NEPAL 2014 Trainers & Participants


paulPaul Bueno de Mesquita, PhD is a Professor of Psychology and Director of the Center for Nonviolence & Peace Studies at The University of Rhode Island. For over 30 years Paul has worked as a faculty, professional psychologist, and community advocate for mental health psychological well-being. Specializing in nonviolence, violence prevention, and positive psychological development, particularly in support of under-represented and underserved low-income culturally diverse communities, he training future psychologists in social-emotional assessment, intervention, and consultation. A Level III certified trainer of Kingian Nonviolence Conflict Reconciliation, Paul directs the Annual URI International Nonviolence Summer Institute and recently has conducted international nonviolence trainings in Nepal, Jammu-Kasmir, India; and Ghana, West Africa.

kayKay Johnson Bueno de Mesquita, EdS is adjunct faculty at The URI School of Education. A Level II Kingian Nonviolence Trainer, Kay is a veteran university educator, an accomplished calligraphic artist, and a published author specializing in Language Arts and Writing. She also works at the Center for Nonviolence and Peace Studies and helps coordinate the Annual URI International Nonviolence Summer Institute. She loves to travel, hike, experience new cultures, and especially enjoys being in Nepal with family and friends. Namaste!

JacobJacob Bueno de Mesquita is a recent graduate of Georgetown University in Washington DC and currently resides in Columbus, OH where he is completing a 2-year fellowship with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He plans to attend graduate school in the fall in the area of public health. Jacob is a Certified Level II Kingian Nonviolence Trainer, a pianist, a tennis player, an avid tea drinker, and aspiring Mt. Everest climber. Jacob has witnessed and experienced a wide range of human violence and nonviolence, as well as dramatic health and class disparities throughout his travels across urban and rural United States, and abroad in countries including Honduras, Argentina, and Spain. He is excited to meet Nepalis, Rhode Islanders, and Himalayan peaks, and to reflect upon the power of nonviolent action in transforming the future of communities and nations.


Pritush Maharjan, our coordinating contact in Nepal, is a local peace expert and NGO capacity building specialist. He received his Level I Kingian Nonviolence training at our 10th Annual International Nonviolence Summer Institute, in 2011 and completed Level II advanced nonviolence certification in Leadership, Organization, and Mobilisation training in June 2012. Pritush and his wife Eliza were our in-country hosts and guided us each and every day in each and every way to make our trip and learning experience the success that it was.


Dorothy Bocian. Hello, I’m Dorothy from Providence, RI. I work at Rhode Island School of Design on Grants, Residencies & as a Fulbright Program Advisor. I’m interested in teaching youth and adults “how to get along with one another” through nonviolence education and to continue developing a program focused on nonviolence and designed by myself and colleague Risa Gilpin – Raise Your Voice: Examining Culture, Clash, Community and Change. My hopes and expectations are to become more connected to the world and people through nonviolence, to become more educated about nonviolence principles and practices, to see some of the countryside and especially views of the mountains, and to explore life from a new perspective.

PortiaPortia Burnette Hello! My name is Portia and I am a senior from South Kingstown, Rhode Island studying Nursing, Philosophy, and Biology. My interest in studying peace and nonviolence arose from material discussed in Philosophy courses, as well as through my experiences working for the URI SNAP Outreach Project, an organization that helps to alleviate hunger in local low-income families. Working with the individuals and families in need has reinforced my belief that everyone in our society deserves compassion and assistance if we are to better our society as a whole. Through this trip to Nepal I am hoping to gain some practical and theoretical peace skills that I can incorporate into both patient care as a nurse, and into everyday interactions with those around me. I look forward to learning more about the unique culture in Nepal, and I hope to return with a better understanding about human interaction and a deeper devotion to universal compassion.

kelliKelli Butler. Namaste! My name is Kelli and I am sophomore and an Environmental Science and Management major and International Development minor at The University of Rhode Island. A previous career in Marketing took me all over the country for work but I have also traveled many places internationally for pleasure.  I love to travel and experience other environments and cultures.  In my future career I hope to work internationally, and believe that peace and non-violence is an important message to spread.  I look forward to the training, meeting the students from Nepal and exploring the landscape.

KarinKarin Conopask is an Associate Dean for Development for the Colleges of Human Science and Services and Nursing at The University of Rhode Island. In this position she meets with and engages URI alumni throughout the United States and abroad. In 2011, she traveled to India and Nepal to learn about the culture and spent eight days trekking in the Himalayas with a small group. Karin is an avid traveler and enjoys meeting and developing friendships with individuals from all over the world.


Jim Crotty. Namaste!  My name is Jim and I have a BA in Mass Communications from the University of South Florida in Tampa, FL where I currently reside. I enrolled in the School of Hard Knocks, finally “graduating” after 40 years with a major in sales and sales management and a minor in marriage & child development. I am currently retired and working on an advanced degree in world travel and existential experiences. I believe that nonviolent conflict resolution is a better way – the only way — to achieve lasting peace throughout the world. I also hope to both share my perspectives learned through my previous life experiences and gain new perspective on how other countries and cultures deal with challenges and conflicts. Learning is a lifelong endeavor and I look forward to learning from each of you.


Sanju Dhital. Hello Everyone! I am a senior studying Biological Sciences with a minor in Nonviolence and Peace Studies. I became involved with the Center of Nonviolence and Peace studies in Fall 2012 as a Student Center Assistant managing especially the Center’s Website and Social media. I decided to join the trip this year, after helping organize the trip last year, which was very exciting. I am also a recently certified Level I Nonviolence trainer, and I hope to practice my training and leadership skills in this trip. I am so excited to go back to Nepal, where I was born and raised, and experience it in a different perspective.

katelinKatelin Dutton. First I must say how grateful I am for this course! I’m a senior Psychology major with a passion for helping people. My nonviolence work began when I was 14 years old – I volunteered in a soup kitchen in San Francisco. I’ve worked on assignment photographing indigenous textile artisans in Peru and Guatemala and fundraised for non-profits such as Doctors Without Borders and Save the Children, while living in Australia. I’ve worked in Uganda for BeadforLife photographing and gathering the stories of women living in extreme poverty. I have an interest in Buddhism and Hinduism and see this as a beautiful opportunity to experience a country that represents a history of peacefulness and a spiritual connection. What an interesting cross-cultural exchange this trip will offer! I’m happy to be led by such an amazing group of people and look forward to the journey ahead!


Brian Hernandez. Hello Everyone! I am a junior studying Entrepreneurial Management here at URI. I am currently a Residential Advisor on campus as well as an active member of the Entrepreneurship Club. One day I hope to be the owner of my own business counseling firm. This peace trip to me will be a great opportunity to be exposed to an absolutely amazing culture! I really look forward to being part of a great team that will actively implement peacebuilding and multicultural unity. I believe this trip will enhance my leadership skills, while simultaneously providing me with a great foundation from which I can implement various set of skills to my life today, as well as my business ventures in the future!

AmandaAmanda Lampe. My name is Amanda and I am currently a senior in Psychology. I am originally from Long Island, New York. I have no formal nonviolence training, but I have always seen myself as someone to speak up against injustice through nonviolence. I believe our country is full of far too much violence and everyone could benefit from learning thebasics behind nonviolence training. I cannot wait to travel to Nepal because I know it will be a life changing experience. I am excited to meet new people, indulge in the cultural foods, and embrace the diverse community!

MeaganMeagan Leary.  Hello, my name is Meagan and I am from Warwick, Rhode Island! I am currently a senior at TheUniversity of Rhode Island majoring in Psychology. I also work full time at Starbucks. I became interested in nonviolence and peace studies when I became more independent and aware of the world I live in, learning that not everyone lives in a safe, peaceful environment. This has really helped me to find my passion for helping victims and better understanding nonviolence training. I amexcited to travel to Nepal and experience a new environment and culture other than my own! This will be a great learning experience, not only educational but spiritual as well. I know that traveling to Nepal will be an eye opening adventure full of learning and discovering!


Melissa Marcotte. I am a born and raised Rhode Island resident, Rhode Island College alumni, and now a graduate student at the University of Rhode Island in the doctoral program for Behavioral Science. My research focuses around individual interpretations of violence and nonviolence. I am a currently a Level 1 Kingian Nonviolence trainer and plan on getting my Level 2 training done this upcoming summer. Dr. King wanted to institutionalize and internationalize nonviolence. Ultimately, to institutionalize, I want to work in higher education as a professor and incorporate the nonviolence understanding and practices into my curriculum. This experience in Nepal will be my first step to achieving the second goal of learning to internationalize Dr. King’s nonviolence practices, for as he said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

raquelRaquel Mckenna Hey there! I’m Raquel, a senior Psychology student from Olney, Maryland. I aspire to one day be a teacher within a private sector because that is where my interest in nonviolence stems from. I hope to one day in my classroom be able to incorporate nonviolence strategies through the school’s community. I am so excited to travel to Nepal for a bunch of reasons. One of them is that I love learning and experiencing other cultures. I think this helps give me perspective to a lot of things in my life. Also, I would like to spend my last spring break here at URI doing something that could better me within a community and as an individual. I hope to learn more about the education system within the Nepali culture while we visit the orphanage. I also hope to walk the gorgeous mountains and lands of Nepal with an amazing group of individuals! I am beyond excited to soak all of this in.

bariBari Mirotznik. Hello, my name is Bari and I’m from Long Island, NY. I’m a freshman nursing major at URI. I’ve always been interested in peace and nonviolence but after spending the summer doing community service in South East Asia, my passion for this topic has grown. Traveling has opened my eyes to how people in the world live and I think that many people could benefit from learning about nonviolence. I am extremely excited about traveling to Nepal and I hope to expand my knowledge on nonviolence and peace studies, develop my leadership skills, and immerse myself in the culture!

perryPerry Sandrock. Namaste! My name is Perry and I am a Psychology major with a minor in Human Development & Family Studies. After studying abroad this past spring in Australia and experiencing life in a different culture, my perspective began to change.  I’d like to think this eye-opening experience was the foundation for my desire to reshape myself as a global citizen. I began workingwith my program following my return and love helping students travel to their desired destinations. After meeting the Center’s staff I was eager to learn more about their nonviolence training and peace studies. I am so grateful to be a part of this trip and have the opportunity to extend the message of peace to Nepal, while learning about the culture along the way.

 TriciaTricia Sargent.  My name is Trisha and I’m a junior in the College of Nursing from Clinton, MA. My interest in nonviolence and peace studies began when I was volunteering on an Alzheimer’s and dementia unit in Ireland. After witnessing the positive effects peaceful environments had on patients, I was intrigued to learn more about promoting peace. Traveling, experiencing new cultures, and helping others are my strongest passions in life. The opportunity to go to Nepal and combine all of these into onetrip will undoubtedly be a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I am looking forward to strengthening my knowledge on nonviolence and peace training and experiencing all Nepal has to offer.


Hello! My name is Tiffany Wierzbicki, I am a fourth year student and perusing a double major in English and Human Development and Family Studies at the University of Rhode Island. I have always had a strong interest in peaceful and nonviolent ways of life, however my true dedication began when I started working with the Hunger Center at URI two years ago. I am very much looking forward to the Nepal trip, and I am growing more excited with each passing day! I am looking forward to this experience for a variety of reasons; to learn about a culture different from my own, to explore new land, to meet a variety of people, and to learn everything I can, are just a few. During this once in a life time trip, I expect to gain a different perspective on cultures, meet new people, explore a foreign land, and improve my knowledge on peace and nonviolence studies.