Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Rockaway Beach and Riis Park - Hurricane Sandy's Destruction

In the aftermath of the brunt of Hurricane Sandy's massive storm on the New York metropolitan area, I had a chance to get out and take some video footage of Rockaway Beach and Riis Park.  

Last night the Atlantic Ocean and it's 7 to 10 foot swells roared past the sand beach, crashed into and destroyed the concrete or brick sea walls, and then continued toward Jamaica Bay.  As it did, with the streets drowning with the Atlantic - some areas of Riis and Rockaway had water levels as high as 9 feet high - anything and everything that got in its way was destroyed. 

Combining this devastation that clearly has destroyed an enourmous amount of homes is the tragedy that occurred last night in Breezy Point, Queens - where at least 80 homes burnt to ash in wake of a wind-fueled electric fire. 

The destruction that hit this beautiful penninsula of Queens was tremendous.  In the coming days there will be an assortment of fundraisers to help those that have lost so much.   Please do what you can to help others.


Monday, October 29, 2012

Peter Thomas Senese's Novel Chasing The Cyclone Benefits Kidnapped Children

Chasing The Cyclone
Peter Thomas Senese
The power of a book is undeniably alive and well, as exemplified by how the publication of Chasing The Cyclone has had a tremendous impact on helping children at-risk of abduction.

I am pleased to share my deeply inspired novel Chasing The Cyclone has had a significant impact on a large and growing number of children and targeted parents of international abduction.  The information contained in the novel have helped parents from all around the world understand the issues of international child abduction, while offering viable ways parents can protect their children and themselves from abduction. Equally, 100% of all of my various novel's proceeds over the past year have been donated to the I CARE Foundation, which in turn has helped reunite dozens of internationally kidnapped children - including three more children this weekend - or prevented the actual international abduction of children. 

Best-Selling Author
Peter Thomas Senese 
I think for any author, the biggest goal when writing any book is to have an impact on your intended audience.  The financial success of a book is obviously important; however, the desire to influence others is the real desire.

And with dozens of children either rescued or protected from abduction thus far, combined with the many initiatives the I CARE Foundation has under way that will further help others, I am pleased with Chasing The Cyclone's impact thus far. 

Nevertheless, with 100,000 to 125,000 American children and nearly 20,000 Canadian children expected to be internationally kidnapped over the next 10 years, the success of Chasing The Cyclone and the I CARE Foundation is tempered by the reality that there is a long way to go.  This notion is underscored by the reality that only 10% of internationally kidnapped children come home. 

The American Flag
U.S. Senate Citation
Having seen first-hand the horrors of abduction, I am committed to continuing fighting this fight.  Fortunately, governments from around the world are taking notice of the I CARE Foundation's work - which means we're making a difference. 

In fact, it was a tremendous honor and humbling experience to receive this majestic American Flag flown over the United States Capitol Building at the request of the Senate in appreciation for my volunteer work and support of the I CARE Foundation. 

From Left to Right
Chris Morris, Eugene Pothy &
I CARE Founder Peter Thomas Senese
Additionally, last month I had the opportunity to participate in the United State's Department of State's 'International Visitor Leadership Program' at the United State's Mission to the United Nations concerning the foundation's advanced work in child abduction and human trafficking prevention.  It was a great honor, particularly when considering some of the incredible global leaders who have previously participated in the program. 

Unquestionably, the publication of 'Chasing The Cyclone' has helped many parents and children new laws have been passed, new policies implemented, and new legislation that could help stop abduction and trafficking is on the horizon - and children are home. 

My financial commitment to the I CARE Foundation and support of the organization's efforts to help children remains steadfast as shared by I CARE Board Member, Hague Convention Attorney Network member and highly respect attorneyJoel Walter in a very kind article he shared on his website.
Being able to assist the I CARE Foundation has been a responsibility of mine that in truth has been a privilege to uphold.                                            

I invite you to read about the work of the I CARE Foundation.
All from a book called 'Chasing The Cyclone' that was inspired by the time in my life I was required to chase into the storms of abduction.

One final note, and this is personally extremely important to me to share.  Before I raised my voice and tried to make a difference in the fight against IPCA, there were, as there are today other wonderful advocates who have fought so hard to protect children by raising their voice, using their resources to fight a good fight, and to pass new laws that will protect children.  I recognize and applaud each of these individuals who make up the community of child advocates who are dedicated to protecting children.

For more on me, Peter Thomas Senese, I invite you to visit my official website

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Three More Abducted Children Returned Home - One Of Canada's Top Parenting Writers Interviews Peter Thomas Senese

When I think of all the interviews I have done so far concering international parental child abduction and 'Chasing The Cyclone', one published interview stands out for: the one that Jennifer Cluff, voted one of Canada's Top 5 Parenting Bloggers conducted with me.

Today, as I share this interview, I am thrilled to share that 3 more internationally abducted children were returned home in accordance to the rules of the Hague Convention.   This was a tremendous accomplishment . . . still find it odd how parents who illegally take or detain a child or children in a foreign country without a court order don't think they're child abductors.

Nevertheless, today we celebrate, while also being reminded just how important it is to raise awareness of the possibility of international child abduciton.

One of the ways the I CARE Foundation has done this is by createing a grassroots awareness campaign with the devout assistance of some of the world's best parenting bloggers.   In a short time, their reach and impact has been incredible.

In fact, speaking of Jennifer Cluff and the interview she conducted with me, several targeted children of abduction were not illegally taken because reader-parents of her insightful blog read material she posted about abduciton and prevention, and then took action to prevent this from occurring.

Here's the interview conducted by Mom-ology.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Feeling As If I'm In Labor - Seriously

Feeling Like Your In Labor 
The days leading to the safe reunification of an abducted child or children is nothing short of feeling as if you're in labor.  I know this first-hand from my own experiences Chasing The Cyclone of abduciton, and I know this first-hand in my capacity of helping numerous mothers and fathers reunite with their abducted children.

And yes - I did say LABOR!

Outside of the physical changes, the emotional roller-coaster leading up to the hoped-for reunion is nothing short of exhausting.

I share this feeling in an essay I just wrote while three more abducted children under the rules of the Hague Convention are on their way home right now.

Read the article. 

Friday, October 26, 2012

Peter Thomas Senese: Speaking At The United Nations and then Receiving An American Flag Flown Over The U.S. Capitol

Over the course of four weeks, I have been a part of several truly humbling, remarkable experiences including having the opportunity on behalf of the I CARE Foundation to participate in the United State's Mission to the United Nations International Visitor Leadership Program.  

This remarkable privilege was then followed by receiving an ceremonial American Flag (5x8) that was flown over the United States Capitol in my honor due to my volunteer work trying to assist children and parents at-risk of international child abduction.

These honors do mean a great deal to me.  They are symbolic of the important work of the I CARE Foundation and our team that has spent a great deal of everything ... trying to make a difference.

Looking back at the promise I made during the time I was Chasing The Cyclone, and just how far we have come, I am pleased with our achievements, particularly the work we have been involved with in bringing children of abduction home.  However, it is in our successes that we are reminded that there is a great deal to still do.

Onward and upward ... we shall continue to push the mountain.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Peter Thomas Senese: An Incredible Group Of Women Writers Are Changing The World One Blog At A Time

With Thoughts Of Martha Washington, Dorothy Parker, Mary Welsh Hemingway, and Jacqueline Saix, My Thoughts Focus On The Incredible Women Writers Who Are Making This World A Better Place

Sometimes blessings come into your life when and where you least expect it.   This said, for those of you who know me, you know that I have been influenced by some amazing women including Noble Laureate Professor Wangari Maathai of Kenya and some other pretty spectacular women. 

There is no question that smart, independent, compassionate women have influenced my life.

Once again, I feel my life is shifting . . . changing for the better and of course, it has to do with a woman, or should I say in truth about 50 amazing ladies!

And I feel blessed.  

Over the past 6 months I have been working with an incredible group of women writers who have assisted the I CARE Foundation raise awareness about international parental child abduction (IPCA).  Each of these writers happen to be mothers, writers, thinkers, partners, and incredibly thoughtful individuals who push society's conscience toward an enlightened and globally connected place. In the process, they are revolutionizing the way information and ideas are disseminated in a similar magnitude that Mary Welsh Hemingway and Jacqueline Saix did. And that is pretty remarkable.

And unquestionably, the world is a much better place because of these highly talented, insightful writers who happen to also be mothers or mothers-to-be. 

Through my and the I CARE Foundation's process of building a grass-roots awareness initiative concerning IPCA, I know I have become a better person:  more compassionate, understanding, a bit more patient, and definitely a whole lot more educated about a variety of things that would have never come across my plate because I have been able to connect with each of you.  

Yes, even with my hectic schedule, I do take the time to read the stories and essays posted on each of your sites!  This said ... I want you to all know that some of my male pals think I'm nuts when over a friendly poker game or a writers meeting I attend from time to time, I will share some things I have read on these sites that week - which I actually find very interesting . . . there is nothing funnier than seeing a few big tough guys squirm a bit, "Oh, why'd you have to bring that up?" or "You're getting to in touch with your feminine side - we don't need to know about that!"  So thank you for that, too!

Not only have each of you helped our community of activist fight against the horror of abduction, but you have raised the bar of what I expect from myself. 

Earlier today, as I was looking out at the U.S. Capitol Building, thinking a bit about Martha Washington, I found myself really reflecting about how blessed I am that a select group of wonderful women graciously allowed me to come into their lives and decided to stand the line and help protect children at risk of abduction by using their websites as forums to raise awareness amongst their readers.  

From these efforts the I CARE Foundation has been able to directly help protect several children.  It would be proper thinking that the material shared amongst these important sites will also help other parents and children in time . . . some who we will eventually meet and some we will never know.  But the information is there, and with as many as nearly 150,000 children expected to be internationally kidnapped abroad from the United States and Canada over the next 10 years, their effort is so important. 

For all of this, and so much more, I am so thankful that each of you took the time to answer an email and to stand, in your own way with those of us who know the darkness of having a child lost and who stand the line so others will not face the same fate. And through it all, there has been a whole bunch of laughter and giggles! 

I might not have said it directly, but if you pay attention to my work ... you would know that each of you are an inspiration to me. And my life is so much richer because of this. 

In the near future I will be publishing an extensive essay about how women writers who are also mothers - writers, parenting bloggers, mommy bloggers - whatever you prefer, but to me collectively society's conscience - have in fact changed the world for the better.

I would like to personally thank in no particular order Jennifer, Willa, Mary, Erica, Susann, Heather, Tracy, Lauren, Patsy, Lyndsay, Carlia, Natasha, Stephanie, Melissa, Janice, Leslie, Kathy, Alicia, Jade, Ariel, Leah, Amanda, Carrie, Tamara, Ashley, Jessica, Raquel, Erin, Mindy, Abigail, Elizabeth, Sharon, Janice, Tamara, Tricia, Stacy, Hana, Bobbie Anne, Janessa, Julie, Cascia, Amanda, Katie, Lauren, Sabrina, Laura, Claire, Erin, Ewa, Heather, Jade, Nishana, Janice, Elisabeth, Aprile, Elisa, and Melissa, Diane, Katrina, and Katie for all that you have done to help protect children from abduction and possible trafficking.

My words of thanks in truth cannot every be expressed in reflection of the depth of my gratitude.  I mean, how could I ever express the appreciation in my heart for your help protecting innocent children, other than to say 'Thank You'!

In the spirit of friendship to each of you, again, 'Thank You'.

Peter Thomas Senese
Founding Director
The I CARE Foundation

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

One Wonderful Father: Eugene Pothy

On behalf of the I CARE Foundation, it is my privilege to have received a very special American Flag and United States Senate Citation for Philippe, the son of my very dear friend Eugene.  Philippe was reunited with his father after nearly 10 years apart: as a toddler child, he was detained without his father's permission in the Ivory Coast. However, all that changed on January 17th, 2012, when Philippe walked through the United States Customs exit at John F. Kennedy airport in New York City and into the arms of his loving father. Miracles do happen.

The American Flag flown in Philippes honor is a reminder to Philippe that this great nation - the nation of his birth - is his home.  The flag is also a testament to the great love his father has for him as it acknowledges the never-ending quest for Eugene to reunite with his son.

When I think of heroes in my own life, one of the first persons that comes to mind is my pal Eugene.  Eugene left the war-torn country of the Ivory Coast and came to the United States of America in hope of creating a better life for himself.  Armed with a masters degree in maritime engineering and fluent in many languages, he made his way in New York City.  And when his child was detained in Africa without his permission, Eugene held onto his faith and dug deep within his character to never give up the hope and belief that one day he would reunite with his son.

So Philippe, if you ever read this, I want you to know, as I have said to you on occasion, that your father is a great man who loves you with all of his heart.  The American Flag you are about to receive from me and the I CARE Foundation was flown in honor of both you and your father.

We are all so proud of you.

Peter Thomas Senese 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Decorated Police Officer Has Child Internationally Abducted

Imagine being an active duty, highly decorated police officer who has served you country in the line of duty as both a police officer and previously as a member of the New York City Fire Department when you unexpectedly find yourself Chasing The Cyclone and racing into the world of international parental child kidnapping, and so much you believed in - the rule of law, justice, honesty, fair-play, the responsibility of good parenting, and your own U.S. government's responsibility to protect its child-citizens are all tossed out the window.

Well, welcome to the world of CM, who has been fighting a three-year war to try and reunite with his internationally abducted daughter, who was illegally detained in Germany.

International parental child abduciton is expected to see anywhere from 100,000 to 125,000 American children illegally detained abarod over the next 10 years, with as little as 10% of these children ever coming home.

Read about the incredible journey of a man who has served his city, state, and nation in the name of justice and good citizenship, and the nightmare he and his daughter have faced.

If you are a reporter interested in knowing more about CM, please contact me at peter@stopchildabduction.org.

Thank you,

Peter Thomas Senese
Chasing The Cyclone

Monday, October 22, 2012

Joel Walter: One of New York's Best Matrimonial and Family Law Attorneys

When I look at my life's blessing, one of the immediate things that comes to mind is the wonderful friendships I have created over the years with some truly remarkable women and men.  One of these special friends, who I have had the privilege of sharing a great deal with, is my dear pal New York City based attorney Joel Walter, who not only is an extraordinary man and model citizen, but Joel Walter is one of the best family law and child custody attorneys practicing in New York.

For those of  you who may not know of Joel's tremendous work protecting children at risk of international parental child abduction, and his work as a board member of the I CARE Foundation, I am pleased to share that under Joel's guidance, the I CARE Foundation has been highly successful in assisting kidnapped children reunite with their targeted parents while also playing a significant role in preventing a large number of children from being taken.
It was a great honor to obtain a beautiful American Flag this past friday that was flown over the United States Capitol at the request on United States Senator Gillibrand in honor of Joel Walter and his selfless effort to help children and their parents targeted for abduction.  If anyone is deserving of such a high honor, it is Joel Walter.

 In addition to assisting directly in abduction related cases, Joel's work in creating legislative initiatives that the I CARE Foundation is carefully working on will, when passed, one day prevent a very large number of children from abduction.  In addition, his work on creating I CARE's international child abduction case law data base, when complete, will assist all stakeholders in their efforts to protect children.

Incredibly, Joel Walter's volunteer activism in the name of children is what is right about good lawyering.  I am personally humbled by the efforts of a highly skilled litigator whose practice primarily focused on complex federal cases as he has worked tirelessly in the name of children.  Undeniably, parents and at-risk children of abduction are better served due to Mr. Walter's efforts.

How good of a lawyer is Joel Walter when it comes to international parental child abduction? Well, let me say this: he was the first person I turned to when I was Chasing The Cyclone.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Peter Thomas Senese: Walking With President George Washington and Writing

I am very excited.  Why?  Because I am going to be  . . . Walking With President George Washington!

General George Washington
For some of you who may not be aware, I have been working on what I hope and anticipate will be a very different type of story about out nation's incredible, heroic, yet humble founding father, President George Washington.

Now to tie my long-time love affair of writing with the personal quest I have to enrich my life's understanding . . .  well, that's a book.  In fact, these two worlds became one previously when I wrote 'Cloning Christ': though Jesus of Nazareth (my Christ) was not a physcial character in this story, HE was the story.  And in 'Chasing The Cyclone' the enlightened state in the form of a hero, was a young, innocent child who loved and trusted.  in 'The Den of the Assassin', clear direction of President George Washington first came to light as the story revolves around liberty and the responsibility of American citizens to protect liberty.

George Washington's Mount Vernon
Research and understanding of character, in this case President Washington, is critical to any writer's ability to present a real-life understanding of that person.  And so, yesterday I spent the first of what I anticiapte will be a long stretch of frequent visits to Mount Vernon, home and burial ground of President Washington and his wife Martha.

Washington's Inaguration On Wall Street
Undenialbly there is so much written about Washington's leadership, deciscion making, and heroic acts during the Revolutionary War and thereafter as president of our new nation.

Crossing The Delaware
The words he shared on April 30th, 1789 while standing at Federal Hall during the night of his inaguration in New York City's Wall Street that "Liberty is an experiement entrusted to the American people," is something that will forever stand with me.  If is a far cry of isolationism that once pervailed.

So this morning as I reflect upon the life of this noble man who changed the world forever, and as my eyes overlook the United States Capitol, I realize that my life and perspective are about to shift once again as I search to find and hold the lessons of President George Washington and understand his enlightened state.

I sure am looking forward to this journey, and eventually sharing my writing with the world.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Talking about Predators Games - That's One Seriously Giant Sea Monster!

I have always been fascinated with dinosaurs, with a particular interest to wanting to know more about the giant sea cretures that lived during this time.  In truth, as much as we think we know about the dinosaurs that walked the earth, in contrast, we know very little about the animals that lived underwater.  

One thing that is certain - they were big, as in GIANT! And they were more powerful than anything that walked or crawled on earth.

It's official: A giant, marine reptile that roamed the seas roughly 150 million years ago is a new species, researchers say. The animal, now named Pliosaurus funkei, spanned about 40 feet (12 meters) and had a massive 6.5-foot-long (2 m) skull with a bite four times as powerful as Tyrannosaurus rex.

Seriously: a 6.5 foot long skull!  Think about it! That's giantosaurous! 
"They were the top predators of the sea," said study co-authorPatrick Druckenmiller, a paleontologist at the University of Alaska Museum. "They had teeth that would have made a T. rex whimper."
Combined with other fossil finds, the newly discovered behemoth skeletons of P. funkei paint a picture of an ancient Jurassic-era ocean filled with giant predators.
In 2006, scientists unearthed two massive pliosaur skeletons inSvalbard, Norway, a string of islands halfway between Europe and the North Pole. The giant creatures, one of which was dubbed Predator X at the time, looked slightly different from other pliosaurs discovered in England and France over the last century and a half. [See Images of Predator X]
Now, after years of painstaking analysis of the jaw, vertebrae and forelimbs, the researchers have determined that Predator X is in fact a new species, and they have officially named it for Bjorn and May-Liss Funke, volunteers who first discovered the fossils.
The pliosaurs, marine reptiles that prowled the seas 160 million to 145 million years ago during theJurassic period, had short necks, tear-shaped bodies and four large, paddle-shaped limbs that let them "fly through the water," Druckenmiller told LiveScience.
The new species likely lived closer to 145 million years ago and ate plesiosaurs, related long-necked, small-headed reptiles.
The new analysis shows P. funkei had proportionally longer front paddles than other pliosaurs, as well as slightly different vertebrae shape and different spacing of teeth within the jaw, Druckenmiller said.
In 2008, scientists initially estimated that Predator X could have been up to 50 feet (15 m) long. The current study suggests the creature is smaller than that, but still bigger than the largest living apex predator, the killer whale, which tops out at about 30 feet (9 m) long, Druckenmiller said.
The Pliosaurus funkei fossils were just two of nearly 40 specimens discovered at the Svalbard site. In the Oct. 12 issue of the Norwegian Journal of Geology, the authors also describe two new ichthyosaurs, or dolphinlike reptiles, the longest-necked Jurassic-era plesiosaur on record, and several invertebrates.
Together, the fossils suggest an ancient Arctic sea teeming with fearsome predators and invertebrate fauna, said study co-author Jorn Hurum of the University of Oslo in an email.
"It's not just that we found a new species, we've been discovering a whole ecosystem," Druckenmiller said.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Peter Thomas Senese: Dreams and Hopes of Every Writer - The Impact of Chasing The Cyclone

As I sit and reflect on my next novel titled 'Predators Games', which I must admit, I am so thoroughly enjoying writing, as in, really loving it . . . my thoughts have drifted to what my hopes and aspirations are for the sequel to 'The Den of the Assassin'.  And this leads me to think about 'Chasing The Cyclone', and what this book has accomplished thus far . . . while knowing that 'Chasing The Cyclone' still has a long way to go!

Of course, 'Predators Games' is a very different type of book than 'Chasing The Cyclone' and so, the aspirations are a very different.  Nevertheless, it is my intent and hope in writing 'Predators Games' that readers will find great entertainment value while also learning about a great deal of geopolitical issues that may give them a desire to think about things that society as a whole must contemplate.

With respect to 'Chasing The Cyclone' it has been nothing short of . . .
Every Writer's Hope . . . The Impact of Peter Thomas Senese's 'Chasing The Cyclone'                                                                                   

The power of the written word is alive and well today, as it has been ever since mankind first etched hieroglyphics on stone.  Despite living in the nano-universe of digital storytelling, at the root of our ability to convey a story or issue in the detailed substance that it may deserve, it is my opinion that there is nothing more powerful and insightful than a book

When I first decided to write 'Chasing The Cyclone', I did so with the hope and intent that perhaps one parent or one lawyer or one judge may learn something about the growing pandemic of international parental child abduction and either prevent the abduction of a child or assist in the safe legal recovery of a child. 

What has originated from the first pages I penned of my deeply personal novel while I was sitting on the wind swept sand beach of Paradise Cove located in Malibu Beach has come to be nothing short of a Call-To-Arms against the despicable, unacceptable abuse of a child that is international child abduction and child trafficking.

Unquestionably, the publication of 'Chasing The Cyclone' has helped many parents and children.

Before I go any further, I want you to know that I have learned that by following your heart, you can make a difference for others.  And regardless if that difference benefits one person or many, the privilege of helping another is in fact the greatest gift we can receive.

It is based upon this notion coupled with other blessings I have in my life, that I have volunteered both my time and significant resources to help protect children and their parents.

I have done this by making significant contributions to the highly respected 501 C 3 not-for-profit organization I am the Founding Director known as the I CARE Foundation (
I invite you to read more about the I CARE Foundation).  In fact, outside of direct contributions I have made to the foundation, I have also donated 100% of all my earnings from all e-book sales of my various novels to the I CARE Foundation (I invite you to see 'Peter Thomas Senese Donates Book Sales To Help Children).

Has this been successful?

Incredibly.  (I invite you to read, 
"Peter Thomas Senese Helps Rescue Numerous Children Who Have Been Victims Of Or Targeted For International Abduction' (Note: the select sworn affidavits are only a sampling of sworn testimonials I am in possession of concerning my and the I CARE Foundation's work. A great majority of our activities are not publicly disclosed due to the sensitivity of the subject of child abduction).

So what has made Chasing The Cyclone a great success?  A great deal. Here is a sampling of accomplishments that have and will continue to help children and their parents.


                                                    THE I CARE FOUNDATION

1. The creation of the 501-C-3 Not-for-profit ‘International Child Abduction Research & Enlightenment’ Foundation' (
I CARE Foundation)  that was established to and has successfully rescued numerous internationally kidnapped children while conducting advanced research in the area of IPCA in order advocate for the creation of new laws that will protect children from international kidnapping.

2. Under the I CARE Foundation’s leadership, we have built a large national pro bono network of lawyers willing to assist parents who are targeted to have a child internationally kidnapped or who have had a child abducted while also launching a successful and ongoing recruitment campaign for lawyers to join the United States Department of State's Hague Convention Attorney Network; and,

3. Overseeing the legal rescue and reunification of numerous internationally kidnapped children; and,

4. Provided necessary resources required for numerous lawyers and targeted parents who were trying to prevent their child from being internationally abducted (see 'Senese Creates Arsenal Of Tools To Hlep Lawyers and Targeted Parents'); and,

5. Board Member Carolyn Vlk wrote the legislation for the State of Florida's Child Abduction Prevention Act while Board Member Peter Thomas Senese orchestrated lobbying efforts that led to the unanimous passage of the CAPA legislation into now effective law; and,

6. Successfully advocated for the federal implementation of the 'Prevent Departure Program' to be used as a tool to stop international parental child abduction; and,

7. Writer and advocate behind legislative initiatives to prevent international child abduction by modifying the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative; and,

8. Writer and advocate behind legislative initiatives to prevent international child abduction by modifying the Prevent Departure Program II; and,

9. The co-authoring and creation and FREE publication of the extensive 'The World Turned Upside Down' open-tablet E-book resource guide on IPCA; and,

10. The creation and production of the FREE ongoing educations documentary film on IPCA titled'Chasing Parents: Racing Into the Storms of IPCA; and,

11. The co-authoring of the extensive research report titled 'Crisis In America: IPCA Today'; and,

12. The co-authoring of the extensive research report titled 'International Child Abduction and Human Trafficking In The Western Hemisphere'; and,

13. The creation of one of the most informative websites on IPCA; and,

14. The ongoing efforts to create additional federal laws that evolve around child abduction prevention.

15. The stout support and advocacy that led to the passage of on line impersonation laws such as those passed in the states of California and New York.

16. I have used significant book publication revenue to finance the recovery of internationally kidnapped children.

17. Upcoming I CARE Foundation sponsored educational legal training seminars for lawyers in the area of IPCA.

18.  A large and growing grass-roots effort to educate parents about the risks of IPCA and child trafficking.

19.  A promise to continue my efforts to educate society about the issues of IPCA, use my resources whenever possible to assist others, and to work toward the passage of new laws that will protect children, as demonstrated in the sworn testimonials of my conduct.

All from a book called 'Chasing The Cyclone' that was inspired by the time in my life I was required to chase into the storms of abduction.

One final note, and this is personally extremely important to me to share.  Before I raised my voice and tried to make a difference in the fight against IPCA, there were, as there are today other wonderful advocates who have fought so hard to protect children by raising their voice, using their resources to fight a good fight, and to pass new laws that will protect children.  I recognize and applaud each of these individuals who make up the community of child advocates who are dedicated to protecting children.

For more on me, Peter Thomas Senese, I invite you to visit my official website.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


Heroes Of Today

The brilliance of the human race is found in each individual's desires to enhance the human condition and positively impact the lives of others.  If benevolent acts of kindness and human connectivity sprout from seeds of compassion, then clearly the soil that these seedlings take root are found in each person's moral foundation. Nutured through determination, courage, intelligence, and enlightenment of what it is to be part of the human race, on occassion, these seedlings, if I may, grow to be special individuals that make our world a much better place.

It is my absolute privilige to share with you the remarkable work of my very good friend, one that inspires me in great ways, South Africa's Haseena Patel, who, with her incredible sister Shameema, are co-founders of Leave No Girl Behind International, a tremendous outreach movement focussed on educating and enlightening young girls and young women that their voices matter . . . and matters a great deal.

In deciding to create the 'Heroes of Today' series, I gave great thought and consideration to what a hero is. Clearly, heroes come in every shape and form.  Some hero's acts are grand and sweeping, while others are less visible, but nevertheless, equally important.

Haseena Patel
Leave No Girl Behind
In selecting the individuals I have decided to write about, one of the many qualities I paid great attention to was the ability for that person to courageously give of themselves so that others may have long-lasting benefit.   In my expansive world, I have been blessed to know and befriend a remarkable number of individuals that have dedicated their lives to enhance the lives of the oppressed, the poor, the sick, and the defenseless.  These individuals are my heroes.  I have learned a great deal from them.

One of these individuals that has enriched my and many other lives is Haseena Patel.  And though the Leave No Girl Behind Movement is still a seedling, say in comparrision to the spectacular mighty trees that have grown across the world due to the tremendous Greenbelt Movement started by Africa's first women to win the Noble Peace Prize, Dr. Wangari Maathai, there is no question in my mind that under Hassena's outspoken and indefitigable leadership, the Leave No Girl Behind Movement will one day have as much of an impact on girls as Professor Maathai's Greenbelt Movement has for millions of women around the world.

Dr. Wangari Maathai
Africa's First Women
Noble Laureate  
During the time that I was blessed to have spent with Wangari, there was one lesson I learned more than any other: that each of our voices not only mattered, but could really make a difference. When we embrace the courage to utilize our voice, it is only then that we live in 'Uhuru' - freedom!

Freedom - what a concept.  Yet so many young girls do not truly understand what it is to live in 'Uhuru'.  But this is changing due to the tremendous advocates such as Hassena and Shameema Patel. And the world is a better place because of them.

The Leave No Girl Behind Movement has 5 functions:

1.  To empower girls through our programs (such as the Leadership Program and Worldwide Network, and the Help-Her-Help-Herself Project).

Leave No Girl Behind International
2.  To raise awareness worldwide about why it is essential for us as a global community to empower girls (we aim to do this through our soon-to-be-published book, Leave No Girl Behind, as well as through our website).

3.  To change the inferior way girls and women are perceived and treated in many cultures. 

4.  To create a community of like-minded individuals working together to uplift girls everywhere.

5.  To stand united with every individual and organization worldwide that shares this common purpose – together we can make a difference in the lives of our global family of 6 billion!

What is Leave No Girl Behind International?
Leave No Girl Behind International is an organization created to empower girls in various ways, and inspire them to live up to their own potential instead of living down to others’ (or even their own) expectations. Its purpose is to create a much needed shift in our world through girls’ empowerment.

Can you please provide a few examples of how LNGBI specifically empowers and inspires young women?

We have the LNGBI Leadership program which individuals or groups can participate in. The leadership program provides instruction on how young women can address real-life circumstances that they face in a way that empowers them while respecting their bodies, mind, and spirits. In essence, we bring to light the ability of each person to make a decision and how important their voice really is.

Presently, we have a Power Package Program which includes a consulting session, a personalized video and also an audio track that provides empowerment. Additionally, our Help-Her-Help-Herself Project to be launched on the 27th October 2012, which is a program that empowers girls in high-risk situations or developing countries who cannot afford and don’t have access to our other programs. We also have a much shorter mentoring program that works well for girls who don’t have ready access to the Internet – with this program, we work with other organizations in those countries who can provide Internet access to the girls once a week for about 4 weeks so that they can complete the program.

Can you provide insight on a few success stories?

There are plenty, but one that stands out revolves around a South African girl who is 15 years old and who completed the leadership program. This young lady had everything that any South African girl could have material access to, yet she felt that by participating in the leadership program, it would help her to mature and understand more about the world and how her voice mattered in it. So in her scenario, empowerment came in a different way in the sense that this was not a girl who was impoverished and was facing issues that may be more prevalent in low-income environments. In her scenario, empowerment was used to elevate personal and social responsibility with the aspiration that this young lady will demonstrate leadership qualities throughout her life.

Shameema Patel
Leave No Girl Behind
We also had a girl in her senior year in California participate in a leadership program via Skype. In her words: “I have figured out new ways of approaching certain situations in school and in other aspects of my life. I have learned to step outside of my comfort zone to help other people…this program has helped me learn how being positive will make a difference in everything I set out to do.”

Additionally, we have also mentored a group of girls in rural Zimbabwe (Girl Child Network Zimbabwe helped with getting the girls together and providing Internet access) and discussed a variety of issues relevant to their issues and needs so to help facilitate better decision making on their part so to protect and respect their bodies, their minds, and their spirit.

Clearly, each girl’s needs and issues are different due to a host of factors. However, the message we share is the same: live up to your full potential instead of living down to others’ (or even their own) expectations. Respect your body, your mind, and your spirit because your voice matters.

What is your role with Leave No Girl Behind International?

I am co-founder of Leave No Girl Behind International. My sister, Shameema is my founding partner. I am actively involved in public speaking and coaching of girls for our organization while Shameema concentrates on creating outreach and handles many of the organization’s operational and planning needs.

Why is Leave No Girl Behind International important to young women?

Young women will make choices based on how they see themselves. Often, the way they see themselves is just a reflection of how others, particularly the most important people in their lives, see them. Through the programs offered by Leave No Girl Behind International, girls/young women are able to get to know themselves as they can be and are inspired to rise up to their full potential.

In this sense, we teach girls and young women to learn to trust and respect themselves. And we educate them about the concepts of courage. Combining these qualities, we then focus on decision-making as it comes to their present and anticipated journey, and of course, where they want to go and who they want to become.

How much of your message to young women revolves around the concepts of ‘courage’ and ‘finding your voice’?

I think “courage” and “finding your voice” is dealt with directly and indirectly all the time when we work with young women, and at a certain point they do find their voices without even realizing this – it is something that happens gradually just from participation in the programs.

Why is Leave No Girl Behind International important to the world?

Leave No Girl Behind International
Our organization is a means of raising awareness about the necessity of girls’ empowerment. We are able to show people worldwide why girls’ empowerment relates to their own lives – many people don’t realize that. And more importantly, we’re able to express to others how empowering or not empowering our girls will affect us in every conceivable way, on a global level.

How would you assess the global landscape for women as political leaders in an ever changing, closer, world, and what benefits do you think the world would have if more women had a greater role in politics?

I remember the opening line of the Charles Dickens Novel, A Tale of Two Cities – “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…” - I think that describes what things are like for women in the political arena.

In this age of recognizing equality and doing away with gender-based roles, the time is ripe for women to have significant roles in the political arena. And those women who do have such roles are able to extend their influence beyond their countries and set a precedent for women around the world.

At the same time, in some of the middle eastern countries, for example, women who take a stand or rise up to assume political power have to deal with those radical conservatives who feel increasingly threatened by the power that women are beginning to have. And because of this, these women’s lives are in more danger than before – hence, the “worst of times”!

If women had greater roles in politics, firstly, they’d inspire other women around the world to become empowered, and this in itself would benefit the world – more educated mothers equal more educated citizens of the world. The other point is that men and women do have different perspectives and having more women in the political arena would lead to more “balance” when making decisions – something different would be brought to the table.

Are there any geopolitical leaders that inspire you and who you think have made the world a better place for both women and men?
There are so many leaders – living and dead who have inspired me in some way including Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, Barack Obama, and definitely Hillary Clinton. Here in South Africa, our former president, Nelson Mandela is a great inspiration. And Archbishop Desmond Tutu definitely has made the world a better place by speaking out against injustices in the world. Each of them, and other great heroes talk about something that is so innate to the right of life: freedom.  And that is what the Leave No Girl Behing Movement embraces and teaches: the right of each girl to live free. 

All these amazing leaders have had an impact, not just on their own countries, but on the world – they have helped people to see what is possible out there and how anyone can make a huge difference.

What influenced you to start Leave No Girl Behind International?

Leave No Girl Behind
Available Octover 27th, 2012
It actually started off with an idea for a book – I was going to write a book to inspire girls with messages from a thousand different women around the world.

That evolved to the point where the focus of the book became about creating a transformation on our planet through girls’ empowerment…then Shameema became my co-author, and gradually our vision grew and Leave No Girl Behind International was borne.

Would you say that the power of a ‘book’ is still alive and well today?

Yes – the power of a book will always be alive and well. Wherever there are words to be read, there will be people who are inspired to understand them and use them to benefit their lives. People will always be looking for answers to their lives.

In our own case, the idea for a book became the Leave No Girl Behind movement. Clearly, written words can be seeds to social and political change. They make us think and they inspire. Young girls, particularly those living in less affluent countries are easily exploited.

What leadership programs does your organization provide to help young women become aware of the challenges they face as women in these environments?

Presuming that we’re talking about girls in the rural areas of developing countries who are surrounded by poverty and really difficult circumstances; girls who don’t have support around them, our shorter mentoring program works well for them – with this program, we work with other organizations in those countries who can provide Internet access to the girls once a week for about 4 weeks so that they can complete the program. This helps them to develop as leaders while learning how to deal with their unique set of circumstances.

Where is Leave No Girl Behind International based out of?

We are based out of Newcastle, South Africa. However, we optimize technology and are able to connect with girls globally through Skype, email and a variety of social media outlooks including Facebook, and so, Leave No Girl Behind International’s reach is global.

Is there an average number of young women you work with on a monthly basis?

We work with whoever desires to participate in our programs – there is no average number because at times we may work with many individual participants while other times we work with large groups. However, in the spirit of giving our best to each girl, we do place limits as to the number of girls who participate in our interactive programs together in the same group.

The plight of women in Africa continues to be challenging. Remarkable women, including Noble Peace Prize winner Dr. Wangari Maathai, Ory Okolloh, and Chimamanda Adichie are amongst some of the most brilliant women advocate-leaders who were based out of Africa. Yet their influence has been world-wide. Nevertheless, their efforts began with a seed - an idea - if you will.

What is your 'seed' and where do you see Leave No Girl Behind International evolving to?

Haseena Patel
That’s an interesting question…particularly because we’re in the evolving stage right now! When people think of Africa and relate it to girls’ empowerment, they think of poverty and HIV, teenage promiscuity and teen pregnancy. All this is a realistic picture, but there is also the other side: Girls who may not be in this situation also need empowering, and we often forget about their needs because they’re not in high-risk situations. So the “seed” would be something Shameema and I feel so strongly about: ALL girls need empowering, no matter who they are, where they live or what their background is.
As for evolving, we’ve given this a lot of thought. At first we didn’t define Leave No Girl Behind International – we just had the name and empowered girls in a way that we thought was best. We also had to earn a living, though, while at the same time creating ways to empower those who could not pay for our programs.

So I think Leave No Girl Behind International has evolved to a point where we have two parts of our organization: our business (the profit-making part!), and the movement (the non-profit part). The latter involves projects that anyone anywhere can participate in, and so we can all create a global movement.

How have the lives of the African women changed?

While there is the realization among women of what they are able to achieve and what is possible for them among different communities, things are different. In some African communities, women’s roles are entrenched in tradition and culture, and women haven’t advanced at all. Then, there is the situation in South Africa where women have the freedom, but the education standard had dropped so drastically, that there is no education to go with the freedom and therefore no sense of purpose and responsibility. It’s really sad, because the potential is there, but women have not advanced. Courage plays a great deal in our lives.

For the girls and young women you serve, what is it that makes a young lady take that first step to participate in the Leave No Girl Behind Movement?

A young woman could participate in the movement by either accepting and using one of our non-profit programs and empowering herself, or participating as the empowerer and empowering other young women through one of these programs (e.g. our soon-to-be-launched Help-Her-Help-Herself Project).

If she is in the first category, I think she reaches the point where she can take a step back and know that she needs to empower herself first to accomplish any worthy goal. It’s that point when you know that something has to change and you’re the one who needs to change it. And that’s where courage comes in.

As an advocate, helping others, particularly young women facing serious abuse means that you have to deal in a world of 'darkness' often. Why do you do this, and what allows you to manage the 'darkness'?

To be honest, I have seldom had to deal with that kind of situation. In most cases I’m empowering girls who don’t know that they’re not empowered; who aren’t being abused, but who are in danger of being abused because their perceptions of themselves and their capabilities may lead to them choosing the wrong partner and feeling that a man treating a woman in an inferior or abusive way is acceptable.

But growing up in a medical family, I’ve been accustomed to our family helping young women facing abuse, in various ways. When you can help provide some light through making these women’s lives easier in some way, the darkness is more bearable.

There must be times when you feel disheartened by the amount of hardships you see young women facing who you are trying to help. What do you do to overcome the emotional hardships?

I have to remember my role in the situation – to empower and educate the young woman in some way. Change doesn’t always happen in great strides. Often there are small, almost unnoticeable changes in the young woman which lead to equally unnoticeable changes in her life. I have to remember that these small changes will eventually lead to her changing her life in a big way and overcoming all these hardships.

Women bloggers, particularly ‘parenting bloggers’ / ‘mommy bloggers’ (depending on the terminology you are comfortable with) have played and are expected to play a critical role in transforming society by weighing in on and influencing public opinion on a host of issues similar to the way Mary Welsh Hemmingway and Jacqueline Saix did for TIME magazine when they were amongst the first of a small group of women war correspondents reporting from the front-line during World War II (with Mary becoming a major factor in Ernest Hemingway’s life, and Jacqueline remarkably becoming one of the first female television producers for the BBC after the war). How do you see the role and importance of women parenting bloggers on young women, and how can these women make a difference in the lives of young women through their writing?

Women parenting bloggers are examples of empowered women; empowered mothers. Just by reading their blogs, young women can learn a great deal. These mom-bloggers spark the awareness of possibility in young women, and the young women also exposed to a different world – one that could become theirs someday. Young women are able to consider new opinions and ideas and get to know themselves better by asking themselves if they agree with the viewpoints expressed.

How do you have fun?

For a long time, I had forgotten how to have fun and right now I’m relearning what fun means. But I do love to listen to music, spend time with friends, experience new things, read, write, sometimes play the piano or recorder, and occasionally watch a really good movie with substance!

What makes you happy?

People achieving their dreams. Also, writing and being able to make a difference through my writing. 

What is a hero to you?

Someone who stands up for what they believe in despite opposition, serves others, has compassion for others, and pushes the boundaries for a good reason.

Do you have a book coming out, and if so, what is it about?

Yes – our book, Leave No Girl Behind: How To Help Girls Become The Change In Our World, will be launched in South Africa on the 27th of October. It is my second book and Shameema’s first. This book has a two-fold purpose: to inspire and empower girls, as well as to raise awareness about why girls’ empowerment is important and what it will mean to the world. We also share share the Help-Her-Help-Herself Project with our readers – a simple way to make a difference in a girl’s life with very little time, money and skills, and something that even children are able to participate in.

What’s really special about this book is that it is not just our words in it – we have many contributors worldwide with such unique messages and stories. Some, like Dr Wayne Dyer, are very well known, while others are people who have an incredible message for girls and are really passionate about girls’ empowerment. They all stand with us and together we have all created this powerful book.

When a young girl is in a volatile situation, what should she do?

She should find someone supportive to talk to – just verbalizing her challenge and her feelings makes such a difference. And from there she’ll feel strong enough to develop an action plan or to speak to someone who can help her professionally. If there is no one to talk to, she can journal her feelings and her situation so that she can take a step back and look at her situation objectively. Having said this, I’m very aware that a great many girls in volatile situations don’t have ready access to help and many don’t have the education to be able to journal…there are no simple answers, but I do know that the long-term answer lies in educating and empowering girls.

How important is it to believe in yourself and to find your voice even when you think nobody else does and you think nobody else hears you?

You are the only one who can change your life. You are the one with the power. Whether you use that power is up to you. So even if no one else believes in you or no one else hears you, you still have the choice to believe in yourself and find your voice – and this gives you what you need to empower yourself and literally transform your life. A great example is Oprah Winfrey, one of my greatest teachers and my hero. You have to realise that it takes work, though. It is a process, but you are worth the time and effort.

What’s next?

We’re taking Leave No Girl Behind International to the next level in various ways – new programs, creating more awareness of our organization and just the need for girls’ empowerment in general, and also making a difference with our radio show which we’ve taken a short sabbatical from. We want to interact with more girls in more places. We want to move with our changing world so that we can always stay in the know about what girls have to face, and by doing so, be equipped to make a difference.

                                * * *

It is my privilege to share the incredible mission that Haseena Patel and Shameema Patel are on.  Their effort, determination, and desire to make a difference in the lives of young women and growing girls is so important to the face of our planet and the direction of mankind.

To learn more about the Leave No Girl Behind International movement, please visit their offical website.  To visit Leave No Girl Behind on Facebook, please click here.

In parting, I would like to thank Haseena and Shameema for allowing me to come into your life, and equally, for teaching me, through example, about how important it is to Leave No Girl Behind.