Our Voices Together

Recognizing the Power of Individuals to Counter Terrorism Through Positive, Global Action

In 2008, AIDemocracy acquired by merger the organization of Our Voices Together. Following the merger, several board members from Our Voices Together joined the board of AIDemocracy, and some continue to serve after the merger. AIDemocracy continues the important work of Our Voices Together through our Peace and Security program. Read more about our shared history.


History of Our Voices Together

Early on September 11, 2001, Norma Steuerle boarded American Airlines Flight 77 at Dulles Airport outside of Washington, DC. She was flying to Asia to meet her husband, Gene Steuerle, and daughter, Dr. Kristin Steuerle, a pediatrician on active duty with the U.S. Navy. A little over an hour after takeoff, terrorists took control of the plane Norma was on and flew it into the Pentagon.

In the initial days following the attacks of September 11, individuals around the world responded with an outpouring of goodwill toward the families who had lost loved ones and with widespread solidarity against terrorist tactics. It was this spirit of community and the feeling that these families had a voice that could be used for compassion that motivated Gene and his two daughters, Kristin and Lynne Steuerle, to donate all the money they received from the federal Victim Compensation Fund to start two charities.

They founded the Alexandria Community Trust to catalyze increased charitable investment in their home city of Alexandria, VA, and they reached out to others who had lost loved ones to terrorism in an effort to bring good into the world out of tragedy.

As Gene said, “Terrorists today are using their resources to do enormous harm. We are trying to use our resources to do enormous good.”

Our Voices Together began as a project of the Community Foundation of the National Capital Region sponsored through the generosity of the family of Normal Steuerle. In 2008, Our Voices Together expanded in two exciting ways.

One was a merger with Americans for Informed Democracy (AIDemocracy), a student-focused non-profit that seeks to build a new generation of globally conscious leaders. AIDemocracy brings the world home through programming on more than 1,000 university campuses across the U.S. and in more than 10 countries worldwide.

In addition, Our Voices Together’s global philanthropy program unveiled its new home at GlobalGiving as the “Safer, More Compassionate World Fund”. The GlobalGiving Foundation links grassroots projects improving lives in communities around the world with the people who can support them.

These integrations with AIDemocracy and GlobalGiving allowed Our Voices Together to strengthen the programs, connections, and people the organization has brought together. Together, we see this as an opportunity to further our work to empower Americans to respond to terrorism with actions that engage rather than disenfranchise communities worldwide.

Former Board and Staff

Honorary Board

The Honorable Lee H. Hamilton
Member, Homeland Security Advisory Council, 2002-present
President and Director, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, 1999-present
Co-chair, Iraq Study Group, 2006
Vice Chairman, 9/11 Commission, 2002-2004
U.S. Congress, Ninth District, Indiana, 1965-1999

The Honorable Thomas H. Kean
President, Drew University, 1990-2005
Chairman, 9/11 Commission, 2002-2004
Governor of New Jersey, 1982-1990

The Honorable Bob Kerrey
President, The New School, 2001-present
Member, 9/11 Commission, 2002-2004
Senator of Nebraska, 1989-2001
Governor of Nebraska, 1983-1987

Advisory Board

Ambassador Akbar S. Ahmed, Ph.D
Ibn Khaldun Chair of Islamic Studies
American University
Akbar Ahmed, the Ibn Khaldun Chair of Islamic Studies and Professor of International Relations at American University in Washington, DC, is the former high commissioner of Pakistan to Great Britain. He has advised Prince Charles and other world leaders on Islam. Dr. Ahmed is a distinguished anthropologist, writer, and filmmaker. He has been actively involved in interfaith dialogue for many years and is co-editor of After Terror: Promoting Dialogue Among Civilizations. The Daniel Pearl Dialogue for Muslim-Jewish Understanding features Dr. Ahmed and Daniel Pearl’s father, Dr. Judea Pearl.

Stephen J. Alderman, M.D.
Chairman, The Peter C. Alderman Foundation
Stephen J. Alderman co-founded the Peter C. Alderman Foundation (PCAF) with his wife Elizabeth, his son Jeffrey and his daughter Jane. Members of the steering and executive committees of 9/11 Families United to Bankrupt Terrorism, Dr. Alderman and Elizabeth have also contributed to articles and letters on 9/11 issues in the Washington Post, the New York Times and the New York Post. Dr. Alderman graduated from State University of New York Upstate Medical Center at Syracuse with a Doctor of Medicine degree. He chaired the Radiation Oncology Departments at Roosevelt-St. Luke’s Hospital and Catholic Medical Center in New York City and the White Plains Hospital Center in White Plains, New York.

Elizabeth Alderman
Secretary/Treasurer, Peter C. Alderman Foundation
Elizabeth Alderman, co-founder of PCAF, has served as co-chair of the Memorial Committee for Families of September 11th. Since September 11, 2001, Ms. Alderman has made numerous appearances on television, including NOW with Bill Moyers, the Today Show with Katie Couric, and American Morning with Paula Zahn. On November 4, 2004, Ms. Alderman was selected by Court TV to honor her efforts with their annual Everyday Heroes Award. Ms. Alderman graduated from Syracuse University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Special Education. She taught mentally challenged and emotionally disturbed children for 10 years. The Aldermans live in Westchester.

Bob Boisture, J.D.
Caplin & Drysdale
Robert A. Boisture is a member of Caplin & Drysdale’s Washington, D.C. office. Mr. Boisture is the leader of the firm’s exempt organizations practice group and currently serves as president of the firm. Mr. Boisture joined the firm in 1979; from 1986 to 1992 he served as associate general counsel and then director of public policy for the YMCA of the USA, rejoining Caplin & Drysdale in 1992. Mr. Boisture also serves as director of YMCA Activate America, a national leadership initiative to strengthen YMCA’s capacity to help Americans find healthier ways to live. Mr. Boisture is a graduate of Oxford University and Yale Law School.

Leonard E. Burman, Ph.D
Senior Fellow
Urban Institute
Dr. Burman is a senior fellow at the Urban Institute and co-director of the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center. He is also a visiting professor at Georgetown University’s Public Policy Institute, where his friend and colleague, Leslie Whittington, who died on American Airlines Flight 77, was associate dean. Dr. Burman is an expert in public finance and modeling the effects of government policies. He has held high-level positions in both the executive and legislative branches, serving as deputy assistant secretary for tax analysis at the Treasury from 1998 to 2000 and as senior analyst at the Congressional Budget Office. Friend of Leslie Whittington, American Airlines Flight 77. Dr. Burman and his son, Paul, cycled across country to raise over $100,00 for the Our Voices Together partner, Partners in Health.

Mimi Evans
Director of Development
Mimi Evans’s extensive experience in philanthropy includes strategic planning, major gifts, foundation and corporate relations, special events, public relations and marketing. She is currently the Director of Development at NOW on PBS, a public affairs show seen weekly on PBS. She has directed fundraising efforts and raised millions of dollars for many prestigious institutions including the International Fund for Animal Welfare, the Hunger Project, the US Fund for UNICEF, the New York Philharmonic, Yale University, Williams College and Trinity College. Prior to her fundraising career she founded Bailey & Company Communications in Albany, NY, which specialized in corporate and association public relations. A graduate of the State University of New York at Albany, Ms. Evans is also a freelance consultant and a talented graphic designer, editor, and writer. She is the mother of two sons who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan (one as a US Marine and one as a humanitarian aid worker).

Elliot Gerson, J.D.
Executive Vice President
Aspen Institute
Elliot Gerson is responsible for the Aspen Institute’s seminars and public programs and activities, including programming for the International Freedom Center to be created at the World Trade Center site. He is a graduate of Harvard College and Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes Scholar, and Yale Law School. Friend of Barbara Olson and Chris Newton, American Airlines Flight 77.

Louis W. Goodman, Ph.D
Dean, School of International Service
American University
Professor Goodman is dean and professor of international relations at American University’s School of International Service, positions he has held since 1986. Previously Dr. Goodman served on the faculty of Yale University’s Department of Sociology and as director of the Latin American and Caribbean Programs of the Social Science Research Council and The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. The author of numerous books and articles, Dr. Goodman currently focuses on research on democracy building and civilian control of the armed forces in Latin America. Professor Goodman has collaborated with Our Voices Together partner, Seeds of Peace.

Sarah W. Goodrich, Ed.S.
Peter M. Goodrich Memorial Foundation
Sarah “Sally” Goodrich is a Title I/Reading First coordinator and reading specialist in the North Adams Public Schools. She is a member of the Bennington School District Board, the board of the Reading Institute in Williamstown, MA, and deacon of First Congregational Church, Old Bennington. Ms. Goodrich lost her son, Peter M. Goodrich, on 9/11. She has been instrumental in the development of the Peter M. Goodrich Memorial Foundation, which is building a school in Afghanistan and participating in local educational programs about Afghanistan. She is also the mother of Foster Hetherington and Kim Trimarchi and grandmother to Ben, Sarah, James and Eamon. She is married to Don Goodrich, chair of the board of Families of September 11th. Ms. Goodrich coordinates US support for Our Voices Together partner the Peter M. Goodrich Memorial Foundation. Mother of Peter Goodrich, United Airlines Flight 175.

Bruce Hoffman, Ph.D
Professor Bruce Hoffman has been studying terrorism and insurgency for thirty years. He is currently a tenured professor in the Security Studies Program at Georgetown University’s Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, Washington, DC. Professor Hoffman previously held the Corporate Chair in Counterterrorism and Counterinsurgency at the RAND Corporation and was also Director of RAND’s Washington, D.C. Office. From 2001 to 2004, he served as RAND’s Vice President for External Affairs and in 2004 he also was Acting Director of RAND’s Center for Middle East Public Policy. Professor Hoffman was adviser on counterterrorism to the Office of National Security Affairs, Coalition Provisional Authority, Baghdad, Iraq during the spring of 2004 and from 2004-2005 was an adviser on counterinsurgency to the Strategy, Plans, and Analysis Office at Multi-National Forces-Iraq Headquarters, Baghdad. He was also an adviser to the Iraq Study Group (Baker-Hamilton Commission), serving on the Military and Security Experts Working Group.

Thomas S. Johnson, MBA
Chairman and CEO (retired)
GreenPoint Bank
Thomas S. Johnson has served as president and director of Chemical Bank and Chemical Banking Corporation, Manufacturers Hanover Corporation, and chairman and CEO of GreenPoint Financial Corporation and GreenPoint Bank. He is currently the chairman of the board of trustees of Trinity College and chairman of the board of the Institute for International Education. He is a trustee of the Asia Society, the Cancer Research Institute of America, Religion in American Life, the United Way of New York City, and WNET Channel 13. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and former chairman of the board of directors of Union Theological Seminary. Mr. Johnson is also a director of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation board. Mr. Johnson received his B.A. from Trinity College and his M.B.A. from the Harvard Business School. Thomas Johnson is chair of the Board for the Institute for International Education, a partner organization of Our Voices Together. Father of Scott Johnson, who worked at the World Trade Center.

Christopher Koch
Koch TV Productions
Christopher Koch has an extensive experience producing, writing, and directing nonfiction programming and documentaries for television and radio. Mr. Koch has directed and produced award-winning programs on history, science, technology, current events, and the environment. His documentary film, “Blacklist: Hollywood on Trial,” received the first presidential EMMY award for superior programming. He directed and wrote, “Normandy: The Great Crusade,” which received the prestigious George Foster Peabody Award. He is the former executive producer of NPR’s evening news program, All Things Considered, and public television’s series on journalism, Inside Story. He began his television career at KQED, the public television station in San Francisco and at the ABC Documentary unit, Close Up. Mr. Koch received a master’s degree with honors from Columbia University on a Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship and a B.A. from Reed College. He is a member of the Producers’ Guild of America. Chris is a relative of Leslie Whittington and Charles Falkenberg, who with their daughters, Zoe and Dana, were passengers on American Flight 77.

Susan Koch
Documentary Filmmaker
EMMY and Peabody Award winning documentary filmmaker Susan Koch has produced and directed award-winning documentaries and nonfiction programming for worldwide distribution and television broadcast. Her work has appeared on ABC, NBC, HBO, PBS, MTV, the Discovery Channel, National Geographic, American Movie Classics, and the Learning Channel. Ms. Koch directed “City at Peace,” which premiered at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. and Lincoln Center in New York City and was broadcast on HBO. Before forming her own company, Susan Koch was a producer at NBC News. Susan Koch began her television career at WETA-TV, the public television station in Washington, D.C. In September 2002, Koch produced an ABC/Nightline special, “Remembering A Family,” on her four family members who were killed on the flight that crashed into the Pentagon. The program focused on what family and friends are doing to honor their lives. Ms. Koch serves on the board of the Women’s Commission for Refugee Women and Children. Susan is a relative of Leslie Whittington and Charles Falkenberg, who with their daughters, Zoe and Dana, were passengers on American Flight 77.

Charles MacCormack, Ph.D
President and CEO
Save The Children
Charles MacCormack is currently president and CEO of Save the Children Federation, a nonprofit, nonsectarian organization. He currently serves as co-chair of the Basic Education Coalition and the Campaign for Effective Global Leadership and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Executive Committee of InterAction, the Advisory Committee on Voluntary Foreign Aid and the Food Security Advisory Committee. He received his doctorate and master’s degrees from Columbia University and graduated from Middlebury College. He was a Fulbright Fellow at the Universidad Central de Venezuela in Caracas. He has also participated in a special three-year program at the Harvard Business School on Leadership of Global Non-Profit Organizations. Dr. MacCormack resides in Easton, Connecticut. He is the president and CEO of Our Voices Together partner Save the Children.

Susan Retik
Beyond the 11th
Susan Retik is the co-founder and director of Beyond the 11th, a charitable organization devoted to supporting widows in war-torn areas, especially in Afghanistan. Through Beyond the 11th, Ms. Retik organizes a fundraising bike ride every September 11th from Ground Zero to the Boston Common. She received her B.A. from Colgate University. While living in New York City, she worked in marketing at Scholastic. On September 11th, Ms. Retik already had two children, Ben, 3, and Molly, 2. She was 7-1/2 months pregnant, and two months later she gave birth to a second daughter, Dina. Susan Retik is a co-founder of Our Voices Together partner Beyond the 11th. Wife of David Retik, American Airlines Flight 11.

Marilynn M. Rosenthal, Ph.D (deceased)
Adjunct Professor at the University of Michigan in Dearborn
Marilynn was an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Internal Medicine and directed the Health Policy FORUM at the University of Michigan Medical School. Mother of Joshua Rosenthal who was killed in the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. Josh’s family and friends established the Josh Rosenthal Education Fund at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy which supports lectures, special seminars, student research, internships and other programs, encouraging new and deeper understandings of international issues.

Dr. Rosenthal lost her battle with cancer in August 2007 at the age of 77. We miss her intellect, her warmth, her courage, her determination, her optimism and her search for truth and understanding. Her daughter is planning continued work on Dr. Rosenthal’s book.

Nikki Stern
Communications Consultant
Nikki Stern was most recently Executive Director for Families of September 11th, a national outreach and advocacy group founded by families of victims of the September 11, 2001 attacks. A communications consultant, Ms. Stern, whose husband was killed on 9/11, has been active in facilitating discourse amongst and between various constituencies on issues ranging from ground zero in New York to the recommendations of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (the 9/11 Commission). Her commitment to ongoing dialogue led to her involvement as a co-sponsor of “Hope Not Hate,” a series of meetings on university campuses about relations between the Muslin and non-Muslin communities. Ms. Stern is currently consulting on communications and organizational development while working on a book about the meaning of moral authority, expanding on the thesis of an article she wrote for Newsweek.

Composer, Musician, and Artistic Director of The Roads to You International Musicians’ Assembly
Zade Dirani is a twenty-five year old Jordanian composer and pianist passionate about playing his compositions that blend Eastern Arabic scales with Western contemporary influences. Dedicated to using his music to bring people together, his efforts have resulted in his CDs charting on Billboard, prestigious awards, friendships forged worldwide, and accolades including a feature in People Magazine. To continue cross-cultural understanding through the arts, Zade has launched a new foundation, “The Zade Foundation for International Peace and Understanding” aimed at helping young musicians share with the world a deeper understanding of their cultures by offering them a unique opportunity to expand their roles from musicians to proactive peace builders and future community leaders.

Our Voices Together Board

Eric Gardner, MPP
Data Analysis Advisor
Georgetown Public Policy Institute
Eric Gardner is the Data Analysis Advisor at the Georgetown Public Policy Institute where he was a colleague of Leslie Whittington, who was killed on American Airlines Flight 77. His brother, Jeffrey Brian Gardner was killed at the World Trade Center on 9/11. His family established the Jeffrey Brian Gardner Memorial Scholarship Fund at Habitat for Humanity International in Jeffrey’s memory. They are also supporting the building of a house with the Newark, NJ chapter for Habitat for Humanity. He received a BA in History from Rutgers College and a MPP from Georgetown University.

Joyce Manchester, Ph.D
Joyce Manchester is a supervisory economist at a federal agency in Washington, DC. She has a Ph.D. in economics from Harvard University and graduated from Wesleyan University. She previously served as an economist at the Social Security Administration, Congressional Budget Office, the World Bank, and as an assistant professor at Dartmouth College. She and her spouse, Our Voices Together board member David Stapleton, have two teenaged daughters. Joyce Manchester is a co-founder of The Afghan Education Giving Circle of Northern Virginia. Friend of Leslie Whittington and Charles Falkenberg, who with their daughters, Zoe and Dana, were passengers on American Flight 77.

Rev. Claudia W. Merritt, M.B.A., M.Div.
Richmond, VA
Claudia Merritt is an Episcopal priest serving at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Miller’s Tavern, Virginia. She received a B.A. in economics from Carnegie Mellon University, an M.B.A. from Vanderbilt University, and an M.Div. from Princeton Theological Seminary. She has been involved with organizations addressing issues of homelessness, racial equality, and poverty. She currently resides in Richmond, Virginia. Rev. Merritt supports the Our Voices Together partner Grassroots International. Friend of Norma Steuerle, American Airlines Flight 77.

Lynne Steuerle Schofield, M.S., M. Phil.
Temple University, Center for Research in Human Development and Education
Lynne Steuerle Schofield is special assistant to the dean of the College of Education at Temple University. Lynne holds two master’s degrees from Carnegie Mellon University: an M.S. in statistics and an M.Phil. in public policy. Lynne is working on her doctorate in statistics and public policy. Lynne Steuerle Schofield is a co-founder of Our Voices Together and a supporter of Save the Children. Daughter of Norma Steuerle, American Airlines Flight 77.

David Stapleton, Ph.D
Director, Center for Studying Disability Policy, Mathematica Policy Research
David Stapleton is an economist and the director of disability policy research center in Washington, DC. He holds a Ph.D in economics from the University of Wisconsin. He and his spouse, Our Voices Together board member Joyce Manchester, have two teenaged daughters. Together they started The Afghan Education Giving Circle of Northern Virginia which funds school projects in Afghanistan. Friend of Leslie Whittington and Charles Falkenberg, who with their daughters, Zoe and Dana, were passengers on American Flight 77.

Gene Steuerle, Ph.D
Urban Institute
Eugene Steuerle is a founder of Our Voices Together, and the Alexandria Community Trust, a community foundation. He is a senior fellow at the Urban Institute, the author or co-author of 11 books, and a former deputy assistant secretary of the Treasury and former president of the National Tax Association. Gene is a co-founder of Our Voices Together and a supporter of Save the Children. Husband of Norma Steuerle, American Airlines Flight 77.

Kristin Steuerle Swanson, M.D.
Kristin Steuerle Swanson is a pediatrician currently on active duty in the U.S. Navy. A native of Alexandria, VA, she graduated from Princeton University with a B.A. in molecular biology and from the University of Virginia Medical School in 2000. Since medical school graduation, she has been on active duty in pediatrics and also spent one year overseas with the Marines, organizing medical support for a small humanitarian mission to Pohnpei, Micronesia. Dr. Steuerle is a co-founder of Our Voices Together and supporter of Our Voices Together partner the Central Asia Institute. Daughter of Norma Steuerle, American Airlines Flight 77.

Our Voices Together Staff

Marianne Scott
Executive Director

Marianne Scott came to Our Voices Together from the Daniel Pearl Foundation. She was the first executive director of that nonprofit organization which she helped the Pearl family start in honor of her friend Daniel Pearl, the Wall Street Journal reporter kidnapped and murdered in Pakistan in 2002. Before working with the Daniel Pearl Foundation, Marianne worked with the American Committees on Foreign Relations and served 16 years as a career Foreign Service Officer specializing in international academic and professional exchanges and cultural affairs. From the late 1980s to the late 1990s she lived and worked in Latin America and Africa. She was the executive director of the Instituto Guatemalteco Americano, an educational and cultural binational center in Guatemala City, Guatemala, and served in the cultural affairs sections of the American embassies in Mexico City, Mexico, and in Nairobi, Kenya. She is the author of “A Citizen’s Guide to Global Economic Policymaking,” published by the League of Women Voters Education Fund in December 2002.

Cecilia Snyder
Director of Communications and E-Initiatives

Cecilia has worked for 14 years in the international development field using electronic media as an advocacy tool and focusing on education and outreach through new technologies. Prior to joining Our Voices Together, Cecilia Snyder was Director of New Technologies at the Communications Consortium Media Center and executive editor of several online news services for journalists, including PLANetWIRE.org, PUSHJournal.org and SavingWomensLives.org.

Cecilia used websites, electronic listservs, RSS feeds and targeted email bulletins while working at Bread for the World Institute, the Panos Institute, the Centre for Development and Population Activities (CEDPA), and the Population Council.

Cecilia has also designed several print publications and scientific posters for hard copy and electronic distribution. These products reflect an informatics perspective which values effective dissemination of data. She received a Master’s of Liberal Arts from Georgetown University in 2002 (focusing on image ethics of nonprofit advocacy organizations) and a Bachelor’s of Science in Sociology from Virginia Tech in 1992.