310-450-1185 | SPEAKER REQUEST

Mission Statement

The Office of the Americas is a non-profit organization dedicated to furthering the cause of international justice and peace through broad based educational programs. Founded in 1983 in Los Angeles, the Office of the Americas is a recognized source of documentation and analysis of current international events with a focus on the foreign policy of the United States.

Through its public education campaign, the Office of the Americas works to reach constituencies of students, religious and human rights organizations and all others concerned about issues of international justice and peace. Our goal is to end the long-standing international culture of militarism.

Programs of the Office of the Americas

  • Offering information and commentary to mainstream and independent media as well as to scholarly publications
  • TV and radio commentaries, including World Focus, a weekly broadcast for the Pacifica network
  • Press conferences and background briefings
  •  Assisting in documentary, feature film and TV productions
  • Publishing “Reports from Blase Bonpane”
  • Lecturing at universities and peace and justice groups nationally
  • Providing information on legislative issues
  • Providing services and networking with other peace and justice organizations

Blase Bonpane

Blase Bonpane Originally called Latin American News, World Focus began in 1969 when Blase was teaching Latin American History and United States Political Science at Cal State University Los Angeles. Throughout the 1960's, Blase moved back and forth from Central America through his work as a Maryknoll missionary. Later he became Director of the Office of the Americas and the program evolved as a US voice of the people into what is now known as World Focus.

The aim of World Focus in Blase’s own words is to bring to light critical issues that are typically ignored by the commercial media and discuss these issues with the brightest critical minds and intellectuals of our time. Blase offers a fresh, critical perspective of the widespread media and its rhetoric. More specifically his focus is on US foreign policy and the many unnecessary wars that have been taking place consistently since the end of World War II. His mission comes from a responsibility to discuss topics that are ignored and to hear from people whose opinions on these same subjects are outspoken, very relevant and hit the heart of the matter.

Blase Bonpane’s guests are people who are trying to change the world and not generally accepted by the commercial media. His regular guests range from Oliver Stone and Noam Chomsky to Chris Hedges, Haskell Wexler and Seymour Hersh. He also has many local activists on the show discussing what they are doing. The show is available for digital download, in written transcript and in audio form so that in this era of constricted information the broadcast can be available to those who may not have a radio, a TV or a computer for Facebook or may only have access to the internet for an hour or two a month. We want to encourage the dissemination of information and enable it to get into the hands of those who need it most. They have the courage. We want to make sure they have the information to stand up and have their voices heard.

 World Focus Radio Show 

Theresa Bonpane

Theresa Bonpane

Theresa Killeen Bonpane was born in Troy, New York, on March 14, 1935. She received her bachelor of education degree from Mary Rogers College at Maryknoll, New York. Her postgraduate work has been at California State University Los Angeles, the University of California at Los Angeles, and the University of California at Santa Barbara.

  • 1964-67: As a Maryknoll Sister, Theresa was the principal of a high school, El Instituto Comerical, in southern Chile.
  • 1967-68: On her return from Chile she became a Spanish-speaking specialist for the Department of Public Social Services in Los Angeles, serving as a case worker for Latin American families. Also, during that time she was Secretary to the East Los Angeles Town Meeting, a civic-minded group of Mexican Americans concerned with problems of health, education, and welfare in East Los Angeles.
  • 1968-69: Theresa served as sensitivity facilitator for the Urban Plunge, a group concerned with helping the Anglo-Saxon community relate to the minority community.
  • From 1968-1970, she taught Spanish to the Deputy Sheriffs of East Los Angeles with the emphasis on Mexican-American culture as relating to Mexican-American living in East Los Angeles. Her teaching experience includes Garfield Community Adult School, Roosevelt Community Adult School, Kennedy Community Adult School, and Santa Monica City College. At the Mexican American Opportunity Foundation her specialty was classes in adult basic education for the disadvantaged, where she recruited five volunteer teachers and trained them in addition to teaching the students.
  • In 1970, Theresa married Blase Bonpane, a professor at UCLA. Ms. Bonpane managed her husband's campaigns for U.S. Congress in 1970 and State Assembly in 1974. In 1970, she also served as Administrative Assistant to the Project Director of the Young Adult Leadership Project in Los Angeles. Theresa and Blase have two children, Colleen, a medical doctor at UCLA, and Blase Martin, a musician, political organizer, and community college professor. Colleen is married to John Londono and they have three children, Blase Jairo, Chiara, and Gianna. Blase Martin is married to Jen Briar who are the parents of Ocean, Nola, and Blase Scott.
  • From 1971 to 1974, as a full-time volunteer for the United Farm Workers of America, Theresa organized farm workers' campaigns in the San Fernando Valley and other areas of Los Angeles County. She was a fund-raiser and public speaker for the union.
  • From 1973 to 1976, Theresa was president of the Sepulveda Parent Participation Nursery School, which both of her children attended.
  • In 1975 and 1976 she was Department Chairperson of the English as a Second Language Department of Kennedy San Fernando Community Adult School.
  • From 1975 through 1977 her extracurricular activities included being a Board Member of Women For Legislative Action, a member of Women For and NOW.
  • From 1977 to 1984 Theresa taught English to foreign students at Venice Community Adult School and Santa Monica City College and was Department Chairperson of English as a Second Language Department at VCAS. She was also UTLA Chairperson at VCAS.
  • From 1979 to 1986 she taught English at Santa Monica City College.
  • In 1980, she helped establish CISPES in Los Angeles.
  • In 1982, Theresa served as a consultant to Medical Aid to El Salvador.
  • In 1983 she co-founded Office of the Americas and served as President of the Board of Directors.
  • In 1984 she served as Assistant Director. From 1985 to the present she has been the Executive Director.
  • In 1984, Theresa worked on the Bolder-Jalapa Friendship City Project.
  • In 1985, she was involved with Technica; Technicians for Nicaragua; and the Seattle-based Organization of Solidarity with Central America.
  • In 1990, Theresa worked with the Los Angeles Coalition Against the Gulf War.
  • In 1997 she served on the Steering Committee of Santa Monicans for Responsible Tourism (the Living Wage Campaign). During this period, she was also a consultant and fundraiser for SMART.
  • In 1998 she was on the Board of Directors of Homies Unidos and Pico Neighborhood Youth and Family Center. She was on the steering committee of Santa Monicans Allied for Responsible Tourism (SMART, an organization working for better labor conditions in Santa Monica hotels) and the Free Lori Berenson Committee.
  • In 1998 she co-founded the Los Angeles Peace Center Coalition. She served on its Executive Committee until 1999.
  • On September 12, 2001 she co-founded the Coalition for World Peace.
  • In 2002, Theresa co-founded Artists for Peace and Justice.

Executive Committee

Blase Bonpane
Director
Blase Bonpane

Theresa Bonpane
Founding Director

James Lafferty
President
James-Lafferty

Nancy Hollander
Committee Member
Nancy Hollander

Executive Board

Edward Asner
Board Member
Blase Bonpane III
Board Member
Lois Davis
Presenté
Board Member
William Davis
Board Member
Frank Dorrel
Board Member
Paul Haggis
Board Member
Arlene Inouye
Board Member
Alice Powell
Presenté
Board Member
Martin Sheen
Board Member
Haskell Wexler
Presenté
Board Member
Don White
Presenté
Board Member

Advisory Board

Aris Anagnos
Board Member
Rabbi Leonard Beerman
Presenté
Board Member
Rev. Roy Bourgeois
Board Member
Rev. Greg Boyle
Board Member
Robert Burns
Board Member
Noam Chomsky
Board Member
Maria Elena Durazo
Board Member
Jodie Evans
Board Member
Jackie Goldberg
Board Member
Dolores Huerta
Board Member
Rev. James Lawson
Board Member
Ramona Ripston
Board Member
Angela Sanbrano
Board Member
Howard Zinn
Presenté
Board Member

Awards and Commendations

Teddi Winograd Courage Award

Dorothy Reik, Lila Garrett, Blase and Theresa Bonpane as Blase and Theresa receive the Teddi Winograd Courage Award for Activism in the Pursuit of Peace and Justice

Throughout the years, the Office of the Americas, and Blase and Theresa Bonpane, individually and as a couple, have received numerous awards and commendations for their humanitarian service. A partial list of those awards follows:
  • January 17, 2010, The Heart of Humanity Award presented to Blase and Theresa Bonpane for their unending service to humanity. Given on Peace Sunday by the Unity and Diversity World Council and Interfaith Communities United for Justice and Peace.
  • October 9, 2009, 50th Anniversary of KPFK, Pacifica Radio Peace Award to Blase Bonpane. (The Don White Lifetime Commitment to Peace Award).
  • October 18, 2008, The Unitarian Universalist Service Committee Award, Southern California Unit: To Theresa and Blase Bonpane in deep appreciation for your many years given to the cause of peace and justice. You are an inspiration to all of us.
  • October 28, 2006: The Nuclear Age Peace Foundation honors Blase Bonpane with The Distinguished Peace Leadership Award.
  • May 7, 2005: St. Joseph Center honors Theresa and Blase Bonpane with the “Hope through Empowerment” Award.
  • April 21, 2005. Homies Unidos “Legacy of Peace” award granted to Theresa and Blase Bonpane of the Office of the Americas.
  • June 9, 2002. The Los Angeles Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild awarded Blase Bonpane: “Whose tireless and courageous work and travels for peace and justice have lifted the spirits of embattled peoples around the globe.” The same evening they awarded Theresa Bonpane: “For having made the Office of the Americas a de facto United States Department of Peace and Justice and for being the heart and soul of the Los Angeles peace and justice movement.”
  • April 22, 2001. Agape International Center for Truth and A Season for Non-Violence gave Theresa and Blase Bonpane and the Office of the Americas their award for being, “A Place of Peace and Non-Violence in Our Community.”
  • June, 2000. The Witherspoon Society (a national organization named after John Witherspoon, (the only minister to sign the Declaration of Independence) gave its Organization Award for the year to The Office of the Americas and its directors, Theresa and Blase Bonpane.
  • 1998. Theresa and Blase Bonpane were awarded the Sunset Hall Stephen H. Fritchman Award.
  • 1984. The City of Los Angeles awarded a Certificate of Commendation to Blase Bonpane for his pursuit of peace in Central America.
  • 1983. Blase and Theresa Bonpane were awarded the Eason Monroe Courageous Advocates Award by the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California.
  • 1983. Blase and Theresa Bonpane were awarded the Herman Engber Memorial Award for Humanitarianism by the Ventura Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union in 1983.