BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Treasurer and Board member
Bruce Barrett is an active peacemaker. He graduated from Carnegie-Mellon University in 1985 with a B.S. in Applied History and Industrial Management. After graduation, Bruce spent one year teaching English and running a youth group at Saint James Episcopal Church in Punta Arenas, Chile. With his mission work completed, he returned home to help build Barrett Outdoor Communications Inc - the family billboard business.
In 2006, Bruce created IWagePeace.Org and began branding active peacemaking as a patriotic act of faith by juxtaposing the words “IWagePeace” over the American flag on various of his company billboard locations. That same year he received the Living Waters Award from the Connecticut Conference of the United Church of Christ for working with youth and promoting peace and diversity. In 2009, Bruce directed, edited, and produced his first film, The Billboard from Bethlehem, chronicling the peace work of the Israeli/Palestinian non-violent group Combatants For Peace (CFP), while organizing the first “Painting for Peace” among Israeli and Palestinian youth in the West Bank. The film won four documentary film awards, including the Mondavi Award for Peace and Cultural Understanding at the Napa Sonoma Film Festival.
In 2010, Bruce created the IWagePeace Walk, where members of area mosques, synagogues, and churches walk and support one another as peacemakers. In 2011, Bruce sponsored the CFP USA speaking tour. He has, with IWagePeace.Org sponsored four additional “Painting for Peace” projects, two in New Haven and two with Jerusalem Peacebuilders in Brattleboro, VT. In 2017 Bruce, his brother John, and childhood friend and Brewmaster Jeff Browning opened in Bridgeport the largest Brewpub in CT, The Brewport Brewing Company. Bruce is treasurer and musical director of his local church, he also serves on the Board of Directors of the National Religious Campaign against Torture in Washington DC.
Dr. Danna Kurtin
Danna Kurtin is the Associate Vice President of Academic & VISA Administration at MD Anderson Cancer Center. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing from the University of Mary-Hardin-Baylor in Belton, Texas, Legal Assistant degree from Southwest Texas State University in San Marcos, a Masters of Public Health with a focus in Health Services Research, and a PhD in Management and Policy from the University of Texas, School of Public Health – Houston.
Dr. Kurtin has had over 35 years of healthcare experience in various capacities and acquired experience in management, information systems management, data management, legal research, and outcomes research. She has worked in for-profit hospitals, non-profit academic institutions, public health clinics, and in the legal environment. In her current role, she is responsible for providing leadership and oversees activities for appointing all academic appointments at MD Anderson through Faculty Academic Affairs and VISA areas. These areas perform faculty human resources and visa transactions. Her role is developing the strategic vision for the scope, direction, objectives and processes of these areas. She is also responsible for fostering relationships with executive leadership and members from applicable units across the institution to ensure efficient and effective system-wide processes. It also includes interaction with national, state and federal agencies, regulatory bodies and professional organizations on faculty and visa issues.
Dr. Kurtin is also an active member of Palmer Memorial Episcopal Church in Houston, Texas. During her time at Palmer she has served on the Vestry, worked with the children of Palmer through teaching Sunday School, Vacation Bible School and assisting with the youth ministry, organized blood drives and participated in post hurricane mission trips to New Orleans post Katrina and Galveston post Ike. Currently, she is the Volunteer Coordinator for Jerusalem Peacebuilders for the Houston Camps since 2017. Dr. Kurtin is the Chair of the Executive Committee for the Diocese of Jerusalem on a project bringing cancer care to their hospital, Al Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza City, Gaza.
Philip Kensinger is the son of co-founder Stuart Kensinger and his wife Angie. Philip has spent a great portion of his life growing up around JPB. A visit to the Holy Lands following his senior year of high school inspired in him a similar passion for the Middle East as his father, and he pursued that in his studies at Washington and Lee University, graduating with majors in Business and Global Politics. While there, he conducted research projects on the importance of education in the Middle East peace process, along with improving American policy towards Gaza. Philip has served as a photographer for JPB’s Houston programming in the past, and currently resides in his hometown of Houston, TX.
Amer was born in the West Bank during the time of the Six Day's War of 1967, and grew up in rural Jordan and abroad. His father was a career diplomat serving as the Ambassador of Jordan from 1973 to 1992 in Syria, Germany, Scandinavia, Tunisia, Malta, United Kingdom, Ireland and Egypt. Fluent in Arabic, he is well-informed of ongoing international matters, particularly developments in the Middle East. He has been a guest commentator on MSNBC.com regarding the Middle East and the global political situation. Coming from a family that believes in open dialogue, two of his children have attended the “Seeds of Peace” camp program in Maine. He holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in Business Administration from George Washington University.
Rabbi Steven Gross
Rabbi Steve Gross was ordained in 1996 as a rabbi from Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati, Ohio where he also received a Masters of Hebrew Letters. He has served the Houston Jewish community ever since his ordination and is currently the rabbi at Houston Congregation for Reform Judaism.
Rabbi Gross sees every religious endeavor as an opportunity to promote community and establish an intimate relationship with God, and he commits a major part of his religious mission to building tolerance and understanding between and among faith communities throughout the city. He is a founding member of T.R.U.T.H. (Travels Revealing Understanding – Trust – Hope), which is dedicated to recruiting and engaging faith leaders from all religious backgrounds to build relationships of understanding and trust through shared experiences of travel and immersion. He is an active participant in the Anti-Defamation League’s Coalition for Mutual Respect and works closely with the Interfaith Ministries of Greater Houston on a wide variety of projects which seek to strengthen relationships between faith communities.
Rabbi Gross believes that the pursuit of peace and justice is a central component to the expression of one’s faith and has nurtured a sense of collective responsibility within the community he leads. He is also active in the development and programming of JPB's Houston-based summer institutes and the Interfaith Youth Houston program.
Rabbi Steve grew up in La Jolla, California and received a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from the University of California, San Diego and a Masters Degree in Educational Technology from San Diego State University. He is married to Beckye and has 4 children named Elliot, Lily, Simon and Aiden.