Founders & Staff
President & Co-Founder
Mario Mattei, visionary, social entrepreneur, independent photographer, documentary filmmaker & family man. He is the President & Co-Founder of the both the International Guild of Visual Peacemakers (IGVP) and Visual Peace Media.
At age 4 he declared, “The way to know the future is to plan ahead.” In kindergarten he stayed in from recess to draw. When his father took him camping & hunting in Arizona, he shouldered a camera. Educated at the Art Institute of Phoenix in Creative Multimedia, Mario began professional life as a web designer and creative director. On the side, he pursued photography, published poetry, wrote fiction, invested in real estate, and recorded an EP with Black Box Burning. His love for photography & backpacking culminated in a 6 month stint living & working in Kashmir, India with world photographer Matt Brandon. There he co-founded Miltsar Poetry Group among graduates of the University of Kashmir. Arriving home he founded Sun Dried Ink Writers ’ Group and received his BA in English & Creative Writing from Arizona State University. In 2009, Mario moved with his young family to Turkey to pursue visual peacemaking. He has published two photography books on Turkey & produced two micro-documentaries, all emphasizing common humanity.
Today, he continues to work as an independent photographer and visual storyteller. His current documentary film project, Dance the Past into the Future, explores the changing culture of northeast Turkey with a focus on the most transcendent, human elements that will live on.
Mario is passionate about peacemaking, justice, Jesus, visual storytelling & leadership. He is drawn to stories & their power to create meaning, to document, entertain, guide, and to connect humanity. Mario is native to the U.S. but resides in Turkey with his supportive wife, Angela, & three small children.
Joshua Smith is a visionary, artist, & documentary photographer. He is the Vice President of the International Guild of Visual Peacemakers.
Joshua was born and raised in Dallas, Texas. He studied photography and art history at the University of North Texas, and afterward became an aircraft mechanic to try his hand at something tangible outside the world of ideas. It wasn’t until he completed an assignment in Kenya that photography started to become more than a passion. Photography became a way to express his experiences and create a visual witness to these events. He continues traveling to the horn of Africa, a place mostly misunderstood and in need of visual peacemaking.
Joshua is passionate about visual storytelling, art, peacemaking, and the grand narrative of our shared humanity. He currently lives in Dallas, with his wife Melissa and their newborn son Moses. They are planning to move back to East Africa later this year to pursue peacemaking through a long form project documenting the lives of Somalis.
Director of Operations & Development & Co-Founder
Logan's first word –“light”— was said while lying on his back looking up towards the vast nothingness of his then living room ceiling. Shortly after uttering his first word he decided it was time to walk. According to his mother, "Logan didn't practice walking, he just did it one day." Since taking his first step, and very shortly there after his first fall, he has learned that "failing forward" (to quote John Maxwell) and speaking in third person can mean the difference between mediocrity and achievement. His favorite place is a place known as the "Possimipible."
A native of the US, he now resides in Turkey with his beautiful and amazing wife and daughter, April and Esther. While growing up in the South Eastern United States he saw the residual effects of negative stereotypes cast upon his community and himself. After graduating from Berry College with a liberal arts education he entered the world of start-ups and small businesses. While working for small businesses Logan gained experience in operations and finance but also found that he missed the creativity that his youth afforded him. He soon began exploring the photographic world to help renew the creative aspect his life was missing. Logan is passionate about Jesus; breaking down stereotypes; peacemaking; justice; all things technology; Kentucky Wildcats Sports; soccer (futbol to the rest of the world); & the narrative of humanity as a whole and of the individual.
Managing Director & IT Specialist & Co-Founder
John Machado, an IT professional, was born and grew up in central California in the United States where he was surrounded by agriculture and farming. Like many boys, John’s favorite things were swimming, bike riding, building forts in trees, shooting guns, and taking things apart to see how they worked. Not taking notice in the surrounding agriculture or farming, John’s interests soon went to the world of technology and computers. Upon graduating from The University of Advancing Technology, he immediately began working professionally in IT for a Law Firm in Arizona. John met his beautiful wife Leanna at work and married her 11 months later. Now living in Turkey, they have a daughter Lily and son Jonah.
Throughout his life, John has been surrounded by diverse cultures and ethnicities. A minority in his elementary school, he had friends who were from multiple backgrounds. He was exposed to ethnic and cultural stereotypes, both good and bad, and witnessed racist thought in multi-ethnic environments. As a result, John is “stoked” to be a part of IGVP. As the world continues to globalize, he sees a huge need for people to more fully understand and respect one another and their cultures. John also finds joy in surfing, time with family, technology, Turkish food, Jesus, and peacemaking.
Strategic Catalyst & Co-Founder
Jim Mullins, visionary & social entreprenuer, is the co-founder and Vice President of Peace Catalyst International, an organization that exists to catalyze and promote peacemaking initiatives with a special focus on Muslim-Christian relations. Jim has extensive experience working with non-profit organizations and faith communities. Along with being a co-founder of IGVP, Jim has founded Missing Piece International, the Moravian Community, the K-Town Project, and the Peace Feast Project.
He began thinking about peacemaking shortly after 9/11. Negative news coverage about the Muslim world had a detrimental impact on him. The negative images played a significant role in cultivating an ethnocentric attitude that led Jim to promote violence. Ultimately, Jesus' teaching about peacemaking transformed him, cultivating a more loving and respectful attitude toward other cultures.
Melissa Smith was born and raised in Cedar Hill, TX, but from a young age she was fascinated by other cultures. Her grandmother spent the last 20 years of her life traveling around the world, where after each trip she would give Melissa a doll representing the country she visited, furthering her interest in other cultures. Melissa is a singer, songwriter, poet, musician, writer, editor, and a self-proclaimed organizational enthusiast.
She graduated from the University of North Texas, where she majored in International Studies. During her time at the university her passion to love & serve humanity grew. After college she was quickly hired as the Administrator of a non-profit, Peacemakers Incorporated, which is most known for hosting International Women’s Peace Conferences in Dallas.
Melissa is married to Joshua Smith, her love & adventure partner, and with whom she is expecting her first child, Moses, in July. Melissa highly values accurate, concise, and motivational communication, which is why she is so eager to work for IGVP in Communications.
At a very young age, Manal Fashi, realized that she was given something--a gift. It was something outside of her ability to conceive, and now this gift, at the age of 26 has found its true home. Jordanian by birth, Palestinian by origin, and a resident of America for the past 9 years, Manal lacks no diversity in expression, culture, food, art, travel, philosophical and religious insight. During her time at the University of North Texas, Manal's interests, skills and relationships received refinement, which led to a degree in Communication Design, History, and a heart ignited with passion for people. She joins the IGVP team in hopes to both serve people and to, combined with her gift, create a purposeful fusion.
We want to thank all of those involved with developing the idea of visual peacemaking and IGVP’s online platform—especially the unique contributions of each of the 8 founding Guild members: Matt Brandon, David DuChemin, Nicole Gibson, Gavin Gough, Jeffrey Chapman, Kerry Lammi, Matt Powell, and Ami Vitale.
A special thanks goes to our Strategic Catalyst, Jim Mullins, for sparking our initial conversations, for recognizing the need for visual peacemaking, and for mobilizing the first thought leaders.
We thank Dr. Howard Zehr, professor of restorative justice, Center for Justice & Peacebuilding, Eastern Mennonite University, for believing in IGVP, modeling a life of peace and justice, and for bringing his mind and heart to the IGVP Ethical Code.
The endorsers who gave us their vote of confidence from the very beginning are very much appreciated. Two have not been mentioned yet. Thank you, Dr. Abdel Azim Elsiddig, professor of Islamic Law-Islamic American University-Chicago. Thank you, Dr. Sayyid M. Syeed, National Director, Office for Interfaith & Community Alliances, & Islamic Society of North America.
The Founders express gratitude to the early volunteers, Tim Humble, Javier Acebal, and Marissa Villa. And there will always be something special about those first blog posts from the temporary blog. We want to remember and thank those initial volunteer visionary contributors: Ian Rowland, Luna Vives, Javier Acebal, Dave Christensen, and the others who’ve already been listed above.
And finally, we thank you, our members, because you are doing the work of visual peacemaking and creating the culture of this community.