Dr. James E. Jennings, Founder and President

For much of the last three decades, based on a belief that acting on conscience is central to our humanity, Dr. James Jennings has responded to wars and natural disasters throughout the world and worked to improve health care and food delivery, shelter, and refugee aid in some of the neediest and most hazardous places on earth. 

He has worked throughout the greater Middle East for more than 40 years, first as an archaeologist conducting excavations and surveys in Egypt, Palestine, and Iraq, and later teaching Middle Eastern history and archaeology at four universities.  He studied at Chicago’s famed Oriental Institute and holds degrees from Wheaton College and the University of Illinois where he earned his PhD in history.  He has been a guest lecturer at some 30 universities and taught the first course on Islamic Civilization at the American Islamic College in Chicago.

He has appeared on CNN, NBC, FOX, AND PBS and has been interviewed by many other TV and Press organizations around the world for his knowledge of the Middle East and for commentary on current headline issues wherever Conscience International sends teams.

Beginning during the siege of Beirut in 1982, and especially after Conscience International was founded in 1991, Dr. Jennings has organized and led delivery of medical aid and helped staff medical clinics following wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Sudan, and Gaza, among other places.  He has led rapid emergency response teams to numerous countries in the wake of natural disasters, including Pakistan, Turkey, Iran, India, Haiti, Peru, Indonesia, and elsewhere.

Dr. Jennings has also organized and led major US Academics for Peace conferences in Iran, Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, and Sudan, meeting for dialogue at leading universities throughout the Muslim world. He has also dialogued with political and religious leaders, including presidents, prime ministers, foreign ministers and heads of parliament. US Academics for Peace is a division of Conscience International.  It engages in peacemaking efforts in regions of conflict, particularly in the Middle East. 

Dr. Jennings was nominated for the King Hussein Humanitarian Prize and has received awards from Russia, China, Lithuania, South Africa, Iraq and Sudan.  In 2013 he received the University of Illinois Alumni Humanitarian Award. He continues to advocate for greater understanding of other cultures and increased humanitarian involvement in the developing world.   

Read more about his global work and experiences on our Happening Now pages.

Carol Carman—Corporate Administrator

In addition to daily responsibilities as Conscience International Corporate Administrator, Carol Carman also serves as Director of Communications and Donor Relations. Her career as both a journalist and a marketing executive has spanned the globe, taking her to more than 37 countries throughout the Americas, Europe, Africa, and the Far East.

She has written for the Miami Herald, the Miami News, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, Fairchild Publications and held the position of editor-in-chief of the leading technical business publication in its field, producing American, Asia, African, and Spanish-language editions.  She has contributed to numerous consumer and city magazines in addition to writing for business publications in Europe and the Far East.

In Chicago, she launched an international marketing research and advertising firm serving Fortune 500 clients, small business corporations, and international trade shows.   

In 2006 she became a Conscience International volunteer and joined the Atlanta-based organization in 2014 as Director of Communications, later adding Donor Relations and Executive Assistant to the President to her duties.  In 2018 she was named to the Conscience International Board of Directors, where she serves as Board Secretary

She has been a team leader/point person for programs in Paris, France, Berlin, Germany, and Beirut, Lebanon.

A native of Ohio, Carol is a graduate of the University of Miami, Florida with a degree in journalism and Spanish, and completed a post-graduate year in French at The Sorbonne, Paris, France.   She is currently finalizing the biography of a former Vietnamese Bonze Buddhist Monk, told from the other side of the Vietnam War.

 

Kurt Giebel—Financial Officer

Kurt Giebel has been with Conscience International since late 2010, initially serving as a consultant providing accounting and tax services in an advisory role. He joined the staff as Comptroller in 2013 taking a more active role in financial and programs support.

He holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Accounting from Eastern Kentucky University, and has a range of experience in corporate and manufacturing/process accounting for a variety of large and small companies, including startup organizations, providing finance, accounting and tax support to turn operating results into profitable operations.

He has introduced budgeting and financial reporting processes to help manage program expenses within budgeted levels as well as working to continue the effective and efficient utilization of donor contributions to accomplish the overall goals of Conscience International. He serves on the Board of Directors as Treasurer.

Dr. Gail Anderson, Medical Program Director

Gail Anderson, MD, MBA, has served as the chief medical officer at two major US public teaching hospitals-Grady Memorial in Atlanta and Harbor-UCLA in Los Angeles. He has served as Associate Dean of the Emory University and UCLA schools of medicine and has twice served as interim Chief Medical Officer for the Department of Health Services for the County of Los Angeles. He has degrees from Dartmouth College, the University of Southern California, and Emory University.

Dr. Anderson has been a member of the Board of Directors of the American College of Emergency Physicians and an examiner for the American Board of Emergency Medicine. Following medical school rotations in New Zealand and Australia, he developed a strong interest in international medical care. He has participated on relief teams to disasters in Mexico, Armenia, Turkey, and Pakistan, served as a hospital emergency physician in Saudi Arabia, and lectured at Alexandria University in Egypt.

A member of the Medical Advisor Committee for the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, he served as Grady's spokesman regarding the care of the bombing victims in Centennial Park. During the 1990's he helped to coordinate a hospital to hospital partnership between Emory and Grady and the Republic of Georgia in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. As Medical Director for Conscience International, he has participated in medical relief projects in Turkey, Pakistan, and Nigeria.

Dr. Theodore (Ted) Belanger, Surgical Program Director for Ethiopia

Dr. Ted Belanger, MD, is an orthopaedic surgeon specializing in spine, scoliosis and complex deformity surgery at the Texas Back Institute in Rockwall, TX.  Since 2010 he has led Conscience International’s medical teams on annual life-changing visits to Ethiopia where he and his group of doctors, nurses, and medical assistants perform corrective spinal surgeries free of charge to indigent young people who could never afford such procedures themselves.

He has successfully completed more than 120 such surgeries in Ethiopia, helping the hopeless to “stand tall” and lead productive lives--fulfilling his personal life goal to offer his specialized skills during crisis situations and to address the most difficult spinal issues. 

Dr. Belanger has been awarded numerous honors, including being named 2018 Medical Missions.org Physician of the Year by LocumTenens.com.  He holds a BS with Honors degree in biochemistry from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a Doctor of Medicine degree from the University of Wisconsin Medical School.  He completed his orthopaedic surgery residency at Michigan State University and a Spine Surgery Fellowship at Case Western Reserve University.

Dr. Belanger and his wife, Toni, (a medical assistant) work year-round recruiting volunteers, fundraising to keep the program going, and over-seeing the annual trip where some 20 or more team members complete as many as 30 surgeries over a two to three week period, working up to 12- hour days.  Read more about their experiences on our Happening Now pages and at www.givestraightbacks.com

Richard Sarker-- Program Director, Southeast Asia

Richard Sarker has extensive experience in administering aid and development programs in the Asia-Pacific region. From 1976-1985 he served as a field officer for the UNDP / World Food Program in Bangladesh. Earlier he served for three years as senior office manager for the Ford Foundation.

From 1985-1993 he was program administrator/Director for Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) in Bangladesh. From 2008-2010 he was the Regional Representative for Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) Global Mission for Southeast Asia with responsibility for monitoring and evaluation of Health, Education and Community development programs.  He was based in Chennai, India, and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.  Richard has extensive training in management, community development and emergency relief operation from UNDP/WFP, ELCA and World Vision.

He holds a BA degree from Dhaka University, Bangladesh, and has an MBA from London International College, UK.  Richard speaks his native Bengali and is conversant in Hindi and Urdu. He has travelled to more than thirty countries throughout Asia, Europe, the Americas, and Australia. He and his wife reside in Pennsylvania, USA.   

Matthew Coley—Program Director, Prosthesis & Rehabilitation

Matthew Coley works with war refugees in Iraq and Turkey, and with the disabled in Guatemala, partnering with other organizations to set up clinics to provide quality prosthesis devices, wheel chairs and walkers, and offer rehabilitation services free of charge to both children and adults. He joined Conscience International in 2017 and was appointed to launch and direct the organization’s new Prosthesis & Rehabilitation program.

Prior to joining Conscience International, Matthew had served eight years as a U.S. Navy Hospital Corpsman working in critical and emergent care. Following his military service he transitioned into the civilian sector, working in musculoskeletal tissue recovery and processing and earning a position in research and development while working in the field.

While working at the emergency field hospital in Mosul, Iraq, Matthew observed an eight- month- old infant girl who had lost both legs due to the battle with ISIS.  It was there that he felt compelled to do more to help meet the many needs of the innocently disabled. It was also there that he met Conscience International President Dr. James E. Jennings, who offered him the opportunity to launch the prosthesis and rehabilitation program.

Matthew holds a BS degree in psychology with a minor in business, as well as a MBA from Babson College, Wellesley, Massachusetts. Read more about his Prosthesis & Rehabilitation programs on our Happening Now pages.

Baker Hill—Program Director for West Africa

Baker Hill has spent most of his life in Africa where he grew up.  He has spent many years teaching, administering, leading and facilitating strategy groups, and creating community development programs.  Since joining Conscience International in 2018 he has focused on income-producing programs for women in Nigeria.

One of his first programs was to introduce a grist mill project that brings together widowed groups of women and give them free, low-tech machines to grind grains and build an income-producing business for themselves by selling products to others. To date, 90 machines have been delivered to these groups, mainly women who were made widows by the Boko Haram terrorist army.

Baker is a graduate of Carson-Newman College in Tennessee and holds two Masters Degrees. He also studied French in Tours, France and speaks fluently.  A native of Fort Worth, Texas, Baker and his wife, Gail, have lived in Burkina Faso, Republic of Mali, Republic of Niger, Mauritania, Republic of Benin, Nigeria, and Montreal, Quebec, Canada.  They currently reside in Georgia, USA.  Read more about his work in West Africa on our Happening Now pages.