Vermont Honduras Partners Conference, April 7, 2017

Dan Baker, University of Vermont

Daniel Baker is an Associate Professor of Community and International Development in the Department of Community Development & Applied Economics at the University of Vermont, where he specializes in community-based action research. He has worked in rural Honduras since 2000, and led service-learning projects for more than a decade, modifying the traditional Vermont maple-syrup flue pan to meet the needs of small-scale sugarcane farmers. In addition to his work in Honduras, Dan is also involved in community planning in Vermont.  He has worked with Vermont dairy farmers and Latino migrant workers for more than 10 years, following Latino workers’ contributions to the dairy industry and tracking their welfare. He has received awards for land conservation from the Vermont Land Trust, several teaching awards, including the Vermont Campus Compact’s Community Partnership Award.   He lives in Starksboro, Vermont where he runs a maple sugaring business with his family and friends.

Kate Barta, Welcoming All Nationalities Network

Kate Semple Barta is the Director of and Attorney for The Welcoming All Nationalities Network of the Upper Valley, “WANN”.  WANN provides immigration legal assistance in humanitarian immigration cases.  WANN’s clients are residents of Vermont and New Hampshire, primarily from the Upper Valley, and most are survivors of domestic violence or persecution.   Ms. Semple Barta has worked as a Staff Attorney for the Midwest Immigrant Human Rights Center in Chicago (now the Heartland Alliance National Immigrant Justice Center) and for the International Institute of Boston (now I.I. New England), as a Managing Attorney in its Lowell office, and Asylum Attorney in its Boston office.  She is a member of the American Immigration Lawyer’s Association and of the Illinois state bar since 2001.  She has coordinated WANN’s activities in the Upper Valley since 2011, after she completed the United Way funded Needs Assessment Relative to Foreign Born Individuals in the Upper Valley. 

David Chappelle, Chappelle Consulting LLC

David Chappelle has extensive ties to Honduras.  He originally visited Honduras in 1999 to help reconstruct houses post-Hurricane Mitch.  He immediately fell in love with the country and its people.  He returned to Honduras to work in rural development projects through the University of Vermont for the next 15 years, first as an undergrad, then as a Masters student and finally as a co-instructor for the Department of Community Development and Applied Economics’ international program.  He currently serves as the Vice President of the Vermont chapter, Partners of the Americas.  David was raised on Vermont family farm and currently works as a Hispanic labor management consultant in the dairy industry.  He resides in central Vermont with his wife (a Honduran native) and family.

Steve Crofter, Community Asylum Seekers Project

After several week-long stints in Texas volunteering with a project serving asylum seekers as they’re released from detention, Steve Crofter came up with an idea.  He realized that most asylum seekers had family or friends somewhere in the U.S. with whom they could live, but surely some must be on their own without anyone to take them in.  Back home in Rockingham, Vermont, Steve talked with neighbors, and together they launched a new nonprofit – the Community Asylum Seekers Project (CASP), Inc. CASP’s mission is “to provide basic needs and a supportive community for families in the process of seeking asylum in the U.S.”  The organization has raised funds and has a roster of volunteers ready to help.  Steve and his partner have been renovating additional living space in their home, and will soon be CASP’s first hosts, as they invite an asylum seeking family to live there while they pursue their asylum claim. 

José Gálvez, Workshop Facilitator

José Tulio Gálvez Contreras, a native of La Ceiba, Honduras, is a PhD Student in Public and Urban Policy at The Milano School of International Affairs, Management, and Urban Policy of The New School University in New York City. His academic passions involve topics of equity, justice, environment, economy, and politics. For his dissertation studies, José focuses on the environmental justice of green jobs and their role in fostering a just economy. As a child José learned that he was at an advantage compared to other children of his country. He realized that although life might not always be easy for him, but as long as a he had a chance to create change, he would not let go of that opportunity. Jose arrived from Honduras to the United States in 2007, where attended Green Mountain College in Poultney, Vermont as a Make a Difference Scholar.  He also received a Masters in Environmental Law and Policy with Concentration in Climate Change from Vermont Law School. José is currently a candidate for a seat at the Honduran National Congress.

Linda G. Gilbert, Hands to Honduras – Tela

Linda G. Gilbert is Director, Vermont Hands to Honduras-Tela (H2HT) 13th year in Tela – her responsibilities include everything from Overall Organization, Administration, Strategic Planning, Logistics, Project Development, Coach and Mentor for H2HT Volunteers…and fun stuff like holding newborn babies in the Tela Newborn Intensive Care Unit that H2HT built. She is a retired marketing director, presently a marketing consultant and event planner, and an active volunteer. She has received the ‘Service Above Self’, Rotary International  Global Award, and lives in Charlotte, Vermont.

Erin Jacobsen, South Royalton Legal Clinic

Erin Jacobsen is Assistant Professor and Supervising Attorney at Vermont Law School’s South Royalton Legal Clinic, where she is the lead project attorney of Vermont Immigrant Assistance (VIA). Prior to that, she was the Lead Staff Attorney at Vermont Immigration and Asylum Advocates in Burlington, Vermont.  Through VIA, Erin and her students provide free legal representation to indigent immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers. Erin also practices juvenile law, family law, and runs the Clinic’s Prison Project, in which she consults with incarcerated women about legal issues regarding their children.  Erin is committed to public interest law and to doing work that promotes human dignity and human rights. She is licensed to practice law in the State of Vermont and in the United States District Court for the District of Vermont.

Michele Jenness, AALVT

Michele Jenness is the Legal Services Coordinator at the Association of Africans Living in Vermont (AALVT).   She provides pro bono immigration legal services in behalf of vulnerable and  low-income immigrants and asylum seekers.  She works with individuals seeking asylum in the U.S. and Canada, non-citizens facing criminal charges that may have immigration consequences, as well as providing general immigration legal assistance. She is a fully accredited representative under the Executive Office for Immigration Review.

Linda Kennedy, ACTS Honduras

Linda Kennedy is Associate Director of the Norris Cotton Cancer Center, Dartmouth-
Hitchcock Medical Center. As a volunteer with Americans Caring Teaching Sharing (ACTS) Honduras for more than 12 years, she has been dedicated to community building in the small Locomapa region of rural Honduras, where she has fostered education, public health projects and teen leadership. She initiated the Norris Cotton Cancer Center’s global oncology research program, which leverages and expands the ACTS Honduras relationships in Locomapa. Through her efforts, the cancer research infrastructure in Honduras now includes partnerships with La Liga Contra el Cancer and Universidad Catolica de Honduras, which are both in San Pedro Sula. Her goal is to facilitate research in cancer that will involve investigators from the Cancer Center and yield immediate benefits to local people, improve local care, and make substantive translational contributions to cancer control with initiatives that are feasible, acceptable and effective. The Cancer Center’s Honduras platform has presented findings at international conferences and has a book chapter in press, and in addition to continuing research is conducting screening programs for cancer, and interventions to reduce farm family exposures to pesticides. Kennedy lives in Thetford Center with her husband Doug Kennedy.

Madeleine May Kunin, Keynote Address

Madeleine May Kunin was the fourth woman to be elected governor in the U.S. and the first woman to serve as Governor of Vermont. She was born in Zurich, Switzerland and immigrated to the United States with her mother and brother during World War II. She served as Deputy Secretary of Education and Ambassador to Switzerland in the Clinton Administration. She is the founder of the Institute for Sustainable Communities, a non-government organization which focuses on climate change and civic society. At present she is a Marsh Professor at the University of Vermont, a commentator on Vermont Public Radio, and a blogger on the Huffing ton Post. She is the author of The New Feminist Agenda: Defining the Next Revolution for Women, Work and Family, selected as an Editor’s Choice by The New  York Times. She is also the author of Pearls, Politics and Power: How Women Can Win and Lead, Living a Political Life, and The Big Green Book. She is a fellow at the Academy of Arts and Sciences  and a recipient of the Eleanor Roosevelt award

Carolyn Meub, Pure Water for the World

Carolyn Crowley Meub has made a successful career in public relations, as well as events and organizational management.  That work has included projects in the fields of organizational management, special events planning, political campaigns and fund-raising.  She currently serves as the Executive Director of Pure Water for the World, Inc., a not-for-profit organization, started by the Brattleboro, Vermont Rotary Club in 1999. Under her leadership, Pure Water for the World, Inc. has grown from a Rotary Club project into an effective non-governmental organization working in Haiti and Central America. Carolyn was recognized by the White House in April, 2012 as one of ten Rotary Champions of Change for her work with Pure Water for the World.

Dean Seibert, ACTS Honduras

Dean Seibert, M.D. is certified in Internal Medicine and General Medicine and Public Health. He has spent much of his professional career at Dartmouth Medical School and has worked extensively with the Navajo, Hopi and Pueblo people of the Southwest.  He has served in times of natural disasters and manmade crises in Central America, Albania, Kosovo, Indonesia, Liberia, Haiti and the U.S. and has been affiliated with Americans Caring Teaching and Sharing (ACTS) and their work in Honduras for twenty-five years.

Susan Sussman, Senator Patrick Leahy’s Office

Susan Sussman works for U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy and has been providing constituent services for the past 9 years. Her casework includes matters relating to the Department of Homeland Security as well as the Department of State. Much of her work involves assisting Vermonters, immigrants and refugees with cases pending at USCIS, with border-crossing or passport issues, or at U.S. Embassies abroad. Prior to working for Senator Leahy, Susan was an immigration and civil rights attorney, both in private practice and with the State of Vermont. She moved to Vermont in 1979 to begin her legal career as a staff attorney at Vermont Legal Aid.