Rita Marie Johnson
Winner of the Ashoka prize, Rita Marie Johnson was a protégé to United Nations Assistant Secretary-General Robert Muller, who drew up the charter to create the United Nations' International Day of Peace. She was an instructor at the UN's University for Peace, and is a personal friend of Oscar Arias, the Nobel Peace Prize winner and former president of Costa Rica. Rita Marie is founder of the Rasur Foundation International and the Academy for Peace in Costa Rica. She created the BePeace process which she has used to teach peace and conflict resolution skills to more than 1,800 teachers and 40,000 school children. She is author of the new book "Completely Connected: Uniting Our Empathy and Insight for Extraordinary Results." Rita Marie served as an advisor in the creation of the Imagine Institute.
General Lee Butler
Lee Butler is a Four-Star General in the US Air Force (retired). As former head of the Strategic Air Command (SAC) - the US's airborne Nuclear Strike force - he is one of the most knowledgeable people in the world on risks and dangers of nuclear weapons. Almost single-handedly and at personal risk to his own career, General Butler has courageously taken a leadership role in advocating 100% nuclear disarmamentIn 1991, as the new leader of the Strategic Air Command, General Butler assumed control of 5,700 deployed nuclear warheads. He was appalled to find that many of the sites marked as nuclear targets still reflected the overkill thinking of the Cold War era. He revised the list of targets and eliminated thousands of sites. He also created new options that involved using nuclear weapons against only a small number of targets.
During the US-Russian START II arms talks, General Butler questioned whether large numbers of nuclear weapons were needed for national defense. He has inspired politicians, military officers, academics and ordinary citizens to re-examine their views and reassess their priorities. According to the Washington Post, observers felt that General Butler's active, open and articulate advocacy for the limitation of nuclear weapons contributed to his being passed over as General Colin Powell's successor as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
in 1994, after his retirement from the military, Lee Butler called for the outright abolition of nuclear weapons, most notably in a major speech at the National Press Club in 1996. In 1999, he and his wife Celeste founded the Second Chance Foundation dedicated to promoting responsible global reduction of nuclear risks. General Lee Butler served as an advisor in the creation of the Imagine Institute.
Avon Mattison is co-founder of the Culture of Peace Initiative (CPI) at the United Nations with her colleague Robert Muller who was Assistant Secretary-General of the UN for 40 years. She is also founder of Pathways to Peace, a nonprofit with Consultative status at the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations. Avon served as an advisor in the creation of the Imagine Peace Conference at UC Berkeley.
Professor emeritus of UC Berkeley, Michael Nagler is founder of its Peace and Conflict Studies program, and also the Metta Center for Nonviolence. He is revered and beloved in the Peace movement. Michael is author of several influential books including "The Search For A Nonviolent Future," "The Nonviolence Handbook: A Guide for Practical Action," and "Hope or Terror?" (Note: His blog on the Paris terrorist attacks is featured here on this website.) Michael was a featured speaker and served as an advisor in the creation of the Imagine Peace Conference at UC Berkeley.
Emily Hine is a certified compassion cultivation teacher from the CCARE program at Stanford University. She is former Chief of Peace at The Shift Network, which hosts the world's largest online Peace Conference each year, and co-founder of Compassionate Seattle, a major event at which His Holiness the Dalai Lama spoke to a sold-out crowd. Emily served as an advisor in the creation of the Imagine Peace Conference at UC Berkeley.
James O'Dea was Director of Amnesty International's Washington, DC office where he met with US Presidents and foreign heads of state, and testified before Congress. James has served at the highest levels, working as a Peacebuilder in Rwanda, Israel-Palestine, and Northern Ireland. He is author of the new book "Creative Stress: A Path for Evolving Souls Living Through Personal and Planetary Upheaval." James was a featured speaker at the Imagine Peace Conference at UC Berkeley and served as an advisor in the creation of the Imagine Institute.
Dr. Pamela Gerloff
Pamela Gerloff holds a doctorate from Harvard University. Her article "The Psychology of Revenge: Why We Should Stop Celebrating Osama Bin Laden's Death" was one of the most popular blogs in Huffington Post history - almost 200,000 Facebook "Likes" in only 48 hours! (Note: Her blog on Bin Laden is featured here on this website.) At Harvard, she began to ask: "Why don't schools change? And when they do, why don't the changes last?" Dr. Gerloff currently writes a weekly blog for Psychology Today (www.psychologytoday.com) called "The Possibility Paradigm: Transformational Change for Individuals and the World." She is also founder of the nonprofits Compelling Vision and The Global Possibility Project. Dr. Gerloff was an advisor and taught a popular workshop at the Imagine Peace Conference at UC Berkeley.
Aqeela Sherrills has actively worked to reduce inner-city violence. He brokered a cease-fire between the Crips and the Bloods, two rival gangs in the Watts area of Los Angeles. In 2004, his son Terrell was shot to death in a gang drive-by shooting. Aqeela's friends offered to put a death sentence on the young man who murdered his son, but Aqeela said: "NO! You'll only be killing somebody else's son. After that, the cycle of violence never ends. We have to begin healing. I want this to be my son Terrell's legacy - PEACE."
In 2005, Sherrills visited sacred sites around the world and upon returning to his home in Watts, he launched The Reverence Movement. He opposes the death penalty, even for the young man who murdered his son. He is actively involved with the California Crime Victims for Alternatives to the Death Penalty. Sherrills is co-founder and Executive Director of the Community Self-Determination Institute. He also co-founded Amer-I-Can with American football player Jim Brown. Aqeela was a featured speaker at the Imagine Peace Conference at UC Berkeley.
Henry Lozano is former Deputy Assistant to the President of the United States. He has drawn on his Native American and Hispanic heritage to nurture principles of peace building and the harmony that is created by service to others. Lozano served the White House as former Director of USA Freedom Corps, the government's center for volunteerism. He is also former Executive Director of the Shinnyo-en Foundation, a Buddhist foundation dedicated to the cause of world peace. Currently, Henry Lozano is the founder and Chairman of the Deep Still Water Institute.
Tiveeda Stovall is the California representative for PeaceJam, a nonprofit that brought 12 Nobel Peace Prize laureates together to engage young people in its "Global Call to Action" campaign. She is also founder and Executive Director of eXcel Youth Zone (XYZ). eXcel Youth Zone is a nonprofit which engages K-12 youth in service-learning opportunities. Tiveeda is a graduate of UC Berkeley with a Masters degree in Social Welfare. She is the recipient of the 2007 Congresswoman Susan Davis Award for an Adult Actively Engaging Students in Service. Tiveeda was an advisor and taught a popular workshop at the Imagine Peace Conference at UC Berkeley.
Georgia Kelly is founder and Executive Director of the Praxis Peace Institute which studies the economics of peace, particularly how businesses that serve their employees (often they're employee-owned), the public and the environment are able to remain strikingly profitable. Georgia also teaches workshops in Conflict Resolution, and hosts 7-day peace-building conferences in Dubrovnik, Croatia and California. She served as an advisor in the creation of the Imagine Peace Conference at UC Berkeley.
Beatrice de Salles
Beatrice de Salles is a survivor of 9/11. That morning, she was on her way to work at an investment firm on the 86th floor of the World Trade Center. Suddenly, she heard a boom and the subway jolted. The first airplane had hit the North Tower. Because she was late for work, she survived 9/11. Her home was totally destroyed by the falling buildings. She lost everything she owned, except the clothes she was wearing. Her story is one of heartbreak and the road to healing by becoming a peace builder. Not only did she refuse to blame people of Muslim faith for 9/11, she, in fact, married a Muslim man. Bea was an advisor and taught a popular workshop at the Imagine Peace Conference at UC Berkeley.