Skip to main content

Program + Presenters

Presenters + Commentators


Presenters + Commentators

Dr. Julian Abel

Throughout his career as a palliative care physician, Dr. Julian Abel has become increasingly involved in finding ways of building compassionate communities to support people at end-of-life.

Since 2016, he has worked with Frome, UK Medical Practice in Somerset, UK to develop a new model of primary care combined with compassionate communities, one of the most effective therapeutic tools we have in improving length of life and well-being. The health outcomes of this model have been dramatic, with this being the first intervention that has been effective in reducing population emergency admissions. 

Along with Professor Allan Kellehear, Dr. Abel formed Compassionate Communities UK, which he is Director with a mandate to develop the broader rollout of compassionate communities in both primary care and end-of-life care. Projects are underway in multiple areas in the UK, and several international cities. 

Dr. Abel is joint author of The Compassion Project, along with the prize-winning novelist Lindsay Clarke. The book describes the background to the Frome Project, its implementation and the wider implications of the application of compassion both in medicine and in society at large.

He has published regularly on models of public health palliative care, is an international keynote speaker, appears in media and runs a podcast, Survival of the Kindest. 


MaryCatherine Burgess

Dividing her time between Edinburgh, Scotland, UK, and Omaha, NE, USA, MaryCatherine has taught English and Religion in secondary schools; served as a university multifaith chaplain, teacher, research fellow, and honorary fellow at the University of Edinburgh; and has worked as a human relations consultant, licensed professional counselor, shamanic practitioner and teacher, manager of medical management and director of quality integration at the Union Pacific Railroad, and as trainer/practitioner of psychodrama and sociometry. She has been a CTT Facilitator with Barrett Values Centre since 2006, an IONS Conscious Aging Facilitator since 2014, and a Boundless Compassion Facilitator since 2018. In August of 2020, she became a Certified Facilitator of Compassionate Integrity Training through the Center for Compassion, Integrity and Secular Ethics at Life University.


Sue Cooper

Sue Cooper is a Mindfulness and Meditation Teacher and Holistic Lifestyle Coach with over four decades of Registered Nurse experience in clinical care, management and education. She qualified from The Chopra Centre for Well-being as an Ayurvedic Lifestyle Instructor under the founder Dr. Deepak Chopra. She was privileged to complete a one year voluntary position as Health and Well-being Ambassador to The High Sheriff of Nottingham 2015/16 where the focus was on conversations, collaborations and connections around ‘Co-creating Compassionate Integrative Care Communities’.

For the last 12 years she has been exploring through travel and volunteering, natural healing modalities from indigenous cultures around the world, their applications to modern day self care and the fusion with scientific research from health care, also known as integrative care.

Sue is an Ambassador to Nottinghamshire Hospice, Nottingham Mindfulness Group and the Positively Empowered Kids (PEK) network and works actively to continue to inspire positive Well-being in communities. As founder of Moments of Mass Mindfulness (MOMM) and Self Care World, she is developing a framework that Integrates self care and health care through natural practices, arts and the sciences.


Ann Helmke

Rev. Ann Helmke is an ordained Lutheran minister (ELCA) who co-founded peaceCENTER in 1995, an all-volunteer, San Antonio based, interfaith organization. Ann is the Faith Liaison for the City of San Antonio, TX, a community to which she has dedicated her time for the past 30 years. Prior to that she served as the Director of Spiritual Services at Haven for Hope, a transformational center for those without permanent shelter in their lives. Additionally, during those 30 years, she taught theology and spirituality at the University of the Incarnate Word and Texas Lutheran University, led workshops and retreats and was involved in mission development. She co-authored several books and was involved with civic engagement from a social justice perspective. Rev. Helmke considers Peace is Our BirthRight as her most important book which pales in comparison to the seven babies she is passing peace onto in her life: 2 daughters, 2 sons-in-love, 2 gorgeous grand-boys and 1 vivacious grand-girl!


Gerthe Lamers

Gerthe is a pioneer, organizer and connector and is involved in organizing cultural projects in the field of art, spirituality and sustainability. In the past she launched initiatives such as: KomPassie Lochem, Cultural Café Lochem, Levende Namen (secular All Souls Day celebration with art and rituals), Requiem concerts relating to All Souls' Day, exhibitions and meetups in the field of sustainability and the new economy. She studied Philosophy, Theology and Religion. She worked as a teacher at the Waldorf School in Zutphen, as an online editor for Zinweb (internet site for liberal churches) and as a culture broker for the municipality of Lochem. Gerthe is active as an ambassador for the international organization Stop Ecocide. In 2009, she attended the launch of the Charter for Compassion in Amsterdam. Rabbi Awraham Soetendorp read the text for the first time in the Netherlands. It had a big impact on her and from then on, she decided to fully support and work for Compassion. In 2014, she co-founded the Charter for Compassion Netherlands foundation with Monica Neomagus. Together they developed various initiatives for this foundation, such as the annual presentation of the national Compassion Prize. Since January 2021, the Foundation Charter for Compassion Netherlands has merged with the national Movement of Mercy/Beweging van Barmhartigheid. Gerthe is part of the newly formed board. Since then, the Movement of Mercy has also become the organization that maintains contact with the Charter for Compassion and is internationally known as: Charter for Compassion Netherlands. Gerthe has been an enthusiastic visitor to the Parliament of the World's Religions since 2009, and attended the gathering in Melbourne, Salt Lake City and Toronto. This year she attended the online conference in October 2021. She is married to Martin Lamers and has 3 children and 2 grandchildren.


Colum McCann

Colum McCann is the author of seven novels and three collections of stories. Born and raised in Dublin, Ireland, he has been the recipient of many international honours, including the National Book Award, the International Dublin Impac Prize, a Chevalier des Arts et Lettres from the French government, election to the Irish arts academy, several European awards, the 2010 Best Foreign Novel Award in China, and an Oscar nomination. In 2017 he was elected to the American Academy of Arts.  His work has been published in over 40 languages.

He is the co-founder of the non-profit global story exchange organisation, Narrative 4, and he teaches at the MFA program in Hunter College.  He lives in New York with his wife, Allison, and their family.


Prexy Nesbitt

Prexy Nesbitt has spent more than five decades as an educator, activist and speaker on Africa, foreign policy, and racism. He has made more than 100 trips to Africa, including trips taken in secret to apartheid-torn South Africa. His career has also included extensive consulting and training on class, race, multiculturalism, and diversity. An experienced teacher and lecturer at both the high school and university levels, he also worked as a social worker, union organizer, special assistant to the late Mayor Harold Washington and senior program officer with the MacArthur Foundation in Chicago.

A graduate of the University College of Dar Es Salaam and Antioch College, he was active in the U.S., Canada, and Europe in the struggle to end apartheid and worked to end colonialism in Angola, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and Namibia. From 1979 to 1983, he worked worldwide as the program director of the World Council of Churches Program to Combat Racism based in Geneva, Switzerland. In the late ’80s, he served as senior consultant to the Mozambique government, organizing in North America to prevent the apartheid-backed rebel movement, RENAMO, from gaining official support from the Reagan administration and its allies.

Today, he travels the U.S. speaking on social justice issues relating to race, multiculturalism, and diversity; community and labor organizing; and militarism and war, especially in relation to Africa. He founded and currently leads Making the Road (MTR), an educational project that aims to make in-person links across national, ethnic, and racial borders and generations to foster progressive analysis and activism on different axes of racial, social, cultural, and economic justice.


Priyanka Handa Ram

Priyanka Handa Ram is social entrepreneur and children’s author who is pioneering programmes that transform how the world educates, protects and cares for young children. She does this through consulting work, programme innovation and community initiatives, which encourage collaboration and responsibility – focusing on the most sustainable and scalable methods of Early Childhood Care and Education.

Priyanka is the founder/director of multiple early childhood organisations in Botswana including Learn To Play, a social enterprise that uplifts communities through Play. She has been awarded with the title of ChangeMaker of Botswana for her work in Education and is a Global Leader for Young Children through the World Forum Foundation and her schools and programmes have been showcased on global platforms for their impact including an early learning COVID-19 response rooted in play and wellbeing.

Some of her most rewarding work has been training young people, teachers and parents across Africa, as well as presenting at global events, delivering key addresses on Play, Education and Community Development.

But most importantly, according to her, she’s the mum of two wonderful children who inspire her to cultivate play and nurturing care for positive impact.


Karen Armstrong

Karen Armstrong is the author of numerous books on religious affairs-including A History of God, The Battle for God, Holy War, Islam, Buddha, and The Great Transformation as well as two memoirs, Through the Narrow Gateand The Spiral Staircase. Her work has been translated into forty-five languages. She has addressed members of the U.S. Congress on three occasions; lectured to policy makers at the U.S. State Department; participated in the World Economic Forum in New York, Jordan, and Davos; addressed the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington and New York; is increasingly invited to speak in Muslim countries; and is now an ambassador for the UN Alliance of Civilizations.

Karen Armstrong won the 2008 TED Prize. Her wish asked the TED organization to help her assemble the Charter for Compassion, a document around which religious leaders can work together for peace. In late fall 2008, the first draft of the document was written by the world, via a sharing website. In February 2009, the words of the world were collected and given to the Council of Conscience, a gathering of religious leaders and thinkers, who crafted the final document. The Charter was launched in November 2009.

Armstrong, who has taught courses at Leo Baeck College, a rabbinical college and Centre for Jewish Education located in north London, says she has been particularly inspired by the Jewish tradition's emphasis on practice as well as faith: "I say that religion isn't about believing things. It's about what you do. It's ethical alchemy. It's about behaving in a way that changes you, that gives you intimations of holiness and sacredness." She maintains that religious fundamentalism is not just a response to but is a product of contemporary culture and for this reason concludes that, "We urgently need to make compassion a clear, luminous and dynamic force in our polarized world. Rooted in a principled determination to transcend selfishness, compassion can break down political, dogmatic, ideological, and religious boundaries. Born of our deep interdependence, compassion is essential to human relationships and to a fulfilled humanity. It is the path to enlightenment, and indispensable to the creation of a just economy and a peaceful global community."


Maria Cantacuzino

Marina is an award-winning journalist who has worked for most British mainstream publications including The Guardian, The Telegraph and Hello magazine. In 2003, in response to the imminent invasion of Iraq, she embarked on a personal project collecting stories in words and portraits of people who had lived through violence, tragedy or injustice and sought forgiveness rather than revenge. As a result, Marina founded, The Forgiveness Project, a UK-based not-for-profit that works with the real stories of victims and perpetrators of crime and violence to explore how ideas around forgiveness, reconciliation and restorative justice can be used to impact positively on people’s lives. The Forgiveness Project has no religious or political associations.

Marina is also the author of several books including Till Break of Day: Meeting the challenge of HIV and AIDS at London Lighthouse (Heinemann, 1992); The Forgiveness Project: Stories for a Vengeful Age (Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2015); and Forgiveness Is Really Strange, co-authored with psychologist, Dr Masi Noor, (Singing Dragon, 2018). She teaches on the NAOS Diploma on Conflict Resolution and for the Arvon Foundation creative writing courses.

She is an Honorary Fellow at the Dalai Lama Centre for Compassion in Oxford, an adviser for CEIA (Centre for Empathy in International Affairs) and on the steering committee for Compassion in Politics, formed in the UK in 2018 to change the face of modern political discourse.


Mayor Greg Fischer

Greg Fischer was elected Louisville’s 50th mayor in 2010 -- and was sworn in for a third four-year term on January 5, 2019. Mayor Fischer is a successful businessman and innovator who has never shied away from hard work, ranging from being a crane operator on the docks of Kodiak, Alaska, to becoming an inventor of SerVend ice and beverage dispensers. Working with his brothers, he led the growth of SerVend International into a global firm nationally recognized for business and leadership excellence. SerVend was acquired by Manitowoc, a Fortune 500 company, in 1997.

In 1999, Fischer founded Iceberg Ventures, a private investment firm, and he later co-founded bCatalyst, the first business accelerator in Louisville. Fischer has been a private investor and advisor to dozens of companies.

In 2011, Fischer brought his business expertise and love for building high-performance organizations to the Mayor’s office.

During his tenure, Louisville has experienced a renaissance, adding 83,000 jobs and 3,000 new businesses, with unprecedented investments in affordable housing. In addition, 20,000 Louisvillians have worked themselves out of poverty or into the middle class. More than $15 billion dollars in capital construction is planned or underway, including 25 new hotels built to support the city’s thriving bourbon and local food tourism, also known as Bourbonism. And in 2018, Louisville was named a Top 15 city for attracting millennials.

The Mayor has championed the city’s Evolve 502 education initiative with the goal of giving every child and family the tools they need to thrive and succeed. He’s mandated that city decisions are made through the lens of public health, and during his tenure, Louisville has been named an International Model City of Compassion four times.

Following the tragic death of Breonna Taylor and ensuing racial justice protests, the Fischer administration enacted numerous police reforms and continues working with public and private-sector partners to advance the causes of racial equity and racial justice.

Governing Magazine named Mayor Fischer Public Official of the Year in 2013. A 2016 Politico survey named him as the most innovative mayor in America, and in 2017, Politico named him among its list of the nation’s most interesting mayors. Mayor Fischer was elected by the mayors of America to be president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors in 2020 and serves as the immediate past president.

Mayor Fischer is married to Dr. Alexandra Gerassimides, the daughter of Greek immigrants who were uprooted during the Greek Civil War. The couple have four adult children and one granddaughter.


Kathy Kelly

Three times since 2000, Kathy Kelly has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. In 1996 she helped to found Voices in the Wilderness, a group which bears witness to the suffering which the U.S./U.N.-imposed sanctions have visited upon the people—especially the children—of Iraq.

Profiled by Katie Watson in Hope magazine (May/June, 2003), Kelly traces her activism to her pious childhood on the South Side of Chicago. During high school she began to read about the Holocaust. "I remember thinking," she told Watson,"that I never ever-ever-ever want to be the person who is trying to be an innocent bystander while something that awful goes on."

After graduating from Loyola University and while still a graduate student at Chicago Theological Seminary, she volunteered at a soup kitchen run by a Catholic Worker House. This experience enabled her to relate the ideals derived from her studies to action. As a high-school English teacher as well as a committed anti-poverty worker, she encouraged her students to make the same connections between theory and practice.

Kelly moved from neighborhood poverty issues to advocacy of nonviolence on a global scale. For her participation in planting corn in the soil above nuclear missile silos, a symbolic act intended to demonstrate the peaceful use of land, she was sentenced to nine months in federal prison. She said she found her jail term to be a "liberating" experience because it helped her to face the fear of coercion.

Kathy Kelly is no stranger to coercion. For refusing to pay federal income taxes her teaching salary was garnisheed; for repeated visits to Iraq to distribute toys and medicine to children, she and her associates have incurred thousands of dollars in fines, along with threats of imprisonment. When she trespassed at Fort Benning, Georgia to protest the activities of the School of the Americas/Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation in 2003, she was arrested, physically and verbally abused and sentenced to three months in federal prison. She accepts the consequences of her actions, determined to stand against what Martin Luther king Jr. has called "the violence of desperate men."

Source: Americans Who Tell the Truth


Scarlett Lewis

Scarlett Lewis, an Arkansas native, lost her six-year-old son in 2012 in the Sandy Hook school massacre.  Since then, she has traveled the globe spreading her message of hope, humanity and choosing love.  The Jesse Lewis Choose Love Movement, established in her son's memory, provides social and emotional learning curriculum for the school, home and workplace.  Her work isn't a mission.  It's a movement.  


Heleen de Mooij-Lubbers

Heleen de Mooij-Lubbers is a Dutch author, coach and educationalist. She chose I See You as the poignant title for her book. For Heleen, “Everything begins with the question: How do I see myself?” Helen is an inspired storyteller. With her wonderful dry Rotterdam humor and a whiff of self-mockery she is able to make her vulnerable, personal story and serious message very accessible and recognizable to everyone. From student to director--across all backgrounds she knows how to connect different worlds. Heleen, sharing her story, is a mission to inspire people to think differently. In society, but especially in education. In education she is extremely involved in working on anti-bullying and talent development. In her foundation In One’s Own Strength ( she works with horses to enable young people to discover their own strength. In addition, she is an ambassador of the Foundation Attention for Bullying (Stichting Aandacht Voor Pesten). Enriched with all her knowledge and experience, she shares her inspired message: “ You are so much more than you think.” 

“We cannot make everyone into the same stars, but we can make them all sparkle...Strong society by connection and natural balance of heart and head, of IQ and EQ.’ The strength of seeing through the eyes of our heart and showing that we are so much more!"


Mayor Ron Nirenberg

Ron Nirenberg is the mayor of San Antonio, which has the 7th largest population in the United States and is one of the nation’s fastest growing cities.

Mayor Nirenberg is the first San Antonio Mayor of Asian Pacific Islander descent. His mother is Filipino and his paternal grandparents were immigrants from Eastern Europe who passed through Ellis Island.

Through his personal experiences, Mayor Nirenberg developed a core commitment to civic participation and the universal values of liberty, justice, and equal opportunity for every person.

First elected in 2017, Mayor Nirenberg was re-elected to a third term on May 1, 2021.

Under his leadership as mayor, the city has adopted an equity framework in budgeting to reduce poverty, improve public health, and overcome historical socioeconomic inequality. He is focused on making key investments necessary to accommodate San Antonio’s growth, which is expected to nearly double the city’s population by 2040. This forward-looking approach drives the mayor’s vision of a compassionate community with a globally competitive economy.


Rev. Jennifer Bailey

Jennifer Bailey has been named one of 15 Faith Leaders to Watch by the Center for American Progress. Rev. Jen Bailey is an ordained minister, public theologian, and national leader in the multi-faith movement for justice. She is the Founder and Executive Director of the Faith Matters Network, a Womanist-led organization equipping community organizers, faith leaders, and activists with resources for connection, spiritual sustainability, and accompaniment. Jen comes to this work with nearly a decade of experience at nonprofits combating intergenerational poverty. Rev. Bailey is an ordained itinerant elder in the African Methodist Episcopal Church and serves locally on the staff of Greater Bethel A.ME. Church in Nashville, Tennessee.

An Ashoka Fellow, Nathan Cummings Foundation Fellow, Aspen Ideas Scholar, On Being Fellow and Truman Scholar, Jennifer earned degrees from Tufts University and Vanderbilt University Divinity School where she was awarded the Wilbur F. Tillett Prize for accomplishments in the study of theology. Her work has been featured on OnBeing with Krista Tippett, CBS This Morning, the New York Times, the Washington Post, and dozens of other publications.

Her new book, To My Beloveds: Letters on Faith, Race, Loss and Radical Hope will be published by Chalice Press in October 2021.


Mayor Hector Castillo

Hector Castillo is the former mayor of the city of Santa Catarina (Nuevo Leon, Mx).

He has a degree in Law and Social Sciences from the Autonomous University of Nuevo León and has a Master’s degree in Public Administration from the Universidad del Valle de México.

In the political field he has worked in the Municipal Government of Santa Catarina, where he served as Secretary of the Comptroller and Transparency from November 2012 to December 2014 before becoming mayor.

During the Seventieth Second Legislature of the H. Congress of the State of Nuevo León he was a Deputy in the period from March to August 2012 and Legal Counsel from November 2010 to March 2012. He also worked as Coordinator of the Department of Citizen Services in the period of January 1996 to April 2003 and in the area of ​​Administrative Procedures and Civil Area of ​​Municipal Property Recovery of the Legal Department of the Municipality of San Pedro Garza García, from February 2004 to May 2008.

In the private initiative, he has worked for Grupo Domos as a lawyer for the Environment Division from May 2008 to November 2010 and as a trial lawyer from May 2003 to January 2004.


Mayor Carolyn Goodman

Carolyn G. Goodman became the mayor of the city of Las Vegas on July 6, 2011. Her husband of more than a half century and 12-year, term-limited mayor, Oscar B. Goodman, administered the oath of office. It is the only known instance of a spouse succeeding a spouse as mayor in the United States. In 2015, Mayor Goodman was handily re-elected to another four-year term. In 2019 she was elected to a third term, garnering more than 80 percent of the vote.

Among her priorities as mayor, Carolyn has championed improvement in inner-city schools pushing for early learning preschool programs, tutorials for ESL students and their parents, bringing together a coalition of public, private and nonprofits partners to participate in the achievement based and measurable educational initiatives. In a county in which all public education is controlled by an independently elected Board of Trustees and implemented by a superintendent, her role continues to be through the bully pulpit. The mayor helped accomplish the passage of a long-awaited Nevada Film Tax Credit in 2013, which is expected to bring significant new film investment and jobs to Nevada. She has spearheaded efforts to formalize policies for the new food truck industry, curb underage drinking downtown and update related Las Vegas Municipal Code provisions.

The mayor also serves on the Blue Ribbon Committee for Clark County Child Welfare Services. Additionally, she holds national leadership roles as a member of the United States Conference of Mayors (USCM), is a member of its Advisory Board, vice-chair of its Jobs, Education and Workforce Committee, and serves as the Chair of the Mayors’ Business Council. In June of 2013, she hosted the 81st annual gathering of the National Conference of Mayors in Las Vegas. The USCM honored her with the Mayors’ 2014 Large City Climate Protection Award.

Carolyn is well known in the Las Vegas community for founding The Meadows School in 1984, Nevada’s first nonprofit, college preparatory school for pre-kindergarten through 12th grades. Carolyn planned and oversaw the entire day-to-day operations for 26 years orchestrating and creating the curricular development; overseeing the budget; hiring administration, faculty and staff; and managing the entire physical plant and fundraising endeavors for the organization. During this time, Carolyn never had ownership of the school as it was incorporated as a 501[c][3] entity. Furthermore, during her 26 years in leadership, Carolyn never took a salary. She retired in June 2010.

Carolyn and her husband moved to Las Vegas from Philadelphia in 1964 as relative newlyweds arriving in August with only $87 between them. Initially, Oscar (a member of the Pennsylvania Bar) worked for the District Attorney’s office while Carolyn began work in the hotel industry. Prior to that, she worked as a vocational counselor in West Las Vegas for the Department of Labor training and building employment opportunities for African Americans in a then-segregated city. While her husband traveled the country (establishing what became an outstanding criminal law career winning high-profile cases), Carolyn raised their four infant children while simultaneously earning a master’s degree in counseling at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

Carolyn has served the people of Las Vegas by volunteerism and therein in leadership in many community nonprofit boards, charities and service organizations. She has proven her deep commitment to the community and continues to be devoted to the highest quality of life for all southern Nevadans by her efforts and dedication.

Born and raised in New York City, Carolyn attended and graduated from Bryn Mawr College where she served as Student Government President and earned a degree in Sociology and Anthropology.


David Korten

David Korten is a leading critic of corporate globalization and a visionary proponent of a global system of local economies. His international best seller, When Corporations Rule the World (1995), helped frame the argument for global resistance against corporate globalization.The Great Turning: From Empire to Earth Community (2006) illuminates the significance of this resistance by placing it in the historical context of 5,000 years of Empire building and the organization of human relationships by "dominator" hierarchies. Agenda for a New Economy: From Phantom Wealth to Real Wealth (2009) offers economic proposals that address the underlying cause of the recent economic collapse, not just its symptoms.

Korten was born in Longview, Washington in 1937. During his professional career, he became increasingly discouraged that the values he learned as a child and believed to be conservative--family, community, peace, justice, and nature-- were ignored or suffered because of policies and directives of the very institutions he served.

Korten, who served in the US Air Force, acquired MBA and PhD degrees from the Stanford Business School and was a professor for five years at Harvard Business School. He also worked for the Ford Foundation as a project specialist and as the Asia regional adviser on development management to the US Agency for International Development. Thirty years working as a development professional in Asia, Africa, and Latin America eventually opened his eyes to the devastating consequences of an economic system designed to make rich people richer without regard for the human and environmental consequences. He left the foreign aid establishment and joined the global resistance against flawed development models.

While many people refer to Korten as an economist, he is by training and inclination a student of psychology and behavioral systems. From the time he began his graduate studies at Stanford in 1959, he has been seeking to deepen his understanding of how cultures and institutional structures shape human behavior and to search for ways by which we humans can do a better job of supporting one another in achieving the higher order potentials of our nature. While at Stanford, Korten met and married his life partner, Fran Korten, who was a Ford Foundation program officer for 20 years in the Philippines, Indonesia, and New York and is now publisher/executive director of YES! magazine.

Korten is co-founder and board chair of the Positive Futures Network, which publishes YES! magazine, founder, and president of the People-Centered Development Forum and founding board member of the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies. He is co-chair of the New Economy Working Group which aims to further frame the New Economy Agenda and build support for transformational change through grassroots and media outreach. He is also a founding associate of the International Forum on Globalization and a major contributor to its report on Alternatives to Economic Globalization.

Korten once said to a reporter, "The work that´s involved in creating a new economy and a new human civilization calls us to be our most creative and innovative, and it puts us in contact with the world´s most wonderful people. And it is a whole lot more fun and satisfying than allowing oneself to sink into the depths of despair and cynicism."


Mayor Lori Lightfoot

Lori E. Lightfoot is the 56th Mayor of Chicago. Since assuming office following her historic election, Mayor Lightfoot has undertaken an ambitious agenda of expanding opportunity and inclusive economic growth across Chicago’s neighborhoods and communities, with early accomplishments including landmark ethics and good governance reforms, worker protection legislation, and closing a record $838 million budget gap, as well as key investments in education, public safety and financial stability. Mayor Lightfoot also placed Chicago on the path to a $15 minimum wage by 2021. 

In response to the unprecedented COVID-19 crisis, Mayor Lightfoot has led a coordinated, citywide response across government, business, and community organizations to effectively address its spread and broader public impact, including the creation of the Racial Equity Rapid Response Team, the COVID-19 Recovery Task Force, among other actions.  

Prior to her election, Mayor Lightfoot most recently served as a senior equity partner in the Litigation and Conflict Resolution Group at Mayer Brown. Previously, she served as President of the Chicago Police Board, as well as the Chair of the Police Accountability Task Force.  

Mayor Lightfoot also served as Chief of Staff and General Counsel of the Chicago Office of Emergency Management and Communications, interim First Deputy of the Chicago Department of Procurement Services, Chief Administrator of the Office of Professional Standards, and as Assistant United States Attorney. 

A native of Massillon, Ohio, Mayor Lightfoot has been a resident of Chicago since 1986 and lives on the Near Northwest Side with her wife Amy Eshleman and their daughter.


Monica Neomagus

Monica Neomagus lives in Amsterdam and worked from 1998 till 2014 in the Mozes & Aäronchurch, a centre for community-building that supported the Charter for Compassion in Holland since its November 2009 launch. She has been involved in activities related to the Charter, such as courses/lectures on compassion, a concert for compassion, a video on young people & compassion and a book of stories of compassion set in Amsterdam. She also coordinated meetings of the Dutch Charter for Compassion network in several cities/organizations and was a co-organizer of the annual Dutch Compassion Award. She and several other dedicated and inspired ‘Dutch compassionates’ started the Dutch Charter for Compassion Foundation in September 2014 that merged in 2020 with the Beweging voor Barmhartigheid.

Monica Neomagus started her career as a social worker for prisoners. She also coordinated projects for homeless people and victims of traffic accidents and taught courses to people without jobs. Her theological training made her aware of the great importance of the inter-religious dialogue. She taught a course on world religions to primary-school children and initiated the creation of the program “Parents in Dialogue,” in which parents with different religious backgrounds shared their ideas on important values in relation to bringing up children. She currently works on educational issues related to equal opportunities and the drawback of modern meritocracy.

Monica finished her Charter work in 2020, being gratefull for all the lessons learned over the years and all the wonderfull people that crossed her path. ‘It has been a life-changing experience with insights that I will always keep using in my work and daily life.'


Parker Palmer

Parker J. Palmer is a writer, speaker and activist who focuses on issues in education, community, leadership, spirituality and social change. He is founder and Senior PartnerEmeritusof the Center for Courage & Renewal, which offers long-term retreat programs for people in the serving professions, including teachers, physicians, non-profit leaders,and clergy.

He holds a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of California at Berkeley, as well asthirteen honorary doctorates, two Distinguished Achievement Awards from the National Educational Press Association, and an Award of Excellence from the Associated Church Press.

Palmer is the author of ten books—including several award-winning titles—thathave sold nearly twomillion copies and been translated into ten languages: Healing the Heart of Democracy,The Heart of Higher Education (with Arthur Zajonc),The Courage to Teach, A Hidden Wholeness, Let Your Life Speak, The Active Life, To Know As We Are Known, The Company of Strangers, The Promise of Paradox, andOn the Brink of Everything: Grace, Gravity and Getting Old.

In 1998, the Leadership Project, a national survey of 10,000 educators, named Dr. Palmer one of the thirty “most influential seniorleaders” in higher education and one of the ten key “agenda-setters” of the past decade.

Since 2002, the Accrediting Commission for Graduate Medical Education has given annual Parker J. Palmer “Courage to Teach” and “Courage to Lead” Awards to directors of exemplary medical residency programs.

In 2005, Living the Questions: Essays Inspired by the Work and Life of Parker J. Palmer, was published.

In 2010, Palmer was given the William Rainey Harper Award whose previous recipients include Margaret Mead, Elie Wiesel, Marshall McLuhan, andPaolo Freire.

In 2011, the Utne Reader named him one of 25 Visionaries on its annual list of People Who are Changing the World.

In 2017, the Shalem Institute in Washington, D.C., gave Palmer itsannual Contemplative Voices Award, “created to honor those individuals who have made significant contributions to contemplative understanding, living and leadership and whose witness helps others live from the divine wellspring of compassion, strength, and authentic vision.”

In 2021, the Freedom of Spirit Fund, a UK-based foundation, gave him their Lifetime Achievement Awardin honor of work that promotesand protectsspiritual freedom.

A member of the Religious Society of Friends (Quaker), Dr. Palmer and his wife, Sharon Palmer, live in Madison, Wisconsin.