vision & mission | history | staff | board of directors
MRI executive director, Steven Botkin, with Men's and Women's Action Groups in Nimba, Liberia
Men’s Resources International (MRI) helps men around the globe practice and promote a healthy, compassionate, and responsible model of masculinity. Our approach is to identify and support men’s networks in all stages of development, and provide training, coaching, materials, and technical assistance to help these networks grow in size and effectiveness and to connect with other like-minded men's and women's organizations.
All of our programs welcome male and female participants, and promote community-based leadership with men and women as partners. We use participatory, experiential education to promote personal growth, leadership development and organizational sustainability.
In 2004, twenty two years after founding the Men’s Resource Center for Change, executive director Dr. Steven Botkin envisioned a new organization that would connect, strengthen and support like-minded men’s programs around the world. Men’s Resources International (MRI) was incorporated as a nonprofit later that year.
Soon after, MRI was contacted for by Stephen Mbati, a Zambian man seeking guidance on the development of a Zambian Men’s Network. MRI organized and sponsored a U.S. study tour for Mr. Mbati, culminating in a joint presentation with Steven Botkin at the United Nations’ “Working with Men and Boys for Gender Equality” training institute for delegates to the “Beijing+10” Commission on the Status of Women conference.
This presentation sparked dialogue and connections with a number of African activists and marked the beginning of MRI’s continuing work with African organizations.
In 2005, James Arana, a social worker, MRI consultant, and co-visionary, accepted the position of Associate Director, becoming MRI’s second staff member. In April of 2006, MRI hired marketing and communications director, Daniel Coyne and moved to its present offices on Main Street in Springfield, Massachusetts.
In response to a growing stream of inquiries and requests, MRI has conducted workshops and provided consultations and technical assistance locally, nationally and internationally working with U.S. groups in Massachusetts, New Mexico, Texas, Washington, and Vermont, and international groups from Bolivia, Brussels, Canada, and Pakistan. Beginning in 2006, James and Steven have made multiple trips each year to various African countries including Zambia, Nigeria, Liberia, and Rwanda to conduct onsite trainings and consultations.
Additionally, MRI has partnered with major international aid organizations, and participates in inter-organizational roundtables dealing with global issues of health, gender, and violence.
Steven D. Botkin, Ed.D.
Executive Director Emeritus, Men’s Resource Center for Change
In 2004 Steven left this position and founded Men’s Resources International to support the development of men’s programs in diverse communities and build a global network. Dr. Botkin lectures, leads workshops and provides consultations for colleges, organizations and individuals throughout the United States and the world, including the United Nations, Japan, Zambia, Nigeria, Liberia and Rwanda.
Steven is a 2006 recipient of the William Pynchon Medal: an honor bestowed to “individuals from the region who have demonstrated exceptional community service with compassion, humility and grace.”
James Arana, a native of Belize and former resident of the Bronx, is a social worker and community organizer with over 25 years of experience. Before joining MRI, Mr. Arana spent 4 years providing direct services and strategic consulting in Western Massachusetts as a prevention specialist for the Western Mass. Prevention Center, Cooley Dickenson Hospital, and the Men’s Resource Center for Change.
Prior to his work in Massachusetts, James Arana spent over two decades working in community development in New York City’s South Bronx through Unitas Therapeutic Community. Under the tutelage of Dr. Edward Eismann, Ph.D., James trained promising young adults to become mentors for at-risk children and teens in their own neighborhoods. The program garnered international attention for its positive impact on school attendance and community involvement while reducing gang participation, street and domestic violence, and unwanted teenage pregnancy.
James spends his free time teaching Martial Arts and writing poetry.
Arif Mehmood is a community development and fund raising professional with over eighteen years of work experience with the national and international humanitarian organizations. Prior to joining the Men’s Resources International in December 2013, Arif worked for Concern Worldwide Liberia as Assistant Country Director — Programs (2012 -2013) and was responsible to ensure development and quality implementation of Concern’s poverty outcomes focused country program and overseeing the implementation of donor grants. As short term Consultant, he facilitated the development of CARE Liberia’s Long Range Strategic Plan 2013-2017. For CARE Cambodia, Arif worked as Program Coordinator and managed a number of rural development and Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) projects. Dr Arif headed the Program Development and Quality Assurance Unit at CARE Pakistan (2007-2009), which provided critical support to the country programs including monitoring and evaluation, gender and diversity, learning and knowledge management and program development.
From 2004 to 2007, Arif managed Oxfam GB’s ‘We Can’ Campaign — a national level initiative aimed at creating a fundamental shift in the attitudes and behaviors that perpetuate violence against women and the practice of ‘honor’ killing, implemented in 25 districts of Pakistan through alliance building with over 200 government and civil society organizations. As Management Coordinator for DFID’s Gender Equality Project (2003-2004), Arif managed the appraisal and grant disbursement processes for the projects implemented by the government and CSOs in thematic areas of political, legal and economic empowerment of women and GBV prevention in Pakistan. From 1997 to 2003, Arif worked as In-Charge Field Operations at Family Planning Association of Pakistan, where he provided strategic leadership to the field teams to ensure quality implementation of programs. After graduating from Punjab Medical College, Arif began his career in 1994 with DFID’s Faisalabad Area Upgrading Project where he developed and implemented a community based health and environmental care strategy focused on safe motherhood, nutrition & hygiene education and sanitation interventions. Arif has been successful in securing major donor funding by designing multi-disciplinary projects assisting communities in healthcare, human rights, women’s economic empowerment, GBV prevention, rural development, food security, water/sanitation, etc — both for development and for humanitarian emergency response.
Pascal Akimana has been has been working with men and boys to end gender-based violence all of his adult life. As a child he experienced domestic and community violence in his home country of Burundi. From these experiences, he committed his life to working to end violence in all its forms, and to supporting the peaceful development of his country.
Pascal has worked with EngenderHealth and Sonke Gender Justice Network in South Africa, as well as with MRI and the International Rescue Committee in Cote D'Ivoire. He is the founder of Umoja Now, based in both the United States and Burundi, whose mission is “to build sustainable peace by uniting men and women to work together to promote gender equality, and to end sexual and gender-based violence.” Pascal is fluent in French and Kirundi in addition to English.
David M Thompson (Board Chair)
Retired school counselor
Springfield Department of Health and Human Services