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BOARD OF DIRECTORS

ALI BETY
Ali Bety

Fulani pastoralist from birth, Ali Bety grew up in nomad camps near Diffa in Eastern Niger. Outside of school, Ali continued to help his family herd their livestock from one green pasture to another up until age 25. These pastoral roots defined Ali and guided his life path as he obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Agriculture and Veterinary sciences in Morocco, and a Master’s Degree in Agro-economical Engineering in France.

Ali has since held several leading positions in some of the largest non-governmental and governmental development agencies of Niger. From 1987 to 2001, Ali worked for the Niger Ministry of Agriculture and Pastoralism as head of the Rural Development Project for the department of Tahoua. From 2001 to 2003, he was the CARE International in Niger Coordinator for the Food Security Program of the Tahoua and Zinder Departments, and in 2004 became CARE’s head Coordinator for the Agriculture and Natural Resources Sector. Since 2004, Ali has headed the Environmental and Rural Development Program of the French Agency for Development in Niger.

Ali has been actively engaged with Amman Imman since its origins. As her boss and then mentor, Ali came to know Ariane while she was an intern for CARE in Niger. He continues to serve as guide and mentor to Ariane and Denis as they run program operations in Niger. He has assisted with everything from facilitating negotiations with contractors, refining contracts, to introducing Amman Imman staff to key government and ministry officials. As a Nigerien pastoralist, development specialist, and committed humanitarian, Ali also provides his invaluable expertise within the domains of hydraulics, agriculture, rural development and pastoral life.

JANET CORNELIUS
Janet Cornelius

Janet has lived most of her life in the Washington DC area, and currently lives on a small farm on the outskirts of the city. She grew up in a Midwestern and Polish household, where she learned skills as varied as teaching, sewing and music, and gained powerful educational and religious values. Twenty years after graduating from college and teaching English and French, Janet pursued two Masters degrees, one in theology and one in pastoral counseling. She also obtained a certificate in spiritual direction.

Janet is a recently retired ordained elder in the United Methodist Church. She was one of the main organizers and founders of an Episcopal church in Darnestown, Maryland, which is still successful twenty years later. She has also served as the president of several civic associations and her PTA.

As Amman Imman’s first and most substantial contributor, Janet has been a dedicated member of the organization since its origins. It is thanks to Janet’s initial donation that Amman Imman: Water is Life began operating in the Azawak. Amman Imman’s first borehole built in the village of Tangarwashane is named the “Janet Cornelius Borehole” in honor of Janet.

As one that has responded and acted to help the people of the Azawak, Janet now considers herself a means of connecting those in need of water with people who can and do respond. She finds this work particularly fulfilling and is determined to continue helping to make these connections and bring water to the Azawak.

Janet’s motivation to help the Azawak and be a member of the Board of Directors is based on her deeply rooted humanitarian and spiritual values. Janet brings her clarity and empathy as a great spiritual leader to the Board. She also shares her expertise through her background in education and her many years as a pastor, chaplain, counselor, and community organizer. She hopes to reach as many people as possible, particularly children, with the message that all, no matter how old or young, can give life and create long lasting change for our brothers and sisters in the Azawak.

DEBRA KAHN
Debra Kahn

Debra Kahn founded Wells of Love, the service-learning component of Amman Imman, upon meeting Ariane Kirtley in October, 2006. Deeply moved by Ariane’s plea to save the lives of the people of the Azawak by bringing them water, Debbie’s own life took a new direction. She began uniting Montessori schools after Ariane presented Amman Imman at a Montessori conference where many schools made commitments to be part of the project. Writing blog posts that shared stories between the schools, conducting weekly conferences calls, organizing collaborative fundraising campaigns such as A Walk for Water, and using social networking tools such as YouTube and Facebook, Debbie led the growth of the school’s movement from 10 schools in 2006 to over 50 schools in the Spring of 2009. Debbie traveled to the Azawak with the Amman Imman team in February 2009, conducting a “Friendship Exchange” that connected over 200 children in America with their African brothers and sisters. It was then that Debbie made the decision to follow her passion to provide an opportunity for students to bring real change to the world as compassionate philanthropists. She left her position as associate director of the Oneness-Family School and began working as Amman Imman Associate Director and Wells of Love Program Director full-time.

Debbie contributes 17 years of educational and administrative experience to Amman Imman: Water is Life and the Wells of Love program. A skilled educator and communicator through her former work as teacher and associate director, Debbie brings expertise in organizational management, systems thinking, leadership skills and employee supervision. Debbie is also a writer, poet and big picture thinker. Through the Wells of Love program, Debbie embraces possibility and implements practical action, providing a venue for students around the world to engage in grassroots activism that changes lives.

Debbie enjoys following her passion and initiating change. She received her Montessori teaching certification in 1992, after working as a computer programmer in the biotech and banking industries for 14 years. In 2007, she earned her B.A. in Education from Goddard College in Plainfield, Vermont.

ARIANE ALZHARA KIRTLEY
Ariane Alzhara Kirtley

Ariane, joined by her husband, Denis and sons, Fassely and Soriya, as well as other fabulously committed family and friends, has devoted her life to improving the living conditions of the Azawak Valley of Niger. She founded Amman Imman: Water is Life in February 2006 to bring life giving water to her brothers and sisters in the Azawak.

Ariane's name mirrors her roots, planted firmly on three continents: Kirtley, the American born; Ariane, the daughter of a French mother; and Alzhara, "desert flower" in Arabic, signalling that she blossomed in Africa, the continent she loves above all others. Ariane crossed the Sahara Desert for the first time when she was six months old -- in a basket tied to the back seat of her family's Land-Cruiser. From those earliest months until she turned ten, her home was in North and West Africa, including the country of Niger.

A 2001 graduate of Yale University, in 2004 she also earned her Masters in Public Health from Yale. In summer of 2003, she returned to Niger to intern for CARE International on a public health initiative which culminated in her Master's thesis on the subject for Yale. In May of 2004 Ariane was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to return to Niger in order to research the special health needs of women and minority indigenous populations in the Sahel.

As a Fulbright Scholar, Ariane travelled to the pastoral region of the Azawak, Niger's most remote and unknown region. In the Azawak, Ariane discovered the human face of climate change: people literally dying of thirst because of their inability to adapt to a rapidly changing climate. These were the most generous and dignified, as well as the most vulnerable populations of her travels throughout West Africa. She had never before witnessed an area with so few resources and infrastructure, where individuals live on the brink of disaster on a daily basis due to circumstances beyond their control. Most importantly, she had never seen half a million people in such distress receiving so little assistance from the rest of the world.

She rapidly grew to love and consider her new found Touareg and Fulani friends of the Azawak as family. Thanks to the tremendous encouragement of her family and friends, as well as the initial financial contribution of Reverend Janet Cornelius, Ariane founded Amman Imman:Water is Life for the children of the Azawak.

JOYCE METZ
Joyce Metz

Joyce grew up in Connecticut and has lived in the Connecticut shoreline area for over 25 years. Joyce has worked in the travel industry ever since she earned her degree at the Business Program Travel Institute in 1974. She has also extensive training in marketing and business.

A successful businesswoman and entrepreneur, Joyce opened her own travel business in 1981, naming it Preferred Travel. She still runs this business today, offering her clients specialty cruises across the globe, for which she serves as both designer and guide.

Joyce has held both a philanthropic and compassionate spirit for the world’s most vulnerable throughout her life and long business career. She was a foster mother to over 43 teenagers during the course of 8 years, as well as served on the Board of Child & Family Services. Upon traveling through Nepal and Tibet, she has “adopted” a family there and has sponsored 2 Tibetan sisters to relocate from Nepal to the US.

Joyce has been an active member and supporter of Amman Imman: Water is Life ever since program activities began in 2006. She has done everything from organizing fundraising events to offering her plane travel miles so that Amman Imman staff could travel for free. Joyce has continuously demonstrated her undying dedication and commitment to the children of the Azawak. As a member of the Amman Imman: Water is Life Board of Directors, she offers her marketing and business expertise, as well as her perseverance to help raise money and awareness for some of the most vulnerable populations on earth.

MARTY SHEEHAN
Marty Sheehan

Marty is a broadcast executive and marketing professional with over 25 years of experience in television, radio and print marketing. His career has included management positions with several well known media companies, including Director of AM Stations, Clear Channel Radio; and Vice President Sales & Marketing, ESPN Radio, among others. Presently, he is the Station Manager for 1050AM Air America Washington, an Air America Media owned & operated station in Washington, D.C. A graduate of Boston College, Marty is also very active in community work in Maryland and D.C.

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LATEST NEWS:

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Amman Imman
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HIGHLIGHTS:

10 Years of A Walk for Wate

10 Years
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HIGHLIGHTS

JEJ Moore MS Students Walk for Water

JEJ Moore
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HIGHLIGHTS:

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Students Fight
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WELLS OF LOVE

Amman Imman Annocunces New Borehole Completion in Couloubade, Niger

Ariane's Update:
Thank you
Wells of Love Students,
Teachers and Parents!

IN THE PUBLIC EYE

Lisa Wexler Interviews Ariane Kirtley

WFAS Radio Personality
Lisa Wexler Interviews
Ariane Kirtley

STORIES FROM THE AZAWAK

Ariane's Accounts from
her Initial Sojourn into
the Remote Azawak.



BOOKS & PRESS

Ariane Kirtley is
Changing Lives:
AI Founder Featured
in Major New Book.


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