This new four-part dialogue series will highlight renowned thought-leaders, politicians, artists, journalists, and more whose lives and work can serve as an entry point into how one builds peace across the division and hateful rhetoric. It will be hosted by MSNBC Correspondent Trymaine Lee and produced by The Peace Studio in partnership with PBS All Arts.

Events Schedule

Peacebuilding as a Family Affair

Live Recording: April 12, 2021
Release Date: April 26, 2021

Time: 11:30AM EST
Duration: 60 minutes
Host: Trymaine Lee
Participants: Arun Gandhi, Dr. Bernice A. King & Kweku Mandela

Event Info

The inaugural conversation is set to be the first ever among descendants of renowned non-violence practitioners Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Nelson Mandela, and Mahatma Gandhi. Using the teachings of their father, mother, or grandfather, author and educator Arun Gandhi, filmmaker and activist Kweku Mandela, and CEO of the King Center, Dr. Bernice King will address the actions they feel will be most important for individuals to undertake in our homes, neighborhoods, and broader communities in order to ignite a more peaceful culture.

Building Peace through Music

Live Recording: June 14, 2021
Release Date: June 28, 2021

Time: 11:30AM EST
Duration: 60 minutes
Host: Trymaine Lee
Participants: Joyce DiDonato, Rhiannon Giddens, Midori & Wynton Marsalis

Event Info

With 225 shootings in the United States in the first five months of 2021, our hearts and minds are drawn once again to the monumental suffering caused by the absence of peace. On Monday, June 14, The Peace Studio will bring together four renowned musicians, Grammy-Award Winning Opera Singer Joyce DiDonato; Grammy and MacArthur-Winning musician Rhiannon Giddens; visionary Violinist, Activist, and Educator Midori; and acclaimed Musician, Composer, Bandleader, and Educator Wynton Marsalis to reflect on the potential that music has to break down barriers and help people find common causes. All of these musicians believe that music has the power to enable people to discover their shared humanity. Together, these four extraordinary artist humanitarians will speak to the ways they have seen music bring attention to painful conflicts, encourage self-reflection, and remind people everywhere of the power that each of us has to foster a culture that values love, justice, and peace.

In Conversation with Nobel Peace Laureates

Live Recording: September 20, 2021
Release Date: TBA

Time: 11:30AM EST
Duration: 60 minutes
Host: Trymaine Lee
Participants: Dr. Shirin Ebadi, Jody Williams & Muhammad Yunus

Event Info

Former Nobel Peace Prize winners join forces to highlight peacebuilding in all its forms and encourage viewers to consider how they can contribute to a more just and humane society for all.

The Power of Words to Heal and Restore

Live Recording: November 16, 2021
Release Date: TBA

Time: 11:30AM EST
Duration: 60 minutes
Host: Trymaine Lee
Participants: Charlayne Hunter-Gault, Cody Keenan, Zaffar Kunial & Cheryl Strayed

Event Info

When we choose to create and share stories that highlight strength and possibility instead of only focusing on despair and destruction, we accelerate the possibility for harmonious living and peace.

More details to be announced.


Trymaine Lee

Pulitzer Prize and Emmy Award-winning journalist Trymaine Lee is a Correspondent for MSNBC. He covers social justice issues and the role of race, violence, politics and law enforcement in America. In 2020, Lee launched The Race Report, a special MSNBC series that explores the intersection between race and politics this election season. He also debuted Into America, a new podcast elevating the voices of voters and demonstrating how policy impacts the day-to-day lives of Americans. Lee was also among the contributors to the New York Times Magazine’s 1619 Project, which earned a 2020 George Polk Award for its exploration of the role of slavery in America and it’s enduring effects in contemporary American society. Lee earned two National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) Salute to Excellence Awards for Digital Media in 2015 for his MSNBC coverage of the protests in Ferguson, MO. Lee’s original MSNBC multimedia series “Geography of Poverty,” which chronicled poverty-stricken communities nationwide including Flint, MI during the water crisis, was honored with a NABJ Salute to Excellence Award in 2016. He was also a 2016 and 2017 fellow with the New America Foundation and a 2006 recipient of NABJ’s Emerging Journalist of the Year Award. Additionally, he was named to Ebony magazine’s “Power 100” list in 2015. Lee won a 2018 Emmy Award for Outstanding News Discussion & Analysis for his reporting on gun violence and trauma in Chicago as part of a series and hour-long special produced by MSNBC’s All In with Chris Hayes.

Arun Gandhi

The grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, the world’s most recognizable and influential symbol of peace, Arun Gandhi has continued his family’s legacy during his lifetime, making his own humanitarian mark on the world. Born in South Africa in 1934, Gandhi was the target of bigotry as a child for being Indian in a society where most people were either white or black. In his adolescence, Gandhi lived with his grandfather for a period of two years, a time which inspired him and showed him, firsthand, what it meant to be a champion of nonviolence and a promoter of peace and unity. Following his grandfather’s assassination, and the death of his own father, Gandhi became a journalist in India and then, subsequently, moved to the United States to pursue research projects on the subject of global prejudices. During his first years in the U.S., Gandhi also founded the M.K. Gandhi Institute for Non-Violence. A prolific writer with hundreds of articles and several books to his name, including the novel, Gandhi: Legacy of Love, Gandhi has worked tirelessly to impart his wisdom, and the lessons he learned from his grandfather, to audiences around the world. Over the past decade, Gandhi has given countless speeches promoting peace and has organized, led, and encouraged non-violent marches, protests, and solutions to conflicts in the United States and Israel. The recipient of the Humanitarian Award from the Memphis City Council, the Amnesty International Outstanding Contributions Award and the Courage of Conscience Award from the Peace Abbey, Arun Gandhi is recognizable both for his family’s contributions to global peace and his own efforts as an activist, educator, and spiritual leader.

Dr. Bernice A. King

CEO of The King Center

Dr. Bernice A. King is a global thought leader, orator, peace advocate, and CEO of the King Center, which was founded by her mother, Coretta Scott King. From this position, the same one held by her mother, Dr. King continues to advance her parents’ legacy of Kingian Nonviolence, which she re-branded Nonviolence365™️. 

Through her work at the Center, she educates youth and adults around the world about the nonviolent principles modeled by her parents. Under her leadership, the Center has implemented numerous initiatives, such as the annual Camp N.O.W. Leadership Academy, Nonviolence365 Trainings and The Beloved Community Talks, just to name a few. 

She graduated from Spelman College with a BA in Psychology and from Emory University, with a Masters of Divinity and Doctorate of Law. She also received an honorary Doctorate of Divinity from Wesley College. She’s a member of the State Bar of Georgia, a trained Mediator, a member of the International Women’s Forum, and the National Council of Negro Women. 

Dr. King is an innovative leader dedicated to taking her parents’ legacy and teachings, The King Center, and the work of creating a more peaceful, just, humane world with Nonviolence365 into a new era.

Her most recent accomplishments include being an Alumna of the 2020 Leadership Atlanta Class as well as being honored with The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Inc.’s Phoenix Award which recognizes individuals who have made significant contributions to society.

Kweku Mandela

Co-owner of Out of Africa Entertainment and Co-founder of non-profit Africa Rising

Spending his childhood in the United States, it would be upon his return to his native home of South Africa that Mandela would begin his entertainment career. He credits his early experience working closely on the production of the feature adaptation of TheBang Bang Club with sparking his interest in bringing true stories to the screen. Mandela’s current focus centers on furthering the aims of his LA based production company, Dang Entertainment. The focus of the shingle centers around developing a slate of content for domestic and international consumption. A founding member and Ambassador for GenEndIt a collective of HIV/AIDS organisations committed to seeing the end of AIDS in our lifetime, Mandela also sits on the board of GlobalCitizen, Pioneer Works and Charlize Theron’s Africa Outreach Project. Mandela’s latest credits include the upcoming feature Gully with longtime collaborator Nabil Elderkin as well as the features Dreamland and Georgetown.

Joyce DiDonato

American Mezzo-Soprano

Multi Grammy Award winner and 2018 Olivier Award winner for Outstanding Achievement in Opera, Kansas-born Joyce DiDonato entrances audiences across the globe, and has been proclaimed “perhaps the most potent female singer of her generation” by the New Yorker. With a voice “nothing less than 24-carat gold” according to the Times, Joyce has soared to the top of the industry both as a performer and a fierce advocate for the arts, gaining international prominence in operas by Handel and Mozart, as well as through her wide-ranging, acclaimed discography. She is also widely acclaimed for the bel canto roles of Rossini and Donizetti.

Much in demand on the concert and recital circuit she has recently held residencies at Carnegie Hall and at London’s Barbican Centre, toured extensively in the United States, South America, Europe and Asia and appeared as guest soloist at the BBC’s Last Night of the Proms. Recent concert highlights include the Chicago Symphony Orchestra under Ricardo Muti, the Berlin Philharmonic under Sir Simon Rattle, Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique under Sir John Eliot Gardiner, the Philadelphia Orchestra under Yannick Nézet-Séguin, and the Accademia Santa Cecilia Orchestra and the National Youth Orchestra USA under Sir Antonio Pappano.

In opera, Joyce’s recent roles include Didon Les Troyens at the Vienna State Opera; Sesto, Cendrillon and Adalgisa Norma at the Metropolitan Opera, Agrippina in concert with Il Pomo d’Oro under Maxim Emelyanchev; Sister Helen Dead Man Walking at the Teatro Real Madrid and London’s Barbican Centre; Semiramide at the Bavarian State Opera and Royal Opera House, and Charlotte Werther at the Royal Opera.

Joyce’s 19/20 season sees her staged debut as Agrippina in a new production at the Royal Opera House, returns to the Metropolitan Opera as Agrippina and Charlotte Werther, and performances as Semiramide at the Liceu Barcelona. She is Carnegie Hall’s 19/20 Perspectives Artist with appearances including the Chicago Symphony Orchestra under Muti, with Nezet-Séguin in recital performing Schubert’s Winterreise, a Joyce & Friends chamber music concert joined by the Brentano Quartet and pianist Byran Wagorn, a baroque inspired programme My Favourite Things with Il Pomo d’Oro, as well as live-streamed masterclasses.  Also with Il Pomo d’Oro, the season holds the final tour of her album In War & Peace to South America culminating in Washington DC, as well as a European and US tour of My Favourite Things.   Other highlights include a tour with the Orchestre Métropolitain under Nézet-Séguin; touring her latest album release Songplay in Europe and recorded concerts of Berlioz Roméo & Juliette with John Nelson and the Orchestre Philharmonique de Strasbourg.

An exclusive recording artist with Erato/Warner Classics, Joyce’s award-winning discography includes Les Troyens which in 2018 won the Recording (Complete Opera) category at the International Opera Awards, the Opera Award at the BBC Music Magazine Awards and Gramophone’s Recording of the Year.  An extensive recording artist, other recent albums include Songplay, In War & Peace which won the 2017 Best Recital Gramophone Award, Stella di Napoli, her Grammy-Award-winning Diva Divo and Drama Queens. Other honours include the Gramophone Artist of the Year and Recital of the Year awards, and an induction into the Gramophone Hall of Fame.    

Rhiannon Giddens

American Musician

A MacArthur “Genius Grant” recipient, Rhiannon Giddens co-founded the Grammy Award-winning Carolina Chocolate Drops, and she has been nominated for six additional Grammys for her work as a soloist and collaborator. She was most recently nominated for her collaboration with multi-instrumentalist Francesco Turrisi, there is no Other (2019). Giddens’s forthcoming album, They’re Calling Me Home, is a twelve-track album, recorded with Turrisi in Ireland during the recent lockdown; it speaks of the longing for the comfort of home as well as the metaphorical “call home” of death, which has been a tragic reality for so many during the COVID-19 crisis.  

Named Artistic Director of Silkroad Ensemble in 2020, Giddens is developing a number of new programs for that ensemble, including The American Silkroad, an exploration of the music of the American transcontinental railroad and its builders. She recently wrote the music for an original ballet, Lucy Negro Redux, and the libretto and music for an original opera, Omar, based on the autobiography of the enslaved man Omar Ibn Said. She is also a member of the band Our Native Daughters with three other black female banjo players, Leyla McCalla, Allison Russell, and Amythyst Kiah, and co-produced their debut album Songs of Our Native Daughters (2019), which tells stories of historic black womanhood and survival. Pitchfork has said of her work, “few artists are so fearless and so ravenous in their exploration,” and Smithsonian Magazine calls her “an electrifying artist who brings alive the memories of forgotten predecessors, white and black.”


Japanese-American Violinist

The violinist Midori is a visionary artist, activist, and educator whose unique career has been dedicated to exploring and building connections between music and the human experience.

As a leading concert violinist for over 35 years, Midori regularly transfixes audiences around the world, combining graceful precision and intimate expression. Among many significant associations, she has performed with the London, Chicago, and San Francisco Symphony Orchestras, the Sinfonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, the Berlin and Vienna Philharmonics, and the Mahler Chamber Orchestra. She has collaborated with such outstanding musicians as Claudio Abbado, Leonard Bernstein, Emanuel Ax, Zubin Mehta, Christoph Eschenbach, Mariss Jansons, Paavo Järvi, Omer Meir Wellber, Yo-Yo Ma, and Susanna Mälkki.

Midori’s diverse discography, released by Sony Classical, Ondine, and Onyx, includes recordings of Bloch, Janáček, and Shostakovich sonatas, and a Grammy Award-winning recording of Hindemith’s Violin Concerto with Christoph Eschenbach conducting the NDR Symphony Orchestra. Her traversal of the complete Bach Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin was filmed for DVD at Köthen Castle, and was released by Accentus.

Midori is deeply committed to furthering humanitarian and educational goals. She has founded and manages several non-profit organizations, including Midori & Friends, which provides music programs for New York City youth and communities, and MUSIC SHARING, a Japan-based foundation that brings both western classical and Japanese music traditions into young lives by presenting programs in schools, institutions, and hospitals. In recognition of such commitments, she serves as a United Nations Messenger of Peace.

Midori was born in Osaka in 1971 and began her violin studies with her mother, Setsu Goto, at an early age. In 1982, the conductor Zubin Mehta invited the then 11-year-old Midori to perform with the New York Philharmonic in the orchestra’s annual New Year’s Eve concert, helping to lay the foundation for her resulting career.

Midori plays the 1734 Guarnerius del Gesù “ex-Huberman”. She uses four bows – two by Dominique Peccatte, one by François Peccatte, and one by Paul Siefried.

Wynton Marsalis

American Jazz Musician

Wynton Marsalis—one of America’s greatest musicians—has propelled jazz to the forefront of American culture. ​He is the world’s first jazz artist to perform and compose across the full jazz spectrum from its New Orleans roots to bebop to modern jazz.​ ​Mr. Marsalis is a 9-time GRAMMY-winner; in 1983, he became the first and only artist to win both classical and jazz GRAMMYs® in the same year, repeating the distinction the following year. Today, Wynton is the only artist ever to win GRAMMY Awards® in five consecutive years (1983-1987). Wynton is the first jazz artist to be awarded the Pulitzer Prize in music for his oratorio, ​Blood on the Fields​ . Marsalis’ vision and passionate leadership were essential to the effort to construct Jazz at Lincoln Center’s home— Frederick P. Rose Hall—the first education, performance, and broadcast facility devoted to jazz, which opened its doors in October 2004. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Wynton has recorded and released 8 studio albums, including the groundbreaking ​Democracy! Suite​. Wynton continues spreading the spirit of swing with captivating performances and diverse public programming.

Dr. Shirin Ebadi

The First Female Peace Prize Laureate from the Islamic World

Shirin Ebadi, the first Iranian and Muslim woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, became a judge after graduating from Tehran University Law School and passing the relevant qualifying exams. She soon progressed through the ranks and in 1975 became the first woman to preside over a court. In the wake of the 1979 Islamic Revolution, all female judges were dismissed, and Shirin Ebadi was demoted to the position of a clerk in the very same court over which she once presided. Since she could not tolerate the situation any longer, she put in a request for early retirement. After her retirement request was granted, Dr. Ebadi applied for a license to practice law to continue serving in another capacity in the legal profession. But her request was not approved for seven years because she had published several critical articles. Finally, in 1992, she succeeded in obtaining a lawyer’s license from the Central Bar Association. In her new profession, she focused on defending victims of human rights abuse, while simultaneously writing and publishing 14 books, including the Rights of the Child, the Rights of Women, and Tradition and Modernity in the Iranian legal system. Many of her books have been translated into and published in several languages. Shirin Ebadi also taught Urban Rights and Women’s Rights at the universities of Tehran and Allameh Tabataba’i for six years.

Along with her colleagues, she set up three NGOs in Iran, called Society for Protecting the Rights of the Child, Mine Clearing Collaboration Association, and Centre for Defenders of Human Rights. On the international front, in 2006 along with other female Nobel laureates, she founded the Nobel Women’s Initiative, which is based in Canada.

Shirin Ebadi has won numerous awards, including the Leibniz Ring in Germany, Légion d’Honneur in France, and Scholars at Risk prize in Ireland. She is also honorary citizen of several world cities, including Paris and Genoa.

Moreover, to date, Shirin Ebadi has received 26 honorary doctorates from various universities throughout the world, including the University of Cambridge (UK), Brown University (United States), and University of British Colombia (Canada).

Shirin Ebadi was first imprisoned in 1999 and again prosecuted in 2009 for criticizing the Islamic Republic. Security forces raided her office and the government froze her bank accounts and seized her assets. Since then she has been living outside Iran. In 2012, she established the Centre for Defenders of Human Rights in London through which she continues her activities towards advancing human rights in Iran and in Islamic countries.

Jody Williams

American Political Activist

Jody Williams received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1997 for her work as founding coordinator of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, which shared the Peace Prize with her that year.

She’s an outspoken peace activist who struggles to reclaim the real meaning of peace—a concept which goes far beyond the absence of armed conflict and is defined by human security, not national security.  Williams believes that working for peace requires dogged persistence and is not for the faint of heart.

Since 2006, Ms. Williams has chaired the Nobel Women’s Initiative with its mission to support and amplify the efforts of women around the world working for sustainable peace with justice and equality.

In 2013, in her ongoing work on disarmament, she helped found the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots, weapons that on their own, with no meaningful human control, could target and kill human beings.

With her memoir, My Name is Jody Williams:  A Vermont Girl’s Winding Path to the Nobel Peace Prize, released in 2013, she challenges “ordinary” people to be active agents of change.

Muhammad Yunus

Nobel Laureate Professor

Nobel Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus is the father of both social business and microcredit, the founder of Grameen Bank, and of more than 50 other companies in Bangladesh. For his constant innovation and enterprise, the Fortune Magazine named Professor Yunus in March 2012 as “one of the greatest entrepreneurs of our time.”

In 2006, Professor Yunus and Grameen Bank were jointly awarded Nobel Peace Prize. He is the recipient of 61 honorary degrees from universities across 24 countries. He has received 136 awards from 33 countries including state honours from 10 countries. He is one of only seven individuals to have received the Nobel Peace Prize, the United States Presidential Medal of Freedom and the United States Congressional Gold Medal.

He has appeared on the cover of Time Magazine, Newsweek and Forbes Magazine.

Charlayne Hunter-Gault

American Journalist

Charlayne Hunter-Gault is an award-winning journalist with more than 50 years in the industry, extending her work  at various times to all media including The New Yorker, NBC, The New York Times, PBS, NPR, and CNN.  

She is the author of four books—the latest an e-book, called Corrective Rape, which details  the devastating way some men in South Africa attempt to “correct” gay women’s sexual identity; To the Mountaintop: My Journey Through the Civil Rights Movement, is  a historical narrative for young readers grade nine and up, published by The New York Times and Roaring Brook Press. Her other two books are New News Out of Africa: Uncovering the African Renaissance (Oxford University Press) and In My Place, a memoir of the Civil Rights Movement, fashioned around her experiences as the first black woman to attend the University of Georgia, in 1961,  now a Vintage Press paperback. 

She is currently working on her fifth book, My People, a compilation of selected print pieces dating back to 1961, to be published by Harper Collins later this year. 

In 2005, she returned to NPR as a Special Correspondent after six years as CNN’s Johannesburg bureau chief and correspondent.  She joined CNN in April 1999 from National Public Radio, where she worked as the network’s chief correspondent in Africa and was awarded a Peabody in 1998 for her coverage of the continent. 

Hunter-Gault worked for 20 years with the PBS NewsHour, alternately as substitute anchor and national, as well as international  correspondent. And she has now returned to the NewsHour as Special Correspondent, doing an unprecedented year long series called Race Matters , focusing  on solutions to American’s enduring race problem.

 She began her journalism career as a reporter for The New Yorker, to which she still contributes; she then worked as a local news anchor for WRC-TV in Washington, D.C.; later as the Harlem bureau chief for The New York Times. Her numerous honors include a New York Times Publisher’s award for a story she worked on detailing the life of the youngest victim of a heroin overdose in 1970. Hunter-Gault also has won two Emmy awards and two Peabody awards—the first for her work on Apartheid’s People, a NewsHour series about South African life during apartheid; the second for her work in Africa for NPR, in which, according to the Peabody   citation,  she “demonstrated a talent for ennobling her subjects, and revealed a depth of understanding of the African experience that was unrivaled in Western media.” Over the years, Hunter-Gault has been the recipient of numerous other awards for her work and in August 2005, she was inducted in the National Association of Black Journalists Hall of Fame. In 2014, she received Black Enterprises Legacy Award. In 2015 , she was honored with the Washington Press Club Foundation’s LifeTime Achievement Award and that same year was also inducted into the Atlanta Press Club’s Hall of Fame.  

Hunter-Gault is a sought after public speaker and  holds more than three dozen  honorary degrees .  She is married to retired  businessman Ronald T. Gault, and she has two adult children, Suesan, a artist and singer, and Chuma, an actor and director.

Cody Keenan

Former White House Director of Speechwriting

Cody Keenan has written with President Barack Obama since 2007, rising from a campaign intern in Chicago to Chief Speechwriter at the White House and Obama’s post-presidential collaborator. He’s been nicknamed the “Springsteen” of the Obama White House, even though he can’t play an instrument, and Obama calls him “Hemingway” for reasons that have little to do with his talent or seasonal beard. Not to be outdone, British GQ declared Cody one of the “35 Coolest Men under 38 (and a Half),” ahead of Ryan Gosling, but behind Tom Hardy. 

Cody’s passion for public service was sharpened as a young aide to the legendary senator Ted Kennedy, and today, he sits on the board of the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate. Cody holds a master’s degree from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government and a BA from Northwestern University, where he now teaches a popular course on speechwriting. Cody is a partner at Fenway Strategies and is writing his first book, due in 2021. He and his wife Kristen live in New York City’s West Village with their daughter, Grace.

Zaffar Kunial

Author & Poet

Zaffar Kunial is a British poet published by Faber & Faber. His first collection, Us, was shortlisted for a number of honors including the Costa Poetry Award. Judging the T. S. Eliot Prize, Sinead Morrissey said: ‘Us by Zaffar Kunial abounds with poems which are witty, playful and heart-breaking by turns … his is a wondrous poetic of loopholes, portals and translations, and of the magic in-between’.

Photo credit: Joni Kabana

Cheryl Strayed

American Author & Podcast Host

Cheryl Strayed is the author of the #1 New York Times bestselling memoir Wild, the New York Times bestsellers Tiny Beautiful Things and Brave Enough, and the novel Torch. Wild was chosen by Oprah Winfrey as her first selection for Oprah’s Book Club 2.0. Strayed’s books have been translated into nearly forty languages around the world and have been adapted for both the screen and the stage.

The Oscar-nominated movie adaptation of Wild stars Reese Witherspoon as Cheryl and Laura Dern as Cheryl’s mother, Bobbi. Tiny Beautiful Things was adapted for the stage by Nia Vardalos, who also starred in the role of Sugar/Cheryl. The play was directed by Thomas Kail and debuted at The Public Theater in New York City.

Strayed is the host of the New York Times hit podcast, Sugar Calling and also Dear Sugars, which she co-hosted with Steve Almond. Her essays have been published in The Best American Essays, the New York Times, the Washington Post Magazine, Vogue, Salon, The Sun, Tin House, The New York Times Book Review, and elsewhere. Strayed holds an MFA in fiction writing from Syracuse University and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota. She lives in Portland, Oregon.