Americans – Gail & Tony Dimitroff
Members of the New Group of World Servers
The Service Work of Modern Day Disciples
There are many hundreds of thousands of people of goodwill in the world, who are inspired to help humanity according to how they feel in their hearts. The Soul expresses its force through the heart, and it unfailingly draws people to where they can serve most usefully and practically for the greater good. Tony and Gail Dimitroff who live in La Mesa in the greater San Diego region, are two such incredible people – although they would not claim this for themselves. They have dedicated their lives to service and serve quietly and steadily in their own particular areas.
THE HANSEN FOUNDATION.
Tony Dimitroff has a background in law, and is the trustee of the Hansen Foundation, a private foundation which supports various peace-making efforts around the world. Fred J. Hansen came to the United States from Denmark at the age of ten and was among those who developed the first major avocado orchards in the San Diego region. He cared deeply about the well being of humanity, and was convinced that if adversary nations could be encouraged to work together on projects of mutual benefit, this activity could help heal their differences. Mr. Hansen designated a portion of his estate to support this conviction – the Hansen Foundation.
The Hansen Institute for World Peace
The institute was established by San Diego State University Research Foundation through grants from the Hansen Foundation. Over the years the money provided to the Hansen Institute has been used as “seed money” to develop important programs which have resulted in more than $52 million dollars in Agency for International Development (AID). International conferences and workshops sponsored by the Hansen Institute bring together scientists and technical experts from countries in conflict. Collaborative work is identified during these meetings, implementation funding is identified and proposals are prepared. These conferences serve as launching pads for larger scale programs. Seven Middle East programs were born out of such conferences involving hundreds of scientists who had not previously worked together. The largest programs have involved Egypt, Israel, Morocco, the Palestinian Authority, and Jordan. However, many other countries in the Middle East and South Asia have participated in Hansen Institute funded conferences, workshops and research studies. http://www.hanseninstitute.sdsu.edu/
The institute and The Peres Center for Peace (based in Tel Aviv) have launched a project pooling the knowledge of agricultural and water experts from Israel, the United States, Egypt, Jordon, Morocco, Palestine, Greece, Turkey, Italy, Macedonia and Switzerland. Their common interest is to improve the best practices for producing fresh and healthy Middle Eastern crops as olives, dates, almonds, grapes, tomatoes and potatoes. This requires excellent seed stock, proper soil cultivation, appropriate measures for plant protection and efficient water use. Once harvested, crops need to be moved to market in a timely fashion. Improved marketing and product innovations are key components of this project and to develop marketing techniques and new product market entry possibilities. Tony and Gail attended a conference in Tel Aviv recently to look over progress of the program, and Tony said he was pleased with where Fred J. Hansen's money was going. He saw not only how well this program has been received by Israelis, Palestinians, Jordanians, Egyptians and Moroccans, but also how it fits into the overall campaign of the Peres Peace Center to provide Israelis and Arabs with positive people-to-people experiences.
After taking over the trust in 2000, Tony decided to expand the Foundation’s investments into three other projects.
1. The “Women Peacemakers” program
The program brings four women from areas in conflict, to the San Diego State University campus for stays of two months, providing them with apartments to live in and professional writers to help them write their autobiographies. The women interact with each other, well as with scholars at the Institute. (Ed: Women Peacemakers ae featured in the exoteric workers file).
This program has special meaning to Gail, an alumna of the University of San Diego (USD) and daughter of fundraiser Alfred Henderson who was tapped by Bishop Charles Buddy to raise funds to match a grant from a French order of nuns known as the Society of the Sacred Heart for construction of what originally was called the San Diego College for Women.
Gail started on “the path” at the age of seven at St Ferdinand’s Parish Church in Chicago where the beauty of the basilica-like church and the structure of the Baltimore catechism held her focus.
Later, in the turmoil of the 60’s she learned meditation, joined the Vedanta Society and shortly hereafter found the Bailey material and Djwhal Khul (The Tibetan Master). The blue books provided the meta-paradigm for all that had previously drawn her and she incorporates the Ancient Wisdom into the mundane work.
As a business consultant in the field of continual process improvement Gail taught, published and lectured in North and South America.
Gail considers herself to be a spiritual peacemaker and holds group meetings at her home in La Mesa at the time of the Full Moon for world peace.
She is an active participant in AAUW, VOW, and a graduate of LEAD Sand Diego. She was one of the first students at the San Diego College for Women, now USD. There at the Joan Croc Institute for Peace and Justice, Gail and her husband Tony are deeply involved with the Women Peace Maker’s Program. Tony heads up the Hansen Foundation for World Peace and Global understanding. This work allows them to support specific programs related to the topics of Peace and Justice. The University has just opened its doors for the School for Peace Studies and she and Tony will be working within that structure to further the peaceful development of Humanity.
Gail’s interest in Cosmology, Astrology and Esotericism has peaked since her college days and she now teaches a class in Esoteric Astrology. She also leads a group in “The Soul and its Mechanism.”
2. The Fred J. Hansen professorship in world peace
This program provides funds for the Fred J. Hansen professorship in world peace activities at San Diego State University, a position held by political scientist Dipak Gupta.
3. The Hansen Summer Institute
The other program at San Diego State brings approximately 20 students from conflict areas together for three weeks during the summer. Along with 10 American students, they live in an SDSU dormitory, attend workshops in conflict resolution, mediation, and identity formation; go on field trips to such venues as the U.S.-Mexico border and to a “boot camp” for delinquent youngsters, and participate in guided discussions about the conflicts in their areas. Gail said such people to people programs can have their successes and their failures. One success she recalled at USD was the friendship that developed between a woman from Serbia and another from Croatia, a friendship transcending the political and ethnic troubles between their two nations. On the other hand, said Tony Dimtroff, a Russian student and a student from Chechnya were very unhappy with each other after being assigned as roommates.
[Extracts are from article by Donald Harrison: http://www.hanseninstitute.sdsu.edu/WorldPeaceAdvocates.pdf]