• 'Peace and Justice from the Heart' Program Agenda

  • 6th Annual “Peace and Justice from the Heart” Program Agenda

    Wednesday, April 24, 2019

    Mt. Hood Community College Student Union and Jazz Cafe This agenda is still a work in progress and will be updated as needed.

    Time Subject Focus
    9 – 4 pm Peace Banners Exhibit – Vista Cafeteria
    9 – noon Global Breakfast – Vista Cafeteria
    11 a.m. – 1 p.m. Pop-Up Library available in Jazz Cafe
    11:30-11:45 pm Jazz Cafe
    Introduction: MC: Christine Edwards
    Rotary Club-Craig Ward,, Sufi School-Laila Al Amin, WFWP - Christine; MHCC- RoseAnn Kennett (TRIO-SSS) & Ernesto Vasquez(DRC)

    11:45 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.

    Convocation: introduced by Dr. Linda Nishikawa: Native American Prayer by Trish Jordan, Executive Director of Red Lodge; Native American Drum Keeper: Miguel Medina and Thunderbird Lodge Singers.

    12:15 – 12:30 p.m. International Sufi School Exhibit
    Claudia Al Amin, MS
    12:30 – 1 p.m. Rotary Peace Fellow
    Erin Thomas: Sex and World Peace
    1 –1:50 p.m.

    Session 1-A
    Student Union Lounge
    Peace in School
    Maggie Steele

    Session 1-B
    Jazz Cafe
    Rotary Action Group for Peace
    Executive Director, Reem Ghunaim,
    “Everyone can be a Peace Builder”

    2 – 2:50 p.m. Session 2-B
    Jazz Cafe
    Nonviolent Communication (NVC)
    Doyle Banks
    3– 3:50 p.m.

    Session 3-A
    Student Union;
    Dances of Universal Peace
    Michael Sheehan and Michelle

    Session 3-B
    Jazz Cafe
    NVC part 2

    4 – 4:50pm Panel Discussion: Rev. Leon, Portland Buddhist Priory;
    Drew Assini, Faculty: Ernesto Vasquez, DRC; Chidoze Urom MHCC alumnus; MHCC students, and conference presenters
    4:50-5 p.m. Closing: Dr. Linda Nishikawa and RoseAnn Kennett; Native American Round Dance


    Erin Thomas – Key Note Speaker

    Rotary Peace Fellow Class One, Universidad del Salvador, Argentina

    Erin has a BA in International Affairs from The George Washington University and an MA in Peace and Conflict Resolution from the Universidad del Salvador in Buenos Aires, Argentina where she was a member of the Rotary Peace Fellow inaugural class. Erin is the Director of Strategic Partnerships for the Every Woman Treaty and is dedicated to creating the opportunity for a life free from all forms of violence for every woman and girl, everywhere.

    Erin co-founded the Rotarian Action Group for Peace and served as its Executive Director for three years, was on the Sao Paulo Peace Symposium Planning Committee, and served as the alumni representative on the Rotary Peace Centers Future Planning Committee 2016-18. Her diverse career also includes education program management with Mercy Corps, charitable giving for Federated Department Stores, coordination of political campaigns, and a half decade working in Latin America in both government and NGO positions. She was a Leadership Development in Interethnic Relations Fellow 2000-2001, Community Builder Fellow for the Department of Housing and Urban Development 1999-2000, and an Urban Community Development Volunteer for Peace Corps in Ecuador 1996-98.

    She and her husband live in Portland Oregon with their two children. Erin founded the Rotarian Action Group for Peace with the hope it would serve as the nexus point for Rotarians, Peace Fellows and peace activists and organizations worldwide to meet, collaborate and build peace together.

    Reem Ghunaim, Executive Director

    Rotary Club of Portland District 5100

    Reem is currently the Executive Director for the Rotarian Action Group for Peace based in Portland, Oregon. She is also a Global Peace Index Ambassador for the Institute for Economics and Peace based in New York City, and a Rotarian at the Rotary Club of Portland, District 5100. She served on the Rotary Club of Portland as chair of the Peacebuilder Committee, and served on the organizing committee of the Environmental Sustainability and Peace Conference: one of Rotary International’s six Presidential Peace Conferences for 2018. She was previously a Rotaractor with the Rotary Club of Ramallah in Palestine, and later became a Rotary Peace Fellow at the Duke UNC Rotary Peace Center in North Carolina.

    Reem received her B.A. in Business Administration from Birzeit University in Palestine. Later, she acquired a Community Leadership Certificate from the International Association for Human Values and the Art of Living Organization in Germany. As a Duke UNC Rotary Peace Fellow, Reem obtained her Masters in City and Regional Planning from the University of North Carolina and an International Peace and Conflict Resolution Certificate from Duke University.

    Reem is a proponent of economic development, strategic and regional planning, and promoting peace through global humanitarian projects. She is an accomplished professional in multiple regions including the Middle East, Pacific, Europe and the USA. She has experience working for the United Nations Crisis Prevention Unit in Fiji where she engaged in projects promoting conflict resolution, mediation and trauma healing. She is an expert on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and encourages intercultural exchanges to enhance mutual understanding. Reem is an advocate for Social Entrepreneurship and encourages the utilization of art and dance to create social platforms for peacebuilding. Reem has distinguished experience as a public speaker and has presented and spoken about various important social, economic and political issues around the world at numerous prestigious platforms.

    Reem’s personal mission is to build mutual understanding on important issues for peace that revolves around compassion, empowers individuality, and embraces differences in a positive light. She serves as a board member for Peace Village, an organization that teaches these peaceful values to young children.

    Maggie Steele, Peace in School

    Maggie Steele, MSW is the Training Coordinator for Peace in Schools and develops and facilitates their mindfulness-based professional development trainings for educators. She teaches Mindful Studies at Franklin High School and is a certified provider of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction for Teens (MBSR-T). Maggie is a licensed school social worker and holds a BA in Psychology and a Master’s in Social Work for children, youth, and families. She is also a training facilitator and practicum supervisor at the Youth Coaching Institute. She has been a mindfulness practitioner since 2003.

    Michelle Sparkes-Smith and Michael Sheehan: Dances of Universal Peace

    Everyone participates as we sing sacred mantras from many of the world’s spiritual traditions, holding hands and moving together in a circle. Beginning with one circle in San Francisco in the late 1960's, the Dances of Universal Peace have spread to hundreds of dance circles in more than sixty countries. Like a thirsty wanderer stopping for water, we hope to open and attune ourselves to the source of universal peace, love, healing and wisdom.

    Michael Sheehan and Michelle Sparks-Smith are certified leaders of the Dances Of Universal Peace and lead two weekly and two monthly dance circles in the Portland area. More information is available on their website: movingmeditations-dup.com.

    Rev. Leon

    Portland Buddhist Priory

    Rev. Leon Kackman has been practicing with the Order of Buddhist Contemplatives (OBC) since 1983. He first started as a lay practitioner at the Portland branch of the then Oregon Zen Priory and then helped to start the Portland Buddhist Priory in 1987. In 1993, Rev. Leon moved to Shasta Abbey in Northern California to become a monk and, with the support of Rev. Master Jiyu-Kennett, was ordained by Rev. Eko Little in the spring of 1994.

    Rev. Leon received the Dharma Transmission in 2001 and was certified as a Teacher of Buddhism in 2004. In 2005, for health reasons, he moved to Pine Mountain Buddhist Temple in Ventura County California where he lived and trained for four years. Before coming back to Portland, he lived and trained in Columbia South Carolina at the Columbia Zen Buddhist Priory.

    Rev. Leon is presently the chaplain in North America for the OBC’s lay ministers. The OBC is an international monastic order practicing in the Serene Reflection Meditation (Soto Zen) tradition. The Order was founded by the late Rev. Master Jiyu-Kennett, a British woman zen master who was trained and certified at Sojiji monastery in Yokohama Japan. The OBC has temples and training monasteries in the US, United Kingdom and Europe. For more information about the Rev. Master Jiyu-Kennett and the OBC please visit obcon.org.

    Andrew “Drew” J. Assini

    Andrew “Drew” J. Assini is a mental health professional, person in long term recovery, and instructor in the Mental Health, Social Services, and Addiction Counseling (MHSSAC) Program at Mt. Hood Community College. As a regular meditation practitioner, Drew is familiar both personally and professionally with the positive impact that mindfulness and a heart-centered approach to living can have on individuals and the community as a whole.

    Doyle Banks: Nonviolent Communications

    “How To Create Meaningful Dialogue In These Trying Times”

    Do you feel like it is harder than ever for people to communicate with one another these days?

    There seem to more and more challenges getting in the way of us really being able to hear, understand and appreciate each other in every corner of life: nationally in our politics and environmental issues, in our communities with racial tensions, lack of resources and economic struggles, and at home with ever-increasing divorce rates, children going to bed hungry and more.

    We need an advantage.

    The good news is, there IS an advantage…The Empathy Advantage.

    Educator, speaker and life-coach, Doyle Banks, will present a double session titled “Creating Connections Across Aisles, Streets and Tables With The Empathy Advantage” at this year’s Mount Hood Community College annual Peace and Justice From The Heart Conference.

    You are invited to come learn how to tap into your human capacity for empathy and create meaningful connections with one another…even those with radically different views from your own.


    Doyle brings together his roles as a 36-year Information Technology Consultant, a public school music teacher, a 10-year Nonviolent Communication educator and a buddhadharma meditation teacher in the Insight Meditation (vipassana) tradition to show students and audiences the power of empathic connection to bring reconciliation, healing and peace to life situations such as dating, marriages, families, business environments, spiritual communities and the civil/political arena.

    He offers workshops, classes and public presentations on The Empathy Advantage, a communication approach that combines mindfulness, Nonviolent Communication and wisdom teachings from many different traditions. Doyle also works with individuals, couples, families and groups through Life Coaching with an emphasis on applying The Empathy Advantage skills to create compassionate, harmonious and effective relationships.

    Doyle is also part of the Dharma Teachers Council at the Portland Insight Meditation Community in Southeast Portland.