Board of Directors
Brett Rosen, Executive Director
Brett Rosen is the co-founder and Executive Director of the Bodhi Tree Educational Foundation. Brett brings over 24 years of business leadership experience to the foundation. For over fourteen years he has helped to develop schools and learning centers in under-served areas of India. A student of H.H. The Gyalwang Karmapa, Orgyen Trinley Dorje, Brett spent twelve years of service at Karma Triyana Dharmachakra, The Karmapa’s main seat in North America, a Tibetan Buddhist Monastery located near Woodstock, NY.
Over the last three decades Brett has spent enough time in India to develop a respectful knowledge of the land, its people. Through the Bodhi Tree Educational Foundation, Brett integrates the skills he has acquired through a lifetime of business experience with his knowledge of educational, economic and sustainable community development in India.
Brett offers to the Bodhi Tree Educational Foundation a vision for developing scalable solutions to educational challenges in India. Focusing on long-term goals, fund-raising, public speaking, and social media utilization, Brett has learned how to recognize and nurture the positive qualities of communities to implement effective strategies for helping people to help themselves. He specializes in creating organizational teams that thrive on creative action and value the rewards of growing human potential to its fullest expression.
Dwariko Sundarani one of the co-founders of the Bodhi Tree Educational Foundation is the last living student of Mahatma Gandhi and he carries the Gandhian tradition with him to this modern day. Sundarani is also regarded as an ardent follower and heir to the wisdom of Vinoba Bhave – whom Gandhi choose in 1940 to be the first Individual Satyagrahi (an Individual standing up for Truth instead of a collective action) during a time of important transformation for the country of India.
He is one of the founders of Samanvay Ashram, which has a rich inception to translate the ideal of Gandhi and Vinoba's vision. His ashram has hosted personalities like J. Nehru, Martin Luther King Jr. II, His Holiness the Dalai Lama and many founding leaders of freedom movements.
Dwariko initiated a yearly program of free public Eye Surgery, hosted near Bodhgaya, every Oct./Nov. for the past 20 years. This camp provides free surgery to thousands of people every year. The eye operation camp, under his constructive advice, is regarded as one of the biggest medical camps in India. Over 300,000 people in india have received free eye surgery because of Dwariko' efforts.
Dwariko Sundarani is the recipient of the renowned Jammunalal Bajaj Award for his outstanding contribution to uplifting the most vulnerable, deprived and down-trodden in the communities of Bihar. He has been Secretary, Executive Member and Trustee of various National and International voluntary agencies. He enjoys tremendous goodwill for translating non-violence into action through love and compassion. He has visited some of the world's most famous universities, representing Gandhi's strategies for global peace.
Dwariko Sundarani lives compassion and does not preach it. His Bagha Ashram has worked on alternative curriculums and Gandhian education for many years. Education through life, for life and of life has been the mission of his visionary and revolutionary approach; Sundarani’s work is a vital contribution and inspiration to the Bodhi Tree Educational Foundation.
As a co-founder of the Bodhi Tree Educational Foundation Thomas brings over 30 year of business leadership to the foundation. With graduate degrees in Agricultural Science and Education he was the Senior Executive for the Irish Farming Development Organization. In charge of implementing long term strategies that brought sustainable benefit to the country of Ireland and its people.
Thomas has a passion for helping people reach their highest potential; he was an 8 time winner of the prestigious World Master Rowing Championships, and has been the recipient of numerous awards for outstanding achievements in community and business development.
Thomas embraces and teaches a conscious business model of community development. The philosophy of a conscious business organization is to be aware of the effects of its actions, and to consciously affect human beings and the environment in a beneficial way. Thomas has been working with impoverished communities in India for several years. Educating communities on economic development in their agricultural, farming and manufacturing practices, teaching villages how to replenish their land environmentally so that future generations will benefit economically and build upon a solid sustainable foundation.
Dhirendra Sharma is the acting Project Director for the Foundation. He brings unfailing energy and inspiration for the children in the Bodhi Tree schools and their families living in the villages. Over the last several years, Dhirendra has developed a network of income-generating programs in the community such as industrial training, vocational education and technology transfer programs. His efforts have always been directed toward equipping youth with life-sustainable skillfulness. He is the Director of the Institute for Industrial Training, established under the National Council for Vocational Training, Labor Resource Department and government of India. This institution imparts training in engineering trades of the vocational streams.
He has founded an organization called Common Weal which is acting as a platform for engaging the people from various walks of life across the world, and especially within India. This organization is also working to foster a bridge between India and rest of world. As the Director of Software Solution Inc., he delivers cost effective curriculum in the Informational Technology sector to urban and rural youth. Sharma runs several communication centers for local youth, enabling them to master communication skills and other important skills needed to keep up with the advancing "changes" affecting a post-modern globalized world.
Marcia brings over 35 years of business experience to the Foundation. She was founder of a highly successful public relations firm in charge of developing nationwide programs and community outreach for several top organizations including; The New York County Medical Society, Medic Alert Foundation, American Academy of Family Physicians and the Nature Conservancy.
As a published author, prominent speaker and prolific women's business writer, Marcia has given thousands of women the tools they need to achieve greater success. She has appeared on ABC television and has been interviewed by The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, and The Wall Street Journal, as well as numerous national business and professional publications.
Marcia has received many awards for her outstanding community service, and her dedication to helping women in business. She was chosen as the New York Women’s Network’s 20th annual “Woman of the Year.” Marcia brings tremendous passion and a lifetime of experience helping women succeed in their journey to economic freedom and self-reliance. She has taught women how to cope with obstacles, and move beyond them, in order to achieve their personal dreams and ambitions.
Dr. Kathleen Jenks, Ph.D.
Dr. Kathleen Jenks specializes in cross-cultural mythology, earth-based spiritual traditions, psycho-spiritual aesthetics, and healing modes related to sacred ritual. After receiving her 1992 doctorate from the Religious Studies Department at the University of California, Santa Barbara, she taught for nine years in the Mythological Studies Program at Pacifica Graduate Institute in southern California.
Now a resident of SW Michigan, she teaches World Religions at Lake Michigan College and Life Journey courses at Grand Valley State University. She also serves as a scholar-advisor to the Bodhi Tree Educational Foundation as well as other progressive think-tanks dedicated to re-forging the links between art and spirit, earth and society.
Dr. Jenks is an award winning author as well as a researcher and consultant. Her Green World Oracle, based on sacred trees and plants from around the world, was published in 2013. Her previously published works include three novels and various academic papers and essays found in Psychological Perspectives, Journal of Regression Therapy, and Musicworks Society of Ontario.
Mr. Vinay Tiwari is an innovator in the field of low-cost housing, zero energy building materials and township development in India. He has been awarded the Vishveshwaraiya Award for his cost-effective vision of developing a vibrant, hygienic township. He is among those fortunate architects who have worked under the kind supervision and in the gracious company of the highly respected Laurence Wilfred Baker.
His cost effective designs have been adopted by numerous the prestigious governmental and semi-governmental organizations in India and around the world (eg UNICEF, Bihar Education Project).
He is also known for various integrated social initiatives. His model Ashram Vihar Housing Design is regarded as a very cost-effective building, enabling the rural and urban poor to dream of majestic housing scenarios. The Sambodhi Retreat Resort in Bodhgaya is a prime example of his indigenous resource utilization.
Dr. Azmad Khan
Dr. Khan has served as the national vice-president and regional Chair of the India Adult Education Association. He is Secretary of the Bodhgaya Interfaith Peace Forum, which builds the bridge of harmony between religions. The forum has cross representation of the people of various organizations. His Holiness The Dalai Lama attends meetings of the Forum during his Bodhgaya stays. He is also Vice President of PUCL (People's Union for Civil Liberties), which is an organization for social advocacy and empowerment.
Dr. Khan brings over four decades of experience and integrity developing and directing community and higher educational programs for children and adults. With unparalleled expertise and a life time working in education, and peace studies. His acclaimed research and study on various societal phases of education has helped bring positive change to many of the underserved communities in rural India.
Melynda brings enthusiasm and a diverse background to the Foundation. Over 20 years of experience in the field of natural health care has been integrated with both business and philanthropic projects over the past two decades. As co-founder and owner of several holistic health-based companies, and an accomplished writer, Melynda has many years of experience in educational and health-based project development.
As a trained childbirth educator, and both a Labor Support and Post-Partum Doula, Melynda has a special interest in pregnancy, birth and neo-natal/post-partum health. After 15 years of experience in this field, this is an area in which she takes a very hands-on role in the Foundation’s Women/Child Health Programs - working directly with the women of the villages to improve maternal and neo-natal outcomes, while still respecting traditional birthing processes.
Melynda is actively involved in the development of new Foundation projects, and particularly enjoys interacting with the local population to ensure that all developing programs are responsive to their real needs and wishes. A strong belief in the capability of every person to learn and succeed in their own way underwrites all her work, and she supports the participants of the Foundation’s projects in their ultimate goal of self-sufficiency.