Board Officers And Members Announced For GAIA Nonprofit And Signature Initiative Gandhi Global Center For Peace

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Co-Founder Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson Arun Gandhi and Board Chair Terry Olsen announce board officers and members for the newly formed global nonprofit organization GAIA (Global Action Initiatives Alliance) and signature initiative Gandhi Global Center for Peace.

GAIA Board Officers Bios:

Co-Founder Arun Gandhi (Rochester, N.Y.) is the fifth grandson of India’s legendary leader, Mohandas K. “Mahatma” Gandhi. He shares his grandfather’s lessons all around the world. For the past five years, he has participated in the Renaissance Weekend deliberations with President Clinton and other well-respected Rhodes Scholars.

He has spoken globally in Croatia, France, Ireland, Holland, Lithuania, Nicaragua, China, Scotland and Japan. Also, he is a very popular speaker on college campuses. In the past year, he spoke at, North Dakota State University, Concordia College, Baker University, Morehouse College, Marquette University, and the University of San Diego. He worked for 30 years as a journalist for The Times of India. Together, Arun and his late wife Sunanda started projects for the social and economic uplifting of the oppressed using constructive programs, the backbone of Gandhi’s philosophy of nonviolence. The programs changed the lives of more than half a million people in over 300 villages and they still continue to grow. He is the author of several books including “Legacy of Love,” “The Forgotten Woman: The Untold Story of Kastur,” and his most recent book is “Grandfather Gandhi,” published by Simon & Schuster.

Board Chair Terry Olsen (Chattanooga) is an International Law and Immigration Attorney at Olsen Law Firm. Olsen is an alumnus of William and Mary Law School, Southern Illinois University, and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. Mr. Olsen has been actively working to position Chattanooga as a global city. He has served as chairman of the World Trade Society of Chattanooga and on the board for the British American Business Group as well as leading trade delegations to Taiwan and China and most recently developing cultural exchange programs between local colleges and universities and programs in Taiwan.

Board Treasurer Perry Sherrell (Chattanooga) is a Certified Public Accountant at Shelley and Sherrell P.C. Mr. Sherrell has over 30 years of working experience with non-profits, consulting, and tax preparation. He has served as audit and tax manager at several firms and spent years consulting and auditing Community Health Centers and other non-profits.

Board Secretary Melissa Turner (Chattanooga) is a journalist and contributing writer and serves as executive editor of Gandhi’s Be Magazine. Ms.Turner is an alumnus of Southern Adventist University where she double-majored in English and Journalism and she has also completed some graduate work in writing and rhetoric at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. She has covered national and international events, highlights include The Visit of His Holiness the Dalai Lama at Emory University in 2010 and 2013, the 9/11 Unity Walk in Washington, D.C., the Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting and Social Good Summit in New York City, touring Sean Penn’s JP/HRO in Haiti and meeting with Haitian First Lady Sophia Martelly, and covering the travels and speaking engagements of Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson, Arun Gandhi, including the Gandhi Legacy Tour in India.

GAIA Board Member's Bios:

Dr. Lisa Clark Diller (Chattanooga) is a historian and graduate of University of Chicago. She teaches on the early modern world at Southern Adventist University.  She researches and writes on religious minorities and the development of modern liberal democracy. In addition to seventeenth century religion and politics, she enjoys being active in the city of Chattanooga through serving as an officer in the Glenwood Neighborhood Association, volunteering at Calvin Donaldson Environmental Science Academy, and being part of the Women Ground Breakers initiative. She is also on the board of the Adventist Peace Fellowship, her church’s international organization to promote non-violent justice and social change. Because she believes that global experience can radically benefit local efforts, Ms. Diller also travels throughout the world participating in workshops and teaching on justice, peace, and the history of early modern politics and religion.

Tom Eddy (Chattanooga) is a Certified Financial Planner at UBS. Mr. Eddy graduated from the University of Tennessee and holds a Accredited Investment Fiduciary designation. He joined UBS after a successful career in the wireless communications industry, where he served in several executive management positions and played a key role with the start-up and turn-around of several regional and national wireless providers. He and his team at UBS manage an Equity and a Fixed Income portfolio. Plansponsor & Planadvisor magazine recently recognized Mr. Eddy as one of the Top 100 retirement plan advisors in the country. In addition, he works with the NFL Players Association as an NFLPA Advisor. He currently serves on the Dean’s Advisory Board at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga College of Business.

Michael Goode (Kennesaw, Ga.) is an attorney specializing in tax, business, and estate planning and he is licensed to practice in both Tennessee and Georgia. Mr. Goode received his JD from The College of William and Mary, and his LL.M. in Taxation from New York University. He has successfully represented an estate client before the Supreme Court of Georgia in a case that caused a shift in Georgia law regarding the interpretation of Wills. He has become a trusted advisor for taxation issues for governmental agencies and large and small companies. He represented a school district before the IRS under the Voluntary Correction Program and successfully resolved its pension plan operational failures without penalty to the school district. He has also written pension legislation under Georgia law for a large county school district. He has worked diligently to establish a practice that serves small to mid-market businesses with their increasingly international needs with a dynamic and comprehensive practice. From serving as the business attorney for a mid-sized Asian company purchasing its first United States factory, to assisting a European executive with his foreign account reporting issues and negotiations with the IRS, to assisting a client to coordinate with attorneys in Asia to resolve complex corporate issues, Mr. Goode has helped business and individuals resolve many difficult issues.

Keenon McCloy (Memphis, Tn.) is the director of the Memphis Public Library and Information Center.  Ms. McCloy is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley and Rhodes College Institute for Executive Leadership. Ms. McCloy is responsible for the operations of the Library system that includes 18 locations and 300 full and part-time staff, and serves approximately 3 million customers. It has a circulation of 1.7 million materials, including magazines, books, eBooks, audio books, CDs and DVDs, and is the only library in the country with 24/7 radio and television stations as well as a LINC/2-1-1 call center, which handles approximately 45,000 telephone inquiries annually. She also has oversight for the Job/LINC bus, a mobile career center which provides information about job training, openings and search strategies. The library branches together present over 2000 programs each year from story times for all ages, musical programs, English as a Second Language (ESL), foreign films, and author-book signing events, to name a few. All programs and events are free and open to the public. Ms. McCloy came to the Library in 2008 after serving as the Director of the City of Memphis Division of Public Services and Neighborhoods and Deputy Director of the same Division. In addition to her work at the Library, Ms. McCloy has served on the Board of Memphis Regional Planned Parenthood, National Conference for Community Justice and M. K. Gandhi Institute for Non Violence.

Paul Turner (Washington, D.C.) is a conflict prevention, mitigation, and response expert working with the U.S. Department of State and Creative Associates International. Mr. Turner studied at the University of Tennessee and received a Masters in Peace and Conflict Studies granted jointly by the European University Centre for Peace Studies and Universitat Jaume I and a graduate diploma in Mediation and Negotiation from University of Erasmus. He shaped the development of the U.S. government’s Interagency Conflict Assessment Framework as well as ICAF 2.0, which includes tools to support the framework. While serving at the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations, he deployed to work in conflict-affected countries within every region. During his career, Mr. Turner has led teams to advance stability or foster economic development in more than 20 countries as well as encouraged proactive conflict prevention and international development initiatives from Washington, D.C. supporting another 40 countries. He is the youngest recipient of Rotary International’s Paul Harris Award for community outreach in Africa. He is a dynamic speaker and trainer with more than 450 live, televised, and radio audiences and is published in periodicals and journals. 

Dr. Robert Kirk Walker, Jr. (Chattanooga) is a native of Chattanooga. After graduating from UNC-Chapel Hill, he began his 42-year career in education as a teacher in Nashville. Along the way, he received his master and doctorate degrees from Peabody College, Vanderbilt University. In addition to teaching students ranging from sixth grade through graduate school, he has served as headmaster of four independent schools. He was recently appointed as the executive director/president of the Southern Association of Independent Schools.

Co-Founder and CEO Missy Crutchfield (Chattanooga) is co-founder of the Gandhi Global Center for Peace, a signature initiative of GAIA, with Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson, Arun Gandhi. Crutchfield also serves as editor-in-chief of Gandhi’s Be Magazine. She has held leadership positions in government, education, and the media. She is also founder and author of "Sisters Speak Out"--a three-act play and workshop series addressing issues around domestic violence, and means of prevention. She has been actively engaged on the global stage, conducting workshops and participating in speaking engagements on human rights at international events including the Rabaa International Sit-in in Istanbul, Turkey and a video message at the Democracy, Human Rights in Egypt, and the Bloodshed in Gaza Forum at The Carter Center in Atlanta, Ga. Most recently, she has spoken at Free Egypt forums at University of Bridgeport, Ct, in front of Fox News and Times Square in New York City, the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., the Landmark Loew's Jersey Theatre in Jersey City, NJ, and the Center for Near Eastern Studies at UC Berkeley.


Recently, Arun Gandhi visited Chattanooga to meet with Board Members of the newly formed global nonprofit organization GAIA and discuss the strategic plan for the Gandhi Global Center for Peace.

Co-founders, Arun Gandhi and GAIA CEO Missy Crutchfield shared an initial vision for the Gandhi Global Center for Peace during his "Gandhi Visits Chattanooga" social justice tour in 2012, which was modeled after the Gandhi Legacy Tour which spotlights nonviolence and social justice work inspired by Gandhi in India today.

The Gandhi Global Center for Peace will serve as a global hub for education and community building furthering Mahatma Gandhi’s philosophy of nonviolence and peace. Key priorities will be connecting global organizations committed to nonviolence and peace through an online leadership think tank, online webinars and Tweet chats, conflict resolution training for schools and community centers, and an annual Global Peace Summit.

Through education and community building, the Gandhi Global Center for Peace seeks to connect the global movements working for freedom, democracy, human rights, and social justice, essentially becoming the go-to portal for nonviolent and social media-driven movements around the world—from the #FreeGaza movement in Palestine to the #R4BIA movement in Egypt to the Umbrella Revolution in Hong Kong to the Mockingjay movement in Thailand, to name a few.

GAIA is committed to a local-global approach. In the past two years, GAIA has quietly incubated in Chattanooga with three strategic local partnerships—McCallie School (featuring a Gandhi Visit and Boyz Inc. Summer Leadership Camp), Alton Park Development Corporation (featuring a Gandhi Visit and programming support), and Washington Alternative School (featuring a Gandhi Visit and “Be The Change Day” programming).

For more information about Gandhi Visits, the Gandhi Global Center for Peace, and GAIA, contact: Missy Crutchfield at

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