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Our Members

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Founder - Michael William-Paul

UMP is the brainchild of Director and Photographer Michael William-Paul. After a brief stint working at the European Union in Belgium in mid 2001, Michael was recruited as a senior media consultant, official photographer and press liaison within the United Nations. He has since then devoted his professional career since then consulting on, producing, and developing media related information with an emphasis on South -South Cooperation, North-South Cooperation and support for sustainable development and capacity building in underdeveloped regions. In addition to the recording of world leaders he also has photographed many of the most recognizable women political and celebrity figures of our time including: President Sirleaf, Jane Fonda, Isabella Rossellini, Shirley MacLaine to mention a few. At he moment he is producing a coffee table book called “Women” where he will donate some of the proceeds from sales into UMP’s projects.

Co-founder and President - Sara Hirsch

Sara Co-founded UMP alongside Michael William-Paul and she has been the president for the last two periods assisting several International humanitarian projects and managing securing the pending 501(c)3 status. Her career in modeling has had her modeling for International brands such as STADIUM, TIGI, Sophie Theallet, Make-Up Store etc. In her 20s she published To Be or Not To Be the Right Hiring Material? That is the Question a study regarding the acceptance of the Romany in Swedish society.

As a result from her management models have not only received assistance with their humanitarian project but have also been placed with principal agencies via A Mother Agency resulting in models working with many internationally recognized clients such as Vogue, Missoni, Project Runway, Arise, Town & Country, E! Entertainment Television, Jimmy Kimmel show, Jones New York, Barney’s to name a few.

Courtney Hejl - Director of Communications

Courtney Hejl entered into the world of modeling and branding upon graduating and receiving a Communication degree from the University of Maryland, her natural and delightful on-camera presence has resulted in commercials or instructional videos for Burlington Coat Factory, Tribeca Film Festival, Dior, Chanel, Pantene, and Burt’s Bees among others. An active participants in both local and global efforts Courtney is the PR and Media Liaison of UMP and acts as spokesperson on-air in broadcasts showcasing UMP’s involvement and strategic partnerships with individuals, organizations, NGO’s and Governments. A short list of this involvement includes: American Red Cross, Children’s Hospital in Washington D.C., NIH Children’s Inn of Bethesda, MD, USO, Susan G. Komen, Diabetic Research Institute, Habitat for Humanity, WWF, Sphatika Spa and the PRASAD Project®, ECOSOC, Peace & Sport, Word of Hope International, Newark Peace Summit & PNND.

Adviser MAP programs - Alyn Ware

Alyn Ware is a peace educator and nuclear abolition campaigner originally from New Zealand – but who now calls the whole world his home. He has established a number of peace education programs taught in New Zealand schools, and was on the advisory board that developed the Peace Studies Guidelines adopted by the Department of Education. Alyn established and directs Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament, and is a co-founder of the Abolition 2000 Global Network to Eliminate Nuclear Weapons, a member of the World Future Council and a Consultant for the International Association of Lawyers Against Nuclear Arms.

Alyn has served as a member of government delegations to the 2000 Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference and the UNESCO Ministers of Education Conference in Geneva 2001 at which he was Head of Delegation. He has been awarded the 1996 UN International Year of Peace ( New Zealand) prize and the 2009 Right Livelihood Award in honor of his peace education and disarmament work.

Adviser UN Programs - David Mladvenovic

David has worked with the United Nations since 2010 on matters relating to the Millennium Development Goals. He is involved with various non-governmental organizations and has facilitated many expert panels focused on Public-Private partnership. In 2012, David was appointed as Special Advisor to the World Association of Former United Nations Interns and Fellows, an Official United Nations Messenger of Peace.

Model Ambassador - Elin Ledskog

Elin Ledskog combines her expertise from a degree in Masters of Industrial Engineering with a focus on sustainable development and the worlds of Fashion and Media Programs focused on local and global partnership alliances for sustainability. She has a commercially successful background in fashion working for brands such as Elle, Cosmopolitan, Amazon, Target, Louis Vuitton, Glamour, she combines this experience with numerous associations on the sustainable development realm focusing on youth and education. Examples of this involvement includes association with: LSU Swedish Youth Organizations, CISV Youth Exchange in Sao Paulo, Advisory Board member of Junior Achievement-Young Enterprise Alumni network, etc. Elin was an integral part of the ATOM Project focused on a world-wide ban on Nuclear Weapons Testing in 2014.

Elin is currently Head of Market & Sales at Againity AB an award-winning energy start-up.

Communications Adviser - Lisa L.E Sarmiento

Lisa arrived in New York in May 2010 to undertake a work placement at the United Nations Department of Public Information and joined Universal Models for Peace a year later; bringing her expertise from Masters Degree in International Relations and Political Science at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Melbourne and hands on dedication to community work in her various roles with the Asylum Seeker Resource Center, the Australian Red Cross and the United Nations Association of Australia.

Lisa contributes from a past including working as an executive at an independent, non-profit organization where she was instrumental in obtaining consultancy status with the United Nations. Her main responsibilities with said organization included the management of a development project building safe houses for women and children exposed to violence in northeastern Kenya. She currently is the Manager of Communications at the Swedish Consulate in New York. Lisa works with marketing of the Consulate’s activities as well as other Swedish events in the New York area, handles all matters relating to communications, press and public affairs. Lisa also serves as editor-in-chief of the Consulate website and manages the Consulate’s social media presence.

Lisa is an Communications Adviser at Universal Models for Peace; assuring that all communication and outreach strategies reflect the mission and goals of the organization as well as the values and principles of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals.

Adviser MAP programs - Monica Westin

Monica Westin founded World of Hope (WOHI) in 1997 by building a preschool and clinic in a rural village called Samsam Odumase, Ghana. Today, her operations in Ghana span a library (open to all), a preschool recognized by the Ghana Education Service, a clean potable water supply program, a female empowerment project, HIV/AIDS awareness education, and sports peer-to-peer education program. Monica supports and advises UMP’s sister program MAP on development work in the field ensuring intentions are met in collaboration with local agents.

Model Ambassador - Tonya Sharma (Pittman)

Successful plus-size model Tonya Sharma’s (Pittman) modeling career began with Ford Model’s in New York. Tonya’s career quickly rose and she joined Ford’s top 10 earning internationally recognized plus-size models. Tonya has worked for everyone from Tommy Hilfiger and Hanes to Macy’s, Land’s End, Lane Bryant, Addition Elle and Avenue. Her body of work, in addition to catalog shooting includes print campaigns, commercials and runway shows at Fashion Week for Marina Rinaldi, Playtex, One Stop Plus, Evans, Hanes, INC, Alfani, and Style in Co. Tonya maintains her success by working for many of the clients whom she started with 12 years ago. Her professionalism, drive and easy demeanor have allowed her to build lasting relationships with clients unlike many other models. Currently, at JAG Models, a spin-off agency after Ford was sold and closed its division, Tonya continues to advance her career and build brand name recognition in the expanding world of fashion. In addition, she is focusing her efforts on matters relating to children and women in 2015 traveling as a Model Ambassador within the MAP program on the Peace Boat to Panama.

Tonya’s past charity work includes cutting wigs for children at the Shrines Burn Center in Boston, giving make-overs to women at a Homeless Shelter with the Dress For Success organization (which aired on an episode of The Real World Boston), and styling hair for the Hair Cares hair show supporting hairstylists living with AIDS. Tonya is married and has a two year old son.