Darbari S. Seth Foundation Conference on Nonviolence

Giving and Forgiving Conference, November 18-20, 2016

Confirmed Distinguished and Keynote Speakers
(In alphabetic order)

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LINDA BIEHL is the co-founder and director of the Amy Biehl Foundation in the U.S. and the Amy Biehl Foundation Trust in South Africa.  Linda’s relationship to South Africa and the genesis of these Foundations is grounded in the life and death of her daughter Amy.

Amy Biehl was a dynamic, 26 year-old Stanford graduate who in 1993 was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to study the role of women and gender rights during South Africa’s transition from the apartheid regime to a free multiracial democracy.  Just days before she was due home, Amy was killed in an act of political violence.  

The four men, convicted of killing Amy, applied in 1997 for amnesty to South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC).  Instead of opposing their amnesty, Linda and her late husband Peter Biehl offered their support to these young men challenging them to link arms with them to continue Amy’s work.

The remarkable story of Amy and her parents have been featured in world-wide media, including ABC’s “Turning Point,” and Oprah Winfrey shows; CBS “60 Minutes” and “60 Minutes II;” NBC’S “Today Show; ” CNN’s Paula Zahn, and Anderson Cooper shows; and focus of award winning documentary, Long Night’s Journey into Day.

Restorative rather than retributive justice continues to be the focus of Linda Biehl’s message of peace and reconciliation. In 2008 Linda Biehl was awarded the highest honor given to a non-South African, the Companions of O. R. Tambo. In that year, she was also honored by the inaugural Greeley Scholar for Peace Award by the UMASS at Lowell.

MARINA CANTACUZINO is an award-winning journalist who in 2003, in response to the imminent invasion of Iraq, embarked on a project collecting stories of people who had lived through violence, tragedy or injustice and sought forgiveness rather than revenge. As a result Marina founded, The Forgiveness Project, a UK-based not-for-profit that uses the real stories of victims and perpetrators to explore how ideas around forgiveness, reconciliation and restorative justice can be used to impact positively on people’s lives.

Marina has a regular blog on The Huffington Post. In 2012 she spoke at the UN before Secretary General Ban Ki-moon about her work and is a contributor in the film documentary Beyond Right and Wrong directed by Roger Spotiswoode. She also teaches about the Trauma Cycle and runs workshops exploring concepts of forgiveness and restorative storytelling .

In 2015 Marina’s book The Forgiveness Project: Stories for a Vengeful Age (Jessica Kingsley Publishers) was published in the US and UK.

JAMES R. DOTY is the Founder and Director of the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education (CCARE) at the Stanford University's School of Medicine where he is a Clinical Professor of Neurosurgery.

As Director of CCARE, Dr. Doty's research interests include the effect of compassion training on immunologic and other physiologic determinates of health, the use of mentoring as a method of instilling compassion in students, and the use of compassion training to decrease pain. He has interviewed internationally acclaimed practitioners of compassion, including the Dalai Lama, Thich Nhat Hanh, and Mata Amritanandamayi (Amma).

Dr. Doty serves on the Board of Directors of numerous non-profit foundations, including the Dalai Lama Foundation of which he is the Chairman; and on the International Advisory Board of the Council for the Parliament of the World Relgions.

Dr. Doty is the author of  Into the Magic Shop: A Neurosurgeon’s Quest to Discover the Mysteries of the Brain and the Secrets of the Hear(Penguin, 2016).
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LYNDON F. HARRIS is the Co-director, Tigg’s Pond Retreat Center (Zirconia, NC) where he is in charge of program development for the Forgiveness Institute. In the past he has served in a variety of roles, including as a Pastor for more than 20 years. As the priest in-charge of St. Paul’s Chapel (across from the World Trade Center), he organized and managed disaster relief operation that served over half a million meals, and offered care, counseling, therapy, and spiritual healing.

His work at Ground Zero has been written about in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and the Christian Science Monitor. His work on forgiveness has been featured in the award winning documentary, The Power of Forgiveness. He is a recipient of numerous awards and honors, including the “Blessed are the Peacemakers” Award by the World Council of Churches and the Dean’s Medal by the General Theological Seminary.

As a forgiveness coach and a motivational speaker, Harris has spoken in numerous forums around the world. He serves as the Executive Director of The Gardens of Forgiveness , an educational nonprofit dedicated to teaching about peace and conflict resolution through forgiveness. 

FREDERIC LUSKIN, Ph.D. is the Director of the Stanford University Forgiveness Projects, and Department Chair in Clinical Psychology at Sofia University.

At Stanford Dr. Luskin teaches classes on The Art of Happiness, Meditation, Developing Emotional Intelligence and The Psychology of Storytelling to undergraduate and graduate students. He also teaches stress management, emotional intelligence and happiness skills to corporate clients throughout the United States.

Dr. Luskin is the author of best-selling books Forgive for Good: A Proven Prescription for Health and Happiness and Forgive for Love: The Missing Ingredient for a Healthy and Happy Relationship. His research has demonstrated that forgiveness methodology leads participants suffering from a wide range of concerns to improved physical and mental health. His work has been applied to resolve variety of problems including legal disputes and have helped people recover from personal and political tragedies resulting from violence and war.

He and his work has been featured in world-wide media, including the New York Times, the O Magazine, Los Angeles Times, Time Magazine, Huffington Post, Today Show, and the CBS Morning News, and the PBS.

JENNY PHILLIPS is a cultural anthropologist, filmmaker, writer and psychiatric nurse. She has a psychotherapy practice in Concord, MA, specializing in crisis intervention, family and marriage therapy, behavioral medicine, and mindfulness training. In 2008, Phillips produced and directed a documentary film, The Dhamma Brothers, with a national theatrical release and national broadcast on public television. The Dhamma Brothers tells the story of this group of prisoners participating in a 10-day intensive meditation (vipasana) program. The film serves as a vehicle to raise public awareness about the potential for forgiveness and personal transformation among prisoners. 

Jenny’s experience with The Dhamma Brothers, with the power of film to change minds and open hearts to important issues of social justice, has now led to another documentary film, Beyond the Wall, which will premiere this Spring at the Independent Film Festival of Boston. The film follows the lives and stories of a small community of men released from prison and attempting to rebuild their lives with little support from our criminal justice system. Through personal stories of reentry, relapse, recovery, redemption and reconciliation, Beyond the Wall puts a human face on the social, economic and emotional barriers encountered by returning citizens.

NANCY SCHEPER-HUGES is a Chancellor’s Professor of Medical Anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley where she directs the doctoral program in Critical Studies in Medicine, Science, and the Body.

Scheper-Hughes' lifework concerns issues of violence and suffering, justice and reconciliation. Her examination of structural and political violence, of what she calls "small wars and invisible genocides" has allowed her to develop a so-called 'militant' anthropology, which has been broadly applied to medicine, psychiatry, and to the practice of anthropology.

She has published numerous books and articles based on her research. Her latest books include, Violence on the Urban Margins (Oxford University 2015), The Ghosts of Montes de Oca: Naked Life and the Medically Disappeared (forthcoming, University of North Carolina Press).

For the last two decades she has been involved in a multi-sited, ethnographic, and medical human rights oriented study of the global traffic in humans (living and dead) for their organs to serve the needs and desires of international transplant patients.

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JOHN VISCOUNT is an author, screenwriter, playwright and Co-Founder of  PeaceNow.com.

John's film, Admissions, a transformational tale of forgiveness, has been honored with 26 international awards and stars Academy Award© nominee, James Cromwell. Translated into Spanish, Arabic, Hebrew and Farsi, the film has been broadcast to 80 million people worldwide. His forthcoming film, The Principle, will be directed by James Cromwell and will address cyber-bullying.

John has adapted The Principle and Admissions into a hybrid, three-act play for peace called The Resolution which merges philosophical teachings, high drama and social activism. The play debuted in Canada in March 2016 at Sho Art, Spirit & Performance and includes three of John’s original songs.

The Resolution promotes the UN Global Resolution which was a collaborative effort between UN Culture of Peace Groups, the Global Alliance for Ministries & Infrastructures for Peace and PeaceNow.com, which is gathering one billion signatures to enact a United Nations Global Resolution to create peace departments in governments worldwide.

John is the author of Mind What Matters. A Pep Talk for Humanity. For more, click here.

GIANFRANCO ZACCAI is the Co-Founder of Continuum LLC worldwide, a pioneer in the multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary field of using design research to advance innovation in consumer products and services with a special focus on health and wellness.

Continuum has played a key role in the development of innovations in industries that span the gamut from high volume consumer goods and services to medical devices—exemplified by the Swiffer product lines for P&G to the Insulet Omni-Pod wearable Insulin delivery system. Most recently Continuum had been instrumental in innovations in Financial Services, Banking, Transportation, and healthcare including HIV-AIDS testing in Africa.

Zaccai is a frequent lecturer at Harvard and MIT, and has taught at the Massachusetts College of Art and the Boston Architectural College as well as the SDA Bocconi School of Management in Milan, Italy. He has spoken at international conferences and workshops in Finland, Sweden, South Africa, Uruguay, Brazil, Denmark, Italy, India, Ireland, Japan, China, Korea, Mexico, Columbia, Chile and the UK. 

Zaccai has been awarded honorary Doctorates from Syracuse University, North Carolina State University and the Boston Architectural College. In 2009, he was inducted as a Commander of the Order Merit of the Italian Republic by the President of Italy.