Catarina Williams, Juris Doctorate, Co-Founder & Executive Director
Catarina was born in Colorado, home of the beloved Rocky Mountains and numerous mountain biking trails. Catarina first began her interest in international world affairs in law school when she was exposed to the International Law program at the University of Denver, Strum College of Law, (DU) in 2001. After completing her first year of law school with high marks, Catarina was admitted to Loyola School of Law, in Rome Italy, to study wartime and peacekeeping for one summer. Following this endeavor Catarina was chosen via American University, Washington College of Law, as one out of four American law students to study international law for six months at City University of Law, in Hong Kong, SAR. After interning and attending a semester of law school in Hong Kong, Catarina was offered the opportunity to intern for six months at Baker & McKenzie, in Caracas, Venezuela, where she initially met Simon, in 2002. Upon returning from academic study of law in Europe, South America and Asia, Catarina presented her thesis back at DU, on the Venezuelan Exchange Control Regime. Immediately following her internship at the Baker & McKenzie, Caracas branch, she was offered a 2L summer associateship at Cozen O'Connor, London branch the summer of 2003. Catarina earned a B.S. from UNC with a double major in biochemistry and educational psychology.
With a passion for social justice Catarina has sought out opportunities that allow for this interest to develop. In doing so, Catarina, acted as an international legal consultant to Agropecuaria EM30 in Caracas, Venezuela; had the opportunity of working as in-house counsel at the University of Miami (upon graduation from law school), developed teaching curriculum and policy with UNICEF in Laos, and worked in the administration of the Nueva School in Hillsborough, California. In her free time Catarina is passionate about changing social behavior to encourage sustainability and conservation practices, instilled at an early age by her grandfather. Taking advantage of her fluency in the Italian and Spanish languages, her law degree and international experience, Catarina is always planning the next adventure.
Simon Olavarria, Licensiado Derecho, Co-Founder & Educational Director
Simon was born in Caracas, Venezuela, a country with miles upon miles of pristine beaches, tepuis, rain forest and wildlife, including some of the most prehistoric birds on Earth! Simon attended Law School at the Andres Bello Catholic University, where he formed part of the UCAB Delegation that attended the Harvard National, Model United Nations, as a two-time prize winning delegation. Teaching has always been a natural passion for Simon; indeed he served as the chief advisor of the Venezuelan college level Model United Nations delegation for many years, which yielded great success and results both at Harvard and in Mexico City at WorldMUN. Simon went on to be the three term president of the Venezuelan Chapter of COLADIC, on the Latin American Council of International and Comparative Law. Even at a fairly young age Simon was invited to give lectures on democracy and e-voting in Buenos Aires and Panama City.
During law school Simon clerked for an international partner at Baker & Mckenzie (Caracas branch). After working at Baker, early memories of his family citrus and dairy farms prompted Simon to follow his passion for nature and conservation and he became the managing director of a 20,000 acre cattle ranch and forestland, in the pristine countryside of Venezuela. During his time on the ranch Simon lived without electricity or running water, but he also lived amidst baby lion cubs, anteater bears and near place he named bird island. He felt strongly to convert the farming practice to organic standards, and transformed the ranch into a pesticide-free operation and a nature sanctuary that prohibited hunting. From training past delegates, teaching ecological farming methods to farm workers, and venturing many times into teaching, (including lengthy teaching assignments at the Nueva School in Hillsborough), teaching was a hidden talent that is a complete joy and adventure for Simon. In the fall of 2009, Simon left his job at the Office of the Public Defenders, in the city of San Francisco, to dedicate his full energies to the League of Creative Minds.
Daniel Flores, League Associate
Daniel graduated from Stanford University with honors, and a degree in international relations, specializing in international security, and the Middle East. He wrote his honors thesis with the Center for International Security and Cooperation examining the United States' security commitment with Japan. His interests in international relations include terrorism, nuclear weapons, and the sources of international conflict and cooperation. In addition to his native Spanish, Daniel continues to pursue Arabic; and hopes to visit every Arab nation in his lifetime. Daniel has been an active member of the League community since 2012, and has found teaching the League delegates to be a highly fulfilling opportunity to utilize his skills and knowledge.
Daniel genuinely loves sharing his passion for international affairs and encouraging the delegates to pursue, and develop their own passions. He strives to make every class discussion as stimulating and enjoyable as those he loved during his time at Stanford. Daniel regularly challenges delegates to question their assumptions, examine problem from all perspectives, and broaden their reasoning to understand how different groups, peoples, and nations might think about issues in different ways. Daniel has traveled with the League to Hungary, Serbia, Bosnia, Kosovo, and Austria; and to Chile with Stanford. Daniel will travel to Israel, West Bank and Jordan with the Premier Delegation LCM field study program this Summer 2014.
Nicolas Kugel, League Associate
Alexandra McCawley, League Fellow
Alexandra is a rising senior at Stanford University majoring in International Relations, with a focus on Social Development and Human Wellbeing as well as Comparative International Governance. She has a particular in interest in learning about human trafficking, and how it affects our everyday lives. In addition, Alexandra has a long-time passion for reading fiction novels; her favorites include the Hobbit and the Princess Bride. Born and raised in Vancouver, Canada, Alexandra is also passionate about the outdoors, and loves to hike, snowboard, and ski whenever she can. As a member of the Stanford Varsity Field Hockey team, Alexandra understands what dedication, passion, and commitment mean and hopes to translate these qualities to create an energetic, and positive learning environment.
Eric Chung, League Fellow
Eric Chung graduated from Harvard University with a degree in Government, in which he focused on comparative and international research of public policies, including education and health policy. During college, Eric also taught with Boston Public Schools and received an educator license from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. He was President of Harvard Model Congress Europe and helped staff over a dozen government simulations in cities including Boston, Brussels, Dubai, Hong Kong, Madrid, and San Francisco. Eric is deeply committed to cultivating in young students of all backgrounds a deeper understanding and engagement with issues of cross-cultural dialogue, diplomacy, and public policy. He hopes to connect his own academic background and experiences in these fields to support those of future generations of students.
Ben Chao, League Fellow
Ben is a sophomore at Stanford University majoring in the Research Honors Track in Political Science. He is deeply interested in comparative politics, international relations, and political theory. His other academic interests include comparative literature, philosophy, history, economics and theoretical astrophysics. Ben's native tongue is Mandarin Chinese, and he has studied French, Japanese, and Arabic over the course of his academic career. He grew up in Honolulu, Hawaii, where he co-founded the Model UN program at his high school, and worked closely with other schools to develop the infrastructure for a vibrant MUN community. Ben remembrs his first MUN conference, MITMUNC 2012, where he was struck by the knowledge and diplomatic prowess of the LCM delegates he met there. He truly enjoy working with middle school and high school students, and has fun engaging with the League delegates in the classroom.
Hugo Pegley, League Fellow
Hugo will be a senior at Crystal Springs Uplands School, and is the Captain of his high school Cross Country and Track teams. It should be noted that Hugo ran his first marathon when he was in 8th grade! Needless to say he is an avid thinker, debater, and athlete, and in his free time enjoys watching movies, playing chess, and spending time with friends. Hugo joins us once again this summer, and looks forward to assisting younger students on research, debate, and public speaking.
Hugo has been a League delegate in LCM for six consecutive years.
Eric is pursuing political science and economics at the University of Chicago. He was first exposed to Model UN as a middle schooler, and, since then, has attended various regional and provincial debate tournaments in addition to participating in and organizing several MUN conferences. Most recently Eric served as Chief of Staff for VMUN. Eric seeks to share his natural ability and regards towards world issues, as he believes awareness and education to be fundamental in combating the challenge of our society in the future. Eric has been working for LCM since the summer of 2012. To that end, Eric discovered his gifted teaching abilities in the League classroom, and led the middle school division committee at the Inaugural LCM conference in the fall of 2012.
Madeleine Stanich, League Fellow
Madeleine is double majoring in History and Political Science at the University of Chicago, with an emphasis on International Relations and Human Rights. After four years of Model United Nations participation at the Masters School, she is proud to be a fully involved member of every MUN organization at UChicago. Madeleine began working for the League the summer of 2012.
Ryan Chandra, League Fellow
Anisha Patwardhan, League Fellow
Isha Gupta, League Fellow
Gregory Etzbach, League Fellow
Sarah Schmaier, League Fellow
Minkee Sohn, League Fellow
Board of Directors
Herman Spanjaard is a global citizen, residing in the Netherlands, Europe. Throughout his life he has been interested in academia and teaching. Trained as an Occupational Health Physician, he has worked for Government (in the Houses of Parliament, in the Netherlands) and currently is the Occupational Health Physician for De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek Lawyers, The Amsterdam Waste & Energy Company and Giant Europe Bicycles. He divides his time between his own consulting practice on Occupational Health care and in International Projects, such as the Reform of the Social Security System in China in the area of Work Injury and Rehabilitation.
As a global citizen, Herman feels that language and distinct cultures should never act as a barrier for international harmony, nor the various origins in which people have been raised. His sole purpose in life is in creating a better world through Peace and Health. Herman holds ties with the UN where he worked as a consultant for the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and in the International Criminal Tribunal of the Former Yugoslavia. Herman currently sits on another board for youth called the Board of Trustees for Medical Students of IPPNW and has a special interest in NGO's. Previously, Herman worked as a Director for The Hague Appeal for Peace www.haguepeace.org and currently is the Chair of the International Council (60 countries), of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War. www.ippnw.org (Nobel Peace Prize 1985). Finally, Herman attributes his motivation and passion from the viewpoint that "From youth we can learn daily". The League of Creative Minds is honored to have Herman as the first board member.
Dr. Arun G. Jhaveri
Dr. Arun is a certified sustainable development professional currently working as a consultant in environmental stewardship for the Obama Administration. Prior to this assignment Dr. Arun was the former regional manager with the U.S. Department of Energy; an Ambassador to the Pacific Institute; an adjunct professor at the University of Seattle and the former mayor of the city of Burien, Washington.
Board of Advisors
Gary was named to the 2008 and 2009 Forbes Midas 100 lists in honoring the most successful and influential people in venture capital. Gary joined Morgenthaler Ventures in 1997. He focuses on internet services and software investments. His investments include NexTag, Netli (acq. by Akamai), TimesTen (acq. by Oracle) and KnowledgeNet (acq by Thompson).
Previously, Gary served in several roles at Apple Computer, including SVP of Apple's Power Macintosh Division, VP Sales Americas, and Sr. Dir. of Marketing for Apple's Pacific Division (China, Japan, Asia, Latin America and Canada). Before Apple, Gary spent seven years at Sun Microsystems as Director of Product Marketing, Director of Asia Pacific Marketing, including a posting in Hong Kong. Gary began his career as an IC design engineer for TRW's microelectronics research labs. He earned an MBA from Harvard University and a BSEE from UCLA.
Gary is an advisor to the League of Creative Minds, an educational model for diplomacy for middle and high school students in which his daughter participates. His involvement stems from the commitment and passion of the LCM directors and the inspiration, confidence and rigorous research and persuasive public speaking skills they bestow on their student delegates. It is with great honor and grace that the League directors welcome Gary as the first board advisor.
Lisa Lunday is a founding partner of P+L Design Group, a premier Home Staging enterprise specializing in preparing residential property for sale. In addition, she serves on the board of the Winifred Johnson Clive Foundation and is the creator and director of their Next Generation Program. The NGP is designed to encourage young members (ages 12-25) to engage in charitable giving, stewardship, and civic involvement by seeking out community needs and offering gifts of time and treasure to support them. In addition to her Home Staging and philanthropic interests, Lisa is a Certified Meeting Planner, with extensive experience planning international and diplomatic events. She is married and the mother of two teenage boys.
Lisa is a founding LCM parent. Lisa's son joined LCM in the sixth grade and continues today in the 12th grade. By the end of his first year, he was a confident public speaker, and continues to grow and challenge himself within the program. Initially, Lisa became involved with LCM to support her son's interest. She developed a close personal relationship with the LCM directors, and realized that her business development, international relations and event planning experience could be useful to the organization. Lisa meets regularly with Catarina to brainstorm, and has become the informal parent liaison, bringing concerns of the community to the attention of the directors. She has been asked to formalize this roll and is currently available to answer parent questions and concerns. It is her goal to help the directors balance the changing needs of the program with the needs of the parents by implementing consistent schedules, policies, and procedures. Lisa: "I love watching the transformation of the delegates as they learn and experience new things, and believe that we are training our children for their rolls as future leaders."
Amy Cunningham Atkinson is the mother of two children in San Francisco. She spent most of her professional career as a broadcast journalist. For eleven years (1990-2001), she was an Emmy-Award winning Producer for the CBS News magazine, "60 Minutes" in New York City where she researched, wrote and reported pieces for CBS News Correspondent, Ed Bradley. Her work at "60 Minutes" included a broad range of both domestic and international stories. Prior to joining "60 Minutes," Amy worked at ABC News "Nightline" in Washington, DC where she was first a researcher for "Nightline" anchor Ted Koppel, and subsequently an Associate Producer/Booker for the program. Amy is a graduate of Yale University (BA, English, 1984), and Stanford University's Broadcast Journalism Program.
Amy's interest in LCM began when her 12-year-old daughter joined the League in 6th grade. Amy felt inspired by the standard of education the League holds sacred; and she observed firsthand as her daughter blossom into a poised public speaker, able to stand up and deliver a short, but substantive speech in front of hundreds of other students, in the course of a single academic year. Amy recognized the values and level of commitment devoted to every single delegate in the League. Amy writes, "Catarina and Simon have created an absolutely first rate academic experience for middle school and high school students which teaches - with an authentic commitment to excellence - the critical 21st century skills of leadership, persuasion, creativity, and intellectual engagement in international affairs. Catarina and Simon are fabulous role models for their students, and it is an honor to be associated with their organization." Amy's daughter will travel on the Premier Delegation in the LCM field study program to the Middle East this Summer 2014.