Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Memphis Gears Up for Peace Conference


On October 27, 2007 Memphis will be hosting the annual Ghandi King Peace conference. The conference, entitled, 'Building the Beloved Community', the conference will explore nonviolent means to achieve lasting peace within ourselves, our communities, and our world. In these times of escalating violence, this exploration of our own ideas and actions is more important than ever. The Conference will consist of acclaimed speakers and presenters from a multitude of peace-related backgrounds.

Workshops, paper presentations, and panel discussions based on Gandhi and Dr. King’s principles, ideas, and practices will be offered during the two-day conference. With the conviction that peace and active nonviolence can help improve conditions in our times for the benefit of all humankind, the Conference joins the insights of academics with the experience of activists in exploring how we can bring these ideas together in creating a viable and sustainable community for all.

Workshop, paper and panel discussion topics include: Analysis of Theory and Practices of Gandhi and Dr. King, Peace Education, Nonviolence Training, Mindful Communication Training, Women and Peacemaking, Community Building, Yoga, and Meditation. Additional proposals will be accepted until August 1st.Youth ComponentThe Gandhi-King Conference is teaming up with BRIDGES PeaceJam to bring local high school youth an innovative and interactive youth component which will occur on Friday of the conference weekend.

Friday morning will begin with a plenary address by Rosa Clemente, followed by a selection of workshops specifically designed for youth. Workshop topics include: Influences of Mass Media, Being Creators Not Consumers, Fair Trade, Alternatives to the Military, Voting, Global Citizenship, and Creating Our Communities.The youth component continues Friday evening with a community performance event to be held at BRIDGES, during which artists will be sharing their messages of peace and visions of beloved community through music, spoken word, visual art, and dance. Youth sessions and Friday evening performance are open to all conference participants.

Keynote and Plenary Speakers

Nontombi Naomi Tutu
Naomi Tutu speaks on The challenges of growing up black and female in apartheid South Africa and led Naomi Tutu to her present role as an activist for human rights. Ms Tutu is the third child of Archbishop Desmond and Nomalizo Leah Tutu. She was born in South Africa and has also lived in Lesotho, the United Kingdom and the United States. Her professional experience ranges from being a development consultant in West Africa, to being program coordinator for programs on Race and Gender and Gender-based Violence in Education at the African Gender Institute at the University of Cape Town.

Gwendolyn Zoharah Simmons
Simmons is currently an Assistant Professor of Religion and affiliated faculty in the Women Studies Department at the University of Florida. Simmons has a long history in the area of civil rights, human rights and peace work. She was on the staff of the American Friends Service Committee for twenty-three years. In the 1960’s she was active with the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and spent seven years working full time on Voter Registration and desegregation activities in Mississippi, Georgia, and Alabama during the height of the Civil Rights Movement. Simmons was a disciple in Sufism (the mystical stream in Islam) for seventeen years. She remains an active member of the Bawa Muhaiyadeen Fellowship and Mosque and student of this great Saint’s teachings.

Barry Gan
Barry L. Gan is Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Center for Nonviolence at St. Bonaventure University. He is co-editor with Robert L. Holmes of a leading anthology on nonviolence, Nonviolence in Theory and Practice, 2nd edition; editor of The Acorn: Journal of the Gandhi-King Society; co-editor of Peace and Change: A Journal of Peace Research, Journal of the Peace History Society and the Peace and Justice Studies Association; and for two years he served as program committee chair of the oldest and largest interfaith peace group in the United States, the Fellowship of Reconciliation.G. Simon Harak, S. J. Father Harak entered the Society of Jesus in 1970, and has served as a missionary in Jamaica and the Philippines. He has been active in the peace movement, and helped found Voices in the Wilderness, which was nominated in 2000, 2002. and 2003 for the Nobel Peace Prize. He has traveled to Iraq three times with VOICES, where he openly and publicly violated US/UN sanctions to bring medicine and toys to Iraqi hospitals. In January 2007 he joined Marquette University in Milwaukee as a professor of theology and as the Director of the Marquette University Center for Peacemaking.

Rosa Clemente
Rosa Clemente is a community organizer, journalist and Hip-Hop activist. Born and raised in the South Bronx she is a graduate of the University of Albany and Cornell University. A much sought after commentator, political activist, community organizer and independent reporter, Rosa has been delivering workshops, presentations and commentary for over ten years on topics such as; African-American and Latino/a Intercultural Relations, Hip-Hop Activism, The History of the Young Lords Party, and Women, Feminism and Hip Hop. In 2003 Rosa helped form and coordinate the first ever National Hip Hop Political Convention that drew over 3000 activists who came together to create and implement a national political agenda for the Hip-Hop generation.“Nonviolence is the means; truth is the end.”- M.K. Gandhi“Nonviolence is a powerful and just weapon, which cuts without wounding and enables the person who wields it. It is a sword that heals.”- Martin Luther King Jr. To find out more or to register: www.GandhiKingConference.org

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