Rev. Addae Kraba, USA, President (2018-2021)

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Rev. Addae Ama Kraba is an ordained Unitarian Universalist Minister, currently residing in Boerne, TX. She earned a Master of Divinity degree from Starr King School for the Ministry in Berkeley, CA. Rev. Kraba was the first person of color installed as minister to the First Universalist Church of Southold, Long Island, New York. She later served as Community Minister of First Unitarian Church of Philadelphia, PA. Active at both district and denominational levels, Rev. Kraba was on the Association’s Committee on Anti-Racism, Anti-Oppression and Multiculturalism, Trustee for the Joseph Priestly District, and Murray Grove Retreat and Conference Center in Lanoka Harbor, New Jersey. She served as Co-Convener of Unitarian Universalist Women and Religion and was on the planning committees of the first and third international U*U women’s convocations (Houston, TX, 2009 and Asilomar, CA, 2017). She currently serves the UU congregation of New Braunfels, Texas.

Rev. Carol Huston,
USA, Vice President and
Convener, Third Convocation (2016-2018)
Rev. Carol Huston

The Rev. Carol Huston has been minister of Community Unitarian Church at White Plains since August, 2001, following a 9-year ministry in Michigan.  She has served in leadership positions in UU and interfaith ministry groups, including terms on the Executive and Continuing Education Committees of the UU Ministers Association.  Civic leadership around her congregations has included the Westchester Coalition on Worldwide Poverty and AIDS, the White Plains School Safety Task Force, and the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice (RCRC).  In 2004, Carol brought a proposed Study/Action Issue on “Women’s Rights Worldwide” to General Assembly.  When it failed to be adopted two years in a row, she and the other organizations that had gathered around this proposal turned their energies to planning for the 2009 International Women’s Convocation. As one who worked on a Women and Religion Committee in the 1980s and attended the Women’s Convocation in 1990, I have real hopes that UU women are ready for a new form of organizing which will include occasional convocation gatherings and on-going communication and inspiration on the Internet.

Geri Kennedy, USA, Treasurer (2018-2021) gerikennedy

A UU for about 30 years, Geri Kennedy is a member of the UU Fellowship of Redwood City, CA.  Before her retirement in January 2018, she spent 25 years managing homeowners’ associations, partly in a company of her own. Moving to the banking world, Geri assisted associations in all aspects of their banking needs, including help with their reserve funding and loans when necessary. She got involved with the Pacific Central District’s Women and Religion Task Force in the early 90s, served as its co-convener for many years, and then its treasurer. Geri was also the UU Fellowship of Redwood City’s bookkeeper for about 15 years. She served on the boards of the Partner Church Council and UU Women & Religion; acting as the treasurer of UU Women & Religion, Geri helped them to obtain their 501(c3) status.  She looks forward to working with such a meaningful organization as IWC.

Kathy Burek, USA, Director (2016-2019) Kathy Burek

Kathy Burek served as Coordinator of the Global Sisters Process and as a member of the Right Relations Team at the First (Houston) Women’s Convocation in 2009. Kathy received the UUA Presidents’ Award for Volunteer Service in June 2014 in a number of areas for the UUA. She was Prairie Star District President and President of the District Presidents’ Association. In addition, Kathy joined the Steering Team that led to the creation of the MidAmerica Region, the UUA’s first region. She was a member of the UUA Employee Benefits Trust Board from its inception in March 2007 until the summer of 2015. She served as its chair for its first two years, and again in 2014. In her home congregation, Michael Servetus Unitarian Society of Fridley, MN, Kathy is a past president, long-range planning chair, RE teacher, and organizer of other activities. She recently completed service as the Co-Chair of the Ministerial Search Committee for her congregation.

Matilda Kiss, Transylvania, Romania, Director (2018-2021)

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A born Unitarian, Ms. Matilda Kiss lives in Marosvásárhely/ Târgu Mureș, Transylvania, where she is office administrator for the Unitarian Church. In 1998-99, she spent a year in the United States while her late husband László, a Unitarian minister, was a Balázs Scholar at Starr King School for the Ministry in Berkeley, CA. Matilda raised her two young children on her own as her husband – who was the minister of the Torda congregation at the time – died suddenly of a heart attack at age 35, after being verbally abused by a city official. She’s been actively involved in local Unitarian women’s associations and was a member of the hosting team of the Second International Women’s Convocation (Transylvania 2012). Matilda participated in the leadership training for Transylvanian Unitarian women and took part in the Third International Women’s Convocation (Asilomar, CA 2017). She is very excited to work with IWC and looks forward to making a positive contribution.

Karen Kortsch, USA, Director (2018-2021)
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Karen Kortsch is an active member of North Shore Unitarian Church in Deerfield, IL. A UU for the past 15 years, she has been a member of IWC since 2012 and a strong supporter of its mission to empower women worldwide. Karen is also active in several other organizations such as the American Association of University Women, National Organization for Women, and National Nurses United: all organizations working to advance gender equity. A registered nurse at Capt. James Lovell Federal Health Care Facility in Chicago, IL, Karen works with the mentally ill. In this capacity, she sees that gender inequality takes a toll on women and society in many ways, including mental health. She is very excited to work with IWC and looks forward to making a positive contribution.

Ma. Elvira Peras-Sienes, the Philippines, Director (2017-2020)elvira-sienes

Ms. Peras-Sienes works for the UU Church of the Philippines (UUCP). She studied at Silliman University Divinity School and was ordained a UUCP min-ister in 2005. Previously, she worked for the UUCP in various positions and then for three years for the NGO Tuburan for Rural Women Empowerment and Development, Inc. Tuburan means spring water, and the organization strives to empower rural, often disadvantaged women in Negros Oriental. Elvira (“Elvie”) says: “Now that I work full time with the Church again, I am excited about bringing my experiences to IWC and contributing to its growth. I am very much interested in women’s issues around the world.”

Elgiva Dora Shullai, India,
Director (2017-2019)elgiva-shullai

Ms. Shullai is a registered nurse specializing in Surgical Nursing and served as an Officer with the prestigious Armed Forces Medical and Nursing Services until 2011. Now she is actively supporting philanthropic work and is the Global Sisters Coordinator for the Seng Kynthei Women’s Wing of the Unitarian Union of North East India In this capacity, she has coordinated health camps, awareness programs, and very successful Global Sisters workshops in four Unitarian communities in Meghalaya. In 2015, she organized the launch of a White Ribbon campaign to eliminate violence against women and children in Unitarian communities in North East India. She has been a member of the IWC board since 2015.

Zsofia Sztranyiczki Kolozsvar (Transylvania) / Houston, TX
Executive Director
Zsofi Sztranyiczki

Dr. Zsofia Sztranyiczki is a born-Unitarian from Transylvania, now living partly in Houston, Texas with her American husband. She holds a doctorate in Linguistics, and currently works part-time as an ESL instructor at Rice University. She and her husband own a small tour company specializing in music and art, offering them an ample opportunity for travel. In addition to Hungarian, Romanian and English, she speaks French, Italian and Finnish. As a member of First Church Kolozsvár, she became involved in the partner church movement and served on the Partner Church Committee.  She was the lead facilitator of the Community Capacity Building workshops conducted by the Unitarian Universalist Partner Church Council in small Transylvanian communities in 2005-2006, working together with Dr. Richard Ford, community development advisor for the Partner Church Council. Dr. Sztranyiczki worked with Laura Nagel from early on in the planning and execution of the first Convocation. As the international coordinator, she provided key communications and visa, travel, and financial management to bring 25 international participants from 17 countries to the Convocation. As a member of the Second Convocation Organizing Committee, she was again the international coordinator, and was very active in the planning and execution of the Convocation. Together with Krisztina Páll, she also undertook the training of the Global Sisters facilitators and the coordination of the Global Sisters process. She believes that empowering women to participate in economy, leadership, political decision-making and education is the key to the long-term growth, security, and peace of the world: “together, by weaving partnerships around the world, we can help women to overcome barriers to reach their greatest potential.”

Laura Nagel, Program DirectorNagel

Laura Nagel was Administrator of the First International Convocation of UU Women held in Houston in 2009 and is Founding Executive Director of the International Convocation of UU Women, a nonprofit corporation. She is Past President of Southwest UU Women and the past Co-Convener of UU Women and Religion. She is presently on the board of directors of the Unitarian Universalist Church of the Monterey Peninsula and has also served as President of the First Jefferson UU Church in Fort Worth, TX and as a Fundraising Consultant for the UUA. In 2004 she began doing international work through the Partner Church Council and was instrumental in conducting the first community capacity building program in Arkos, Transylvania. Laura is very committed to this grass roots democratic planning process which has been a foundational element at ICUUW’s gatherings and convocations for setting the organization’s priorities. She and her husband Harry have traveled extensively through IWC’s trips abroad to meet and work with U*U women in Romania, Philippines, India, and Bolivia. She holds a Master’s Degree in Public Affairs and Policy Analysis from the New School for Social Research. She and Harry have two grown daughters, Samantha who lives in Dallas and Erica who lives in Oakland.