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Meeting Each Other With Compassion and Respect: Attuned Communication

A day of talks and practices on violence and nonviolence in language and action.
– from the individual to the global setting –

3rd Badè Conference on the Human Capacity for Peace
A Free Public Conference and Discussion

Presented by AHIMSA
Institute of World Religions
International House at UC Berkeley
Saturday April 5th Conference, 9:30 AM - 4:30 PM
At the Badè Museum on the campus of the Pacific School of Religion,
Graduate Theological Union
1798 Scenic Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94709



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

      Today we live in heightening awareness of the power of language to empower violence in all its forms and at all scales.  We see the blatant ability of language to divide people and exasperate global tensions.  And we also see its balancing power – the ways in which language and action can mitigate violence and nurture peace. 
In this conference we consider this dynamic, and are privileged to have contributors whose backgrounds offer a great breadth of experiences representing many dimensions of this dynamic – from the scale of the individual to that of global settings, and from issues of social mores to spiritual teachings. 
      Many questions come naturally, and expand from the individual to social and global issues. We start with the individual. How is daily language rooted in metaphors of war? What are the changes in inner and outer attention which we need in affecting change in us? What voice do I hear in myself?  How do I greet threat?  When is an enemy not an enemy? In what is rooted transformation and healing?  How do nonviolence and peace compare and differ? What is a nonviolent community? What is a peaceful community? 
     The pertinence of these questions will be addressed as the morning and afternoon unfold. The day will include both talks and shared experiences and practices. We welcome you to a day on the power of nonviolent language and action.

Morning 9:30 – 12:30 am  GIVING VOICE TO NON-VIOLENCE

Chair: Liliane C. Koziol, Program Director, I-House, UC Berkeley

Sharon Ellison, THE ART OF POWERFUL NONDEFENSIVE COMMUNICATION: Taking the War out of Our Words.
Sharon Ellison will share with us her studies on the rooting of violence in language, defensiveness and habitual modes of communication, and will introduce us to ways of transforming habits of thought through attention and practice.
Herb Behrstock, SPEAKING PEACE: Finding Understanding, Attaining the Common Good – Global Perspectives
Herb Behrstock will draw on more than thirty years working as a United Nations senior officer and Resident Representative in several developing countries.
In the context of the world’s wisdom traditions, Huston Smith will reflect on the qualities of nonviolence and the shift of attention met in spiritual transformation as it informs outer action.
Sr. Elizabeth Padilla, THE POWER OF MUSIC
Sr. Elizabeth Padilla will perform and speak about the quality of music which directly reaches the heart and spirit.


Roundtable moderated by: Ruth Richards, Professor of Psychology, Saybrook Graduate School

Each contributor brings an unique area of experience to this discussion.
Sharon Ellison on non-defensive communication (continue from morning)
Mitch Hall on education, family and social nonviolence
Emmy Irobi on international conflict resolution
Michelle Moore on the Global Oneness Project
Ken Preston-Pile, Pace e Bene, on nonviolent social action


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.     

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.   

Mitch Hall is a peace activist, and a worker toward family harmony and the peaceful and loving upbringing of youth. Drawing from a personal and varied background, he has worked with numerous groups including the Fellowship for Reconciliation and the Peace Corps. Public speaking has been directed primarily to peace psychology, peace building, children's rights, and the prevention of violence. In recent years, he has twice been an invited speaker at the professional summit conferences "National Leaders in Nonviolence and the Child."  Two of his booklets are The Plague of Violence: a Preventable Epidemic (2002) and Peace Quest: Cultivating Peace in a Violent Culture (2003). He is currently working as a Clinical Therapist with a non-profit agency, Asian Pacific Psychological Services, Richmond CA.

Emmy Irobi
is a 2007-2008 Visiting Scholar in the International and Areas Studies Department, UC Berkeley.  Born in Nigeria, Emmy has a deep interest in nonviolence, communication and alternative dispute resolution. He holds a Masters degree in Political Science from the University of Warsaw and earned his PhD in Conflict Management from University of Leipzig, Germany. He has further training in conflict mediation, University of New Mexico Law School, Albuquerque.  Emmy lives in Poland and holds a polish citizenship.

Liliane Koziol, Director of Programs at International House at the University of California, Berkeley, earned her Ph.D. in English with specialization in theater, semiotics, and popular culture. She has extensive experience in the areas of education and interracial and cross-cultural understanding. As Director of Programs at International House and Vice Chair of UC Berkeley International Area Studies, she designs thematically linked multi-and-cross-disciplinary programs with comparative perspectives in collaboration with major units on campus. She also conducts intercultural and diversity training focusing on working in a multicultural environment and has worked intensively with a broad array of U.S. ethnic groups. She also lectures in the Department of Linguistics/Center for African Studies at UC Berkeley. Born in Madagascar, she speaks French and Spanish, and has lived in the U.K. and Taiwan.  She taught English and American Literature at the University of Madagascar where she was Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of English and Foreign Languages. She is the Deputy Honorary Consul of Madagascar based in the San Francisco Area.

Michelle Moore is the Outreach Coordinator for the Global Oneness Project, a web-based documentary video resource, exploring how the simple notion of oneness can be lived in our increasingly complex world. She has a background in educational video, non-profit community organizing, and event management. Prior to joining the Global Oneness Project, she coordinated distribution and promotion for ONE: The Movie.

Sr. Elizabeth Padilla,
from the Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual Organization, is well known among theater-goers in the San Francisco Bay Area for her five years of performing the role of Snow White in Beach Blanket Babylon in the early 80’s. In her 22 years as a dedicated Brahma Kumari nun she is now fulfilling her life’s dream by reaching the heart and spirit though her songs and work. Her greatest hope is for world peace especially amongst religions. Currently she resides in Novato, where the Brahma Kumaris offer a new Meditation and Retreat Center.

Ken-Preston Pile is the Training Co-coordinator of Pace e Bene’s Engage Program. A veteran of the US Navy, Ken founded the Speakers Bureau at Global Exchange, a San Francisco-based human rights organization. He was an international observer in 1999 in East Timor's vote for independence, and has actively participated in numerous nonviolent social movements and organizations. Ken has worked as a Catholic Worker, homeless advocate, in prison ministry, and as a counselor with psychologically challenged adults and children. He holds a Masters of Arts degree in Theology at the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley and  lives in Oakland, CA with his spouse, Cindy Preston-Pile.
Ruth Richards (PhD, MD) is an educational psychologist and Board Certified psychiatrist, a professor at Saybrook Graduate School, in Consciousness & Spirituality, also affiliated with Harvard Medical School and McLean Hospital. She has studied everyday creativity in many contexts, and sees its promise as a way of life offering openness, immediacy, interconnection, and health.  For some people, it becomes part of a spiritual path. Dr. Richards serves on the editorial boards of three journals, served on the Executive Advisory Board of The Encyclopedia of Creativity (1999), and holds elective office with Div. 10 (Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts) of the American Psychological Association.  Among her many publications is her new edited Everyday Creativity and New Views of Human Nature: Psychological, Social, and Spiritual Perspectives (American Psychological Association, 2007).  She previously co-edited Eminent Creativity, Everyday Creativity, and Health (Ablex, 1998). She is an Associate Board member of AHIMSA.

Huston Smith is Thomas J. Watson Professor of Religion and Distinguished Adjunct Professor of Philosophy, Emeritus, Syracuse University. For fifteen years he was Professor of Philosophy at M.I.T. and for a decade before that he taught at Washington University in St. Louis. Most recently he has served as Visiting Professor of Religious Studies, University of California, Berkeley. Holder of twelve honorary degrees, Smith’s fourteen books include The World’s Religions which has sold over 2 _ million copies, and Why Religion Matter which won the Wilbur Award for the best book on religion published in 2001. His film documentaries on Hinduism, Tibetan Buddhism, and Sufism have all won International awards.


AHIMSA is a San Francisco Bay Area non-profit, non-sectarian foundation. Drawing from both Eastern and Western faith traditions, AHIMSA was founded in 1993 to mark the Centennial of the Chicago Parliament of Religions. Our central goal is to encourage dialogues and public forums on issues which bridge spirituality, art and science, and society. The acronym AHIMSA stands for "Agency for Human Interconnectedness through Manifestation of Spiritual Awareness." All our events are free and open to the public.  510.527.2935.

IWR (Institute for World Religions) exists to promote mutual understanding among the world’s spiritual traditions. It is committed to providing an open forum where clergy, theologians, philosophers, scientists, educators and individuals from a wide range of disciplines can examine the role of religion in a modern world. All of the Institute’s activities take place in an atmosphere of mutual respect and promote the universal capacity for goodness and wisdom. 510.848.9788

International House is an independent, self-supporting, non-profit organization with close ties to the University of California, Berkeley.  Our mission is to foster intercultural respect and understanding, lifelong friendships and leadership skills for the promotion of a more tolerant and peaceful world. The House achieves its mission by providing students and scholars from the United States and around the world with an opportunity to live and learn together in a challenging and supportive residential and community-oriented program center. Its resources and activities are designed to stimulate diversity of thought and experience among residents, alumni worldwide and members of the campus and Bay Area communities.   510.642.9490

Special Thank You:
This conference was in part supported by a donation from Diana H. and Van L. Brady.
Refreshments in part donated by Brewed Awakening, Berkeley California