Current & Past Presenters

Meraj Allahrakha is the spiritual leader of the George Washington University Muslim Students” Association in Washington, D.C. http://www.gwu.edu

Rooknudeen Ali is a lay leader with, and a board member of, theIslamic Society of the Washington Area. http://www.iswamd.org

Imam Dr. Mohamad Bashar Arafat graduated from Damascus University and has served as an Imam in Syria and in various mosques and centers in the U.S. He has taught courses on Islamic Studies at several American universities. He is the founder of the Civilizations Exchange & Cooperation Foundation in Baltimore, MD and is deeply involved in interfaith work, both nationally and internationally. http://www.cecf-net.org

Rabbi Dr. Charles Arian is the spiritual leader of Kehilat Shalom in Gaithersburg, MD. He has spoken and published widely in the area of Christian-Jewish relations. Rabbi Charles has served as a Hillel director, a university administrator, and a think-tank scholar. He spent a year as a Scholar-in-Residence at a Trappist monastery in northern California. http://kehilatshalom.org

Swami Dr. Atmajnanananda is a Hindu monk at the Vedanta Center of Washington, D.C. He is an author and a scholar in Indian philosophy and holds a doctorate in oriental studies from the University of Pennsylvania. http://vedantadc.org

Klia Bassing is a meditation teacher with the Insight Meditation Community of Washington. She also is the founder of “Visit Yourself at Work” which provides secular mindfulness meditation instruction for stress reduction at work places, such as the World Bank Group, American Psychological Association, and the Internal Revenue Service. She served on the Board of Directors of the Interfaith Meditation Initiative. https://imcw.org

Rabbi Dr. Leila Gal Berner is the spiritual leader of Kol Ami: The Northern Virginia Reconstructionist Community. She serves as Dean of Students in the ordination program of the Alliance for Jewish Renewal. She was the founding director of the Center for Jewish Ethics at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College. Rabbi Berner served for over a decade as Scholar-in-Residence in the Department of Philosophy and Religion at American University and taught at four other universities. http://kolaminvrc.org

Harry Chauss is a lay leader with the Jewish Mindfulness Center of Washington, and a rabbinic candidate. http://adasisrael.org/jmcw

Reverend Carol Cook is Pastor of First Christian Church Baltimore. She holds the Masters of Theology and Masters of Church Ministries degrees from the Ecumenical Institute of Theology of St. Mary’s Seminary and the University of Baltimore. Reverend Cook entered the ministry after a career as a college and secondary school teacher of French language. http://baltimoredisciples.org

Reverend Carole Crumley is Senior Program Director of the Shalem Institute For Spiritual Formation in Washington, D.C. She is an Episcopal priest who has directed programs for executives seeking to deepen the spiritual grounding of their leadership, and for congregational clergy seeking to nurture their ministry leadership. Reverend Crumley served for fifteen years as the Washington National Cathedral’s canon pastor and canon educator. http://www.shalem.org

Reverend Dr. Kathy Dwyer is Pastor of Rock Spring Congregational United Church of Christ in Arlington, VA. After graduating from the Methodist Theological School in Ohio, she served rural, urban, and suburban churches. The title of her doctoral thesis at Chicago Theological Seminary is “The Largest Table Effect: Preaching to Cultivate Compassion, Justice, and Inclusion in the Urban Church.” http://www.rockspringucc.org

Reverend Dr. Joseph Eldridge is University Chaplain of American University in Washington, D.C. and teaches in the School of International Service and the School of Communication. He has spent more than twenty-five years working in the public policy arena as an advocate and analyst on international human rights and humanitarian issues. In 1991 he established the Washington Office of the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights. http://www.american.edu

Sr. Farhanahz Ellis is the Interfaith and Outreach Director for the All Dulles Area Muslim Society in northern Virginia, and chaplain for the Muslim Campus Ministry at George Mason University. http://www.adamscenter.org

Dr. Gregory Finch is executive director of the Community of Reconciliation at the Washington National Cathedral. Dr. Finch serves as adjunct assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the George Washington University School of Medicine as well as adjunct faculty at Wesley Theological Seminary. He is a speaker, conference facilitator, and consultant with Wild Geese Among Us in the domains of the spiritual life, wisdom leadership, and wellness. http://www.nationalcathedral.org

Reverend Dr. Carol Flett is the Ecumenical and Inter-religious Officer of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington and Chair of the Board at the Interfaith Conference of Metropolitan Washington. http://www.edow.org

Rabbi Becca Gould, formerly Interim Rabbi at Congregation Beit Tikvah in Baltimore, is now Director of Education and Youth Programming at Congregation Beth El in South Orange, NJ. She has worked as a community organizer for the DREAM Act and has been involved with Jewish justice work advocating for economic and racial equality. http://www.bethelnj.org

Father Horace “Tuck” Grinnell is Pastor of St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church in Arlington, VA. For fifteen years, he served as Pastor of St. Anthony of Padua Parish in Falls Church, VA. He graduated from the University of Louvain, Belgium. http://stcharleschurch.org

Reverend Trish Hall is the Senior Minister of the Celebration Center for Spiritual Living in Falls Church, VA. http://celebrationcenter.org

Sister Ruth Harkins, IHM is Associate Campus Minister for Graduate and Professional Students at The Catholic University of America. http://www.cua.edu

Deborah Ratner Helzer teaches Buddhist meditation with the Insight Meditation Community of Washington. She spent a year as a Theravadan nun in Burma and, since 2002, has been teaching in the Washington, D.C. region and assisting at retreats around the country. https://imcw.org

Robyn Helzner, who co-led one of IMI’s participatory interfaith concerts (“meditation through sacred chant”), serves as the Cantorial Soloist at Temple Sinai and also leads Shabbat services at the Sixth and I Historic Synagogue in Washington, D.C. The story of her underground concerts in the former Soviet Union, which led to sold-out performances in Moscow and St. Petersburg, was told on a Public Television special. http://www.helzner.com

Father Timothy Hickey, C.S.Sp. is Pastor of Our Lady Queen of Peace in Arlington, VA. He is the former Executive Director of Mission and Identity at Duquesne University and past Chair of the President’s Diversity Council of the university. Father Tim leads meditation retreats for Catholic priests and nuns. He lived in the Middle East during graduate studies. http://olqpva.org

Ajahn Dr. Handy Inthisan is a Buddhist monk from Thailand and the Abbott of Wat Thai Buddhist Monastery in Silver Spring, MD. http://www.watthaidc.org

Reverend Ellen Jennings is Pastor of Cleveland Park Congregational United Church of Christ in Washington, D.C. Previously, she served as Director of Religious Education and Interim Spiritual Director for eight years at The Interfaith Families Project, an independent interfaith community of Jewish and Christian families. http://cpcchurch.org

Imam Faizul Khan is the spiritual leader of the Islamic Society of the Washington Area. He was Imam of the Muslim Community Center in Silver Spring, MD, an executive member of Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), and a board member of the InterFaith Conference of Metropolitan Washington. At the Islamic Center of Washington, he served as Chairman of the Muslim Committee for International Refugees for 15 years. http://www.iswamd.org

Ani Rinchen Khandro is a Buddhist nun from the Kunzang Palyul Choling Tibetan Buddhist Temple in Poolesville, MD. She has traveled and taught meditation classes extensively and been instrumental in establishing Buddhist meditation programs in several Maryland state prisons. http://www.tara.org

Dr. Dhanajaya Kumar, founder of India International School of Chantilly, VA, writes extensively on spiritual issues, and teaches meditation and yoga. He worked at the World Bank for over twenty-five years. http://www.indiaschool.org

Rabbi Dr. David Kuperman serves as Associate Rabbi with Hevrat Shalom Congregation in Gaithersburg, MD. He earned a doctorate from Indiana University and a Masters in Rabbinics from Baltimore Hebrew University. http://www.hevratshalom.org

Rabbi Gilah Langner is a Director of the Washington Jewish Healing Network, an adjunct professor at The Catholic University of America and The George Washington University, and visiting Jewish chaplain to Georgetown University Hospital. She teaches meditation at the Jewish Mindfulness Center of Washington and served on the Board of Directors of the Interfaith Meditation Initiative. http://adasisrael.org/jmcw

Dr. Dale Lupu teaches meditation with Fabrangen Independent Havurah in Washington, D.C. Formerly CEO of the American Board of Hospice and Palliative Medicine, Dr. Lupu helped guide formation of the physician sub-specialty of hospice and palliative medicine. http://www.fabrangen.org

Dr. Gyanendra Mahapatra is a Hindu priest and meditation teacher. He was the personal physician to the late Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the founder of Transcendental Meditation (TM). http://www.tm.org

Professor Surjit Mansingh is the Sikh chaplain at American University and teaches in the university’s School of International Service. She retired from her position as Professor and Chairperson, Centre for International Politics at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. She has taught at other universities in the U.S., India and Europe and began her professional life as a member of the Indian Foreign Service. She is the author of many books and papers on foreign relations and Indian history. http://www.american.edu

Imam Johari Abdul-Malik is the Director of Outreach at the Dar Al Hijrah Islamic Center and past leader of the National Association of Muslim Chaplains in Higher Education. He serves as the chair of government relations for the Muslim Alliance in North America. http://www.hijrah.org/ns

Reverend Dom Simon McGurk, OSB is the Prior of St. Anselm’s Abbey in Washington, D.C. He is from Belmont Abbey in Hereford, England where he was Headmaster of the school and later Guest and Retreat Master of the abbey. Before coming to St. Anselm’s Abbey, he was Superior of the Benedictine monastery in Tambogrande, Peru. http://www.stanselms.org

Nicole Meister leads Christian meditation groups at Our Lady Queen of Peace in Arlington, VA. She is affiliated with the World Community for Christian Meditation. http://www.WCCM.org

Rabbi Tamara Miller is a counselor at the George Washington University’s Center for Integrative Medicine in Washington, D.C. She was the Director of Spiritual Care at George Washington University Hospital hospital for eight years. For a decade, she was involved in congregational work on the East and West coasts. http://www.gwcim.com

Dr. Hedieh Mirahmadi is President of the World Organization for Resource Development and Education (WORDE), an educational organization whose mission is to enhance communication and understanding between Muslim and non-Muslim communities to mitigate political instability and to promote international security. She serves as a consultant to promote social cohesion, interfaith social action and resilience against the recruitment tactics of extremist movements. She is the founder of the International Cultural Center. http://www.worde.org

Rabbi Jack Moline has led Agudas Achim Congregation in Alexandria, VA since 1987. He is chair of the board of the directors of The Interfaith Alliance, a national advocacy organization, and vice-president of the regional Rabbinical Assembly. He serves on the national board of the Faith and Politics Institute. He has served as President of the Washington Board of Rabbis and the Alexandria Interfaith Association and has been active in interfaith groups, ongoing dialogues with African American ministers and social justice causes at home and abroad. http://www.agudasachim-va.org

Reverend Dr. Karen Covey Moore is co-founder of the Fellowship of United Methodist Spiritual Directors and Retreat Leaders, and founder of Chabereth Ministries. She previously served as pastor for churches in the Peninsula- Delaware Conference of The United Methodist Church, and served as a pediatric chaplain at the Medical Center of Delaware. http://fumsdrl.org

Rabbi Mark Novak is the spiritual leader of Minyan Oneg Shabbat, which he founded, in Washington, D.C. He has served as rabbi or hazzan at many Washington area congregations, including Adas Israel, Kol Shalom, Temple Emmanuel, Temple Sinai, and Bethesda Jewish Congregation. http://www.minyanonegshabbat.org

John Osborne is a lay leader with Cleveland Park Congregational United Church of Christ in Washington, D.C. Mr. Osborne utilizes Lectio Divina when teaching meditation. http://cpcchurch.org

Venerable Bhante Pannawansa is a Buddhist monk born in Sri Lanka and currently teaching at the Washington Buddhist Vihara. He was invited to make presentations on behalf of human rights in Oslo, Stockholm, Rome, and Berlin. Fluent in French, English, and his native Sinhala, Ven. Pannawansa has translated the works of His Holiness The Dalai Lama, Thich Nhat Hanh, Kahlil Gibran, Rumi, Paul Coelho, Omar Khyyam, Victor Hugo, Andre Gide, and Moliere from French into Sinhala, and other works from Sinhala into French. http://www.buddhistvihara.com

Cantor Larry Paul leads a regular Shabbat service at the Sixth & I Historic Synagogue in Washington, D.C. He is a certified financial planner with Raymond James Financial, Inc. and served on the Board of Directors of the Interfaith Meditation Initiative. http://www.sixthandi.org

Dr. Elena Mustakova-Possardt, a member of the metro-D.C. Baha’i community, is an author, psychologist, and educational & organizational consultant with twenty-three years of experience in diverse cultural and socio-economic contexts on four continents. She is invited to offer keynote addresses and conference presentations and to serve on expert panels, including an interfaith panel co-sponsored by the Carter Center. http://www.dcbahai.org

Sri Bhoopendra Prakash is a lay leader and meditation teacher with Arya Samaj Hindu Organization.

Father Carlos Quijano, O.P. serves as Catholic Chaplain at American University; he is based at the Dominican House of Studies in Washington, D.C. Previously, Father Carlos served as the Coordinator of Catholic Chaplaincy for the New York-Presbyterian Hospital and Cornell University Medical Center, and as Assistant Catholic Chaplain at Memorial Sloane-Kettering Center and the New York Hospital for Special Surgery. He also served as the Assistant Catholic Chaplain at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. http://www.dhspriory.org

Krishna Ramdas, who co-led one of IMI’s participatory interfaith concerts (“meditation through sacred chant”) is affiliated with the Durga Temple of Virginia. He learned Tabla starting at a young age from Shri Ravindra Nikte, a leading artist in All India Radio. Krishna has accompanied a number of eminent artists in both the Hindustani and Carnatic style of Indian music. http://www.durgatemple.org

Rabbi Jonathan Roos is the Senior Rabbi at Temple Sinai in Washington, D.C. He has served on various boards, and with a variety of leadership groups, including the Bet Shraga Hebrew Academy and The Jewish Federation of Monmouth County. http://www.templesinaidc.org

Mandira Sarkar, who co-led one of IMI’s participatory interfaith concerts, is affiliated with the Washington Kali Temple. Mrs. Sarkar enjoys a musical career that spans cities within the United States, India, and the United Kingdom. A former All India Radio artist, Mandira received her Masters in Music from Rabinda Bharati University in Kolkata, India. She has performed at the Smithsonian Institution, Embassy of India, and North America Bengali Conference, among other venues. http://kalitemple-washington.org

Dr. Sanaa Sharnoubi is a member of the greater-D.C. Sufi Muslim community. She is an instructor, academic adviser, and counselor with Montgomery College and a licensed clinical counselor in private practice.

Rabbi David Shneyer is the founder, director, and spiritual leader of Am Kolel Jewish Renewal Community of Greater Washington. He is the past president of the Rabbinic Association of Jewish Renewal Rabbis and is the founder and leader of The Fabrangen Fiddlers, a Jewish folk music band. http://www.Am-Kolel.org

Dr. Terri Lynn Simpson directs the contemplative program, Cathedral Crossroads, at the Washington National Cathedral. She is the former assistant director for the Center for Prayer and Pilgrimage at the National Cathedral. She is a certified teacher of Centering Prayer. http://www.nationalcathedral.org

Rajdeep Singh is a lay leader with the Sikh National Gurdwara in Washington, D.C. http://sikhgurdwaradc.org

Rabbi Gil Steinlauf is the Senior Rabbi of Adas Israel Congregation in Washington, D.C. He serves on the boards of the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington, the Washington Board of Rabbis, and the Washington Chapter of the American Jewish Committee. He also sits on the Chancellor’s Advisory Committee of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America. He is the founder of the Jewish Mindfulness Center of Washington. http://adasisrael.org

Venerable Hae In Ernest Lissabet Sunim is a spiritual leader of Bo Hyun Sa Temple, Taego Zen Order of Korea, located in Oxon Hill, MD. http://www.taegowashington.com/home.htm

Swamini Svatmavidyananda, a Hindu monastic, is a leader with Arsha Vijnana Gurukulam in Eugene Oregon and a disciple of Swami Dayananda Saraswathi. She is a former professor at the University of California, Berkeley. http://www.arshavm.org

Anna Tecson is lay leader with Ekoji Buddhist Temple in Fairfax, VA. She is a graduate of the Buddhist Studies Program, Jodo Shinshu Center, in Berkeley. Ms. Tecson also is Director of First Thought Yoga in Arlington, VA. http://www.ekoji.org

Venerable Bhante Uparatana is the founder of the International Buddhist Center in Wheaton, MD. He has served as the Buddhist chaplain at American University in Washington, D.C. since 1989 where he also teaches Vipassana meditation. http://www.ibcdc.org/temples/ibc.htm

Brother Stephan Andre Waligur is a monk who leads retreats and gatherings internationally. He has served as Liturgical Musician for the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in Washington, D.C., as chaplain at American University, adjunct faculty at Memphis Theological Seminary, and Music Director at Theological College in Washington, D.C. http://www.songsofpeace.net

Wade Wallace is the Pastor of Community of Christ in Washington, D.C. Prior to becoming a pastor, Wade held a variety of management positions at Gateway, Verizon Wireless, and MCI. http://www.cofchrist.org

Reverend Randy Lord-Wilkinson is Rector of the Episcopal Church of the Ascension in Gaithersburg, MD. Previously, he served for twelve years as Rector of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Bremerton, WA. His experience with classical Christian spirituality, especially Centering Prayer and the Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius of Loyola, is that prayer impels Christians into social justice. He practices and teaches yoga. http://www.ascensionmd.org

Imam Haytham Younis is a leader with the Islamic Center of Maryland and the International Cultural Center, and is co-founder of the Jewish-Islamic Dialogue Society of Washington. http://www.icomd.org

Waleed Ziad is Director of South and Central Asian projects at the World Organization for Resource Development & Education. His articles on politics, history, and ideological trends in the Muslim world have appeared in the N.Y. Times, International Herald Tribune, Foreign Policy, Christian Science Monitor, and major dailies internationally. He was formerly a manager and economic consultant with Deloitte & Touche and Ernst & Young in Montreal, Bucharest, and Washington, D.C. http://www.worde.org




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"I've co-led two interfaith meditation events, each time with Jewish and Muslim faith leaders...I connected with the devotion of my colleagues, and the language of their meditations became a portal for me to a place beyond words.” Reverend Randy Lord-Wilkinson, Episcopal Church of the Ascension, Maryland; IMI meditation co-leader