation in Toronto, where he has served for the past five years. This is his first settled ministry. Prior to his arrival in Toronto, Shawn was living in Boston and working on his MDiv at Harvard while serving as an intern in Haverhill, Massachusetts and assistant minister in Wellesley, Massachusetts. Before seminary, he worked for almost a decade as the administrator of Arlington Street Church in Boston.

Shawn is happily (and legally—in Canada) married to Bob Gauthier. They have been together for almost fifteen years and have greatly enjoyed life in Canada. Shawn and Bob are working their way toward becoming citizens, though they still haven't quite wrapped their heads around what it means to pledge loyalty "to Her Majesty the Queen and all of her heirs and successors"!

David Overton

David is a member of First Unitarian Church of Dallas, and has served on the Board of Trustees, Stewardship Committee, and the Social Action Council.

The Overton family first became involved with the UU United Nations Office when their daughter Liz interned in the Office during her undergraduate years at Barnard College. David's wife, Mary, then served on the UU-UNO Board for several years, and during that time David helped the Board to develop strategic plans.

Mary and David have also been enthusiastic supporters of the Every Child is Our Child (ECOC) program since its beginning, and were fortunate to be able to travel to Ghana in May of 2012 to visit the Queen Mothers and the students that ECOC supports.

David recently retired from a long career in the corporate world, where his focus was strategic planning and customer research. He is now applying those skills to the non-profit world. David serves on the Board of Mercy Ships, a global non-profit that operates a hospital ship in West Africa. He is also leading the effort to establish the Jericho Road program in Dallas. Jericho Road was started by UU churches in Massachusetts, and matches professionals in the church with non-profits in the community who need those professional skills.

The Overtons have lived all over the U.S., including Boston, Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, and now live in Dallas, Texas. They have two children: Liz, who is a lawyer for Southwest Key, a large non-profit in Austin, and Tom, who is a manager with the Four Seasons Resort in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

Ruth Pearce

Ruth joined the Unitarian Church in approximately 1960. The post World War II era was a time of church going&mdasha trend she rigourously avoided until the older of her ultimately six kids started school. Hassled by fellow students, they began asking why they weren't going to Sunday School. Difficult question for a devout atheist who had rejected traditional Christianity as a child! But her involvement with the peace movement led Ruth to the Unitarian Church where she has remained, serving in various positions such as director of R.E. (never taught a Sunday School class), President of the Board of Directors twice, responsible for Sunday Services for nearly two years when her congregation was between ministers. When time came to move to larger premises, they bought an old stone house on the river bank near the center of the city, with ample land to build a new sanctuary/auditorium. Ruth was on the House Committee to prepare Unitarian House congregational use, then added participation on the Building Committee as they erected the sanctuary/auditorium and RE facilities, with the foyer joining the two buildings.

Note: when the youngest of those six kids began kindergarten, Ruth returned to university. She enjoyed research and was paid to be a student, so she ended up with a joint Ph.D in History of Science and History of the United States. The U.S. history in particular greatly increased her interest in global matters, a topic of continuing fascination. Accordingly, once the building project had been completed, Ruth became concerned that her congregation was too inward looking, unaware that Unitarian Universalism was not confined within our four walls, it is spread throughout the world.

It was then that Ruth had the brilliant idea of forming a Global Outreach Committee (GO) and was stupid enough to follow through on it! GO brought under one umbrella four different UU related organizations: USC Canada, Unitarian Universalist United Nations Office (UU-UNO), Unitarian Universalist Partner Church Council (Partner Church), and International Council of Unitarians Universalists (ICUU). Members of GO reflect the global perspective, born and raised in Iran, Iraq, India, Spain and the Philippines, they didn't want to seem discriminatory, so they let in a couple of Canadians too. Diversity continued, however, as one was a young Franco-Manitoban (our earliest settlers, raised bilingual and Roman Catholic), the other descended from United Empire Loyalists.

While this brainstorm led to much more work than anticipated, it has also led to a lot of rewarding experiences. Ruth has now served on the Board of Directors of UU-UNO, various committees including the committee negotiating the merger of UU-UNO with UUA (involving the severance of Canadians from UU-UNO and the simultaneous agreement to ensure continuing Canadian participation), attended meetings in U.S. cities she would not have visited, and more recently, went to the Philppines under the auspices of Partner Church and ICUU. Ruth has been learning a lot, and so has her congregation as GO keeps congregants informed through reports and special events.

Kent Price

Now retired, Kent was principal writer for the chief executives of the public university systems of California and Maine and Executive Editor at the Washington, D.C. think tank, Resources for the Future, Inc. He is the editor of five books on energy, natural resources, and environmental quality, published by the Johns Hopkins University Press.

He has twice served his congregation as President and currently edits and writes its monthly newsletter. He was Vice President of the former Northeast District Board of the UUA.

As a 2007-2011 member of the former UU-UNO Board of Directors, he served as Recording Secretary for three years and Vice President for two. He produced in 2007 the informational brochure that remains the organization's principal introduction to the public. Long interested in the nexus of problems under the rubric of “Climate Change,” he is a member of the UU-UNO Climate Change Initiative and looks forward as an Adviser to continuing that association.

Kent and his wife, Anne, live on forty-three wooded acres in rural Hancock County, Maine. They are members of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Castine.

Scott Seale

Scott Seale has been affiliated with the UU-UNO office for 3 years, first serving on the Board of Directors, and now the Advisory Board. Through the work of our office, Scott realizes his commitment to improving the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in many countries where a silent genocide continues.

Scott lives with his partner, Frank, and daughter, Courtney, in Montclair, NJ. He is a partner in a real estate investment company.

For more information contact unitednations@uua.org.

This work is made possible by the generosity of individual donors and congregations. Please consider making a donation today.

Last updated on Tuesday, January 15, 2013.

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