Malaika Board of Directors, Ambassadors and Council Members

student at graduation

A Bhutanese student graduating from the University of Nebraska at Kearney.

Douglas Christensen
Dr. Douglas Christensen
Chairman of the Board

Dr. Douglas Christensen, Chairman of the Malaika Foundation Board of Directors, 30 year Nebraska teaching career, Nebraska Superintendent of the Year, 1990, Emeritus Commissioner of Education, Head State Team Coach in advising State Agencies in implementation of the new Common Core State Standards, Professor of Practice in Education Leadership, Doane College. Extensive research and publications, including Curriculum Planning, High Performance Learning and Schools for our Future. He was graduated from the Midland Lutheran College, B.A.) and an M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Nancy Becker
Dr. Nancy Becker
Vice President

Thirty-two year educational career as teacher, and administer in elementary, middle and highs schools. Opened Lincoln’s newest high school, Lincoln North Star, which is the second largest high school in Lincoln with a 45% poverty rate and where 35 different languages are spoken. Dr. Becker works with the Food Bank’s Student Hunger Drive, and Interim Director for Children, Youth and Families at First Plymouth Congregational Church. After graduating from Crete High, she was graduated from the University of Nebraska Lincoln, B.S. in Education, ME and Certificate in Administration and a Ph.D. in Administration, Curriculum and Instruction

Larry Johnson
Larry Johnson
Former Assistant Secretary-General, Office of the Secretary-General, United Nations

Larry D. Johnson is the former Assistant Secretary-General for Legal Affairs (Deputy Legal Counsel), United Nations. Mr. Johnson formerly served as the Legal Adviser of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and Chef de Cabinet, Office of the President of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. He is the longest serving senior American in the United Nations. He is currently teaching a seminar on “Law and Practice of the United Nations” at Columbia Law School, as well as at the Vienna Diplomatic Academy. A graduate of the University of Nebraska, Harvard Law School and the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, Mr. Johnson is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a Counselor of the American Society of International Law.

Natalie Hahn
Dr. Natalie D. Hahn
Founder and President

Dr. Hahn worked with United Nations programs for nearly 40 years, primarily in Africa. Her work involved introducing new food crops and nutrition with the Institute for International Agriculture in Nigeria, women and finance with the International Fund for Agricultural Development, youth initiatives with the Food and Agriculture Organization, UNICEF Representative to Malawi and Senior Private Sector Advisor at the United Nations Fund for International Partnerships.

For her work in Africa, she received two honorary chieftaincy titles, in Malawi and Nigeria. She was graduated from the University of Nebraska, B.A., The Ohio State University, M.A. and Harvard University, Kennedy School of Government, MPA, and The College of Education, Ed. D. In order to give back to her home state, she founded the Malaika Foundation with a mission to globalize Nebraska education. She is a native of Polk and now resides in Central City and New York City.

Mark Theisen
Mark D. Theisen
Omaha, Nebraska

Mark is General Counsel at Greater Omaha Packing Company, Omaha. Formerly Vice President, Finance and Treasure, Woodmen’s Board of Directors and Chairman of the Board of Woodmen Financial Services and President of Woodmen’s Foundation. Mark is a member of the Nebraska Bar Association and was a Fellow of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers. He is past president of the Labor & Employment Law Section of the Nebraska Bar Association and past President of the Insurance Federation of Nebraska and the Nebraska Fraternal Congress.

Active in the Boy Scouts of America, he is a member of the Mid-America Council Board of Trustees and was inducted into the Soaring Eagle Hall of Fame for Lifetime Achievement. Mark has also served on the Advisory Boards of the Salvation Army, Red Cross Heartland Chapter, Nebraska Chamber of Commerce, Citizens Flag Alliance, Omaha Symphony Association, Creighton University Medical Center, the University of Nebraska at Omaha College of Business Administration, the Mount Michael Benedictine School, the Malaika Foundation and on the Consultation Committee of U.S. STRATCOM (the United States Strategic Command). In addition, Mark is a member of the Omaha (Downtown) Rotary Club and the UNO EMBA Alumni Board of Directors.

A native of Osmond, Nebraska, Mark graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Nebraska/Lincoln in 1973, received his Juris Doctor degree from Creighton University in 1976 and his EMBA from the University of Nebraska/Omaha in 2003.

Dean Jacobs
Dean Jacobs
Fremont, Nebraska

A global explorer and traveler, Dean Jacobs has traversed across the globe exploring over 50 countries on a low budget adventure, propelled by a desire to understand the world we share.

He is Malaika’s most popular speaker and has inspired educators and students throughout Nebraska. Dean states, “I want to inform, educate and inspire kids — to teach them to be engaged in the world instead of afraid of it”.

Born on a farm, Dean is from Fremont, Nebraska. He was graduated from Wayne State College earning a degree in Biology, with minors in Earth Science and Art. After graduating he worked in the administration of Wayne State College as the Assistant to the President before moving on to Purina Mills. And he also worked with Pfizer Pharmaceuticals for 10 years in marketing and sales. He left the corporate world to pursue his dream of a global traveling adventure.

His book, Wondrous Creatures - Explore a World of Animals from A to Z, is a favorite for children and is available as an iBook. His book, Wondrous Journey, described his adventures to better understand the world and portrays his 22 ½ month journey with 190 pages of stories and 140 of his magnificent photographs. More information from www.deanjacobs.org

Malaika Board of Directors, Ambassadors and Council Members

Malaika Foundation Board of Directors

Dr. Douglas Christensen, Chairman of the Board
Lincoln, Nebraska

Dr. Nancy Becker
Lincoln, Nebraska

Dr. Natalie D. Hahn, President and CEO
Central City, Nebraska

Mr. R. Brad Harse
Lincoln, Nebraska

Ms. Laura Hille
New York, New York

Mr. Dean Jacobs
Fremont, Nebraska

Mr. Larry Johnson
New York, New York

Ms. Kelli King
Lincoln, Nebraska

Dr. Marjorie Kostelnik
Lincoln, Nebraska

Ms. Katrin Kuhlmann
Washington, D.C.

Ms. Ann Masters
Lincoln, Nebraska

Ms. Marilyn Pierpont
Central City, Nebraska

Ms. Karen Stevens
Polk, Nebraska

Mr. Mark Theisen
Omaha, Nebraska

Dr. Elizabath MacLeod Walls
Lincoln, Nebraska

Ambassadors for Global Education

Dr. Douglas D. Christensen, Chair
Lincoln, Nebraska

Dr. Nancy Biggs
Lincoln, Nebraska

Dr. Beverly Curry
Central City, Nebraska

Mr. Jerald Fox
Kearney, Nebraska

Dr. Matthew Mims
Kearney, Nebraska

Mr. Harris Payne
Lincoln, Nebraska

Dr. Sheila Ryan
Omaha, Nebraska

Ms. Vicki Scow
Lincoln, Nebraska

Mr. Larry Starr
Lincoln, Nebraska

Council Members/Advisors

Ms. Beverly Austin
Lincoln, Nebraska

Ms. Joyce Baird
Lincoln, Nebraska

Ms. Barbara Bartle
Lincoln, Nebraska

Mr. Ron Hull
Lincoln, Nebraska

Ms. Elaine Miller
Hardy, Nebraska

Ms. Susan Seacrest
Lincoln, Nebraska