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US Servas Board of Directors

Board of Directors 2021 -2022

Marguerite Hills

Chair

For 25 years Servas has enriched my family’s life. We stayed with Servas hosts in Europe, Japan and Australia, and we all continue our cross-culture travel and hosting with Servas. I am an interviewer, welcoming others to experience Servas: peace- one conversation at a time. My career managing National Wildlife Refuges gave me the experience to build partnerships and reach out for support. As a Servas Board Member, I am committed to strengthening our organization, contributing my experience with building small “Friends” non-profit organizations. It takes many committed volunteers to sustain a vibrant organization, and I hope each of YOU who cares about Servas finds a way to help us continue to flourish.


Leena Desai


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.


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.


Richard Weaver

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.


Paige LaCombe


Vice Chair

I am from the LA area and a public school teacher for over 22 years. I have a family of 5 and we have traveled internationally making Servas friends. While serving on the US Servas board, I have helped transition the US Servas office to a virtual one with all volunteers. I was previous Chair of the Communication Committee and am the current Co-chair of the Youth Initiatives Committee, where I found my passion. US Servas now hosts youth events several times a year and helped to increase our social media presence. I am also proud to organize our members to attend the Commission on the Status of Women at the UN as the Servas International Peace Secretary.


Radha Radhakrishna


Treasurer

I love the idea of promoting peace through “Open Doors” and I have been a member of Servas since late 1989. I love traveling and hosting – and I have had the good fortune to visit many countries and enjoy an amazing range of cultural experiences. Some of my most memorable experiences have been through visits to/from Servas families. Preserving our beautiful earth through sustainable technologies, while enjoying its beauty, is very important to me. I look for beauty, serenity and peace in all things. I am originally from India, but I have lived more than half my life in the US. My background is in finance and I have enjoyed twin careers working both in industry and also as an educator. I have been privileged to serve as the Treasurer of Servas International and a board member of US Servas since 2018.


Jo (Yosi) McIntire


US Peace and Social Justice Secretary, ex officio

Through University, I lived in Europe. My wife and I worked as subsistence farmers for 10 years in Italy, returning to the US in 1980. In Florida, I became a residential home builder interrupted by 10 years of volunteer human rights documentation work in Central America for Quaker organizations. More recently I was employed by the UNDP in Italy and The Philippines. Intermittently, I have worked as a building inspector for the local County Building Department here in St. Augustine, Florida. I have been a Servas interviewer, SE regional coordinator and now am very pleased to serve as the US SERVAS National Peace Secretary!


Bahram Zandi

I am a first generation immigrant from Iran. I finished my Ph.D. studies in Physics in Oregon and lived at a Students' Cooperative Association housing in Eugene, OR. During breaks I stayed in other cooperative housing in California. Currently am a co-chair of the International Committee of the Green Party of the US and give lectures at international conferences. I am also member of the board of directors of Maryland United for Peace and Justice: www.mupj.org.


Joanne Ferguson

Cavanaugh

Secretary

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


Arnie Rowland


The desire to meet folks in other countries, learn about their cultures, families, careers and lives, and exchange friendship drove so many of us to join Servas as I did in 1979. In my 40+ years, I have visited dozens of hosts, some becoming life-long friends. We have hosted a few hundred travelers of all ages. I have learned so much about societies, cultures, and countries that just wasn’t in the guide books. As a Host, I learn about my local area from our guests that I’ve overlooked. Servas is about learning, exploration, sharing, and exchange. All of that enforces the underlying values of a community desiring peace and social justice.


Chris-Ann Lauria


Immediate Past Chair,

ex officio

A Servas member since 2009, board member for six years, and board chair, my interest in international travel began in high school when my family hosted a foreign exchange student from Bogota, Colombia. International travels started on my 18th birthday when I boarded a plane to Germany. As a nurse practitioner, I advocate for quality healthcare for all; therefore, have served on three medical mission trips in Haiti. In 2010, I had the opportunity to serve as a delegate to the UN DPI/NGO Global Health Conference in Melbourne, Australia. I am the mother of adult twin boys. My hobbies include traveling, hiking, biking, paddleboarding, and making organic kombucha.


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