Legacy’s staff is a group of highly dedicated individuals, many of whom were integral to the founding of the organization and its continued growth. Our combined experience in cross-cultural training, conflict resolution, community development and exchange programs gives us the ability to meet the needs of those experiencing great changes. Our staff team brings together people from a wide range of backgrounds. Among our staff are individuals fluent in Amharic, Arabic, English, Farsi, French, and Spanish; conversant in Russian; and with basic skills in Bahasa Indonesia and Croatian. We have a wide network of colleagues who join us for specific projects and contribute their expertise.
J.E. Rash is a lecturer, writer and consultant in dialogue, NGO development, conflict resolution and education. His career includes studies in law, religion, and alternative medicine, work in professional theater and media, and the design of educational training programs for inner and outer leadership. Entrepreneur, innovator, and visionary, Mr. Rash has founded and leads four organizations, each with a 40-year record of success.
His flagship organization, Legacy International, (http://www.legacyintl.org), is a U.S.-based international non-governmental organization, dedicated to equipping emerging leaders with the skills to transform their values and vision into sustainable success.
Throughout his work, Mr. Rash seeks to build bridges of understanding and to develop practical interfaces among people of diverse backgrounds by emphasizing universal values, social responsibility, mutual respect and tolerance.
In 1987, he received the Friends of the United Nations Environment Program 500 Award for outstanding contributions to the environment. He has presented at the United Nations, the World Bank, the Asian Conference on Religion for Peace; Islamic Unity Conference; University of Colorado’s Golda Meir Center for Political Leadership; and International Symposia on Science and Consciousness in Olympia, Greece and Cancun, Mexico. He has addressed numerous college and academic audiences and served on Ph.D. committees at Virginia Polytechnic Institute (VPI).
Known also as Shaykh Ahmed Abdur Rashid, he is an authorized teacher in five traditional schools of Sufism, offering a unique approach for the contemporary seeker, which he calls: Applied Sufism. Author of more than 40 publications, Shaykh Ahmed Abdur Rashid’s articles and speeches have been translated into Arabic, Turkish, Russian, and Kazakh.
He sees himself as a change agent striving to create a positive Legacy for future generations who will be faced with planetary challenges and opportunities of heretofore unseen magnitude. He often quotes: “you cannot change a community until you change yourself.’ And seeks to encourage people to balance their outer life and goals with a rich and contemplative inner life and practice.
As Program Director for various Legacy adult professional exchange programs, Ms. Baz has designed and delivered numerous projects for citizens from Azerbaijan, Morocco, Egypt, Belarus, the Republic of Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Ukraine. Focuses have included NGO development, education reform, youth advocacy, conflict resolution, public health, and civic education & citizen engagement. As Staff Director for Legacy’s annual Global Youth Village, she oversees seasonal staff hiring, and coordinates the day to day operations and risk management for this residential program. She also spearheads all outreach and screening for both temporary and permanent staff for Legacy.
Mike works for Legacy’s Professional Fellows Program on economic development for the MENA Region. For more than a decade Mike has been working with groups to create space for learning, growth, and dialogue. He has directed programs at two summer camps, taught high school in the U.S., and facilitated peace education in Ireland. Mike directed leadership development for a program working with Irish and Northern Irish college students. Mike has a BA in Religious Studies from the College of Wooster and a Masters in Philosophy in Conflict Resolution and Reconciliation from Trinity College Dublin.
Ms. Ginsberg has 35 years non-profit experience, including 20 years directing professional development programs for citizens of Azerbaijan, Belarus, the Republic of Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Ukraine. Topics included NGO development, religion and society, business development, women’s issues, and civic education and engagement. With activities both in the US and in the counterpart country, she has wide travel experience and is fluent in Spanish, conversant in Russian and French. In addition, she has produced two documentaries that have aired on the Discovery Channel.
Ms. Helmig has 30 years non-profit experience, including directing U.S. Department of State Exchange programs, professional development initiatives and youth leadership programs. Her work in Indonesia, Iraq, across the MENA region and with many US Embassies worldwide has addressed topics of NGO development, social cohesion, religion and society, business development, women’s economic prosperity, STEM training, and civic education and engagement. With activities both in the US and in the counterpart countries, she has experience leading US speaker and training groups abroad. Ms. Helmig is involved in the design, funding, and program and financial administration of Legacy’s projects.
After graduating from the University of Notre Dame with a BA in Philosophy and a Minor in Peace and Conflict Studies, Theresa went on to join the U.S. Peace Corps in Thailand. During her 2+ years in Thailand, Theresa worked as a Youth in Development Facilitator working in conjunction with local government and community organizations to create leadership opportunities for local youth with an additional emphasis on gender equality. While in Southern Thailand, she also co-developed a local Youth Council, whose function is to give young people a voice in local government.
Bernadette is committed to supporting the empowerment of individuals, communities and institutions worldwide. She has 10 years of experience in the field of international exchange, including for programs such as the State Department International Visitors Leadership Program and Iraqi Young Leaders Exchange Program. In support of international exchange programs (and to hone her French and Arabic skills), Bernadette has travelled to Morocco and the West Bank. She has background in International Studies and Political Science at the University of Connecticut, where she completed her MA and PhD. Bernadette is excited to return to her passion for implementing international exchange programs at Legacy International.
Atefeh’s work at Legacy has included program coordination and training in civic involvement and project planning for youth and adults from Indonesia, Iraq, and the Persian Gulf. She is also part of the development and public relations team and is responsible for the website and other media outreach. A native of Virginia, Atefeh has traveled and worked in Bahrain, Egypt, France, Indonesia, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, and Morocco. She has an MPA in public administration and non-profit management from George Mason University in Fairfax, VA. and a BA in Political Science from Randolph Macon Woman’s College in Lynchburg, VA.
Hayley is dedicated to providing leadership development experiences in cross-cultural mentoring. Her experience involves program development for higher education, non-profit and governmental organizations. She has a deep love for the Arabic language and recently returned from Jordan where she acted as the Project Development Manager for Hopes for Women in Education. She has previously served as an Education Consultant for the Office of Multicultural Affairs and Program Coordinator for the Office of Scholars and Fellowships at the University of Richmond, Administrative Coordinator for Virginia Commonwealth University’s Emerging Leaders Program, and has been a part of TechGirls since 2017. Hayley holds a Bachelor of Science Degree from VCU in Mass Communications & Business Studies.
Mitra holds an MA and AbD in International Relations from New York University. She has worked at the United Nations in New York at the Center on Transnational Corporations and at the Department of Public Information. At Legacy, Mitra acts as project director for professional development programs in public health and education. She also directs Legacy’s NSLI-Y Arabic Language Institute in Morocco, an initiative of the U.S. State Department. A native of Iran, Mitra has lived in the United States for over 30 years and has taught Middle Eastern Studies at Randolph College in Lynchburg, Virginia.
Jaime works as Legacy’s International Program Development & Communications Intern. She is currently a junior at Dean College and is earning her BA in Communications. During her time at Dean, she has achieved the Dean’s List and Honors Scholar four times. During the fall of 2019 semester, she served as president of the club Dean News Network, where she led all of the meetings, organized logistics for segments, and directed every episode. She was also a Community Adviser in a freshman dorm of 113 residents, with two other Community Advisers. Outside of school, Jaime works as a team member for Target.
Ms. Thompson is involved in the design, funding, and program and financial administration of Legacy’s projects. She has over 35 years’ experience directing initiatives, developing training programs and curricula in leadership, pluralism, conflict prevention and resolution, cross-cultural communication, and civic education. Ms. Thompson has authored three published curricula and has directed projects in the U.S., Spain, Russia, and Ukraine. She has visited 23 different nations, and worked closely with adults and teens from Israel and Palestine, Northern Ireland, South Africa, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Russia and Ukraine.