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  In recent weeks, the foundation board has been pleased to welcome two new members, both of whom have impressive credentials in leadership development and education in “authentic friendship.”

Thomas G. Hardy has been an informal advisor to NAEIF since its inception. As his profile states, he brings thirty years of experience in educational administration, teaching, and corporate training.

Thomas Méndez received our Dr. Robert H. Jackson Leadership Award in December 2009. He is presently a Rotarian Ambassadorial Scholar in Argentina studying international economics and politics. Simultaneously, together with fellow graduates of the University of St. Thomas, he is organizing a new foundation in Houston aimed at launching a challenging summer enrichment program for students. NAEIF has made a “start-up” grant to “The Paideia Institute” in the summer of 2010. See his board profile for more information.


NAEIF president Theodore Wills (left) presenting the 2009 Dr. Robert H. Jackson Leadership Award to Thomas Méndez of the University of St. Thomas Class of 2009. Click here to read University of St. Thomas president Dr. Robert Ivany's (right) letter of recommendation for the award.

Read the University of St. Thomas news article on Thomas Méndez and the Dr. Robert H. Jackson award published by the  their website or read a PDF copy of the news article here (printed with permission from the University of St. Thomas).

  From 2007 to 2009, NAEIF helped to organize and facilitate the “Alternative Spring Break Service Program” of DeSales University to Mexico. NAEIF introduced the university to our partner Misión Mazahua ( (an ecumenical social services provider) so that nursing students might have the opportunity to offer basic medical services to indigenous communities three hours north of Mexico City. In the spring of 2008, NAEIF sponsored a meeting at DeSales University between the program directors, faculty, the leaders of Misión Mazahua, and the foundation.

  Promote our online essay series concerning Aristotle's teachings on friendship, leadership and solidarity written by Professor Michael Pakaluk, previously of Clark University and presently Professor of Philosophy and Director of Integrative Research at the Institute for the Psychological Sciences. The essay series is named after the world famous advocate of indigenous rights, Fray Bartolomé de las Casas.

  In the summers of 2005 and 2007, NAEIF organized the North American Leadership Institute ( in collaboration with the Universidad Panamericana and Misión Mazahua in Mexico. The purpose of the Institute is to challenge college leaders to become better advocates of human dignity wherever it is under siege. Misión Mazahua is dedicated to preserving that particular indigenous cultures north of Mexico City. Now that NAEIF has created this innovative model of academic and experiential learning, our top priority is to share the program with colleges and universities. The Provost of DeSales University performed an academic audit of the inaugural program and concluded that the course of studies is worthy of six credit hours.

From 2000 to 2007, the foundation sponsored a youth soccer team in an under-privileged neighborhood in Mexico City. During those years, the volunteer coach took his boys from being the "Bad News Bears" to league champions. Here is a slideshow of the team celebrating their tournament victory in December 2006.


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NAEIF is proud to have co-sponsored the "Pan-American Student Symposium on Solidarity and Volunteerism" which was held on January 28 and 29th of 2005 at the Universidad Panamericana in Mexico City. Professor Michael Pakaluk and NAEIF President Ted Wills were among the featured speakers. The Symposium was organized by an international student committee led by Dr. Georgina Pérez-Liz, the winner of NAEIF's 2004 Leadership Award  and recently named Chair of Our Board of Directors. To see the conference program, click here.  To read Professor Michael Pakaluk's speech on "Friendship as the Basis of Volunteerism," click here.  

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