The Gender and Development Committee (GAD) is a worldwide Peace Corps working group that focuses on issues of gender equality and women’s empowerment that are relevant in the volunteer’s work context. The GAD Morocco committee consists of peer-elected representatives. The committee meets three times each year to facilitate regional GAD initiatives, to organize Peace Corps-wide thematic activities, and to motivate and educate volunteers through training and outreach efforts.
Leslie Grueber | Chair
More about Leslie
Hi there! My name is Leslie Grueber. The place I currently call home is a small village in the ‘Valley of Roses’ in southeastern Morocco. I’m from the Midwest United States – having grown up in Michigan, but more recently living my pre-Peace Corps life in Chicago, Illinois.
I hold a Bachelor’s degree in Finance & Management Information Systems, and I spent three years working in Business Strategy Consulting before joining Peace Corps. Spending my academic and professional career thus far in male-dominated spaces has driven me to develop a passion for promoting gender equity. I aspire to work towards improving access to opportunity – particularly that of economic independence – on the part of women, trans, and non-binary individuals. I couldn’t be more excited to be a part of GAD and help support gender-related work in Morocco.
Amara Wilson | Vice-Chair
More about Amara
Hello, I’m Amara! I’m currently serving in a large town in the middle of the Atlas Mountains, in the middle of Morocco. I grew up in San Francisco, California but before coming to Morocco also called Denver and Seattle home. I hold a Bachelor’s degree in Peace and Conflict Studies and Religion. After graduating college I worked in tech for a few years, where I saw day to day the effects of gender misrepresentation in a professional work environment.
Growing up I was involved in everything from team sports to girls empowerment organizations. Through these activities, I have met and been raised by a diversity of women and men who have worked with me throughout my life to teach me how to navigate and explore the world through different lenses and identities. I am excited to work with GAD to develop and provide resources and new ideas on how to support and explore gender and identity work here in Morocco. I have seen the power of collaboration in action and I am excited to see what we can do by working with one another!
Maddie Baker | Coordinating Officer
More about Maddie
Hi! My name is Maddie, or Maria to many of my Moroccan friends. I am from a small town north of Seattle called Snohomish, WA. I’m currently living in the Errachidia area of Morocco.
I graduated from the University of San Diego with a Bachelor’s in International Relations, and a very active minor in Leadership Studies. During my studies, I interned with the Women’s Equity Council of the United Nations Association San Diego Chapter. With this affiliation and our consultative status through UNESCO, I was afforded the opportunity to attend the 60th Commission on the Status of Women at the UN in New York City, cementing my passion to work for gender equity globally.
My work prior to Peace Corps was as a Corps Member working in an underserved middle school through City Year in the South Bronx of New York. My greatest passion is in access to quality education, with specific attention to marginalized groups. I am excited to fuel these passions further in service as a member of the GAD committee!
Caroline Hayes | Media Officer
More about Caroline
Hello! My name is Caroline. I’m from a small town in the woods of New Hampshire, now serving in a small city in southeast Morocco at the opening of the Sahara.
I received my Bachelor’s with a double-major in Women, Gender, and Sexuality, and International Studies, concentrating on the Middle East, with a minor in Arabic Language. Before coming to the Maghreb, I worked at a nonprofit in Washington, DC that assists women leaders from over 140 countries create change in their communities through building skills in strategic planning, business, advocacy, and communications.
A lifelong dreamer and forever on the hunt for some transformative social theory, I find myself constantly looking at the world through a socially-analytical lens, contemplating the steps necessary to eliminate gender-based oppression. My hope is that GAD can provide resources, outreach, and networks to enable PCVs and Moroccans to play an increasingly larger role in the global movement for gender equity.
Katie Bercegeay | Representative
More about Katie
Greetings! I’m Katie Bercegeay, originally from the Cajun heartland in south Louisiana by way of central Virginia. I’m now serving in a small, charming mountain town an hour from Fes.
I have a Bachelor’s degree in English as well as a Master’s in International Studies with a concentration on humanitarianism. Prior to Peace Corps, I worked in stateside refugee resettlement coordinating volunteers, donations, and external relations. I also have experience teaching English to international students at the pre-university level.
For much of my life, I have been inspired by women and men alike who have done incredible GAD work in both large-scale and everyday capacities. Now as a member of the Peace Corps Morocco GAD committee, I am constantly inspired by the GAD work being done by my fellow PCVs and Moroccan counterparts, friends, and students.
Young Kwon | Representative
More about Young
Hello! My name is Young! I live and serve in an oasis town in eastern Morocco. I recently graduated from the University of Missouri with B.J. in strategic communication and B.A. in international peace studies. Through working with various marginalized communities throughout my college years, I have learned to constantly challenge my thoughts and beliefs.
As a Korean American woman who grew up both in the states and in Korea, exploring gender dynamics in different spaces and women’s empowerment have been a big part of my own identity development. That is why I am excited to be a member of GAD committee.
Abbie Olson | Representative
More about Abbie
Hello! I’m Abbie, and I currently hang my hat in a small northwestern community outside of Larache. I received a bachelor’s in Biology in 2016, and found myself working a series of odd jobs until the start of my Peace Corps service (think: anything from lifeguarding and tutoring, to breeding fruit flies for a genetics lab). I’m a first generation college graduate, and a strong advocate for women in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics)—a part of me that I strive to meld into my service on a daily basis. With the help of the GAD team, I hope to develop toolkits that will make STEM opportunities more accessible for all Moroccan youth—especially marginalized groups like girls and Amazigh peoples—and I’m eager to see what we can accomplish together.
Kelly Parliament | Representative
More about Kelly
Hey! I am Kelly Parliament and I live in a small Amazigh village in the High Atlas Mountains. I am a Michigander from the Detroit area, but I spent my last four years in the States living in Ohio.
I graduated in 2015 with a Bachelor’s in International Studies with a specific focus on the Middle East and Western Europe. I studied abroad in the West Bank and Rabat, Morocco before working in state government.
While I lived in Michigan, I was active at a community center that worked with Iraqi refugees and Yemeni immigrants. In my Peace Corps town, I teach and attend classes at a local women’s association. I am very excited to work alongside Moroccans and other PCVs to promote literacy, health, and lifelong learning with the GAD Committee. I hope to be able to make GAD materials more accessible to monolingual Tamazight-speaking women.
Said Ousaka | Staff Liaison