AFRECS: American Friends of the Episcopal Church of
              Sudan

AFRECS
PO Box 3327
  Alexandria, VA 22302

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Board Member Biographies

BIOGRAPHIES

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Gwinneth A. Clarkson

Ms. Gwinneth A. Clarkson resides in Washington, DC. She has a BA degree in International Relations from American University, and an MBA from New York University in International Finance. Her professional experience since 1981 has been in banking and finance. She lived in Bogotá, Colombia, for ten years working in finance and economics. Gwinneth's volunteer activities include two years as Treasurer of a non-profit organization.

Philip H. Darrow

Phil Darrow developed a close relationship with the Diocese of Renk while a member of the Renk Ministry Partnership at St. Michael’s in Barrington, IL, traveling to Renk and various other dioceses several times since 2008. Having headed past fundraising efforts both for Renk Theological College and for the Province of the ECS, Phil has worked most recently to foster a closer working relationship between the Diocese of Renk and USAID and its partner NGO in Upper Nile State, IOM. Phil has also acted as a liaison between the Diocese of Renk and USAID, relaying real-time reports from the border area, particularly as to the returnee and refugee situation and embargo-related resource shortages, to USAID staff in Juba, Addis Ababa and Washington. Now a member of the Parish of St. Matthew, Pacific Palisades, CA, Phil is a lawyer for KB Home. He has been on the AFRECS Board since 2008 and serves as its President.

Frederick E. Gilbert

Independent consultant focused on Africa and working in the fields of economic development planning, program management and evaluation since retiring from U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in 1994. USAID career spanned 30 years of which 22 were in African field assignments (Ghana, Nigeria, Cameroon, Tanzania, Sudan and Ivory Coast), 17 in positions of executive responsibility for large unit management and seven years as Director of two field missions (USAID Mission to Sudan, and the Regional Office for West and Central Africa in Ivory Coast) and one Washington geographic office (Sahel West Africa). After leaving USAID, served as the Director of the core staff of the USAID-funded Famine Early Warning System, 1998 – 2000. Educated at the University of Minnesota, B.A., cum laude, in 1961 (International Relations with minors in International Economics and German) and at Tufts University's Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, M.A.L.D. in 1963 and Ph.D. in 1976 (Concentrations in International and Development Economics).

The Rev. Frederick Houghton

The Rev. Frederick L. Houghton (Rick) is a retired priest of the Diocese of Eastern Michigan. He taught at St. Mary's Theological School, Odibo, Namibia and the General Theological Seminary and served congregations in New York City, the Detroit area and the Diocese of Eastern Michigan. He has a MA and an ABD in African history from Michigan State University. In 2000 he spent six weeks at Kakuma Refugee Camp in Northern Kenya teaching in the Malek Bible School and briefly visited South Sudan with Bishop Nathaniel Garang of the Diocese of Bor. His current interest is the Democratic Party.

Richard J. Jones

Richard Jones is a priest of The Episcopal Church in the United States, canonically resident in the Diocese of Southwestern Virginia. Born in in Washington, D.C. in 1943, he studied history at Oberlin College, received the M. A. from the Johns Hopkins School of International Studies and the Ph.D. in theology from the University of St. Michael’s College, Toronto. He was the founding president of American Friends of the Episcopal Church of Sudan in 2005 and has been involved in Christian-Muslim relations for 30 years. After teaching Mission & World Religions at Virginia Theological Seminary from 1988 to 2009, he taught Muslim-Christian Studies in the Washington Theological Consortium 2009-2014. He is the author of How to Talk with your Muslim Neighbor (Forward Movement Publications, 2004) and a life of Jesus for young Muslim readers entitled Jesus, Son of Mary. With his wife Christine, he lives in Alexandria, Virginia and serves as Parish Visitor at Christ Church.

Steven Miles

Steven Miles is a partner at the international law firm Baker Botts L.L.P., based in the Washington, DC office.  He serves on the firm’s Executive Committee, and as Chair of the firmwide Energy Sector Committee. His practice focuses on the energy sector in the United States and internationally, particularly in the liquefied natural gas (LNG), natural gas, electric power and renewable energy industries.  Steven was resident in Saudi Arabia from 1992-94, where he opened a law office in Jeddah.  He managed the Middle East practice for two law firms thereafter, and served as the lead outside counsel for the National U.S. Arab Chamber of Commerce for a decade.  Steven graduated with a JD degree from Cornell Law School and an MBA degree from the Cornell Graduate School of Management in 1984, and with a Bachelor of Ars degree from Union College in 1980.  Steven and his family attend St. Thomas Episcopal Church in McLean, Virginia.

Dane F. Smith, Jr.

Dane Smith is a consultant and lecturer on international peacebuilding, with a current focus on faith-inspired peacebuilding.  In 2014 and 2016 he was visiting professor at the Martin Luther King Jr. Evangelical University of Nicaragua, where he taught courses on “Christian Models of Peacebuilding.”  In 2011 and 2012 he was Senior Advisor on Darfur in the Office of the U.S. Special Envoy to Sudan. In search of a peaceful solution to the Darfur conflict in Sudan, he led the drafting of a U.S. Government strategy on Darfur and played an important support role in the negotiations in Qatar under the auspices of the UN-African Union Joint Mediation, which led to the 2011 Doha Document for Peace in Darfur.  He is a Trustee of the International Institute of Rural Reconstruction.

From 2006 through 2009 he was a Senior Associate at the Center for Strategic & International Studies, Washington D.C., where he authored U.S. Peacefare: Organizing American Peace-Building Operations (Praeger: 2010).  He was adjunct professor at American University 2005-2010, 2013, teaching courses on peacebuilding in Africa and on the peacebuilding function in the U.S. Government.  From 1999 to 2003, he served as President of the National Peace Corps Association, the alumni group for former U.S. Peace Corps Volunteers. 
 
Smith was U.S. Ambassador to Senegal 1996-99.  In 1995-96 he was Special Presidential Envoy for Liberia.  He was U.S. Ambassador to Guinea 1990-93.  He and his wife Judith served as Peace Corps Volunteers in Eritrea, then part of Ethiopia, 1963-65.  Smith earned his A.B. from Harvard College and a PhD in international relations from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.  He also studied at the Union Theological Seminary in New York.  He is a graduate of the National War College. He has been trained in Mediation Skills and Process by the Northern Virginia Mediation Service of Fairfax, Virginia.  He is a lay preacher in the United Methodist Church. He and Judy have three children and seven grandchildren.

 

Executive Director Biography

C. Richard Parkins

Richard Parkins recently completed fourteen years of service as director of Episcopal Migration Ministries - the refugee and immigration assistance and advocacy arm of The Episcopal Church. Richard has worked in the refugee field for the past 28 years, commencing his career as director of operations for the US Office of Refugee Resettlement in 1980 and serving in various capacities with non-profit resettlement agencies including Lutheran Refugee and Immigration Service and the US Conference of Catholic Bishops. From 2006-2008 Richard served as chair of the Refugee Council USA- the major U.S. coalition of refugee assistance and refugee rights organizations. In May 2008, Richard was a member of an Episcopal-Lutheran delegation to the enthronement of Archbishop Daniel Deng Bul and used that occasion to understand more fully the circumstances facing returning refugees and IDPS subsequent to the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Plan.

In 1998, Richard was a part of a church visit to the Sudan under the leadership of the late Marc Nikkel. In addition to time with Sudanese refugees in the Kakuma camp in northern Kenya, this church mission traveled extensively in the Diocese of Bor with Bishop Nathaniel Garang and Marc Nikkel. In that same year, Richard was a representative of The Episcopal Church to a roundtable of the Sudan Council of Churches where he was also hosted by the then Bishop of Renk, Bishop Daniel Deng Bul. Since his early work with Marc Nikkel, Richard has been an advocate for a more robust policy by the USG in advancing the rights and welfare of the southern Sudanese community in their struggle for justice and peace and was a part of the initial efforts to establish AFRECS.

Richard's career has included consultancy work for The Ford Foundation in India, the Asian Development Bank in Malaysia, the World Bank in Thailand, and the UNDP in Jamaica. Following his graduate training at the University of Pennsylvania, Richard taught at San Francisco State University.

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