Each regional office is run by two staff members. The Foundation provides general support for WYA. Get to know WYA’s regional and foundation staff as well as its board members.
Anna Halpine, Founder and Chief Executive Officer
Anna Halpine is the founder of the World Youth Alliance and was the WYA president from 1999 to the spring of 2007. She has her Masters in Philosophy of Religion from Yale University (2009), and a Bachelor of Music, cum laude, from Mt. Allison University in Canada (1999). She has studied piano at the Taubman Institute and voice at the Juilliard School. As Founder and past-president of WYA, Anna has traveled and lectured extensively.
Alexis Kende, Orchestra Director
Emily Dy, Director of Data and Analytics
Emily Dy graduated with a Master’s Degree in Integrated Marketing Communications from the University of Asia and the Pacific. Her 5-year experience in the marketing communications industry cover a mix of market research, public relations and advertising. Professionally, her interests revolved around the areas of corporate social responsibility, advocacy communications and social media. Outside of work, she is also a strong advocate of Social Entrepreneurship, Responsible Tourism and Nation Building in her home country, the Philippines. Emily did her New York internship with WYA in 2007. Since then, she has served as Philippine National Committee member to WYA Asia Pacific all the way until joining WYA Foundation as full time staff.
Renelyn Tan, Programs Manager
Renelyn Tan grew up in Manila, Philippines. She graduated from the University of the Philippines with a degree in Political Science in 2003. She spent two years in Xiamen, China where she worked as an English instructor. In 2005, she returned to Manila and worked as Operations Manager in a real estate firm. It was also during this time that she joined the World Youth Alliance externship program of the Asia Pacific region. Renelyn became the Regional Director of World Youth Alliance Asia Pacific from 2007 to 2012.
Active in socio-civic activities, Renelyn was also the Vice-President of the 8th National Youth Parliament in 2013. She also became part of the Philippine delegation and was educator at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation meetings or APEC held in Bali, Indonesia in the same year. She is a member of Toastmasters International.
At present, she is a Consultant for Programs Management at the World Youth Alliance Foundation. Renelyn loves traveling and enjoys getting lost with a map in hand.
Gabrielle Jastrebski, Reproductive Health & Sexual Education Program Manager
Gabrielle holds a B.A. in political science from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana. She first encountered the World Youth Alliance while writing her undergraduate thesis on intersection of human dignity and international development. Her experience traveling through Europe and eastern Africa served to form her understanding of human dignity and solidarity. Before joining the World Youth Alliance team, she devoted two years to service, working for FOCUS, the Fellowship of University Students. Serving with FOCUS, she worked as a missionary to train and mentor future leaders on the campus of Washington University in St. Louis, Mo.
Lourdes Villanueva, Social Media Consultant
Lourdes Villanueva first encountered the World Youth Alliance in 2004, participating as a WYA Delegate to the International Solidarity Forum on Women. From 2005 to 2006 she volunteered for WYA Latin America and WYA Europe, and participated in the International Internship Programme in New York City. From October 2006 to April 2010 she held the position of Regional Director at World Youth Alliance Latin America. In 2010, she was invited to become member of the Mexican Advisory Committee of WYA LA. Lourdes was honored to represent the Youth of the Americas in the 38th General Assembly of the Organization of American States. She holds a master’s degree in Government and Public Policy, and a bachelor’s degree in Communications, both from Universidad Panamericana in Mexico. She is fluent in Italian, English and Spanish. She loves to travel, cook and enjoy time with her family. Lourdes is very proud to be part of the World Youth Alliance Family.
Kaye Tan, Director of Communications
Nadja Wolfe, Director of Advocacy
Lord Leomer Pomperada, President
Lord was born in Iloilo City, Philippines. He graduated cum laude with a Bachelor’s Degree in Consular and Diplomatic Affairs from De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde in Manila, Philippines. After his graduation in 2012, he interned at the WYA Asia Pacific office and introduced Filipino Sign Language to the WYA members. In April 2011, he represented WYA Asia Pacific at the International Solidarity Forum on Sustainable Development in New York City. Before WYA, he worked with the Institute for Solidarity in Asia as a Program Assistant for Communication and Development and also served as a Philippine Youth Ambassador to the 40th Ship for Southeast Asian Youth Program, a diplomatic and cultural youth exchange program on board the ship Nippon Maru. He enjoys working with young people, spending time with friends and travelling to new places.
Patricia Gwambo, Director
Passionate to give back to the world that has given her so much, Patricia is a young person with a big vision and working with WYA in promoting human dignity is a great milestone in this vision. Patricia is Kenyan by birth, a global citizen by upbringing, loves her family and the wealth of life experience she has received from them. Her WYA story begins in November 2015, with an interview, ELC attendance, signing the Charter, the regional internship, international internship and subsequently a staff position.
With experience in Finance, Accounting and Administration, Patricia holds a Bachelor of Commerce in Finance from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa and is currently working on her ACCA accreditation. She is fluent in English and Swahili and has a working knowledge of French. Patricia believes that life is God’s gift for her and what she does with it is her gift back.
Mary Imbong, Director
Mary was born and raised in Metro Manila, Philippines. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications, specializing in Film Production, as well as a Minor degree in Philosophy, both from Ateneo de Manila University. Mary started her journey with World Youth Alliance as an Asia Pacific summer camper in 2012, and joined the regional internship program on the same year. Soon after, she joined the WYA International Internship Program at the WYA Headquarters in New York City where she focused on Marketing and Communications projects for the organization. Upon her return to the Philippines, she worked in the creative industry with McCann Worldgroup Manila, and after which, worked independently as a professional Paper Artist and Graphic Designer. She also helped build “Litrato”, a local organization of young photographers devoted to elevating the lives of Filipinos through the powerful means of photography. Mary has always been fueled by her passion for the Arts. She believes that living a creative lifestyle is an essential key in leading the youth to strive for development.
Zarina San Jose, Director of Operations
Zarina was born and raised in Metro Manila, Philippines. In 2013, she graduated from the University of the Philippines Diliman with a degree in Journalism. Although never in the student council, Zarina was an active student leader through her organizations in college. After graduation, she became a regional intern for WYA Asia Pacific, and then proceeded to complete an internship at the WYA Headquarters in New York. Upon coming back to Manila, she worked with Philippine Business for Education as a program assistant. Her main advocacy lies in the achievement of free quality education for all, while her other interests revolve around photography, travel and literature. Zarina is also currently involved in a three-year project that aims to rebuild the school library and revive learning at a small town in Palo, Leyte, Philippines.
Hrvoje Vargic, Director
Hrvoje is originally from a small town of Đakovo in the eastern part of Croatia, but moved to Zagreb when he was 18 to pursue his studies. He holds a BA in Business and Master of Arts in Economics from the University of Zagreb. Prior to being selected as WYA Europe Regional Director, he worked as project manager for a business consultancy company. He also holds a second BA in Philosophy and is currently finishing the MA Philosophy Program of the University of Zagreb. He is a Phoenix Institute alumnus, from which he was awarded a Diploma in Advanced Studies in Political, Economic and Social Sciences. Hrvoje was one of the founders of the WYA Croatia Chapter in 2012, and was part of several other civic initiatives in Croatia. He has given several speeches in different symposia and conferences, published a scientific article in a peer reviewed journal, and co-authored a book on EU project management.
He is happily married to Maja, who is his greatest supporter.
Ewa Wrona, Director of Operations
Antoine Mellado, Director of Advocacy
Antoine was born in Seville, Spain. He lived between there and Murcia until the age of eighteen when he decided to move to Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium to go to the University, which is one of the closest to the Institutions of the European Union. He has a Bachelor’s degree (BA) in political science and a Masters (MA) in European Studies research from the Université Catholique de Louvain. Before working with WYA he was a European Delegate of Family Watch and the International Federation of Family Development. He has also been invested in different Belgian political, social and cultural movements that always promote a society that is centered on the human person.
Manuel Soto, Director
Manuel was born and raised in Hermosillo, Mexico. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations from the Jesuit University of Guadalajara (ITESO). During his studies, he served as Secretary-General for his university’s Model United Nations, where he participated nationally and abroad. As part of his involvement in political science research, he co-published a summary report focused on freedom of speech violations in Mexico. He has also participated in various conferences, including the Jesuit University System’s IX Human Rights Forum. Prior to joining WYA as staff in January of 2014, Manuel interned for the Latin American Regional Office and worked for several NGOs.
Kateri Salas, Director of Operations
Kateri was born in Costa Rica and holds a degree in International Relations from the Universidad Nacional. She has also studied Sociology at the University of Costa Rica. Before joining the World Youth Alliance, Kateri participated in various activities and conferences at the Costa Rican Diplomatic Institute of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Worship. In 2009, Kateri completed an internship at the Brazilian Embassy in Costa Rica. She was a member of the World Youth Alliance Costa Rica committee before joining as staff in 2011.
Jessica Hallak, Director
Jessica Hallak was Born in Alexandria and raised in Beirut, Lebanon. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in International Affairs and Diplomacy from Notre Dame University, Lebanon; and a Masters Degree in Management of Non-Profit Organizations from the University of Tor Vergata, Rome. Jessica has accumulated her experience while working for international organizations in Italy and participating in several projects for Erasmus+. After completing her Track A Training, she became a member of staff in September 2014. Jessica enjoys reading, travelling, learning new languages and discovering new customs.
Laura El Khoury, Director of Operations
Laura El Khoury was born and raised in Lebanon. She graduated from Saint Joseph University of Beyrouth with a Bachelor Degree in International Affairs and is pursuing her Masters Degree in the same major.
She was always active in the political and social life and presided the students’ cabinet of her faculty. She started her carrier in a non-governmental organization in Lebanon, as a project coordinator. She is passionate about politics, philosophy, sociology, sports and arts and loves spending her time feeding her soul. Culture is enlightenment !
Weronika Janczuk, Director
Weronika Janczuk was born to Polish parents in Canada, grew up in Minnesota, and came to New York to study, graduating from NYU with a self-designed B.A. in the Philosophy of the Human Person. She sold novels as a literary agent for a few years, is a former WYA intern, and loves tea.
Julia Kenney, Director of Operations
Julia is a citizen of the United States raised in Livonia, MI. In May 2013, she graduated from Saint Mary’s College (Notre Dame, IN) earning a Bachelor of Business Administration and a concentration in Finance. She served in healthcare administration, direct patient care, athletic administration, and primary and secondary education. Prior to becoming a staff member, Julia interned at WYA’s world headquarters. Through her experiences, she discovered her desire to influence integral human development so that all young people may lead truly free and fulfilling lives. As the Director of Operations for North America, Julia looks forward to empowering young people with truth so that they may develop their entire personhood and contribute to society as virtuous leaders.
Their Royal Highnesses Prince Nikolaus and Princess Margaretta of Liechtenstein
The Lord Daniel Brennan
H.E. Renato Cardinal Martino
H.E. Christoph Cardinal Schönborn
Board of Directors
Ann Seabright, Chair
Anna Halpine, Founder and CEO, WYA Foundation
Lord Pomperada, President, Ex-officio
His Excellency Archbishop Charles Chaput
Dr. Timothy Flanigan
Jean-Baptise de Franssu
Jean-Hugues J. Monier
Rev. Richard Ryscavage, S.J.
Aliah Dimaporo Cimafranca
Senator Francisco Tatad
Board of Directors, Emeritus
Ambassador Jose Joaquin Chaverri
Mary Ann Glendon
Dr. Paolo Carozza
A graduate of Wellesley College, Ann Seabright received an MBA from John Carroll University. She served first as a technical writer (1979-1981) and then as a member of the board (1981-1997) for a pharmaceutical company. Ann has also served as the Strategic Planning Co-Chair, Search Committee Chair, and Board President on the Board of Trustees for the Phillips-Osborne School in Painesville, Ohio. Ann is married to Tom Seabright, and is the mother of ten children.
Anna Halpine is the founder of the World Youth Alliance and was the WYA president from 1999 to the spring of 2007. She received her Masters in Philosophy of Religion from Yale University (2009), and a Bachelor of Music, cum laude, from Mt. Allison University in Canada (1999). She has studied piano at the Taubman Institute and voice at the Juilliard School. As Founder and past-president of WYA, Anna has traveled and lectured extensively in Africa, Asia, Europe, the Middle East, Latin America, and North America.
Archbishop Charles J. Chaput is the Archbishop of Philadelphia. A member of the Prairie Band Potawatomi Tribe, Archbishop Chaput is the first Native American Archbishop in the United States. He was previously the Archbishop of Denver, and the Bishop of Rapid City, South Dakota. He served on the US Commission on International Religious Freedom, and participated in missions to China and Turkey. He was a member of the US Delegation to Spain for “the Conference on Anti-Semitism and Other Forms of Intolerance”, sponsored by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). He holds a Master’s Degree in Religious Education from Capuchin College, and a master’s degree in Theology from the University of San Francisco. He was an instructor in theology and spiritual direction at St. Fidelis, and Executive Secretary and Director of Communications for the Capuchin province of St. Augustine in Pittsburgh. He serves on numerous boards and has authored two books.
Dr. Timothy P. Flanigan is the Chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases of the Department of Medicine at Brown University. At the Miriam Hospital Immunology Center he provides comprehensive HIV care and participates in clinical care and research at the Rhode Island Prison. Dr. Flanigan has been principal investigator on two prevention grants: CDC Project Start, to develop HIV and STD intervention for young men leaving prison, and the SAMHSA funded Project Shield, to develop group HIV and STD intervention among substance abusing adolescents. He is the principal investigator of the Brown University NIH AIDS Clinical Trials Unit and a training grant from the National Institute of Drug Abuse on diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of HIV and other infectious consequences of substance abuse. He is an associate director of the Brown University Fogarty Program to train and mentor overseas investigators in the areas of HIV, AIDS and opportunistic infections. He is also principle investigator of an NIH R01 grant (DA013767-02) designed to study the effectiveness of once daily directly observed antiretroviral therapy (DOT) for the treatment of hard-to-reach populations. He is married and has five children.
Jean-Baptiste de Franssu is Chairman of INCIPIT, an M&A advisory and consulting firm. He is formerly CEO of Invesco Europe, and a member of the Invesco Worldwide management committee. Prior to joining Invesco, he was the Director of Groupe Caisse de Dépôts et Consignations in France. A graduate of the ESC Group Business School in Reims, France he holds a BA in European Business Administration from Middlesex University in the UK and a postgraduate degree in Actuarial Studies from Pierre and Marie Curie University in Paris. He is the former Vice-President and President of the European Fund and Asset Management Association (EFAMA) and Non-executive Director of TAGES LLP and Carmignac Gestion. He is also a board member of various charities in Europe and the United States. Jean-Baptiste is married to Hélène de Gerlache de Gomery and they have four children.
Jean-Hugues Monier is a Partner with the Corporate Finance & Strategy practice of McKinsey & Company in New York. As one of the leader of this Practice for the Americas, Jean-Hugues is a regular advisor of CEOs and CFOs of large global companies on corporate strategy related issues, growth strategy, capital market, portfolio restructuring and optimization of their finance function.
Jean-Hugues is a regular speaker at CFO and industry conference around the world. He has given recent interviews and written articles about the future of the Auto industry, the mandate for CFO, value creation in M&A and keeping multibusiness companies running smoothly.
Jean-Hugues received a Master of Engineering and a Master of Science from Ecole Centrale and a Postgraduate degree in Economics from University of Paris Sorbonne.
He’s a Member of the Council on Foreign Relation in New York, a regular attendee to the World Economic Forum in Davos and also serves as a Director for the Jérôme Lejeune Foundation USA, which provide research, care, and advocacy to benefit those with genetic intellectual disabilities.
He is a knight of the French National Order of Merit granted by the French Government to recognize is active contribution to Franco-American friendship and economic collaboration.
Deb O’Hara-Rusckowski is a critical care nurse since 1982. She has extensive global experience in NGO/mission work, starting in Bosnia Herzogovina in 1996 when she worked with victims of rape camps; later she lead medical teams to the DR for 6 years; she then moved to serve in Haiti, where she was part of a leadership team for several weeks following the 2010 earthquake. She continues to serve on the Board of CRUDEM that operates Hopital Sacre Coeur hospital, as well as several other Boards where she combines her passion for healthcare, business skills, education and her faith. Deb was also part of FEMA’s Disaster Medical Team deployed to NYC on 9/11 and assigned to Cornell Burn Unit for 14 days.
After obtaining her MBA in 1994, Deb worked for many years in healthcare marketing with Hewlett-Packard/Agilent and Philips Healthcare. In 2014, Deb obtained her MTS and began work at the UN in the area of human trafficking, coordinating the ‘GIFT Box” educational exhibit in New England and Haiti.
Deb and her husband Steve live in New York City.
Rev. Richard Ryscavage, S.J.
Rev. Richard Ryscavage, S.J. is professor of sociology and international studies at Fairfield University where he is the founding Director of the University’s Center for Faith and Public Life. He is the former national director of the Jesuit Refugee Service USA, and has chaired the humanitarian assistance division of InterAction. He is a past coordinator of the NGO working group on the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, with a particular focus on the protection of children. He has served on the US government delegation to the governing body of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees in Geneva. He was the founding director of the US Catholic Bishops Office for Refugees and Migrants. He holds a master’s degree in International Administration from the School for International Training in Vermont, and a master’s degree in International Law and Diplomacy from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. He is a professor at Fordham University’s Master’s Diploma Program in Humanitarian Assistance, at the Catholic University of America’s Certificate Program in Catholic Social Thought, and Master’s program in Integral Economic Development Management. Additionally, Father Ryscavage serves on the Board of Directors for the World Youth Alliance and the International Institute of Connecticut.
Andreas Widmer is the Director of Entrepreneurship at the Catholic University of America’s Business School. He was a cofounder of the SEVEN Fund, a philanthropic organization run by entrepreneurs who invested in original research, books, films, and websites to further enterprise solutions to poverty. Andreas is a seasoned business executive with experience in high-tech and international business strategy consulting and economic development. He has developed entrepreneurial initiatives at the intersection of business and faith including his blog,www.faithandprosperity.com. Andreas is Research Fellow in Entrepreneurship at the Acton Institute and is a member of the advisory board or board of directors for a number of organizations including Transforming Business at the University of Cambridge, the Templeton Foundation, Global Adaptation Institute, the New Paradigm Research Fund, and World Youth Alliance. Andreas served as a Pontifical Swiss Guard from 1986-1988, protecting Pope John Paul II. He holds two business degrees from Switzerland, plus a B.S. in International Business from Merrimack College and an M.A. in Ministry from St. John’s Seminary in Boston. A citizen of Switzerland and the United States, he speaks English, German, Italian and French. Andreas loves to spend time with his wife and son. He is an eternal student of fly-fishing, enjoys skiing, and is an avid reader.
Mr. Beauttah joined the BBC in London in 1966 where he worked for seven years. On returning to Kenya, Oscar became Head of the English Service at the Voice of Kenya – Radio. He has a Higher Diploma from the School of Public Communications Syracuse University in Upstate New York. He was involved in the production of many productions radio and television programs including news and live commentaries. He has anchored two popular live radio and television current affairs shows that air five days a week on the Voice of Kenya for several years. He was a public relations manager, the head of his own public relations consultancy firm, and a media advisor for several African organizations. In 1994, he founded Africa Broadcasting Network, an electronics media NGO for disseminating information on development. Mr. Beauttah was honored with the Silver Star of Kenya, a Presidential Meritorious Award, for his service to his country.
After volunteering for World Youth Alliance Asia Pacific since 2005, Aliah became the International Director of Operations from 2008 to 2010. She served briefly as the Executive Director of WYA Foundation before returning to the Philippines to assume her election as the 2nd District Representative of the Province of Lanao del Norte in the House of Representatives. In March, 2014, Aliah was presented with the first WYA Kathryn Hoomkwap Award for Extraordinary Service in Defense of the Dignity of the Human Person for her firm conviction and courageous defense on behalf of human dignity.
Aliah graduated Magna Cum Laude from Mindanao State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology. She is currently completing her Master of Strategic Studies at the Strategic and Defense Studies Center in Australian National University. Aliah is married to Jordan Cimafranca.
Senator Francisco Tatad chairs the Citizens vs. Corruption task force in Manila and serves as Senior Political Advisor to the United Opposition. He was a two term senator from 1992 to 2001 and served as Senate Majority Leader. He has written for the International Herald Tribune, and the Asian Wall Street Journal, and is the former editor of Philippine Newsday. He is the author of over six books on politics and is an active voice and contributor to political and youth movements in the Philippines. He has addressed forums at the United Nations, the Inter-Parliamentary Union, Asia-Pacific Parliamentary Forum, Parliamentarians for Global Action and the World Congress of Families. He has spoken widely in Asia, the United States, Canada and Europe. He holds degrees in Philosophy and Letters, and has received honorary doctorates in law, humanities and public administration. He has attended special courses at Harvard Institute for International Development, Rand Graduate School, Warwick University and the Center for Research and Communications in Manila. Senator Tatad and his wife Fenny have seven children.
Consuelo Ballestrem has studied orthopedagogics and psychology at the Universities of Munich, Fribourg, and Eichstaett. She does psychotherapy as well as personal marriage and family counseling. She teaches regular courses and seminars on education and communication. She was married to WYA board member Karl Ballestrem who passed away in May 2007 and is mother of four children and also a grandmother.
Lady Salisbury is the foremost historical gardener in the world. She serves as a Vice President of the Royal Horticultural Society, is a past Trustee of the Chelsea Physic Garden, and a member Honoris Causa of the Worshipful Company of Gardeners. She is the author of “The Gardens of Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother”, “The Gardens at Hatfield”, and numerous articles on gardens, garden history and design worldwide. She designs gardens and landscapes professionally and is currently working on gardens in France, Ireland, America, Italy and England. Lady Salisbury has also designed the garden for the World Youth Alliance in New York. She studied at the Royal Drawing School in London. She is the founder and chairman of Choose Life. A mother of seven children, Lady Salisbury currently lives in London.
Olivia was the first European Director of Operations and helped set up WYA’s Europe office. Olivia worked for three years establishing a European network, trained the first interns in Brussels and established the first UK chapter of the WYA. She went on to train as a child and adolescent psychotherapist, gaining an MSC and has worked as a therapist in schools in inner-city London for the last 8 years. Olivia has a background in languages and has a Bachelor of Arts in French and Portuguese.
A native of Mexico, Jose Miguel Guevara graduated from Universidad Autonoma de Puebla in 1960 with a Bachelor of Chemical Engineering , and in 1982 he received a Business MBA through the D1-Program from Instituto Panamericano de Alta Direccion de Empresa (IPADE) which is connected to Harvard Business School. He has served as Vice President of COPARMEX, a union of business people interested in building a competitive and open market in Mexico, while seeking the common good. He also served as the Vice President of The National Agricultural Council. Jose Guevara has also held senior positions in the Parent Associations in Mexico. Since 1982 he has been the Vice President of the IPADE alumni Association.
Born in Mexico City, Jesús Rivera is a graduate of Universidad Panamericana and holds an MBA from the Instituto Tecnológico de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey. He was the first WYA regional director for Latin America from 2002 to 2006 and has also worked at Procter and Gamble and with the Mexican Government. He is currently Director of Institutional Development at IPADE Business School and is a passionate promoter of fundraising activities for education and human dignity projects. Jesus is married and has three children.
Habib Malik is the assistant professor of history and cultural studies at the Lebanese American University in Byblos, Lebanon. A graduate of the American University of Beirut and Harvard University, he has lectured widely in the Middle East, Europe and the United States. He has been published in the International Herald Tribune, Religion and Democracy, and the Harvard Salient among others. He is the author of two books: Receiving Soren Kierkegaard: The Early Impact and Transmission of His Thought, and Between Damascus and Jerusalem: Lebanon and Middle East Peace. He is the President of the Charles Malik Foundation. He is married and has three children.