A Journey Toward Peace:
Paula Garb is Co-Director and co-founder of UC Irvine’s Center for Citizen Peacebuilding. She is the Associate Director of International Studies, Associate Adjunct Professor of Anthropology, and lecturer in anthropology and political science at the University of California, Irvine(UCI). She is a facilitator and researcher of citizen peacebuilding projects. Garb spent 17 years living and working in Moscow, where she received her M.A. in anthropology from Moscow State University and later completed her doctorate in anthropology from the Russian Academy of Sciences Institute of Anthropology. She ultimately secured a job as a field producer for CBS News in Moscow, where she worked until she came to UCI in 1991.
After returning to live and work in the U.S. she has studied the mobilization of activists around environmental problems associated with the nuclear weapons complex in Russia and the role of citizen initiatives in the ethnic conflicts of the Caucasus. Since 1995, with funding from the University of California, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the US Institute of Peace, USAID, and the Winston Foundation for World Peace, she has been promoting citizen peacebuilding activities and research. Her primary project has focused on facilitating and studying peacebuilding efforts between Abkhaz and Georgian academics, journalists, representatives of nongovernmental organizations, and politicians. In 1999 she initiated a coordination network of peacebuilding projects and organizations working in the Georgian-Abkhaz conflict, and continues to foster the network. Garb has been using her long-term and in-depth experience and research data from the Georgian-Abkhaz conflict to examine and compare how citizens are helping to resolve disputes in other conflict zones, such as Kosovo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Middle East, Cyprus, and Northern Ireland. She draws on these experiences for courses in conflict resolution that she teaches to Los Angeles gang intervention workers and UCI students. Her work has also led to a number of publications in academic and other journals.
Paths to Peace Through Compassion, Cooperation and Sustainable Development
He is widely considered to be the leading international economic advisor of his generation. For more than 20 years Professor Sachs has been in the forefront of the challenges of economic development, poverty alleviation, and enlightened globalization, promoting policies to help all parts of the world to benefit from expanding economic opportunities and wellbeing. He is also one of the leading voices for combining economic development with environmental sustainability, and as Director of the Earth Institute leads large-scale efforts to promote the mitigation of human-induced climate change.
In 2004 and 2005 he was named among the 100 most influential leaders in the world by Time Magazine. He was awarded the Padma Bhushan, a high civilian honor bestowed by the Indian Government, in 2007. Sachs lectures constantly around the world and was the 2007 BBC Reith Lecturer. He is author of hundreds of scholarly articles and many books, including New York Times bestseller The End of Poverty (Penguin, 2005). Sachs is a member of the Institute of Medicine and is a Research Associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research. Prior to joining Columbia, he spent over twenty years at Harvard University, most recently as Director of the Center for International Development. A native of Detroit, Michigan, Sachs received his B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. degrees at Harvard University.
Working Locally, Thinking Globally: Community Approaches To Media Activism and Literacy
Paolo Davanzo is the Founder and Executive Director of the Echo Park Film Center (EPFC) in Los Angeles, CA. Paolo Davanzo was born in Italy and immigrated to the United States with his family at age 7. He started EPFC in honor of his parents, social justice activists who passed away early in his life. An Associate Professor in the Film & Video Department of College of the Canyons, Paolo holds a BA Degree in Visual Arts & Political Science from UC San Diego and a Masters Degree in Film from Humboldt State University. He is the founder and programmer of the Human Rights Film Festival, the EPFC Youth Film Festival and the Polyester Prince Road Show. The goal of the Human Rights Film Festival is to highlight social justice issues too often ignored by the mainstream media. Every year, the festival presents an engaging variety of documentary and experimental films that explore themes of home and community. Basic human rights, including the right to peacefully assemble, the right to religious freedom, the right of political sovereignty and the right to life and liberty, are often taken for granted in Western industrialized nations. In the post-9/11 landscape, issues of human rights are increasingly crucial and closer to home than ever before and these films are vehicles to promote thought, discussion, debate and action.
Action on a Culture of Peace
Mr. Anwarul Karim Chowdhury was appointed in March 2002 by the Secretary-General of the United Nations as Under-Secretary-General and High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States. In December 2003, Mr. Chowdhury was designated as the Secretary-General of the International Meeting for the ten-year review of the Barbados Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of the Small Island Developing States held in Mauritius from 10-14 January 2005. Mr. Chowdhury was also designated the Secretary-General of the International Ministerial Conference of Landlocked and Transit Developing Countries and the Donor Community on Transit Transport Cooperation held in Almaty, Kazakhstan on 28-29 August 2003. Prior to his appointment, Ambassador Chowdhury completed his assignment (1996-2001) as Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the United Nations in New York. He also served as Bangladesh's Ambassador to Chile, Nicaragua, Peru and Venezuela, as well as Bangladesh's High Commissioner to the Bahamas and Guyana. During his tenure as Permanent Representative, Mr. Chowdhury served as President of the Security Council, President of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) Executive Board and Vice-President of the Economic and Social Council of the UN in 1997 and 1998. He had served for more than 10 years, as the Coordinator for the Least Developed Countries in New York. In May 2001, he led the negotiations on behalf of the least developed countries at the Third United Nations Conference on Least Developed Countries, which adopted the comprehensive Brussels Programme of Action for the present decade. Mr. Chowdhury also chaired the Fifth (Administrative and Budgetary) Committee of the UN General Assembly in 1997-1998. From 1990-1993, Mr. Chowdhury was the UNICEF Director for Japan, Australia and New Zealand. Mr. Chowdhury was born in 1943 in Dhaka, Bangladesh and joined the diplomatic service in 1967. He holds a Master of Arts degree in Contemporary History and International Relations from the University of Dhaka. He has been a regular contributor to journals on peace, development and human rights issues, and a speaker at academic institutions and other forums. He also served as an Adjunct Professor at the School of Diplomacy, Seton Hall University of the United States. Mr. Chowdhury is the recipient of the U Thant Peace Award and UNESCO Gandhi Gold Medal for Culture of Peace. He is an Honorary Patron of the Committee on Teaching About the UN (CTAUN), New York. In March 2003, the Soka University of Tokyo, Japan conferred on Ambassador Chowdhury an Honorary Doctorate for his work on women's issues, child rights and culture of peace as well as for the strengthening of the United Nations.
Global Challenges for the 21st Century
Messinger’s areas of expertise include: democracy and civic participation, urban policy and politics, social welfare, education, employment and tax policy. She is a social worker by professional training, and has taught in several MSW programs and is one of the leading advocates and effective spokespersons for the growing role of social workers in politics.
The organization Ms. Messinger directs provides humanitarian aid, technical assistance and skilled volunteers to local grassroots groups in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Latin America, Russia, and the Ukraine in projects involving health, education, agriculture, micro enterprise, economic development, human rights and civil society.
Ruth Messinger has taught Policy and Politics at Queens and Hunter Colleges and is active in the fight to protect and improve the future of higher education in New York.
Gandhi in Palestine: Lessons Learned on Enhancing Cultures of Peace in Ongoing Conflicts
Lighting the Way: Lessons Learned from Nobel Peace Prize Winners
Religion and Peacemaking
Dr. Smith-Christopher is the author of several books, including, Jonah, Jesus, and Other Good Coyotes: Speaking Peace to Power in the Bible, A Biblical Theology of Exile (Overtures to Biblical Theology) and Introduction to the Old Testament: Our Invitation to Faith and Justice, a text for secondary school courses in Old Testament. Dr. Smith-Christopher is also the author of “The Books of Ezra-Nehemiah” in The Oxford Bible Commentary, and “Daniel” in the New Interpreter’s Bible Commentary. Dr. Smith-Christopher’s most recent book, Jonah, Jesus and Other Good Coyotes: Speaking Peace to Power in the Bible, is now available, with a foreword by Dr. Walter Brueggeman. Dr. Smith Christopher is the editor of and a contributor to the text, Subverting Hatred: The Challenge of Religious Nonviolence. The 10th anniversary edition of Subverting Hatred has been announced.
Dr. Smith-Christopher has taught and spoken on topics in scripture, particularly of the Exilic and Persian periods, and on issues of peace, justice and non-violence, and recently began teaching on the role of Scripture in African-American Gospel and Blues musical and lyrical traditions. Dr. Smith-Christopher has also consulted on many television and multi-media projects in these areas.
Former Child Soldier, Human Rights Activist and Best Selling Author of “A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier”
Ishmael Beah was born in Sierra Leone on Nov. 23, 1980. When he was eleven his life, along with the lives of millions of other Sierra Leoneans, was derailed by the outbreak of a brutal civil war. After Ishmael’s parents and two brothers were killed, he was recruited to fight as a child soldier. He was thirteen years old. Ishmael fought for over two years before he was removed from the army by UNICEF and placed in a rehabilitation home in Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone. After completing rehabilitation in late 1996, Ishmael won a competition to attend a conference at the United Nations to talk about the devasting effects of war on children in his country. It was there that he met his new mother, a professional storyteller who lived in New York City. Ishmael returned to Sierra Leone and continued speaking about his experiences to help bring international attention to the issue of child soldiering and war affected children.
In 1998 Ishamel came to live with his American family in NYC, completed high school at the UN International School, then went on to Oberlin College. Throughout his education, Ishmael continued his advocacy work on behalf of children affected by war, speaking at UNICEF Human Rights Watch, UN Secretary General’s Office for Children and Armed Conflict, UN General Assembly.
Ishmael Beah is a member of the Human Rights Watch Children’s Rights Division Committee.
Solutions at the 11th Hour
Leila Conners Petersen is co-founder and president of Tree Media Group. With a background in international politics, Leila set out to build a production company that tells stories about the pressing issues of our time. Founded in 1996, Tree Media creates media to support and sustain civil society. Leila writes and produces projects for various media: from film, to television, to the web and print.
In Leila's capacity as President of Tree Media, she oversees development and production that includes subjects that range from political to social
topics. Tree works with groups and individuals like the Council on Foreign
Relations, NASA, RAND, Gorbachevs Green Cross International, Leonardo
DiCaprio, PBS and Norman Lear. As a writer, Leilas work has been published
widely, in newspapers around the world from the International Herald
Tribune, to the Los Angeles Times and Le Monde, to magazines like Wired and book compilations. Most recently, Leilas essay Glossy: American Hegemony and the Culture of Death, was published in War, Media and Propaganda, by Rowan and Littlefield.
Prior to Tree Media, Leila was Associate Editor of New Perspectives Quarterly, an international journal of social and political thought, and Associate Editor of Global Viewpoint of the Los Angeles Times Syndicate, an internationally distributed op-ed column that reaches 200 papers. At NPQ, she interviewed thinkers and policy makers including: Kofi Annan, Nafis Sadik, Betty Friedan, Hans Bethe, Rigoberta Menchu Tum, Boutros Boutros Ghali among others. She is now Editor-at-Large for NPQ.
In 1991, Leila translated Jacques Attali's book from the French for Random
House entitled, Millennium.
Leila is a life member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Pacific Council on International Policy. She is a member of the Writers Guild of America (WGA). She was also a speaker at the Bioneers conference in October 2005. Leila speaks French, and lives in Santa Monica with her husband Matt and her son Aidan Michael.
Patriarchy and Pedagogy: Learning toward a Culture of Peace
Betty Reardon has been Director of the Peace Education programme at Teachers College, Columbia University, and is currently associated with the Department of International and Transcultureal Studies. A pioneering peace educator and prolific author of peace, human rights and gender related materials since the late 1970’s; she has been involved in peace education projects and publications with colleagues in various parts of the world.
Because We Must: Women As Peacebuilders
LA City Arts:
Adolfo V. Nodal currently works as Project General Manager for the Annenberg Foundation and oversees the Not A Cornfield project and the construction of other public art projects downtown. He also contributes to the cultural development and political evolution of his native Cuba, serving as president of the Cuba Culture Foundation and organizing cultural, humanitarian and religious missions to his native country.
Nodal served as General Manager of the City of Los Angeles’ Cultural Affairs Department from 1988 to 2001, where he helped establish the city’s Endowment for the Arts and developed comprehensive arts and cultural heritage master plans. Prior to his position in city government, Nodal worked as executive director of several contemporary arts institutions across the country including the Washington Project for the Arts in Washington, DC, the Otis Parsons School of Art Exhibition Center in Los Angeles and the Contemporary Arts Center in New Orleans.
Nodal received a bachelor’s degree in Art from Florida State University in Tallahassee in 1972 and earned a master’s degree in Contemporary Art from California State University at San Francisco.
Moving Beyong "Tolerance" in Race and Human Relations: Lessons from & for a Global Los Angeles
Robin S. Toma is the Executive Director of the Los Angeles County Human Relations Commission, has broad experience in the field of human relations. He was appointed by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors in 2000 after working five years with the Commission. He was invited to be a member of the US Delegation to the 2001 UN World Conference Against Racism, held in South Africa, Japanese American Leadership Delegation to Japan in 2003, and the Climate of Trust Delegation to Russia in 2005. He is co-author of the manual: “Day Laborer Hiring Sites: Constructive Approaches to Community Conflict,” and authored “A Primer on Managing Intergroup Conflict in a Multicultural Workplace."
Toma was lead attorney in seeking redress for over 2,200 Japanese Latin Americans who were forcibly brought to the U.S. and imprisoned by the US government during World War II. He is also part of an ongoing gathering of leaders known as the Executive Session on Criminal Justice and Human Rights organized by Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. Previously, he served as staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Southern California for nearly 7 years, promoting human rights and building multi-ethnic coalitions to bring about institutional change. A native of Los Angeles, Toma received his Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology and Economics at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and his Master’s degree in Urban Planning and his Juris Doctorate from UCLA. He completed a three-year Kellogg National Fellowship/Leadership Program studying how genuine democracies can be built in culturally diverse societies around the globe. Toma lived two years in Barcelona, Spain and is fully fluent in Spanish.
Thinking the Unthinkable: Eliminating Nuclear Weapons
Peace and Love
Shigeko Sasamori is one of the twenty-five so-called “Hiroshima Maidens” who survived the atomic bombing of Hiroshima on August 6, 1945 and were brought to the United States for reconstructive surgery in 1955. This was made possible by the editor of the erudite Saturday Review, Norman Cousins, who rallied support from his readership to help sponsor the twenty-five reconstructive surgeries. By the same process, he also arranged medical care and education for 400 Japanese children orphaned by the explosions. Norman Cousins became Shigeko Sasamori’s adoptive father. Shigeko Sasamori’s story of survival revolves around her transformation from a 13-year-old in delirium after the atomic bombing to an international peace activist in the tradition of her adoptive father, Norman Cousins who wrote, “nothing is more powerful than an individual acting out of his conscience, thus helping to bring the collective conscience to life.” She currently serves as the C.E.O. of Hiroshima and Nagasaki Peace Projects, L.L.C. whose mission is to stimulate an active, worldwide dialogue in order to protect humanity from nuclear harm. The Project’s activities will advance the work of Norman Cousins, who demonstrated the power of international dialogue in promoting mutual understanding, goodwill, and peace.
Gandhi and a Culture of Peace
A model of what academicians aspire to be, Joseph Prabhu is noted as “an excellent teacher who makes a lasting impression on students; an intellectual and widely recognized scholar; and a colleague who is a solid citizen of the university and the world.”
Dr. Prabhu was educated first in economics at Delhi University, studying with Amartya Sen, future Nobel Prize winner, among others. He then went to Europe to study philosophy and religion, spending time at Heidelberg and Munich Universities in Germany and Cambridge University in England, where he received his M.A. in philosophy. It was at Boston University that he secured his Ph.D. with a thesis on “Hegel’s Philosophy of Religion.”
Dr. Prabhu has taught at CSULA since 1978, but has also been visiting professor at UC Berkeley, Harvard University and the University of Chicago. His teaching interests are in metaphysics, ethics, philosophy of religion, social and political philosophy, and comparative religion. In addition, he has presented more than 100 guest lectures at universities in Germany, Spain, Turkey, Japan, Australia and India.
The National Endowment for the Humanities has granted Dr. Prabhu nine fellowships and he has also garnered fellowships at the Center for the Study of World Religions at Harvard University and the Martin Marty Center at the University of Chicago.
Dr. Prabhu has edited The Intercultural Challenge of Raimon Panikkar (Orbis Books, 1996) and Indian Ethics: Ancient Traditions and Contemporary Challenges (Ashgate Press, 2005). His own book, Liberating Gandhi: Community, Empire and a Culture of Peace, is being reviewed by Rowman and Littlefield; while another book co-edited with the renowned literary scholar Terry Eagleton, Left-wing Christianity, has been commissioned by Duke University Press. In addition, he was a co-editor of ReVision, a journal of philosophy, spirituality and psychology, for a six-year period. He serves on the Executive Committee of the Society for Asian and Comparative Philosophy, and is being nominated to the Board of Trustees of the Chicago-based Council of the Parliament of World Religions.
Philosophical Challenges in Building a Culture of Peace
Lou Marinoff—a Commonwealth Scholar originally from Canada—is a Professor and Deputy Chair of Philosophy at the City College of New York, founding President of the American Philosophical Practitioners Association (APPA) and Faulty of the World Economic Forum. Marinoff collaborates with numerous global organizations that contribute to building cultures of peace, prosperity and harmony including Billion Minds Foundation (New York), Horasis (Geneva), Mentor Foundation (London), Soka Gakkai (Tokyo), Strategic Foresight Group (Mumbai) Marinoff is author of Plato Not Prozac, translated into 25 languages and Therapy for the Sane, translated into 12 languages. Marinoff’s latest book, The Middle Way, applies virtue ethics of Aristotle, Buddha and Confucius to moderating forms of extremism that polarize humanity, engendering wasteful conflicts and needless suffering. Marinoff is currently engaged in a dialogue with SGI President Ikeda on the philosophy for humanity in the 21st century.
Foundations of a Peaceful Society: Equality, Diversity, Identity and Inclusion
Mr. Glassman, Chairperson of the Pennsylvania Human Relations Committee, graduated with highest honors from Brown and Yale Universities, with advanced degrees in art and architecture, and went on to Harvard University’s JFK School of Government. He is the media spokesman on behalf of gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender civil rights causes, interfaith relations, AIDS, and architecture.
Global Migration and the Challenge of Development
Ali Modarres is the Associate Director of the Edmund G. “Pat” Brown Institute of Public Affairs at California State University, Los Angeles and a Professor at the Department of Geography and Urban Analysis on the same campus. He specializes in urban geography and his primary research and publication interests are community development and planning. He has published in the areas of urban development, transportation planning, environmental equity, social geography, immigration, and race and ethnicity as they relate to the issues of access and the role of public policy in creating disadvantaged communities.
2014 Lecture Series Schedule
The Culture of Peace
The SGI-USA Culture of Peace Resource Centers have launched the Culture of Peace Distinguished Speaker Series to engage people in a dialogue on the values, attitudes and behaviors that reject violence and inspire creative energy toward the peaceful resolution of conflicts.
The SGI-USA is involved in non-sectarian, awareness activities to promote the values of peace, culture and education.