Director of TRACES and Spuren e.V. (Germany)

For the Spuren e.V. website, please click on the red link above, as it contains information about our German counterpart (i.e. its associates, volunteers, Board of Director members)

Michael Luick-ThramsMichaelLuickThrams
A child of the wide, open prairies, I grew up on a farm in Iowa where the Thramses, then the Luicks lived and worked for 105 years. My family has been in North America since 1630. We came from the British Isles, the Netherlands, several Germanic regions and Denmark. Over those 400 years, we’ve been part of the classic American experience—the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, the Californian Gold Rush and Westward Migration. We participated in both World Wars, the Civil Rights “movement” before it was one, and the cultural revolution of the 1960s and ’70s. We also, however, were touched by national tragedies such as the Ku Klux Klan revival of the 1920s, the head-in-the-sand McCarthy era of the 1950s and the U.S.’s criminal war in Iraq. (Ironically, it was my country’s constant readiness to wage war—specifically, Jimmy Carter’s reinstating draft registration in 1980—that led me to become first a pacifist, then, at age 17, a Quaker.) Such a colorful heritage, however, not only enriches a family, but calls it to bear responsibility to build a better future. This rare legacy, in part, motivates my working as well as private life—every day, day after day.


Irving KellmanIrving_Kellman
I was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on 20 December 1946 at St. Mary’s Hospital, the only hospital in the city that would allow Jewish doctors to do the work they had trained for. My parents were both born in Russia at the turn of the century and came to the United States as young children—my mother to Chicago, my father to Minneapolis, where they met in 1937 and married in 1938.
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I graduated from high school in 1964 and began traveling the country soon after—New York City in fall 1964, and Washington DC in spring 1965 for the first anti-Viet Nam War rally held in the nation’s capital. In the summer of 1965 I braved my way to Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama to do civil rights work, and then to New York, DC, Chicago and San Francisco in late ‘65 and early ’66, doing anti-war organizing and protests. I stayed in San Francisco for the hippie era and “Summer of Love” in ‘66-‘67. In 1968 I moved to Los Angeles and got a job managing the Cinemateque 16 in Hollywood, the foremost “underground film” theater in the country, showing avant-garde and experimental films by Robert Downey Sr., Stan Brachage, and the early works of Andy Warhol, among others.
I returned to Minnesota in 1970 and attended the U of M for two years, studying humanities and philosophy. I left for Canada and the Queen Charlotte Islands off the coast of British Columbia in ’73, came back in ’74 and got a job as a deckhand and first mate on tow boats, pushing barges on the inland rivers of the mid-continent. For the next eight years I lived nowhere and everywhere, working and living on the tow boats eight months of the year, traveling all over the rest of the U.S. the other four.
In 1982 I married an artist who painted in the sumi-e style of Japan, and opened an art and handmade crafts gallery in Wayzata, Minnesota. The marriage and the gallery both went belly up in 1991, and I again began drifting around the U.S., visiting old friends, making new ones, and working a myriad of odd jobs. In 1995 I began delivering pizzas for a pizzeria in an upscale suburb of Minneapolis and enjoyed life for 11 years before growing bored—when I once again began a quest for something new and different to do with my life. Along came Michael Luick-Thrams, a TRACES ad for a “BUS driver” on Craigs List, and a new adventure in traveling the backroads of the American Heartland.
Driving the BUS was one of the most challenging and gratifying jobs I have ever had. I drove the two BUS-eums for several years, across 25 U.S. states, to hundreds of showings for tens of thousands of people. I found it challenging, keeping a 40-foot-long bus going straight and being on time while navigating the winding and narrow paths of the back roads that comprise the heart of Mid-America; gratifying in meeting the wonderful and colorful people who populate those back roads. After half a decade’s respite, I look forward to again accompanying the BUS-eum around the American Heartland.



Suhaib Khalaf

10494611_10203380227376921_8270505131368094187_nI was born on 25 March 1994 in Amman, the capital of Jordan. I started the elementary school in Jordan, but I finished high school in Saudi Arabia. In 2012, I started my bachelor degree in International Accounting at German Jordanian University. As a part of my studying program, I have to spend one year in Germany to study and to undergo an internship. After finishing the first semester at Dortmund University of Applied Sciences and Arts (FH Dortmund) in the west of Germany, I started searching for an internship. Upon the recommendations of friends, I found TRACESpuren as a good choice for me. Here, I can gain experience not only in accounting but also in management and in participating with other people in another activities. In addition to getting the chance to see  another part of Germany (the east of Germany). I’m pretty sure that after finishing my internship at TRACESpuren I can go back to Jordan with new ideas and excellent experience in my major and another important thing how to deal with new cultures.

Hussam Khouryhuss 22
I was born on 15 March 1993 to a Christian-Arab family in Amman, the capital of Jordan. I studied accounting at the German Jordanian University, and went abroad for a year in Dresden, where I studied international business in the HTW (Hochschule fuer Technik für Wirtschaft) Dresden and did my internship with TRACESpuren, where I met people from different cultures who are volunteers for the greater cause, and their goal is to stop racism and xenophobia. I learned a lot from their enthusiasm to deliver to thousands of others the message of this two-country, non-profit educational organization.more ...

I also took part in the international conference for Economics, Business and Financial Challenges in MENA & GCC Countries*. Moreover, I got certificates in the “Financial Statements and Balance Sheet Components” as well as in “Forecasting & Budgeting”. I will not stop there: I’m planning to earn more certificates in the field of accounting in order to get a master’s degree.
Other than my studies, I am a big fan of sports. I used to play soccer, basketball, field athletics and ended with boxing, which I dedicated part of my life to practice.
I look forward to the day when racism will end and peace will come to the world, where I will try my best to help in any way that I’m capable of, to erase racist ideas from the people who are around me.

*(Note: refers to the MENA – Middle East & North Africa countries; “GCC” refers to the Gulf Cooperation Council, to which belong Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, Katar, Bahrain and United Arab Emirates [UAE])

Seyedmahmoud Monemian15398937_10207211830564606_957961417_o

I was born on the 7th of February 1984 in Tehran, Iran.I did my pre- university studies in Tehran and startedmy Bachelor studies at the Faculty of Forestry and Forest Economics at the University of Tehran, Iran.In 2012, I was adnitted to theGeorg- August UniversitätGöttingen to pursue my graduate studies in Tropical and International Forestry.At the moment, I am working with Spuren to get to know the people and a variety of cultures, customs and ideas from all icer the world as well as introducing my culture and country to the people with the aim of integration .


Belinda Sidabutar10982870_10205728083618167_8411528338623582352_o (2)
Born to an Indonesian diplomatic family offered me a rich experience with people and cultures, seeing that life is pretty much the same everywhere on Earth, with differences on how humans live their lives, in accordance to the environment and tradition passed on to them. Having been born in Berlin, Germany and grown up in Indonesia, North Korea, the Philippines, Greece, Vietnam and Canada helped me see that despite the geographical boundaries and what is seen as cultural differences, it boils down to one reality: We are all humans, who need to be treated, understood and valued as humans. As a Christian I want to honor God with my background. TRACES is the perfect place to do that.more ...

Having pursued music, teaching and linguistics as well as architecture out of interest for each respective field, as well as being given wide opportunities, I am currently continuing my master’s degree in architecture at the Technische Universität Dresden, with an eye on carrying out projects between Indonesia and Germany in the future. I am taught to live up to my name which stands for Berlin and Indonesia, giving me a great desire to bring both countries closer together in the future.

Board of Directors

Current Members

Lynne Carey408008_web_11-28-Government-Page-Lynne-Carey-mug
The Director of the Ames Public Library (APL), I began my tenure at APL as a temporary hourly worker while attending ISU, fell in love with its mission and never left. In previous years, I also was heavily involved in politics, serving as campaign manager for several candidates and working as an administrative assistant in the Iowa Legislature. I received a BS from ISU in psychology and women’s studies. I’m also one of the rare Story County natives who stayed put. My Iranian-born spouse, Navid Emami, and I love traveling, but appreciate the small town living that Iowa offers. I possess extensive experience with program planning for all ages at APL, and am a successful grant writer and fundraiser, currently working with the Ames Public Library Foundation.


Sandy HarmelIMG_8561
A devoted grandmother, friend of felines everywhere and a staunch fan of history, I’ve worked with Michael Luick-Thrams and TRACES since 2008. As director of Cedar County Historical Society in Tipton, Iowa, I oversee the stewardship of the world’s only permanent exhibit about the Scattergood Hostel for European refugees, which existed in the far southwest corner of Tipton County. For more information about its mission and work, visit the CCHS’s website.


Paul Juhl
After graduating high school in Webster City, Iowa, I attended the University of Iowa, Iowa City, for an undergraduate degree in history and education.  A few years later, I attended the University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls, for a Master’s Degree in College Student Personnel Work.  I also have additional graduate work at the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley.
 My career choice was being an educator in secondary education and I worked at various schools, both public and private.  Most of these years I served as a high school guidance counselor.  The most unique experience was, perhaps, the years spent working at Institut Montana, a private boarding school in Zugerberg, Switzerland.  This is the same school attended by John Kerry, our present Secretary of State, when he was an adolescent.
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 Always maintaining an interest in Iowa history, for the past thirty years I have been an active collector of early Iowa photography.  This has centered on carte de visites, cabinet cards, and stereographs created in the 1870s and 1880s.  The collection numbers well over 3,000 images.  These are all shared with the State Historical Society of Iowa for the use of researchers.
I have also written for a number of historical magazines and have published ten spiral bound books that deal with some portion of Iowa’s fascinating history.  Some of these topics have included the Abraham Lincoln grandchildren, the Pulitzer Prize novelist MacKinlay Kantor, the artist Grant Wood, and the legend of the early years of the actress, Sarah Bernhardt.
My home since 1985 has been in Iowa City, a place where there are several libraries that specialize in Iowa history topics.  In retirement, I have also enjoyed being a frequent speaker on a variety of topics of a historical nature. 


John SchmackerJohn
A Des Moines native and contemporary of Bill Bryson, I’m now a retired accountant and restaurateur who’s still active in Democratic Party and other progressive politics. I enjoy collecting art (especially paintings), throwing parties and scouring the newspaper every morning.

Thomas WeberSAMSUNG
I discovered my calling as a volunteer when 70 children of Southeast Asian and Ethiopian refugees showed up one evening for open gym in Seattle. As the son of newly arrived immigrants as well, I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and graduated with a degree in History from Reed College in Portland. I lived in New Mexico for fifteen years, teaching history, geography and civics to grades 6-12, as well as coaching basketball and Model United Nations. During that time, I earned a second Bachelor’s in Education and an MBA at the University of New Mexico. I served as a middle school director and as head of school for two different schools from 2001 to 2012 before joining Scattergood as its Assistant Head of School in 2013.
I have presented at a number of regional and national conferences about curriculum design and have collaborated actively with other schools on initiatives designed to deepen understanding of students and educators about diversity issues.
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I’m married to textile artist Amy King Weber, who, along with her own work, has been active in building arts organizations in three different communities. Cooking, music, and hiking top the list of my’ many interests, and there’s always time for good conversation, staying in touch with our two grown daughters, and playing or watching a game of basketball.
For a glimpse at what I’m thinking and reading about education, take a look at my Twitter feed.

“Out beyond all notions of wrongdoing and right doing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there. “~ Rumi (1207 – 1273), 13th-century Persian Muslim poet, jurist, theologian, and Sufi mystic
 “What I’ve come to learn is that the world is never saved in grand messianic gestures, but in the simple accumulation of gentle, soft, almost invisible acts of compassion, everyday acts of compassion. In South Africa they have a phrase called ubuntu. Ubuntu comes out of a philosophy that says, the only way for me to be human is for you to reflect my humanity back at me. ” ~Chris Abani (1966), Nigerian author
Former Members

Sally CampbellSally_Campbell
I’m a Quaker singer-songwriter, a personal organizer (a “Friendly de-cluttering consultant”) and an activist for peace, nuclear disarmament, disability rights and the environment. I live on Manhattan’s Upper West Side with my husband, Chuck, who works at the Drama Bookshop on Times Square in Midtown, and our fat and lazy tiger cat, Duncan.
In 1996 I retired from the New York Public Library after 35 years as a children’s librarian at the Library for the Blind and for two years as president of the New York Public Library union.
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After retiring, I spent the last years of my mother’s life with her in my hometown of Guilford, Connecticut, a bittersweet time I would not have missed for the world.
Currently, as well as doing my de-cluttering work, I am an active member of the Morningside Quaker Meeting, which meets Sundays in the Neo-Gothic tower of Riverside Church, and I am on the steering committees of the Peoples Voice Cafe and the Peoples Music Network.  In 2013, at my 70th birthday party/concert I recorded a CD called Giftsongs and Blessings which is available for free by writing me at
I’ve come to believe that we each will be given whatever help we need from the Friendly Spirit if we will just slow down and listen. It is surprising what one may hear—such as the songs I have been given.

Ceceile HartleibCeile-Hartleib
I am a professional artist living and working in St. Paul, Minnesota. I studied art at Atelier LeSueur, which was located in the posh, lakeside suburb of Excelsior. My paintings include portraits, landscapes and still-lifes in oil and watercolor. Garrison Keillor owns my landscape, Cathedral of St. Paul, and my portrait of Nikita Khrushchev hangs in Moscow, Russia, in the collection of Nikita’s son, Sergei Khrushchev. I teach painting in my studio in a converted, studio-filled warehouse in St. Paul, and at a local atelier.
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I’m married to Quaker Terrence Kayser, a former TRACES board member, videographer and community volunteer. I’m active in Groveland Unitarian-Universalist Fellowship, having served two years as president, as well as in several arts organizations, including those involved with St. Paul’s frequent “Art Crawls”. My volunteering with TRACES has included working in the museum, which was located in St. Paul’s Landmark Center for several years. I sold tickets, gave tours and wrote book synopses—even cleaned out the BUS-eum on occasion. I am now serving as chair of TRACES’ board of directors.
A mother of two, with three granddaughters living in Los Angeles, I was born in Sandusky, Ohio, to German-American parents—my father having been born in Germany before immigrating to the Midwest as a young boy. In April 1912 his older siblings and parents literally heard screams from the sinking Titanic as the ship his family was aboard—the George Washington—was on the ocean a few hours east of the Titanic; the following day they passed the site of the sunken “unsinkable” steamship and saw debris from the disappeared ship, bobbing atop the waves.


Alex NelsonAlex-in-Rome
I graduated from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls in spring 2010 with a Bachelor’s degree in History and a minor in Anthropology. After spending three months on a study-abroad tour of Europe, I resolved to become an archeologist specializing in Classical-Mediterranean civilizations. I have continued my education and currently…