Board of Directors

R. B. HERATH, President

RB is a well-known author, poet, dramatist, and a peace activist. Once he established a political party in Sri Lanka at a time the country was threatened with a separatist war in the seventies. His party provided a political platform designed to ensure, among other things, genuine democratic rule in the country and thereby civil, human, and political rights of the entire citizenry. After the separatist war broke out regardless, he left the country in 1984. He is well traveled, and has lived in several countries in Asia, Europe, Africa, and North America. He has an excellent knowledge of the international scene. After immigrating to Canada in 1990, Herath pursued a professional career with the BC government. At the same time, he served as a member of the BC Citizens Assembly on Electoral Reform and as a board member of several peace and democracy organizations. His latest book, A New Beginning for Humankind: A Recipe for Lasting Peace on Earth has led to the formation of the Global Peace Alliance based in Surrey, British Columbia, Canada. He is currently serving as the President & Chief Executive Officer of this organization. He has Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in engineering and a PhD in Organizational Behavior. He is married, and has three adult daughters and one granddaughter. He lives with his wife in Surrey, BC, Canada.

PATRICK O’CONNOR, Vice President

Even as a teenager, Patrick thought that there was a need for every person to standup against ongoing injustices wherever they occurred. While still in high school he raised over $400.00 for African famine relief, -the second highest amount received. His passion for a more just world was evident in current events and geography classes, and later in sociology and anthropology classes in university. The apartheid regime in South Africa, fascist regimes in Latin America and the Viet Nam War were major concerns. Pat was also equally concerned about the economic inequality both in Canada and abroad. His deep frustration over these and other concerns led him to start doing what he could towards a just, secure and peaceful world. He wrote letters to the editor and joined picket lines when workers’ rights were being abused. He also regularly attended solidarity events to show his support for their ongoing struggles for a just world. His peace and social justice concerns led to a lifetime of political activity directed at all levels of government. As a peace supporter in the ‘70’s, he collected thousands of names for the Stockholm Appeal – an international peace petition calling for an absolute ban on nuclear weapons. Pat helped popularize the annual Peace Walks, parades, marches and events promoting peace. He designed an anti-war poster for his trade union and often carried the union banner in peace demonstrations and marches. At national political conventions he campaigned against bombs and for humanitarian aid. Pat is a well-known transit advocate who sat on citizens’ transit advocacy groups since the early ‘80’s. He has been an active trade unionist and a long-time political action committee member of his union. He has worked as a transit driver since 1986. Pat is a supporter of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives and the Council of Canadians – broad based national organizations in support of social justice issues. Recently retired, he is now on the steering committee of his local community association. He is married, has two adult children, one grandchild, and a large extended family. He lives with his wife, Wendy, in Surrey, British Columbia, Canada.

HEMAMALA HERATH, Treasurer

Hemamala Herath has worked as a banking officer (Central Bank of Ceylon) and a secondary school teacher (Sri Lanka and Zambia) before immigrating to Canada in 1990. In Canada she pursued a carrier with the Salvation Army as Store Manager. After retiring from that position, she started to work as a Tax Professional with H & R Block on seasonal basis. Hemamala has a Bachelor’s degree in Economics, Geography and Sinhalese and post-graduate Diplomas in Teaching and Accounting. She was a student leader and a renowned debating leader in her undergraduate days. It was during this time she also met R. B. Herath, whom she later married. Ever since, she has been working with him in full partnership in all the works (including book writing) he undertook for bringing about peace between conflicting parties, locally, nationally and internationally. One of the books they wrote together was a book of poems for the children of Sri Lanka with a message of love, peace and unity in a child’s diction. They have three adult daughters and one granddaughter. They live in Surrey, British Columbia, Canada.

YI-CHEN (JENNIFER) CHOU, Secretary

chuw0Jennifer is a student at Lord Tweedsmuir Secondary School in Surrey, British Columbia, Canada. She developed a passion for peace and harmony from her very young days. She now plays leadership roles in her school (Student Council) as well as in her local community. She was particularly attracted to Global Peace Alliance (GPA) because of its approach to peace building through non-violent means. She believes that the programs and projects of GPA have the ability to replace the present day common habits and traits that promote conflicts and wars with those that promote peace. She is spreading the message of GPA especially among the youth hoping more of them would seize the opportunity to play their role in making our local communities, country and the world more peaceful and secure for generations to come.

NIOVI PATSICAKIS, B.Ed., M.Ed., Member at Large

Niovi is a retired teacher. She has taught over 30 years as a classroom teacher and in the field of remedial reading and special education. She holds Bachelor of Education and Master of Education degrees from McGill University. She continues to play numerous roles in the education field still holding her BC Teacher Certification. She is a part-time teacher supervisor for the Learning Disabilities Association Frazer South and the Reading and Real Math Program. She is also a member of CHADD- Children and Adults with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity- and a Group SENG facilitator (Supporting the Emotional Needs of the Gifted). She does all that while working with parents and students through her business: New Pathways Educational Services.
She is well known as a strong advocate for public education and learning conditions of students. Once she was the President of the Association of Surrey Specialist Educators. In 2012, she was a representative on the Surrey teachers Bargaining Committee. Over the years, she has presented many briefs to the government and the school board, written many letters to Members of the Legislature and Surrey newspapers. In 2014, she also ran for the Surrey School Board. Currently, she is administrating the BC Citizens for a Fully Funded Public Education group on Facebook and via email, npatsica@shaw.ca. She encourages others to join her in this discussion/focus group, which aims to protect and improve public education in Surrey. She is delighted to be part of GPA that strives to empower people and their educational, cultural and other grassroots networks to build and sustain a culture of peace for generations to come.

AJITHA K SIVANATHAN, B.Ed., M.Ed., Member at Large

img007Ajitha is a retired banker and systems analyst, musician and peace advocate.  Born to parents of mixed heritage in Sri Lanka he experienced first-hand the effects of ethnic strife and inequality in a country torn apart by a twenty-six year civil war.  Though his early life was marked by the impact of his heritage, it taught him to value and aspire to build one community bound by peace while appreciating diversity.Ajitha is a qualified Commercial Banking Package Administrator for HSBC with 40+ years of experience. He has travelled and worked in several countries, including Sri Lanka, Canada, India, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Malaysia, the UK, and the USA.  He has served on the board of numerous organizations, including the education board of the Sri Lankan Embassy School, Riyadh and as Treasurer of the Sri Lankan Friendship Association, Vancouver.   Ajitha was one of youngest males to qualify as an ATCL musician in Sri Lanka (Associate of the Trinity College of London – Pianoforte).  With expertise in Baila, a folk musical genre popular in Sri Lanka, Ajitha has seen the profound effects of music as a universal form of expression and recording of human struggle.He believes that justice and equality in any given situation is the key to having a profound impact on humanity to foster lasting relationships and peace.  His passion is to promote forgiveness no matter what religion, ethnicity or generation in order to build bridges of trust and communication.  Ajitha is married and has two adult children.  He lives with his wife Paddy in Surrey.

SALWA NIMIR, Member at Large

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Salwa is a student at Kwantlen Park Secondary, British Columbia, Canada. Her family comes from Sudan, a country plagued with numerous civil wars. Knowing the unimaginable and unfortunate experiences of her parents, grandparents, and relatives ignited her passion for peace. In her spare time, she enjoys educating herself about the events happening in the world today. Salwa considers herself forever grateful to have joined Global Peace Alliance because she has found a way to voice and work towards her goal for peace. As an aspiring scientist she hopes to use her passion for peace and science to help achieve peace worldwide because surely nothing is impossible.