Introducing Polly Byers as our Executive Director
We are delighted to announce that Polly Byers has accepted the position of Karuna Center’s Executive Director! Polly has spent the past three decades working both within and outside of government channels to support peacebuilding practices and to increase local collaboration and ownership of aid and peace processes. (A more complete bio is below.)
Some of you already know that our current Executive Director—Olivia Stokes Dreier—is stepping down at the end of July. We already miss having her on staff, but Olivia will continue to be involved with Karuna Center as a trainer, facilitator, and expert in conflict dynamics. It seems nobody really retires from peacebuilding!
We asked Polly to introduce herself over video to help everyone “meet” her during these times of social distancing:
Reflecting on this moment in the U.S. and the world, Polly noted, “Karuna’s work—bridging and healing divides, fostering reconciliation and dialogue, addressing root causes of conflict—is at the heart of what is needed.”
Olivia and Polly have been working closely with the rest of Karuna Center’s small staff to ensure a smooth transition and support Olivia to pursue her “semi-retirement.” Olivia recently wrote:
“While stepping away is bittersweet, I am truly heartened by Karuna Center’s current momentum, the discussions of new and creative approaches to our work, and by the knowledge that the organization is in such very good hands. It has been a great privilege to work with a staff of such competence and integrity, and to build partnerships with peacebuilding leaders and facilitators worldwide who have such wisdom and dedication. I think Polly is a superb choice to lead Karuna Center into its next chapter, and I look forward to remaining engaged.”
Karuna Center’s work to build lasting peace, address root causes of violent conflict, and promote social inclusion feels more important than ever now. We have been very busy this spring and summer, as we have been adapting our programs to rapidly shifting contexts—and we will continue to be in touch.
Thank you for being a part of our peacebuilding community!