Faculty and resource people will be added below as they are confirmed.
Fernando H. Ferrara
Fernando founded Mesa de Paz, a network of 16 NGO’s in Nuevo Leon, Mexico, working to create a more peaceful culture through nonviolent social change. This organization now has a youth activist network working on a variety of projects, such as: Nacidos para Triunfar (working with 22 gangs to bring them into nonviolence and social commitments); Cruzada Cabal (150 volunteers educating youth to bring them out of alcohol and drug dependence); Arte Urbano (supporting urban art, performing art, music and painting in high risk communities); and Despierta (a peace newsletter for youth). Fernando has worked as General Manager of Industrias Ferrara, Manager of Fabrica de Papel Monterrey and Empaques de Carton Hercules, Manager of Artes Graficas Integradas, CEO of Grupo CHRISTUS Muguerza, and CEO of Hexagonos Mexicanos. Fernando traveled to India to study the philosophy of Gandhi at the Institute of Gandhian Studies for a year in the city of Wardha (Servagram) Mahajarashtra. That same year (1994) he was named a lifetime member of the Gandhi Peace Foundation in Cochin, Kerala, India.
Lyla June Johnston
Lyla June Johnston was raised in Taos, New Mexico and is a descendent of Diné (Navajo) and Tsétsêhéstâhese (Cheyenne) lineages. Her personal mission in life is to grow closer to Creator by learning how to love deeper. This prayer has taken her on many journeys and materializes in diverse ways.
She is a student of global cycles of violence that eventually gave rise to The Native American Holocaust and the destruction of many cyclic relationships between human beings and nature. This exploration birthed her passion for revitalizing spiritual relationships with Mother Earth and cultivating spaces for forgiveness and reconciliation to occur between cultural groups. She is a co-founder of The Taos Peace and Reconciliation Council, which works to heal intergenerational trauma and ethnic division in the northern New Mexico.
In 2012, she graduated with honors from Stanford University with a degree in Environmental Anthropology. She is a musician, public speaker and internationally recognized performance poet. Lyla June ultimately attributes any achievements to Creator who gave her the tools and resources she uses to serve humanity.
T. Marie King
T. Marie King is an activist for the new millennium mixing art, empowerment and social justice. King travels leading seminars and speaking on understanding bias, healing and reconciliation, and community engagement. King has spoken to over 100 groups and organizations touching youth, college students and adults. King holds a B.A. in Urban and Global Economic Development from Beulah Heights University and Masters in Leadership and a Masters of Divinity from Luther Rice University.
Mathai is a Professor at Gujarat Vidyapith, the university founded by Gandhi in Ahmedabad, India. He is former Dean of Gandhi Research Foundation and former Professor and Director at the School of Gandhian Thought and Development Studies, M.G. University, Kerala, India. He is author of Gandhi’s Worldview and an editor of Gandhi Marg. Mathai is a well-known speaker in the East and the West, and he recently spoke at the signing of a peace pledge between some 400 members of rival gangs in Monterrey, Mexico.
Tesfaye currently lives in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. He is an Advanced Degree graduate of Agricultural Extension and Communication from Alemaya University, Dire Dawa – Ethiopia.
Tesfaye has experience in the development sector as an expert and as an executive. He has been involved with the following organizations: Catholic Church (Monitoring and Evaluation Officer), AMDO (Senior Program officer), Maichew Technical Collage (Instructor) and Light Ethiopia (Founding Director).
In order to see self-sufficient and sustainable communities in Ethiopia, Tesfaye founded a national NGO called Light Ethiopia. Light Ethiopia was established to provide tools for self-sufficiency and sustainability throughout distressed communities in Ethiopia. The NGO seeks to motivate, train, and assist girls and young women to improve their quality of life. Currently, the organization is working on various development projects such as the Education and Youth Capacity Building program, Women Economic Empowerment, Children and Family Support program and Fight against HTP such as Early, Child and Forced Marriage and FGM.
Yazmín is a Mayan singer from Peto, Yucatan. She began her artistic career at the age of 14, singing at festivals in and around her town, such as in Tzucacab, Xoy, Dziuche Quintana Roo, and Chumayel. After finishing high school, she set music aside to focus on college, getting a degree in Social Communication from the Faculty of Anthropological Sciences at the Autonomous University of Yucatan.
She then went on to study a Master's Degree in Sociolinguistics at the Universidad Mayor de San Simón in Cochabamba Bolivia. During this time she developed new ways of seeing and working with music to relate it to processes of linguistic and cultural resistance. She began to compose music in Mayan and perform at local venues. Her current music is completely in Yucatec Maya and is part of various local resistance movements, that are in the defense of territory, healthy land, local production, such as maize farming, and local wisdom.
Darlene is a Dakota elder, pipe keeper, and sun dancer. She is also a gardener. She is a former Instructor at the Institute for Dakota Studies, Sisseton Wahpeton Community College. Darlene is steeped in Dakota philosophy, culture, language, history, and environment. Her work emphasizes the importance of oicimani (relationship) and the contribution that Dakota culture makes to life on this planet.
Yunuen Torres is a comunera (indigenous authority within the local structure of governance) of Cheran, Michoacan. Cheran is a town of the Purepecha indigenous population known since 2011 as Cheran K'eri. This town is situated in the heart of the Purepecha plateau– one of the four regions of the Purepecha people in Michoacan, Mexico.
She currently forms part of the Cherán K'eri Youth Council. This group works for the development of youth in the town, creating spaces and promoting youth participation. The group prepares youth to contribute and integrate into the community process for autonomy and self-governance in Cheran. This group organizes around sports, culture, events, and other activities that aid the youth in integrating this process.
Yunuen works on the basis that self-determination, cultural promotion, and community labor are the foundation for transforming the direction in which Purepecha communities are headed. Through the Youth Council, she promotes Purepecha culture and the defense of territory through music, painting, creation of sounds, and events. In this way, she is driving a new vision for community life through art.
Edward C. Valandra
Edward C. Valandra is Sicangu Titunwan, born and raised on the Rosebud Sioux Reservation. He received his B.A. in chemistry from Mankato State University, his M.A. in political science (public policy) from the University of Colorado-Boulder, and his Ph.D. in American Studies (Native Studies concentration) from SUNY-Buffalo.
Dr. Valandra has served his nation, the Sicangu Titunwan Oyate, in various capacities. He served a four-year term on the Rosebud Sioux Tribal Council (1985–89) and was a representative on the Inter-Tribal Bison Cooperative (ITBC) board of directors (1996– 2000). He also served on his nation's seven-member Constitutional Task Force (2004–2006).
Dr. Valandra is the founder and Research Fellow for the Community for the Advancement of Native Studies (CANS), a Native-government-chartered, research-based, reservation-rooted organization. CANS supports the advancement of Native Studies as both an intellectual and applied discipline. It serves Native Peoples by conducting research that promotes the liberation of Native Country, which involves revitalizing nationhood. Dr. Valandra’s work for CANS ranges from consulting Native colleges and Native governments to forming networks and providing guidance on Native-based community projects to building undergraduate and graduate curricula in Native Studies.