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Honored Laureate


Representatives for the National Dialogue Quartet, from left: president of LTDH, Abdessattar Ben Moussa; president of UTICA, Ouided Bouchamaoui; president of the National Bar Association, Mohamed Fadhel Mahfoudh; and secretary general of UGTT, Hassine Abassi. TUNISIA. Carthage. 2015 © Moises Saman / Magnum Photos

In 2015 the Norwegian Nobel Institute awarded the Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet the Nobel Peace Prize “for its decisive contribution to the building of a pluralistic democracy in Tunisia in the wake of the Jasmine Revolution of 2011.”

The Tunisian case draws our attention to the ways in which business, labor, human rights, and law can work together to build a just and sustainable social order. We welcome all four members of the Quartet to the Forum in September and look forward to learning more about their accomplishments—what has come to be called the “Tunisian method.”  What were the salient issues? What were the obstacles, and how did they surmount these?

A central part of their work was constitution writing, a form of inclusive “peace by design” and the constitutional moment that defined the Tunisian Model for peacemaking. The goals of the Forum will draw on the inspiring example and lessons of the Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet.


Hassine Abassi, born in a small village in central Tunisia, began his professional career as a teacher and then a high school principal.  He started his trade union activity in 1973 as a member of the basic trade union of school supervisors, becoming a member of the General Union of school supervisors and principals. In 1997, he was elected as a member of the Regional Union of Kairouan to become in 2003, its Secretary General. In December 2006, he was elected as a member of the national executive bureau of the General Union of Tunisian Workers, (UGTT).  Later, he became the acting deputy Secretary General in charge of research and documentation until December 2011 when he was elected Secretary General of the UGTT.  Today, Mr. Abassi remains a standing member of the Executive Bureau and the General Council of the International Trade Union Confederation as UGTT’s Secretary-General and the President of the Arab Trade Unions Confederation.

Mr. Abbassi has long been an ardent support of democracy and a prominent supporter of the Tunisian League for Human Rights, the Tunisian Bar Association and the Tunisian Judges Association, groups which came under intense pressure from the previous regime.  He was an outspoken supporter of the mining basin uprising in 2008, a key action in the movement that eventually led to the Arab Spring. He was the head of the delegation that led the negotiation for the elimination of informal labour.  This work resulted in an agreement with the government to abolish subcontracting in the civil service and the public sector as well as the integration of those working in subcontracting companies within the civil service and the public sector. During his term as Secretary General, he sponsored the signing of the first Framework agreement for the workers of the agricultural sector, which will help secure the rights of a large segment of agricultural workers who are deprived of the most basic social rights. As President of the UGTT, Mr. Abassi played a key role in management of the National Dialogue Quartet, which allowed Tunisia to achieve the main objectives of the transitional process such as the drafting and the adoption of the Constitution, the promulgation of the Elections Act and the establishment of the High Independence Instances of Elections. His engagement with the major political parties helped successfully transition Tunisia after the Arab Spring to the democracy that Tunisia is today.

Abdesattar Ben Moussa served as President of the Lawyers Section of Tunis from 2001-2004.  He was Chairperson of the Tunisian National Order of Lawyers from 2004 – 2007; he has served in a number of leadership capacities, including President of the National Council of the International Lawyers and Coordinator for the Defense of Prisoners in the Mining basin. From 2011 to 2016 Mr. Ben Moussa was President of the Tunisian League for the Defense of Human Rights (LDTH), one of the four organizations that comprised the National Dialogue Quartet. He has been a member of the Presidency Council of the Arab Human Rights since 2012, and has been the Honorary President of the LTDH since October 2016.  Starting that year, he became the Ambassador of the International Union of Lawyers (for Peace).  In January 2017 Mr. Ben Moussa began service as Mediator of the Republic of Tunisia.


Mohamed Fadhel Mahfoudh holds a Master’s Degree in Private Law from the University of Picardie and is a former Bâtonnier of the National Order of the Lawyers of Tunisia.  He serves as an Attorney at the Court of Cassation (Appeals Court) in Tunisia and is a University Teacher of the courses of the Certificat d’Aptitude à la Profession d’Avocat 2006-2007.  He has served as President of the Regional Council of Sfax of the Tunisian Bar Association and as a member of the Independent High Authority for Elections.  From 2013-14, Mr. Mahfoudh served as spokesman for the Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet.  Among other distinctions and honors, he holds Badges of the First Class of the Order of the Republic of Tunisia, is a Commander of the Legion of Honor of the French Republic, and received an Arabic Tribute from the Union of Arab Lawyers and an International Tribute from the International Union of Lawyers.


Norwegian Nobel Institute

Olav Njølstad is the Director of the Norwegian Nobel Institute and a professor of western contemporary history at the University of Oslo. Mr. Njølstad holds a doctorate in history and has been a Norwegian Research Council fellow, a research fellow at Ohio University, a researcher and senior researcher at the Norwegian Institute for Defense Studies, and research director at the Norwegian Nobel Institute.  In 2010, Njølstad received the Sverre Steen award for excellence in the dissemination of history to the general public.  In 2011 and 2012, he served as senior advisor in the Norwegian Commission formed in response to the July 22, 2011 terrorist attack on Utøya Island. Mr. Njølstad has published a number of academic books and articles on topics such as the Cold War, the role of nuclear weapons in international politics, arms races and disarmament, the history of military and civilian technology, as well as the Second World War and Norwegian postwar history. He has also edited a book on Norwegian Nobel Prize laureates, from Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson to Finn Kydland, and published two historical novels.


Keynote speakers

Elijah Anderson

Elijah Anderson is the William K. Lanman, Jr. Professor of Sociology at Yale University. His publications include Code of the Street: Decency, Violence, and the Moral Life of the Inner City (1999), winner of the Komarovsky Award from the Eastern Sociological Society; Streetwise: Race, Class, and Change in an Urban Community (1990), winner of the American Sociological Association’s Robert E. Park Award for the best published book in the area of Urban Sociology, and the classic sociological work, A Place on the Corner (1978; 2nd ed., 2003). Anderson’s most recent ethnographic work, The Cosmopolitan Canopy: Race and Civility in Everyday Life, was published by WW Norton in March 2012. Professor Anderson is the 2013 recipient of the prestigious Cox-Johnson-Frazier Award of the American Sociological Association and the 2017 recipient of the Merit Award of the Eastern Sociological Society.


Liv Arnesen’s rich life experiences, both on and off the ice, have made her an internationally recognized leader and role model for women and girls. A self-proclaimed ‘keen’, but not fanatical, outdoors enthusiast, Arnesen is most interested in the development of adults and children. Through her diverse roles as a polar explorer, educator, and motivational leader, Arnesen inspires others to reach beyond their normal boundaries and achieve their dreams by sharing her own stories about exploring the most remote places on earth. She is a board member the Thor Heyerdahl Institute (of Norway). See Liv’s full biography.


Ann Bancroft, founder of the Ann Bancroft Foundation,  is one of the world’s preeminent polar explorers and an internationally recognized leader who is dedicated to inspiring women and girls around the world to unleash the power of their dreams. Through her various roles as an explorer, educator, sought-after speaker and philanthropist, Bancroft believes that by sharing stories related to her dreams of outdoor adventure, she can help inspire a global audience to pursue their individual dreams.  Bancroft’s teamwork and leadership skills have undergone severe tests during her polar expeditions and provided her with opportunities to shatter female stereotypes. The tenacity and courage that define her character have earned Bancroft worldwide recognition as one of today’s most influential role models for women and girls. She has been named among Glamour magazine’s “Women of the Year” (2001); featured in the book Remarkable Women of the Twentieth Century (1998); inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame (1995); named Ms. magazine’s “Woman of the Year” (1987); and honored with numerous other awards for her accomplishments.


Barbara Bush is CEO and co-founder of Global Health Corps (GHC), which mobilizes a global community of young leaders to build the movement for health equity. GHC was founded in 2009 by six twenty-somethings who were challenged by Peter Piot at the aids2031 Young Leaders Summit to engage their generation in solving the world’s biggest health challenges. Bush and her co-founders believe health is a human right and that their generation must build the world where this is realized. Since that time, GHC has placed almost 750 young leaders from more than 20 countries with non-profit and government health organizations like Partners In Health and the Clinton Health Access Initiative in Burundi, Uganda, Tanzania, Malawi, Rwanda, Zambia, and the United States, developing them as creative, effective, and compassionate leaders along the way. Prior to GHC, Bush worked in educational programming at the Smithsonian Institution’s Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, where she supported design- thinking programs for high school students and faculty across the US. She has worked with Red Cross Children’s Hospital in South Africa and UNICEF in Botswana, and has traveled with the UN World Food Program, focusing on the importance of nutrition in ARV treatment. Bush is a member of UNICEF’s Next Generation Steering Committee and the UN Global Entrepreneurs Council. She sits on the Board of Directors for Covenant House International, PSI, Friends of the Global Fight for AIDS, TB, and Malaria. She is a Draper Richards Foundation Social Entrepreneur, a World Economic Forum Young Global Shaper, and a fellow of the Echoing Green Foundation. In 2011, Bush was named one of Glamour Magazine’s Women of the Year, in 2013 she was recognized as one of Newsweek’s Women of Impact, and in 2015 she was named to Fast Company’s Most Creative People in Business list. Bush graduated from Yale University with a degree in Humanities in 2004


Paul Engler is a co-founder of the Momentum Training, which instructs hundreds of activists each year in the principles of effective protest. He is the co-author, along with Mark Engler, of the new book on the craft of mass mobilization, This Is an Uprising: How Nonviolent Revolt Is Shaping the Twenty-First Century (Nation Books). He is the founder of The Center for the Working Poor in Los Angeles, California, an intentional community with core principles of Strategic Nonviolence, Voluntary Simplicity and Intentional Community, Hospitality and Service, Community Building, and Spirituality and Faith in Action. Engler helps run Get Empathy, a social-emotional learning and leadership development for youth, teaching skills for how to build healthy relationships. He can be reached via the This is an Uprising website.


For more than 15 years, former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords has dedicated herself to public service. As the youngest woman ever elected to the Arizona State Senate, she represented her community in the Arizona Legislature from 2000-2005, and then in Congress from 2006-2012. Her success was credited to her reliance on kindness, candor, and hard, grueling work. In Congress, Giffords represented a diverse area that covers 9,000 square miles including a 114-mile border with Mexico. She quickly became a leading champion of border security, energy independence, and the needs of military families and veterans. Consistently ranked as one of the most centrist legislators in Congress, she is a strong supporter of fiscal responsibility, bipartisanship, and government accountability. Congresswoman Giffords, who was first a registered Republican, considers herself a moderate Democrat. On January 8, 2011, at a “Congress On Your Corner” event in Tucson with her constituents, Congresswoman Giffords was shot in the head from near point-blank range. In stepping down from Congress in January 2012, Congresswoman Giffords said, “I will return, and we will work together for Arizona and this great country.” In 2013, Congresswoman Giffords and her husband, Navy combat veteran and retired NASA astronaut Captain Mark Kelly, founded Americans for Responsible Solutions to encourage elected officials to stand up for laws that make communities safer from gun violence. Congresswoman Giffords and Captain Kelly will not allow leaders across the country to forget that Americans are demanding responsible solutions to gun violence. A third generation Arizonan and long-time gun owner, Congresswoman Giffords believes in the constitutional right of all Americans to safe and responsible gun ownership. Congresswoman Giffords holds a Master’s Degree in Regional Planning from Cornell University and a B.A. from Scripps College, where she was awarded a William Fulbright Scholarship to study for a year in Chihuahua, Mexico. She resides in her beloved hometown of Tucson, Arizona.


Captain Mark Kelly, the husband of former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, is a United States Navy combat veteran, former test pilot, and retired NASA astronaut. As a naval aviator, Captain Kelly made two deployments to the Persian Gulf on the aircraft carrier USS Midway and flew 39 combat missions in Operation Desert Storm.  He attended the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School from June 1993 to June 1994 and has logged more than 5,000 hours in more than 50 different aircraft and has over 375 carrier landings. The winner of many awards, including the Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit and Distinguished Flying Cross, Captain Kelly was selected as an astronaut in 1996. He flew his first of four missions in 2001 aboard Space Shuttle Endeavour, the same space shuttle that he commanded on its final flight in May 2011. Captain Kelly has spent more than 50 days in space and is one of only four individuals who has visited the International Space Station on four different occasions. Captain Kelly’s identical twin brother, Scott Kelly, is also an astronaut and recently completed a 340-day mission aboard the International Space Station. They share the distinction of being the only siblings who have traveled to space. Captain Kelly was thrust into the national spotlight in January 2011 after his wife, Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, was shot in an assassination attempt in Tucson, Arizona. In January 2013, in the wake of the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Capt. Kelly and Congresswoman Giffords co-founded Americans for Responsible Solutions, which encourages our country’s leaders to stand up for laws that make our communities safer from gun tragedies. Captain Kelly received a B.S. degree in Marine Engineering from the United States Merchant Marine Academy and a M.S. degree in Aeronautical Engineering from the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School. The son of two police officers, Captain Kelly is a native of West Orange, New Jersey.


As Senior Fellow at Humanity United (HU), John Paul Lederach draws upon his conflict transformation experience to assist HU in the development and refinement of measurable and impactful long-term strategies.  Dr. Lederach is internationally recognized for his pioneering work in the field of conciliation and conflict mediation. He has provided consultation for peacebuilding efforts in Somalia, Northern Ireland, Colombia, the Basque Country, the Philippines, Tajikistan, Nepal and in East and West Africa. He has also helped develop and lead hundreds of training programs in conflict transformation, mediation and international peacebuilding in 35 countries around the world.  Dr. Lederach received his bachelor’s degree in history and peace studies from Bethel College and his doctorate of philosophy degree in sociology, with a concentration on social conflict, from the University of Colorado. Dr. Lederach is Professor of International Peacebuilding with the Kroc Institute at the University of Notre Dame.


Panelists, Moderators, Organizations, and Artists

Ambassador Kåre R. Aas presented his credentials to President Obama at the White House on Sept. 17, 2013. Ambassador Kåre R. Aas’s distinguished career with the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs began in 1983. He left his position in Oslo as Political Director in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to become the Norwegian Ambassador to the United States. Prior to his assignment as Political Director, Amb. Aas served as the Norwegian Ambassador to the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan from 2008 – 2010. From 2003 – 2008, Amb. Aas served as Director General, Department for Security Policy and the High North. In that capacity he had the bilateral relationships between Norway and the U.S., the Russian Federation and the Central Asian Republics in his portfolio, and chaired and/or was a member of several international groups working on nuclear disarmament and international peacekeeping operations. From 2005 – 2007 he also served as Norwegian Governor to the International Atomic Energy Agency (I.A.E.A.) Board of Governors. 


Dr. Sylvia Bartley is a lifelong seeker of spiritual enlightenment and inner peace. She strives to hold these values of self-awareness, empathy, and perseverance in all aspects of her life, both as Global Director at Medtronic and in her community-service work.  Bartley is known for connecting people and making things happen: as a scientific researcher at a leading medical school in London, she gained her PhD in Neurophysiology.  After 13 years in academia, Bartley transitioned to the medical device industry beginning in sales and progressing to global marketing. During the last fifteen years with Medtronic, Bartley has convened cross-functional teams across the globe to develop, improve, and disseminate neurosurgical techniques and best practices, primarily for Deep Brain Stimulation therapy. Developing and exceeding strategic goals is a hallmark of her work at every position she has held; the training models she developed have proven beneficial for businesses, patients, and physicians alike. Bartley is now a Director in Philanthropy, a position which empowers her to leverage her skills to advance an environment of compassion and humanity at work.  Since moving to Minneapolis in 2010, Bartley has devoted much of her free time to improving the health, education and economic status of underserved communities. She has assumed board leadership roles for six prominent non-profit organizations, including the African American Leadership Forum, The Harvest Network of Schools, and The Black Women’s Health Imperative. She is a recipient of a number of awards for her extraordinary achievement in business, her potential to lead change and strengthen the community. The award includes the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal’s 2017 Women in Business Award and 2013 Diversity in Business Award.  2014 Bush Foundation Fellowship and PM360 2014 Trailblazer Initiative Award.


Charlene Bearhead is a mother, grandmother, community member, experienced educator and education innovator with 30 years of regional, national and international experience in the field.  Currently she is the Education Coordinator for the National Inquiry into Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls in Canada, and is the project coordinator for the Alberta Joint Commitment to Action: Education for Reconciliation. She serves as Co-Chair of the Downie-Wenjack Fund Pathways to Education Canada Indigenous Education Advisory Circle and is a member of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights Indigenous Education Working Group supporting the development of national educational programming at the Museum. Bearhead recently served as the first Education Lead for the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation at the University of Manitoba and is a certified teacher, and former school principal.


Austin Beiermann is a rising senior at Pacific Lutheran University in his hometown of Tacoma, Washington. He is studying Economics and Politics and Government and has a minor in Sociology. On campus, he works with PLU’s campus ministry to found an interfaith council and has an interest in resolutions of conflicts that stem from tensions between deeply rooted values. He is also the Civic Engagement Director for the Associated Students of PLU where he works to engage youth politically. Outside of the University he was elected to be the Vice-Chair for the 29th Legislative District Democratic Party where he is the chair of the endorsement committee and works on bringing youth and people not traditionally involved in politics into the political realm. In the past three years at PLU, Austin has been developing research skill and has done research projects addressing causes of absenteeism in low income middle school students, indicators of sense of belonging for underrepresented college students, improving sense of belonging for students of color at PLU, and most recently has worked on a project attempting to find out how racial justice activists incorporate intersectionality in their work. He is excited to engage with Political Parties in Oslo and see how and why youth get involved in the political parties. For fun Austin loves to play board and video games with his friend and family!


Reverend Nancy Nord Bence is an ordained Lutheran pastor (ELCA) who was inspired to leave parish ministry and join the gun reform movement after officiating at six funerals for gun violence victims. She now serves in a specialty call as Executive Director of Protect Minnesota, the only independent, state-based gun violence prevention organization in Minnesota. Protect Minnesota promotes a culture of health and safety for all Minnesotans by reducing gun deaths and injuries through education, organization and advocacy. Bence has a BS in Voice and Music Education from Gettysburg College, and an M.Div from Luther Seminary in St. Paul. Prior to coming to Protect Minnesota, she was Senior Pastor at Peace Lutheran Church in Coon Rapids, MN.


Abraham Bendheim is a Design Team Member at Studio Gang, an architecture and urban design practice located in Chicago and New York. Working closely with Gia Biagi, Principal of Urbanism and Civic Impact, Bendheim has taken a leading role in projects that combine urban design and architectural research, helping to develop strategies for community engagement that are being applied across the Studio. After completing his M.Arch at Columbia GSAPP, Bendheim taught an advanced design studio with Founding Principal Jeanne Gang that focused on redesigning a NYPD precinct in East Harlem, New York. At Studio Gang, he has built upon this research by contributing to Polis Station, a project exploring how design can help build relationships between police and the communities they serve, as well as Civic Commons, part of a national initiative supported by the Knight and Kresge Foundations to rethink investments in civic assets such as libraries, parks, and police stations in order to create more vibrant and equitable cities. He is currently engaged in a project in New York City that examines the role of design in public safety and community wellness and is involved in projects and discussions in Chicago and Philadelphia that investigate how design and architecture can support criminal justice policy and civic life. He recently served on the Illinois Humanities Council’s Envisioning Justice Steering Committee.


Ikram Ben Said is a member of the UN Advisory Group of Experts on Youth, Peace and Security. Appointed by Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, Ben Said supports the Progress Study on Youth, Peace and Security and advances advocacy efforts on the UN Security Council Resolution 2250. Ben Said is the Founder of “Aswat Nissa” (Voices of Women), a Tunisian nonprofit promoting women’s active participation in the political and policy-making spheres while fighting against all forms of discriminations and violence against women. Her latest initiative “Women’s Political Academy” was awarded the 2014 Madeleine Albright Award. Ben Said is a former Senior Program Manager at Search for Common Ground (SFCG), a leading international nonprofit for peace building and conflict resolution. She managed the youth, women and dialogue departments at Search for Common Ground Tunisia, and is an experienced dialogue facilitator, capable of moderating through complex and polarized situations. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Marketing from the Higher School of Economic Science and Commerce in Tunis, and was recently a Fulbright Fellow at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota.  Ben Said was featured as the Next Generation Leader, first edition in Time Magazine. She was chosen as a Female Role Model 2014 by The Pixel Project ”16 For 16” Campaign. In 2011, she was a fellow at the US State Department’s International Visitors Program. In 2012, she joined the Women in Public Service Project at the Seven Sisters and Wellesley Universities in the United States, a women leadership initiative by former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. She was also featured as “an influential voice and stalwart champion for the rights and opportunities of women and girls” at the Clinton Foundation’s No Ceiling Event in New York in 2015.


David Blankenhorn is the founder and president of Better Angels, a nonpartisan network of scholars and leaders whose vision is to reunite America. He writes regularly for The American Interest and is the author of Fatherless America (1995), The Future of Marriage (2007), Thrift: A Cyclopedia (2008), and New York’s Promise (2013). He is also the co-editor of nine books. A 2007 profile in USA Today describes him as making “a career of thinking about big issues” and as “a catalyst for analysis and debate among those with differing views.” A 2012 profile in the Deseret News says: “A soft-hearted liberal raised in Mississippi and educated at Harvard, he started his career as a civil rights organizer and has since carved out a unique career cutting across ideological lines. He is one of America’s most important liberal thinkers concerned about family issues.” Blankenhorn, originally from Mississippi, now lives in New York City.


Roderick Coover is a filmmaker and professor at Temple University. He is the creator or co-creator of works of digital, interactive and emergent cinema, virtual reality and digital arts such as Hearts and Minds: The Interrogations Project, Toxi•City: A Climate Change Narrative and The Theory of Time. He is also the maker of documentary films and interactive, documentary research projects such as The Unknown Territories Project,  From Verite to Virtual: Conversations On The Frontiers Of Anthropology And Documentary Film, and Cultures In Webs: Working In Hypermedia With The Documentary Image. His works use interactive media, database cinema, photographic installation, online multimedia publication, CAVE environments and head-mounted displays to tackle difficulty issues, and he has been a pioneering creator of some of the earliest forms of interactive cinema and digital, ethnographic arts. His work is internationally exhibited in public venues such as the Venice Biennale, Bibliotheque Nationale de France, and Documenta Madrid and he has received Fulbright, Mellon, Whiting, Spire and LEF awards, among others. Dr. Coover holds degrees from the University of Chicago (PhD 1999), Brown University (MA 1994) and Cornell University (1989). He lives in Philadelphia, where is is Professor and Founding Director of Temple University’s PhD Program in Visual Research & Documentary Arts as well as Director of its MFA Program in Film & Media Arts. More at roderickcoover.com.


Pastor Doug Cox is the Executive Director of Global Health Ministries, a non-profit organization networking people from all over the globe to “help the hands that heal” among some of the world’s most vulnerable people.  Doug holds Master’s degrees in both divinity and Islamic Studies.  He has served as a pastor in Maryland and Minnesota, a visiting professor of Islamic Studies at Gettysburg Seminary, and as a missionary in Madagascar. Through his time living and working outside the USA (in Australia, Egypt, France, Tunisia and Madagascar) Doug developed a passion for improving the health and wellbeing of poor and underserved populations as a matter of justice and as a vital expression of faith.


Isabel Pérez Dobarro is the Project Leader of the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) – Youth Initiative’s Project Twenty Thirty, which uses the arts as a tool to raise awareness about the Sustainable Development Goals and the 2030 Agenda. Through this initiative, Pérez Dobarro has organized artistic events at the Vatican City (Casina Pio IV), Columbia University, New York University, and Madrid´s International Institute, as part of the ICSD, Vatican Youth Symposium, UN Global Initiative at NYU, and VII Congreso Universidad y Desarrollo conferences, and has created a network of international artists committed to the SDGs implementation. Pérez Dobarro represented SDSN-Youth at the Winter Youth Assembly and represented her organization at the High-Level Debate on the Sustainable Development Goals and at the High-Level Signing Ceremony of the Paris Agreement at the United Nations Headquarters, among other events.  In addition, she was selected to participate at the Millenium Campus Network Conference and the World Youth Alliance’s International Solidarity Forum. In addition to her involvement in SDSN-Youth, Pérez Dobarro is the Western European Representative of the Fair Air Coalition organization. Pérez Dobarro is a Ph.D. candidate at New York University, and is currently taking law courses at New York University. In addition to her law and sustainability studies, Pérez Dobarro is a concert pianist who has played at Carnegie Hall, Tchaikovsky Conservatory Moscow, and Ateneo de Madrid, and is a prizewinner of competitions in Spain, Portugal, and the United States.  


William J. Doherty, Ph.D. is Professor in the Department of Family Social Science and Director of the Citizen Professional Center at the University of Minnesota.  He leads the Families and Democracy Project, which aims to develop the theory and practice of democratic public work by health, education, and human services professionals.  He has developed a model of grassroots organizing among parents and other citizens around cultural, community, and health issues. These projects have ranged from the cultural discontents of middle class families (like over-scheduled kids) to challenges of urban single fathers, from medical overuse to the effects of war and trauma on African immigrant communities.  Doherty is also a therapist working with couples on the brink of divorce through the Minnesota Couples on the Brink Project, where he trains and does research on divorce ambivalence. He is past president of the National Council on Family Relations, the oldest interdisciplinary family studies organization in the United States. Following the 2016 Presidential election, he has been involved in depolarizing work to help restore the fraying social fabric in American society.


Dr. Karine Duhamel is the Curator for Indigenous Rights at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, having joined the CMHR team in February of 2016. She is Anishinaabe Metis, with roots in northwestern Ontario, as well as in Manitoba. As Curator, she is responsible for all Museum content that engages the stories of Indigenous people and of communities and assists in building new relationships for story development and in advising on program content, on media and on special initiatives associated with these projects.  She is a professional historian and public educator with expertise in treaties, the residential school system and Indigenous politics. In addition, she has worked for over ten years as a professional consultant focusing on First Nations litigation and community development. She is an award-winning elementary teacher and university educator. Duhamel holds an Advanced B.A. in History from Mount Allison University, a B.Ed. from Lakehead University, and both a Masters degree and Doctorate from the University of Manitoba.


Holly Farber was born and raised in a  Jewish family in St. Paul MN.  She graduated from Highland Park High School and the St. Paul Talmud Torah  in 1985.  She graduated from the University of Massachusetts in 1989 with a degree in history and political science with an emphasis on the Middle East and from the University of Minnesota Law School in 1993. Farber and her husband Jon are active members of Beth Jacob Synagogue, along with 3 generations on both sides of their families.  They are also active as volunteers in many aspects of their community, both religious and secular. Farber and Jon maintain a traditional Jewish home and family.  She was on the team that founded the Jewish Community Relation Council’s speakers bureau program in September of 2002 and has been a director ever since. This program includes a group of volunteers from the Twin Cities and has been recognized locally and nationally for its excellence. Farber has been working with Interfaith Action of Greater St Paul for 4 years as a mentor for their Youth Leadership Program in which all 3 of her children were deeply involved.


Karen Feste, Professor at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver and former Associate Dean, founded and directs the interdisciplinary Conflict Resolution graduate program on campus. She received a million dollar expansion grant from the Henry R. Luce Foundation for its development. More than 200 students from 32 states and 12 countries have been enrolled as M.A. candidates.  She teaches courses on conflict resolution, terrorism, and U.S. military intervention and has lectured as a visiting scholar in Austria, Chile, China, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, and most recently, Kosovo. In addition, Feste conducts workshops on Conflict Resolution techniques for corporate and non-profit organizations (engineers, nurses, sororities, social workers).  Her publications include Plans for Peace:  Negotiation and the Arab-Israeli Dispute;  America Responds to Terrorism: Conflict Resolution Strategies of Clinton, Bush, and Obama;  and Terminate Terrorism: Framing, Gaming and Negotiating Conflict and a forthcoming book on U.S. Military Intervention, Exit Strategy, and Conflict Resolution.  Feste is part of Forward Global Women, which promotes UN Resolution 1325 (representation of women on all peace and security committees) and advocate for Israel-Palestinian peace, and serves on the Oslo Human Rights Commission American branch advisory board.  A Concordia College graduate and 2016 Alumni Achievement Award winner, she received her Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Minnesota


Thomas Fisher is a Professor in the School of Architecture, the Dayton Hudson Chair in Urban Design at the University of Minnesota, and the Director of the Minnesota Design Center. Recognized in 2005 as the fifth most published writer about architecture in the United States, he has written 9 books, over 60 book chapters or introductions, and over 400 articles.  His Designing our way to a Better World (2016) maps out a framework for applying design thinking to addressing many of the most pressing issues facing us today.  Prof. Fisher will bring this depth of experience and thinking to the Peace X Design high-level dialogues at the NPPF.


On May 18, 2015, President Barack Obama accepted the credentials of H.E. Fayçal Gouia, a longtime high ranking member of Tunisia’s Foreign Service, to be Tunisia’s Ambassador to the United States. He received a Master’s degree in 1984 and an advanced Master’s Degree at the National School of Administration in 1989 (Laureate). He later attended the National Defense University in the United States and the National Defense Institute in Tunis and Bourguiba Language Institute of Tunis. Ambassador Gouia served as Head of the Budget Management Division at the Ministry of Finance before moving to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, first as Deputy Director for South Asia and later as Director for the Americas. Ambassador Gouia’s assignments to the Tunisian Embassy in Washington began in 1995 as Cultural and Press Counselor, then went on to be its Economic and Commercial Counselor in 1997 as its Deputy Chief of Mission in 1999. He returned to Tunis in 2001 to head the Americas Department in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Ambassador Gouia received his first ambassadorial assignment beginning in 2006 in Jakarta, Indonesia. He was accredited to Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and, beginning in 2007, to Malaysia and Brunei. Ambassador Gouia returned home in 2010 to become Director General for Africa and the African Union and in 2011 he was appointed Director General for the Americas and Asia in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In January 2014, he was named Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs. He held that job until being named Ambassador of Tunisia to Washington. Ambassador Gouia taught International relations at the Diplomatic Institute for Training and Studies of Tunis and at the High Institute of Human Sciences, University of Tunis. Ambassador Gouia is Chevalier of the Republic Order and was granted the Distinguished Alumni Award of the Near East-South Asia Center for Strategic Studies in 2013.

Ulfat Haider
has been involved in several projects promoting peaceful co-existence between Jewish and Arab youth in Israel. She has also led and facilitated numerous multicultural and multi-ethnic groups of various ages in wide-ranging projects and initiatives. “When Jews and Arabs are brought together under challenging conditions, away from everything known and familiar,” she says, “They discover that, in the end, they are much more alike than they thought, as beneath their ethnic or national identity they are all, first and foremost, human beings.”  In 2005, Haider became a certified instructor at the Outward Bound School in North Carolina, where she worked in the Unity Project. There, she also began working with Arab-Jewish groups and helped to create the Palestinian-Israeli Unity Project (PIUP), a joint effort between Outward Bound and “Breaking the Ice.” This project brought Arab and Jewish teenagers from Israel to the mountains of North Carolina for intensive wilderness expeditions. Currently, Haider is working at Beit Ha’Gefen, an Arab–Jewish Cultural Center in Haifa as its Program Manager. Her projects involve leading annual student, girls, and women expeditions to the Alps and the Himalayas.  She is one of the seven women members of the Access Water expedition that traveled down the Ganges River in 2015 and will descend the Mississippi River in Fall 2017.


From shepherd girl in the desert of Somalia to a bestselling author and Registered Nurse at Mayo Clinic, Habibo Haji’s extraordinary story of how she went from a struggling nomad and refugee to working at the number one medical facility in the world.  Haji has helped people transform their lives to be the best version of themselves. Haji helps people realize how struggles and hardship can be harnessed to build resilience and positive outlook in life. She is the author of Conquering the Odds: The Journey of a Shepard Girl and Conquering the Odds: Turn your Valley into a Mountain Top.


Professor Brandon Hamber is the John Hume and Thomas P. O’Neill Chair in Peace at Ulster University based at the International Conflict Research Institute (INCORE). He is also a member of the Transitional Justice Institute at the university, and is a Visiting Professor of the African Centre for Migration and Society at the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa. He has undertaken consulting and research work, and participated in various peace and reconciliation initiatives in Northern Ireland, South Africa, Liberia, Mozambique, Bosnia, Colombia, the Basque Country and Sierra Leone, among others. He has published some 30 journal articles, over 25 book chapters and 4 books, including Transforming Societies after Political Violence: Truth, Reconciliation, and Mental Health and Healing and Change in the City of Gold: Case Studies of Coping and Support in Johannesburg. In 2010-2013 he was a Mellon Distinguished Visiting Scholar at University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. He has been awarded The Paul Harris medal for contributions to peace by Rotary (2013), and was listed as one of the Top 100: The most influential people in armed violence reduction by the Action on Armed Violence Network (2013/2014).


The Rev. Mark S. Hanson, Executive Director of Augsburg’s Christensen Center for Vocation, leads national and international initiatives to advance interfaith dialogue, inspire peacemaking, and support the College’s commitment to vocational discernment. In addition, he serves as a major gifts advisor for “Always Being Made New: The Campaign for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.”  Prior to his current appointments, Hanson served as presiding bishop of the ELCA. He was elected to this position by the Churchwide Assembly of the ELCA in August 2001 and was reelected in 2007. In 2003, he was elected to serve, concurrently, as president of the Lutheran World Federation, a position he held until 2010.  Bishop Hansen graduated from Augsburg College with a B.A. in sociology, was a Rockefeller Fellow at Union Theological Seminary, and received a Master of Divinity degree there in 1972.  Hanson is widely known as a leader with an evangelical passion and imagination who embraces the Christian tradition, the Christian community, and the world with both generous goodwill and thoughtful insight. He has been an articulate advocate for the renewal of the church’s preaching and public voice, for the strengthening of ecumenical and inter-religious relationships, and for reconciliation and justice in society, with attention especially to those who live with poverty and discrimination.  He is the author of Faithful Yet Changing, the Church in Challenging Times and Faithful and Courageous, Christians in Unsettling Times.


Dag Hareide is a Norwegian organizational leader and author, knighted in the First Order of St. Olav by King of Norway in 2015 for extraordinary innovation in civil society. His extensive and varied career has included, inter alia, serving as General Secretary of Friends of the Earth (Norway), Director of Rainforest Foundation Norway (one of the largest rainforest organizations in the world), Director of the Norwegian Humanistic Academy and Nansen Dialogue Center, Chair of Nordic Association for Conflict Mediation, Chair of Namibia Association of Norway, the Nordic NGO that contributed most in the Namibian liberation struggle, and Rehabilitation Coordinator for United Nations during the famine in Ethiopia in the 1980’s.  His written works include Chile during the time of Allende, The Good Norway? (on life quality as opposed to economic growth in Norway), NatureWise (on everyday environmental habits), and Conflict Mediation. A Nordic Perspective, which reflects on the experiences from 300 conflict mediators in five Nordic countries. Hareide is presently working on a book about how bio-, robot-, information- and nano-technologies are influencing our conceptions of human nature. He is a board member the Thor Heyerdahl Institute (of Norway).


Reginaldo (Regi) Haslett-Marroquin began working on economic development projects with indigenous Guatemalan communities in 1988. He served as a consultant for the United Nations Development Program’s Bureau for Latin America and as an advisor to the World Council of Indigenous Peoples and was a founding member of the Fair Trade Federation in 1994.  Since migrating to the US in 1992, Haslett-Marroquin has served as Director of the Fair Trade Program for the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy from 1995 to 1998, where he led the creation and launch of Peace Coffee, a Minnesota-based fair-trade coffee company. Haslett-Marroquins social enterprise development work includes woodland owner cooperatives and a multitude of inner-city new immigrant enterprise efforts in Minnesota. Haslett-Marroquin’s was named one of the Twin Cities International Citizens of the Year in 1996. In 2008 he received both the Northfield and district Service to Mankind Award (SERTOMA). He has served on numerous non-profit boards and is currently a member of the Rotary Club of Northfield and Chief Strategy Officer at Main Street Project. Haslett-Marroquin leads a team that has broken new ground in the field of food and agriculture through an innovative Poultry Centered Regenerative Agriculture System he has pioneered.  A native Guatemalan, Haslett-Marroquinreceived his agronomy degree from the Central National School of Agriculture, studied at the Universidad de San Carlos in Guatemala and graduated from Augsburg College in Minneapolis with a major in international business administration and a minor in communications.


Fardosa Hassan graduated from Augsburg in 2012 with a degree in sociology and international relations and currently serves as the Muslim Student Program Associate in Campus Ministry at Augsburg.  As a student she was active in interfaith work and received the College’s Courageous Woman Award. Hassan was recognized by President Barack Obama for her work as part of Augsburg’s interfaith work and invited to the White House to take part in the Interfaith Campus Challenge. As a student she interned with the Kenyan Parliament and Lutheran Social Services.  Hassan, who also works as the Interfaith Youth Connection Program Coordinator at Interfaith Action of Greater Saint Paul, describes herself as a “community minded citizen, who wants to make a positive change in the world.”


Tonara Hing was born in Cambodia and arrived in America in 1990 as a part of a dance group. Hing defected from the dance company and applied for political asylum in Minnesota due to Cambodia’s Communist government at the time. His asylum was granted and he has lived in Minnesota since 1991. Hing worked and went to school, earning an associates degree in nursing in 1996 from Lakewood Community College. He then worked at nursing homes, homecare, and hospitals, then returned to school to pursue a higher degree. In 2002 Hing graduated with a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Metropolitan State University, and received his masters in 2009. Currently, Hing is pursuing Augsburg University’s doctorate in nursing. Hing lost his father and three siblings to the Khmer Rouge Pol Pot’s Killing Field, both he and his family had lived through the Vietnam War and the Cambodian Civil War. While in Minnesota Hing was able to reunite with his mother and his three remaining siblings. His experiences have led peace and healing to be central to his life and practice as a nurse, regularly volunteering to improve peace, health, and healing through nursing and traditional dance. Currently, he is working with Cambodian seniors on identifying the cultural factors contributing to the reduction of PTSD symptoms.


Gail Hughes has an eclectic background. She is a part-time faculty member in Post-Secondary and Adult Education at Capella University, and taught courses in Global Studies, Sociology, and Interdisciplinary Social Science at St. Cloud State University. She is a member of the Board of Citizens for Global Solutions (CGS), serving as President from 2013-2017. In earlier years, Gail was a program evaluator for the Minnesota Community Colleges, during which time she conducted holistic rating sessions of student writing. Earlier still, she served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Lesotho and as an Independent Volunteer in Botswana. Gail has a Bachelor’s Degree in English Education and a Ph.D. in Curriculum Systems from the University of Minnesota.



Walid Issa is the Executive Director of The American Palestinian Hope Project (TAP Hope). He is also the Managing Director for the MENA region at Solomon Strategies Group, a governmental relations, business consulting firm in the Twin Cities. SSG represents clients at the federal, state and local government levels and advises business and non-profit organizations on a variety of issues. Issa is co-founder and senior advisor to the Shades Program on Negotiation. An inspirational speaker, Issa is also a member of the Board at the Americans For Vibrant Palestinian Economy (AVPE), American Friends of Competent for Peace  and Citizens for Global Solutions. Issa has created Palestinian-business roadshows to the USA. He has also hosted American legislators and faith/community leaders in the Palestinian Territories. Issa holds a B.S and M.S in Applied Economics from St. Cloud State University, where he won economics awards. He is the youngest of nine Palestinian siblings born and raised in the Dehesha refugee camp and the youngest of three in his Minnesotan family that “adopted” and supported his education in the United States.


Katie Jauert Jess is a Director of Operations for Sanford World Clinic (SWC), a strategic, international initiative of Sanford Health. In this role, she has operational and market leadership responsibility for a network of more than 20 clinics in Ghana, Africa and three US clinics in California, Oklahoma and Oregon. The focus of SWC in Ghana is creating a sustainable model for quality health care in underserved markets. Current areas of emphasis include the development of financial accountability, supply chain and inventory stabilization, new service line pilots, and strategic relationships with external partners. Katie manages a corporate team in Ghana with whom she practices accountability and taking actionable steps to foster learning and forward movement. Prior to joining Sanford, Katie was a strategic coach and private practice attorney, focusing on contract negotiation and defense litigation. She also served as Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the United Nations. Katie received her Bachelor’s Degree in Speech Communication from Minnesota State University, Mankato and her Juris Doctor Degree from the University of St. Thomas School of Law.


Tasya Kamila is Indonesian singer, actress, and presenter. She entered the showbiz industry over 20 years ago as a child star, and has been actively involved since then. Aside from her career as a public figure, she is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Public Administration at Columbia University, New York. As the Ambassador of Environment of Indonesia, Kamila is keen to motivate the young generation to be a part of the solution of climate challenges. She believes that art is a powerful mean to amplify awareness and to create change, and brings that motivation to her work with the Sustainable Development Solutions Network and Project TwentyThirty.


Mireille Lamontagne is Manager, Advanced and Professional Programs at the new Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg, Manitoba. She has deep pride for her Franco-Manitoban Métis roots and is specialized in pre-contact Indigenous history and heritage. Her career spans twenty-five years in museum education and programming, heritage preservation, archaeology and policy at The Manitoba Museum, Parks Canada and the Department of Canadian Heritage. She has been a recipient of the Finkle Prize in Anthropology, the Corbeil Award in Program Evaluation, and a Deputy Minister’s Award for Program Management. Lamontagne holds an Advanced B.A. in Anthropology from the University of Manitoba, a Diploma in Cultural Resource Management and a Professional Specialization Certificate in Cultural Sector Leadership from the University of Victoria.


Mark Lester is the Nicaragua country director for WPF and the Co-Director for Central America of the Center for Global Education at Augsburg College. He has lived in Nicaragua for many years. He is well known and respected for his knowledge about development issues in the country, and is frequently asked to give talks about the history and current situation of the country to delegations visiting Nicaragua.




For over 100 years Lutheran Mideast Development’s work in the Middle East has remained in close contact with events on the ground through a vibrant relational network. LMD’s workers remained a present witness to developments from 1910 to the present crisis in locations as diverse as northwestern Iran, northern Iraq, eastern Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Israel and Palestine. Drawing from that experience, LMD field personnel will present an overview of the current situation with a particular focus on Syria, Turkey Iran and Iraq. Of special concern are the motivations that draw so many young people from varied religious and ideological backgrounds to become instruments of violence. LMD will share from the perspective of those who encounter militants in the course of carrying out humanitarian work in the region, and examine the role of educating women in building a future of peace.


Ann Mays RN, CPN is Senior Director of Clinical Services for Sanford World Clinic (SWC), where she provides leadership in establishing, operating and improving care in a series of international clinics spread around the world, including facilities in China, Germany and a network of 24 clinics in Ghana, Africa. Mays is a pioneer in identifying, adapting and implementing sustainable, culturally appropriate and impactful health care in underserved markets. SWC began in 2007 as a strategic initiative of not-for-profit healthcare system Sanford Health to transform primary care service delivery to children and their families, to learn how health care is delivered across the globe and to impact research and advocacy. SWC utilizes Sanford Health standards of care to create safe, quality health care services at or above country standards in patient-centered care models. The organization partners with in-country stakeholders to create localized programs and processes that are simple, repeatable, reliable, attainable, culturally sensitive and sustainable. Mays is a pediatric nurse with over 30 years of experience in clinical and administrative settings and has received multiple commendations for her work at Sanford. The principals she follows in expanding and improving global health services include: real empowerment for staff and the patients they serve; adaptive caring through shared values and an ongoing commitment to learning that connects culture with healing. Mays’ efforts and leadership at Sanford World Clinic have now impacted more than one million patients around the world.


Yemi Melka is a second-year Master of International Affairs candidate at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA). She specializes in Global Energy Management and Policy. Melka is actively involved in Columbia’s energy program including as Co-Director of the Women in Energy group of SIPA Energy Association and as project manager of SolEnergy Initiative, a Columbia-funded Global Collaboratory project focused on developing Ethiopia’s solar energy irrigation value chain. In May 2017, Melka led the SolEnergy Initiative team to Ethiopia to organize a solar irrigation pump demonstration and stakeholder seminar which included government entities, leading energy companies, and international organizations who play a key role in Ethiopia’s energy sector. During Summer 2017, Melka worked as an Associate at London Economics International (LEI), a U.S.-based global economics, financial, and strategic consulting firm specializing in energy, water, and infrastructure. At LEI, she worked on a range of projects including strategic consulting, economic and market analysis, and regulatory compliance audits for top energy companies and public utility commissions in the U.S. She also worked on several energy and infrastructure projects from emerging markets. Previously, she worked as the UN Focal Point for the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network. Melka graduated from Augsburg College in 2015 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry and a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Affairs. She is a 2013 peace scholar with the Nobel Peace Prize Forum and is passionate about promoting peace through her engagements in the energy sector.


René Mendoza is Bolivian and has been a resident in Central American countries since 1982. He was born in an indigenous family and grew up in an agrarian frontier slash-and-burn agriculture. He experienced an “awakening” when his parents lost land confronting large land-owners and subsequently organized into a cooperative so as to work on their own and no longer as land-owner workers. This awareness led him to the study of theology, Latin American history, sociology and development studies, resulting in a PhD degree in development studies. He was a co-founder, researcher and development promoter at the Development and Research Institute NITLAPAN of the Central American University. He is currently an associate researcher at IOB-University of Antwerp (Belgium), collaborator with Winds of Peace Foundation and member of the COSERPROSS cooperative RL, focusing on organizational development. He is dedicated to research with grassroots organizations, he is a facilitator of knowledge production processes with indigenous and peasantry populations, and he is an adviser of people seeking to be organized and to scale up organizationally. His primary publications deal with associative organizations, fair trade, climate change, knowledge production, innovations, coffee, cocoa, sugar cane, and basic grains, all within the context of conflicts and peace within Central American countries.


Jennefer Nepinak is a strong and passionate Anishinaabe kwe and leader who is firmly rooted within the Indigenous community.  A proud mother of two beautiful children, Nepinak is a citizen of the Anishinaabe Nation in Treaty #4 territory and a member of the Minegozhiibe Anishinaabe Nation. She is currently the Senior Advisor to the President, Indigenous Relations at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. Nepinak carries over twenty five years of expertise with a unique combination of political, government and business experience.  She believes in a balanced approach, always working to ensure that Indigenous ways of knowing and being are recognized and incorporated in the application her work. Nepinak is skilled at initiating and leading collaborative processes that involve numerous cross-sector partners and stakeholders. She has led many projects and organizations including as Executive Director of the Treaty Relations Commission of Manitoba, leader within both federal and provincial government departments and as in house counsel for the West Region Tribal Council. Nepinak also sits on and chairs various boards and committees including the Manitoba Hydro Board and is also an active Member of the Manitoba Law Society. Nepinak holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology & Justice, a Bachelor of Laws, and is currently working to finalize her Masters in Indigenous Governance.


Arthur Nishimoto is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Computer Science and Research Assistant at the Electronic Visualization Laboratory (EVL) at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). His research interests include user interaction on large scalable resolution display environments, virtual reality, and video game design. He has previously developed interactive applications on the EVL Cyber-Commons multi-touch wall including the 20-foot Virtual Canvas and Fleet Commander which has been exhibited at SIGGRAPH and Supercomputing. He is currently designing immersive interactive applications for the CAVE2TM Hybrid-Reality Environment to further biogeochemical research in the NASA-funded SIMPLE project in collaboration with the UIC Earth and Environmental Sciences Department, Stone Aerospace, NASA Ames Research Center and Montana State University to explore the ice-covered lakes in Antarctica with the end goal of helping scientists analyze the biogeochemical properties of the lake before applying those techniques to the waters of Europa, one of Jupiter’s moons. Nishimoto’s work has been exhibited and published at SIGGRAPH, SIGGRAPH ASIA, HCII, IEEE VR, VISAP, SPIE, and Supercomputing. Nishimoto is a Lead Scientist on the Hearts and Minds: The Interrogations Project adapting virtual reality frameworks designed for scientific visualization and architectural rendering for immersive interactive storytelling presented in Hearts and Minds.


As the Executive Director of the Outward Bound Center for Peacebuilding, Ana Cutter Patel leads the organization’s work to use the Outward Bound approach of active learning in the outdoors to challenge and inspire leaders to build peace together. This approach is called experiential peacebuilding, which connects experiential learning or “learning by doing,” with peacebuilding theory and practice. Over 1,000 individuals have participated in Outward Bound Peacebuilding’s programs, trainings and workshops across the globe.  Patel brings over 25 years of experience in international peacebuilding, development and human rights to this position. Her background spans from building a gravity water system as a U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer in the Dominican Republic; to teaching international conflict issues at Columbia University; to training governments and civil society organizations on issues related to human rights and the demobilization of combatants.   Her co-edited volume, Disarming the Past: Transitional Justice and Ex-combatants was published in January 2010. Patel graduated from Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon and received a Master’s of International Affairs from the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University. Patel is a Rotary International Peace Fellow and a 2016 Visionary of the Hearts on Fire Foundation. In April 2017, she was named a Global Peace Index Ambassador by the Institute of Economics and Peace.


Scott Rettberg is Professor of Digital Culture in the department of linguistic, literary, and aesthetic studies at the University of Bergen, Norway. Rettberg is the author or coauthor of novel-length works of electronic literature, films, and new media art projects including The Unknown, Kind of Blue, Implementation, Toxi•City, Hearts and Minds: The Interrogations Project, and others. His creative work has been exhibited online and at international art venues, including the Venice Bienalle, Centre d’Art Santa Mònica, Beall Center, Slought Foundation, Krannert Art Museum, the Chemical Heritage Foundation, and others. Rettberg was the project leader of ELMCIP (Electronic Literature as a Model of Creativity and Innovation in Practice), a HERA-funded collaborative research project that ran from June 2010-June 2013 and is the leader of the Bergen Electronic Literature Research Group.  Rettberg is the co-founder and served as the first executive director of the nonprofit Electronic Literature Organization, where he directed major projects funded by the Ford Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation. At this year’s Forum he will be sharing his work with the Hearts and Minds project, an exploration of the realities of war in the digital age.


Cate Rush is a rising junior at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Washington, where she studies nursing. On campus, Cate is involved with Delta Iota Chi, serves as Vice President of the Art Club, and works closely with the Academic Assistance Center. She also volunteers regularly at L’Arche Hope Farm, a community supported work program for adults with developmental disabilities. Born and raised in Colorado, Cate is a nature enthusiast, seizing every opportunity to escape into the mountains, hike, and kayak. When she’s not in the backwoods, Cate can be found cozied up with a cup of tea, practicing yoga, or listening to her favorite podcast. Cate is keen to study the Norwegian healthcare system, as well as the effects of peace on health systems, health outcomes, and communities. She would also like to address the potential for nurses, and other healthcare workers, to assume the role of peacebuilders in communities recovering from war.


Deborah Schuhmacher received her Doctorate in Nursing Practice in 2011 with a focus on Transcultural Nursing Leadership. She has 36 years of nursing experience and is currently an Assistant Professor at Augsburg University. Dr. Schuhmacher has worked extensively with immigrant and refugee communities in the Twin Cities and has 20 years of community service with local NGO’s and public health agencies. Her passions in nursing include transcultural care, equity in healthcare, peace and spirituality in health encounters, and transformative healing.


Eric Schwartz became President of Refugees International in June 2017. Schwartz has had a three-decade career focused on humanitarian and human rights issues. Between 2009 and 2011, he served as U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees, and Migration. As Assistant Secretary, he was credited with strengthening the State Department’s humanitarian advocacy around the world, initiating and implementing critical enhancements to the U.S. refugee resettlement program and raising the profile of global migration issues in U.S. foreign policy. He was the senior human rights and humanitarian official at the National Security Council during the Clinton administration, managing humanitarian responses to crises in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and Europe. He also served as the UN Deputy Special Envoy for Tsunami Recovery after the 2004 Asian Tsunami; as Washington Director of Asia Watch (now the Asia Division of Human Rights Watch); and Staff Consultant to the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asian and Pacific Affairs, among other positions in the U.S. government, at the UN and in the non-profit sector. Just prior to arriving at Refugees International, Schwartz served a six-year term as Dean of the Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota. During much of that period, he also served on the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom and, ultimately, as the Commission’s vice chair. He holds a law degree from New York University School of Law, a Master of Public Affairs degree from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School, and a Bachelor of Arts degree with honors from the State University of New York at Binghamton.


신 선 영 Sun Yung Shin was born in Seoul, Korea, during 박 정 희 Park Chung-hee’s military dictatorship, and grew up in the Chicago area. She is the editor of A Good Time for the Truth: Race in Minnesota, author of poetry/essay collections Unbearable Splendor (winner of the 2016 Minnesota Book Award for poetry); Rough, and Savage; and Skirt Full of Black (winner of the 2007 Asian American Literary Award for poetry), co-editor of Outsiders Within: Writing on Transracial Adoption, and author of bilingual illustrated book for children Cooper’s Lesson. She lives in Minneapolis.



Tammy Sinkfield is a nurse at Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare, and takes chaotic, uneasy, disquieting, and formidable encounters and turns them into something wonderfully compelling and meaningful. As a witness to the caustic nature and explosiveness of racism and chronic health conditions, Sinkfield has developed a unique perspective and approach to healthcare. The loss of her husband to cancer developed her foundation as a nurse healer, and revealed her calling. For twenty-one years Sinkield has been a nurse, nurse educator, and leader. The infancy of her professional practice was in home care. Then in 1997, she was inspired and encouraged to accept her current position at Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare. Throughout her years at Gillette she has worked as a staff nurse on the inpatient rehabilitation and epilepsy unit, as well as a Telehealth nurse, and is currently working as a Nursing Supervisor. As a nursing educator in an ADN program for seven years, Sinkfield has instructed men and women to become some of the best nurses in the profession. Sinkfield has earned a master’s and doctorate, and her dedication to her field shines through in her project “Story Care: Connecting Across Cultures Through Story.” Additionally, Sinkfield has participated in service trips to Jamaica and Tanzania to share her knowledge, care, and expertise to make a difference in the transcultural society that nurses practice in.


Dana Soonias was born and raised on a farm at Red Pheasant Cree Nation near Battleford, Saskatchewan. He earned his Certified Aboriginal Financial Managers (CAFM) designation through Aboriginal Officers Association (AFOA) Canada. Over the past 20 years, Soonais has held senior positions with financial institutions and government. He was named the Chief Executive Officer of Wanuskewin Heritage Park in Saskatoon in 2009. Today, he is leading Wanuskewin’s renewal project and vision to become Saskatchewan’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site. Soonais is a values-based leader who believes in cultivating strong, collaborative working relationships, creating a culture where employees are enabled and empowered, where accountabilities are known, with respect and integrity in all facets of the work environment. He has a proven track record as a change leader; one who is able to see opportunities to innovate, challenge the status quo, and lead people toward clear goals through the development and delivery of a compelling vision. He aligns this vision to strategic objectives through strong values and a client oriented lens. He is involved with numerous boards and committees. Soonais is Past President of the AFOA of Saskatchewan; served as Past Chair of the National Board of Directors of AFOA Canada; a former member of the St. Paul’s Hospital Board of Directors, Tourism Saskatoon and the Standing Indigenous Advisory Committee for the Canadian Human Rights Museum. He’s currently serving his second term on the Crown Corporation of Tourism Saskatchewan and his latest appointment is with the First Nations Financial Management Board. Most recently, Soonais completed his Institute of Corporate Directors (ICD.d) course and achieved his designation with Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto.


Beliza Torres Narváez is an artist/scholar/educator, and Assistant Professor at Augsburg University’s Theater Department. She holds a B.A. in Spanish and Drama from the University of Puerto Rico and studied acting at Laborotario Teatral Malayerba in Ecuador.  She also has an M.A. in Performance Studies from New York University and a Ph.D. in Performance as Public Practice from the University of Texas. Torres Narváez’s research interests include Latin@ and African Diaspora and Queer Performance, Solo Performance, Radical Street Theatre, Theatre for Social Justice, Critical Pedagogy and how these relate to issues of race, ethnicity, gender, and sexuality. Her scholarly work has been presented at conferences of the American Society for Theater Research, Association for Theatre in Higher Education, Puerto Rican Studies Association, Performance Studies International, and the Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics. At the college level, she directs and has taught courses like Movement, Acting for Non-majors, Theater History, Applied Theatre, Theater of the Oppressed, and Latin@ Performance. Moreover, she has worked as a teaching artist in community-based projects with different underserved populations. As an artist, Torres Narváez was a resident puppeteer of the Bread and Puppet Theatre in Vermont, as well as the artistic director of Teatro Camagua, and a dancer of Hincapié Contemporary Dance Company in her native Puerto Rico. She has collaborated with other artists and also develops and performs original solo performances such as Cuerpo Público (2004), Y…Pervertida (2006), Doña Ana no está aquí (2007), Counting my lunares (2008), Sexy Picnic (2013), and Resabios the Amargura or that bitter cabaret (work-in-progress).


Daria Tsoupikova is an Associate Professor in the School of Design and the Electronic Visualization Laboratory (EVL) at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Positioned at the crossroads of artistic and technological innovation, Tsoupikova’s research and artwork explore the potential of new media and interactivity in relation to traditional arts. Through the development of virtual reality (VR) art projects and networked multi-user exhibitions for VR projection systems—such as the Cave Automatic Virtual Environment (CAVE and CAVE2)—her work applies computer graphics art to various research domains, including educational multimedia, cultural heritage and virtual rehabilitation for stroke survivors. She is collaborating with the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab (former Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago) to develop a multi-user virtual environment to aid in hand rehabilitation for stroke survivors. Daria’s work has been exhibited and published by ACM SIGGRAPH, IEEE VR, VIS, ISEA, among many others. A former Fulbright Scholar, Daria is currently partnering with Scott Rettberg, Roderick Coover and Arthur Nishimoto on the Hearts and Minds: The Interrogations Project. 


Polly O. Walker is of Cherokee descent and a member of the Cherokee Southwest Township. She is currently Director of the Baker Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies and the Elizabeth Evans Baker Professor of Peace Studies at Juniata College. Dr. Walker’s doctoral research focused on conflict transformation between Aboriginal and Settler Australians. She has published widely on topics related to cross cultural issues in conflict transformation, Indigenous approaches to peace, and the role of ritual and performance in peacebuilding. Dr. Walker is co-editor, along with Dr. Cynthia Cohen and Prof. Roberto Varea, of Acting Together: Performance and the Creative Transformation of Conflict Vol. I: Resistance and Reconciliation in Regions of Violence, and Vol. II: Building Just and Inclusive Communities. Dr. Walker has worked as lead trainer and program developer in a six-year international Kastom Governance program in Vanuatu, which was conducted under the auspices of the Australian Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, AusAid and The Malvatumauri National Council of Chiefs. She also conducted mediation training with the Solomon Islands National Peace Council, and conflict transformation training with an Aboriginal Community Development organization on Palm Island in Queensland, Australia.  Dr. Walker is Chair of the Indigenous Education Institute (IEI), whose work supports ethical collaboration with Indigenous peoples and revitalization of their knowledge systems, particularly in relation to the sciences.


Dr. Ray Yip, a Global Health specialist, is currently focusing his work on using enterprise-based solution to improve health in Africa by providing business development support to both for-profit and non-profit organizations including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Previously, Dr. Yip was the founding director for the China Office of the Gates Foundation, and the China Office of the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Dr. Yip also served as Chief of Health and Nutrition for UNICEF in Indonesia and China. His work in global health including, Maternal and Child Health, nutrition, HIV/Prevention Program, and Health System Reform. His current work focuses on improving health care access in Africa through investment to the health sector from both public and private sectors with special emphasis on the role of China as a development partner for Africa.   Dr. Yip was a graduate of Augsburg College and the Medical School of University of Minnesota and certified in Pediatrics and Hematology and Oncology. He also completed the Epidemic Intelligence Service and a preventive medicine residency at the CDC.