Ocala, Florida, U.S.A.: International City of Peace

We welcome Dr. Manal Fakhoury, Jessi Miller and the citizens of Ocala, Florida, U.S.A., which has been established as an International City of Peace.  As liaisons for the initiative, Dr. Fakhoury and Jessi Miller are associated with Olin International and have been active in Ocala civic and social for many years. The City Council recently Proclaimed as a City of Compassion.  As with many communities in the International Cities of Peace network, it is the intention of the organizers to work with the Ocala City Council to secure a Proclamation or Resolution publicly affirming the City of Ocala as a Council-recognized International City of Peace.

Note: Introduction page with information primarily at the time of joining International Cities of Peace. For updates, please contact the liaison.



Creating a culture of peace.  Recognizing that peace is local.




Build a more peaceful community for the residents of Ocala, Marion County in collaboration with the business, arts, school system, and nonprofit community. We will continue to build partners.



To build a more peaceful community.




Ollin Women International is one of the organizations in Ocala dedicated to building community and global peace. It is a women’s leadership project working to take the “clićhe out of world peace”.  Members of the group believe, just like all politics is local, peace is also local.  Women are being asked to step up and play a greater role in society to model and create peace.

Ollin International believes that people can be globally secure without the need for war.  From inner peace to world peace, we will continue to strive to create positive change daily.
Ollin Women International was founded in January 2018 in Ocala, Florida and its membership includes many of the most prominent women in Ocala.








OllinBookClub_3 books


Ollin International’s work in the prison, where members of the grouop continue to teach peace and help men/women re-set their lives.



Dr. Manal Fakhoury

President and CEO of Fakhoury Leadership International. With over 30 years of non-profit and leadership experience, she serves on many community and national boards. She is past Chairwoman of Chamber of Commerce and has served in many top leadership positions. Currently: YMCA Executive Board, AHA , Rotary Member, Islamic Network Group (ING) Trustee, Arab American Community Center (AACC) board, IFPB Board, Suntrust Bank board of directors, Toastmasters International, Founder and President of Ollin Women International, curator for TEDxOcala and Gavel Club Counselor for the Florida Department of Corrections (FDOC). Graduate of Leadership Florida.

Manal has brought innovative personal development programs to the FDOC. Manal is also a consultant pharmacist, inspirational speaker, coach, trainer, TEDx speaker, and mentor. Manal earned her undergraduate, and doctorate from the University of Southern California, and MBA from Webster University. Manal has been recognized with many professional and community awards including Person of the Year, Business Women of the Year, Communicator or the Year, Volunteer of the Year, Webster’s Distinguished Alumni Award, and many others. Manal was honored to participate in the Climb of Hope and summit Mt. Kilimanjaro in January 2014. She enjoys traveling, exercising, advocating for peace, and lifting up people.

She is most proud of her husband, Dr. Riadh Fakhoury, a chiropractic physician, and their five wonderful children.

She is a strong advocate of personal development and social justice. Manal brings a very strong background in community service, leadership and fundraising.


Jessi Miller

“Saving the world, one graphic design at a time.”

Jessi is an experienced visual communicator with over 25 years experience in the roles of Creative Director, Art Director, Designer and Fine Artist. Her career has spanned advertising agencies and publications as well as branding design for a host of individual clients. Jessi has won over 30 ADDY and FMA awards in all of these facets of visual communication and has left a trail of happy clients and high quality work.

Jessi graduated from the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale with a degree in Advertising Design, after which she spent a decade in South Florida doing advertising agency work. She then shifted into publication/magazine work, relishing the storytelling aspect as well as the ability to promote people and companies who are doing great things.

In addition to her design and fine art work, Jessi strongly believes in contributing to community and giving back to the world. She is always active in the arts and as a champion for world peace. Currently she sits on the Executive Committee for Ollin Women International and is the Board President for the Magnolia Art Xchange, among many other volunteer efforts.




To contact or support this initiative:

Manal Fakhoury
President & CEO
FLI | TEDxOcala | VestechPartners
PO Box 4428
Ocala, Fl. 34478
Mobile: 352-266-1268
Linkedln: Manal Fakhoury


Jessi Miller


ABOUT OCALA, FLORIDA, U.S.A. (from Wikipedia)

Archeological investigation has revealed that the area was inhabited by varying cultures of indigenous peoples from as early as 6500 B.C., and there were two lengthy periods of occupation. The second lasted through 500 A.D. In early historic times, the Timucua inhabited the area.


Ocala is located near what is thought to have been the site of Ocale or Ocali, a major Timucua village and chiefdom recorded in the 16th century. The modern city takes its name from the historical village, the name of which is believed to mean “Big Hammock” in the Timucua language. The Spaniard Hernando de Soto’s expedition recorded Ocale in 1539 during his exploration through what is today the southeastern United States. Ocale is not mentioned in later Spanish accounts; it appears to have been abandoned in the wake of de Soto’s attack.

In the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, Creek people and other Native Americans, and free and fugitive African Americans sought refuge in Florida. The Seminole people formed. After foreign colonial rule shifted between Spain and Great Britain and back again, in 1821 the United States acquired the territory of Florida. After warfare to the north, in 1827 the U.S. Army built Fort King near the present site of Ocala as a buffer between the Seminole, who had long occupied the area, and white settlers moving into the region. The fort was an important base during the Second Seminole War and later served in 1844 as the first courthouse for Marion County.

An example from the Ocala Historic District

The modern city of Ocala, which was established in 1849, developed around the fort site. Greater Ocala is known as the “Kingdom of the Sun”. Plantations and other agricultural development dependent on slave labor were prevalent in the region. Ocala was an important center of citrus production until the Great Freeze of 1894–1895.

Rail service reached Ocala in June 1881, encouraging economic development with greater access to markets for produce. Two years later, much of the Ocala downtown area was destroyed by fire on Thanksgiving Day, 1883. The city encouraged rebuilding with brick, granite and steel rather than lumber. By 1888, Ocala was known statewide as “The Brick City”.[citation needed]

In December 1890, the Farmers’ Alliance and Industrial Union, a forerunner of the Populist Party, held its national convention in Ocala. At the convention, the Alliance adopted a platform that would become known as the “Ocala Demands”. This platform included abolition of national banks, promoting low-interest government loans, free and unlimited coinage of silver, reclamation of excess railroad lands by the government, a graduated income tax, and direct election of United States senators. Most of the “Ocala Demands” were to become part of the Populist Party platform.

The first thoroughbred horse farm in Florida was developed in Marion County in 1943 by Carl G. Rose. Other farms were developed, making Ocala the center of a horse-breeding area. Local horses have won individual races of the Triple Crown series; in 1978 Affirmed, bred and trained in Marion County, won all three races, boosting interest in the industry here.

Ocala is one of only five cities (four in the US and one in France) permitted under Chamber of Commerce guidelines to use the title, “Horse Capital of the World”, based on annual revenue produced by the horse industry. 44,000 jobs are sustained by breeding, training, and related support of the equine industry, which generates over $2.2 billion in annual revenue.

Postime Farms and Ocala serve as host to one of the largest horse shows in the country: H.I.T.S or “Horses in the Sun”, a Dressage/Jumper event lasting about two months. It generates some 6 to 7 million dollars for the local Marion County economy each year. The show features classes for over 100 different breeds, including Tennessee Walker, Paso Fino, Morgan horse, SaddleBred, Draft horse and the American Quarter Horse. Other equine events in the area include cowboy mounted shooting by the Florida Outlaws, as well as endurance rides, barrel races, “extreme” cowboy events, jumper shows, trick shows, parades, draft pulls, rodeo events and more.

City Hall, Ocala, Florida

In the last decades of the twentieth century, the greater Ocala area had one of the highest growth rates in the country for a city its size. The population of Marion County in 2000 was more than 250,000, up from under 100,000 in 1975.

Many historic homes are preserved in Ocala’s large residential Historic District, designated in 1984. East Fort King Street features many excellent examples of Victorian architecture. Ocala structures listed on the National Register of Historic Places include the Coca Cola Building, the E. C. Smith House, East Hall, the Marion Hotel, Mount Zion A.M.E. Church, the Ritz Historic Inn, and Union Train Station.

The original Fort King site was designated as a National Historic Landmark in 2004. Ocala is governed by a five-member board of councilors and a mayor, all of which are elected on a nonpartisan basis. It has a council-manager form of government, relying on a manager hired by the city. The mayor sets policy but has few powers other than vetoing legislation passed by the council and tending to some duties involving the police department. The city manager handles most administrative and financial matters.

Note: If information or photos used here are copyrighted, please contact us and we will immediately delete the copyrighted material.