Marianne Schmink, Director.

Since 1980, Marianne has developed interdisciplinary research and training programs that integrate social science and natural science perspectives to address conservation and development issues with a focus on the Amazon region. Her research and teaching has focused on gender and development issues. She has carried out research in the Brazilian Amazon region for the past 25 years, has published numerous books and articles, and has been widely recognized for her work. She is a Professor at the University of Florida in the Center for Latin American Studies.


Toran Hansen, Director.

Toran has a background in social work and conflict resolution. He started his carrier as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Guinea, West Africa and as Program Director for the Fraser Youth Supervision Program in British Columbia, Canada, where he grew up. In 2013 he published the book The Generalist Approach to Conflict Resolution, intended to provide a way for conflict resolution and peace studies scholar-practitioners to help diverse parties address complex conflicts at various levels (personal to international). His scholarly interests include: restorative justice, social justice, social movements, social networks, and social capital. He is an Assistant Professor at Salisbury University.


Elena Bastidas, Director, President & Founder

Elena's research and scholarship journey has been motivated by a deep desire to transform the way learning, research and development initiatives are conducted for the benefit of communities in Latin America. Her work has focused on understanding and applying the principles for promoting peace and conflict resolution in sustainable development projects at the local, national and international level. Her areas of expertise include Farming Systems Research and Extension, gender analysis, peace building processes and environmental conflict. She is an Associate Professor at Nova Southeastern University. Click here for more info.



Gwendolyn Smith, Executive director.

Gwendolyn has a background in natural resource management and conflict resolution. Her work has centered on understanding the conflicts that emerge between local communities and the more powerful organizations when they are together engaged in development projects. She feeds her 15 year experience into scientific research for the development of practical models and tools. Her areas of expertise include participation and engagement, environmental conflict and social conflict in climate change. Click here for more info.

POF's work is supported by a team of volunteers with specialization in different fields: conflict resolution, social science and business.