2019 Festival of Faiths
“Sacred Cosmos: Faith and Science”
2019 FESTIVAL OF FAITHS
The 24th festival explores the wisdom present at the intersection of faith and science. A diverse lineup of speakers and artists examine ancient and modern questions at the heart of human existence, investigate the space where reason and revelation co-exist, and engage with contemporary topics of concern through the teachings of enduring faith traditions.
Gerardo Abboud was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, into a Christian family. He was educated as an engineer and worked as a financial analyst at Ford before he made a dramatic change in his life. He traveled to India in the 1970s and resided there and in Nepal for 14 years as a student of Buddhism and of the Tibetan language. His desire was to leave behind the “life of promotions, high salaries and consumerism” in order to discover the richness within himself. Back in his country in 1986, Abboud was nominated president of the Dongyuling Center, which offers free teachings in Buddhist theory and practice. He has served as the Dalai Lama’s interpreter in Latin America since 1992.
Gerardo Abboud on stage at the 2019 Festival of Faiths »
Bob Boisture has been president of the Fetzer Institute since 2013, and a trustee of the Institute since 2011. Under his leadership, the Institute, which is based in Kalamazoo, Michigan, has adopted the mission of “helping build the spiritual foundation for a loving world.” Among its goals is to create a movement to “heal the heart of American democracy.” A graduate of Princeton, Oxford, and Yale Law School, Boisture spent most of his career in Washington working with a broad range of nonprofits and foundations, including the Council on Foundations and Independent Sector.
Bob Boisture on stage at the 2019 Festival of Faiths »
Cynthia Bourgeault is a modern day mystic, Episcopal priest, writer, and internationally known retreat leader. She divides her time between solitude at her seaside hermitage in Maine, and a demanding schedule traveling globally to teach and spread the recovery of the Christian contemplative and wisdom path. She has been a long-time advocate of the meditative practice of Centering Prayer and has worked closely with fellow teachers and colleagues including Thomas Keating, Bruno Barnhart and Richard Rohr. She has actively participated in numerous inter-spiritual dialogues and events with luminaries and leaders such as A.H. Almaas, Kabir Helminski, Swami Atmarupananda and Rami Shapiro. She is a member of the Global Peace Initiative for Women Contemplative Council and recipient of the 2014 Contemplative Voices Award from Shalem Institute.
Cynthia Bourgeault on stage at the 2019 Festival of Faiths »
Alice Chen is an internal medicine physician and served as executive director of Doctors for America from 2011-2018 when under her leadership it mobilized a movement of thousands of physicians and medical students in all 50 states to bring their patients’ experiences to policy makers and move the nation to put patients over politics to ensure that everyone has access to affordable, high quality health care and the means to lead a healthy life. Since stepping down from Doctors for America, she has turned her attention to climate change and its intersection with health and wellbeing. She has also served as a Hauser Visiting Leader at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government Center for Public Leadership. Dr. Chen received her undergraduate degree from Yale and her medical degree from Cornell University. She is originally from the San Francisco Bay Area and currently resides with her husband, Dr. Vivek Murthy, and two young children in Washington, DC.
Alice Chen on stage at the 2019 Festival of Faiths »
Richard Davidson is founder and director of the Center for Healthy Minds at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is best known for his groundbreaking work studying emotion and the brain. He received his Ph.D. from Harvard University in Psychology, Psychopathology & Psychophysiology with a minor focus in Behavioral Neurology and Neuroanatomy; and a B.S., in Psychology from New York University. A friend and colleague of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, he is a highly sought after expert and speaker, leading conversations on well-being in international stages such as the World Economic Forum, where he serves on the Global Council on Mental Health. In 2006, Time magazine included him as one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World.
Richard Davidson on stage at the 2019 Festival of Faiths »
Carolyn Finney is a storyteller, author and a cultural geographer. She is deeply interested in issues related to identity, difference, creativity and resilience. Dr. Finney is grounded in both artistic and intellectual ways of knowing. She pursed an acting career for eleven years, but five years of backpacking trips through Africa and Asia, and living in Nepal changed the course of her life. Motivated by these experiences, Carolyn returned to school after a 15-year absence to complete a B.A., M.A. (gender and environmental issues in Kenya and Nepal) and a Ph.D. She served on the U.S. National Parks Advisory Board for eight years. Her first book, Black Faces, White Spaces: Reimagining the Relationship of African Americans to the Great Outdoors, was released in 2014.
Carolyn Finney on stage at the 2019 Festival of Faiths »
Mingtong Gu brings ancient wisdom to the West to improve health and happiness in modern times with his joyous and skillful Wisdom Healing Qigong teachings. Founder of The Chi Center, The Center for Wisdom Healing Qigong, he leads workshops, retreats, online courses and professional programs worldwide. Born and raised in China, Master Gu trained with Grandmasters in Tibet and China. He was awarded Qigong Master of the Year by the 13th Qigong Congress. The Chi Center, based in Galisto, N.M., reaches a global audience through online programs and in-person retreats.
Mingtong Gu on stage at the 2019 Festival of Faiths »
Toby Herzlich is the founder of Biomimicry for Social Innovation. As a Certified Biomimicry Specialist through Biomimicry 3.8, her focus is on applying nature’s genius to leadership, social change and organizational innovation. She is a senior trainer with the Rockwood Leadership Institute and co-founder of the Cultivating Women’s Leadership training intensives. She has launched several national collaborative movement-building networks, such as the Jewish Social Justice Roundtable and the Young Climate Leaders Network. Toby Herzlich trains and coaches progressive leaders in the U.S. and internationally, cultivating skills and practices through which we can collectively create the world we know is possible.
Toby Herzlich on stage at the 2019 Festival of Faiths »
J Hoard is a Brooklyn-based singer and songwriter on the Grammy Award-winning “Coloring Book.” Since moving to Brooklyn, he’s served as vocalist of the legendary curated hip-hop jam The Lesson in the Lower East Side. Over the last three years, J Hoard’s voice, lyrical genius and fashion have become staples in the urban and traditional music scenes. “I come from a very musical and religious family, ranging from classical baritone greatness (Carl Franklin White), who sang with Kathleen Battle, to gospel and funk royalty (Ronnie Diamond Hoard,” he says. He attended Berklee College of Music in Boston. J. Hoard’s voice, lyrical genius and fashion have become staples in the urban and traditional music scenes.
J Hoard on stage at the 2019 Festival of Faiths »
Dr. Marium Husain
Dr. Marium Husainis an oncology hospitalist at The Ohio State University James Comprehensive Care Center. She has been working on community service projects in the Columbus, Ohio, area and abroad for the last decade. As the treasurer of the national non-profit Islamic Medical Association of North America, she has worked on public health education and domestic campaigns for food insecurity, reproductive health, mental health and climate change. In addition to her extensive health care achievements, she organizes and participates in town halls to raise awareness of racism and Islamophobia. Faith is a driving force in her life, and she has seen the profound impact of integrating science and faith in her own life.
Katie Jones (KJ) is a music curator, artist manager and talent buyer residing in Brooklyn, N.Y. Born in the heart of southern Virginia, KJ’s life has revolved around music from a young age, and she was educated at a performing arts high school in Phoenix. She received a double major in Music Business/Management and Professional Music from Berklee College of Music in Boston. KJ moved to New York City in 2015, where she began working at National Sawdust, and in the early spring of 2016, she became a full-time part of the venue’s programming team. She is founder of The Revolution—a performance series highlighting Brooklyn and Harlem-based artists and musicians. Her extensive activities also include work as manager for innovative artists, assisting on numerous music festivals around the U.S.
Katie Jones on stage at the 2019 Festival of Faiths »
Kenneth Kimmell is president of the Union of Concerned Scientists, a leading science-based nonprofit that combines the knowledge and influence of the scientific community with the passion of concerned citizens to build a healthy planet and a safer world. After being trained as an attorney, he has had more than 30 years of experience in government, environmental policy and advocacy. He is a national advocate for clean energy and transportation policies and a diving force behind UCS’s “Power Ahead” campaign to build a large and diverse group of clean energy leadership states. He serves on the Commission on the Future of Transportation in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
Kenneth Kimmell on stage at the 2019 Festival of Faiths »
Woman Stands Shining
Woman Stands Shining(Pat McCabe, Weyakpa Najin Win) is a Diné (Navajo) mother, grandmother, activist, artist, writer, ceremonial leader and international speaker. She is a voice for global peace, and her paintings are created as tools for individual, earth and global healing. She draws upon the deep Indigenous sciences of thriving life to reframe questions about sustainability and balance, and she is devoted to supporting the next generations. She was a speaker at the 2018 Festival of Faiths.
Woman Stands Shining on stage at the 2019 Festival of Faiths »
Lisa Miller is a professor, researcher and clinical psychologist who is best known as a research scholar on spirituality in psychology. She is director of Clinical Psychology and Founder of the Spirituality Mind Body Institute at Columbia University, Teachers College. Miller serves as co-editor-in-chief of Spirituality in Clinical Practice, published by the American Psychological Association. It is the first peer review academic journal dedicated to spirituality as a source of healing and growth in treatment and well being work. She is solo editor of the Oxford University Press Handbook of Psychology and Spirituality, in which she articulate a vision of spiritual psychology.
Lisa Miller on stage at the 2019 Festival of Faiths »
Dr. Vivek H. Murthy
Dr. Vivek H. Murthy served as the 19th Surgeon General of the United States, appointed by President Barack Obama. As the Vice Admiral of the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, he commanded a uniformed service of 6,600 public health officers globally. During his tenure, Dr. Murthy launched the TurnTheTide campaign, catalyzing a movement among health professionals to address the nation’s opioid crisis. He also issued the first Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs and Health, calling for expanded access to prevention and treatment and for recognizing addiction as a chronic illness, not a character flaw. An internal medicine physician and entrepreneur, Dr. Murthy has co-founded a number of organizations including VISIONS, an HIV/AIDS education program in India, and Swasthya, a community health partnership in rural India training women as health providers and educators. He received his bachelor’s degree from Harvard, and his M.D. and M.B.A. degrees from Yale.
Dr. Vivek H. Murthy on stage at the 2019 Festival of Faiths »
Elizabeth Mattis Namgyel
Elizabeth Mattis Namgyelhas studied and practiced the Buddhadharma for 30 years under the guidance of Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche. After meeting Rinpoche in Nepal, she became his first Western student. After many years of solitary retreat, Rinpoche appointed Elizabeth as retreat master at Longchen Jigme Samten Ling, Mangala Shri Bhuti’s retreat center in southern Colorado. Elizabeth is known for her willingness to question the spiritual path in order to reach a place of genuine practice and awakening.
Clifford Saron is internationally known for his research on the effect of meditation on attention, emotional regulation, brain function and physical health. In the 1990s, he pioneered the study of Tibetan Buddhist monks’ meditation. Saron is an associate research scientist at the University of California Davis Center for Meditation and Brain. He is principal investigator of the Shamatha Project, the most comprehensive study to date investigating the effects of long-term intensive meditation practice on physiological and psychological processes central to well being, attention, emotion regulation and health.
Clifford Saron on stage at the 2019 Festival of Faiths »
Katharine Jefferts Schori
Katharine Jefferts Schori served as presiding bishop and primate of the Episcopal Church of the United States from 2006-2015. Her first career was as an oceanographer, after earning her doctorate in that field at the University of Oregon. She later attended seminary and held various positions within the Episcopal Church, including service as the 9th bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Nevada. She was the first woman elected as a primate in the Anglican Communion.
Katharine Jefferts Schori on stage at the 2019 Festival of Faiths »
Rabbi Dr. Nadia Siritsky
Rabbi Dr. Nadia Siritsky serves as the vice president for Mission for KentuckyOne Health, at Jewish Hospital, at Frazier Rehab and at Our Lady of Peace. Rabbi Nadia is also a social worker, a mediator and a board-certified interfaith chaplain who served with the Red Cross after 9/11 in New York City. In addition to her congregational service at The Temple in Louisville and also at Indianapolis Hebrew Congregation, Rabbi Nadia has worked as an interfaith chaplain and psychotherapist in several settings including hospice and palliative care, as well as consulting, fundraising and grant-writing for non-profit organizations.
Ben Sollee, born and raised in Kentucky, Ben Sollee has worked steadily to promote his home state as a creative and cultural haven. As a cellist, songwriter and storyteller he has toured around the globe performing his original music. As a composer, he has created music for stage, screen, and virtual reality earning an Emmy Award for his 2018 score for Base Ballet. As a producer, he has curated hundreds of live events including experiences for the Speed Art Museum and Lincoln Center. Throughout it all, he has continued to advocate for Kentucky’s people, land and businesses. He currently serves as Director of Engagement at the non-profit Canopy, working to make Kentucky first in good business.
Ben Sollee on stage at the 2019 Festival of Faiths »
Dr. Naweed Syed
Dr. Naweed Syed, who is a specialist in the field of biomedical engineering and member of the medicine faculty at the University of Calgary, became the first scientist who managed to connect brain cells to a silicon chip. This discovery, “Brain on a Chip,” is a major step in the research of integrating computers with human brains to help people control artificial limb, monitor people’s vital signs, correct memory loss or impaired vision. Dr. Syed is professor and scientific director of the Alberta Children’s Hospital Research Institute, Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary. He obtained his Master’s degree from the University of Karachi, Pakistan, in 1984, and his PhD in neurophysiology from the University of Leeds in England. After post-doctoral training at the University of Calgary, he was subsequently appointed as an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Medicine. Dr. Syed has served as research director for the Hotchkiss Brain Institute.
Dr. Naweed Syed on stage at the 2019 Festival of Faiths »
Mary Evelyn Tucker
Mary Evelyn Tucker is, with her husband John Allan Grim, the co-founder and co-director of the Forum on Religion and Ecology at Yale University. She teaches in the joint Master’s program in religion and ecology at Yale between the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and the Department of Religious Studies. She is the author and/or editor of close to 20 volumes and has published hundreds of articles. She is widely regarded as a pioneer in the field of religion and ecology.
Along with Brian Thomas Swimme and John Grim she created Journey of the Universe, an Emmy award winning film, a book from Yale press, and a series of 20 conversations with scientists and environmentalists. journeyoftheuniverse.org
Mary Evelyn Tucker on stage at the 2019 Festival of Faiths »
Dr. Jesse H. Wright
Dr. Jesse H. Wrightis professor, Kolb Endowed Chair for Outpatient Psychiatry, and director of the Depression Center at the University of Louisville School of Medicine. He is the principal author of eight books and the first multimedia computer program for the treatment of depression. Dr. Wright’s research is focused on developing and testing computer-assisted psychotherapy methods for improving the efficiency of treatment and enhancing the psychotherapeutic experience. Dr. Wright has received the Distinguished Educator of the Year Award from the University of Louisville, among other awards. He lectures widely on mood disorders, cognitive-behavior therapies, psychopharmacology, and computer-aided psychotherapy.