Board of Directors

Eve Sullivan

Eve Sullivan

Founder and Director

Eve, the mother of three grown sons and four grandchildren, lives in Cambridge, Mass., and retired from MIT in 2012 after many years as a senior editorial assistant. Trained as a language teacher, she founded Parents Forum in 1991 as a way to ‘pay forward’ the help she received in raising her own children.

She is active on behalf of Parents Forum with the National Parents Union, the Cambridge Chamber of Commerce, the UN Committee on the Family in New York, the U.S. National Parenting Education Network / NPEN, the Doha International Family Institute / DIFI in Qatar and the Société Algerienne pour la Recherche en Psychologie / SARP in Algeria. For many years she served on the board of the International Federation for Parent Education based in Paris.

Eve Sullivan is the author of the program handbook Where the Heart Listens. It is her vision of a community of parents and others who care about children and families that created Parents Forum.

Djamel Bekkai

Djamel Bekkai

Co-Director

Djamel has spent the bulk of his career teaching Arabic and French language, culture and literature and developing instructional materials at Boston University, Tulane University and Dillard University. He has also worked as a journalist and a translator.

While he loves the classroom, he finds great inspiration and satisfaction in developing programs to take students into the community. He sees this work as building cultural understanding in ways that prepare students to be effective in their professional lives and contribute to society.

He joined the board of Parents Forum in 2017 because he believes that expressing emotions honestly is essential to creating the strong relationships everyone wants to have with those they love. He sees strong families as the foundation of a healthy society and effective parenting as its cornerstone.

Inas Alawam

Inas Alawam

Inas Alawam was born in Syria and spent ten years in Saudi Arabia among expatriates from many Arab countries. She works in the banking and finance industry and has been a Parents Forum board member since 2018.

Her experience in Saudi Arabia, along with having a Lebanese grandmother, helped her understand other Arab countries and respect all Arab cultures. Inas came to the US in 2006 to further her education; she received an undergraduate degree in Marketing and Decision Science from Salem State University and a master’s degree in International Economics and Finance from Brandeis University. Her charity work has included helping Iraqi refugees get medical care and adapt to American culture. She has studied, worked and volunteered, doing so while a single mother raising her daughter, with the encouragement and support of her own mother.

With a focus on building awareness and educating women to realize their potential, Inas entered the Miss Arab USA competition and was awarded the 2018 title. During her reign she served as an ambassador of humanity and goodwill.

Andi Edson

Andi Edson

Andi Edson, director of Lesley University’s New Teacher Community, teaches courses on Family Engagement in Lesley’s Early Childhood Department. Andi has been a teacher trainer at the Fujian Institute for Teaching (Fuzhou, China) and for three recent summers was the Head Teacher Director there. Her work there involved training Chinese English teachers in best strategies and practices for teaching and learning.

Andi retired after a 40-year career in the Newton, MA Public Schools where she taught kindergarten, first and second grade and ended her career as a Literacy Interventionist.

With a doctorate from Harvard Graduate School of Education and a Certificate in Advanced Studies in Reading from the Massachusetts General Hospital Institute for Health Professions, Andi has been involved in curriculum development and teacher training in both medical and educational settings. She was named a Fulbright-Hayes Scholar and traveled to India to represent the US Department of Education.

As a life-long educator focusing on authentic collaboration in young students and adult learners, Andi is pleased to support Parents Forum in its efforts to promote social-emotional learning among parents and others in parenting roles.

 Athena Wang

Athena Wang

Athena Wang joined the Parents Forum board in summer 2016. Believing that she has ‘the best parents in the world’ and appreciating their consistent encouragement and support, she wants children everywhere to have the same. Her professional background includes ten years work experience in manufacturing and program management in China and Czech Republic. She wants to use the skills she acquired in her marketing masters program at Hult International Business School, along with her language skills, energy and passion to engage resources and develop social-emotional learning programs to reach parents and benefit children around the world.

Jamesa Wagwau

Jamesa Wagwau

Mr. Andericus ‘Jamesa’ Wagwau, lead consultant with Career and Leadership Development Institute, Kenya (CLDI), has extensive experience in capacity-building, leadership, program development, research and career mentoring. The father of four, Wagwau joins the board of Parents Forum to help advance its mission of improving support for parents.

Prior to joining CLDI, Wagwau worked with the media group Uganda New Vision on behavior-change programs tackling education and capacity-building challenges in academic institutions. For Uganda New Vision he wrote a parenting column and spearheaded the strengthening of collaborations among the media and ministry of education, corporate organizations and civil society.

Between his Uganda New Vision and CLDI positions, he spent years in the United States working with various organizations on research, resource mobilization, grant management and program monitoring and evaluation.

Wagwau holds an MA in Public Administration from University of Memphis’ School of Urban Affairs and Public Policy, an MA in Educational Psychology from West Virginia University and a BA in Counseling from Kyambogo University, Uganda. 

Akmaljon ‘Jon’ Akhmedjonov

Akmaljon ‘Jon’ Akhmedjonov

Intern

Akmaljon ‘Jon’ Akhmedjonov recently earned his Bachelor’s degree from the American University of Central Asia and plans to do his Masters’ degree at the Central European University in Vienna. For the past five years, Jon has been volunteering in numerous organizations including Bard College Center for Civic Engagement, Search for Common Ground, and other educational projects in the US, Central Asia, and Germany. He joins Parents Forum with an ambition to build strong communication with workshop participants and parenting education advocates.

Kealeboga ‘Kea’ Lenyibi

Kealeboga ‘Kea’ Lenyibi

Summer Volunteer

Kealeboga Lenyibi is an MBA candidate at Hult International Business School in Boston (US). After completing her undergraduate degree in Chemical Engineering at the North West University (SA), she worked in the mining and metals industry. While working in this position as a production engineer, she started volunteering at an orphanage. Ever since then volunteering has been her fuel for life. She joins Parents Forum, believing in their mission, with the hope of helping them achieve it globally.

Patricia Lowther

Patricia Lowther

Volunteer

Patricia Lowther, born and raised in South Carolina, now lives in Virginia. She is married and has two adult daughters. Retired from teaching English as a Second Language, she started her career with the Peace Corps over 50 years ago in Turkey and later lived and taught in Zambia.

Patricia is committed to facilitating dialogue across personal, racial, ethnic, religious or other differences. She has volunteered with organizations working in Africa (Zambia Orphans of AIDS) and Turkey (HasNa). As a hobby, Patricia is deeply involved in tracing family genealogy.

Patricia is especially drawn to Parents Forum because its “Tools of the Trade” help individuals learn to express feelings, even ‘bad’ feelings, in a positive way. These practices can be carried into larger homogeneous or cross-cultural groups and communities. She especially appreciates the ‘I feel- about- because-’ formula that Parents Forum teaches, as it provokes thoughtful reflection when feelings run high.

Advisors

Belén Mesurado

Belén Mesurado

Belén Mesurado, Member of the Philosophy Institute and Professor of Universidad Austral. Associate researcher at National Scientific and Technical Research Council (CONICET).

She obtained a degree in Psychology (2003) and a Ph.D. in Psychology (2010) at Universidad Nacional de San Luis in Argentina. Her interest area is Positive Psychology and prosocial behaviour. She has obtained National Doctorate and Post-doctoral Scholarships from CONICET, as well as Scholarships from international organizations such as the Fundación Carolina, the Society for Research on Adolescence, the Society for Research in Child Development and the International Union of Psychological Science. She has published 30 articles, 16 book chapters about different topics of Positive Psychology.

Andrès Garcia-Lopez

Andrès Garcia-Lopez

Andres Garcia-Lopez is the founder of the EdTech startup Kind Screen, which focuses on using tech and media for social-emotional learning and was awarded Harvard GSE Education Entrepreneurship Fellowship in 2018. He is also the Senior Project Manager, Social Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard. In that role, Andres supports early childhood entrepreneurs as they scale their ventures while maintaining impact. He has 15+ years of experience in startups and large corporations. Andres is the co-founder of an educational media studio called Merken Studios in Chile, he also worked as a consultant at Deloitte, and held positions in marketing, finance, and operations at American Express and Citigroup in New York.

He holds an Ed.M. in Human Development and Psychology from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, an MBA from the University of North Florida, and a B.S. in Industrial and Systems Engineering from Virginia Tech.

Dr. William Sharp

Dr. William Sharp

William Sharp was a high school social studies teacher who became interested in why some students learn and some did not. This interest in the individual’s mind brought him to the study of psychoanalysis.

He teaches at Northeastern University and the Boston Graduate School of Psychoanalysis / BGSP and has a private practice in Brookline village for adult, children, and groups. Dr. Sharp consults with schools and teachers in the Boston area helping them reach children that are often hard to reach due to emotional blocks to learning.

His interests also include writing and movie discussions. He has led talks at BGSP on how film reflects human drives in such movies as: Lars and The Real Girl, Brokeback Mountain, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and Warm Bodies.

Luke Sullivan

Luke Sullivan

Luke is IT systems architect at Harvard University, focusing on automation and security. Luke provides guidance to Parents Forum on technology needs.
Aisha Yousafzai

Aisha Yousafzai

Dr. Aisha K. Yousafzai, Associate Professor of Global Health, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Visiting Faculty, Aga Khan University, has 20 years of field research experience in low- and middle-income countries. She has lived and worked in South Asia and East Africa, led program evaluations in Central and Eastern Europe and spent ten years working at the Aga Khan University in Karachi.

Her work focuses on:

  • new interventions and approaches to promote early child development, particularly those that strengthen child- and caregiving-related outcomes through existing health, nutrition, and education systems,
  • implementation structures and processes for early childhood interventions to achieve sustainable impact at-scale,
  • capacity development in local communities, services and systems for effective delivery of programs that foster early child development.

Her work also addresses inclusion of children with disabilities in public health services, an area likely to grow with increasing global concern that all children thrive. Dr. Yousafzai serves on a number of global advisory groups including the Technical Advisory Group of the Early Childhood Development Action Network and now Parents Forum.