Alumni Notes: Fall 2017
Posted 10/23/2017 12:00PM

Campo Base

The Power of Nature

"A small enclave of determined and dedicated human beings can make a difference," Mrs. Fleming wrote in 1995, and she would no doubt shine with pride when learning about a new initiative founded by three alumni sisters. Olivia Rasini '99, Sofia Rasini '99, and Thea Rasini '02 recently started a nonprofit organization, Campo Base, that runs summer camps, retreats, and workshops for adults and children living with serious illnesses or psychological challenges.

"Our aim is to provide a medically safe environment where participants can experience a variety of outdoor and creative activities," Sofia said. "We want to bring together a community that will help increase individuals' self-esteem through empowering programming."

Based at Castel Campo, Trentino, in northern Italy, Campo Base stems from each Rasini sister's work with international organizations and nonprofits. TASIS also plays a role. "We lost our father to cancer while all three of us were at TASIS," Sofia said, "and that experience coupled with the powerful idea of community service we were introduced to in high school had a very clear impact on what we are committed to today."

Take Me Home Huey

Huey on PBS

We continue to follow the success of the Take Me Home, Huey project, which features collaborations between three TASIS alumni: artist Steve Maloney PG '61, songwriter Jeanie Cunningham '75, and filmmaker Alicia Brauns '82. Steve transformed a US Army Huey helicopter, known as the "lifeblood of the Vietnam war," into a mixed-media sculpture that has toured the US for nearly three years as the country has commemorated the 50th anniversary of the conflict. The sculpture is intended to stir the memories of veterans and raise awareness for those on their path to recovery from PTSD. Alicia's film Take Me Home, Huey tells the story of Huey #174, which was nearly destroyed during the war, and includes interviews with the crew and stories from the front line. The film follows the transformed Huey #174 as it promotes a journey of healing for surviving soldiers and families of victims.

PBS in the US is currently showing the award-winning film; click here for a list of broadcast times around the country. (Note: some broadcast times have unfortunately already passed.)

Christiansen's Tales

For some, retirement means going for long strolls on a beach, tramping in New Zealand, hiking the Alps, or bagging a Munro. But for former TASIS Hellenic (TH) teacher Karl Christiansen, however, retirement means walking from Windsor to Athens. Yes, that's Windsor, England, to Athens, Greece!

On April 22, Karl began his remarkable 2000-mile journey, loosely following a medieval Pilgrim's route from London to Rome called the Via Francigena before continuing on to Greece, arriving in Athens on September 9, and summiting the Acropolis with his wife Caroline and their daughter, eight-time Paralympic champion British Dressage rider Sophie Christiansen CBE.

Karl's reasons were many; he met his wife while teaching at TH in Athens, he wanted to reflect on nearly 40 years of living abroad, and he wanted to raise funds for two charities very dear to him: Chance for Childhood, which supports programs for vulnerable children around the world (and for whom his daughter is a patron), and Cancer Research UK, in honor of his wife, a cancer survivor, and many friends. Enjoy this video, featuring Sophie and images from Karl's experience, including the family's ascent to the Acropolis.

Bangaly Kaba met up with alumni Denise Chiang '07 and Marika Anastassiadis '07 during a Facebook/Instagram trip to Athens in 2015.

TASIS Alumni Shaping Tech

Many TASIS alumni are working at the edge of tech around the world. One is Peter-Mark Verwoerd '97, currently a Cloud Solutions Architect for Google Cloud Platform. Part of his role involves helping customers learn and use the cloud to best suit their needs. Peter-Mark started working for Google in 2014 after a stint with Amazon Web Services and cloud infrastructure roles at various startups in New York City, Philadelphia, and Boston. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, Peter-Mark lives in NYC.

Former TASIS teacher and 9th Grade Dean Bangaly Kaba is a Project Manager at Facebook and Instagram. He currently manages Instagram's Growth Team, which is composed of several product teams responsible for growing the user base of the app. Bangaly's background is in education and finance; he taught in inner-city DC, spent three years at TASIS, and then shifted into finance and worked for Lehman Brothers, Barclays Capital, and 5th Element Capital before moving to California to found a startup. He spent a year at DIRECTV before starting at Facebook in 2014. He has recently been featured on the Breaking Into Startups podcast, where he shares his perspective on a non-traditional move into Silicon Valley.

Tom Mullen

In Vino Veritas

Stressed? Wanderlusting? Take a moment and peruse Vino Voices, a blog by Tom Mullen '81 that takes the reader to vineyards around the world. Tom's writing style reads as if you're sitting across from him, sharing a bottle of Etalon Rouge (from Tom's own vineyard), and enjoying his stories of the people and places that make up the world of wine.

Tom's posts include places as far-flung as Bhutan and Iceland, and even Ticino! He is the author of two books. Vino Voices (Roundwood Press) introduces readers to the people who create wine in regions around the world, focusing on the winemaking craft and the stories inside each bottle. His most recent book, The Winemakers' Cooking Companion, is a collection of 125 recipes created by vintners from 18 countries. A contributing writer for Forbes, Food52, the Telegraph, and Columbia, Tom writes about wine, food, lifestyle, and culture from his home in Bordeaux, France.

Conversation with Ethiopia

Through a Lens

Congratulations to Giacomo Braglia '14 on his photography exhibit entitled "Conversation with Ethiopia," which was shown at the Contini Art UK gallery in Mayfair, London, from October 6–21. His exhibition focuses on the daily lives of people in rural Ethiopia, a place he holds dear. His previous photography exhibitions have raised funds for Nuove Fiore, one of TASIS's Opsahl Global Service partners and an organization Giacomo has volunteered with since he was 15.

After graduating from TASIS, Giacomo spent a year studying at the European School of Economics London and is currently at Regent's University London studying Global Business Management and Business Administration.

Class of '68: Get Ready to Celebrate!

The Class of '68 will meet for their 50th reunion the weekend of April 27–29, 2018, in Tampa, Florida. They welcome members from the Classes of '67 and '69 as well. Please be in touch by December 1 if you are interested in attending. Contact Pam Springer Bryant for more information.

Stop by Campus for a Visit!

We have been delighted to welcome a steady flow of TASIS alumni back to campus this fall! This year's visits have included, among others, former faculty member John Levett (1991–1998), former summer faculty Nicky Smeulers, and former students Nicole Groet '16, Alper Korustan TSP'06, Edoardo Italia '16, Zak Rostamitehrani '16, Rita Lysenko '05, Fernanda Pires Diaz '93, Marco Mariani '15, Benedetto Santoboni '15, Melissa Swats '12, Isabella Samaniego-Clark '12, Costanza Maraffio '13, Hodna Khelil '89, Juri Vips '19, Eyyub Yagubov '16, Roman Khudoliy '13, Konstantin Goldenberg '16, Massimo Perotti '14, Tennessee Hildebrand  '17, Alex Jones '98, Anastasiia Popova '21, Samantha Giani '16, Menno Ploeg '80, Alessandro Scavia '16, Sertan Untut '98, Céline Cialdini '17, Walker Roe '14, Stepan Bystrov '16, Allyson Cody '11, John Gage '17, Nicolo Piconi '16, Inaki Alvarez '19, Juri Vips '19, Angelo Bonezzi '17, Fiona Struengmann '05, Pernille Lauridsen Larson '88, Yu Chen Lin '96, Harris Ma '95, and Daniel Manzali '13.

Enjoy a gallery of images from this year's visits, and please fill out our Visiting Campus Form or send an email to if you'd like to plan a visit of your own. We look forward to seeing you!


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