Our Board of Directors

Amy Bowers, President and Chair, joined the GAPE Board in 2012 after finishing a year-long contract working for the organization in Pakse, Laos. She is a graduate from the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she earned bachelors degrees in Anthropology and Southeast Asian studies, with a particular interest in Lao studies. She spent 2014 in Luang Phrabang, serving as Program Coordinator for the nonprofit organization Community Learning International. Currently she works at Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare.


Marcia Harrr Bailey Bio PictureMarcia Harr Bailey, Vice President and Vice Chair, joined the GAPE board in 2013.  She is an Assistant Professor of Entrepreneurship at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville with ten years of experience working in Southeast Asia.  For her doctoral work, she adapted a service-learning model to the Laotian context to serve as a grassroots development initiative.  In 2009, she served as a Fulbright U.S. student grantee to Laos.  Since then, she founded Poom Loom, a project that educates, engages, and empowers youth volunteers while promoting social progress in rural Laos. The model is expanding into a unique college that will train youth in sustainable development through mobile classrooms that serve in rural villages.

Jake Buhler

Jake Buhler, Secretary and Treasurer, is a Saskatchewan born educator who worked as a school principal for 15 years before spending 20 years in Asia in poverty reduction programs working for Mennonite Central Committee and the Canadian Government. He is currently self-employed and active in the Mennonite Church, working out of Saskatoon. He has graduate degrees in theology and education, and currently enjoys looking after 6 grandchildren. One of his pursuits is genealogy.


Peter Swift joined the GAPE Board in 2012. He is currently a graduate student in Geography at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Between 1994 and 2012 he served as Executive director of the US-based Southeast Asia Development Program (SADP), which has programs in Cambodia.


Phetsakhone Profile PhotoPhetsakhone Somphongbouthakanh, joined the GAPE board in 2015. She was born into a farming family in northern Laos. She has over 10 years of experience working with local communities, civil society organizations and donors in Laos and mainland South East Asia. She is now working as a gender and community livelihood improvement consultant. She graduated with degrees in economics (2002) and gender studies (2011). Her main career goal is to work with and listen to marginalized people and assist in having their voices heard.