AJ Muste Institute Staff and Board of Directors

Eric Bachman, Program Associate, International Nonviolence Training Fund, joined the Muste Institute staff in 2009. He has more than 40 years of experience in nonviolence training, organizing grassroots peace and environmental campaigns, nonprofit administration, and information technology. Eric was based in Germany from 1969 until 2005, and traveled extensively in the Balkan region from 1991 to 1998. He now lives in Vermont.

Heidi Boghosian, Executive Director, joined the Muste Institute staff in August 2014. The former executive director of the National Lawyers Guild, she writes frequently about protest and state suppression of dissent. She wrote Spying on Democracy: Government Surveillance, Corporate Power, and Public Resistance (City Lights Books 2013).

James A. Cole is a longtime educator who is currently an assistant principal and founding staff member at a New York City middle school. His background includes working as an environmental educator, science teacher, and dean of students in a variety of educational settings. He joined the A.J. Muste Institute Board in 2003.

King Downing is an attorney and founder of the Human Rights-Racial Justice Center, advocating and organizing on criminal and economic injustice, including police practices, racial profiling and mass incarceration. Most recently he ran the Mass Defense program of the National Lawyers Guild. He also directed the Healing Justice Program of the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), and is the former national coordinator of the ACLU's Campaign Against Racial Profiling. King is a contributor to the following books: Twelve Angry Men, (New Press) and Torture in the U.S., 2nd Edition, (AFSC).

Johanna Fernandez teaches 20th Century U.S. history, the history of social movements, the political economy of American cities, and African-American history at Baruch College. Founder of the Campaign to Bring Mumia Home, she is working on a book about the Young Lords. She joined the Board in 2017.

Carol Kalafatic, Chair,  has worked with indigenous peoples and small farmers since 1991, as a policy advocate on the environment, sustainability and food sovereignty. She is a consultant to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, and is a member of the Committee on World Food Security's High Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition. She was founding Coordinator of the International Indian Treaty Council's Right to Food Program, and served for several years as Associate Director of Cornell University's American Indian Program. Her research focuses on food sovereignty, bio-cultural diversity, climate change, and dynamic heritage systems. Carol joined the Board in 2000.

Ynestra King has been an activist, teacher and writer since the 1970s. She is an ecofeminist theorist, a founder of Women and Life on Earth and the feminist anti-militarist movement, as well as the Committee on Women, Population and Environment. She is currently a Visiting Scholar at the Barnard Center for Research on Women. Ynestra is at work on a memoir about living with disability. She joined the board in 2017.

Matt Meyer is Secretary-General of the International Peace Research Association (the world’s leading consortium of university-based professors, scholars, students, and community leaders). Meyer also serves as the Senior Research Scholar of the University of Massachusetts/Amherst’s Resistance Studies Initiative; the International Fellowship of Reconciliation (IFOR)'s Financial Advisory Committee; and the War Resisters' International Africa Support Coordinator. As National Chair of both the War Resisters League (1985-1990) and the Fellowship of Reconciliation (2017-2019), Meyer is second only to A.J. Muste in serving as elected leader of both historic US peace organizations. He has served on the Muste Board since 2013.

Peter Muste has been a theatre professional and arts educator for many years, and is a partner in the New York Education Network for Teachers and Artists (ENTA), which develops education-through-the-arts programs. He was a founding director of Chicago's Public Access Theatre, which brought socially relevant dramatic works to parks and other public spaces. A longtime supporter of the Muste Institute, Peter joined the Board in 2004 and served as Chair from 2006 until 2012. He has been directly involved in the Institute’s efforts to address militarism in the United States. A.J. Muste was Peter's grandfather; Peter's father was A.J.'s son John Muste, who passed away in 2002.

Nina Streich, Treasurer, has been an activist for over 30 years in disarmament, social justice and environmental movements on a local and national level.  She is executive director of the Orlando, Florida-based Global Peace Film Festival, which she started in 2003. Nina volunteers as a public relations expert and fundraiser for activist events. She specializes in film and video work, and has also served on the board of Manhattan Neighborhood Network. Nina joined the board in 2003.

Daniel Strum, Program and Operations Manager, joined the Muste Institute staff in March 2020. Daniel comes to the Muste Institute after 3 years as Database Manager at the Center for Constitutional Rights. He has been a website and Constituency Relationship Management (CRM) system developer for 15 years. He is also a in New York City based progressive political activist.

Robert T. Taylor, Secretary, is the executive director of East Harlem's Youth Action Programs and Homes/YouthBuild, which partners with out-of-school youth to help them complete their education, learn a trade, and engage in community leadership through service and activism. Robert joined the Board in 1997, bringing to it a background in youth, community development, higher education and local New York City government.

Diane Tosh, Vice Chair, is a Brooklyn based family development consultant. She began volunteering at the War Resisters League in the 1970’s and went on to a life of activism in groups and coalitions focused on social, economic and racial justice. She has served on the boards of both local and national organizations and specializes in development, marketing, and community outreach. She was acting Executive Director of the Muste Institute, 2002-2003, stayed on as a Board member until 2007, and returned to the Board in 2017.


Susan Kent Cakars joined the Muste Institute Board in 1986. She is a retired writer and editor of children's books and language arts textbooks, and was formerly a WIN Magazine editor and a War Resisters League executive committee member.

David McReynolds (1929-2018) was a pacifist and socialist who helped found the Muste Institute. He was a staff member at the War Resisters League for nearly four decades and served as Chair of War Resisters International from 1986 to 1988. He is the author of A Philosophy of Nonviolence, one of the Muste Institute's Essay Series pamphlets; a 1970 book, We Have Been Invaded by the 21st Century (out of print); and many articles. David was the Socialist Party USA candidate for President in 1980 and 2000. He also served for many years on the board of Cooper Square Mutual Housing Authority. Along with the late Barbara Deming, he was the subject of a dual 2011 biography by Martin Duberman, A Saving Remnant.