Greetings of peace and blessings to you. As we finalie preparations for the 7th International Conference on Youth and Interfaith Dialogue, from November 20-21, 2015, in Abuja, Nigeria, we are very pleased to report that more distinguished International Speakers have signed up to present papers at the conference. Below is the list of Conference Speakers and Facilitators
H.E. Ambassador Mussie Hailu, PhD
H.E. Ambassador Mussie Hailu, PhD, is a peace activist working at national, regional and international levels for peace, reconciliation, interfaith harmony, disarmament, the Golden Rule, world citizenship, right human relationships, and international cooperation. He identifies himself as a Citizen of the World, strongly believes in the interdependence of human beings, and celebrates cultural diversity. He sees the differences in race, ethnicities, religions, politics, and nationalities as important elements of the one and indivisible humanity. Mussie, building on Scarboro Mission’s Golden Rule poster, is circulating tens of thousands of an African version of the poster. He has served African and global organizations, including United Nations agencies, and he is a founding member of United Religions Initiative. Currently he serves as regional director of URI for Africa and representative of URI at the Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and African Union (AU). He is also Ambassador-at Large to the Republic of Burundi.
Harriet Lewis, PhD
Harriet Lewis, PhD, is Senior Director at the Inner-City Muslim Action Network (IMAN), a Muslim-led organization located in Chicago, Illinois, United States, that provides health, wellness, and healing in the inner-city by organizing for social change, cultivating the arts, and operating a holistic health center. In addition to her work with IMAN and Konesens Development, Dr. Lewis serves in a volunteer capacity as Interfaith Director for the Africa Ministry at Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, Illinois, United States, where she is a member.A former U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer in Guinea-Bissau, she has presented and consulted in various countries throughout Africa and the Americas. Dr. Harriet Lewis holds a bachelor’s degree in Communications Studies and a master’s degree in Public Administration from the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and a doctorate in Human Services (Social Policy Analysis and Planning) from Walden University. Her dissertation topic was “International NGO Capacity-Building Programs in Benin and Burundi”. Her current research interests include: human rights, gender equity, and interfaith social action.
Karen Leslie Hernandez
Karen Leslie Hernandez is a Theologian with a focus in Christian-Muslim Understanding, as well as religious fundamentalism and extremism. She has a Master of Sacred Theology in Philosophy, Theology and Ethics with a focus in Religion and Conflict Transformation from Boston University School of Theology, '11; a Master of Theological Research in Christian-Muslim Understanding from Andover Newton Theological School, '07; and a BA in Peace and Justice Studies with a concentration in Islam from Wellesley College, '05. Karen was raised Catholic and is now the only theologian that is a Latina and a United Methodist, doing this type of multi-faith work in the United States. She has also published with several media outlets, including The Interfaith Observer, Feminism and Religion, the Women's United Nations Report Network, State of Formation, The American Muslim, The Journal of Inter-Religious Dialogue, and she is the only Christian, worldwide, to publish a regular Op-Ed Column with OnIslam in Cairo, Egypt. Karen currently lives in San Francisco, is an Ambassador with the Council on the Parliament of the World Religions, and she is exploring working with the homeless and domestic violence victims in 2015.
Mr. Liam Chinn
Mr. Liam Chinn is URI's Co-Director of Global Programs, Evaluation & Learning. He joined the URI team as Director of Evaluation and Learning in March 2013. For the past decade he has worked with international and local NGOs on governance and peacebuilding programs in multiple countries across Asia, including Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Timor-Leste where he directed a USAID funded conflict mitigation program. He brings extensive expertise in program development and evaluation, and will guide URI as it begins to build regional impact evaluation strategies. He has a long held passion for promoting greater engagement of civil society in the development process, authoring several surveys on community level conflict and the role of local leaders - including religious leaders - in bridge building. Liam holds a Masters degree in International Relations from the University of Chicago, and is an avid cook, trained in both Thai and Cantonese cuisines. He lives in San Francisco, CA, USA.
His Grace Salika Dasa Adhikari
His Grace Salika Dasa Adhikari is currently the Temple President of International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) on the Plateau and Executive National Secretary of the Movement in Nigeria. He was born Shamusideen Atanda Lasisi in mid-1962 to a devoted Muslim father and a Christian Mother, being very deeply interested and inquisitive about God and religion from tender age, he was dedicated to Islamic studies and at age seven he got a scholarship to study Arabic in Saudi Arabia but had to study locally because of age and other considerations. At college he became a Muslim Student leader and served as Secretary General Muslim Student Society (MSS).
A specialist in Comparative Religions and Interfaith Dialogue, Salika Dasa travels alot and has become a spiritual consultant to many high-ranking members of the Public, to various celebrities and to several chiefs, and high court justices. He has met and worked with few past Indian Ambassadors to Nigeria among others. He has organized and participated in several interfaith programs, Published Books, Journals and Magazines, featured on several television programs as a panellist on various topics ranging from religion, peace development, conflict resolution and presented papers atlocal and internationalseminars on varied topics on religion, World Peace Development, Environmental Degradation etc.
Mr. Biswadeb Chakraborty
Biswadeb Chakraborty is the United Religions Initiative’s Regional Coordinator for East India. With graduate degrees in percussion (Indian drum) and human resource project management, his interfaith activism and musical career as performer and producer weave together beautifully. For six years Biswabed worked at Transformative Collaborations International, a California-based organizational development venture. In India and abroad he has worked with young human rights and interfaith activists, using his music to attract large numbers to the cause. From a deeply spiritual family that encouraged his early musical abilities, Biswabed is a networker bringing together artists, human rights activists, and interfaith organizations. His musical group Ektaan promotes a grassroots-supported, discrimination-free India on television and radio, in concerts, and on CDs.
Claudia Espinel has dedicated herself to communications in the social field. Born in Colombia, she has worked for both national and international NGOs, using communications to promote social change. Currently, Claudia is working as Director of International Formation at a theological school in Chicago, USA, where she is leading the Global Fellowship for Multifaith and Multicultural Understanding among other programs focused on training religious leaders to drive spiritually grounded social change. Prior to moving to the United States, Claudia was Chief of Communication for the Bolívar Davivienda Foundation, Colombia's largest corporate foundation. There, she led the communication strategy for the organization's seven main projects. While living in New York, she worked with a variety of international institutions including Religions for Peace and the United Nations. In May 2015, Claudia received her Master's degree in Communication from New York University where she concentrated her academic work in communication for peacebuilding initiatives. Claudia holds a BA in Psychology from Universidad de los Andes, in Colombia, and a Specialization in Corporate Communication from Universidad
Enole Adapoyi has a Master’s of Science in homeland security management with a focus on women and children’s disparity in displaced condition. She has over three years experience in conflict resolution, beginning from when she first witnessed the gruesome maiming and killing of albino children in some parts of Africa. It was disheartening to say the least not just as a parent but one with an intelligently focused albino child who is a blessing. She therefore reached out to friends in the peace building world like Len and Libby seeking collaboration on how to help out. During these collaboration found a lack of awareness about the situation and so ARISE was born ARISE (Albino Relief for Inclusion and Safety Endeavor) is an initiative of an albino parent attracting the attention of other parents and friends of albino children worldwide to raise awareness and shining the light on the plight of ostracized brethren suffering stigmatization and mutilation .With a mission of creating awareness and advocating for worldwide education of the phenomena, ARISE seeks the wellbeing and education of children refugees in and provision for others seeking refuge. Other tracks than government is sought to improve these lives with inclusion in mind. ARISE seeks a thorough understanding of the genetical condition with its education to the populace to foster relationship eroding the myth associated with it. This is targeted at proletarian communities integrating its acceptance through education.