Talks from our 2008 Conference

May my tongue be innocent of malice and my lips free from lies. When confronted by enemies may my soul stay calm, truly humble to all.  (Prayer from Shaharit for Shabbatt)


2008 Conference on the Human Capacity for Peace. A day of talks and practices on violence and nonviolence in language and action: from the individual to the global setting. Co-Sponsored by AHIMSA, Institute of World Religions, International House at UC Berkeley. Saturday April 5, 2008 at the Pacific School of Religion, Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley, CA

Two Presentations:
Sharon Ellison, THE ART OF POWERFUL NONDEFENSIVE COMMUNICATION: Taking the War out of Our Words. Download MP3
Herb Behrstock, SPEAKING PEACE: Finding Understanding, Attaining the Common Good – Global Perspectives. Download MP3

The Speakers:

Sharon Ellison, Director of the Institute for Powerful Non-Defensive Communication, is an award-winning speaker and internationally recognized consultant.  Sharon was a nominee for the “Leadership in a Changing World” Award, sponsored by the Ford Foundation and the Advocacy Institute.  Her work moves our use of language away from forms which systematically create and accelerate conflict to one that defuses defensiveness and power struggle. Over thirty years ago, Sharon developed pioneering programs for children and parents and continues to work with individuals, families, couples, community organizations, institutes and businesses.   

Herb Behrstock served over 30 years in the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) culminating with several assignments as a senior official and Resident Representative heading country operations in developing countries.  Positions included Division Chief for UNDP's programs in East and Southeast Asia and responsibility for policy planning and coordination in UNDP's Africa Bureau. Locations of assignments included Southern Africa (Swaziland), China, Kazakhstan, Benin, as well as Haiti, Angola, Bhutan, and Gaza.  In Gaza he was second to the UN's Special Coordinator for work with the Palestinians and regional solutions for peace and development.  Herb holds a MA in International Economics from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, D.C.  Currently he is President of the East Bay chapter of the UN Association – USA. 

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