Areté Youth is proud to have a distinguished and experienced Board of Directors and Advisors that provide guidance and organizational recommendations to the management team.
Brian Murray / Executive Director U.S.
Brian Murray, who was a Peace Corps volunteer in Bulgaria from June 2002 to August 2005, founded Arete Youth Foundation to provide a platform of support for high school Roma students seeking to maximize their educational potential. Since its humble beginnings, the Roma leadership camps have grown into a series of programs that support mentorship and the creation of role models for future generations.
Brian seeks to utilize his business and non-profit background as a bridge between the public and private sector. As a serial-entrepreneur, Brian has launched technology, media and real estate companies. He seeks to utilize this background to provide strategic guidance to the organization while simulatenously ensuring a working environment that embraces new ideas and failure as a means to find success.
Brian is currently living in New York City and is a Principal at Shift Capital.
Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Jodi Stewart-Miteva / Executive Director Bulgaria
Jodi Stewart-Miteva served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Bulgaria from 1999-2003. In four years, she taught over 1,000 individuals in the areas of English and computer technologies. Outside of the classroom, she launched various community initiatives that helped raise awareness of AIDS, human trafficking, women’s issues, and orphanage conditions throughout the country. In 2001, she began her work with the Roma by collaborating with other volunteers and leaders in the Roma community. Together they created motivational camps that helped children learn more about their culture, heritage and history. The camps allowed Roma youth to explore how they could help their communities and find effective voices in Bulgaria’s emerging democracy. In 2003, Jodi helped to expand the camps and allow more children to participate. As a result, the camp was replicated in three cities in Bulgaria. It was an honor and privilege for her to be a part of something so special and unique. Some of Jodi’s most memorable and rewarding experiences during her service include her work with the Roma community. There was no other organization or group that she had worked with that empowered, motivated and had as much of a positive impact on Roma youth the way these camps did.
The creation of Arete has ensured the sustainability of these worthwhile camps that have inspired and mobilized so many communities and individuals. Roma are one of the most marginalized groups in Bulgarian society and Arete gives them hope. It allows Roma to realize their potential and provides deserving individuals the opportunity for a higher education.
Jodi currently works as a Director of IT&Marketing for a nonprofit civic education organization in Washington, D.C. You can contact her at email@example.com
A former reporter and editor, Dave Elmstrom joined the Peace Corps with his wife Mary Blake and served from 2002-2004 in Nova Zagora, Bulgaria. There, Dave served as a Community Economic Development Specialist, helping work on community development projects in the municipal government, libraries, orphanages and schools, including the town’s school for Roma kids. Dave particularly worked on projects that helped bring technology to the schools and libraries in town, and worked on several large-scale grant programs from the British Embassy and Rotary International, among others. Upon returning to the States, Dave utilized some of the experience gained in Bulgaria to transition into a fundraising position, currently serving as Assistant Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota. He also recently completed his Master of Business Administration, and spent three years as a small business owner, successfully turning around and selling a once-struggling franchised restaurant. He lives in St. Paul with his wife Mary and two kids, and can be seen on the occasional free weekend chasing a little white ball around a golf course, or trying to run and bike like he is still in his 20s. Bulgarian wine (and even a little rakia) can nearly always be found in his wine “cellar.”
Dave indicated that the opportunity to serve on the Board of Directors of the Arete Youth Foundation is not just an opportunity to utilize his background in communications, fundraising and financial management to help meet the organization’s mission. It is also a fantastic opportunity to reconnect with his service in Bulgaria by working to help the country and its people develop and thrive. And Bulgaria will never be able to truly thrive unless it can work to help create opportunities for all of its citizens, including the marginalized Roma minority. I look forward to helping Arete build on the excellent Roma youth development work it has already implemented.
George Eli started his career in documentary film after graduating from the New York film Academy in 1999. He went on to produce several films including the critically acclaimed documentary film ”When the Road Bends” directed by Jasmine Dellal. He then went on to produce his own film which documented his personal journey to discover the origins and traditions of his inexpressible culture, that of the Romani people. The resulting film “Searching for the 4th Nail” was released in 2010 and won several awards including the Best Filmmaker award at the Connecticut Film Festival. It is also highly respected by George’s own people; the American Romani Community and has become the catalyst for his recent Initiative.
Recently George has consulted and casted The FYI TV documentary series “Arranged.” He founded The Romani Media Initiative in 2012, a nonprofit with the expressed goal of creating and building positive media role models for the Romani community in order to build a more prosperous and integrated future for the Romani community.
Nikolay Dinev is currently pursuing a doctorate in Finance at the Vienna Graduate School of Finance. He received his MBA from the Yale School of Management in 2010 and his BA in Mathematics and Economics from Macalester College in 2006. He is also a CFA Charterholder.
Nikolay brings rich international academic and practical experience, predominantly in finance and strategy. He was employed as a Consultant at the Boston Consulting Group from 2010 to 2013 and as an Investment Banking Analyst at Bank of America from 2006 to 2008.
For Nikolay, joining the Board of Directors of the Areté Youth Foundation is a wonderful opportunity to give back to Bulgarian society and apply his aforementioned experience in finance and strategy for a noble cause. In particular, this is a chance for Nikolay to help to empower those members of Bulgarian society who have historically been given the least chances to succeed—the Roma community.
Nikolay currently lives in Vienna, Austria where he is actively involved with the local Yale Club and CFA Society. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org