Updated: Apr 15
We are very excited to present our candidates to you for our 2023/2024 cycle. We asked each candidate to write something about themselves to help us get to know them. During our May 25, Annual Membership Meeting, we will vote these candidates in and they will start their term in June 2023.
President: Veronica Hannah
Hello Neighbors! I was born and raised in Lima, Peru and came to the United States in 1990 to attend college in California. I studied Political Science at the University of California, Berkeley in the Bay Area, followed by a law degree from UC Berkeley School of Law. For nearly the next decade, I practiced law between San Francisco and Los Angeles, with the majority of my career spent as a Public Defender for Los Angeles County.
In 2006, I met my now husband Jeffrey on the eHarmony on-line dating site. He convinced me to move to Ann Arbor to be near his family (and the weather), and we were married in 2007 - celebrating our reception at the Michigan Union (he is the biggest Michigan football fan on the planet). In 2008, we welcomed our daughter Alex and she keeps us busy as a Pioneer High School freshman with a year-round schedule of swimming, theater, and lots of academic pursuits.
I have been active in International Neighbors since the Spring of 2015, and have enjoyed co-leading the Advanced Reading Group for many years, and previously participated in Chat & Chew as well as Carmen’s Cooking Group. When I’m not shuffling from IN member meetings, various school runs and volunteering, I love to read, travel internationally (we just had a wonderful trip to Scotland), and enjoy the companionship of our beloved Golden Retriever, Abby. I look forward to meeting you and serving as your leader to help grow International Neighbors in membership, engagement, and collaborative activities in the year ahead!
Vice-President: Stephanie Bunker
Our family--my husband, two daughters, two grandchildren and I--moved from Connecticut to Ann Arbor in 2021 to help support our daughters while they pursue doctoral degrees. I enjoy reading, cooking, volunteering, thrifting, and traveling. I currently volunteer at International Neighbors (treasurer), the Kiwanis Thrift Sale, and the Ann Arbor Library, where I price vintage/collectible books and serve on the board of the Friends of the Ann Arbor District LIbrary.
I met my husband, Dr. Shahrukh Khan, while we were both graduate students at the University of Michigan. We subsequently lived in Islamabad for 12 years, from 1983-86 and from 1993-2002. In Pakistan, I worked for the English daily The Muslim when Pakistan was under martial law in the eighties, and in 1996 joined the United Nations World Food Programme for Afghanistan as their report writer and then the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) for Afghanistan as the spokesperson. In 2002, I was transferred to UN Headquarters in New York, where I served as principal spokesperson and press secretary for the Under-Secretary General of OCHA.
Ambassador Coordinator: Maja Ivanovic Rakos
Hello all, my name is Maja (Mah-yah) Ivanovic Rakos, I come from Croatia, and my husband and I moved to the United States in 2011. We live in Canton, MI and have two children aged 7 and 10. I am an EFL teacher by profession, I speak 8 foreign languages, and I have many years of experience in working with children, youth and adults in the field of education, travel, culture and community work.
I have been a member of International Neighbors for several years now, first as a member of many groups, and in the past few years as a Coordinator of the Cultural Encounters Group. Last year I helped organize International Neighbors’ first Art Fair which was a huge success. I also help out on the IN Website Committee making sure our news reaches all our members on a variety of media.
Since moving to the US, I have volunteered and worked on a large number of positions such as teaching Croatian to children of Croatian origin, teaching American Sign Language to preschoolers, running my own website, volunteering as a pod leader for a Special Interest group called Calm the Chaos parenting, and in the past year I have choreographed three theater plays in Plymouth, MI for Ovation Performing Arts.
I enjoy participating in different groups and lending a helping hand when needed.
Treasurer: Adriana Rodriguez
We moved to Ann Arbor in the fall of 2016. Previously, we had been living in Europe - London for 11 years where my son Jack and daughter Annaclare were born and then Zürich for two years where we adopted our black lab Winston. And while I was born and raised in Texas, in my adult life I have lived in DC and Seattle, along with extended stays in Manhattan, Chicago, and Paris. To top off my international credentials, my father is from Bogotá, Colombia where I still have extended family.
I enjoy sewing, knitting, reading, traveling and volunteering. Locally I have volunteered with the Washtenaw Health Department Covid clinics, Ypsilanti Meals on Wheels, and various PTOs. My board experience includes serving as the Board Chair for a small special education advocacy nonprofit and as the Corresponding Secretary for the Executive Board of the Ann Arbor PTO Council. And while the kids are both at Huron high school (Go River Rats!), we take Winston on long walks in our neighborhood but he prefers long naps on our couch.
I have a BA from the University of Notre Dame (Go Irish!) where I met my husband and a JD from Georgetown University Law Center.