Haj Ibrahim Abu El Hawa is one of the founders of Jerusalem Peacemakers and the head of a large peacemaker community in the Holy Land. He comes from a long line of community fathers who have lived on the Mount of Olives since the days of the Umayyad Caliphate, the second of the four major Arab caliphates established after the death of Muhammad. (7th Century). Haj Ibrahim and his wife Naïma, a quiet and steady grandmother and hostess, welcome a continual stream of visitors to their open home.
Born in Sargodha, the daughter of village school teachers, she grew up in a community of mainly landless farm laborers. Despite her limited access to resources and opportunities, she overcame every barrier courageously, emerged as a grassroots leader and proved that women can make their paths to leadership. Rubina is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in leadership studies from the University of San Diego in the United States.
As a global leader and pioneer in the field of mind-body medicine, Deepak Chopra is transforming the way the world views physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and social wellness. He is a prolific author of more than sixty-four books, including nineteen New York Times bestsellers. His book Peace Is the Way received the prestigious Religions and Spirituality Quill Award in 2005, and The Book of Secrets was awarded the grand prize at the 2005 Nautilus Book Awards. His latest New York Times bestseller, War of the Worldviews: Science vs. Spirituality (co-authored with physicist Leonard Mlodinow), successfully elevates the conversation between science and religion in a way that is thoughtful and constructive rather than polarizing and divisive.
In an effort to promote education, reduce gang violence, and strengthen families in South Los Angeles, retired school teacher Millicent “Mama” Hill started Mama Hill’s Help Incorporated out of her home in 2000. Mama Hill’s Help is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that provides an after-school program to assist children between the ages of 5 and 18.
Peace practitioner and humanitarian Merlie “Milet” B. Mendoza of the Philippines has over two decades of peacebuilding experience ranging from the Office of the President in Manila to the conflicted frontlines of Mindanao. Currently Mendoza teaches social work and disaster management and provides technical support on disaster response and risk reduction to church-based social action organizations within the Catholic Caritas network in the Philippines.
Desmond Mpilo Tutu began his career as a high school teacher but turned to theology after the 1953 Bantu Education Act enforced racial segregation in all educational institutions. He was ordained as an Anglican priest in 1960, becoming the first black Anglican Dean of Johannesburg in 1975 and the first black General Secretary of the South African Council of Churches four years later. An outspoken critic of the apartheid government, he insisted that racial segregation was against God’s will. He soon became well-known internationally for his commitment to non-violence and for his support for economic sanctions against apartheid South Africa.
Eliyahu McLean is the director of the Jerusalem Peacemakers, a network of religious leaders and grassroots peacebuilders in Jerusalem and the Holy Land.
Dr. Michael Beckwith’s life is a living testament to building spiritual community. In the 1970’s he began an inward journey into the teachings of East and West, and today teaches universal truth principles found in the New Thought-Ancient Wisdom tradition of spirituality. Gifted with a vision of a trans-denominational spiritual community, in 1986 he founded the Agape International Spiritual Center upon his faith in that original vision.
Donna Sheehan and Paul Reffell are environmental, anti-war and cultural activists in northern California. Their work centers on waking people up to the ‘cultural potholes’ that damage community and interpersonal relations. They co-authored a book, Seduction Redefined, which combines brain science, evolutionary psychology and personal experience to help women remember their critical role as equal partners in creating peaceful culture. Their current project is a documentary, The Eve Option, which advocates partnership of the masculine and feminine as humanity’s last best chance for survival.
Marianne Williamson is an internationally acclaimed spiritual author and lecturer. Six of her ten published books have been New York Times Best Sellers. Four of these have been #1 New York Times Best Sellers. A Return to Love is considered a must-read of The New Spirituality. A paragraph from that book, beginning "Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure..." - often misattributed to Nelson Mandela's Inaugural address - is considered an anthem for a contemporary generation of seekers.
Arvol Looking Horse is the 19th generation keeper of the White Buffalo Calf Pipe Bundleand holds the responsibility of spiritual leader among the Lakota, Dakota and Nakota People. He holds an honorary Doctorate from the University of South Dakota, and travels and speaks extensively on peace, environmental and native rights issues. He has been the recipient of several awards, including the Wolf Award of Canada for his dedicated work for peace. A skilled horseman, he shares his knowledge with the youth on the long distance rides that take place in South Dakota throughout the year.
Guy Laliberté founded Quebec's first internationally renowned circus with the support of a small group of colleagues. He recognized and cultivated the talents of the buskers from the Fête foraine de Baie-Saint-Paul and created Cirque du Soleil in 1984 with the support of a government grant for Canada's 450th anniversary celebrations. Cirque du Soleil was originally set up as a one-year project. However, the government of Quebec wanted a touring event that would perform in other provinces.
Dominic Barter has studied the interface between societal and personal change, and the role of conflict, since the 1980s. Since 2004 he has worked as consultant and training program director for the Brazilian Restorative Justice pilot projects, in collaboration with the UN Development Program, UNESCO, the Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Education and Special Secretariat for Human Rights.
Mustafa Barghouti (Arabic: مصطفى البرغوثي, strict transliteration Muṣṭafā al-Barġūṯī, also transcribed Mustafa Barghouthi, Mustafa Al Barghuthi; born 1954) is a Palestinian democracy activist. He was a candidate for the presidency of the Palestinian National Authority in 2005, finishing second to Mahmoud Abbas, with 19% of the vote.
Dr. Brad Blanton is a psychotherapist, author and seminar leader. He describes himself as “white trash with a Ph.D.” Armed with quick wit and an engaging Southern accent, he speaks with an unwavering honesty that is both disarming and challenging, a quality that has earned him admirers as well as detractors. His first book, Radical Honesty: How To Transform Your Life By Telling The Truth, became a nation wide best seller in 1996 and has been translated into seven languages. The new revised edition was just released by Sparrowhawk Publications in April 2005.
Luz is a women’s rights activist and peacemaker from Guatemala. She has long advocated for the recognition of women’s rights in peacebuilding efforts and bringing to the surface a long-hidden dimension of war: sexual violence against women. Luz is renowned for being the only woman member of a delegation to sign the Peace Accords ending Guatemala’s 36-year long civil war.
The Plant-for-the-Planet Children´s Initiative was founded in January 2007. It has its origin in a school presentation about the climate crisis of the - back then - 9-year-old Felix Finkbeiner. Inspired by Wangari Maathai, who planted 30 million trees in africa, Felix developed at the end of his presentation the vision that children could plant one million trees in each country of the world to create a CO2 balance therewith. During the following years Plant-for-the-Planet developed to a worldwide move: At present approx. 100,000 children in over 100 countries pursue this goal.
Born to a tribal minority family in the Mondulkiri province of Cambodia, Somaly Mam began life in extreme poverty. With limited options as a severely marginalized ethnic group, and living in unimaginable despair, her family often resorted to desperate means to survive. This confluence of dire circumstances led to Somaly being sold into sexual slavery by a man who posed as her grandfather. To this day, due to the passing of time and the unreliability of a wounded memory, Somaly still does not know who this man was to her.