GLENVIEW, IL., September 14, 2022 – Will Pierros, an international peace scholar and leader in global education, has been named Executive Director of Hands of Peace. Hands of Peace is a non-profit organization celebrating 20 years empowering young Americans, Israelis, and Palestinians to become agents of change.
With an Ed.D. in Global Education from USC and a Master of Divinity from Covenant Theological Seminary, Will has 14 years of experience in teaching and administrative roles in higher education and has also worked at the elementary, middle, and high school levels. Will has international training and experience in conflict resolution, mediation, peacebuilding, and educational consulting. He has researched and presented in Europe, the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and the U.S. More recently, with Concordia University Chicago, Will was Co-Chair of the Criminal Justice Program, developed online certificate programs in peace and conflict studies and human security, and introduced and managed university partnerships with John Marshall Law School and the Tony Blair Foundation.
“Will leads, educates, and inspires young people—the heart of our mission,” says Wayne Andersen, Hands of Peace Board Chair. “That skill set is invaluable in our work as we focus on leadership and skill-building opportunities for alumni. Learning how to create positive social change is a key element in strengthening their capacity and deepening their commitment to build positive peace, which is much more than the absence of violence.”
Will has taught courses in the politics of the Middle East, International Security, Faith and Globalization, and International Conflict Resolution, and has written about political polarization, criminal justice, and innovative education practices. A Rotary International Peace Fellow in 2019, Will conducted research on human trafficking, illegal fishing practices, and political polarization in Bangkok, Thailand.
“The opportunity to lead an organization that provides opportunities for American, Israeli, and Palestinian youth to become peacemakers is inspiring,” says Will. “Sometimes when participants return from programs, they are excited for a little bit, and then they come home and get acclimated to regular life, and that flame diminishes. My goal, working with our amazing team at Hands of Peace, is to keep that flame going and develop a pipeline of programming that’s effective in adapting to our alumni needs as they mature into leadership roles in society.”
About Hands of Peace
Hands of Peace empowers American, Israeli, and Palestinian youth to become agents of change. The non-profit 501(c)3 interfaith organization was founded in the shadow of 9/11 by Gretchen Grad in Chicago, Illinois, in 2002. The first Summer Program was held in Chicago in 2003. Since then, Hands of Peace has expanded in size, strength, and scope with Summer Programs in Chicago and San Diego, year-round alumni programs in Israel, Palestine, and the U.S., and multi-narrative tours to the Middle East for American youth and adults. Today, more than 750 Hands of Peace alumni are leading change around the world. For more information, go to www.handsofpeace.org.