Miriam Abu Sharkh is currently residing at the Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law at Stanford University. She holds a grant by the National Science Foundation of Germany (Deutsche Forschungs-gemeinschaft) to study the evolvement of worldwide patterns of gender discrimination in the labor market with a special focus on Arab countries.
This research builds on her previous work as a Post-doctoral Fellow at the Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law as well as her dissertation on “History and Results of Labor Standard Initiatives”(“Summa cum Laude”, Freie Universität Berlin, Germany – joint dissertation committee with Stanford University). It also draws on field studies in Gaza and the West Bank on the social movement dynamics of the first Palestinian uprising (Intifada). Before returning to the Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law, she was employed by the United Nations. As the People’s Security Coordinator (P4) at the United Nation’s specialized agency for work, the International Labour Organization (ILO, Geneva, Switzerland), she analyzed and managed large household surveys from Argentina to Sri Lanka.
Asma Afsaruddin, associate professor of Arabic and Islamic Studies in the Department of Classics at the University of Notre Dame and previously taught at Johns Hopkins and Harvard Universities. Her fields of specialization are the religious and political thought of Islam, Qur’an and hadith studies, Islamic intellectual history, and gender studies. Afsaruddin is chair of the Board of Directors of the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy, and serves on the advisory board of Karamah, a human and women’s rights organization, and on the advisory committee for the Muslim World Initiative of the United States Institute of Peace, all based in Washington, D.C.
Imam Seyed Ali Ghazvini, imam at the Islamic Cultural Center of Fresno, founder and director of the Assadiq Foundation (a Muslim community center) in Southern California (1996-2004), and the founder of Development and Relief Foundation, an organization devoted to bring quality education to the children of Iraq. Born in Iraq (1958) to a prominent religious family, Imam Ghazvini earned his BA in political science from Tehran University, Iran (1990), Certificate (equivalent to Master) of Islamic Theology from the Islamic Seminary in Qum, Iran (1994), and MBA from University of La Verne, California (2003). Imam Ghazvini is a strong advocate of interfaith dialogue and co-operation for the protection of the family, the environment and for peace awareness.
Julie Amberg is a licensed clinical social worker and psychotherapist whose practice has focused, in part, on cross-/multi-/inter-/intra-cultural dynamics; working in mental health, medical, and research settings. Her work combines direct service with “macro” practice in areas of biopsychosocial and policy research, community relations, and advocacy. During her career she has also devoted her skills to reproductive healthcare, rape crisis, and disability rights research and advocacy. She serves on the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC), and is a founding member of its coalition with the Islamic Networks Group, serving, as well, on the JCRC’s Inter-Group Relations Committee. She is involved in a number of other Jewish community organizations, including synagogues and an invitational leadership development program of the American Jewish Committee. She has conducted diversity awareness and sensitivity trainings for the Contra Costa County Chamber of Commerce.
She holds an A.B. in Interpersonal Communication Behavior from Brown University, where she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, and an M.S.W. from the University of Michigan, in addition to three years of advanced, post-graduate training in individual and couples psychotherapy at The Psychotherapy Institute and the Women’s Therapy Center and Couples’ Clinic.
Evan P. Anderson is the Executive Director of the US-Iran Cultural Alliance, an organization which promotes reconciliation between the United States and Iran through people-to-people exchanges in academia, religion, healthcare, and the arts. The Alliance also develops projects and programs that explore the US-Iran relationship and expose Americans to Persian culture.
Previously the Deputy Director of International Reconciliation and Peacemaking (IRP) at the Center for Global Justice and Reconciliation. Mr. Anderson has experience in individual and organizational counseling, conflict resolution, and government. In his capacity as Deputy Director of the IRP, Mr. Anderson is actively involved in peacemaking and reconciliation initiatives around the globe. His work emphasizes inter-religious dialogue, interfaith relationship building, Track II diplomacy, and respectful engagement between estranged parties as mechanisms for creating peace and reconciliation. He is currently involved in projects that are helping to build bridges between Islam and Christianity including initiatives supporting the healing of US-Iran relations.
Before his appointment as Deputy Director of the IRP program, Mr. Anderson worked as a counselor and management consultant and assisted organizations in addressing issues pertaining to conflict resolution, personnel management, and organizational mission.
Mr. Anderson also has eleven years experience in state government, having served as a policy advisor to two governors in the state of Florida and as a cabinet aide to Florida’s Education Commissioner.
Mr. Anderson holds an M.S. in Counseling and post-master’s certificate in Organizational Counseling, both from the Johns Hopkins University.
R. Scott Appleby, Professor of History at the University of Notre Dame, where he also serves as the John M. Regan, Jr. Director of the Joan B. Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies. From 1993 to 2002 Appleby directed Notre Dame’s Cushwa Center for the Study of American Catholicism. From 1988 to 1993 he was co-director of the Fundamentalism Project, an international public policy study conducted by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. From 1982 to 1987 he chaired the religious studies department of St. Xavier College, Chicago. A historian of religion who earned the Ph.D. from the University of Chicago (1985), Appleby is the author of The Ambivalence of the Sacred: Religion, Violence and Reconciliation (Rowman & Littlefield, 2000); and co-author, with Gabriel Almond and Emmanuel Sivan, of Strong Religion: The Rise of Fundamentalisms Around the World (Chicago, 2003).
Dr. Mahboobeh Ayatollahzadeh (Dr. Ayat) received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Shiraz University majoring in Educational Psychology with a minor in Sociology. She graduated in 1984 from the University of Akron’s Department of Counseling and Special Education, obtaining a Master’s of Arts degree majoring in Special Education. In May of 2004 her dissertation, entitled “Emergent Literacy in Iranian Families,” earned her a Ph.D. in School Psychology from the Department of Educational and School Psychology. Dr. Ayatollahzadeh has also been an educational consultant for Iranian public and private schools for a number of years. She is the former Associate Dean of Academic Affairs at the College of Education, University of Tehran, and a faculty member at the same University as well as a research associate with Iran’s Welfare Organization. She has worked with children and young adults in different settings in the United States for the past 10 years. From 1999-2004 she worked for the North East Sullivan School Corporation as the lead psychologist for seven elementary and high schools. From 2004-08 she served as the Principal of the Muslim Community School in Potomac, Maryland. Dr. Ayatollahzadeh has written for numerous publications, in both Persian and English, and has lectured in professional and religious seminars in Iran and the United States. She has also conducted many teacher and parent training sessions for different schools. Currently, she works as a school psychologist in Indianapolis, IN.
Judith H. Banki is director of Special Programs at the Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding in New York. An award-winning author (Graymoor Prize), her articles have appeared in Commonweal, the Journal of Ecumenical Affairs and The American Jewish Year Book, where her coverage of the struggle over what emerged as Nostra Aetate at the Second Vatican Council constituted the major Year in Religion articles for two consecutive years. More recently, she has co-edited an anthology of the writings of Rabbi Marc Tanenbaum, and two volumes emerging from conferences at Catholic Theological Union and Cambridge University, which she helped coordinate. Deeply involved in Jewish-Christian and broader interreligious relations for many years, she recently was awarded an honorary doctorate by Seton Hall University for her work in promoting Jewish-Christian understanding, and received the “Peace through Dialogue“ Interfaith Gold Medallion from the International Council of Christians and Jews.”
Victor Ghalib Begg is a businessman who spends most of his time in community service and as a Muslim activist at the local, national & international level.
Co-founded Council of Islamic Organizations of Michigan in the late 80s.
Co-founded Interfaith Partners in the aftermath of 9/11/2001 bringing Muslim, Christian and Jewish congregations together for better understanding and cooperative projects.
Co-Chair, Michigan Round Table for Diversity and Inclusion.
Member of the New Detroit Inc., Race Relations Coalition.
Member Mid-West Muslim-Catholic dialog, co-hosted by ISNA.
Frequent op-ed writer in the Detroit newspapers on Muslim issues. Appeared on FOX network, NPR and CBS.
Was elected to the Bloomfield Hills Board of Education, served 4 year term.
Served on the Community Service Commission, appointed by Gov. Engler, for 8 years and on the Blue Ribbon Commission on Michigan Gaming.
Serves on Governor Granholm’s Interfaith Panel.
Haim Dov Beliak is the Executive Director of HaMifgash: An On-Going Conversation Among Jewish Intellectuals. The most recent project of HaMifgash is the new web site: Jews On First which confronts the “Christianization” movement’s attempt to nullify the First Amendment of the Constitution. Together with Jane Hunter this project seeks to provide information and suggestions for actions to safe guard our freedoms.
HaMifgash is sponsored the first formal dialogue between and among Jews and Indians (Native Americans) on January 8, 2006.
Together with Jane Hunter, Haim co -founded The Coalitions for Justice in Hawaiian Gardens and Jerusalem
Beliak was born in a DP Camp in Munich, Germany and grew up in Mason City, Iowa and Phoenix, Arizona. In 1988-90 Beliak was as a Jerusalem Fellow in Jerusalem, Israel. He is a member of the Progressive Jewish Alliance (PJA) and vice-president of Interfaith Communities United for Justice and Peace (ICUJP).
Gordon Bigelow, associate professor of English at Rhodes College in Memphis, TN, where he teaches British and Irish literature. His research is on evolving and competing views of market capitalism in nineteenth-century literature. His first book, Fiction, Famine, and the Rise of Economics in Victorian Britain and Ireland (2003) challenged received ideas of Victorian British literature as simplistically hostile to industrial capitalism, and showed how fiction from the period considers ideas that would become central to modern, neoclassical economic theory. His current research is on religious and supernatural discourse in the nineteenth century, again in its relationship to the rise of the neoclassical theory of a self-regulating marketplace. An essay based in his research, called “Let there be Markets: The Evangelical Roots of Economics” recently appeared in Harper’s Magazine.
Tom Block I am an artist, writer and activist best known for my work that delves into the search for spiritual meaning in our era. My series include Shalom/Salaam Project, Human Rights Painting Project, Cousins Public Art Project, Response to Machiavelli Project and In the Garden of the Mystical Redoubt.
I have presented the following talks at conferences and universities: Prophetic Activist Art; Artist as Shaman in an Age of Uncertainty; Towards a Mystical Understanding of Artistic Process; Below the Radar: The Spiritual Impulse Buried Within Post-Modern Art; Machiavellian Resistance; Identity as Conflict; War as Love: How the Spiritual Quest has been Co-opted to Sell War and a series of talks on the influence of Sufism on the development of Jewish mysticism.
I have exhibited my artwork at galleries, universities and museums throughout the United States and Europe, as well as being collected by public and private collections around the United States and Europe.
David Bossman, Ph.D. is Professor in the Graduate Department of Jewish-Christian Studies at Seton Hall University as well as founding director of the Sister Rose Thering Endowment for Jewish-Christian Studies. The SRT Endowment provides tuition scholarships for educators taking graduate courses in Jewish-Christian and Holocaust Studies at Seton Hall. He has served as Editor of the quarterly journal, Biblical Theology Bulletin, since 1981. His research and publications explore cross-cultural models for biblical interpretation as well as for current inter-religious discourse in a pluralistic society. He teaches inclusive religion courses in the Abrahamic traditions at Seton Hall as well as the College of Charleston, SC. He led a workshop on Jesus in the Abrahamic traditions at the Esalen Institute last March and is scheduled for one there on Jesus in the Muslim tradition, Jan 2-4, 2009.
Rev. Jim Burklo is an ordained United Church of Christ pastor and author living in Mill Valley, CA. His book, OPEN CHRISTIANITY, is a primer on progressive Christianity – an expression of the faith that takes the Bible seriously because it doesn’t have to take it literally. He serves on the national board of The Center for Progressive Christianity and speaks on behalf of the movement nationwide. He coordinates its annual Pluralism Sunday event, celebrating religious pluralism on Pentecost in churches around the world. His new book, BIRDLIKE AND BARNLESS: Meditations, Prayers, Poems, and Songs for Progressive Christians, will be published soon by St. Johann Press. He has pastored churches in Sausalito, San Mateo, and Palo Alto, CA. He was the founder and Executive Director of the Urban Ministry of Palo Alto. He spent nearly a decade as the ecumenical campus minister at Stanford University. His blog site is www.tcpc.blogs.com/musings
Pamela M. Creed, M.Ed., who has over ten years experience teaching both history and English as a Second Language in the US and abroad. Creed is a Doctoral Candidate at the Institute of Conflict Analysis and Resolution, George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. Her research interests include exploring the dynamics between dominant and alternative discourses, focusing on group narratives that sustain humiliation and resentment as well as apology narratives for evidence of shifts in discourse.
Brian Cox is Senior Vice President for Dispute Resolution Training, International Center for Religion and Diplomacy in Washington, DC, to which position he brings over twenty years of pastoral and international reconciliation experience. He is also Rector of Christ the King Episcopal Church in Santa Barbara, California. He earned a BS in Geological Sciences from the University of Southern California, holds an M. Div. Degree from the Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and has completed course work toward a D. Min. at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California. Beyond his obvious experience as a conciliator in his pastoral roles extending over a twenty-two year period, Rev. Cox’s effectiveness is based on many years of hands-on international reconciliation work. He has made eighteen reconciliation-related trips to Russia, Armenia and the eastern European countries. Further, he has organized and conducted seventeen conferences for churchmen in Honduras, Ecuador, Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil, Mexico, Kenya, Zaire, South Africa, India and Israel. He has also worked closely with the Rabbinical Council of California in Los Angeles and the Islamic Shura Council of Southern California. Rev. Cox has recruited, trained and deployed short-term international teams to ameliorate problems or probe for opportunities for reconciliation. Over the years, he has developed and maintained partner relationships with numerous overseas parishes and churches. In short, Rev. Cox has done the kind of hard day-to-day work that creates the foundation for peacemaking and provides the stamina for long-term follow-through.
For more than 30 years, David Crumm has been a journalist — specializing mainly in covering the impact of religion in our world and our daily lives. He also is an author and filmmaker. And, in late 2007, he became co-founder of the ReadTheSpirit project – a new online home for important voices in religion and spirituality. ReadTheSpirit also is a professional network of writers, filmmakers and artists exploring spiritual themes and, in 2008, opened a publishing arm that already has produced a half dozen books.
Patricia de Jong, Senior Minister at First Congregational Church of Berkely (1994-present). She is a graduate of Western Michigan University and Pacific School of Religion. Before coming to Berkeley, Rev. de Jong served as Minister of Education for Christian Discipleship at The Riverside Church in New York City (1984-88) and as Senior Minister of the Urbandale United Church of Christ in Des Moines, Iowa (1988-94). Pat de Jong’s special interests include reading, old movies, Native American art, international travel, theater and the arts. She is currently enrolled in the Doctor of Ministry Program at United Theological Seminary in New Brighton, Minnesota.
Robert Eisen is Professor of Religion and Director of the Judaic Studies Program at George Washington University in Washington D.C. His areas of interest include medieval and modern Jewish philosophy, biblical interpretation, Jewish ethics, and comparative religion. He is author of two books, most recently The Book of Job in Medieval Jewish Philosophy (Oxford University Press, 2004). Professor Eisen is also active as a consultant on issues of religion and international conflict with a particular interest in fostering better relations between the West and the Islamic world. He has participated in a number of high-level consultations in Washington and abroad concerning this issue and has worked in conjunction with the United States Institute of Peace and Initiatives of Change. He sits on the advisory board of the Center for Religion, Diplomacy, and Conflict Resolution at George Mason University.
Shlomo Fischer is Director and founder of Yesodot: The Center for the Study of Torah and Democracy, Jerusalem, Israel. Yesodot works to advance education for democracy in the Religious-Zionist sector of the Israeli school system. As a fellow of the Van Leer Institute (1989 to 1993; 1999) and currently of the Shalom Hartman Institute he has given university talks and published numerous articles in Israeli and European journals on the topics of Jewish history, Israeli society, secularization, Zionism, and religion and tolerance and inter-religious dialogue from within the monotheistic traditions. He also has 3 books (published in Hebrew with others) on Jewish history and identity: History of the Jews in Islamic Lands in the Modern Period, Part I: The Age of Colonialism to the end of the Second World War (1990), Collective Exile and Individual Redemption: Chapters in Modern Jewish History (1988), and Jewish Society in the Second Temple Period (1985).
Judith Fleenor is a Religious Science minister with the United Centers for Spiritual Living. She is on the Marin Interfaith Council‘s Education and Celebrations Team. She is a panel moderator for the Islamic Network Group’s Interfaith Speakers Bureau. She is an active member of both the programs committee and finance committee at the Interfaith Center at the Presidio in San Francisco. Prior to receiving her masters in Consciousness Studies from the Holmes Institute and moving her career toward ministry and Interfaith work, Judith held various roles in project management and technology training for companies domestically and internationally. Highlights of her career include: being on the opening team for Euro Disney, doing a Sale Force Automation rollout for Seimens/Rolm, creating the policy and procedures and training schedule for the Internet to the desk top roll-out for Seagate Technologies, and working as the Worldwide Director of Training for Netscape Communications/AOL.
Graham E. Fuller, an independent writer, analyst, lecturer and consultant on Muslim World affairs and Adjunct Professor of History at Simon Fraser University. He received his BA and MA at Harvard University in Russian and Middle Eastern studies. He served 20 years in the Foreign Service, mostly the Muslim world, working in Germany, Turkey, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, North Yemen, Afghanistan, and Hong Kong. In 1988 Mr. Fuller left joined the RAND Corporation where he was a Senior Political Scientist for 12 years. His research focused primarily on the Middle East, Central Asia, South and Southeast Asia, and problems of ethnicity and religion in politics. His studies for RAND include a provocative 1991 study on the geopolitical implications of the Palestinian Intifada; a series of studies on Islamic fundamentalism in Turkey, Sudan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Algeria; the survivability of Iraq; the New Geopolitics of Central Asia after the fall of the USSR; and problems of democratization and Islam. He is author of The Future of Political Islam, (Palgrave, 2003).
Maha El Genaidi is Founder & President of Islamic Networks Group (ING) and Chief Executive Officer. Based in the San Francisco Bay Area, ING is a national educational outreach organization with affiliates and partners in 20 states, Canada and the United Kingdom. ING promotes interfaith dialogue and education about world religions and their contributions to civilization by annually delivering thousands of presentations and other educational programs in schools, universities, law enforcement agencies, corporations, healthcare facilities, and community centers. Reaching hundreds of groups and tens of thousands of individuals a year at the local, grassroots level, ING is building bridges among people of all faiths. Maha has spoken to hundreds of schools, churches, synagogues, police departments, corporations and other public agencies; has appeared on numerous television and radio programs, and is author of seven training handbooks on outreach for American Muslims as well as eight training modules for public institutions on “developing cultural competency with the American Muslim community”. She’s also currently active with many state and federal governmental agencies, and is a former commissioner on Lt. Governor Cruz Bustamante’s Commission for One California, Santa Clara County Human Relations Commission, and an Advisor to California’s Commission on Police Officers Standards and Training for cultural diversity and hate crimes. She’s also the recipient of numerous civil rights awards, including the 2002 “Citizen of the Year” Award from the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors. Maha received her B.A. in Political Science & Economics from the American University in Cairo (AUC). She is married and lives in Santa Clara, California.
Benina Gould received her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the Fielding Institute, Santa Barbara. California. She was awarded a Carnegie Fellowship at the Belfer Center for International Studies at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and Mellon Grants from the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, UC Berkeley. She is Director of the Social Transformation Program at Saybrook Graduate School in San Francisco and a visiting scholar at the University of California, International and Area Studies. Her most recent book is Living in the Question? A Critical Oral History of the Berlin Wall Crises. At present Benina is conducting research on the role of the Internet for Muslim Youth with colleagues at Pesantrens in Solo and South Sulawesi, Indonesia. The purpose of the research is to examine the stereotype that “madrasas are the breeding grounds of fundamentalism” and to understand “the students who say ‘no’ to fundamentalism.” This research has also taken place in the Islamic community in California and in Pakistan. The outcome of this research will further our understanding of the next generation of Islamic youth. Benina is also consulting to the development of curriculum for Junior and High School students on the “Religious Basis of Peace Studies” a long-term project with the Ministry of Education in Jakarta, Indonesia.
Gershon Greenberg has taught philosophy and religion at American University since 1973. He previously taught at the University of Rochester, Dartmouth College, and Kenyon College. He was a religion consultant to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, 1995-97, and has done research at the Oxford University Centre for Postgraduate Hebrew Studies, the Institute for Holocaust Research at Bar Ilan University, Hebrew University, and the Free University of Berlin. He has been a visiting lecturer at Oxford, Tel Aviv, Haifa, and Free universities. He holds a B.A. from Bard College and a Ph.D. in religious philosophy (1969) from Columbia University/Union Theological Seminary. In 1999, the Institute for Holocaust Research (Bar Ilan) published his Religious Thought in Wartime America About Jewish Faith and the Holocaust, 1938-1948. In 1997 and 1994 it published his two prior monographs of annotations of Jewish responses to the Holocaust. His The Holy Land in American Religious Thought, 1620-1948 was published in 1994 by University Press of America and the Avraham Harman Institute of Contemporary Jewry in Jerusalem.
The Rev. Canon Mary E. Haddad was born and raised in Canada. She earned her B.A. in Communications from the University of Windsor and worked for ten years in television for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Unexpectedly laid off, Mary subsequently worked as a publicist for the University of Windsor, owned and ran a French café, and, briefly, sold cars in Detroit. In 1992, she moved to California as the live-in verger at All Saint’s Episcopal Church. In 1997, Mary began studies at the General Theological Seminary and, upon graduation in 2000, became Associate Rector at St. Bartholomew’s Church.
Mary visited Jerusalem for a ten-day seminar in 1994 and again for a conference on Christian Zionism in 2004. While at St. Bart’s, she was a Steering Committee member of Jerusalem 2000, a fund-raising campaign, and formed a grassroots Middle-East advocacy group called “Just Peace.”
She began her ministry as Canon Pastor at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco in January 2007.
Dr. Aaron J. Hahn Tapper, is the Founder and Co-Executive Director of Abraham’s Vision, a conflict transformation organization running programs for American-based populations of Jews, Muslims, Israelis, and Palestinians. Born and raised in Philadelphia, he is currently an Assistant Professor in the Theology and Religious Studies Department of the University of San Francisco, holding the Swig Chair of Judaic Studies, and is the university’s founding director of the Swig Program in Jewish Studies and Social Justice, the first formal academic program of its kind in the United States. Currently living outside San Francisco with his wife, Rabbi Laurie Hahn Tapper, and son Isaiah Everett, he previously lived in the Middle East for five years-four years in Jerusalem and one year in Cairo-and traveled extensively in Jordan, Morocco, Lebanon, and Syria. Aaron received a BA from the Johns Hopkins University, majoring in Psychology, a Master’s degree from Harvard Divinity School, focusing on World Religions, and a PhD in Comparative Religions from the University of California, Santa Barbara. Since 1990, Aaron has been involved in Jewish education, shifting his focus towards Jewish-Arab and Jewish-Muslim education in 1998. In September 2008 he also became the Co-Executive Director of the Center for Transformative Education, a new educational initiative aiming to create empowering educational programs to transform societies into their potential, which he co-founded.
Shadi Hamid was a Fulbright Fellow in Amman, Jordan, conducting field research on Islamist participation in the democratic process. Hamid was previously Legislative Fellow at the Office of Senator Dianne Feinstein, where he worked on Middle East policy. His article “The Moderating Effect of Democratization on the Islamic Movement in Jordan” was published by Cambridge Scholars Press in From Islamic Theology to Muslim Politics: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Dialogue. Hamid has co-founded of two organizations, Muslims for John Kerry and the Congressional Muslim Staffers Association, both of which have aimed to promote greater Muslim involvement in the American political process. A recent recipient of the David L. Boren Fellowship, Hamid obtained his Master’s degree at Georgetown University’s Center for Contemporary Arab Studies.
Barry Hankins, is faculty at Baylor University, presently serving as professor of history and graduate program director in the history department. He also works in conjunction with Baylor’s J.M. Dawson Institute of Church-State Studies. Hankins holds a B.A. in religion, M.A. in church-state studies from Baylor and a Ph.D. in history from Kansas State University. His historical interests are primarily in religion and American culture and church-state relations, especially as these relate to twentieth-century fundamentalism and evangelicalism. Hankins has authored three books: God’s Rascal: J. Frank Norris and the Beginnings of Southern Fundamentalism (1996); Uneasy in Babylon: Southern Baptist Conservatives and American Culture (2002); and The Second Great Awakening and the Transcendentalists (2004).
Susan F. Harding is Professor of Anthropology at University of California Santa Cruz. Dr. Harding has done extensive fieldwork on evangelical Christianity. Her research, long referenced by a range of authors working in the field, culminated in the The Book of Jerry Falwell: Fundamentalist Language and Politics (Princeton University Press, 2000), which won the 2001 American Academy of Religion award for excellence in Analytical-Descriptive Studies.
Aziza Hasan Co-Directs NewGround: A Muslim-Jewish Partnership for Change. The program is a joint endeavor between the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) and the Progressive Jewish Alliance (PJA) and brings members of both faith communities together for frank, substantive dialogue. Facilitated conversations, explore issues at the personal, local, national and global levels. Aziza also coordinates inter-faith relations for MPAC by working with religious leadership in Southern California in the areas of social justice, community education and outreach, and youth engagement. She has led numerous workshops for international scholar forums, at conferences, university/college campuses, civic and religious groups on inter-faith dialogue, community organizing, and youth leadership training. Aziza has given various speeches to audiences across the country that included introductions to Islam, forgiveness and peace in Islamic tradition, and conflict resolution in Muslim communities. She has appeared on CNN, National Public Radio, KCRW, Arabic Radio and Television, The Mennonite, The Jewish Journal, InFocus, The Wichita Eagle, The Newton-Kansan, The Halstead Independent, Hutchinson News and The Bethel College Collegean. Her undergraduate and graduate background is in history, social science and conflict resolution. She also authored the More Alike than Different Project, a joint effort by Wichita, KsSorganizations such as the local MPAC Chapter, Inter Faith Ministries, and the National Conference for Community Justice. The project was made to be duplicated and to educate the community about the basic tenants of Islam and dispel misconceptions about the religion. More Alike than Different was presented to several different businesses personnel, schools, government employees, and social service agencies.
Claire Hoffman is a reporter for the Business section of the Los Angeles Times. She recently graduated from the University of Chicago Divinity School, with a masters in religious studies, focusing on religion and politics. In May of 2004, Claire finished her master’s program at the Columbia School of Journalism, where she began work on a book about growing up inside the Transcendental Meditation Movement, which is based in a small farming town in Iowa. While in New York, Claire worked as a freelance reporter for the New York Times, and as a researcher in their investigative department. While working at the New York Times, she contributed reporting to a Pulitzer-prize winning series that investigated fraud and death by the American freight railroads. She hopes to someday cover global religions as a beat.
Shamil Idriss is Acting Director of the UN Alliance of Civilizations (AoC). He was appointed to the AoC Secretariat by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan in October 2005. Co-sponsored by the governments of Turkey and Spain, the Alliance aims to advance an action plan involving multi-lateral agencies, governments and civil society organizations to improve Islamic-Western relations. Previously Mr. Idriss served as Senior Advisor to the World Economic Forum (WEF) where he established the “action track” of the Council of 100 Leaders: West-Islamic World Dialogue Initiative (C-100) and served from 2004 to 2006 on the Steering Committee for the initiative. He was appointed in 2005 to the WEF’s Young Global Leaders Forum. From 2000 to 2004, he served as Chief Operating Officer of Search for Common Ground, an international conflict resolution organization that specializes in the production of media for social change. Mr. Idriss has published articles on conflict resolution, Islamic-Western relations, and conflict-sensitive media in African, Middle Eastern, European, and American newspapers and journals. He lives in New York City with his wife and daughter.
Walid Abdul Jawad is an Arabic media consultant and Middle East political analyst contributing to the public and private sectors. His experience in the Washington DC area spans over 10 years of news reporting and political analysis for a number of media organizations including the Associated Press Television News (APTN), Saudi TV, Al-Ekhbaria, and many others.
Walid covered the White House and State Department regularly and hosted a number of weekly TV and radio shows. His role over the years has shifted increasingly toward the other side of the table as a guest expert on media and conflict in the Middle East on channels such as the BBC, Al-Hurrah, MBC radio and others.
Walid has an MS in Conflict Analysis and Resolution and a B.S. in Decision Science and Management Information Systems, George Mason University.
Rabbi Or Rose is Director of Interfaith and Social Justice Initiatives at Hebrew College. He is the coeditor of “Righteous Indignation: A Jewish Call for Justice” (Jewish Lights Publishing), and a contributing editor to “Tikkun Magazine.” Or is currently completing his doctorate in Jewish mysticism at Brandeis University.
Douglas M. Johnston, president and founder of the International Center for Religion and Diplomacy. Dr. Johnston is a distinguished graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and holds a Masters Degree in Public Administration and a Ph.D. in Political Science from Harvard University. He has taught courses in international affairs and security at Harvard and was the founder and director of the university’s Executive Program in National and International Security. Prior to his current position, Dr. Johnston served as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the Center for Strategic and International Studies. In addition to other duties, he chaired the Center’s Preventive Diplomacy Program and directed the CSIS project on Religion and Conflict Resolution. In this latter capacity, he was co-editor and principal author of Religion, the Missing Dimension of Statecraft (Oxford University Press, 1994), a path-breaking work now in its twelfth printing and second foreign language translation. He also edited and was principal author of Foreign Policy into the 21st Century: the U.S. Leadership Challenge (CSIS, 1996) and Faith-based Diplomacy: Trumping Realpolitik (Oxford University Press, 2003).
Sam Keen, who describes himself as having been overeducated at Harvard and Princeton, and subsequently a professor of philosophy and religion at various legitimate institutions and a contributing editor of Psychology Today for 20 years before becoming a freelance thinker, lecturer, seminar leader and consultant. Keen is the author of a “baker’s dozen” books, and co-producer of the award winning PBS documentary: Faces of the Enemy. Keen’s work was the subject of a 60 minute PBS special Bill Moyers: Your Mythic Journey with Sam Keen.
Yehezkel Landau is Faculty Associate in Interfaith Relations at Hartford Seminary, a position underwritten by the Henry Luce Foundation. After earning an A.B. from Harvard University(1971) and an M.T.S. from Harvard Divinity School (1976), Landau made aliyah (immigrated) to Israel in 1978. A dual Israeli-American citizen, his work has been in the fields of interfaith education and Jewish-Arab peacemaking. He directed the Oz veShalom-Netivot Shalom religious Zionist peace movement in Israel during the 1980’s. From 1991 to 2003, he was co-founder and co-director of the Open House Center for Jewish-Arab Coexistence in Ramle, Israel. He lectures internationally on Jewish-Christian-Muslim relations and Middle East peace issues, has authored numerous journal articles, co-edited the book Voices From Jerusalem: Jews and Christians Reflect on the Holy Land (Paulist Press, 1992), and authored a research report entitled “Healing the Holy Land: Interreligious Peacebuilding in Israel/Palestine” (United States Institute of Peace, Sept. 2003, accessible at www.usip.org/reports). At Hartford Seminary, Prof. Landau coordinates an interfaith training program for Jews, Christians, and Muslims called “Building Abrahamic Partnerships.”
Larry Lowenthal is the Executive Director of the Greater Boston Chapter of the American Jewish Committee, the pioneer Human Relations agency in the United States. He has served as AJC Director for the last 18 years. During his 30 years of organizational work in the Greater Boston area, Dr. Lowenthal has been involved in interfaith and intergroup activities, written extensively about human rights issues for the local press, appeared often on radio and TV, hosted a local radio interview program, and taught courses on Jewish history, film, literature, and humor. A former academic, Larry taught English and American literature at Washington State College, New York University, and Gettysburg College before moving to Israel with his family in 1970. From 1970 to 1975, he taught English and American Literature at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and Tel Aviv University. Drafted into a new immigrant unit of the Israeli Army in 1974, he went through basic training on the West Bank, anti- aircraft training in Herzilya, and served a tour of duty in Sharm el-Sheik at the southern tip of the Sinai Desert. Larry received his B.A. in English from Northwestern University, and his Ph.D. in English from New York University.
Radwan A. Masmoudi, the Founder and President of the Center of the Study of Islam & Democracy, a Washington-based non-profit organization dedicated to promoting freedom, democracy, and good governance in the Arab/Muslim world. Under his leadership, CSID grew from a small organization into a major institution based in Washington DC, with programs and activities in over 20 countries, an annual budget of almost $1.5 Million, 58 Founding Members, and over 600 regular and associate members. Radwan has written and published several articles on Islam, democracy, freedom, and human rights in the Muslim world. He has also appeared on several TV networks including CNN, Al-Jazeera, FoxNews, Algerian TV, and MBC. Radwan has a Masters and a Ph.D. degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
Anisa Mehdi is an Emmy award-winning broadcast journalist specializing in religion and the arts. Her specific commitment to broadening Americans’ understanding of Muslims and the Middle East has led to unprecedented access to people and places around the world. She produced and directed the critically acclaimed National Geographic Special “Inside Mecca,” and was executive producer of the Frontline special “Muslims.” In the course of over 20 years in journalism, Anisa has produced for ABC News “Nightline,” for CBS News, and for New Jersey Network (PBS). She was a correspondent on the national PBS program “Religion and Ethics NewsWeekly.” Anisa writes commentary for National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered” and is Adjunct Professor of Communications at Seton Hall University. She is founder and president of Whetstone Productions, a New Jersey-based production and consulting company. Anisa is a graduate of Wellesley College and the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University.
Tamar Miller consults to social change organizations with a focus on the contemporary Middle East. She was co-director of the New England regional office of The New Israel Fund; VP Education and one of three founders of an international company, American Higher Education, inc,; and Partner in Middle East Holdings, a business development firm based in Boston and Dubai. Tamar was Director of Leadership Development and then Executive Director of the Institute for Social and Economic Policy in the Middle East at Harvard University. Earlier in her career, she directed social service programs in New York, Jerusalem and Cambridge, MA. for disturbed adolescents, pregnant and parenting addicts, and families of psychiatric patients. She also was a community organizer in Ethiopian, Yemenite, and Moroccan disenfranchised communities in Israel. Tamar holds a B.A. in Philosophy and Judaic Studies, Master of Social Work from Yeshiva University and a Master of Public Administration from Harvard University. She currently is active on the board of directors of Parents Circle – Bereaved Family Forum, IPCRI (Israel Palestine Center for Research and Information), and the Alliance for Middle East Peace.
Carol Miskel began working with The Russian-American Center (now TRACK TWO) in 1997. She has helped coordinate conferences involving the former Republics of the USSR, and working with Esalen’s Center for Theory and Research helps coordinate projects co-sponsored with TRACK TWO. From 1982-1994 she was in the entertainment retail business, owning a compact disc and video store in San Francisco and three video rental stores in the San Francisco Bay Area. From 1979-1981 Miskel was the marketing director of Blume, Middag and Associates, a West Coast entertainment promotion and marketing company for music recording companies. After college and until 1977, she was in the music publishing business for shelter Records in Hollywood, California and published songs for artists such as Tom Petty, Leon Russell and Phoebe Snow.
Dulce W. Murphy, founder and director emeritus of the Esalen Institute Soviet American Exchange Program that began in 1980. Murphy then became the president and executive director of The Russian-American Center (TRAC) in San Francisco, a continuation of the same program. For the past twenty-five years she has been on the cutting edge of non-governmental Russian-American relations. In the spring of 2004, The Russian-American Center changed its name to TRACK TWO: An Institute for Citizen Diplomacy, that expands our mandate as a non-profit organization to include other countries, teaming up with our Russian colleagues to that end. Track-two diplomacy involves non-governmental individuals and groups that aim to fill the moral and intellectual voids of official peacemaking leadership. Track Two’s major goal is to re-humanize relations that are dysfunctional. It works to make relationships better.
Michael Murphy, co-founder and Chairman of Esalen Institute and the author of both fiction and non-fiction books that explore evidence for metanormal capacities in human beings, including Golf in the Kingdom and The Future of the Body. A graduate of Stanford University, he was one of the first Americans to live at the Sri Aurobindo Ashram in Pondicherry, India in the early 1950s. In the1980s, he helped to start a successful Soviet-American Exchange Program, which was a premiere diplomacy vehicle for citizen-to-citizen Russian-American relations. In 1990, Boris Yeltsin’s first visit to America was initiated by Esalen. His other books include God and the Evolving Universe (co-authored with James Redfield),The Life We Are Given (co-authored with George Leonard), The Kingdom of Shivas Irons, Jacob Atabet, An End to Ordinary History, and The Physical and Psychological Effects of Meditation.
Jay Ogilvy – Trained in philosophy (Yale PhD in 1968), he taught for 7 years at Yale, 1 at Texas, 4 at Williams College. Then he transitioned into contract research and consulting at SRI International (formerly Stanford Research Institute) from 1979 to 1986. In 1987 he and four friends founded Global Business Network, a boutique consultancy that specializes in using scenario planning to develop long range strategies for large corporations and government agencies. Jay is the author of Many Dimensional Man: Decentralizing Self, Society and the Sacred (Oxford, 1977; Harper& Row, 1980); Creating Better Futures (Oxford, 2000); China’s Futures with Peter Schwartz (Jossey- Bass, 2001); Living Without a Goal (Doubleday, 1996); and a special report for the clients of Global Business Network, “Post-modern Fundamentalism” (GBN, 1990).
Rod O’Neal is an adjunct faculty member at the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco, where he is completing his Ph.D. in Philosophy and Religion. CIIS specializes in higher education that honors the spiritual dimension of intellectual life. He is a student of Christian fundamentalism, and a portion of his dissertation covers 18th-century evangelicalism. O’Neal received his education at Vassar College, and the University of California, Berkeley, where he worked as a biochemist. Most recently, O’Neal was a senior executive in the Internet industry, in which he continues to consult.
Rabbi Haim Ovadia was born in Israel in 1965 to parents from Iraq, ordained as a rabbi by the chief rabbi of Israel, BA in Judaic studies from Bar Ilan University in Tel Aviv and MA in Hebrew literature from UCLA. He is currently the rabbi of Kahal Joseph in Los Angeles a mainly Iraqi Jewish synagogue. He writes for the Jewish Journal and teaches at the American Jewish University (AJU) and the Academy for Jewish Religion (AJR) of California.
Rev. Dr. George F. Regas, Rector Emeritus, All Saints Church, Pasadena, CA, and Executive Director, The Regas Institute, Pasadena, CA. Rev. Regas’s education includes a BA from the University of Tennessee, a Masters of Divinity from the Episcopal Divinity School, two years as a research student with John A. T. Robinson at Cambridge University and a Doctorate from Claremont School of Theology. The predominant focus of his long tenure at All Saints Church was seeking world peace with Justice. When he retired as Rector of All Saints Church, Pasadena, CA in 1995, he established the Regas Institute. Rev. Regas’s focus is the study and advocacy of progressive religion as a strong counter point to the growing menace and distortion of the religious right.
Brenda Naomi Rosenberg was the first woman senior vice presidents of fashion for Hudson’s Department Stores in Michigan, and went on to hold one of the most powerful positions in the industry as senior VP of fashion merchandising and marketing for Federated Allied Department Stores. Since 9/11 Brenda has incorporated her creative energy and marketing skills to champion inter faith, inter cultural and inter racial understanding. As co executive producer of “Reuniting the Children of Abraham… tool kit for peace,” she has spoken at mosques, churches, synagogues, temples, homes, schools, national and international conferences. Brenda was the first woman, and first Jewish person, to deliver a Ramadan sermon at a mosque in Michigan. Her reconciliation efforts have been featured nationally in a CBS network special, Bridges; the national Muslim T.V. network and featured in numerous publications including front page stories in the Detroit and Minneapolis newspapers.
Adam B. Seligman is Professor of Religion at Boston University and Research Associate at the Institute for the Study of Economic Culture there. He has lived and taught at universities in this country, in Israel and in Hungary where he was a Fulbright Fellow from 1990-1992. He lived close to twenty years in Israel where he was a member of Kibbutz Kerem Shalom in the early 1970’s. His books include The Idea of Civil Society (Free Press, 1992), Inner-worldly Individualism (Transaction Press, 1994), The Problem of Trust (Princeton University Press, 1997), Modernity’s Wager: Authority, The Self and Transcendence (Princeton University Press, 2000) and with Mark Lichbach Market and Community (Penn State University Press, 2000). At present, with the help of major grants from The Ford Foundation and Pew Charitable Trusts, he is working on the problem of religion and toleration. Part of this work is devoted to establishing school curricula for teaching tolerance from a religious perspective. In this endeavor he is working with colleagues in Berlin, Sarajevo and Jerusalem. His latest book, Modest Claims, Dialogues and Essays on Tolerance and Tradition was published by Notre Dame University Press in 2003.
Farid Senzai, Fellow and Director of Research at the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding where he leads the research effort for the organization and its continued focus on the Muslim community in the United States. Mr. Senzai is also an Adjunct Professor in the Political Science departments at California State University and Santa Clara University. Prior to joining ISPU, he was a research associate at the Brookings Institution where he researched U.S. foreign policy towards the Middle East. In addition, he was a research analyst at the Council on Foreign Relations where he worked on Muslim Politics. He has also served as a consultant for Oxford Analytica and the World Bank. Mr. Senzai received his MA in International Affairs from Columbia University and is completing his Ph.D. in Political Science at Oxford University.
Jonathan Sheff is the National Organizer for the Tikkun Community, an interfaith progressive movement initiated by Tikkun Magazine. In this capacity he organizes communities across the United States to engage in critical issues, among them interfaith dialogue and peace in Israel-Palestine. Jonathan holds a bachelor’s degree in Humanistic Studies from McGill University, where he specialized in religious philosophies, and a master’s degree in Public Policy from Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.
Jacob Sherman a staff member and conference coordinator at the Esalen Center for Theory and Research, and adjunct faculty in Philosophy and Religion at the California Institute of Integral Studies. A graduate of Pepperdine University and Regent College, Sherman is currently a PhD candidate at the California Institute of Integral Studies where he also teaches classes on the history of philosophy, romanticism, and Christian Spirituality. Jacob has written on Owen Barfield and Teilhard de Chardin, and is co-editor (with Jorge Ferrer) of The Participatory Turn: Spirituality, Mysticism, and Religious Studies (SUNY Press, forthcoming 2007). He is currently completing his dissertation, Partakers of the Divine: Contemplation, Participation, and the Philosophy of Religion.
Donald W. Shriver, Jr., Emeritus President of the Faculty and William E. Dodge Professor of Applied Christianity at Union Theological Seminary in New York. He served as president in the years 1975-91 and as fulltime teacher of ethics there until 1996. He is a graduate of Davidson College, Union Theological Seminary in Virginia, Yale University Divinity School, and Harvard University. From the last he holds a Ph.D. in the field of Religion and Society. He was ordained to the Presbyterian ministry in 1955 and was pastor of a Presbyterian congregation in Gastonia, North Carolina, 1956-59. He was a fellow of the American Academy in Berlin (1999) and Visiting Senior Scholar of the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation in Cape Town, South Africa (2002). In addition to some hundred articles, his major authored or co-authored books include: The Unsilent South: Prophetic Preaching in Racial Crisis; Spindles and Spires: A Re-Study of Religion and Social Change in Gastonia; The Lord’s Prayer: A Way of Life; Beyond Success: Corporations and Their Critics;and, most recently, An Ethic for Enemies: Forgiveness in Politics (Oxford 1995 and 1997), and Honest Patriots: Loving a Country Enough to Remember Its Misdeeds (Oxford, 2005).
Peggy Ann Leu Shriver an author, Iowa-born Presbyterian, mother of three children, workshop leader and lecturer. She has served in various offices for the Presbyterian church, on the boards of numerous social justice organizations. She is the author of numerous books and articles including “The Waiting World Parish” from The Nature and Role of Ministry in the 21st Century;, For the Peace of the World : A Christian Curriculum in International Relations, (NCCCUSA publication, 2005); The Bible Vote; Religion and the New Right; Having Gifts That Differ;and The Divided Church: Moving Liberals and Conservatives from Diatribe to Dialogue(Co-authored with Richard G. Hutcheson, 1999). In 2001 she and her husband served as joint theologian practitioners for Riverside Church. They received Union Theological Seminary’s Union Medal at the conclusion of Don’s presidency. Her Doctor of Humanities degree was conferred by Central College, Pella, Iowa.
Imam Faheem Shuaibe is a one of a new breed of indigenous, non-traditional Muslim Scholars. For the past 25 years Faheem Shuaibe has been the Resident Imam of Masjidul Waritheen in Oakland.
Imam Shuaibe addresses diverse audiences across the country on a wide range of topics of religion, world politics, human relationships and societal evolution in all media, radio, television, audio, video and cyberspace.
Imam Faheem consults and advises large and small companies and organizations.He works with religious organizations of all faiths. He is a board member of ING an international interfaith education organization.
Faheem has been part of several distinguished delegations that have taken him around the globe on various educational, religious, interfaith, and peace missions.
He has been married to Yolanda for over 36 years. They have four children and one grandchild and a grandchild on the way.
Imam Shuaibe also serves as Director of the Mohammed Schools of Oakland (primary, elementary, middle, and high school).
Glenn W. Shuck, visiting assistant professor of religion at Williams College and an expert on fundamentalism in the modern American imagination. In addition to a number of published essays, he is the author of the acclaimed Marks of the Beast: The Left Behind Novels and the Struggle for Evangelical Identity (NYU Press, 2004), and coeditor, with Jeffrey J. Kripal, of On the Edge of the Future: Esalen and the Evolution of American Culture (Indiana University Press, 2005).
Ronald J. Sider (Ph.D., Yale), Professor of Theology, Holistic Ministry and Public Policy and Director of the Sider Center on Ministry and Public Policy at Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary and President of Evangelicals for Social Action. A widely known evangelical speaker and writer, Sider has spoken on six continents, published twenty-seven books and scores of articles. His Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger was recognized by Christianity Today as one of the one hundred most influential religious books of the twentieth century. His most recent books are The Scandal of the Evangelical Conscience: Why Are Christians Living Just Like the Rest of the World, Just Generosity: A New Vision for Overcoming Poverty in America and Churches That Make a Difference: Reaching Your Community with Good News and Good Works (with Phil Olson and Heidi Unruh).
Glen Stassen is Lewis B. Smedes Professor of Christian Ethics at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California. Prior to joining Fuller in 1997 he was Professor of Christian Ethics at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary for twenty years. He earned a B.A. at the University of Virginia in nuclear physics, a B.D. at Union Theological Seminary (NY), and a Ph.D. at Duke University in Christian ethics and the history of Christian thought. Dr. Stassen is the author, co-author, and editor of numerous books, including Living the Sermon on the Mount (2006), Kingdom Ethics: Following Jesus in Contemporary Context (2003), Just Peacemaking: Ten Practices for Abolishing War (1998 and 2004), and Authentic Transformation: A New Vision of Christ and Culture (1996). He served as president of the Council of the Societies for the Study of Religion from 1999-2005, and as president of the National Association of Baptist Professors of Religion from 1999-2000. He has worked in multiple capacities for the Nuclear Weapons Freeze Campaign, Peace Action, and the Louisville Area Council on Peacemaking.
Gordon Wheeler, PhD is President and CEO of Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California, and has served since 2001 as a member of Esalen’s Board of Trustees. A licensed clinical psychologist with a long experience of practice, teaching, and organizational consulting, Gordon is author or editor of more than a dozen books and over a hundred articles in the field. His work is noted for integrating the Gestalt tradition with relational psychology, with a special focus on lifelong development and education, early childhood, and issues of evolutionary neuropsychology, individualism, gender, culture and values, intersubjectivity, and the dynamics of intimacy and shame. His writings have also been in evolution, values, and cultural psychology, including multi-cultural issues and post-Holocaust studies, as well as several works of fiction; they include numerous translations from French and German, and have themselves been translated into some twenty foreign languages. He teaches and trains clinicians widely around the world, and also serves as Editor and Co-Director of GestaltPress (publishing jointly with Analytic Press). Gordon and his wife Nancy Lunney-Wheeler have eight children and two grandchildren, and make their home in Big Sur and Santa Cruz, California.
Larry Wilson is editor of the Pasadena Star-News, a 30,000-circulation daily. He has worked as a freelance journalist, a copy editor at Rolling Stone Press in New York City and a technical writer in Saudi Arabia. Formerly his paper’s and then newspaper group’s editorial-page editor, he has been editor for 12 years. He teaches journalism each fall at the Annenberg School at USC. He has a bachelor’s in English from UC Berkeley, where he studied poetry with Seamus Heaney and Thom Gunn and was the music critic for the Daily Californian, and a master’s from the American Graduate School of International Management in Phoenix. A member of All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena who grew up in an adamantly anti-religious family of scientists, he is married to architect Phoebe Wall Wilson, with whom he has a 16-year-old daughter, Julia.
Lawrence Wright is an author and screenwriter, and a staff writer for The New Yorker magazine. He is a graduate of Tulane University, in New Orleans, Louisiana, and the American University in Cairo, where he taught English and received an M.A. in Applied Linguistics in 1969. Upon his return to the U.S. in 1971, Wright began his writing career at the Race Relations Reporter in Nashville, Tennessee. Two years later, he went to work for Southern Voices, a publication of the Southern Regional Council in Atlanta, Georgia, and began to freelance for various national magazines. In 1980, Wright returned to Texas to work for Texas Monthly. He also became a contributing editor to Rolling Stone. In December 1992, he joined the staff of The New Yorker. Wright has published six books. City Children, Country Summer, (Scribner’s, 1979), In the New World: Growing Up with America, 1960 – 1984 (Knopf, 1988), Saints & Sinners (Knopf, 1993), Remembering Satan (Knopf, 1994), Twins: Genes, Environment, and the Mystery of Identity (Weidenfeld & Nicholson, 1997; Wiley & Sons, 1998), and God’s Favorite (Simon & Schuster, 2000). His history of Al Qaeda, The Looming Tower, was published by Knopf in 2006. It was listed by The New York Times and The Washington Post as among the five most important non-fiction books of 2006. A portion of that book, “The Man Behind Bin Laden,” was published in the New Yorker and won the 2002 Overseas Press Club’s Ed Cunningham award for best magazine reporting. He has also won the National Magazine Award for Reporting as well as the John Bartlow Martin Award for Public Interest Magazine Journalism. He has written a stage presentation called My Trip to Al Qaeda in which he narrates highlights of his five-year endeavor to produce The Looming Tower. It’s premier off-Broadway ran from March 1 to April 15, 2007. On April 16, Wright won the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for general non-fiction for The Looming Tower. Wright is the co-writer (with Ed Zwick and Menno Meyjes) of The Siege, starring Denzel Washington, Bruce Willis, and Annette Benning, which appeared in November 1998. He also wrote the script of the Showtime movie, Noriega: God’s Favorite, directed by Roger Spottiswoode and starring Bob Hoskins, which aired in April 2000. Currently he is working on a script for MGM about John O’Neill, the former head of the FBI’s office of counterterrorism in New York, who died on 9/11. Wright is active in civic affairs, having founded Texas Writers Month, as well as Capital Area Statues, Inc. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He also serves as the keyboard player in the Austin-based blues band, Who Do.
Sam Yau is a recognized business leader and strategist, known for delivering rapid value creation and strategic repositioning in turnaround situations. His diversified career has spanned many industries, including semiconductor, specialty retailing, computer hardware and software, medical management and for-profit education. His career culminated in his appointment in 1995 as the chief executive officer of National Education, a leading education corporation. Under his leadership, the company’s enterprise value increased five fold to a billion dollars within two years, prior to being acquired by Harcourt Brace. After National Education Corporation, Sam decided to leave the business world and embarked on a journey of self-discovery for personal and spiritual growth, through reading, workshops and contemplative practices. During this period, Sam frequently attended Esalen workshops and in 2005 became a trustee of Esalen. Sam immediately led Esalen’s strategic planning efforts in affirming Esalen’s vision and articulating its strategic imperatives in personal and social transformation. Sam also spearheaded a series of reforms in the culture, structure and processes of the Esalen board to significantly improving the effectiveness of the Esalen board. Sam currently serves on the board of directors for SRS Labs (NASDAQ:SRSL), a leading provider of audio, voice and surround sound solutions and Multi-Fineline Electronix, Inc. (NASDAQ:MFLX), a leading global service provider for the design and manufacture of flexible interconnect solutions. Sam is a past Chairman of Forum for Corporate Directors, Orange County, California.
Peter Zaas is Professor of Religious Studies and Director of the Hayyim H. Kieval Institute for Jewish-Christian Studies, Siena College. An authority in Jewish-Christian dialogue, Professor Zaas has published articles on Jewish-Christian dialogue, as well as Pauline moral language, and various aspects of Jewish law as it is reflected in the New Testament. He has completed The New Testament: A Jewish Scholar’s Translation,” and is presently at work on a book-length study of Jewish legal aspects of the birth story of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew.