2012 RCP Program

4th Annual International Conference on

Religion, Conflict, and Peace:

Walking The Talk To Compassion And Harmony

March 23-25 , 2012 ~ Dearborn, Michigan USA

2012 Presenter Biographicals

Friday, March 23

10:00 - 11:30 am

Greeting, Conference Mission, Announcements, & Introductions:
Steve Olweean, MA, Bill Secrest, MA

Keynotes via Skype: Huston Smith, PhD

Presentation: - Charter For Compassion

- Declaration of Council of Religious Leaders in Israel

Dialogue and Community Building Experience


11:45 am - 12:45 pm

A 1: "Multigenerational Trauma and Healing Ancestor Syndrome"
Each of us is a living story influenced by generations past. If we learn what is difficult to hear and see what is difficult to see, then we can better understand transgenerational transmission of unresolved conflicts of hatred and revenge. Presents a model of healing based in indigenous wisdom and shamanic understandings.

A 2: Roundtable: "Building Compassion and Harmony Through The Academic Study of Religion"
A panel discussion will ensue covering topics concerning the academic study of religion and how formal education can foster peace and conflict resolution. Approaching religion from a "scholarly" perspective, in a diverse classroom, often breaks down walls and insecurities when attempting to engage the "other".
- Bill Secrest, MA, Tracy Marshall, Loren Scribner, Anne Dinnan, Ryan Hammack

A 3: "Combating Stereotyping, Islamophobia, Xenophobia & "Appearance-ism"; Being an Ally (Even to Yourself)"
Anya Cordell, Spirit of Anne Frank Award recipient, combats "appearance-ism" (appearance-based judging). Anya, who is Jewish, demonstrates becoming a powerful ally (even to yourself), creating effective initiatives against Islamophobia/xenophobia, bridging cultural barriers, undermining biased and stereotypical media messages, and transforming views of yourself and others.
- Anya Cordell

~ Lunch ~
12:45 - 2:00 pm

2:00 - 3:00 pm

B 1: "Racism and Violence Against Muslim Women: The Sociological Perspective Of Islamophobia"
Since 9/11, Muslims and Arabs have suffered increased discrimination, both by private actors and by the state. Although Muslims and Arabs are victims of historical discrimination and stereotyping, the political atmosphere has, since September 2001, become keenly Islamophobic. We will critically examine how violence is understood and experienced by Muslim women in North America; how violence against them affects their sense of self, family, and community; and how it is shaped through the intersecting matrices of identity, including race, gender, class, religion, age, and marital status.
- Gahad Hamed, PhD

B 2: "Religion and Peace: The Interfaith Dialogue Program in the Center for Conflict Resolution and Reconciliation"
The presentation will be about our interfaith project implemented by CCRR between religious' leaders from the three Abrahamic religions, Islam, Christianity and Judaism, For four years these religious' leaders have discussed the role of religion in peace, the different values in the three religions, and the responsibility of these leaders in guiding political leaders according to these values and morals, as opposed to offering justifucation for violence in the name of God.
- Noah Salameh, PhD

B 3: Roundtable: "Sustainability and Alternative Energy"
Sustainability issues are of a global scale that affects lives socially, politically, and internally. Finding energy alternatives and sustainable solutions will help existing ecosystems last and strengthen compassion, humanity, and peace among the world's citizens as less strain is placed on Earth's resources.
- Anas Pasha, Kelly Williamson, Gloria Rivera, Ed McArdle


3:15 - 4:15 pm

C 1: "Beyond Theories: Where the Rubber Meets the Road"
How does one apply the Golden Rule in situations where we try to respect everyone's religious tradition and practice, while it is obvious that a compromise has to be made. Who makes the compromise? Does someone always have to compromise for an amicable solution? We take an incident that happened among 3 women: a Hindu, Buddhist, and Jew, in which respecting the religious traditions of 1 woman would mean violating that of another. How do you solve these real life situations when applying the Golden Rule? An interactive workshop in which the incident is related, the group divides into smaller "pods" to discuss what should happen, and then shares their deliberations and discussions with the larger group.
- Ruth Broyde Sharone

C 2: "Preserving Religious Liberty: Why It Matters"
Discuss importance of preserving religious liberty for all faiths; explore examples of how religious liberty is being challenged; and consider what we can do to promote / preserve religious liberty.
- Daniel F. Dunnigan, MBA

C 3: Christian Leaders as Peacemakers in the Middle East (and at Home)
Dearborn area Christian leaders have been moved by their faith and growing understanding to "Walk the Talk" by working for peace in the Holy Land. They will share their experiences "on the ground" in Israel and Palestine and doing advocacy at home.
Rev. Fran Hayes, Rev. Amy Kienzle


4:30 - 6:00 pm

"Islamophobia, Racism, Anti Semitism, Scapegoating, and Compassion: Tapping Into The Best In Society To Heal The Energy Of Fear and Ignorance"
Anya Cordell, Imam Dawood Walid, Daniel Dunnigan, Rev. Dennis Flowers
Moderator: Steve Olweean, MA

~ Dinner ~
6:00 - 7:30 pm

MAZAJ: Arab-American blues fusion band
7:30 - 9:00 pm


Saturday, March 24

10:00 - 11:30 am

"Social Media: Bridging Divides And The Globe To Promote Understanding, Compassion, And Solidarity" (A Global Roundtable)
The degree of accessible, direct, and immediate communication between just about anyone on the globe with anyone else on the globe - unprecedented in human history and growing daily, and the highly personal and democratic nature of social media, opens new possibilities for the individual in society to play a significant role in promoting positive social change, locally and globally. A most recent example of this power is seen in the Arab Spring movement sweeping across the Middle East and the Occupy movement sweeping across the globe. Along with the power of change for liberty, justice, and human rights is power of change for healing negative stereotypes, enemy images, polarization, and animosity, and bridging the divide. This roundtable explores these transformative dynamics and possibilities for the future.
- Sulaiman Khatib, Tanya Awad Ghorra, Aseel Zahran, Mohamed Emira
Moderator: Steve Olweean, MA


11:45 am - 12:45 pm

F 1: "PSYCHICIDE - Dimunition and Dehumanising of "The Others"
Addressing the concept of "dehumanizing," psychecide, and trauma to psyche. How has our culture become Okay with caricaturization and character assassination in name of humour, righteousness, or religion. As examples, during holocaust it was acceptable to be anti-Semitic so that the horrors inflicted were acceptable, and more recently this same dynamic is experienced through Islamophobia. Comments like "deserve to die", or the vitriolic and aggressive treatment of Obama based on the 'suspicion' that he is a Muslim, are reminiscent of a hateful image of The Other. We are living in an ideological war zone, and need to redefine norms, ethics and human dignity.
- Farha Abbasi, MD

F 2: "Creating Peace"
Just as existential freedom is a consequence of authentic engagement with personal responsibility, peace is created by engaging and exploring latent and unconscious conflicts within us. This workshop will utilize creative writing and the visual arts to gain insight to the conflicts we project into the world.
- Jim Brown, PhD, Julie Moreno, MA

F 3: Roundtable: "Buddhist Practice: Off Tthe Cushion, Into the Community"
Panel of Detroit area Buddhist practitioners will engage attendees in dialogue on how their Buddhist Practice informs their everyday actions and focuses specific actions within the community.
- Stuart Smith, PhD, Melanie Davenport-Anzen, Mary Grannan

~ Lunch ~
12:45 - 2:00 pm

2:00 - 3:00 pm

G 1: "Tectonic Leadership for Transforming the Middle East Conflict - a New Way of Leading - a New Way of Being"
Tectonic Leadership introduces a revolutionary approach to leadership and conflict transformation - meet leaders from opposing sides of the Middle East conflict and learn how they take joint ownership in transforming the conflict - see first hand how they face challenges together and find solutions together.
- Brenda Naomi Rosenberg, Sarah Jaward, Sharhar Ben-Josef, Lara Khadr, Hamzah Latif, Brian Merlos

G 2: Roundtable: "Local And Global Manifestations Of Islamophobia, Solutions And Recommendations"
We will discuss the impact of Islamophobia on American Muslim college students and develop a sense of urgency that Islamophobia should be dealt with on a socio-political dimension to eradicate stereotypes and demonstrate that Muslim students can be the catalysts to meaningful and constructive dialogue.
- Mary Assel PhD, Hashim Al-Tawil PhD, Adnan Salhi PhD,

G 3: "Listening with a Heart of Mercy"
Sharing the origin and development of a serious conflict that developed between the presenter and a a Muslim colleague; and then describing how we resolved it, using our religious teachings and values to get there. We will then divide up into small groups and speak about their own conflicts. This session was presented jointly at the global Parliament of World's Religions in Melbourne, Ausatralia.
- Ruth Broyde Sharone


3:15 - 4:45 pm

"Joining Together To Heal the Emotional Distress of Negative Stereotyping and Bigotry"
This roundtable addresses the personal emotional and psychological distress individuals and groups experience as a result of being targeted as a community, how this effects relationships within and between communities, and how both counseling professionals and clergy can work together to support community members in alleviating this. Included will be discussing the importance of supporting and orienting clergy to mental health aspects, and exploring the possibility of an interfaith coalition of professional counselors and clergy cooperating on approaches to both offer services to individuals and families and educate the public to this important mental health concern
- Farha Abbasi, MD, Steve Olweean, MA, Myron Eshowsky, MS, Stephen Fabick, Ed.D


(Conference-wide group)
5:00 - 6:00 pm

An opportunity for all participants to engage in an interactive, all-conference dialogue to process conference experiences, share learning and wisdom, and address current issues. The intent is to use dialogue and deliberation to promote mutual action planning and collaboration beyond the conference for practical applications in our communities to increase public awareness, understanding, support pluralism, and reduce bigotry. This process and the RCP Conference program as a whole are designed to lead to a final focused action planning group on Sunday to produce concrete next steps for putting principles into prctice in improving relations within and between communities. The material is also included in conference proceedings and outcomes, and used for future planning.

~ Dinner ~
6:00 - 7:30 pm
Keynote: US Congressman John Conyers

7:30 - 9:00 pm
Sharing Creative Expressions:
Song, music, poetry, dance, story, short plays, videos
- Madalina Miron and Nicole Olweean


Sunday, March 25

10:00 - 11:00 apm

J 1: "Real Conscience: Best Guide for Compassion and Harmony"
The real conscience promotes compassion and peace using reason and the Golden Rule in making good choices. Bad choices result from unbalanced feelings (all feelings relate to human needs) or unhealthy "superego" shaped by social programming deviating from conscience. Hate including self-hate involves harsh superego.
- N.S. Xavier, MD

J 2: Roundtable: "We Can LIVE Without the Death Penalty"
Sixteen US States (four in the past five years) have abolished the death penalty; Michigan was the first English-speaking jurisdiction in the world to do so (1847). The movement's current efforts and participants' ideas for eradicating this assault on human rights will be discussed.
- Geraldine Grunow, Ken Grunow, Bashshar Altawil, Kelcie Bourquin, Lizzie Hines, Anas Pasha, Jihad Taleb, Andrew Baron

J 3: Roundtable: "How the Youth can Put an End to Islamaphobia"

An open panel where we can briefly discuss the issues that are effecting our youth in regards to Islamaphobia- discussing the root of it and how this generation has the utmost ability to stop it before it flourishes into the minds of future generations.
Zeinab Saab, Wissam Bazzi, Belal Alzahiri, Bassam Talab


11:15 am - 1:15 pm

Bringing the conference together for concerted action planning, networking, and collaboration beyond the conference to put learning into practice in our communities to educate, sensitize, and improve relations.


1:30 - 2:30 pm
Processing Conference Experience, Summarizing,
Cooperation, Next Steps, and Farewell
(Networking Lunch Follows)

2:30 - 3:30 pm
~ Networking Lunch ~
Final informal opportunity to connect and to explore cooperation
and next steps beyond the conference

Guidelines For Compassionate Dialogue


Guidelines For Compassionate Dialogue

Common Bond Institute Conferences strive to promote an inclusive, compassionate dialogue that honors different personal experiences, perspectives, and narratives, while allowing for better expressing and listening to each other as we work together toward understanding and harmony. Our intention is to create an open venue where we can engage meaningfully and invite in a public dialogue that brings our joint wisdom to bear in exploring sometimes difficult issues that effect us all. This is based on the premise that it does not require that we be the same to be appreciate of, at peace with, and secure in our relationships with each other; only that we be familiar enough with each others story to share the humanity and trustworthiness that resides in each of us. We ask all participants to assist us by carrying and expressing this intent throughout the conference.

NonViolent Communication Guidelines (Adapted from Marshall Rosenberg):

Unique Assumptions — NVC begins by assuming that we are all compassionate by nature and that violent strategies—whether verbal or physical—are learned behaviors taught and supported by the prevailing culture. It also assumes that we all share the same, basic human needs, and that all actions are a strategy to meet one or more of these needs.

While NVC is much more than a communication model, the components below provide a structural concept of the process that leads to giving and receiving from the heart.

Honestly Expressing how I am and what I would like without using blame, criticism or demands

Empathically Receiving how another is and what he/she would like without hearing blame, criticism or demands

Whether expressing or receiving, NVC focuses our attention on four pieces of information:

1) Observations — Objectively describing what is going on without using evaluation, moralistic judgment, interpretation or diagnosis
2) Feelings — Saying how you feel (emotions and body sensations) about what you have observed without assigning blame
3) Needs — The basic human needs that are or not being met and are the source of feelings
4) Requests — Clear request for actions that can meet needs