The Peace Studio Summit: Celebrating Peace in Action

In commemoration of the UN International Day of Peace, September 21, and the mid-point of our 100 Offerings of Peace campaign, The Peace Studio hosted its first ever, virtual Peace Studio Summit from September 21 to September 26, 2020. This exciting week of programming highlighted extraordinary peacebuilders in action and featured its biggest day on the International Day of Peace itself with six virtual programs in total from dawn until dusk. 

In times of challenge, The Peace Studio is continuing to work to cultivate meaningful virtual experiences that foster a sense of connection and encourages people around the world to see that when we all work together, peace is possible.

We hope you’ll replay some of the extraordinary sessions we held below and stay tuned for an announcement about our 2nd annual summit in the months ahead!

2020 Summit Schedule

Monday, September 21, 2020

Sister Jayanti

Meditation Offering: Om Shanti — I am Peace

Time: 8:30AM EST
Duration: 30 minutes
Meditation Leader: Sister Jayanti

Event Info

Peace starts within. A meditation practice matters now more than ever. Collectively, we need to make time to reflect so we can live a more grounded, peaceful life in order for our actions to be further aligned in the name of active peacebuilding within our communities. Join us as we meditate together with the Mantra: Om Shanti – I am Peace. 


A Conversation On The Life and Legacy of John Lewis: A Man of Peace and Justice

Time: 11:30AM EST
Duration: 60 minutes
Moderator: Trymaine Lee
Participants: Deval Patrick, Otis Moss III, Xernona Clayton, Grant Lewis

Event Info

Moderated by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Trymaine Lee, this one hour dialogue event will explore the life and legacy of the late Congressman John Lewis, particularly highlighting his life-long commitment to peacebuilding and racial justice. Joining Trymaine in conversation will be Former Governor of Massachusetts Deval Patrick, Reverend Otis Moss III, and civil rights leader and famed journalist Xernona Clayton, who recently spoke at the Congressman’s funeral. In addition to the conversation, the event will also include highlighted footage from the recently released John Lewis: Good Trouble documentary as well as the opportunity to participate in a special Q & A with the panelists.

This live event is exclusively available to members of The Peace Studio Ambassadors’ Circle. For more information about joining our Ambassadors’ Circle and attending this event, go to

The Peace Studio Presents: Generation 25 — A Short Film

Time: 1:30PM EST
Duration: 60 minutes
Moderator: Thomas West, Executive Director of The Peace Studio
Participants: Eric Mann, Hope AzedaYannick Kamanzi
Special Guests: Documentary Cast Members 

Event Info

Created and directed by filmmaker Eric Mann, this short film highlights The Peace Studio’s collaboration with the Ubumuntu Arts Festival in Kigali, Rwanda on the occasion of the 25th Anniversary of the Rwandan Genocide. The film takes a deeper look at how Hope Azeda, founder of the Mashirika Performing Arts and Media Company and the Ubumuntu Arts Festival used the arts to bring healing to Rwanda post-genocide and celebrates this beautiful interdisciplinary collaboration across cultures in acknowledgment of shared humanity.

The event will begin with the world premiere of the film followed by a special panel discussion with the creators and cast. 

Restorative Narratives: Why They Matter And How They Help Us Build Peace

Time: 3:30PM EST
Duration: 60 minutes
Moderator: John Yearwood
Panelists: Judy Rodgers, Jacqui Banaszynski
Images & Voices of Hope Past Fellows: Elissa Yancey, Jiquanda Johnson

Event Info

Join us for a deeper look at a genre of journalism writing called Restorative Narrative. Moderated by Peace Studio Board Member and Deputy Editor for Trade and Agriculture at Politico, John Yearwood, this event will look at what Restorative Narratives are, how they are crafted, and what role they have to play in the work of building peace. The genre was first created by Images and Voices of Hope (ivoh), a nonprofit that worked for over twenty years with journalists, photographers, gamers, and filmmakers to promote and produce storytelling that builds empathy and connects people across differences. The organization merged with The Peace Studio in November 2019. Joining Mr. Yearwood in conversation will be Judy Rodgers, the founder of Images and Voices of Hope, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Jacqui Banaszynski and two journalists that previously participated in a Restorative Narrative fellowship program created by ivoh in 2016 in partnership with The Fetzer Institute.


Peacebuilding During the Reckoning for Justice, Equality and Inclusion

Time: 6PM EST
Duration: 60 minutes
Moderator: Kirya Traber
Participants: Maya Soetoro, Bill T. JonesRoger Berkowitz, John Eligon

Event Info

This Event is a follow-up to an open letter in July signed by over 150 academics, artists, journalists and philanthropists.


The Peace Studio Presents: Conversations that #OfferPeace

Time: 8PM EST
Duration: 90 minutes

Event Info

Join us live for the grand finale of our inaugural Peace Studio Summit where we will celebrate young activists that have founded peacebuilding organizations in conversation with storied leaders working to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals across climate, gender, race, and gun violence, among others. Special guests for this event include Grammy-award winning musician Rhiannon Giddens, UN Messenger of Peace and legendary violinist Midori Goto, documentary filmmaker Dawn Porter, COVID-19 Special Envoy to the Director-General of the World Health Organization Dr. David Nabarro and the UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth Ms. Jayathma Wickramanayake, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, among others. To round off the night, The Peace Studio will unveil a new award, the Yoko Ono Imagine Peace Award, which will be given for the first time in 2021 to an artist-activist following in Ms. Ono’s footsteps as a peacebuilder.


Event Outline

Welcome from The Peace Studio

Opening Remarks
Participants: Dr. David Nabarro and Ms. Jayathma Wickramanayake 

A Peace Offering
Participant: Aaron Stokes, Cellist/Pianist, 1st Offering of Peace

Aaron Pereira Introduces
In Conversation: ‘Peace Within Ourselves’
Participants: Sharon Salzberg, Rhonda V. Magee

Peace starts within ourselves. In this special dialogue, Sharon and Rhonda will discuss their respective books ‘Real Change: Mindfulness to Heal Ourselves and the World’ (Sharon) and ‘The Inner Work of Racial Justice – Healing Ourselves and Transforming Our Communities Through Mindfulness’ (Rhonda) to share how spiritual activism can help us heal ourselves and, as a result, help heal and transform those around us. 

A Peace Offering
Participant: Midori, UN Messenger of Peace

Jonathan Capehart Introduces
In Conversation: ‘In Search of Peace’
Participants: Victor Ochen, Arun Gandhi

With the ongoing global refugee crisis that has displaced over 80 million people around the world, we must ask ourselves – what can we learn from stories of refugees, particularly those that have triumphed amidst tremendous adversity?  Why do so many people still need to leave their home in search of peace? Where can they go to find it? What can we be doing amidst this crisis? These questions and more will be explored in this special conversation highlighting the incredible work of the African Youth Initiative Network (AYINET) founded by UN Global Ambassador for Peace and Justice Victor Ochen and his work through AYINET to support child survivors of war. 

A Peace Offering
Participant: Lil Buck


Justin Winters Introduces
In Conversation: ‘Peace for our Planet’
Participants: Katie Eder, Ted Danson

More and more young people are marching for the Climate. How can we protect our planet and lead it to peace? What does it mean to take care of our planet and what steps can we take to ensure its safety? This conversation will highlight young climate activist Katie Eder, leader of Future Coalition, and Ted Danson, author of ‘Oceana: Our Planet’s Endangered Oceans and What We Can Do to Save Them’ in a necessary conversation about how to bring Peace to this Planet.

A Peace Offering
Participant: Rhiannon Giddens


Roberta Baskin Introduces
Peace Requires Action – Call to Action!
Participants: Georgie Badiel, Kelly McCrearyVéronique Christory, Kweku Mandela, Nina Grollman, Monica Watkins

At The Peace Studio, we believe fundamentally that Peace Requires Action! As we wrap up a jam-packed UN International Day of Peace and the first day of our inaugural Summit, we want to know what kinds of actions you take daily to facilitate change and build a more peaceful world! To that end, our special cameo appearances will feature extraordinary individuals working to make peace a daily practice – offering all of us entry points into the specific work they are championing. 

Pam Omidyar Introduces
Message of Peace for Peacebuilders
Participant: His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama

Introducing the Yoko Ono Imagine Peace Award

The Peace Studio is beyond thrilled to announce the Yoko Ono Imagine Peace Award at this year’s virtual Peace Studio Summit. This inaugural award will first be given in 2021 to an artist-activist that has followed in Ms. Ono’s footsteps as a peacebuilder. 

Special Surprise Tribute Performance of ‘Imagine’.

September 22nd, 2020 - September 26, 2020

The Peace Studio Presents: Walk Toward The Rising Sun – a new book by Ger Duany

Tuesday, September 22nd 12PM EST

The Peace Studio is proud to be partnering with Aevitas Creative Management, Penguin Random House, and D.C. Based Bookstore Politics & Prose on a Special Virtual Book Launch Event and 100 Offerings of Peace Literary Arts co-commission on the 2nd day of our Summit. Join actor, author, model, and UN Goodwill Ambassador Ger Duany as he and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Jeffrey Gettleman discuss his groundbreaking young adult memoir. Forcibly recruited as a child soldier in Sudan’s north-south civil war, Duany left the country as a refugee at the age of 14. Arriving in the US in the 1990s, he battled PTSD and endured racism in America even as his talents for basketball, modeling, and acting thrust him into the spotlight. In his powerful coming-of-age story, Duany explores themes of trauma, heartbreak, injustice, fame, identity, and hope.

TPS x Notes for Peace

Wednesday, September 23rd 12PM

The Peace Studio is proud to be partnering with The Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s Notes for Peace Project on a webinar and a 100 Offerings of Peace Musical Arts co-commission. The Notes for Peace project facilitates the creation of songs in support of those who have lost loved ones to gun violence in Chicago. The initiative was set up by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s Negaunee Institute and Purpose Over Pain. More details on this special co-commission and webinar to be announced!


TPS x Weird Enough Productions

Thursday, September 24th 12PM EST

The Peace Studio is proud to be partnering with Weird Enough Productions on a webinar and a 100 Offerings of Peace Visual Arts co-commission. Weird Enough Productions is a comic company building a new world of stories that will change the one we live in. They tell stories that inspire people to embrace their quirks, and get hype about being themselves. Stories have unparalleled power to change hearts and minds. So they share theirs, and open the page for you to share yours. More details on this special co-commission and webinar to be announced! 


TPS x Interfaith Youth Core

Friday, September 25th Time 12PM

The Peace Studio is proud to be partnering with Interfaith Youth Core on a webinar and a 100 Offerings of Peace Spiritual Arts co-commission. IFYC is a national non-profit working towards an America where people of different faiths, worldviews, and traditions can bridge differences and find common values to build a shared life together. More details on this special co-commission and webinar to be announced! 


TPS x Rattlestick Playwright’s Theater

Saturday, September 26th 2PM

The Peace Studio is proud to be partnering with Rattlestick Playwrights Theater on a webinar and a 100 Offerings of Peace Performing Arts co-commission.

Founded in 1994, Rattlestick Playwrights Theater consistently produces new voices and works that are provocative and immediate in both form and substance. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Daniella Topol, Rattlestick has a deep commitment to producing fierce works that challenge and stimulate audiences to confront the complexities of our culture. Notable productions include: Diana Oh’s {mylingerieplay}, Dael Orlandersmith’s Until the Flood, Samuel D. Hunter’s The Few and Lewiston/Clarkston, Jesse Eisenberg’s The Revisionist, Jonathan Tolins’ Buyer and Cellar, Lucy Thurber’s The Hilltown Plays, Adam Rapp’s The Hallway Trilogy, and Martyna Majok’s Ironbound.

Rattlestick produces mainstage productions; develops work by Middle Voice (Rattlestick’s apprentice company); creates artistic development opportunities for artists to hone their craft; and provides opportunities for students to engage with innovative work through residencies, fellowships, and special performances. Rattlestick serves approximately 8,000 audience members and 400 artists each year.

Visit for more information.


Our Partners

To bring this week of special events to life, we are partnering with organizations that we greatly admire and consider instrumental to peacebuilding work. Check out our growing list of partners below for our inaugural Peace Studio Summit! 

Our Sponsors

Check out our growing list of sponsors below for our inaugural Peace Studio Summit! 


Sister Jayanti

As Director of Brahma Kumaris (BK) for Europe and the Middle East and a spiritual leader and teacher for 50 years, Sister Jayanti has dedicated her life to self-transformation and service to humanity.  Brahma Kumaris is an international non-governmental organization (NGO) of the United Nations, accredited with General Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and Sister Jayanti has been the organization’s representative to the UN in Geneva since 1982, She has championed the co-operative role of spiritual organizations in creating a just and peaceful world. She has brought spiritual principles to the discussion tables of politicians, economists, business leaders, scientists, and nearly every stakeholder of our times. Sister Jayanti sees the erosion of spiritual values as the underlying cause of the crises that the world is facing today.

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.

Governor Deval Patrick

Deval Laurdine Patrick is an American politician, civil rights lawyer, author, and businessman who served as the 71st governor of Massachusetts, from 2007 to 2015. He was first elected in 2006, succeeding Mitt Romney, and was the first African-American Governor of Massachusetts. A Democrat, Patrick served from 1994 to 1997 as the United States Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division under President Bill Clinton. He was briefly a candidate for President of the United States in the 2020 U.S. presidential election. During his governorship, Patrick oversaw the implementation of the state’s 2006 health care reform program which had been enacted under Mitt Romney, increased funding to education and life sciences, won a federal Race to the Top education grant, passed an overhaul of governance of the state transportation function, signing a law to create the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, increased the state sales tax from 5% to 6.25%, raised the state’s minimum wage from $8 per hour to $11 by 2017, and planned the introduction of casinos to the state. Under Patrick, Massachusetts joined the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) in an effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Patrick is a former managing director at Bain Capital and serves as the chairman of the board for Our Generation Speaks, a fellowship program and startup incubator whose mission is to bring together young Israeli and Palestinian leaders through entrepreneurship. He also holds a Board of Directors position at telehealth company American Well.

Rev. Otis Moss III

With civil rights advocacy in his DNA, Rev. Dr. Otis Moss III built his ministry on community advancement and social justice activism. As Senior Pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, Ill., Dr. Moss spent the last two decades practicing and preaching a Black theology that unapologetically calls attention to the problems of mass incarceration, environmental justice and economic inequality. Dr. Moss is part of a new generation of ministers committed to preaching a prophetic message of love and justice, which he believes are inseparable companions that form the foundation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. As part of his community engagement through Trinity United Church of Christ, Dr. Moss led the team that came up with the “My Life Matters” curriculum; which includes the viral video “Get Home Safely: 10 Rules of Survival,” created in the aftermath of Michael Brown’s death at the hands of Ferguson, Mo., police. A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Dr. Moss is an honors graduate of Morehouse College who earned a Master of Divinity form Yale Divinity School, and a Doctor of Ministry degree from Chicago Theological Seminary. He returned to Yale in 2014 to present the famed Lyman Beecher lectures. The three-day event included an in-depth discourse on the subject of “The Blue Note Gospel: Preaching the Prophetic Blues in a Post Soul World.” The lectures, which demonstrated a homiletic blueprint for prophetic preaching in the 21st century, were the foundation of his latest book, Blue Note Preaching in a Post-Soul World: Finding Hope in an Age of Despair, published in 2015. Dr. Moss was named to the inaugural Root 100, a list that “recognizes emerging and established African-American leaders who are making extraordinary contributions,” according to the publication’s Website. Honorees range between ages 25 to 45, and their accomplishments and successes transcend media headlines or statistics. With a unique gift to communicate across generations, Dr. Moss’ creative bible-based messages have inspired young and old alike. His intergenerational preaching gift has made Dr. Moss a popular speaker on college campuses, at conferences, and churches across the globe. He is highly influenced by the works of Zora Neale Hurston, August Wilson, Howard Thurman, Jazz, and Hip-Hop music. The work and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the pastoral ministry of his father, Dr. Otis Moss, Jr. of Cleveland, Ohio, have been primary mentors for his spiritual formation.

He is the former pastor of the Tabernacle Baptist Church in Augusta, Ga., his first pastorate, where the church grew from 125 members to over 2100 disciples during his tenure.

His earlier publications include: Redemption in a Red Light District, and The Gospel According to the Wiz: And Other Sermons from Cinema. He co-authored The Gospel Re-Mix; How to Reach the Hip-Hop Generation with three other contributors, and Preach! The Power and Purpose Behind Our Praise, with his father. His sermons, articles, and poetry have appeared in publications such as Sojourners Magazine and The African American Pulpit Journal. Those works include: Power in the Pulpit II: America’s Most Effective Preachers, Joy To The World: Sermons From America’s Pulpit, Sound The Trumpet: Messages of Hope for Black Men, and The Audacity of Faith: Christian Leaders Reflect on the Election of Barack Obama. His work has also been featured on HuffingtonPost, Urban Cusp, and The Root. Dr. Moss is an ordained minister in the Progressive National Baptist Convention and the United Church of Christ. He is on the boards of Auburn Seminary and Faith-In-Place/Action Fund , and chaplain of the Children’s Defense Fund’s Samuel DeWitt Proctor Child Advocacy Conference. Additionally, Dr. Moss is a Senior Fellow in the Auburn Seniors Fellow Program. He is married to his college sweetheart, the former Monica Brown of Orlando, Fla., a Spelman College and Columbia University graduate. They are the proud parents of two children, Elijah Wynton and Makayla Elon.

Xernona Clayton 

Xernona Clayton Brady is an American civil rights leader and broadcasting executive. During the Civil Rights Movement, she worked for the National Urban League and Southern Christian Leadership Conference, where she became involved in the work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Later, Clayton went into television, where she became the first African American from the southern United States to host a daily prime time talk show. She became corporate vice president for urban affairs for Turner Broadcasting.

Clayton created the Trumpet Foundation She was instrumental in the development of the International Civil Rights Walk of Fame that was developed by the foundation to honor the achievements of African Americans and civil rights advocates She convinced a Grand Dragon of the Ku Klux Klan to denounce the Klan Clayton has been honored by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the city of Atlanta for her work.

Thomas West 

Named by President Obama as a Presidential Scholar in the Arts in 2014, Thomas West is a creative artist and entrepreneur making waves for his dual career as a renowned baritone and nonprofit executive. Performance highlights have included a Tanglewood Music Center fellowship, covering Silvio in Pagliacci with Opera San Jose, Morales in Carmen with the Chattanooga Symphony and Opera, Brahms’ Ein Deutsches Requiem with the Mississippi Symphony, the world premiere of Wayne Oquin’s Meditation in Alice Tully Hall, NYFOS @ Caramoor, and multiple performances with Cantori New York and the Chautauqua Institution. As a producer, he has led interdisciplinary theater projects in Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, New Hampshire and most recently Kigali, Rwanda. He is currently the Executive Director of The Peace Studio – a NY-based nonprofit dedicated to supporting the work of world-class young artists, journalists and storytellers as peacebuilders. He is a graduate of The Juilliard School in Vocal Performance and prior to coming to The Peace Studio, worked for his alma mater as a special projects producer in the Office of The President.


Eric Mann

Eric is originally from Little Rock, Arkansas. Since founding Unreel Films in 2013, he has directed, produced, written, filmed, and edited over 300 projects and videos. Works include the SAG short film Alistair’s Wednesday, Sizemic, the feature-length documentary Just Go, the TV pilot “Looking Up,” the documentary Climate Countdown, and other short films such as Finish Her, Bristles, and Defunkt. As an actor, he has toured with the national tour of A Chorus Line, and performed across the country and New York. He graduated from Elon University, and has studied at the Michael Chekhov Acting Studio, Upright Citizens Brigade, Broadway Theatre Project, and Ballet Arkansas. He also gets to talk about life, love, and philosophy with his dear friend Daniel J. Self on their podcast – Self Made Mann.



Hope Azeda

Hope Azeda is one of the leading figures in contemporary Rwandan theatre. She is the founder and artistic director of the Mashirika Performing Arts and Media Company, a leading theatre company in Rwanda. Under her direction, the group collaboratively created Africa’s Hope, which was performed in Kigali at the 10th anniversary commemoration of the genocide, and also at the G8 World Summit in Edinburgh in 2005. The play toured in the UK in 2006 and 2008 and was featured in the biennial festival in Sweden in 2008. In 2012, Africa’s Hope made its premiere in Los Angeles USA. 

Ms. Azeda’s work as a writer and director has taken her to many theaters and universities around the world, including the Biennial Festival in Stockholm, the Caravan Festival in Copenhagen, the International Festival of the Arts in Sophia-Bulgaria and tours of the USA, Canada, Austria, Italy, Germany, South Korea, Japan, Italy Australia, South Africa, and Northern Ireland. She has also been an artist in residence at the Institute for the Arts and Civic Dialogue in Cambridge Massachusetts, is a 2013 alumnus of Brown University’s International Advanced Research Institute, and is a member of the Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab. Azeda is also a fellow of the Africa Leadership Initiative (ALI-ASPEN-Institute). 

In addition to her theatre work, she served as a casting director for the films Sometimes in April, Shake Hands with the Devil, Beyond the gates, White Light, Africa United, and Our lady of the Nile. Hope is also currently the curator of the Ubumuntu Arts Festival and was recently honored as a 2018 Laureate of the John. P. McNulty Prize, received a lifetime achievement award from MAAFA, and was also the winner of the 2018/2019 continental award in the category of arts and culture, receiving special honors from CEO Global.

Yannick Kamanzi

Yannick Kamanzi is a content creator and a professional dreamer, Founder and curator of HQ and Zeu Hexibition; a showcasing and co-creation hub for young Kigalian creatives.  

Kamanzi is also a professional choreographer and dancer. A strong believer that art is a platform to stir social change, Kamanzi creates work that raises awareness and starts conversations around important issues in the spaces he lives in. In 2016, Kamanzi directed his first theatrical production “Quest to the Cure”, a collection of narratives around the struggles of post-genocide reconciliation, which has since been performed and nationally televised for 3 consecutive years (2016-2018). 

In 2019, he co-directed a national and international project “Generation 25(G25)” portraying the unique perspectives of a generation born in the aftermath of a conflict in Rwanda as well as out in the world. He is the current project coordinator of the internationally recognized Mashirika Performing Arts and Media Company, which trains and provides a platform for aspiring performers.  His current projects, None Twaje and A3sth3tically_Rwandan, are attempts to claim pre-colonial knowledge and mirror them in present settings! He believes that the Intersectionality of his art allows him to best express human emotions in their complexity and to create deeper connections with a broader audience. 

Kamanzi continues to give back to the Rwandan Art Industry that he cares so much about, most recently, through his collaboration with the Rwandan government as the lead choreographer of the 25th celebration of “Kwita Izina”, Rwanda’s Internationally-recognized Gorilla-naming ceremony. 

John Yearwood

An award-winning multi-platform journalist, John Yearwood is deputy editor, Trade & Agriculture, and editor, Global Translations, at POLITICO. He also serves on the executive board of the Vienna, Austria-based International Press Institute and is former World Editor of the Miami Herald. Yearwood, a regular speaker at conferences globally, is a frequent guest on radio and television networks, including NPR, Al Jazeera and BBC.

Judy Rodgers

Judy Rodgers is the founder of Images and Voices of Hope. For over 20 years she worked in media companies, translating the ideas of authors and thought leaders to film. Since 1997 she has worked as an independent consultant, emphasizing the power of dialogue to support social innovation and individual, community-wide and system-wide change. In 2003, she became the founding director of the Center for Business as an Agent of World Benefit at Case Western Reserve University. Since 2006 she has lived in a retreat center in the Catskill Mountains of New York where she thinks and writes about the inner dimension of life and the way our awareness affects our vision and our actions in the world.

Jacqui Banaszynski

Jacqui Banaszynski worked in newspapers for more than 30 years, and now teaches students and professionals around the world. She is an emerita professor at the Missouri School of Journalism a faculty fellow at the Poynter Institute and the current editor of Nieman Storyboard, an online community of nonfiction storytellers around the world. While at the St. Paul (Minn.) Pioneer Press, her series “AIDS in the Heartland” won the 1988 Pulitzer Prize in feature writing. In 1986, her eyewitness account of the African famine was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in international reporting. Projects she edited have won national awards for business, investigative, social issues, environmental, human interest and sports reporting. She served as coach and advisor to the ivoh Restorative Narrative Fellowship for five years.

Elissa Yancey

Elissa is a lifelong learner, leader and educator. Her background in journalism and education has led her on a rich career journey through corporate and nonprofit America as well as in the academy. She an experienced writer and editor, serving in top roles in and outside of academia. A seasoned nonprofit founder, she founded A Picture’s Worth to marry her passions for creative disruption of outdated systems, equity, community engagement and story-building. At its core, APW fosters responsible story-gathering practices that apply in journalism, nonprofit, education systems and beyond.

Jiquanda Johnson

Jiquanda is the co-founder of Brown Impact Media Group, an independent publishing company focused on developing news outlets in underserved communities including in her hometown of Flint, Michigan, where she serves as publisher and editor of Jiquanda launched Flint Beat in 2017 in response to a community outpouring for more local news stories from its media outlets. After launching Flint Beat, Jiquanda noticed a need to introduce Flint-area youth to journalism and recently developed News Movement, a youth journalism program that teaches Flint youth various newsroom skills including writing, photography, visual journalism, and videography. The program is currently headquartered on Flint’s north side at the Sylvester Broome Empowerment Village, a youth hub focused on bridging educational gaps in the city. She has nearly 20 years of experience in journalism including working for MLive Media Group, Fox 46 in North Carolina, NBC25’s affiliate station in the Flint area, The Detroit News, Pull Magazine, and Tween Girl Style Magazine.


Dr. Maya Soetoro

Maya serves as a consultant to the Obama Foundation, working closely with their international team to develop programming in the Asia Pacific region and support global girls wellbeing through the Girls Opportunity Alliance. Prior to her work with the Obama Foundation, she was the Director of the Matsunaga Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution at the University of Hawaii at Mānoa where, in addition to leading outreach and development initiatives, she also taught Leadership for Social Change, History of Peace Movements, Peace Education, and Conflict Management for Educators. She was awarded a master’s degree in Secondary Education from NYU’s College of Education and a PhD in Multicultural Education from the University of Hawaiʻi. For many years, she worked at the University of Hawaiʻi College of Education where she taught Multicultural Education, Social Studies Methods, and Peace Education at both the graduate and undergraduate levels. Maya has published a number of book contributions as well as a picture book entitled Ladder to the Moon and is currently under contract to write a Young Adult novel entitled Yellowwood. Maya sits on many voluntary boards and is the co-founder of The Peace Studio, which nurtures and amplifies the work of artists, journalists and storytellers working toward a more peaceful and just world, as well as Ceeds of Peace, which creates peacebuilding action plan workshops for educators, families and community leaders and the Institute for Climate and Peace which advances effective and inclusive processes to build peaceful and climate-conscious futures for the wellbeing of all.


Bill T. Jones

BILL T. JONES (Artistic Director/Co-Founder/Choreographer: Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company; Artistic Director: New York Live Arts) is the Associate Artist of the 2020 Holland Festival and recipient of the 2014 Doris Duke Performing Artist Award; the 2013 National Medal of Arts; the 2010 Kennedy Center Honors; a 2010 Tony Award for Best Choreography of the critically acclaimed FELA!; a 2007 Tony Award, 2007 Obie Award, and 2006 Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation CALLAWAY Award for his choreography for Spring Awakening; the 2010 Jacob’s Pillow Dance Award; the 2007 USA Eileen Harris Norton Fellowship; the 2006 Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Choreography forThe Seven; the 2005 Wexner Prize; the 2005 Samuel H. Scripps American Dance Festival Award for Lifetime Achievement; the 2005 Harlem Renaissance Award; the 2003 Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize; and the 1994 MacArthur “Genius” Award. In 2010, Mr. Jones was recognized as Officier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French government, and in 2000, The Dance Heritage Coalition named Mr. Jones “An Irreplaceable Dance Treasure.”

Mr. Jones choreographed and performed worldwide with his late partner, Arnie Zane, before forming the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company in 1982. He has created more than 140 works for his company. Mr. Jones is the Artistic Director of New York Live Arts, an organization that strives to create a robust framework in support of the nation’s dance and movement-based artists through new approaches to producing, presenting and educating. For more information visit


Roger Berkowitz

Roger Berkowitz is Founder and Academic Director of the Hannah Arendt Center for Politics and Humanities and Professor of Politics, Philosophy, and Human Rights at Bard College. Professor Berkowitz authored The Gift of Science: Leibniz and the Modern Legal Tradition (Harvard, 2005; Fordham, 2010; Chinese Law Press, 2011). Berkowitz is editor of The Perils of Invention: Lying, Technology, and the Human Condition (2020) and co-editor of Thinking in Dark Times: Hannah Arendt on Ethics and Politics (2009), The Intellectual Origins of the Global Financial Crisis (2012) and Artifacts of Thinking: Reading Hannah Arendt’s Denktagebuch (2017). His writing has appeared in The New York TimesThe American InterestBookforumThe Forward, The Paris Review OnlineDemocracy: A Journal of Ideas, and many other publications. He is a co-editor of Just Ideas, a book series published by Fordham University Press. He is the winner of the 2019 Hannah Arendt Prize for Political Thought given by the Heinrich Böll Foundation in Bremen, Germany.


John Eligon

John Eligon is a national correspondent covering race, based in Kansas City. His work documents the nuances of America’s struggle with race issues, from the protest movement over police violence to the changing face of the nation’s cities and suburbs.

His work has taken him to South Africa to cover the death of Nelson Mandela and Turin to cover the Winter Olympics.  As a Metro reporter, he broke the story of a bail bonds scheme that left poor defendants unable to gain their freedom. He has authored a narrative of the life of a young black man in one of St. Louis’s most violent neighborhoods, and a series that followed a Detroit neighborhood over the course of a year as it worked to lift itself out of bankruptcy. He also helped to shepherd the Times’s coverage of the police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo.

Born on the island of Trinidad and Tobago, Mr. Eligon moved to the United States as a young boy. He took to journalism in middle school because he loved sports and was excited by the idea of covering them. He graduated from Northwestern University with degrees in journalism and German. After covering sports for a year at The Detroit Free Press, he was hired by The Times, where he covered sports for two years before moving into news.

Mr. Eligon has run six marathons, including the 2013 Boston Marathon, and reported on the bombing after finishing the race. He is fluent in German, and loves to travel the world and try new restaurants with his wife.


Kirya Traber

Kirya Traber is a nationally awarded writer, performer, and cultural worker. She is New York Stage and Film’s 2020 Founders Award recipient, and was the lead Community Artist-in-Residence with Lincoln Center from 2015-2020. Kirya is the recipient of multiple awards for her writing and performance, including a NY Emmy Nomination (First Person PBS), Robert Redford’s Sundance Foundation award for Activism in the Arts, the California Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts, Congresswoman Barbara Lee’s Certificate of Recognition, and an Astrea Foundation award for Poetry. She has been a commissioned artist of notable New York arts institutions such as the New York Philharmonic, Lincoln Center Education, WNET Thirteen, the Morgan Library & Museum, the Orchestra of St Luke’s, Ping Chong + Company, and others. Throughout her ambitious performance and writing career, Kirya has continuously utilized her art for social change as a cultural organizer. More at


Dr. David Nabarro 

Dr. Nabarro has over 40 years of experience in international public health as a community-based practitioner, educator, public servant, director and diplomat.

In the past 12 years, successive Secretaries-General of the United Nations have entrusted David to lead collective action on some of the most pressing and complex challenges – responding to avian and pandemic influenza, promoting food security, ending malnutrition, combating Ebola, promoting the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and advancing efforts relating to climate change.

Since January 2016 he has been the Special Adviser to the United Nations Secretary-General on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Climate Change.

Ms. Jayathma Wickramanayake

Ms. Jayathma Wickramanayake was appointed as the UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth in June 2017 at the age of 26. In this role, Jayathma works to expand the UN’s youth engagement and advocacy efforts across all four pillars of work – sustainable development, human rights, peace and security and humanitarian action – and serves as a representative of and advisor to the Secretary-General.

Originally from Sri Lanka, Ms. Wickramanayake has worked extensively on youth development and participation, and has played a key role in transforming the youth development sector in her home country.

Prior to taking up her post, Ms. Wickramanayake was instrumental in creating the movement for civic and political engagement of young people, especially young women in Sri Lanka named “Hashtag Generation”. Previously, she advocated for global youth development on an international level including as the first ever Sri Lankan Youth Delegate to the United Nations and as the youth lead negotiator and member of the International Youth Task Force of the World Conference on Youth 2014 where she played a critical role in mainstreaming youth in the Post-2015 Process and in the establishment of World Youth Skills Day.

Aaron Pereira

Aaron Pereira is Project Lead for The Wellbeing Project, an Ashoka Fellow, a Skoll Scholar, and a WEF Young Global Leader. He has been involved in social change for over 20 years spanning work from engaging people in their communities, to social finance, to urban development.  He loves living between France and India.

Charles ‘Lil Buck’ Riley

Charles “Lil Buck” Riley is an artist known for bringing a freestyle-based dance involving intricate footwork, called jookin’, to a mainstream audience across the world.  Raised in Memphis, he studied ballet for two years on scholarship before being introduced to the urban street dance style.  He quickly made a niche for himself by adding his own style and imagination to create signature moves – which include gliding across space as if gravity doesn’t exist.

In 2011, Lil Buck performed with Yoyo Ma to his rendition of Camille Sain-Saens’ “The Swan.”  Spike Jonze happened to be in the audience and was so blown away by the performance, he taped it on his phone and posted it on the internet.  The video quickly went viral with over 3 million views on YouTube (link below.) Since then, he has performed with Cirque du Soleil’s “Michael Jackson: One”, Benjamin Millipied, Janelle Monae and Madonna to name a few.

His dancing abilities combined with his unique style has made him a fashion icon.  In 2017 he danced alongside Mikhail Baryshnikov in a campaign for Rag & Bone’s Fall/Winter campaign and has appeared in ads for brands such as Stuart Weitzman, Gap, Volvo, Kaporal Jeans, and Diesel Jeans.  In 2016 he completed his second world tour with Madonna and designed a line of shoes for Versace.

He also starred in a Super Bowl commercial for Lexus in 2017 and was featured in an ad campaign for Stuart Weitzman starring himself and Kendall Jenner in 2019.

A choreographer and dancer as well as an activist, Buck is behind MOVEMENT ART IS, an organization “focused on using movement artistry to inspire change in the world.” Lil Buck collaborated with dancer Jon Boogz and artist Alexa Meade to create “Color of Reality”, a short film addressing gun violence.  The film won CNN’s Great Big Story “Art as Impact” Award and Toronto Short Festival’s “Best Experimental Film.” It was also nominated for World of Dance’s “Concept Video of the Year”. Buck also stars in the nature inspired short film “Honor Thy Mother” which addresses the need for humans to take better care of our planet.

Sharon Salzberg

Sharon Salzberg is a meditation pioneer and industry leader, a world-renowned teacher and New York Times bestselling author. As one of the first to bring meditation and mindfulness into mainstream American culture over 45 years ago, her relatable, demystifying approach has inspired generations of meditation teachers and wellness influencers. Sharon is co-founder of The Insight Meditation Society in Barre, MA, and the author of eleven books, including the New York Times bestseller, Real Happiness, now in its second edition, her seminal work, Lovingkindness and her newest book, Real Change: Mindfulness To Heal Ourselves and the World, coming in September of 2020 from Flatiron Books. Sharon’s secular, modern approach to Buddhist teachings is sought after at schools, conferences and retreat centers around the world. Sharon is the host of her own podcast, The Metta Hour, featuring 100+ interviews with the top leaders and voices in the meditation and mindfulness movement, and her writing can be found on Medium, On Being, the Maria Shriver blog, and Huffington Post.

Rhonda V. Magee

Rhonda V. Magee (M.A. Sociology, J.D.) is a Professor of Law at the University of San Francisco and an internationally-recognized thought and practice leader focused on integrating mindfulness into higher education, law and social change work. A prolific author, she draws on law and legal history to weave storytelling, poetry, analysis and practices into inspiration for changing how we think, act and live better together in a rapidly changing world.

Born in North Carolina in 1967, Rhonda experienced a childhood of significant trauma and challenge. Yet, she was gifted with the insight that through a life of caring engagement, self-development, and service with others, she could find a way up and out. She has dedicated her life to healing and teaching in ways that support others in a journey to wholeness and justice. A student of a variety of Buddhist and other wisdom teachers, including Norman Fischer, Joan Halifax and Jon Kabat Zinn, she trained as a mindfulness teacher through the Oasis Teacher Training Institute of the University of Massachusetts Center for Mindfulness. She teaches mindfulness-based interventions, awareness, and compassion practices from a range of traditions. A former President of the board of the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society, Professor Magee is a Fellow of the Mind and Life Institute, where she recently completed a two-year term on its steering council. She is a member of the board of advisors of the University of Massachusetts Center for Mindfulness and the board of directors for the Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute.

A professor of Law for twenty years (tenured since 2004), Rhonda teaches courses dealing civil actions for personal injury and insurance recovery; courses dealing with race and inequality; and a course she co-created on mindfulness and lawyering, Rhonda is experienced in interpersonal dynamics-informed small group facilitation (supported by training, retreats, and practice through a variety of programs, including Stanford University’s Interpersonal Dynamics Facilitator Program and Gregory Kramer’s Insight Dialogue). Rhonda’s teaching and writing support compassionate conflict engagement and management; holistic problem-solving to alleviate the suffering of the vulnerable and injured; presence-based leadership in a diverse world, and humanizing approaches to education. She sees embodied mindfulness meditation and the allied disciplines of study and community engagement as keys to personal, interpersonal, and collective transformation in the face of the challenges and opportunities of our time.

Rhonda has served as a guest teacher in a variety of mindfulness teacher training programs, including those sponsored by the Mindfulness Awareness Research Center (2017, 2018), led by Diana Winston, the Engaged Mindfulness Institute, led by Fleet Maull (2017, 2018), and the Center for Mindfulness (2017), led by Saki Santorelli and Judson Brewer. She serves as daylong or retreat co-leader and solo teacher at centers including Spirit Rock Meditation Center, the Garrison Institute, the Shambhala Mountain Center, the Omega Institute, Esalen and New York Insight Meditation Center.

Aaron Stokes

Brooklyn multi-instrumentalist Aaron Stokes made his musical start on a 20-dollar Fisher-Price keyboard. Since then he’s performed alongside top artists such as Solange Knowles, Chris Martin and The Kronos Quartet, crisscrossing the unchartered path between Pop and Classical genres. Aaron recently made appearances at Carnegie Hall, The Grammys, The United Nations Head Quarters, and more. Mr.Stokes most recently debuted in Africa as cellist and pianist with the The Peace Studio, at the Ubumuntu Arts Festival in Kigali, Rwanda.

Victor Ochen

Mr. Victor Ochen is the Founder and Executive Director for African Youth Initiative Network (AYINET). Born in northern Uganda, he spent 21 years as a refugee and transformed his experiences into leading the anti-child soldiers’ recruitment campaign amidst the war in northern Uganda. He is one of the most important figures in Africa in the struggle for human rights and justice. Forbes Magazines named Ochen in 2015 as one of the 10 most powerful men in Africa, while Archbishop Desmond Tutu attested that “my heart swells with joy to see Ochen as one of the new hope for Africa”.

Through his initiative of societal healing and social transformation, he has provided reconstructive medical rehabilitation to 21,000+ war victims. Ochen’s life, work and his worldview are based on these principles of peace, morality and common humanity. He was appointed as the United Nations Goodwill Ambassadors for Peace and Justice representing SDG Goal 16. Ochen is also a member to the Global Advisory group to the UNHCR on Gender, Forced Displacement and Protection. He is the first Ugandan and the youngest ever African nominated for Nobel Peace Prize 2015.

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.

Justin Winters

Co-Founder and Executive Director, One Earth

Driven by a passion for nature, Justin Winters is committed to democratizing climate philanthropy in order to create an inclusive and impactful movement to address the climate crisis from the ground up. She is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of One Earth, a philanthropic organization working to galvanize science, advocacy and philanthropy to drive collective action on climate change. Through One Earth, she is focused on creating a vision for the world that is possible by 2050 – one in which humanity and nature coexist and thrive together. This vision is based on three pillars of action: 100% renewable energy, protection and restoration of 50% of the world’s lands and oceans, and a transition to regenerative, carbon-negative agriculture. Prior to One Earth, Justinserved as Executive Director of the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation for 13 years, where she built the organization’s grant-making program, which awarded over $100 million in grants across 60 countries and created a series of innovative philanthropic funds, including Oceans 5, Shark Conservation Fund, The Solutions Funds, Lion Recovery Fund, Elephant Crisis Fund, and Quick Response Fund for Nature.

Katie Eder

Katie Eder, 20-years-old, is the Executive Director of Future Coalition. Built by youth activists for youth activists, Future Coalition is a network of youth-led organizations and youth organizers across the US that fosters community and collaboration while providing young people with the tools, resources, and support to power their ideas and amplify their impact.

Since launching in fall of 2018, Future Coalition has been organizing young people around a variety of issues including climate change, voting, and gun violence prevention. Under Katie’s leadership, the coalition has grown to include more than 80+ youth-led organizations and thousands of youth leaders and changemakers across the country. As a major force in the youth climate movement, Future Coalition coordinates the US Youth Climate Strike Coalition, the group that organizes the national campaigns for the climate strikes in the US and led the coordination of the historic September 20 climate strike with nearly a million participants striking in over 1350 locations around the US. Future Coalition is currently supporting youth-led voter registration and get out the vote initiatives across the US.  Building on the success of their efforts in the 2018 midterm elections, where they organized and coordinated more than 500 student walkouts for Walkout To Vote which contributed to a record youth turnout, they hope to increase the youth turnout yet again in November 2020.

Recently named to Forbes 30 Under 30, Katie is also a co-founder of 50 Miles More, an organization working to end gun violence in the United States, and Kids Tales, a nonprofit that empowers kids to find their voice using creative writing. Katie is starting at Stanford this fall after taking two gap years.

Ted Danson

Ted Danson is a Golden Globe- and Emmy Award-winning actor known for an array of exceptional performances, most memorably for his portrayal of Boston bartender Sam Malone on NBC’s multi-award winning and iconic comedy “Cheers,” which ran for 11 seasons and won three Emmys as best comedy series as well as the acclaimed NBC comedy “The Good Place” for which he was nominated for his 14th Emmy Award for outstanding lead actor and received a critics choice award for his role as Michael. Danson can also be seen in the tenth season of “Curb Your Enthusiasm.” He is currently in production on “Mr. Mayor,” an upcoming NBC comedy series written and executive- produced by Tina Fey and Robert Carlock.

Previously, he had a prominent role in the second season of FX’s critically acclaimed series “Fargo.” Other credits include CBS’ long-running “CSI” and “CSI: Cyber,” FX’s “Damages” (playing tycoon Arthur Frobisher) and CBS’ “Becker” – the latter two roles for which he was Golden Globe nominated.

In film, Danson appeared in “Hearts Beat Loud,” a musical drama that premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2018. He has also appeared in several other high-profile projects, including the 1987 blockbuster hit “Three Men and a Baby” and its sequel, “Three Men and a Little Lady.” He also had a co-starring role in Steven Spielberg’s World War II masterpiece “Saving Private Ryan.”

Raised outside Flagstaff, Ariz., Danson attended Stanford University and became interested in drama during his second year in school. He then transferred to Carnegie Mellon University and graduated with his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in drama. After graduation, he was hired as an understudy in Tom Stoppard’s Off Broadway production “The Real Inspector Hound.” Danson relocated to Los Angeles in 1978 to manage the Actor’s Institute for a year-and-a-half while he taught there. Six months after his arrival in L.A., Danson earned a role in “The Onion Field” and also co-starred in the TV movie “The Women’s Room.”

In addition to acting and producing, Danson is an environmental activist, co-founding the American Oceans Campaign (AOC) in 1987 to alert Americans to the life-threatening hazards created by oil spills, off-shore development, toxic wastes, sewage pollution and other ocean abuses. The AOC merged with Oceana in 2001. Oceana works to show citizens how they can participate in protecting and restoring marine resources, and to show Congress that Americans are concerned with these issues.

Danson resides in Los Angeles with his wife, actress Mary Steenburgen.

Rhiannon Giddens

Rhiannon Giddens is a celebrated artist who excavates the past to reveal truths about our present. A MacArthur “Genius Grant” recipient, Giddens has been Grammy-nominated six times, and won once, for her work with the Carolina Chocolate Drops, a group she co-founded. She was nominated this year for her collaboration with multi-instrumentalist Francesco Turrisi, there is no Other (2019), an album that is at once a condemnation of “othering” and a celebration of the spread of ideas, connectivity, and shared experience. She has performed for the Obamas at the White House and acted in two seasons of the hit television series Nashville. Giddens has been profiled by CBS Sunday Morning, the New York Times, and NPR’s Fresh Air, among other outlets. She is featured in Ken Burns’s Country Music series, which aired on PBS last fall. In 2019, Giddens also formed the band Our Native Daughters with three other black female banjo players and contributed to and produced their album Songs of Our Native Daughters (2019), which tells stories of historic black womanhood and survival. Pitchfork has said of her “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.”

Siedah Garrett

A timeless artist known not just for her decades of award-winning singing and songwriting but also for her humanitarian spirit, Siedah Garrett, who was first discovered by Quincy Jones, has toured internationally with Michael Jackson, Jones, Madonna, Sergio Mendes, Wang Chung, and The Brand New Heavies, is both a pillar of the music industry and a rare example of kindness in its often-competitive landscape. As the co-creator of Michael Jackson’s mega-hit “Man in the Mirror,” and having recorded as duet partner on his chart-topping BAD album lead single “I Just Can’t Stop Loving You”, Siedah became famous as a young singer/songwriter bursting with creativity and compassion. Now, amidst a changing world and a new generation, Siedah has never stopped using her gifts to make the world a better place while being recognized as one of the greatest vocal talents of our time. Even after winning a GRAMMY and being nominated twice for Academy Awards, Siedah Garrett still believes her greatest accomplishment is the lives she’s changed for the better— both with her music and her many acts of charity and service. 

Artists who have recorded on her songs include mentor Quincy Jones, Common, Aretha Franklin, Miles Davis, Earth Wind & Fire, Jamie Foxx, Jennifer Hudson, and many others. Siedah’s music also has been extremely popular among film and television productions and was featured in Love Jones, The Lego Batman Movie, Rio, Rio 2, Dreamgirls, Batman, Lean On Me, Fast Forward, Baby Boom, The Voice, Netflix’s Fuller House, and the hugely successful Playstation video game Nioh. Her success in music lead to her being named a regular guest host of Casey Kasem’s America’s Top Ten, along with a few standout acting roles in hit tv series including Facts of Life and Amen. Siedah Garrett is also a member of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences – Music Branch/Executive Committee and a rotating member of the Board of Governors of the Recording Academy’s Los Angeles Chapter. She has served as in-studio vocal producer for American Idol and worked as voiceover talent for Toyota of Southern California for over 16 years. 

In 2019 Siedah partnered with Academy Award-nominated composer John Debney, to create songs for a musical theater holiday production entitled “My Silent Night” and is now collaborating with multi-GRAMMY winning composer/producer Harvey Mason Jr. on the musical theater production of Will Smith’s blockbuster film, “The Pursuit of Happyness.” She also has signed on as featured songwriter for the 4th and final season of the hit Netflix series, “Dear White People.” 

Garrett recently released a new, thought-provoking single, “The New Frontier (Say Their Names)”, in tribute to George Floyd and all other African- American men, women and children who have been murdered by the police (with all proceeds being donated to the Black Lives Matter organization). She continues to reside in Los Angeles and is married to former RCA Records VP/A&R, Erik Nuri, who also serves as her talent manager.


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.

Monica Watkins

Monica Watkins, former Ford model, artist and philanthropist, combined her passion for helping others and an understanding of the power of art and created Art in Motion (AIM) in 2008. AIM served as a platform to seek out and nurture young, disadvantaged youth, allowing them to reach their potential and enhance the world around them by setting an example of giving, hope and achievement. AIM emphasized charity, social consciousness, artistic freedom and global harmony. Through AIM, Monica created art, music, fashion, and photography workshops to more than 1,500 children in Europe, Haiti, SE Asia, Asia and the US working with incredible organizations and programs. 

Additionally, Monica is Co-owner of CTM Sisters Productions, a production company with a focus on nonprofits and women’s empowerment initiatives. She is a Director/Producer/Editor and has worked with clients such as American Express, Weight Watcher’s Direct Relief, Zac Posen, Sony Music and ABC Carpet and Home.

Monica is also the Co-Founder and Executive Director of Beauty for Freedom (BFF), a New York City based anti-trafficking non-profit. Through BFF’s travel abroad teaching programming and advocacy, more than 3000 of survivors of sex trafficking and at-risk youth have been supported globally through the arts, music, skills-training and fashion projects. These empowerment initiatives are meant to promote self-esteem and self-worth.

Roberta Baskin

During an investigative reporting career that spanned 35 years, Roberta Baskin earned more than 75 journalism awards, including three duPont Columbia Awards, two George Foster Peabody Awards, and multiple Emmys. The results of her investigations have changed and improved government and corporate practices affecting health care, worker safety and consumer protections.

Five years ago, Roberta shifted away from uncovering wrongdoing to focus on global corporations and businesses demonstrating exemplary conduct. Working with the Weatherhead School of Business at Case Western Reserve University, Roberta created, a platform showcasing stories of innovation researched and written by business school students from more than 80 countries. These stories have succeeded in introducing the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals to the next generation of global business leaders. Roberta was selected as a Top 100 Visionary Leaders by Real Leaders magazine.

At the heart of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals is climate action, the focus of Roberta’s current role on the Board of Directors for Earth’s Call.

Roberta’s other career highlights include serving as Chief Investigative Correspondent for the CBS News magazine “48 Hours,” Executive Director of the Center for Public Integrity, Senior Washington Correspondent for “NOW with Bill Moyers,” and Senior Investigative Producer for ABC News “20/20.” Roberta also taught a graduate school course on investigative reporting at Georgetown University. Roberta received a Nieman Fellowship at Harvard University and served on the Foundation’s Executive Committee. She also was named an Ethics Fellow at the Poynter Institute.

Dawn Porter

Dawn Porter is an award-winning documentary filmmaker whose work has appeared on HBO, PBS, Discovery, and Netflix among others.  She is currently directing and executive producing an Apple TV multi-part documentary series with Oprah Winfrey and Prince Harry, which focuses on both mental illness and mental well-being. 

Other current projects include the documentary Vernon Jordan: Make It Plain which explores Vernon Jordan’s rise from the segregated South to become one of the most influential African American thought leaders in America; John Lewis: Good Trouble for CNN Films, which explores late Congressman John Lewis’ pivotal role in the Civil Rights movement and decades of political and social activism on important issues including voting rights, immigration laws, and much more; and an untitled documentary project about Photojournalist Pete Souza, who served as Chief Official White House photographer for President Barack Obama and previously as an Official White House photographer for President Ronald Reagan.

Dawn also directed and produced the acclaimed four-hour Netflix original series Bobby Kennedy for President, which was released in 2018 and premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival.

A two-time Sundance festival Director, her film Trapped which explored laws regulating abortion clinics in the South won the special jury social-impact prize at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival, in addition to a Peabody and numerous other awards.

Her 2013 documentary Gideon’s Army premiered on HBO and won best editing at Sundance. Gideon’s Army was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award and an Emmy, and is part of the U.S. Department of State’s American Film Showcase.   

Dawn also directed and produced Spies of Mississippi, a critically-acclaimed historical documentary that was part of the Independent Lens series on PBS.  In 2015 Dawn directed and produced Rise: The Promise of My Brother’s Keeper, a film for The Discovery Channel chronicling President Obama’s program to help young men of color succeed.

Dawn has been commissioned to create films for the Center for Investigative Reporting, Time and Essence Magazines, The New York Times Op Docs, and Amazon.  Her work has received generous support from the MacArthur Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Mellon Foundation, Tribeca Film Institute, Sundance Film Institute, Chicken & Egg Pictures and other esteemed organizations. She is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the Television Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the Directors Guild of America. 

Georgie Badiel

Georgie Badiel Liberty (born February 7, 1985) is a Burkinabé model and activist living and working in New York City. Badiel was Miss Burkina Faso in 2003 and Miss Africa 2004.

She is also an author and activist who has taken on the issue of the lack of potable drinking water in her West African homeland. Therein she runs the Georgie Badiel Foundation which is dedicated to raising funds to support the cause.

Now together with the children’s book author, Peter H. Reynolds and Susan Verde, she has co-created the book The Water Princess, a picture book which tells the story of her West African nation’s desperate need for aquifers through her life as a young girl who dreams of bringing clean water to her people. The book was published by Penguin Random House in 2016.

Nina Grollman

Nina Grollman is an actor and musician who was most recently Scout Finch in To Kill A Mockingbird on Broadway. She also makes pop music under the moniker Softee. Nina is a part of the LGBTQ community and passionate about accurate representation of the spectrum both in the entertainment industry and in global society. She believes in intersectionality and thinks it’s paramount to the global fight for equal rights for LGBT people. Most importantly, there’s been a spike in violence and prejudice against black trans people that must be addressed both in lawmaking and in media representation. These are the most marginalized members of the LGBT community and must be given the most support from the community and the world at large.

Jeffrey Gettleman

Jeffrey Gettleman, a winner of the Pulitzer Prize in 2012 for international reporting, is The Times’s South Asia bureau chief, based in New Delhi. His work has appeared in National Geographic, GQ, Foreign Policy and The New York Review of Books. He studied philosophy at Cornell University before winning a Marshall Scholarship to study at Oxford. He was previously the East Africa bureau chief, based in Kenya, from 2006 to 2017. He is the author of “Love, Africa,” a memoir about his experiences in Africa and a whole bunch of other things.

Ger Duany

Ger Duany was born in Akobo, South Sudan. He is the fifth child of ten born to mother Nyathak Muon Weng, and father Thabac Duany Wunbiel. He was forcefully recruited as a child soldier during the Second Sudanese Civil War. However, Duany successfully fled to Ethiopia for second a time, at age 14, then to Kenya and finally sought refuge in The United States when he was only sixteen, hence becoming one of the Lost Boys of Sudan. Duany made his debut as an actor in the 2004 philosophical comedy film “I Heart Huckabees,” in which he played a refugee called Stephen Nimieri. Duany was picked for the role because the film’s producer and director David O. Russell wanted someone who had endured the real life experience of being a refugee. In 2010, Duany made an uncredited appearance in another Russell film, “The Fighter,” starring Mark Wahlberg and Christian Bale. He later had a much important role in the 2011 drama “Restless City.” In 2010, he produced and starred in the documentary “Ger: To Be Separate,” about his search for his family, after 18 years apart, his long journey from a war child to a refugee to a Hollywood actor and an international model, his return to South Sudan, voting for the first time and celebrating the country’s newly acquired independence on July 9, 2011.

Pam Omidyar

Pam is dedicated to building a world where everyone has the right to a life that is peaceful and free. Guided by their common beliefs that people are good and capable, and that societal well-being is accomplished through empowered individuals, adaptive, aligned communities and accountable institutions, Pam co-founded The Omidyar Group with Pierre Omidyar.

The Omidyar Group creates, funds and fosters a diverse collection of independent organizations and initiatives that place bets on new ideas and creative strategies in five main areas: Accountability & Governance, Capital Investments & Technology, Courageous Leadership, Engaged & Resilient Societies, and Media. While each independent organization has the freedom to pursue what they believe has potential, they are united in a collaborative vision to improve the lives of people and societies.

Pam has a bachelor’s degree in biology from Tufts University, a master’s in plant molecular genetics from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and is a perpetual learner. She serves on several advisory and trustee boards, loves quilting and being in and on the ocean.

His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama

His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, describes himself as a simple Buddhist monk. He is the spiritual leader of Tibet. He was born on 6 July 1935, to a farming family, in a small hamlet located in Taktser, Amdo, northeastern Tibet. At the age of two, the child, then named Lhamo Dhondup, was recognized as the reincarnation of the previous 13th Dalai Lama, Thubten Gyatso.

The Dalai Lamas are believed to be manifestations of Avalokiteshvara or Chenrezig, the Bodhisattva of Compassion and the patron saint of Tibet. Bodhisattvas are realized beings inspired by a wish to attain Buddhahood for the benefit of all sentient beings, who have vowed to be reborn in the world to help humanity.