Hasnaa Mokhtar


Executive Director

Hasnaa is pursuing a Ph.D. in International Development at Clark University at the department of International Development, Community, and Environment. Born in Tucson, AZ and raised in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, Hasnaa dedicated her research, journalism, and activism to amplify the voices of Muslim women and tackle the injustices of religio-cultural gender-based violence.

She is a certified counselor to survivors and provides legal and medical advocacy. Hasnaa worked as a journalist in Arab News, and her articles appeared in several publications including Fortune, Teen Vogue,, and

As a Public Relations Manager, Hasnaa spearheaded the campaign “A Woman’s Journey: Destination Mount Everest” in 2012 where she trekked to Everest basecamp with a group of 10 women to raise awareness about breast cancer. In March 2017, Hasnaa worked with the team of to organize the first official Muslim Women’s Day. recognized her writings and activism by naming her a Muslim journalist to follow. You can read her work at

Claire Schaeffer-Duffy

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Claire is the former Chair of the Board of Directors for the Center and has been part of the organization almost since its inception. She earned her bachelors in Social and Political Thought at the University of Virginia and is a 2013 graduate of the Fletcher Summer Institute for the Advanced Study of Nonviolent Conflict at Tufts University. She and husband Scott are co-founding members of the SS. Francis and Therese Catholic Worker, a lay community that has worked for peace and justice and offered hospitality to Worcester's homeless for more than thirty years.  The Schaeffer-Duffys have participated in numerous local and international peace campaigns and are the recipients of the Paulist Center's  2007 Isaac Hecker Award for Social Justice.

A free-lance journalist, Claire has reported from various conflict zones including Bosnia, Afghanistan, Haiti, Burundi and the Middle East and received awards for her writing.  Her travels have allowed her to observe first-hand war’s devastation as well as the courage of many global peacemakers. These experiences, along with a reverence for children and their future compel her commitment to peace-building. 

Dan Margolis

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Dan joined CNVS in 2016. He has a bachelor's degree in Political Science from Brooklyn College of the City University of New York, and he is currently pursuing a Master’s of Science in Nonprofit Management at Northeastern University. Dan was most recently the program director of a youth mentoring program sponsored by the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts, and prior to that was an assistant editor at Oxford University Press, where he helped to create online and in-print resources on African American, African, Islamic, and Biblical studies. He has previously worked as a program director and as a journalist, including as a correspondent at the United Nations. Dan has been part of the movement for a more peaceful world for more than 20 years, including participating early on in the movement to stop the U.S. war in Iraq.

Dan grew up in Worcester, where he attended North High School. After spending years away working in New York, Detroit, Miami, and elsewhere, he is glad to have returned to his hometown. 

Eileen Lawter

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Eileen is a native New Yorker.  Born into a military family, she first moved at the age of three and a half months old.  This pattern has continued throughout her life, interrupted with spots of stability, staying in one place for years at a time.  Both ways of living have provided interesting experiences and perspective.  Eileen's higher learning comes mostly from the School of Hard Knocks, and she remains a dedicated student for life.  She has worked as an artist, a baker/cake decorator, a writer, amongst other things.  She also occasionally works as a cook at a local Trappist abbey.

It was her conservative Navy father who once told her that he knew of no military person that was for war.  She was even joined in New York City by her parents along with a million others in June 1982 for the March and Rally for Peace and Disarmament.  Her Dad showed up wearing a huge peace symbol belt buckle. Her Mom has been a happy participant and supporter working for peace and justice throughout Eileen's life.

She has spent some time in religious life and has been a member of the Catholic Worker movement since the 1980's, as an artist and a member of houses in New York, Massachusetts, and the Netherlands.  That involvement has brought her into contact with many prayerful and peacemaking activities. Having moved to Worcester in the Spring of 2015, she lives in community with friends.  She is very happy to have joined such a wonderful organization. 


Elena Novak 

Communications Coordinator

Elena is a first-year graduate student at Clark University studying International Development. Prior to moving to Worcester, she spent her undergraduate years at Florida State University working for an organization dedicated to civil discourse called The Village Square and dabbling in journalism both at FSU and in Raleigh, North Carolina. After graduating, she spent two years in Spain teaching English. She’s very excited to combine her skills in education and communications to promote the Center’s mission.