Libby Hoffman, Founder and President
Libby Hoffman’s work transforms funder/recipient and outsider/insider relationships in the international peacebuilding arena to create durable, productive and mutually affirming platforms for practice, learning and aid. As a committed funder, a seasoned, hands-on practitioner, and an award-winning film producer, she continues to help the world engage with the lessons she has drawn from co-founding Fambul Tok: the importance of promoting the dignity, knowledge and capacity of local communities, and of strategically supporting those communities as they self-mobilize to surmount the challenges they face.
Libby has been active in peacebuilding for over 30 years as a professor, trainer, facilitator, program director, consultant, and funder. A former professor of political science at Principia College, she left academia to focus on the direct practice of conflict resolution and peacebuilding. She developed and led conflict resolution training programs in corporate, congregational, educational and community settings before establishing Catalyst for Peace (CFP) in 2003.
As CFP’s first major initiative, Libby helped design, convene and facilitate backchannel Middle East peacemaking initiatives to bring grassroots Israeli and Palestinian peacemakers together with American policymakers, which culminated in the establishment of the Center for World Religions, Diplomacy and Conflict Resolution at George Mason University. Libby also partnered with the United Religions Initiative, John Paul Lederach and Herm Weaver in a program to train interfaith peacebuilders in northern Uganda, Ethiopia, the Philippines, and India, and to build on that to develop URI’s peacebuilding capacities more generally.
In 2007, Libby co-founded Fambul Tok (Family Talk) with John Caulker in Sierra Leone. Fambul Tok brings victims and perpetrators from the civil war in Sierra Leone together for the first time in village-level, tradition-based ceremonies of truth-telling and forgiveness to reknit the torn fabric of these communities and in the process, heal a nation. In 2011, she produced an award-winning documentary film about this work, Fambul Tok, and is a lead author of the book of the same name, published by Umbrage Editions.
Libby’s peacebuilding efforts are informed and enriched by her lifelong spiritual practice as a Christian Scientist. As a founding board member and former Executive Director of Peace Discovery Initiatives (PDI) just prior to establishing CFP, Libby worked to bring a Christian Science perspective more fully to the peacebuilding field. PDI led in developing a focus on positive approaches to peacebuilding, and in working to mobilize religious resources for peace.
Libby holds an M.A.L.D. from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and a B.A. in Political Science from Williams College. She is married with a daughter and two grown sons, and gratefully acknowledges how parenting has, in reality, been the most significant arena for her education as a peacebuilder.
MAJOR PUBLICATIONS AND AWARDS:
Fambul Tok, Producer and Executive Producer (won Best Documentary, Fort Myers Film Festival; Best of Fest, Global Social Change Film Festival; Human Spirit Award, and Honorable Mention Best Doc at Nashville Film Festival; Best Documentary, Audience Choice Award, Rhode Island Film Festival; Crystal Heart Award, Heartland Film Festival; Best Feature, Show Me Justice Film Festival; Signis Award, Zanzibar Film Festival; Best Documentary, Queens World Film Festival; Best Documentary, Reynolda Film Festival; Jury Grand Prize, Non Violence International Film Festival, and more)
- 2011 Peacebuilder of the Year, Common Folk Awards
- Fambul Tok, published April, 2011 by Umbrage Editions: Lead author
- TEDxDirigo featured speaker, Fall, 2011: “Forgiving the Unforgiveable.”
- TEDxYouth@CEHS featured speaker, Fall, 2012: “Justice in the Round”
- Peace Mothers, Producer: a short film highlighting the powerful rural women of Sierra Leone as they rise from the ashes of war to lead their communities to peace and new growth.
- Middle Schoolers “Walk the Tok,” Director and Producer: short film about 6th graders applying the lessons of Fambul Tok in their school to transformational effect.
- “Reconciliation in Sierra Leone: Local Processes Yield Global Lessons,” in The Fletcher Forum of World Affairs, Summer 2008
- We Unite, Producer: 2008 short film produced about the grassroots interfaith organization, the United Religions Initiative
- Faith Into Action, Producer: 2008 short film about how ‘the moral imagination’ can support grassroots peacebuilding, as seen through the pilot program of the United Religions Initiative.
John Caulker, Senior Fellow
An extraordinary leader of communities and thought, John continues to forge a sustained and locally owned peace in Sierra Leone as the leader of Fambul Tok while contributing eloquently and powerfully to the global conversation about the transformational potential of that work. At Catalyst for Peace, he helps to consolidate our learning and articulation of what it takes to design, develop and lead a fully community-owned and led peacebuilding process on a large scale and sustained over time, and to illuminate the most helpful ways for outsiders to support that process, as well as healthy ways for local leaders and outside supporters to work together.
John Caulker established the Fambul Tok program in 2007 as the founding Executive Director of Sierra Leonean human rights NGO, Forum of Conscience. Today he leads this groundbreaking, grassroots peacebuilding initiative as the Executive Director of Fambul Tok International – Sierra Leone.
John has built on Fambul Tok’s unique success to make substantial contributions to other emerging issues in Sierra Leone, mobilizing coalitions of civil society organizations to prevent election violence and to respond more effectively to the current Ebola crisis. He chaired the Civil Society Platform on Nonviolent Elections in 2012, a U.N-backed coalition of over 100 organizations across the country, and currently heads the Bridging Communities Network, a network of national non-governmental and community-based organizations bringing community voices and leadership to the national Ebola response.
John first became a human rights activist as a student leader during the initial years of the war in Sierra Leone in the early 1990s. Risking his life to document wartime atrocities, he infiltrated rebel camps disguised as a rebel to gather information and stories that he would then pass along to international organizations such as Amnesty International, Article 19, and Human Rights Watch. He founded Forum of Conscience as a human rights NGO in Sierra Leone in 1996,connecting the root causes of Sierra Leone’s brutal conflict to the need for rural community participation in national decision-making and acknowledgement of wrongdoing to victims through reparations.
As the national chairman of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) Working Group, John pressured the government of Sierra Leone to implement the recommendations of the TRC’s 2004 report. Specifically, he has fought to ensure that some of the revenues from the sale of Sierra Leone’s natural resources benefit Sierra Leoneans themselves in the form of a special fund for war victims. As part of this effort to raise awareness and guarantee protection for the rights of victims of the conflict, John also mediated an agreement that allows members of the Amputees and War Wounded Association to participate in the TRC and Special Court process.
John has served as one of the two civil society representatives on the National Reparation Steering Committee, a body that overseas the implementation of the reparations program in Sierra Leone. He was a Human Rights Fellow at Columbia University’s (New York) Center for the Study of Human Rights in 2007.
The Rev. Canon Charles P. Gibbs – Senior Partner
The Rev. Canon Charles P. Gibbs has served Catalyst since 2015. An Episcopal priest, a visionary, and a poet, Charles has dedicated his life to serving the sacred in the world by working for peace, justice and healing. He provides leadership and support for CFP’s work cultivating the practice of peace and development from the inside out — focused on community-based peacebuilding, whole-system healthy partnerships and leadership development.
His wisdom, experience and spirit deepen and enrich CFP’s work — individual to organizational, visionary to practical. He values listening over speaking and is dedicated to making space for voices not often heard. He has a special passion to support the leadership of women, believing it is critical for the positive future of humanity. For over forty years, he has been guided by words attributed to an anonymous Methodist missionary — Whenever I go into a new community, the first thing I do is to take off my shoes to remind myself that I’m standing on holy ground. Otherwise, I might make the mistake of believing I brought God with me.
Before joining CFP, Charles served for seventeen years as the founding Executive Director of the United Religions Initiative (www.uri.org), a global community where people of different religions, spiritualities, Indigenous traditions, cultures, races and ages share a lived experience of their fundamental unity as citizens of Earth and children of a common Source, at the same time they celebrate their unique identities – all in service to the Earth community. In his years with URI, Charles traveled extensively, working with religious, spiritual and other leaders in Africa, Asia, Europe, the Middle East, the Americas and Southeast Asia and the Pacific.
An internationally respected spiritual leader, interfaith activist, speaker and writer, Charles has been blessed to collaborate with remarkable leaders around the world; and has spoken and written extensively about spiritual growth and interfaith cooperation as tools to build a better world. During his years with URI, he was a featured speaker at many international gatherings, including: the World Congress of Muslim Philanthropists, Doha, Qatar; the Parliament of the World’s Religions – Salt Lake City, Utah, Melbourne, Australia, Barcelona, Spain and Capetown, South Africa; annual symposia of the International Association of Sufism, San Rafael, CA; the United Nations; Unity in Diversity, UNESCO Headquarters, Paris, France; the UN’s Alliance of Civilizations in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Currently, he is working on a new volume of poetry to follow his collection Light Reading — Poems from a Pilgrim Journey; and working to complete a memoir – I’d Like to Help. Previously, with colleague Sally Mahé, he co-authored Birth of a Global Community, a book on the birth of the United Religions Initiative. He contributed a chapter to Interfaith Dialogue and Peacebuilding, published by the United States Institute of Peace, and co-authored, with colleague Barbara Hartford, a chapter in Positive Approaches to Peacebuilding. His essay, Opening the Dream: Beyond the Limits of Otherness, appears in the anthology, Deepening the American Dream. His reflection, Jesus Appeared to Babaji, appears in My Neighbor’s Faith. In addition, he published many articles on interfaith work.
A son, brother, husband, father, father-in-law and grandfather, Charles cherishes and is inspired by his family. He is blessed with dear friends and colleagues of diverse faiths around the world with whom he shares a commitment to serve the world through spiritual transformation and cooperative engagement for the good of all life on this sacred Earth. Mindful of the abundant blessings that come even through life’s biggest challenges, he seeks to live each moment in gratitude.
Jina Moore, Vice-President for Strategic Development
Jina Moore spent 15 years as a foreign correspondent, mostly working in Africa, covering human rights, women’s rights, and post-conflict reconciliation for the Christian Science Monitor, BuzzFeed News, and the New York Times. Her work has appeared in many other outlets, including Best American Travel Writing and Best American Science Writing. She is a global expert in trauma-informed reporting and has contributed to best practices and standards guides for reporting on gender-based violence, sexual violence in conflict zones, interviewing survivors of violence, and more, in initiatives organized by the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma, the British Foreign Office, and the Center for Global Women’s Leadership at Rutgers University, among others. She focuses now on narrative and community structures for reparative storytelling. She is also the editor-in-chief of Guernica magazine.
Julia C. Gardner, Director of the Office of the President
For more than 15 years, Julia has worked in small organizations across industries transforming teams and helping leaders efficiently pursue their objectives. As a high-level administrator, leadership coach, and partnership professional, Julia has brought her multitasking portfolio to Directing the President’s office at Catalyst for Peace.
Before joining the team at CFP, Julia served as Director of Corporate Partnerships at nonprofit, Nest, bringing in $1 million in corporate revenue annually and leading the organization’s Coalition of industry partners. Through her direction of the Pacific Forum Young Leaders Program, supporting admissions for the prestigious Schwarzman Scholars Program, and mentoring recent graduates, Julia has significant experience honing young professionals’ leadership skills and connecting them with education and growth opportunities. Julia has also worked in the Columbia University office of Nobel Laureate, Joseph E. Stiglitz, the executive office of the Foundation for a Just Society, and at the Korea Economic Institute of America in Washington, DC.
Julia received her Leadership and Executive Coaching Certificate from the University of Buffalo School of Management, Center for Leadership and Organizational Effectiveness, her Master’s in Negotiation and Conflict Resolution from Columbia University, and her BA in Politics and Asian Studies from Fairfield University.
Jennifer Turnage, Finance Manager
Jennifer joined CFP in May 2023 and manages our finances and day-to-day accounting operations. Jennifer is a versatile accounting and finance career professional, and entrepreneur, who has over 20 years of experience in non-profit, philanthropic, academic, private, and local government sectors. She has overseen all aspects of accounting and bookkeeping, internal controls and compliance, budgeting and forecasting, financial reporting and audits, operations and business management, grants management, and impact investment accounting.
She is the founder of FrontPaige Business Solutions, LLC, which provides a comprehensive range of accounting, finance, business, and operations related consulting, coaching, and strategic planning services. She loves helping businesses maximize efficiency and production, while empowering them to make growth-driven decisions with confidence, and she provides solutions to challenges that many businesses face every day.
She has been instrumental at the Compton Foundation for the last eleven years and currently serves as the Foundation’s Director of Finance – in which position, her proven leadership directs critical financial operations.
Jennifer holds a Master of Science Degree in Accounting from Saint Mary’s College, graduating Summa Cum Laude, and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Management from Menlo College.