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Velvet Mesquite - Illustration by George Malesky
Velvet Mesquite
A Natural Symbol of Sustainable Peace

Culture of Peace Alliance (COPA)
~ promoting peace, justice, and sustainability


The Culture of Peace Alliance (COPA) Coordinating Council is currently composed of members who worked together for a year to develop the vision, mission, purpose, and structure of this organization. Throughout this collaboration process, the council members deepened their capacity to synergistically learn from one another, to personally practice peace in their coordinating council endeavors, and to have fun in the process. Brief introductions to members follow.

SatBir's image Sat Bir Kaur Khalsa - President
Sat Bir is a foster parent in Tucson. She arrived here in the mid-80s. As a Sikh, she strongly upholds the human rights of all people to live, love, and share peacefully. She volunteers with several community groups and organizations in Tucson as an expression of her faith. Sat Bir states, “I am grateful for my experience with the COPA Coordinating Council. We have practiced nonviolent communication with one another, as well as consensus in our decision-making. I welcome your interest in COPA. I welcome those who will partner with us, even if just by visiting this web site.”

Sylvia's image Sylvia L. McConico - Secretary
as a young girl, Sylvia knew that standing in front of an audience was her cup of tea.  She has performed at various venues in the U.S. and internationally. The performances have ranged from guest speaker, performance artist as Master storyteller and puppeteer, sales presentations, workshop facilitator, and actor in film, television and stage.

She realized that another passion was being an advocate for women, and promotion of peaceful living.  Time served as the volunteer coordinator for the Foundation for Women in San Diego, CA in service to homeless women satisfied this passion.  Then along came the opportunity to travel to fourteen countries to deliver a speech on peace to heads-of-state, community workers, religious leaders, and educators written by a renowned world religion leader. Sitting as a Board of Director, President and Program Director for various organizations has enhanced her experience in management.

Sylvia continues to volunteer time to peace-oriented organizations and youth leadership programs. The critical thinking and team building programs and workshops she designed have been presented and facilitated throughout the country.

She is especially grateful to be a Coordinating Council Member for the Culture of Peace Alliance (COPA) as they continue their vision of a nonviolent society… that has peace as its organizing principle.

Richard's image Richard Kestler - Treasurer
Born 12/20/1937 in Queens, NY in Queens, NY. Graduated Stuyvesant Science high school, where I became involved with making the United Nations an effective source for peace and conflict resolution. Graduated Cornell University, with Honors in Government, and lived during 4 of my 5 years at Cornell in Watermargin, the first interracial and inter religious living unit at an American college.

Married Carol S. Levine, my wife for 56 years until her death last July. I have 2 children, 8 grandchildren and 5 great grandchildren.

Received my PhD in Political Science from the Ohio State University. My dissertation was an analysis of how the British viewed gradually granting independence to four African countries over a 100 year period, versus those countries leaders determination to become independent nations in a decade after the end of World War Two.

Taught in the Political Science department at the University of N. Dakota for 5 years, ending as a tenured, Associate Professor. Classes taught included American Government, Political Theory, Comparative Government and Communism, Fascism, Democracy.

Moved to Tucson, AZ in 1971 after receiving a National Endowment for the Humanities grant to study how the lives of the Papago Indians (now the Tohono O'Odham) were changing as they developed their own government as a semi independent nation. I remained in Tucson to benefit the health of my wife and children.

Employed for 12 years as Research Director and Administrative Assistant for Hope Center drug rehab program of La Frontera Mental Health.

Employed for 30 years as a tax preparer, ending as a Master Tax Advisor and Enrolled Agent, for Alpha Tax Service and the Premium division of H & R Block. I retired on December 31st, 2014.

I served for 4 years on the Board of Directors of the Food Conspiracy Coop, including two years as President.

I served for 4 years on the Board of Directors of Congregation Ner Tamid, the last two years as President. I currently serve on the Board of Directors of Congregation Kol Simchah.

I currently serve as Treasurer of COPA, the Culture of Peace Alliance. I also currently serve on the leadership committee of PeaceWalk Tucson. 

Hassan's photo Hassan Clement
i Hassan Clement am a warrior for, of and about Peace.
i found i could not get Be about Peace because, i had none.
Self-hate, anger and frustration were my food.
Consciously, step-by-step, Peace grows.
The Nonviolence Legacy Project, Food 4 Life and my Faith, in working connections with those of like mind, Spirit and Soul, is how Peace grows.
Moving towards “The Beloved Community” that nourishes All.

Hassan is a poet, a peace and human rights activist, and a nonviolence trainer and community organizer. He obtained his Level I and Level II Kingian Nonviolence certification from Dr. Bernard LaFayette Jr. when NVLP/COPA offered these advanced nonviolence training classes in Tucson in 2010 and 2011. In 2013, Hassan started work as part-time staff with NVLP. At the beginning of 2015, Hassan took over as NVLP Program Manager when Ann Yellott “retired” from that position in order to become Grants & Program Coordinator for COPA. Hassan has a special gift for inspiring youth to want to learn about Kingian Nonviolence and commit themselves to nonviolence as a courageous way of life and powerful strategy for social change. Hassan is dedicated to carrying out Dr. King’s final instructions to NVLP’s mentor, Dr. LaFayette that the next campaign must be to institutionalize and internationalize nonviolence. Hassan wants to see Kingian Nonviolence institutionalized within school systems throughout Tucson.

Beth's photo Beth Horowitz
Beth M. Horowitz loves the arts and building a good community. She has lived in Tucson for 18 years and loves it's artistic wealth, cultural diversity and physical beauty. She serves in the boards of COPA and Peace Walk. She is currently working on getting her Real Estate License.

Natanya's photo Natanya Siegel
Natanya grew up in NYC and obtained a BA in Psychology and worked 25 years in social service. She came to Tucson in 2006 and she continued her studies in “Nonviolent Communication”, a book written by Marshall Rosenberg. Natanya volunteered and was on the board of the Food Conspiracy Co-op for 3½ years. She volunteered with Iskashitaa Refugee Harvesting Program for 3 years. Was a volunteer Chaplain for UMC Hospital (now Banner) with for one year on the pediatric, cardiac care and psychiatric ward.

In May 2012, Natanya took the NVLP (Nonviolence Legacy Project) 2-day training program and loved that youth were learning to facilitate Dr. Martin Luther King’s program of nonviolence. On 10/26/14, she was appointed to the COPA Coordinating Council as a member and was the secretary from 3/08/15 to 1/16/16. Natanya's main involvement has been with the NVLP and now the Youth and Peace Conference (YPC) that are two of the affiliates of COPA.

Since childhood Natanya has been drawn to figuring out how to connect the world in a more meaningful way. Her father mentioned Nature to her, when she was wondering why one religion would be more right than all the others? For her, human beings are just part of Nature. Her mother said she was radical but went about it conservatively. Natanya is trying to give up the war-like thinking our society tends to follow versus connecting to more life enhancing ways we can live that brings more meaning and balance to the world we live in, Nature.

Fayez's photo Fayez Swailen, Ph.D.
Fayez is a US Citizen Born in Egypt in 1942, father and grandfather, lives in the US since 1980 and in Tucson since 1990.

Ann's photo Ann Yellott, Ph.D.
Ann has dedicated her life to peace-building, violence prevention, conflict resolution, social justice, and nonviolence. She helped start the first shelter for abused women and children in Tucson, managed the Community Mediation Program at Our Family Services, and co-directed the National Conference on Peacemaking and Conflict Resolution, before helping organize the Culture of Peace Alliance (COPA) in 2004. Ann co-founded the Nonviolence Legacy Project.in 2008 and the Annual Youth & Peace Conference in 2011. She continues to work with COPA as its Grants & Program Coordinator.

Calling attention to peace-building projects happening in thousands of communities across the US and around the world, Ann believes that we create peace every day by listening compassionately to others, appreciating the profound beauty of the earth, practicing nonviolence, connecting with Spirit, and following our own unique calling.