US Servas Board of Directors
I was first introduced to Servas in the Spring of 1971. As a young activist, I resonated with Servas which was promoting its mission as building world peace one friendship at a time.
That resonated for me and still does.
I have been a Servas traveler and have hosted individuals, couples, and families from around the world. I have supported peace and justice organizations my whole adult life.
I am a retired college professor living in San Diego, CA. I travel as often as I can, meeting new people and experiencing different cultures.
Shyla Esko Bare
I discovered Servas when living in Scotland. The ethos of peace through travel resonated in my heart.
Since joining in 2005, I’ve stayed with members in numerous countries, and hosted travelers from around the world. I love that Servas has shown me different cultures and customs. I’ve lived on four continents and was a member of Servas UK and Servas Australia before joining Servas US in 2013.
Since then, I’ve held various volunteer positions. I’m an International Travel Coach and author of a bestselling travel book. I have a BA from the University of Washington, and MBA from Edinburgh Napier University.
I was raised in the Nebraska Sandhills on a ranch that has been in family operation since 1909. Experiences living in Washington & London and spending 6 weeks hitchhiking from Switzerland to Morocco and places in between vastly broadened my horizons.
As a public librarian I served people from all walks of life. I learned about Servas from Dean Jacobs, a Nebraskan who did a program about his around the world trip. “Servas? What’s that?” I asked. My husband Rick and I joined in 2009 as hosts, then I as a traveler in 2013. And nothing has been the same!
Image: North Loup River, Brewster Nebraska
I am originally from India and moved to US in 1970s. My family has lived in 15 states and have travelled extensively. I love hiking, gardening, cooking and most of all, I am a fearless traveler, love connecting with people and experiencing different cultures. The best part is meeting and sharing my world with others, locals, fellow travelers and just about anyone.
I want us to have a warm feeling in our heart and mind, feel positive about the world we live in and feel togetherness, peace and erase those boundaries between us. My goal is to expand and strengthen Servas for future generations.
Eileen (Lee) Rowley
Over the past 25 years, Servas has provided me with some of my most memorable experiences. A few of the most significant relationships in my were made as a traveler and a host. Servas provides the opportunity to hear other’s stories, and to share our story, thus promoting cultural understanding and peace.
By serving on the Servas board I hope to be a conduit to our members. I bring decades of experience in conflict resolution and mediation; managing volunteers, and serving on the NYS Dispute Resolution Assn. for 6 years. I enjoy empowering people and helping them to discover their full potential.
I grew up in the Philadelphia area with a Unitarian / Quaker background. After college I moved into Philidelphia and became active in community development with the West Mt. Airy Neighbors Association, and have continued my community involvement wherever I have lived.
My career began as a research engineer with a manufacturing company. Early in my carreer I moved the company into using IT systems, and eventually became the corporate IT director. In 1992 I left the company and took a one-year, self-financed backpacking sabbatical through India, SE Asia, and Australia/NZ. I became a Servas traveler in India in 1994, host and Interviewer in 1995, and active member help volunteer in 2021.
For me, making friends while traveling is the best part. My lucky life has been full of friends and influences from other cultures, and I believe it's important to bring that to as many people as possible, especially Americans.
I became interested in international exchanges when my son spent a year in Austria as an exchange student, eventually volunteering with AFS . Over the next 20 years I supported American students going abroad as well as hosting students and teachers from all over the world. I came to understand what a life-changing experience it can be to get to know someone from another culture on a deeper level. Servas seemed like a natural transition for me, and for many years, I served as the Office Administrator in the US Servas office.
I continue volunteering with AAUW, the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute and as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA).
I have three grown sons, two grandchildren, a poodle and a cat. In my spare time, I play golf and pickleball, participate in three book clubs and write fiction.
US Peace Secretary
I have been a Servas member for over twenty years, both as a traveler and as a host. I have been the beneficiary of my hosts’ diverse lives and interests: I have wrangled bees in the Alps, ridden scooters in Hanoi, and given a university lecture on Gandhi’s influence on the American civil rights movement in India- all thanks to Servas.
As a host, I’ve tried to give travelers a different view of America. I took one to the local historically Black American Beach, one to Election Day events to see American democracy in action, and even took one to a racial justice rally when she came to stay (at her insistence).
From my personal experiences, I know how valuable our organization is in bringing people together and sharing experiences. Now that experts are supporting the idea that shared experiences are more valuable in terms of breaking down prejudice and cultural barriers, I relish the opportunity as Peace Secretary to broaden Servas’ mission to “help build world peace, goodwill and understanding.”