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Think Drones, Caves, and Celtic Whistles Have Nothing in Common? Meet Barak.


We’ve introduced you to Aaron, Jake, Katherine, Katy, and Courtney. Now we’d like you to get to know Barak Bruerd. He’s our drone-flying, rock-climbing, spelunking, Celtic whistler player (and maker). He’s also our director of innovation and programs!

Since he spends his time working with our local partners in Africa, we don’t always see a lot of him. But he’d probably be hard to track down anyway.


As the son of a medical missionary, Barak lived on three continents before the age of 12, and attended nine schools by the time he graduated. He hasn’t slowed down much either; from rural villages in Africa to Southeast Asia, he’s added three more continents to the list since then. In fact, he and his wife, Tara, have moved 12 times in the last 15 years. Surprisingly, only one of their three kids was not born in the U.S.


Barak has called himself a resident in Costa Rica, Ecuador, Papua New Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Cambodia, where he and Tara worked in international development. If you asked him about his favorite place, he may have a hard time narrowing it down; but he’d likely tell you that living with Stone Age pygmies was “kind of interesting.” (Bet you were thinking the same thing—but only kind of.)

So what does a world traveler like Barak do to relax? When he’s not practicing flying drones (how could a regular camera ever capture all the memories?), Barak loves to backpack, rock climb, and spelunk around whatever country he happens to be inhabiting at the moment. You can also find him making Irish music all along the way. He plays—and even makes his own—Celtic whistles.

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