Gandhi Day event 2020 Speakers, Presenters & Staff
“Mahatma’s Non-Violence : Essence of The Culture of Peace for New Humanity”
Former Under-Secretary-General and High Representative of the United Nations
Ambassador Anwarul K. Chowdhury has devoted many years as an inspirational champion for sustainable peace and development and ardently advancing the cause of the global movement for the culture of peace that has energized civil society all over the world.
As a career diplomat, Permanent Representative to United Nations, President of the UN Security Council, President of UNICEF Board, UN Under-Secretary-General, and recipient of the U Thant Peace Award, UNESCO Gandhi Gold Medal for Culture of Peace, Spirit of the UN Award, University of Massachusetts Boston Chancellor’s Medal for Global Leadership for Peace and 2018 Global Women’s Peace Award, Ambassador Chowdhury has a wealth of experience in the critical issues of our time – peace, sustainable development, and human rights.
Ambassador Chowdhury’s legacy and leadership in advancing the best interest of the global community are boldly imprinted in his pioneering initiatives at the United Nations General Assembly in 1999 for adoption of the landmark Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace and in 1998 for the proclamation of the “International Decade for Culture of Peace and Nonviolence for the Children of the World (2001-2010)”
Equally pioneering is his initiative in March 2000 as the President of the Security Council that achieved the political and conceptual breakthrough leading to the adoption of the groundbreaking UN Security Council Resolution 1325 in which the Council recognized for the first time the role and contribution of women in the area of peace and security and the equality of their participation at all decision-making levels.
He served as Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the United Nations in New York from 1996 to 2001 and as the Under-Secretary-General and High Representative of the United Nations, responsible for the most vulnerable countries of the world from 2002 to 2007.
Ambassador Chowdhury is the Founder of New York-based NGO coalition the Global Movement for The Culture of Peace (GMCoP).
In March 2003, the Soka University of Tokyo, Japan conferred to Ambassador Chowdhury an Honorary Doctorate for his work on women’s issues, child rights and culture of peace as well as for the strengthening of the United Nations. In May 2012, he received a Doctor of Humane Letters honoris causa degree from the Saint Peter’s University of the United States.
He is a member of the Advisory Council of IMPACT Leadership 21 and is the first recipient of the IMPACT Leadership 21’s Global Summit Frederick Douglass Award Honoring Men Who Are Champions For Women’s Advancement in October 2013.
Ambassador Chowdhury received the first Institute for Global Leadership Lifetime Service Award on 1 May 2007 at the Conference on New Leadership Models for Worcester, United States and the World in Worcester, MA.
He was a member of the UN High Level Advisory Group for the Global Study on the 15-year implementation of Security Council resolution 1325 (2000) and also one of the 12-member Asia-Pacific Regional Advisory Group on Women, Peace and Security hosted in Bangkok.
He has been the Chair of the International Drafting Committee on the Human Right to Peace; an initiative coordinated from Geneva and was a founding member of the Board of Trustees of the New York City Peace Museum.
He was a founding Co-Chair of the International Ecological Safety Collaborative Organization (IESCO) with headquarters in China and is a member of the Advisory Council of the National Peace Academy in US.
He is the Honorary Chair of the International Day of Peace NGO Committee at the UN, New York and Chairman of the Global Forum on Human Settlements, both since 2008. Since 2012, he has been a part of the 12-member Wisdom Council of the Summer of Peace, a world-wide participatory initiative to advance the Culture of Peace.
He has been decorated by the Government of Burkina Faso in West Africa with the country’s highest honour “L’Ordre National” in 2007 in Ouagadougou for his championship of the cause of the most vulnerable countries.
Dr. Chowdhury has structured curricula and conducted courses on “The Culture of Peace” at the Soka University of America and the City University of New York in 2008 and 2009. He also served as an Adjunct Professor at the School of Diplomacy, Seton Hall University of the United States.
He is a Patron of the Committee on Teaching About the UN (CTAUN), New York. He is the Chair of the Jury of the Peace in the Streets Global Film Festival (PSGFF) and member of the Advisory Board of the Orlando-based Global Peace Film Festival (GPFF).
Public speaking and advocacy for the culture of peace, women’s equality and global citizenship keep him engaged at the present time.
“Is Gandhi relevant today?”
Born in 1934 in Durban, South Africa, Arun is the fifth grandson of India’s legendary leader, Mohandas K. “Mahatma” Gandhi. Growing up under the discriminatory apartheid laws of South Africa, he was beaten by “white” South Africans for being too black and “black” South Africans for being too white; so, Arun sought eye-for-an-eye justice. However, he learned from his parents and grandparents that justice does not mean revenge, it means transforming the opponent through love and suffering.
Grandfather taught Arun to understand nonviolence through understanding violence. “If we know how much passive violence we perpetrate against one another we will understand why there is so much physical violence plaguing societies and the world,” Gandhi said. Through daily lessons, Arun says, he learned about violence and about anger.
Arun shares these lessons all around the world. For the past five years, he has participated in the Renaissance Weekend deliberations with President Clinton and other well-respected Rhodes Scholars. In recent years his engagements included speaking at the Chicago Children’s Museum and the Women’s Justice Center in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He also delivered talks at the Young President’s Organization in Mexico, the Trade Union Leaders’ Meeting in Milan, Italy, as well as the Peace and Justice Center in St. Louis, Missouri. Sometimes, his journeys take him even further. Arun has spoken in Croatia, France, Ireland, Holland, Lithuania, Nicaragua, China, Scotland and Japan. Also, he is a very popular speaker on college campuses and in recent years, he has spoken at, North Dakota State University, Concordia College, Baker University, Morehouse College, Marquette University, and the University of San Diego, to name a few.
Arun is very involved in social programs and writing, as well. Shortly after Arun married his wife Sunanda, they were informed the South African government would not allow her to accompany him there. Sunanda and Arun decided to live in India, and Arun worked for 30 years as a journalist for The Times of India.
Arun and his late wife, Sunanda, rescued over 125 orphan children from the streets and placed them in loving homes around the world and began a Center for Social Change, which transformed the lives of millions in villages in the western state of Maharashtra. Together, Arun and Sunanda started projects for the social and economic uplifting of the oppressed using constructive programs, the backbone of Gandhi’s philosophy of nonviolence.
The programs changed the lives of more than half a million people in over 300 villages and they still continue to grow.
In 1987 Sunanda and Arun came to the US and in 1991 they started the M. K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence at the Christian Brothers University in Memphis Tennessee. In 2008 the Institute was moved to the University of Rochester, New York. In the 17 years of the Institute’s life the Gandhi’s took the message of nonviolence and peace to hundreds of thousands of high school and University youth around the US and much of the Western World.
In 1997, Sunanda and Arun began the Gandhi Legacy Tour of India, in 2012 Arun expanded the business and developed two additional tour itineraries, the Gandhi Lifescapes Tour of India and Gandhi Satyagraha Tour of South Africa.
Sunanda died in February of 2007 and the family is working to establish a residential-school in poorest rural India in her honor. Arun founded the Gandhi Worldwide Education Institute in 2008 headquartered in a suburb outside of Chicago, ILL. The Institute was founded to promote community building in economically depressed areas of the world through the joining of Gandhian philosophy and vocational education for children and their parents.
Arun is the author of several books. The first, A Patch of White (1949), is about life in prejudiced South Africa; then, he wrote two books on poverty and politics in India; followed by a compilation of M.K. Gandhi’s Wit & Wisdom. He also edited a book of essays on World Without Violence: Can Gandhi’s Vision Become Reality? And, more recently, wrote The Forgotten Woman: The Untold Story of Kastur, the Wife of Mahatma Gandhi, jointly with his late wife Sunanda and his bestseller Legacy of Love: My education in the path of nonviolence. In March of 2014 Grandfather Gandhi was released. A picture book for all ages by Arun Gandhi, Bethany Hegedus illustrated by Evan Turk.
Sampling of Arun’s Honorary Degrees –
- Lincoln Memorial University (LMU), Harrogate, TN – Humanities Studies
- Seton Hall University School of Law, Newark, NJ – Humanities Studies
- Salisbury University, Salisbury, MD – Humanities Studies
Notable Interfaith Activities
- Washington Post Interfaith Dialogue blog: On Faith 2006-2012
- Board of Interfaith Alliance in Washington DC – 1998-2005
- Interfaith March 911 – Commemorative March Unity Walk (Washington DC) – Arun has led the Interfaith Walk for each of the past 9 years
- Promoting Mahatma Gandhi’s Interfaith messages for decades
- Gandhi Legacy Tour – 16 years fostering Interfaith with tour participants’ prayer visits and meetings at Muslim Temples, Jain Temples, Hindu Temples – As Gandhi famously proclaimed: “I am a Christian, and a Hindu, and a Muslim and a Jew!”
In November 2013, Arun Gandhi was elected to the Board of Trustees of the Council for a Parliament of the World Religions.
Major Rakesh Bhardwaj
“Legacy of Gandhi in the 21st century”
Rakesh Bhardwaj was born in New Delhi. He was commissioned into the Indian Army in 1973. From early childhood, he was attracted by the teachings and life of Mahatma Gandhi and wanted to be a soldier of peace. While he was in university, he frequently participated in various university debates on Gandhi and was president of the writers association. In 1969 he was invited to take part in the “All India Mahatma Gandhi Centenary” celebrations where he won accolades for his performance. During his career Rakesh Bhardwaj has served in most inhospitable terrains and hostile environments. His last assignment was in the highest and coldest battlefield in the world where temperatures dip down to minus sixty degrees Celsius and below.
Despite all the adversities and challenges, Rakesh Bhardwaj adopted a policy of non violence and also sent a message of peaceful coexistence to the adversary.
Rakesh Bhardwaj lives in Toronto with his wife and volunteers at Sunnybrook Hospital.
“Spinning, Weaving, Praying”
Sequoia Carr-Brown is an international performance artist and founder of a collaborative, creative arts, and education company, StRaNgE FrUiT XPrEsS. The award winning company strives to empower communities with engaging educational, mixed media performances, and workshops. Sequoia is certified in the DanceAbility method by world renowned, mixed ability educator and choreographer, Alito Alessi. She is the Creative Dance Director of Kristian Lei’s, Honolulu Broadway Babies project and J. E. T. H. Continuing Education School. Her J. E. T. H. school students are former winners of the Hawaii Stars People with Extraordinary Abilities Contest.
Sequoia is a company dancer with Ginko Marischino, Jhalak Dance, Ramm Dance Company, and co-founder of Piko Dance Arts, LLC. In January, Sequoia co-produced and performed the production, “Raw/Lineage” with Piko Dance Arts, LLC, and performed in the closing credits for Kurt Ken Kaminaka’s and Diq Diamond’s film,“Tales of the Circle Keys”.
Sequoia has also performed and presented art works from her foundational “CoNsTrUcTeD: Red, White, and Blue” series for the Hawai’i Public Library System’s, “Black History in Hawai’i Series.” Recently, Sequoia and her Piko Dance Arts, LLC partners became grantees for the 2020 MAP Fund. She also completed production with Peter Espiritu’s, Tau Dance Theatre production, “INDIGENUITY”. Currently, her company, StRaNgE FrUiT XPrEsS is in production to present an art installation with seven other talented artists for the Shangri La Museum of Islamic Art,Culture & Design’s “8×8” exhibition. Sequoia thanks her ohana and friends for their love and support.
Emcee & “Bounce” performance
Sharing her emotive, innovative and elegant performances, Willow is internationally recognized as both a singer and as a dancer. Her dance training started with studies in Hawaiian Hula for 10 years, with Kumu Alicia Smith, is a graduate of the University of Hawai‘i, with a degree in Dance and a minor in music. She has spent the past 26 years focused on Middle Eastern/Northern African dances, and Bollywood. Concurrently, she’s delved into world dance, studying Classical Indian Dances (Kuchipudi, Odissi and Bharatanatyam), Japanese Butoh, Tango, Flamenco, Balinese & Modern dance. Since 2009, she is the artistic director of Bollywood Hawai’i, a performance troupe that shares the color, flavors and rasa of Bollywood dance. As a singer, she’s studied art songs, classical music and the Bel Canto technique. Recognized for her musicality, performance and storytelling skills, she’s fronted several bands (Don Tiki and Hot Club of Hulaville) as well as being a solo jazz stylist. In demand as an instructor, she travels annually to teach, study and perform. She presents a disciplined and impassioned understanding of movement, while emphasizing the musical and cultural context of the art. Willow has performed and taught in Germany, Switzerland, Austria, France, Japan, Canada, Greece, Egypt and throughout the U.S.
Music by Solace https://www.soundsofsolace.com
“Children helping Children”
Children Helping Children (CHC) is a multimedia and multi-cultural program, founded in 1991 to give children of all cultures opportunities to showcase the beauty of their cultural heritage in Concerts and parades for the benefit of needy children. They have done an outstanding job representing the World in America. CHC highlights the World’s concerns’ such as Aids, drugs, conflict, poverty and pollution.
CHC was founded by Nada Dalgamouni, International Educator and immigrant who started her efforts at the Aloha State in 1981. She has been nominated twice for a Nobel Peace Prize, for her endless efforts building bridges of harmony, unity, Peace and understanding in the global community. Her global learning and cultural awareness programs are helping children everywhere to think globally and act locally. She has implemented CHC in many Michigan schools: International Club(IC) after school program and Global Journeys (GJ) summer day camp and International Festivals. CHC represents kids from 96 Nations and have many branches around the World.
“Presentation of an Honorary Certificate from the State Senate”
Senator Mike Gabbard represents Hawai`i’s 20th Senate District (West O`ahu) and has served in the Hawai‘i State Senate since 2006.
- He currently serves as Chair of the Agriculture and Environment Committee. Prior to that, he was Chair of the Energy & Environment Committee for seven years.
- His daughter, Congresswoman, Tulsi Gabbard, represents Congressional District 2 in the US House of Representatives
- Senator Gabbard was a supporter of Act 5 in 2015 to designate October 2 of each year as Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi Day in Hawai`i.
“Imagine”- By John Lennon
Born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii, singer, songwriter, Gabriel Goes was introduced to music at a young age- taking on Ukulele at 2 yrs old and singing/ performing with local productions from the age of 6. He started his first band, The Kadetz, when he was 13. As a High School graduate Class of 2020, he now studies Music Biz & Engineering with a full scholarship at Honolulu Community College. His recent Band- Backset has released a single and is now working on their first EP.
“Pandemic and Peace in 2020”
Josh Green is a local doctor, husband, and father of two who has spent his life caring for Hawaii families.
After completing his medical training, Josh joined the National Health Corps and started his life’s work as a family physician and ER doctor in rural hospitals and clinics on the Big Island.
Josh served in the Hawaii State House of Representatives from 2004 to 2008 and in the Hawaii State Senate from 2008 to 2018 where he chaired the Health Committee and Human Services Committee.
In 2005, Josh met his wife Jaime Ushiroda, a local girl from Kaneohe, and they were married in 2006.
Together they are the proud parents of 12-year-old daughter Maia and 8-year-old son Sam.
In 2009 he was named “Hawaii Physician of the Year”.
The hopes, challenges, and values of the families he cares for inspire Josh to do more to make life better for the people of Hawaii and he is honored to serve as their Lieutenant Governor.
Kumu Mālia is beloved by students around the globe for her kind heart and loving style of teaching, not to mention her deep knowledge, beautiful voice and exquisite dancing. She is a traditionally graduated kumu hula and lomilomi practitioner/trainer, as well as a cultural consultant for Still & Moving Center.
Malia Helela completed her hula ʻuniki (graduation) under Kumu Hula Puluʻelo Park in 2002, and studied oli (traditional Hawaiian chant) under Kumu Hula Keola Lake. Malia has been teaching both practices ever since to a wide range of students, from infants to kupuna, and leading her halau (school), Nā Hula Ola Aloha. Kumu Malia has personally taught thousands of hula students in Hawaii. Additionally, the many Japanese hula teachers whom she has trained over the years teach hundreds of their own students in Japan using the style, method and philosophy of Kumu Malia’s hula lineage.
Kumu Malia considers her hula practice and lomilomi practice to be two parts of the same whole. From her 20 years of lomi experience, she developed a 128 hour massage training program of her own called Puana Lomilomi, based on the intertwined practices of lomilomi, hula, pule, oli and lei-making.
As a member of Ka Pā o Lonopūhā, Malia participates in the sharing of native Hawaiian healing arts that focus specifically on lomi aʻe and elements of haki kino, laʻau lapaʻau and hoʻoponopono. Malia regularly teaches lomilomi for the Salvation Armyʻs Womenʻs Way program representing their cultural healing classes for women in recovery.
As an ambassador and guest lecturer of Hawaiian culture, Malia has delivered presentations for Leeward Community College, the Hawaii Yoga Institute, Outrigger Reef on the Beach, Mid Pacific Institute, Hawaiʻi Pacific University, Manoa Cottage, Honolulu Theater for Youth, numerous groups of International middle and high school students and Still & Moving Center. Kumu Mālia Helelā is currently researching and writing a trilogy of historic novels centered on the Kawehewehe and Kalia area. As a kumu hula and lomilomi practitioner, she looks to the ‘āina, the land, for grounding and inspiration.
Assistant to the Artistic Director of this 15th International Day of Non-violence and Mahatma Gandhi Day Celebration
Emily Stage Managed for nearly 20 years, working throughout the West Coast, New York, Las Vegas and Japan. After 11 years with Cirque du Soleil she moved to Hawaii to be with her Husband and 2 step children. She is also a Creative Director, Choreographer, and Painter with no end to creative outlets. Since moving to Oahu she has joined the staff of Still & Moving Center where she manages Social Media and provides support to the Faculty. At the Center she finds great joy from supporting the community and promoting the wellness opportunities that are offered there. She dreams of opening a coffee shop, raising goats and having lots of cats.
“How Gandhi’s thoughts are relevant in today’s World”
Judith Jenya has earned numerous US and International awards and recognition highlighting her achievements as a humanitarian and peace activist. Through her commitment to the well being and safety of children she has worked in Hawaii, California, Mexico, Japan, New Zealand, Russia, Jordan, Croatia, Bosnia, Serbia, Kosova,and N. Ireland.
She founded and directed Global Children’s Organization which brought together children from all sides of armed conflicts. She developed and taught peacemaking and non-violent conflict resolution skills that are in use throughout the world.
She is a wife, mother and grandmother, friend, and volunteers with children’s organizations in Mexico where she now lives.
Harvard University, MAT Fine Arts
Univ. of California, Berkeley, BA,MSW
Richardson School of Law, Univ. of Hawaii, JD
Worked as an attorney and mediator in Honolulu, and taught at the East West Center and The graduate School of Social Work, UH.
International Humanist of the Year, 2002
Temple award for Creative Altruism from IONS 2001
University of California Berkeley alumna of the Year for Service 2000
Hadassah Woman of the Year, Hawaii 1980
Artist and writer
Painter and photographer with solo exhibitions in Mexico, California, Hawaii, Bosnia
Bi-lingual book of poetry, “Aromas de dos Pueblos”.
“Welcome and devotional chant”
Dr. Raj Kumar is the Founder & President of Gandhi International Institute for Peace (GIIP) in Hawaii. Dr. Kumar is also a Liaison for sister-state relationship between Hawaii and the State of Goa, Republic of India. He is also the President of the Indian-American Friendship Council (Hawaii Chapter). He also serves on the Advisory Board of the Interfaith Alliance Hawaii.
He laid the foundation of GIIP on September 11, 2001, the day when the twin towers were attacked by terrorists in New York City. Since then, GIIP’s mission has been to raise awareness about peace & non-violence. GIIP & Dr. Kumar has achieved this in various ways.
In October 2007, Dr. Kumar organized a ‘World Peace March’ from the Magic Island to Kapiolani Park in Honolulu, Hawaii. Over 20 organizations, peace activists, teachers & students participated in this event.
In 2015,GIIP initiated a bill in the Hawaii Legislature to establish October 2 as “Mahatma Gandhi Day”, which was signed into Act 5 by The Honorable Governor, David Y. Ige, making Hawaii the first State in US to declare October 2 as “Mahatma Gandhi Day”.
GIIP also initiated resolution in the Hawaii Legislature adopted to establish a sister- state relationship between Hawai’i and the State of Goa, Republic of India. This relationship would promote trade, tourism, education and cultural exchange programs between two states. Governor Ige and Gurudas Pilarnekar, Goa’s Director of Art and Culture, signed this historic agreement at Washington Place on September 28, 2018.
Further, GIIP initiated House Bill, HB 349, into the Hawaii Legislature to declare “June 21 each year as International Yoga Day in Hawaii”, which was signed into Act 102 in June 2019 by Honorable Governor Ige.
Since 2007, GIIP has been organizing annual international Day of Non-Violence in Hawaii to promote peace & non-violence in the community and encourages Hawaii residents to practice Aloha.
On a personal front, Dr. Kumar has authored numerous books. He plans to release his latest work on Mahatma Gandhi titled “Anger and Nonviolence” in 2021. He has contributed several articles on faith, peace, nonviolence and health in Hawaii’s leading newspapers between 2005-2018.
“Prayer to Gandhi”
Sooriya’s life journey has been on a pilgrimage uniting the path of the healer and traditional visual arts with the spiritual path of the heart.
Muthukumaru Sooriyakumar (Sooriya) was born in 1949 in a small village to a traditional family in Sri Lanka.
When he was young, he recalls being drawn to the rhythmic, tapping sounds of the temple artists working on stone. In the 1960s and 1970s his pilgrimages began. He walked with holy men throughout India, Sri Lanka, and the Himalayas of Nepal. He made eight round trips overland from Sri Lanka through Persia to Europe experiencing people from different cultures, religions, and regions (many no longer accessible to travelers).
After many years of travel and exploration he settled in Wai’anai in 1984. In Wai’anae, Sooriya continued his journey of life and art, and he has achieved prominence as a world-renowned copper artist. He has lived a humble life for the last 35 years on the Wai’anae coast of Oahu working and sharing.
Over the last 50 years he has developed artwork that graces the entrances and walls of healing centers, temples, homes, and community buildings around the world. His work celebrates the nature and the heart, Oneness and Compassion – universal themes that speak to people of all faiths. His artwork can be seen in countries from Australia and New Zealand to Japan, India and Sri Lanka to Germany and through North America.
In Hawaii, Sooriya has been blessed to work directly with Native Hawaiians who have graciously shared their traditional ways, culture, and protocols with him. He has been honored to receive formal recognition as a Living Treasure of Hawaii.
He founded Mouna Arts and Cultural Village in the Wai’anae Valley in 2014.
Sooriya creates art that touches the heart of people by reconnecting them to themselves, to each other and to their surroundings. Mouna Arts & Cultural Village provides this opportunity for all, in particular the children of Hawaii. Here they experience the creative process and joy in making art while being connected to nature and connecting more deeply to themselves.
“Art created with heart speaks to other hearts;
through this language of the heart,
union is achieved.” – Sooriya
“Applying Gandhi’s principles to 2020”
Andrea Malji is an Assistant Professor in the department of International Studies at Hawaiʻi Pacific University. Her research speciality is political violence, non violent resistance, and nationalism, with a regional specialization in South Asia. She recently completed a fellowship from the International Center on NonViolent Conflict to help develop a new course on civil resistance. She has a forthcoming book with Cambridge University Press on Religious Nationalism in Contemporary South Asia.
“Ragghupati Raghav Raja Ram, Patit Tipavan Sita Ram”
A thermal engineer by trade, Mr. Yash Nagpaul is an amateur singer, formerly based in Hawaii and currently residing in Atlanta. Mr Nagpaul performed “Raghupati Raghav Raja Ram” for the unveiling ceremony of the statue of Mahatma Gandhi in 1990, which was organized by the former Mayor of Honolulu, Frank Fasi and the Wattumull family.
“Mantra: Vaishnava Janato”
Zeny Ogrisseg E-RYT 500, YACEP, AWC (Ayurvedic Wellness Counselor)
Zeny is a Yoga Educator, Musician, Sound Healer and Sri Vidya Practitioner. With a mixed heritage that includes Punjabi Indian, Filipino and Spanish, Zeny was raised in a culturally and spiritually diverse home. Her first yoga experience was listening to her mom chanting “Om” when she was a child.
Zeny’s yoga teaching emphasizes alignment, core stability, balance and deep stretching for the hips and shoulders. Her favorite poses are backbends, because they help open the heart. Zeny’s classes are noted for their depth in alignment, practical philosophy and rich spirituality.
She has traveled extensively all over India, studying Yoga, Tantra, Mantra and Ayurveda. She is certified at the highest level recognized by Yoga Alliance as a Yoga Teacher Trainer, conducting 200 and 500 Hour Yoga Trainings through her school Hawaii School of Yoga. Her teachers include Guru Karunamaya, former head priest at Devipuram temple, a lineage holder of Sri Vidya, one of the most ancient Indian spiritual traditions whose main icon is the Sri Yantra; Swami Khecharanatha, a lineage holder of Kundalini Sadhana (derived from Kashmir Shaivism) and founder of Rudramandir in Berkeley, CA; and Russil Paul (Anirud Jaidev), recording artist, music producer and author of the book “The Yoga of Sound.”
Inspired by one of India’s greatest Yogi’s, Sri Aurobindo, who was the first to say “All Life is Yoga”, Zeny promotes the yogic way of life, not just the practice on the mat. Her own daily practice involves meditating and chanting daily, studying the source texts of yoga, practicing Sri Vidya, and teaching yoga classes.
With a passion for sacred music, Zeny plays the piano, harp, harmonium and Tibetan singing bowls. And her main instrument is her voice. She has a gift for Sanskrit chanting and conducts kirtan and chanting sessions all over Oahu.
“Satyagraha (truth & will)”
The daughter of a dancer, Tara Pandeya has gained world renown as a dance performer, teacher and choreographer, as well as a scholar and cultural activist dedicated to the promotion of dance forms from Central Asia. Tara worked as a principal dancer with Cirque du Soleil and is the first westerner to perform with Lola, the National Ensemble of Tajikistan. Tara has performed & created dance programing in over 35 countries.
She balances her work as a practitioner with theoretical work, conducting dance research through the Rockefeller Foundation & CECArtslink in Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, East Turkestan, Pakistan, India and Russia. Most recently, she has created original dance works for UNESCO, the Bauhaus Festival & at Royal Albert Hall. Tara holds an MA in Dance Anthropology from London’s Roehampton University and is a 2019-20 Fulbright Scholar. Her solo work has been featured on BBC, in the New York Times and in Dance Magazine.
“We shall overcome”
From an Ivy League education to Wall street to fame and fortune as a MTV Rap star, at some point along Nimo’s journey he realized that we was walking a path of suffering and that the only path to light was through selfless service to others and his own internal purification. For the past 10 years Nimo has been serving and working with the underprivileged communities in the Gandhi Ashram in India. Most recently Nimo has reconnected to his roots of music and is offering this gift of love, peace and oneness through his songs: an offering he calls “Empty Hands Music”.
Nimo chose the title ‘Empty Hands’, because of the profound wisdom we all can gain when we understand this deeper truth: that we arrive on this planet empty handed and we will all soon leave empty handed. So then, how and in what spirit do we want to spend the time in between?
Empty Hands Music’s mission: is to spread seeds of goodness in the world through selfless service, music, and love. All of Empty Hands Music’s offerings are gifts to the world. Empty Hands is a 501c3 US-based Non-Profit, 100% Gift offering with an intention to spread seeds of goodness through its music, events & sharings all across the world, as well as through its grassroots, arts-based service work from the Gandhi Ashram, for underprivileged children in the slums of Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India.
VIDEO TITLE: “WE SHALL OVERCOME”
A song by Nimo Patel and Daniel Nahmod, video directed by Nimo Patel and Ellie Walton – which was created to bring a response to the turbulent times. Whatever the question is: “Love is the Answer”. We Shall Overcome!
Dr. Patterson is the long time President of the Pacific Justice and Reconciliation Center, & Nonviolence Educator and Trainer. He is a well known Hawaiian Priest in the Episcopal Church, founded by Kamehameha IV and Queen Emma in 1662; and Professor of Peace Studies and Social Work. He has been active in International Human Rights and has served ad a Church World Service delegate to many United Nations General Assemblies, Forums, and Meetings related to Racism, Indigenous Peoples, and Hawaiian Sovereignty. He was the Co-Covener of the Racial Justice Working Group of the National Council of Churches USA, and Executive Board Member of the the Native American Legal Rights Fund. He has also convened many forum and conventions on Hawaiian Governance and Sovereignty. In 1993 Dr. Patterson was the recipient of the Church of the Crossroads Martin Luther Jr.; the State of Hawaii Martin Luther King Jr. Award, and many other awards and recognitions for is work in reconciliation, Hawaiian Environmental and Social Justice, Peace and Nonviolence. Today Dr, Patterson is active in Prison and Criminal Justice Reform, as the Prison Chaplain of the Episcopal Churches of Hawaii.
“From Violence to Nonviolence”
Prof. Neelakanta Radhakrishnan sums up his extraordinarily eventful life and achievements: “A rare combination of intellectualism and activism, Prof. Radhakrishnan has distinguished in several fields. As an educator, administrator, founder of several educational institutions, author of over forty books, journalist, trainer of youth in nonviolence, theatre expert, actor, human right activist and researcher of folk arts, Prof. Radhakrishnan is an important source of inspiration to a number of innovative initiatives all over the world, especially in the field of training in nonviolence.
“Gandhi’s contribution to World Peace”
Dr. Reddy was born in Bangalore, India and is practicing dentistry in Whittier, California since 1983.
Dr. Reddy is the author of various books on national security and social/geo-political issues including, “Global Terrorists and Nuclear Threats to U.S. and Indian Democracies,” and “India’s Deadly Enemy – HIV/AIDS.”
He is also the Founder/President of the Indian American Friendship Council, which has served as a forum for promoting stronger ties between India and the U.S.A. Dr. Reddy was also the Chairman of the Federation of Indian Associations (FIA). Dr. Reddy has served as President of Gandhi Peace Foundation in California.
Dr. Reddy has been awarded by President of India, H.K. Narayanan for his contribution to build stronger relations between U.S. and India, and for work on nuclear deals. U.S. Congresswoman Shelley Berkeley once stated, “Nobody exemplifies the relationship that India and the U.S. have better than Dr. Reddy.”
In fact, President Clinton and Barack Obama have acknowledged Dr. Reddy for his service and support. President George W. bush, in a statement issued on June 5th, 2002, recognized the importance of Dr. Reddy’s pivotal role and the work of the IAFC – “I commend IAFC members for celebrating the remarkable contributions of Indian Americans who play a significant role in the economic, cultural and civic life of our nation. I also applaud you for preserving your rich customs and traditions. Your efforts honor the ideals on which the United States was founded.” It is this very foundation of American ideals upon which Dr. Reddy has devoted his professional career and personal life promoting.
Dr. Reddy has been honored and recognized by various leaders of US and India, including Governor of North Carolina, Nicki Haley, Former Prime Ministers of India, Sri Dave Gowda, Narisimha Rao, Inder Kumar Gujral and Atal Bihari Vajpayee. International Red Cross organization also acknowledged Dr. Reddy for his outstanding services in the community.
“Positive influence of Mahatma Gandhi’s teachings in the Modern World”
Pramod Pandurang Sawant is an Indian politician who is the 11th and current Chief Minister of Goa. Sawant represents the Sanquelim constituency in the Goa Legislative Assembly and is a member of the Bharatiya Janata Party. He is an Ayurveda Medical practitioner by profession. He was serving as the speaker of the Goa assembly before being sworn in as Chief Minister, after the death of the sitting chief minister Manohar Parrikar.Hon. Pramod Sawant, CM-Goa, India
“The Peace Diet”
President: Formally Designated a “Living Treasure” in 2006, Dr Terry Shintani is one of the youngest individuals to receive this designation. He is a unique physician-nutritionist-community health advocate and medical school professor. He has served the underserved and Native Hawaiian communities throughout his career with hundreds of programs and activities. One of his programs won the highest national award from the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services. He has been featured in News week, CBS This Morning, CNN News, Dateline NBC, and as of 1995, he appears in the Encyclopedia Britannica. As a lawyer, he authored landmark legislation that legalized Native Hawaiian Healing practices so that it may be practiced and preserved. Currently, he serves as the Associate Chair of Complementary and Alternative Medicine at the University of Hawaii School of Medicine and holds the following positions:
– Chair of the International Holistic Therapy Association.
– President of the Board of the Hawaii Center for Attitudinal Healing,
– Chair of the Advisory Board of the Gandhi International Institute for Peace,
– Prior of the Knights (Hospitaller) of the Orthodox Order of St. John Russian Grand Priory, Priory of Hawaii
– Clergy of the Elder’s Council of Traditional Hawaiian Healers.
Roger Sinha is a choreographer, dancer, artistic director and founder of the company Sinha Danse, as well as one of the pioneers in the field of contemporary dance inspired by non-western cultural practices in Canada. Over the course of his 30-year career, he created numerous distinctive and original creations and has received recognition and numerous awards. In various ways, his personal history set the scene for his artistic work and defined his signature choreographic style which he is known for throughout Canada and beyond.
Roger Sinha was born in London, UK, to an Armenian mother and an Indian father. When he was 8 years old, his family moved to Saskatoon in Canada where he grew up and received his early education. Late in his twenties, he discovered a passion for dancing and obtained a degree from the prestigious School of Toronto Dance Theatre. The young dancer decided to settle in Montreal where he quickly became involved in numerous collaborations within the blossoming local artistic community. Those were the years of the so-called nouvelle danse movement in Quebec and Roger Sinha had the chance to collaborate as a dancer with some of the big names of that time: Jean-Pierre Perreault, Hélène Blackburn, Sylvain Émard, Pierre-Paul Savoie, Daniel Soulières. Eventually, he became interested in developing his own work, which led him to establish his company Sinha Danse in 1991. His personal struggles related to questions of mixed cultural identities and the experiences of racism became central themes in his choreographic work.
Roger Sinha’s signature contemporary style was described as very athletic and dynamic, characterized by the precision and the explosive energy the martial arts and freely inspired by the sophisticated gestural aesthetic of Bharata Natyam. Throughout his long career, the choreographer remained determined to choose the road less traveled and experiment with different interdisciplinary approaches to dance by integrating into his choreographic work new technologies and interactive media (Zeros and Ones, 2008), poetry (Apricot Trees Exist, 2004), live music (Sunya, 2013), literature and theater (Burning Skin, 1995). In 2016, he decided to invite non-professional participants to join forces with professional dancers in his contemporary Bollywood ‘community choreo’ piece called Montre(olly)Wood! or MoW! and co-choreographed by Deepali Lindblom. Out of Bark and Bone is his most recent project, furthering the exploration of the use of live music and advanced sound technologies in contemporary dance.
“Gandhiji on Casting out Fear”
Cliff Tillotson graduated with degrees in Political Science and English from University of California at Santa Barbara. He took most of his Political Science classes from Professor Raghavan Iyer, the author of one of the seminal books on Gandhi: The Moral & Political Thought of Mahatlma Gandhi. Motivated by Gandhi’s devotion to Bhagavad Gita, Cliff took up the study of Sanskrit under Professor Nandini Iyer, also at UCSB. He privately translated the Gita for himself, and has been a student of the Bhagavad Gita ever since. He is particularly drawn to life of service through action – the life of a karma yogin – as exemplified by Gandhji.
He has spent his post-college life as a family man, working in the world as a contractor, protecting people’s lives and steep slopes from erosion and falling rock. Meanwhile he has supported all manner of good causes, from Still & Moving Center and the Gandhi International Institute for Peace, to the Institute of World Culture in Santa Barbara and the Kohala Whales for Peace Project at Mouna Farm & Cultural Village. He currently serves as an advocate for the homeless and a supportive founder of the Waimanalo Kau Hale, assisting people to raise themselves out of homelessness.
Owner, Director, Still & Moving Center
Renée Tillotson, Director, founded Still & Moving Center to share mindful movement arts from around the globe. Her inspiration comes from the Joy and moving meditation she experiences in the practice of Nia, and from the lifelong learning she’s gained at the Institute of World Culture in Santa Barbara, California. Still & Moving Center aspires to serve the community, support the Earth and its creatures, and always be filled with laughter and friendship!
Enthusiasm fills every class and event Renée leads. The motto: ‘Move your body. Still your mind. Find center. Find Joy!” motivates her daily life.
A second degree Nia Black Belt, Renée says, “Through Nia I realized that I was born to dance…and perhaps everyone is! Nia connects me to pure Joy. I aspire to extend that Joy into the rest of my life and share it with every student who steps into my circle. Nia embraces both the yin and yang energies, helping all of us to balance our natures. Nia serves as a moving meditation for me, as well as a chance to play like a child again! I like to think of my classes as invigorating the body and elevating the spirit.”
Engaged in an earnest, life-long spiritual quest, Renée assembles the Still & Moving Center Almanac each year, filled with inspirational quotes by everyone from the Dalai Lama to Dolly Parton. She loves taking part in conversations that merge philosophical, spiritual and scientific thought with a lifestyle of compassion.
Renée has been moving and sharing Nia since 2002. She took all of her Nia intensive trainings at Nia International Headquarters from the co-creators of Nia: Debbie Rosas and Carlos Rosas. She considers herself a citizen of the world, and brings mindful movement practices from around the globe under one roof at Still & Moving Center.
For Akari Ueoka, dance has become her lifeblood. According to her mother, she even danced in the womb. In elementary school, she learned a traditional Japanese sword dance called Minbu. In high school, she mainly did rhythmic gymnastics while studying various dance forms: jazz, modern, ballet, and hip-hop at the Suga Jazz Dance Studio in Kochi, Japan. She also studied Izanai Yosakoi dance under the guidance of the late Suga Kunitomo, a well-known choreographer/teacher in Japan.
Akari’s life changed forever in 2005 when she met Sarala Dandekar on Maui. After falling in love with Odissi, a classical Indian dance, Akari began her apprenticeship under Sarala’s guidance. In 2012, Akari had Manchapravesh, a debut ceremony, which marks the completion of formal training and initiates dancers’ further commitment to the art form.
Odissi is technically challenging and requires much patience and practice to improve. However, Akari’s love for Odissi has been steadily growing over the years. She traveled to India to study with Sarala’s teacher, Guru Jhelum Paranjape, and her senior disciples in 2013 and 2018.
She takes much pleasure in sharing this traditional and deeply spiritual art form.
Title of Akari’s performance: Mankiya Veena
Choreographed by the late Padmabhushan Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra
Composed by the late Bhubaneshwar Mishra
Artistic Director of this 15th International Day of Non-violence and Mahatma Gandhi Day Celebration
Former Cirque du Soleil Performer and Artistic Director, Neelanthi Vadivel, heads operations at Still & Moving and leads the new division Hoa Hele Retreats.
After leading 3 world-renowned Cirque du Soleil productions to over 40 countries, Neelanthi hopes to share her experience “wrangling clowns”: Inspiring others to achieve personal and professional growth, through ongoing periods of instability and challenging environments, while balancing professional mandates with personal wellbeing.
Her interests lie in the discovery and understanding of all forms of movement and self-development, and how the body and mind can connect through a shared experience.
Her role at Hoa Hele Retreats is to draw on 20 plus years in the performing arts industry, to develop unique experiences that nurture personal growth through the mind and body arts.