Salt Lake 2015: Major Speakers of the Women's Initiative
Meet the leading voices of the Women's Initiative for Global Advancement at the 2015 Parliament! Join us on October 15 - 19 at the Inaugural Women's Assembly and Program Initiative to make history and work together to break the stained glass ceiling!
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The Women's Assembly will provide an important opportunity for women to address and discuss two areas of vital interest:
- the responsibility of the world’s religions to affirm women’s dignity and human rights
- religious and spiritual inspiration for women’s empowerment
Meet the Speakers
Mother Maya Tiwari serves humanity by awakening the spirit of ahimsa, or harmony, in every person whose life she touches. She is an Ayurveda pioneer working in the field for more than 30 years. She established the first Ayurvedic school in North America in 1981, the Wise Earth School of Ayurveda. Tiwari is also founder of the the Mother Om Mission and the Living Ahimsa Foundation. Through her global work at Living Ahimsa, participants are taught to spread practices that promote peace and create inner harmony. Tiwari is also the recipient of AAPNA’s Rishi Award for her outstanding work in Ayurvedic medicine.
Terry Tempest Williams is an author, conservationist and activist. Much of her writing is influenced by her native Utah and Mormon culture, braching into issues of ecology and wilderness preservation, women's health, as well as the human relationship to culture and nature. She has authored several books, including Refuge: An Unnatural History of Family and Place, An Unspoken Hunger, Stories from the Field, and more. Williams is the Annie Clark Tanner Scholar in Environmental Humanities at the University of Utah, a columnist for The Progressive, and an instructor at Dartmouth College.
Dr. Vandana Shiva is an esteemed Hindu author and environmental justice activist. Based in Delhi, India, Shiva often lectures on environmental issues such as agricultural and fair trade practices. She has authored 30 books on these topics, and is a fierce advocate of eco-feminist philosophies and principles.
Ruth W. Messinger is president of American Jewish World Service (AJWS), the world’s leading Jewish organization working to end poverty and realize human rights in the developing world. She came to AJWS in 1998, after a 20-year career in public service in New York City. As an activist for human rights around the globe, Ruth currently sits on the State Department’s Religion and Foreign Policy Working Group and co-chairs the Sub-Working Group on Social Justice.
Marianne Williamson is an internationally acclaimed spiritual author and lecturer. Marianne has been a popular guest on television programs such as Oprah, Larry King Live, Good Morning America and Charlie Rose. Six of her eleven published books have been New York Times Best Sellers. Four of these have been #1 New York Times Best Sellers. In 1989, she founded Project Angel Food, a meals-on-wheels program that serves homebound people with AIDS in the Los Angeles area. Today, Project Angel Food serves over 1,000 people daily. Marianne also co-founded the Peace Alliance. And she serves on the Board of Directors of the RESULTS organization, working to end the worst ravages of hunger and poverty throughout the world.
Ilyasah Shabazz, the esteemed daughter of Malcom X and Dr. Betty Shabazz, is an author, producer, and motivational speaker. Her coming-of-age Random House publication, Growing Up X, won critical acclaim, including an NAACP Image Award nomination, BET best book list, and United Press International book of the week. Ilyasah served as a member of the U.S. delegation that accompanied President Bill Clinton to South Africa to commemorate election of President Nelson Mandela. She retraced her father’s footsteps to the Holy City of Mecca and is included in the 500 Most Influential Muslims in the World. She has participated in interfaith dialogue study programs and served as a member of the American Interfaith Leadership delegation that participated with the Malaria No More Foundation to provide 2 million bed nets. She also received NAACP Image Award 2014 for her book, MALCOLM LITTLE the Boy who would grow up to become MALCOLM X (Simon and Schuster). Currently, her novel "X,a Novel" (released 2015) (Candlewick Press) was on the New York Times Best Seller list.
Dr. Rangimarie Turuki Arikirangi Rose Pere is a Tohuna and a teacher of the Kura Huna, the traditional mystery school of the Maori. She is the elder of several major tribes and a Guardian of Earth Mother. Internationally sought after as a speaker and spiritual authority, Rose has spent her life as an educator of immense stature working in the world of Maori and non-Maori. She was the Young Maori Woman of the Year in 1972, awarded the New Zealand 1990 Commemoration medal. C.M. and became a Commander of the British Empire receiving her C.B.E. in 1996.
Jean Shinoda Bolen, M. D, is a psychiatrist, Jungian analyst, internationally known author of thirteen influential books in eighty-five foreign translations; a Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, and retired clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of California at San Francisco. She is in the Academy-Award winning anti-nuclear proliferation film Women—For America, For the World, the Canadian Film Board's Goddess Remembered and Femme: Women Healing the World. The Millionth Circle Initiative was inspired by her book and led to her going to the UN and becoming an advocate for a UN 5th World Conference on Women.
Ms Lokawua Margaret is a Karamojong indigenous woman from Uganda trained in the field of human rights specializing in conflict resolution. Ms. Lokawua a coordinator or an indigenous women's organization the Northeastern part of Uganda and a former member of The UN Permanent forum on indigenous issues. She is also the Chairperson for Civil Society for Indigenous Organizations in Karamonja, as well as the Director of the Indigenous Women Environmental Conservation Project.
Phyllis Curott is an attorney, author and Wiccan priestess. An interfaith activist and advocate of religious liberties for minority faiths in the courts and media, Jane Magazine honored her as one of the Ten Gutsiest Women of the Year, New York Magazine described her as one of the "culture's most intellectually cutting-edge thinkers," and Beliefnet has featured her in their video series Preachers and Teachers. Curott is founder and president of the international Temple of Ara and president emerita of the Covenant of the Goddess.
Diana Butler Bass is the author of nine books on American religion, including Grounded: Finding God in the World—A Spiritual Revolution (October 2015) and Christianity After Religion (2012). She holds a Ph.D. in Religious Studies from Duke University, has taught at the college and graduate level, and is currently an independent scholar. She was a columnist for the New York Times Syndicate, and blogs for the Huffington Post and the Washington Post on issues of religion, spirituality, and culture. Bass is a popular speaker at conferences, colleges and universities, and churches across North America. She lives in Alexandria, Virginia, with her husband, daughter, and dog.
Mallika Chopra is a mom, media entrepreneur, public speaker and published author. Her most recent book, Living With Intent: My Somewhat Messy Journey to Purpose, Peace and Joy, was published in April 2015.
Mallika is the founder of Intent.com, a website and app focused on personal, social and global wellness. Her intent is to harness the power of social media to connect people from around the world to improve their own lives, their communities and the planet.
Valarie Kaur is a Sikh activist, award-winning filmmaker, civil rights advocate, and founder of two faith-based social justice organizations, Groundswell Movement and Faithful Internet. Kaur utilizes storytelling to shed light on topics including hate crimes against Muslim and Sikhs, racial profiling, immigration detention and more. She has contributed to several media outlets including National Public Radio, MSNBC, PBS, The Washington Post and the New York Times and others.
The Rev. Dr. Serene Jones is the 16th President of the historic Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York. The first woman to head the 179-year-old interdenominational seminary, Jones occupies the Johnston Family Chair for Religion and Democracy and has formed Union’s Institute for Women, Religion and Globalization as well as the Institute for Art, Religion and Social Justice. Jones came to Union after seventeen years at Yale University, where she was the Titus Street Professor of Theology at the Divinity School, and chair of Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. In 2016, she will be the president of the American Academy of Religion. She holds degrees from the University of Oklahoma, Yale Divinity School and Yale University. Jones is ordained in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the United Church of Christ. The author of several books including Calvin and the Rhetoric of Piety and Trauma and Grace, Jones is a leading theologian who regularly contributes to scholarly and public discussions on matters of faith, social justice, and public life.
Mara Lynn Keller, PhD (Philosophy, Yale University) is a Professor of Philosophy and Religion and Women's Spirituality, and past Director of the Women's Spirituality MA and PhD program at the California Institute of Integral Studies, where she teaches courses on the Eleusinian Mysteries in which the rites are re-enacted; and on the Goddess and God Civilization of Ancient Crete.She is a philosopher and thealogian, who has written articles about the Goddesses of Greece and Crete; including "Sacred Arts and Ritual in Crete of the Mother Goddess" and "The Eleusinian Mysteries' Ritual Path of Initiation." She is interested in promoting dialogue between Goddess people and God people. She is a co-founder of the OCHRE Journal of Women's Spirituality. And she has promoted many special events at CIIS celebrating women's sacred arts and scholarship, most recently Ïneffable/Woman: a Bi-coastal Conversation" with CERES Gallery in New York.
Charlene Spretnak is one of the founding mothers of the Women's Spirituality movement in the US, which her anthology The Politics of Women's Spirituality (1982) helped to frame.She is also the author of several books on religion and spirituality, eco-social issues, and cultural history, including States of Grace: The Recovery of Meaning in the Postmodern Age; The Spiritual Dimension of Green Politics; The Resurgence of the Real; Lost Goddesses of Early Greece; Missing Mary; Relational Reality; and most recently The Spiritual Dynamic in Modern Art. She was a speaker at the Parliament in Chicago in 1993. She is a professor emerita and lives in Ojai, California.
Kiran Bali, MBE, JP is the Global Chair of United Religions Initiative. She is a practicing Hindu and has led at the global interfaith level for many years. An environmental activist, Kiran has been involved with grassroots projects to tackling climate action. She gave the Hindu opening words for the One Earth, OneFamily multi-faith climate march calling for all religions to join hands to create a more sustainable future. Kiran was honored by Queen Elizabeth II and has received a number of international awards. She is a regular keynote speaker at international events and has also addressed the UN General Assembly.
Lynn Gottlieb is a pioneer feminist rabbi, storyteller, percussionist, peace educator, writer, ceremonialist, community activist and clown. She is deeply committed to a life grounded in the creativity, joy and wisdom of the Torah (teachings) of Nonviolence. Her journey includes life long activism with The Fellowship of Reconciliation and ongoing pursuit of Israeli Palestinian conflict transformation based on principles of active nonviolence.