About PEAC Institute

PEAC stands for Peace, Education, Art, Communication. The PEAC Institute is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) public charity (tax ID# 81-1779826) incorporated in New Jersey. We are focusing on international travel as one of our main ways to promote peace culture. We believe international travel has a life-long impact on young people. It deepens self-knowledge and enhances their interface with the world around them. Travel, especially international travel, broadens the traveler’s perspective dramatically. At PEAC, we believe that all students, especially those in low-income areas deserve this broadening. We look for participants who have big dreams but lack the essential resources to make them come true.


The PEAC team includes:


Rebecca Irby, Founding Partner & President

RebeccaIrby.jpgRebecca is a Founding Partner and Director of PEAC Institute.  Over the last ten years, Rebecca has worked as an education and technology consultant on diversity and cultural awareness initiatives with the NJ Department of Education, Rutgers University, the National Liberty Museum, Nagoya University and many others. Rebecca also sits on an advisory board working on incorporating social skills into the core program of schools in the United States. She recently completed a cross-cultural communications textbook for the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry. Additionally, she created a business English communication curricula for some of the world’s largest organizations such as the Red Cross, Toyota, and Mitsubishi among others. When Rebecca is not consulting on education initiatives she works on social documentaries and charity events. She produced and debuted her first film ‘That Day’, the story of a Hiroshima bombing survivor, on August 6, 2013. For her last charity event in March 2015 she organized and rode in a 500km bike and run through the areas affected by the tsunami of 2011. She is currently working as the Dean of Special Education for BRICK Peshine Academy in Newark, NJ.


Steve Leeper, Founding Partner & Vice President 

SteveLeeper.jpgSteve is a Founding Partner & the Outreach Director of PEAC Institute. Steve has spent about half of his 67 years in Japan. He has a master’s degree in clinical psychology and has worked as a family counselor (10 years), management consultant (14 years), translator (30 years to present) and peace activist (16 years). He believes until he encounters facts to the contrary, that he has translated, edited, or interpreted more A-bomb survivor stories than anyone in the world except his wife. He began working for Mayors for Peace in 2002, which led to his appointment in 2007 as chairman of the Hiroshima Peace Culture Foundation. He stepped down in 2013 and currently is visiting professor at Hiroshima Jogakuin University, Nagasaki University, the Kyoto University of Art and Design and Omikyodaisha Gakuen (high school). His publications include Hiroshima Resolution (bilingual) and Nihon ga Sekai wo Suku(Japanese).


Maurice Elias, Trustee

 MauriceElias.jpgMaurice J. Elias is Professor, Psychology Department, Rutgers University and Director, Rutgers Social-Emotional and Character Development Lab (www.secdlab.org). He has received the Sanford McDonnell Award for Lifetime Achievement in Character Education and the Joseph E. Zins Memorial Senior Scholar Award for Social-Emotional Learning from the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL). Books include Emotionally Intelligent Parenting, The Educator’s Guide to Emotional Intelligence and Academic Achievement: Social-Emotional Learning in the Classroom, Talking Treasure: Stories to Help Build Emotional Intelligence and Resilience in Young Children (www.researchpress.com), Schools of Social-Emotional Competence and Character (www.nprinc.com), The Other Side of the Report Card (how schools and districts can integrate SECD systematically into their ongoing student report cards--Corwin), Urban Dreams: Stories of Hope, Character, and Resilience, and forthcoming, The Joys & Oys of Parenting (Behrman House). He writes a blog on Social-Emotional and Character Development (SECD) at (www.edutopia.org).


Gary Laurie, Esq., Trustee

GaryLaurie.jpgGary is an attorney located in Clifton, NJ. His practice focuses on business and contract law, corporate governance, intellectual property, and entertainment law. The majority of his clients work in the entertainment industries including film, music, television, print publishing, websites and mobile apps, visual arts, art galleries, graphic design, restaurants and other edible entertainment.
He is a Past Chair and current Board Member of the Entertainment Arts and Sports Law Section of the New Jersey State Bar Association, and a member of the American Bar Association and the New York State Bar Association. He is a frequent lecturer and teaches courses in contract, business and entertainment law at Montclair State University, as well as Music Business Law at New Jersey City University


Juliet Sutherland, Trustee


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