Indonesia-US Youth Leadership Program

Program Staff

1069204_10201180207563771_928071226_nDr. Leslie Dwyer (Principal Investigator and Director of I-US-YLP) is Assistant Professor and Director of the Center for the Study of Gender and Conflict at the School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution, George Mason University. An anthropologist with over 20 years of experience working in Indonesia, she has been leading student programs to Indonesia since 2006 and is fluent in Indonesian.


Alex Cromwell (Co-Director of I-US-YLP) is the Youth Programs Manager at the School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution at GMU and is working on his PhD focused on Conflict Resolution Education there. He has over ten years of experience working with youth and exchange programs and over the past few years he has worked with the Center for World Religions, Diplomacy, and Conflict Resolution’s overseas experiential education program, which brings students to conflict zones in the Middle East, Balkans, and Southeast Asia. During this time, he also worked with the Benjamin Franklin Summer Institute with South and Central Asia, which brought 45 high school students to Mason’s Fairfax campus for a one-month long conflict resolution program.

IMG_1687Degung Santikarma (Cultural Interpreter for I-US-YLP) is an Indonesian anthropologist, writer and human rights advocate. Much of his work has focused on issues of social justice, conflict and historical memory on his home island of Bali. A resident of the U.S. for the past 15 years, he brings a unique bi-cultural perspective to the program. In his free time, he enjoys cooking Indonesian food, playing the guitar, and parenting three Indonesian-American kids.

ErhoadsElizabeth Rhoads (Program Coordinator for I-US-YLP) is a current PhD student in Law at King’s College London. She holds a Master’s Degree in Human Rights Law from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London and a bachelor’s degree in Cultural Anthropology with a concentration in Peace and Conflict Studies from Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania. Elizabeth is a former Fulbright Research Fellow (Indonesia, 2007-2008) and has spent four years working and researching in Southeast Asia. She has several years’ experience working at various rights and educational non-profits in the U.S., U.K., Indonesia, and Myanmar and has led educational programs for youth in Indonesia and Myanmar since 2007 and is fluent in Indonesian.

saniSani Widowati (Indonesian Coordinator for I-US-YLP) is a Jogja native active in several community organizations and local and international NGOs working in fields as diverse as disaster relief in West Sumatra, maternal and child health, alternative education, community organizing and the arts. Sani has a degree in Psychology and is also skilled in classical Javanese and Balinese dance. She has worked with VIA as a summer program coordinator since 2009, and as a full-time staff member since 2012. Sani is based in Yogyakarta, Indonesia.


bio pic.pngCheyenne Boyce (Administrative Assistant for I-US-YLP) is a second-year masters student at American University’s School for International Service pursuing a degree in International Peace and Conflict Resolution with a focus on Youth, Education, and Conflict. She received her Bachelor’s Degree from Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia where she studied International Studies and Japanese Studies. During her undergraduate matriculation Cheyenne studied at Tsuda College in Tokyo, Japan for one-year. During this time she strengthened her Japanese language skills and witnessed, first-hand, the benefits of international exchange programs. In 2015 Cheyenne received a Fulbright grant to work in Malaysia as an English Teaching Assistant for one-year. While in Malaysia, Cheyenne designed and successfully executed an educational and cultural exchange program to Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia. The program proved to be an amazing experience for both Cheyenne and her students and as a result, she plans to pursue a career in program management for international education and cultural exchange programs. Her research interests focus on the role of educational and cultural exchange programs in post-conflict societies and in increasing accessibility to international exchange opportunities for minority groups here in the United States.


PhotoNajla Mangoush (Teaching Assistant for IUSYLP) Najla is a Doctoral student at School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution (S­CAR) at George Mason University. She received a Master of Arts (MA) in Conflict Transformation from the Center for Justice & Peacebuilding at Eastern Mennonite University. She is a lawyer and professor of law, with a focus on war­-to-­peace transitions and peace processes. She has experience in political negotiations, religion and violence, conflict resolution, peace­building and promoting social justice. She also  posses seven years of experience working on criminal justice and human rights in MENA region. Najla is a Fulbright Scholar (2013­-15) and recipient of the Al Rahma Charity scholarship. Experienced in mapping conflict dynamics and strategic planning, counter violent extremism and capacity building she also possess strong communication and facilitation skills with an emphasis on specific dialogue and negotiation. Exceptional management and team leadership skills in high stress environments. Expertise in traditional justice and rule of law (as both a practitioner and professor of law). Native Arabic speaker (with knowledge of most Middle Eastern dialects), and fluent English speaker.Her international experience includes: Libya, Syria, Iraq, and Somaliland. Her recent publications include “My Benghazi will Flourish Again,” Huffington Post.“Customary Practice and Restorative Justice in Libya: Hybrid Approach,” United State Institute of Peace(2015).“Speaking their peace,” contributed as interviewer for war­-zone trauma victims, (2015).

Karin Orr HeadshotKarin Orr (Teaching Assistant for I-US-YLP) is currently a second year doctoral student of Conflict Resolution at George Mason University’s School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution (S-CAR). She is specializing in gender and conflict issues and has just completed the month long Research Methods immersion class in Indonesia. She has worked in the non-profit sector for the past decade providing programmatic, managerial, and financial support to the sector. She has worked as the Program Manager for the
Counterpart International network (through the Social Sector Accelerator), a non-profit that has collaborated with local partners to build inclusive and sustainable communities worldwide for over 50 years. Prior to her position at Counterpart, she worked as the Deputy
Director of The Advocacy Project, a small non-profit that supports community based advocates world-wide. In this position, she had worked with over 40 different community-based organizations in South and East Asia, East Africa, Europe and Latin America. She has also worked in Latin America throughout her career, including as a Peace Fellow for the Peruvian Forensic Anthropology Team, in El Salvador on a WASH program, and in Ecuador as an ESL instructor. Currently Karin is Faculty at Johns Hopkins University for their graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Management.


Jordan__DesmondDesmond Jordan (Resident Advisor)  is a Senior at George Mason University where he is studying Global Affairs and Communication. He has chose this field of study to have knowledge of cultural perspectives and journalistic perspectives. He hopes to achieve his ultimate career goal of working for National Geographic. Desmond has lived in South Korea where he was a student and worked as an International Peer Advisor for the university. While in South Korea he took advantage of opportunities to travel in Southeast Asia and visited Thailand, Taiwan, Malaysia, and The Philippines. One day he hopes to travel to Indonesia!

GMU photo-1Dion Sujatmiko is a videographer and musician who has lived in Philadelphia for the last three years. Originally from, Bali, Indonesia, Dion enjoys working with youth and helping them learn about new cultures.  He was a teacher with One Dollar for Music, teaching high school students at the Indonesian foundation how to sing and play guitar.  He also worked at Drexel University’s ESL program, leading the weekly activities program for international students learning English.  Dion has experience working on all kinds of video and film projects, and is active in artist communities in both Bali and Philadelphia. He is also passionate about environmental issues, and enjoys traveling and playing music with people from around the world.