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Keynote Presenter: Dr. Alaa Murabit
Sustainable Peace through Inclusive Security

Dr. Murabit's Photo at night with lights Dr. Alaa Murabit is one of 17 Sustainable Development Goal Global Advocates, a UN High-Level Commissioner for Health Employment and Economic Growth, TED speaker and MIT Media Lab Director’s Fellow. She was recently named a 2017 “Forbes 30 Under 30” for her work in global health policy and a Harvard Law 2017 “Woman Inspiring Change”.
Her TED Talk, “What my religion really says about women” was “TED Talk of the Day” & one of four “moving TED Talks to watch right now” by New York Times.

At the age of 15 Alaa completed high school and moved from Saskatoon, Canada to Libya, where she completed medical school and driven by her desire to create inclusive processes and institutions, founded VLW in 2011 at the age of 21. With a strong focus on challenging societal and cultural norms and utilizing traditional and historical role models Alaa champions women’s participation in peace processes and conflict mediation.

Her programs, such as the groundbreaking “Noor Campaign” have been replicated internationally.

Nicknamed “The Libyan Doogie Howser” by Jon Stewart and applauded for her innovative and inclusive approach to security, Alaa is a champion for inclusive peace processes, and acts as advisor to numerous international security boards, governments and organizations, serving as aboard trustee for International Alert and Keeping Children Safe.
An Ashoka Fellow, Alaa is the youngest Marisa Bellisario International Humanitarian Award recipient, New York Times “International TrustWomen Hero 2014”, Newsweek’s “25 under 25 to watch”, a BBC “100 Top Woman” and SAFE Global Hero.
Alaa received her medical degree from the University of Zawia, she went on to receive a Masters in International Strategy and Diplomacy with Distinction from the London School of Economics.



Harvey Milkman
Presenter: Opening Remarks

Harvey Milkman, PhD, is Professor Emeritus at the Department of Psychology, Metropolitan State University of Denver, where he has been a faculty member since
1974. He is Visiting Professor at Reykjavik University, Iceland. He has served a consultant to academic institutions and government agencies in Iceland continuously
since 1991. He was the recipient of a Fulbright-Hays Lectureship Award at the National University of Malaysia (1985-1986) and represented the United States Information Agency as a consultant and featured speaker in Australia, Brazil, Iceland, The Netherlands, Peru, Turkey and Yugoslavia. From 1992-2002 he was Principal Investigator and Project Director of Project Self-Discovery: Artistic Alternatives for At- Risk Youth, funded by the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. Dr. Milkman was the principal consultant for the US/Russia Peer-to-Peer program on “Working with At-Risk Youth.” In December, 2015 at Metropolitan State University of Denver in July, 2016 in Moscow State University, Russia, he delivered master classes at on “Adolescent Problem Behaviors.” Dr. Milkman’s was a featured as a distinguished guest on NPR’s “Here and Now” on March 10, 2017. Pathways to Self-Discovery and Change: Criminal Conduct and Substance Abuse Treatment for Adolescents, by H. Milkman and K. Wanberg is the principal substance abuse/criminal conduct treatment curriculum used in residential correctional settings for juveniles throughout Oregon, Colorado, Texas and Montana. Dr. Milkman is principal author of numerous scholarly articles and books on the causes, consequences and treatment choices for the broad spectrum of addictive behaviors. His recent publications include: "Social Responsibility Therapy: A Cognitive-Behavioral Model for Treatment of Substance-Abusing Judicial Clients" in Tafrate, R., & Mitchell, D. (Eds.). (2014). Forensic CBT: A handbook for clinical practice; Pathways to Self- Discovery and Change: Criminal Conduct and Substance Abuse Treatment for Adolescents – Provider’s Guide and Participant’s Workbook (Milkman, H. & Wanberg, K., 2012); Craving for Ecstasy and Natural Highs: A Positive Approach to Mood Alteration (Milkman, H. & Sunderwirth, S., 2010); Criminal Conduct and Substance Abuse Treatment for Women in Correctional Settings: Adjunct Provider’s Guide (Milkman, H., Wanberg, K. & Gagliardi, B, 2008); Cognitive-Behavioral Treatment: A Review and Discussion for Corrections Professionals, National Institute of Corrections (Milkman, H. and Wanberg,K.).


Akbarali Thobhani

Moderator: Panel Discussions - Understanding the Problem                                                                                                       Executive Director, PhD of the Office of International Studies, Metropolitan State University of Denver

Dr. Thobhani has served on the faculty of Metro State University of Denver for more than thirty years. He developed and taught numerous courses, including numerous study abroad courses, on Africa, the Middle East and Islam. He is the author of numerous articles and three books – Islam’s Quiet Revolutionary: The Story of Aga Khan IV; Mansa Musa: The Golden King of Ancient Mali; and Western Sahara Since 1975: Social, Political, and Economic Transformation under Moroccan Administration. He is a recipient of six Fulbright grants to conduct curriculum enrichment seminars for teachers and faculty in Egypt, Kenya and Ghana. Dr. Thobhani is a recipient of numerous awards including the Golden Key Excellence in Teaching Award, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Peace Award, and the United Nations Peace Medal.

Arthur N. Gilbert
Presenter: Religion and International Politics: The Apocalyptic Tradition                                                                                 Associate Professor, PhD, Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver                                                                

Arthur N. Gilbert is Associate Professor at the University of Denver Josef Korbel School of International Studies. His research focus is on cultural and historical perspectives on international politics.

Classes he has taught include Contagious Diseases and International Politics, Apocalyptic Religion and International Politics, Understanding International Politics by Studying Organized Crime, Drugs and the Drug War, Genocide and the Human Condition, and the Outbreak of War. He is the article of over forty published articles and conference papers and holds an M.A. and PhD from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.

Thomas A. Pyszczynski

Presenter: A Psychological Perspective on How Religion is Used to Promote Violence … and How to Reverse this Tendency Distinguished Professor, PhD, University of Colorado, Colorado Springs 


Thomas A. Pyszczynski received his B.A. in psychology from the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee (1976) and his M.A. and Ph.D in social psychology from the University of Kansas (1979 & 1980). His research has been funded by the National Science Foundation since 1989. He received an Alexander von Humboldt Fellowship for
collaborative research with psychologists in Germany and several grants from the Dutch government for collaborative research with psychologists in the Netherlands. He and his colleagues have played a major role in the development of Experimental Existential Psychology, an emerging sub-discipline of social psychology that applies rigorous experimental methods to the study of human confrontation with existential problems such as death, freedom, isolation, and nature. He teaches a variety of courses in social psychology.
Dr. Pyszczynski's research is focused primarily on Terror Management Theory, which he developed with his colleagues Jeff Greenberg and Sheldon Solomon. Terror management theory is concerned with the role of self-esteem and cultural belief systems in providing protection against core human fears, especially the fear of death. Over the years Professor Pyszczynski and colleagues have explored the role of terror management processes in a wide range of topics, including self-esteem, self-deception, prejudice, interpersonal relations, altruism, aggression, sexual ambivalence, disgust, depression, anxiety disorders, trauma, unconscious processes, aging, human development, and terrorism. He has also conducted research on how people fool themselves into believing that their biased views follow logically from the available facts and on the role of self-regulatory processes in depression and other psychological disorders.

Nader Hashemi

Presenter: The ISIS Crisis and the ‘Broken Politics’ of the Middle East: A Framework for Understanding Radical Islamism
Associate Professor, PhD, Josef Korbel School of International Studies                                                                        Director, Center for Middle East Studies, University of Denver 


Nader Hashemi is Associate Professor at the University of Denver’s Josef Korbel School of International Studies and Director of the Center for Middle East Studies. His research focuses on Middle East and Islamic affairs, religion and democracy, secularism, comparative politics and political theory, politics of the Middle East, democracy and human rights, Islam-West relations, religion and international affairs.

Benjamin Beit-Hallahmi

Presenter: Peaceful Development and Women’s Status
Professor, PhD, University of Haifa, Israel

Benjamin Beit-Hallahmi is currently Senior Research Associate at the Institute for the Study of Secularism at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut and Professor of Psychology at the University of Haifa. He has held appointments at The University of Michigan, the Hebrew University, Tel-Aviv University, The Israel Institute of Technology, the University of Pennsylvania, Michigan State University, Central Michigan University, Vassar College, Columbia University, New York University, King's College London, and the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique in Paris. He is the author, co-author,
editor, or co-editor of nineteen books and 150 articles and chapters on the psychology of religion, social identity, and personality development. Among his best-known books are Psychological Perspectives on Religion and Religiosity (2015), Psychoanalysis and Theism (2010), Psychoanalysis, Identity, and Ideology (with John Bunzl, 2002), The Psychology of Religious Behavior, Belief and Experience (with Michael Argyle, 1997), Psychoanalytic Studies of Religion (1996), Despair and Deliverance: Private Salvation in Contemporary Israel (1992), and Prolegomena To The Psychological Study of Religion (1989).

Stephen Zunes

Presenter: U.S. Middle East Policy and Strategic Nonviolent Action
PhD, Professor of Politics and International Studies at the University of San Francisco; Associate Editor of Peace Review

Stephen Zunes is a Professor of Politics and International Studies at the University of San Francisco, where he serves as coordinator of the program in Middle Eastern Studies. Recognized as one the country’s leading scholars of U.S. Middle East policy and of strategic nonviolent action, Professor Zunes serves as a senior policy analyst for Foreign Policy in Focus project of the Institute for Policy Studies, an associate editor of Peace Review, and a contributing editor of Tikkun.
He is the author of scores of articles for scholarly and general readership on Middle Eastern politics, U.S. foreign policy, international terrorism, nuclear nonproliferation, strategic nonviolent action, and human rights. He is the principal editor of Nonviolent Social Movements (Blackwell Publishers, 1999), the author of the highly-acclaimed Tinderbox: U.S. Middle East Policy and the Roots of Terrorism (Common Courage Press, 2003) and co-author (with Jacob Mundy) of Western Sahara: War, Nationalism and Conflict Irresolution (Syracuse University Press, 2010.)
Professor Zunes received his PhD. from Cornell University, his M.A. from Temple University and his B.A. from Oberlin College. He has previously served on the faculty of Ithaca College, the University of Puget Sound, and Whitman College. He has served as a research associate for the Center for Global, International and Regional Studies at the University of California-Santa Cruz; a visiting professor for the International Master in Peace, Conflict, and Development Studies at Jaume I University in Spain, and, a visiting research professor at the National Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Otago in New Zealand.

Lucy Ware McGuffy

Presenter: Ghandi’s Legacy: Strategies of Peacebuilding
Associate Professor, PhD, Political Science, University of Colorado, Denver

Lucy Ware McGuffey is Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Colorado Denver. Her expertise areas are international politics, international justice, political theory, international law, peace-building and transitional justice, refugee and forced migration studies, democracy and social movements, and religion and politics.

Heidi Beirich
Plenary Presenter: What We Know About Recent Hate Crimes in the U.S
Intelligence Project Director, PhD

Heidi Beirich leads the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) Intelligence Project, “one of the most respected anti-terror organizations in the world,” according to the National Review. She is an expert on various forms of extremism, including the white supremacist, nativist and neo-Confederate movements as well as racism in academia. She oversees the SPLC’s authoritative, yearly count of the nation’s hate and hard-line, anti-government groups and is a frequent contributor to the SPLC’s investigative reports and speaker at conferences on extremism. Prior to joining the SPLC staff in 1999, Heidi earned a doctorate in political science from Purdue University. She is the co-editor and author of several chapters of Neo-Confederacy: A Critical Introduction, published by the University of Texas Press in 2008.

Adam J. Graves

Plenary Presenter: Religious Fundamentalisms and the Future of Tolerance
Associate Professor of Philosophy, PhD, at Metropolitan State University of Denver

Adam J. Graves received his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania and is currently Associate Professor of Philosophy at Metropolitan State University of Denver, where he teaches courses in philosophy of religion, ethics, history of philosophy, hermeneutics and phenomenology. He is the founding director of the Denver Project for Humanistic Inquiry ( ) and serves as the primary advisor for the Religious Studies program at MSU Denver. Graves has also taught courses on the history of religions at the University of Pennsylvania and as part of the University of Virginia’s Semester at Sea program. His publish work explores themes within phenomenology and the philosophical hermeneutics of religion, as well as problems associated with agency and selfhood. He has presented work at conferences and colloquia in nearly a dozen countries, including France, Germany, Russia, and South Africa. Graves will be on sabbatical in spring of 2017, during which time he will be conducting research for a project on agency and confession under the auspices of l'École des hautes études en sciences sociales in Paris.
In a previous life, Graves studied medieval Sanskrit literature and pursued grant-supported research on Indian temple practice and iconography in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. In 2012, he served as Campaign Manager for his father’s nearly successful bid to unseat Michele Bachmann in Minnesota’s 6th Congressional District. They lost by about one percent, after having been outspend 10 to 1 in what proved to be one of the most expensive congressional reelection campaigns in United States history.
On a more personal note, Graves has been an avid traveler since the age of seventeen, when he spent several months on a solo-expedition throughout Asmat, a region of Papua populated by an ethnic group best known for its art and ritual headhunting practices. He just happens to be married to his favorite artist and traveling companion, the incredibly gifted Suchitra Mattai ( ). They have two sons, both of whom are turning out surprisingly well considering the fact that Graves has neither a theory nor a methodological strategy for parenting them.

Roger C. Jeffrey


Born in New York City, Mr. Jeffrey began his training at Bernice Johnson Cultural Arts Center. A graduate of Performing Arts High School, he received his B.F.A. from The Juilliard School under the direction of Benjamin Harkarvy. He has performed in the companies of Bernice Johnson, Kevin Iega Jeff, Twyla Tharp, Mikhail Baryshnikov's “White Oak Dance Project”, Dudley Williams, Eleo Pomare, Christopher Huggins, Debbie Allen, Rasta Thomas, and Obediah Wright. Inspired by his mentor Kevin Iega Jeff, he began to explore his full artistic potential as an instructor and choreographer at the Bernice Johnson Cultural Arts Center, Philadanco!, Cleo Parker Robinson Dance, Rasta Thomas' Bad Boys of Dance, Joyce Soho, Jacob's Pillow, The Juilliard School, Goucher College, Purchase College Conservatory of Dance, Philadelphia University of the Arts, University of Santa Barbara, New York Hip-Hop Festival, Theatre Passe Muraille (Canada), La Companiya (Spain), Tanz Project (Germany), Alvin Ailey American Dance Center, American Ballet Theatre/Make a Ballet Program and Peridance Center. Mr. Jeffrey is currently working with The Metropolitan Opera Ballet Company and Lar Lubovitch Dance Company. In 1997, Mr. Jeffrey founded Subtle Changes, Inc., a nonprofit artist collective committed to the presentation, development, and exposure of the arts. Since its first benefit concert at Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School for the Performing Arts in 1997, the company has presented work for Lincoln Center Out-of-Doors, E-Moves/Aaron Davis Hall, Judson Church, P.S. 122, Dancenow Festival, Theatre of the Riverside Church, Ulster Ballet Festival, JoyceSoho, Central Park Summer Stage/Harlem and Back Yard Dance Project. In February 2005, the company presented its first evening-length work in Brooklyn, New York.

Cleo Parker Robinson


Cleo Parker Robinson Photo- head shot
Cleo Parker Robinson is founder, artistic director and choreographer of the 40+ year-old Denver-based artistic institution, Cleo Parker Robinson Dance. She leads a professional dance Ensemble, Youth Ensemble, a School of Dance, an International Summer Dance Institute, a 300 seat theatre that bears her name, and a myriad of community outreach programs. She continues to be the recipient of honors and awards from civic, community, and artistic organizations around the world, and is called on by a myriad of organizations and performance venues to bring her Ensemble for performances, and to conduct workshops, master classes, and motivational seminars. Her philosophy of “One Spirit, Many Voices” is reflected in all she does, and is the vision she brings to everyone she meets, everywhere she goes.
A master teacher/choreographer and cultural ambassador she has taught and performed with her Ensemble in such diverse places as Iceland, Singapore, Hawaii, Nassau, Belize, Israel, Egypt, Turkey, throughout Europe, and throughout the African continent. People of all ages and backgrounds have participated






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