Speakers Bureau

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Christian Speakers

Reinhard Krauss

Dr Reinhard Kraus

Title: Executive Director of the Academy of Judaic, Christian and Islamic Studies

Topics of Interest: Scriptural studies, religious history, theology, ethics, and contemporary issues in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam

Contact Information: ex.dir@afjcis.org

Website Link: https://afjcis.org/team/reinhard-krauss-ph-d/

Gail Stearns

Gail Stearns

Title and Affiliation: Dean of Wallace All Faiths Chapel, Chapman University

Topics of Interest: Interfaith Dialogue and leadership; Mindfulness and Spiritual Practice

●As Dean, I oversee the Fish Interfaith Center at Chapman University and we work with students to foster interfaith leadership, understanding faith as an identity and diversity issue on our campus and in our world. I am also a certified Mindfulness Facilitator (from UCLA) and teach mindfulness as well as intersections of mindfulness and spiritual practice.

Contact Information: stearns@chapman.edu

Website Link: https://www.chapman.edu/campus-life/fish-interfaith-center/gail-stearns-bio.aspx

Deacon Danny Amos

Deacon Danny Amos

Title and Affiliation: President, Interreligious Council of Southern California (ICSOCAL) and Inter-spirituality.

Topics of Interest and Expertise: The teachings of Richard Rohr including the Perennial Tradition, Apophatic Theology, and Christian Mysticism

●Deacon Danny was ordained as a deacon in the Catholic church in 2012. He is a lawyer by profession, is the husband of his best friend Stacey, a father of three adult children, and grandfather of three beautiful cuties! He enjoys learning and his passion is trail running in the mountains.

Email: danny@deacondanny.com

Website Link: https://www.facebook.com/deacondannyamos

William

Rev. William Moses Summerville

Title: Pastor,Kingdom Come Community Church

Topics of Interest and Expertise: cultural empathy, racial reconciliation, conflict transformation, bereavement counseling and facilitation, trauma intervention, corporate chaplaincy consultancy, and voter education.

Email: ws107980@yahoo.com

Website Link: www.thesummervilleexchange.com

Rt. Rev. Alexei Smith

Rt. Rev. Alexei Smith

Title and Affiliation: Ecumenical and Interreligious Officer, Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles

Topics of Interest: Ecumenism and Interfaith Relations

●Father Alexei has directed the Catholic Church's relations with all other religions in Los Angeles since the year 2000 and is a Past-President of Interreligious Council of Southern California. Currently he is serving as President of the Southern California Christian Forum.

Contact Information: FrARSmith@la-archdiocese.org

Website Link: LACatholics.org

Hindu Speakers

Swami-Satyamayananda

Swami Satyamayananda

Title and Affiliation: Vedanta Society of Southern California; Assistant Minister

Topics of Interest and Expertise: Study of Comparative Religions; Philosophy of Advaita Vedanta.

A Hindu Sannyasin (monk) of the Ramakrishna Order, which in turn is part of the ancient order of Vedanta monks in India. The Ramakrishna Order combines the ancient traditions of monasticism with modernity that has made Vedanta philosophy extremely dynamic and practical. It has promoted the ‘Harmony of all Religions’ and ‘Divinity of every Soul’.

Website Link: Vedanta Society of Southern California

Tahil-Shah

Tahil Sharma

Title and Affiliation: Regional Coordinator for North America, United Religion Initiative

Topics of Interest and Expertise: For ex: interfaith basics, basic religious literacy about the world's religions, difficult conversations, religious bigotry, ethics, religious freedom, intersection of faith/spirituality with race/sexuality/etc., Feminine divine, interreligious dynamics

Contact Information: tahil.sharma@laverne.edu

Website Link: https://uri.org/tahil-sharma

Swami Mahayogananda

Swami Mahayogananda

Title and Affiliation: Board Member ICSOCAL

●Swami Mahayogananda is a monk of the Ramakrishna Order. He joined the order in 1997, and has been serving at its Hollywood branch, the Vedanta Society of Southern California, since 2013. He had the opportunity to serve in India from 2002–2008

Contact Information: mahayogananda@vedanta.org

Website Link: https://www.icsocal.org/member-bios.html

Swami Dhyanayogananda

Swami Dhyanayogananda

Title and Affiliation: The Abbot at Ramakrishna Monastery, a branch center of the Vedanta Society of Southern California

Topics of Interest and Expertise: Spiritual Life and Interspirituality Dialogue - Neo Vedanta

Swami Dhyanayogananda is a monk of the “Ramakrishna Order”. The Ramakrishna Order is a worldwide monastic organization founded in 1886 by Swami Vivekananda who achieved worldwide recognition as an articulate spokesman for Vedanta and Hinduism at the first World Parliament of Religions, Chicago, in 1893.

The core of this Organization is known as Ramakrishna Movement or Vedanta Movement which aims at the harmony of religions, the harmony of the East and the West, the harmony of the ancient and the modern, spiritual fulfillment, social equality, and peace for all humanity without any distinctions of creed, caste, race or nationality.

Swami Dhyanayogananda was born in the city of Buenos Aires, Argentina, and joined the Monastic Order in 2001. He received his monastic training in India where he lived for seven years. He is presently the presiding Swami at “Ramakrishna Monastery” in Trabuco Canyon, a sub-center of the Vedanta Society of Southern California

Website Link: Trabuco Canyon Monastery

Jain Speakers

dr-_sulekh_chand_jain_02

Dr Sulekh C. Jain, Ph.D.

Title and Affiliation: Member of Federation of Jain Associations in North America (JAINA) www.jain.org and Chair of JAINA Academic Liaisons Committee

Topics of Interest and Expertise: Nonviolence ( Ahimsa); a way of life 24x7, multi-sided View Points (anekaant), pluralism, ethics in business, why interfaith dialog? Corona in a global village, role of religions in caring for the earth, water and air ( ecology and sustainability), Jainism; a religion of unconditional non-violence, Who am I and who is my real enemy?

● Dr. Jain is associated with the International School for Jain Studies and is a Board member of Mahatma Gandhi Library in Houston, Texas. He is the past Secretary and President of Federation of Jain Associations in North America (JAINA), Jain Society of Houston, Jain Center of Cincinnati/Dayton and several other organizations. Dr. Jain and his wife Ravi Jain have been active in many Indian and non-Indian organizations such as Vegan Society and others. Currently, they live in Henderson, Nevada; a suburb of Las Vegas.

Contact Information: scjain@earthlink.net

Website Link: https://www.jaina.org/page/jaina_committees

Dr-Nitin-Shah

Dr. Nitin Shah

Title and Affiliation: Professor of Anesthesiology and Critical Care at Loma Linda University. Interim Deputy Chief of Anesthesiology and Critical Care at Tibor Rubin VA Medical Center, Long Beach, CA. Past President of Jain Center of Southern California (JCSC) (JainCenterofSouthernCalifornia.org), Chair of Interfaith committee and External Education Committee of JCSC. Vice Chair of JAINA's Academic Liaison Committee, Chair of Awards Committee. JAINA stands for (Federation of Jain Associations in North America - www.JAINA.org). I have been a member of many medical organizations. Founding member of Ahimsa Center at Cal Poly University at Pomona.

Topics of Interest: Compassion in action, Jain unity, any topic related to basic Jain philosophy, how to organize free community health fairs, what will it take to start an International medical/surgical/dental/eye care mission?

● Dr. Nitin Shah is an Anesthesiologist and a Physician who takes care of Critically ill patients in ICU. He has done over 350 Medical/Surgical Missions in 15 countries. He has worked with many Charitable organizations across the world on various missions and education (American Heart Association). He is an active Jain community member, he is active in helping with Jain Academic Education in many Universities in North America. He has mentored many Youth. He loves to hold their hands and walk them through various Humanitarian projects. Due to COVID he realized the need and spearheaded donating Refurbished Chromebooks to underprivileged children and has given over 1000 and 1500 and more to go. Also raised money for daily lunches to support United Sikh Mission's daily meal program for several weeks. Currently, working at Sanatan Dharma Temple with Joy of Sharing Community Foundation to distribute 400 bags of grocery and 1500 meals every Sunday. Dr. Shah has been involved in many Interfaith activities since 9/11/2001 as he was the President of JCSC in 2002-2003.

Contact Information: nitinshahmd@gmail.com

Website Link: www.Anekant.net This is of Anekant Community Center (ACC) of which I am a Founding President and current Board Member. ACC is a Non-Religious Organization and does worldwide Humanitarian activities

Dr. Jayesh Shah

Dr. Jayesh Shah

Title and Affiliation: President, Jain Center of Southern California. (JCSC)

Topics of interest and Expertise: Medical Health issues, Care of geriatric population, Jain religion topics, Community services in various fields.

Dr. Shah has been practicing Internal Medicine in Arcadia since 1987. He has served as chief of staff at Methodist Hospital of Southern California in Arcadia. He has served as president of Jain Center of So. California in past from 2010 to 2013 and is currently serving as president of JCSC. Dr. Shah has also helped to raise funds for several natural disasters in the past.

Contact Information: jayeshshahmd@gmail.com

Website Link:

Jewish Speakers

Rabbi Elliott Dorff

Rabbi Elliott Dorff

Title and Affiliation: Dr Dorff is a Distinguished Professor in Philosophy and a University Rector at the American Jewish University

●For over forty years, Dr Dorff has taught Jewish Law at the UCLA School of Law. He is the Chair of the Conservative Movement's Committee on Jewish Law and Standards. He has chaired multiple scholarly organizations; the Academy of Judaic, Christian, and Islamic Studies, the Academy of Jewish Philosophy, the Jewish Law Association and the Society of Jewish Ethics. He was also elected Honorary President of the Jewish Law Association for the term of 2012-2016.

Contact Information: edorff@aju.edu

Website Link: https://www.aju.edu/faculty/rabbi-elliot-dorff

Rabbi Ilana Grinblat

Rabbi Ilana Grinblat

Title and Affiliation: Vice-President of Community Engagement, Board of Rabbis of Southern California, The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles

Topics of Interest and Expertise: Judaism, Torah, Parenting, Reflections on Current Events

●Rabbi Ilana Berenbaum Grinblat is the Vice President of Community Engagement for the Board of Rabbis of Southern California. She is the author of Castles and Catch: Spiritual Lessons Children Teach Us published by Author House (July 2015) and Blessings and Babysteps: The Spiritual Path of Parenting published by Behrman House in 2011. She is a regular contributor to the Jewish Journal. She currently leads High Holiday services for Temple Har Shalom of Idyllwild. For nearly twenty years, she taught Midrash (Biblical Interpretation) at the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies at the American Jewish University where she was ordained in 2001. She has served as a congregational rabbi for five years at Temple Beth Shalom in Long Beach and later at Temple Ner Ma'arav in Encino. She is the wife of Tal (a franchise lawyer) and mother of two children, Jeremy (age 16) and Hannah (age 13).

Website Link: http://www.rabbigrinblat.com/

RABBI-SARAH-BASSIN

Rabbi Sarah Bassin

Title and Affiliation: Associate Rabbi, Temple Emanuel of Beverly Hills

Topics of Interest and Expertise: conflict communication, community-based justice work

Rabbi Sarah Bassin serves as the associate rabbi at Temple Emanuel of Beverly Hills where she drives congregation-based justice work. Prior to this role, she was the founding executive director of NewGround: A Muslim-Jewish Partnership for Change where she built minority-based coalitions. Under her leadership, NewGround was named one of the 50 most innovative Jewish organizations in the United States by Slingshot Guide and was recognized by Governor Jerry Brown of California as the state’s faith-based organization of the year in 2013.  Rabbi Bassin’s demonstrated track record of anticipating trends in political and communal change is coupled with the courage to help lead communities through thoughtful processes of intentional transformation.

She now serves on the boards of NewGround and UpStart —  a national organization that has helped over 100 innovative Jewish nonprofits launch or scale-up.  She also serves on the advisory boards of the New Israel Fund, Hand in Hand Schools, the Jewish Center for Justice, and Tivnu: Building Justice.  Rabbi Bassin has built an expertise in interfaith civilian diplomacy, traveling with elite delegations of faith and political leaders to England, France, Germany, Qatar, Azerbaijan, and Iran.  For her work, she was named a fellow of Security and Religious Freedom at the UCLA Burkle Center for International Relations. NPR’s On Being featured Rabbi Bassin for her organizational innovation and interfaith work.  She graduated summa cum laude from Lafayette College and received rabbinic ordination and a certificate in nonprofit management from Hebrew Union College.

Contact Information: sarahbassin@gmail.com

Website Link: tebh.org

Rabbi Mark Diamond

Rabbi Mark S. Diamond

Title and Affiliation: Senior Lecturer, Loyola Marymount University; Professor of Practical Rabbinics, Academy for Jewish Religion California

Topics of Interest and Expertise: Interreligious experience and engagement, Abrahamic faith traditions, Jewish-Latter-day Saint interfaith dialogue

Rabbi Mark S. Diamond is a senior lecturer at Loyola Marymount University, where he teaches core curriculum courses in Jewish thought, interfaith relations, and Israel Studies. In addition, he is a Professor of Practical Rabbinics at the Academy for Jewish Religion CA. Previously, he served as Executive Vice President of the Board of Rabbis of Southern California and Director of the Los Angeles region of the American Jewish Committee. Rabbi Diamond is a past president of the Los Angeles Council of Religious Leaders and has led interfaith study tours of the clergy, diplomats, and community leaders, including a mission to the Vatican and Jerusalem highlighted by an audience with Pope Benedict XVI. He delivered the commencement address at the 2013 doctoral graduation ceremony of the University of the Incarnate Word and has lectured at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, Brigham Young University, Pepperdine University, Baylor University, Fuller Theological Seminary, and Claremont School of Theology.

Rabbi Diamond is the co-editor of Understanding Covenants and Communities: Jews and Latter-day Saints in Dialogue (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University; New York: Central Conference of American Rabbis, 2020) and co-author of Understanding Your Jewish Neighbor, to be published by the John A. Widstoe Foundation. His most recent articles and book chapters include “Shabbat in Jewish Thought and Practice” in Understanding Covenants and Communities, “Interreligious Bridges and Barriers” in Conversations: The Institute for Jewish Ideas and Ideals (August 2014), and the forthcoming “In Our Time: Jesuits, Jews, and ‘Nones’ in Hevruta” in These Truths We Hold: Judaism in an Age of Truthiness, Hebrew Union College Press. He received his B.A. in Liberal Arts from Carleton College and M.A. in Jewish Studies, rabbinic ordination, and Doctor of Divinity (honoris causa) from The Jewish Theological Seminary of America.

Website Link: Rabbi Mark Diamond

Muslim Speakers

Tasneem Farah Noor

Tasneem Farah Noor

Title and Affiliation: The Faith Connector--Coach and Facilitator; NewGround: A Muslim Jewish Partnership for Change

Topics of Interest and Expertise: Navigating through differences and having difficult conversations; exploring & deepening your faith; building capacity for plurality of beliefs & practices with integrity and compassionate curiosity; intuition; authentic leadership; and Muslim Jewish dialogue.

●Tasneem Noor is the award-winning author of the best-seller The Faith Connection: Your Journey Starts with Knowing Yourself; and the founder of Noor Enterprises: SOULful Transformations. Tasneem has trained over 200 community leaders through 9 month long conflict transformational programs for healthy relations, productive engagement and social change. As a leadership coach, Tasneem helps her clients to build their teams and communities' capacity for authentic engagement, courageous conversations, explore diversity, dismantle stereotypes, and create lasting partnerships.The Inter-religious Council of Southern CA recognized Tasneem as an emerging faith leader. With 13 years of facilitation and coaching experience, Tasneem is the Interfaith Minister-in-Residence with the Southern CA Episcopalean Diocese & serves on various interfaith boards.

Website Link: www.TheFaithConnector.com | www.MJNewGround.org

Owaiz M. Dadabhoy

Owaiz M. Dadabhoy

Title and Affiliation: President, Shura Council of Southern California, President Uplift Charity, President Islamic Center of Yorba Linda, Director of Islamic Investing at Saturna Capital, board member Maun Credit Union, Honorary board member Arab American Business and Professionals Association

Topics of Interest and Expertise: Philanthropy, charitable giving, and financial goal planning

● Owaiz M. Dadabhoy, Director of Islamic Investing & Islamic Investment Group Manager, joined Saturna Capital in August of 2008. Raised in Southern California, he earned his degree in Business Administration from California State University at Fullerton. Mr. Dadabhoy spent over 15 years at Wells Fargo and was most recently a District Manager in Long Beach. Prior to that, he was Senior Sales Director for Wells Fargo’s Wealth Management group in Los Angeles. Mr. Dadabhoy is active with charitable and community activities, co-founding Uplift Charity in 2006 and serving as its President since. He was recently named as Chairman of the Islamic Shura Council of Southern CA and President of the Islamic Center of Yorba Linda. He is married with two children, lives in Yorba Linda, and enjoys spending time with his family in various outdoor activities.

Contact Information: owaiz@upliftcharity.org

Website Link: https://shuracouncil.org/#team

Jihad-Turk

Imam Jihad Turk

Title and Affiliation: Jihad Turk is the founding President of Bayan Claremont Islamic Graduate School, an accredited graduate program that offers Master’s degrees in the fields of Islamic Studies, Chaplaincy, Leadership and Education. Prior to this position, Jihad served as the Director of Religious Affairs at the Islamic Center of Southern California.

Topics of Interest and Expertise: Topics related to Islam, Muslims in America, Muslim Reform Movements, Ethical Leadership, and Spiritual and Identity Formation of Youth.

Contact Information: jturk@bayanclaremont.org

Website Link: https://www.bayanclaremont.org/jihad-turk/

ahmed-soboh-banquet-squares

Dr Ahmed Soboh

Title and Affiliation: Dr. Soboh is the Religious Director of the Chino Valley Islamic Center and a former Chairman of the Islamic Shura Council of Southern California

Topics of Interest and Expertise: Promoting understanding and comparative discussions between faith groups, history of the middle east, science and faith and compatibility between faith and civilization

Contact Information: lasoboh@gmail.com

Website Link: cvislamiccenter.org

Hasnain Walji Square

Dr Hasnain Walji

Title and Affiliation: Executive Director at United Global Initiative

Topics of Interest and Expertise: Leadership Development · Writing · Research · Strategic Planning · Change Management · Public Speaking · Diversity & Inclusion

Hasnain Walji is an educator, historian, author, leader, and scientist in the field of nutrition. As an interfaith activist, he observes the trajectory of history and social trends and incorporates this arc of evolving issues in his contributions towards social justice and enhancement of civil society. The hallmark of his leadership is to bend this trend, so the organizations he works with remain relevant and progressive as we confront new realities and challenges yet remain true to their values.

Fluent in several languages, he has been on speaking tours across the globe and has penned many articles in journals. He has produced a groundbreaking anthropological documentary “The Khojas – A Journey of Faith” that spans the past 600 years of its history of a Shia Community as it evolved from a caste identity to adopt a faith Identity.

Passion : As a researcher, educator, and writer, with a keen interest in connecting the dots between body, mind, and spirit, his professional assignments have taken him on a journey of connecting the dots in the fields of nutrition integrative health care, environmental issues and of late, behavioral finance. As an early adopter of information technology, for the past 40 years, he has developed a rare insight into the applications of information technology and social media by coordinating and compilation of data from international research institutes, universities, and scientific journals. His work has been centered in organizations that have information dissemination and knowledge creation as the focus of their program activity, with leading-edge technology playing a key role in the delivery of that information and knowledge.

With his roots in the Indian Subcontinent, born in Tanzania, at the foot of Mt Kilimanjaro, educated in the UK and now living in Sugar Land (TX), speaking five languages, he feels blessed to consider himself as an International Citizen. His passion is to make a difference to enable his 7 grandchildren to live in a peaceful world.

Contact Information: Dr Hasnain Walji

Sikh Speakers

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Nirinjan Singh Khalsa

Title and Affiliation: Executive director of the California Sikh Council

Topics of Interest and Expertise: Anything related to Sikhs and the Sikh community, social justice issues

● Nirinjan Singh Khalsa is an activist for, and has publicly represented the Sikh Community for more than 35 years. He is a cultural intelligence educator and advisor to the Department of Justice, Department of Homeland Security, LAPD, Los Angeles and Orange County Sheriff’s Departments, and many other public and private organizations. He has lobbied state and federal legislators concerning discrimination against Sikhs and Sikh civil rights, in Sacramento and in Washington DC. For more than eighteen years he has served as a commissioner on the City of Los Angeles Human Relations Commission being president of that commission for more than 6 years.

Contact Information: californiasikhcouncil@gmail.com

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Jessi Kaur

Title and Affiliation: Kaur Foundation, Board Member, Chardikalaa Foundation Board

Topics of interest: Spiritual Dialog, Oneness, Women's Issues

●Jessi Kaur, a TEDx speaker has written three children’s books that are used as enrichment literature in public schools in the US, UK, and Canada. Her new book Home of the Beloved, an expose of fifty core concepts of Sri Guru Granth Sahib will be released soon. Her essays on Sikhi and contemporary issues have been published in online and print journals. She has delivered workshops at international conferences, youth retreats, and has been invited to speak at the Parliament of World’s Religions several times. She has been featured in TV shows and award-winning documentaries. She produced a multicultural children’s musical based on one of her books, The Royal Falcon. She was the Co-Founder of the International Institute of Gurmat Studies, founded IGS Now, and has been on the board of the Kaur Foundation since its inception. She is a Talent Acquisition Consultant in Silicon Valley. Prior to moving to the US, she taught English Literature at Delhi University.

Website Link: www.jessikaur.com

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Gurpreet Kaur Singh

Title and Affiliation: SikhLens, SALDEF

Topics of Interest: Sikhs and Sikhism 101

Gurpreet K. Singh has lived and worked in Orange County, CA for over 30 years. She earned her Master’s degrees from Delhi University and Univ of Illinois at Chicago in 1986 and 1988, respectively. Gurpreet has been involved with raising her three children and volunteering at their schools, including the Parent Board, and with their extra-curricular activities. She wanted to “be there for her children”. She spent about 12 years teaching and administering in the Punjabi school at their local gurdwara. As a longtime member of the SIKHLENS family, she often speaks at their events on behalf of the foundation and assists where needed. An invitation to attend SALDEF’s Law Enforcement Training LEPP has given Gurpreet the ability and confidence to participate in Diversity Panels at local colleges. For the past three years, she regularly participates in the Diversity Panel for graduating law enforcement at the Orange County Sheriff’s Academy, a class that is coordinated by the Orange County Human Rights Commission. Gurpreet firmly believes that as immigrants who have made the US their home, it is necessary to be involved and to give back to the broader communities that we live and work in.

Contact Information: gsingh@fcsinet.com

Website Link: https://sikhlens.com/ https://saldef.org/

Bicky

Bicky Singh

Title and Affiliation: Founder Sikh Lens

Topics of Interest and Expertise:

Website Link: https://news.chapman.edu/2014/11/18/sikhlens-festival-builds-understanding-through-film-music-and-art/