Board of Directors & Staff

Staff

Rami Efal (USA) – Executive Director, Board Member Ex Officio

Rami Efal, a dual citizen of Israel and the USA, has been a student of Zen Buddhism since 2006, including 4 years of residential training at Zen Mountain Monastery and Zen Center of New York City. Previously, Rami served in the Israeli Army as a criminal investigator and later a professional visual artist, presented in NY and European galleries. For the past ten years, he has contributed to hunger, community, hospice and Israeli-Palestinian dialogue projects in the US. He is a graduate of School of visual arts in New York, School of International Training in Vermont and the New York Center for Nonviolent Communication Integration Program, where he co-facilitated intensive multi-day retreats. He presented on peace-building on NPR, at the Warsaw Museum of Modern Art and at the United Nations Headquarters in NYC.  He has been the executive director since June 2016.

 

Anthony Saracino (USA) – Assistant to Executive Director

Anthony is very honored to join the international community of Zen Peacemakers!  Born to an inquiring, theatrical Christian family, he began studying Zen in 2010 and has since done two separate month-long residencies at Great Vow Monastery in Oregon and Zen Mountain Monastery in upstate NY.  Anthony holds a BA in Communication & Cultural Studies from Clark University, where he also studied music and improv theater. He is especially interested in the power of imagination and fantasy, and the wonderful intersections between arts, humor, and wisdom traditions.  He brings to Zen Peacemakers his dedication to spiritual insight as a key feature of effective social change.

 

Lilli Mösler (Germany) – Auschwitz Retreat Coordinator

Lilli first came to the Auschwitz Bearing Witness Retreat with her two siblings after her father had been to the retreat. Since her first attendance, she has come back almost every year since. She feels very joyous to have joined the Zen Peacemakers international sangha and to be able to help the Auschwitz Bearing Witness Retreat as the retreat coordinator and member of the staff. She has been a student of Bernie since the Bearing Witness training program and has also been a student of Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche, a teacher of the Bon Lineage, since a very young age. She has completed a Masters degree in Psychology and is currently training to become a behavioral psychotherapist in Nuremberg, Germany. She also has training in nonviolent communication and mindfulness based stress reduction and is really loving her job as a therapist.

 

Board of Directors

Grant Couch, Sensei (USA) 

Grant Couch worked for over 40 years in the financial services industry, with a focus on commercial and investment banking.  Following his retirement as President and COO of Countrywide Capital Markets in 2008, Grant’s desire to contribute to others’ personal growth led him to take the position of CEO of Sounds True, publisher of spiritual teachings, where he served for two years.  He was Chairman of Manhattan Bancorp and its subsidiary Bank of Manhattan from 2010 – 2015. In 1990 Grant began to explore various spiritual paths.  After 4 years of religious and philosophical self-study he found a deep personal resonance in the Buddha’s teachings.  Since then he has studied with many Tibetan, Zen and Vipassana teachers.  After attending the 2010 Bearing Witness Retreat in Auschwitz he began working closely with Bernie Glassman and Zen Peacemakers. Grant graduated with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering and an MBA from Lehigh University. He is on the investment committee of the Aravaipa, a VC fund, and is a financial advisor to The Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition. Now retired, Grant is focused full time on finding a conservative solution to the challenging nexus of energy and the environment – aka climate change.

 

Frank DeWaele, Roshi (Belgium)

In 2002 Frank assisted the development of Dana Sangha Belgium, and on July 23, 2005 he received dharma transmission from Genno Roshi, becoming a Sensei in the White Plum Soto Zen line of the late Taizan Maezumi Roshi.  In April 2011, Frank received dharma transmission from Bernie Glassman Roshi, becoming his dharma successor.  Frank De Waele Sensei draws and loves visual arts, reading, walking and street retreats. He lives at Dana Sangha Zendo in Ghent and works full time as a zen teacher in residence.  He is married to Alexandra Mushin Gericke, senior Zen student of Genpo Roshi. They have two daughters, Hannia and Sanne.

 

Christopher Panos, Sensei  (USA) – Chairman 

Chris Panos, a sensei in the Zen Peacemakers, is currently a founder and principal of Fundamental Investment Advisors. He has studied Tibetan Buddhism, Korean Zen, and American Japanese Zen since 1975 and recently became a Dharmaholder in the Zen Peacemakers lineage. Chris received a BA from Indiana University and a MBA from the University of Chicago. He has founded several successful businesses over the past 25 years: among them are Panos Financial, TibetCafé, Groundswell Productions, Athena Mills, and Fundamental Investment Advisors. Chris founded the Bay Area Peacemaker Circle, has been extensively involved with Tibetan refugees, and serves as Board President of Zen Hospice Project in San Francisco.

 

Tani Katz (Israel)

Tani is an expert in conducting, consulting and leading organizational development processes such as growth, excellence, data management and innovation. He is a lecturer in the master’s program of organizational development, Business School, Tel-Aviv University.

 

Francisco Paco Lugoviña, Sensei (USA)

Francisco is an ordained Buddhist priest in the Soto Zen lineage and in the Zen Peacemaker Order. He is the co-founder of the Hudson River Peacemaker Center-House of One People in Yonkers, New York. He works with gang members and youth and has participated in Bearing Witness Retreats and pilgrimages to Tibet, Auschwitz-Bierkenau, India, Sri Lanka, Rwanda, as well as on the streets of New York City and other USA cities.

 

Eve Marko, Roshi (USA)

Eve is a dharma successor of Roshi Bernie Glassman and a Founding Teacher of the Zen Peacemaker Order. Through her numerous writings and her role as one of the leaders of the Order’s annual bearing witness retreats at Auschwitz-Birkenau, she has made the teachings of Zen in the areas of peacemaking and love accessible to a broad audience.

She was a long-time member of the Zen Community of New York, which founded the Greyston Mandala organizations in Yonkers, New York. She was critical in the organization’s progress and developed resources and funding for Greyston Family Inn and Greyston Foundation. Marko was also Executive Director for the Music For the World Foundation, which funds and advocates on behalf of music education programs in American schools.

 

Barbara Salaam Wegmüller, Roshi (Switzerland)

Barbara has been a student of dreamwork, Sufism, Zen and Tibetan Buddhism.  She met her teacher, Roshi Bernie Glassman in 1999 and was recognized as a Roshi in his lineage in 2015.  Since 2005 she has been part of the group of Spiritholders at the retreat in Auschwitz-Birkenau. As well as facilitating the Spiegel Sangha in Switzerland, Barbara trains Zen Peacemakers Stewards, leads workshops on the Mandala of Five Buddha Families, and teaches the method of Council.  A married woman, mother and grandmother, Barbara works with lay students on family life and relationships, teaches social engagement as spiritual practice, and provides networking for peace activists worldwide.

 

Founders

Bernie Glassman, Roshi (Founder, USA) – Founder

Bernie Glassman is a world-renowned pioneer in the American Zen Movement and a leading creative figure in socially engaged Buddhism. He is the founder and co-spiritual director of the Zen Peacemakers. He has extended Dharma practice from the meditation hall to the arenas of social service, business, environmental stewardship and conflict resolution. He has been honored with numerous ethics, service and achievement awards. Read more.

 

Sandra Jishu Holmes, Roshi (USA) – Founder

Sandra was born in Oakland, Calif.  She received a Ph.D. in biochemistry from Columbia University in 1976. After meeting Bernie Glassman in 1982, she devoted herself to Zen Buddhist study and practice. She became a Zen priest in 1983 and, in 1994, a teacher.  With Bernie Glassman, Sandra Jishu Holmes co-founded the Greyston Mandala in Yonkers, and the Zen Peacemaker Order.  She passed away in 1998.