xLife Wave by Lisa Lipsett
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The Transformative Learning Centre at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto
and co-sponsors The Indigenous Education Network at OISE/UT, Resurgence Magazine and Mpambo, the African Multiversity
in collaboration with Paulo Freire Institute (Brazil), Centre for Ecology and Spirituality, and Institute for Environmental Studies
present a Celebratory Gathering:

Spirit Matters: Wisdom Traditions and the "Great Work"
May 13th - 16th, 2004,
Toronto, Canada



Biographical Information for Presenters

David Abram – cultural ecologist and philosopher, is the author of The Spell of the Sensuous: Perception and Language in a More-than-Human World for which he received numerous awards, including the Lannan Literary Award for Nonfiction. An accomplished sleight-of-hand magician who has lived with indigenous sorcerers in Indonesia, Nepal, and the Americas, his essays have appeared often in such journals as The Ecologist, Orion, Parabola, Resurgence, Wild Earth, Tikkun, and Environmental Ethics, as well as in over 30 edited anthologies. The recipient of numerous fellowships, Abram lectures and teaches widely on several continents; he has been named by Utne Reader as one of a hundred leading visionaries currently transforming the world. His work focuses upon the cultural and spiritual aspects of ecological transformation, upon the shifting relation between science and experience, and upon the intertwined mysteries of perception and language — the way in which these two dimensions modulate the ethical relation between humankind and the animate earth.

Thomas Berry - founded the History of Religions Program at Fordham University and the Riverdale Centre of Religious Research. Newsweek has called Father Berry "The most provocative figure among this new breed of eco-theologian... a solitary American monk whose essays have aroused environmentalists like a voice crying for the wilderness." He has served as president of the American Teilhard de Chardin Association, and won a Lannan Foundation Award for The Dream of the Earth. He has written The Great Work and, together with the scientist Brian Swimme, The Universe Story: A Celebration of the Unfolding of the Cosmos. This event honours Thomas Berry who, due to ill health, will be with us in spirit and in film.

Gregory Cajete
is an educator, practicing artist, and educational consultant. He is a Tewa from Santa Clara Pueblo, New Mexico. He has taught at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, where he was the founding director of the Center for Research and Cultural Exchange. He has published a book entitled, Look to the Mountain: An Ecology of Indigenous Education. He is also assistant professor in the College of Education at the University of New Mexico where he teaches and is assisting with the Center for Research and Cultural Exchange.

Larry Daloz completed his doctoral work in educational planning at Harvard University, served as the first dean of Vermont Community College, and is widely respected in adult education and development. He is the double-award winning author of Mentor: Guiding the Journey of Adult Learners, and co-author of Common Fire: Leading Lives of Commitment in a Complex World. He is now an Associate Director of the Whidbey Institute for Earth, Spirit and the Human Future.

Jorge N. Ferrer is core faculty at the California Institute of Integral Studies, San Francisco, and adjunct faculty at the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology, Palo Alto. Currently he is also a leading scholar on Transformative Practices at the Esalen Center for Theory and Research, Big Sur, California. He teaches courses on transpersonal psychology, embodied spiritual inquiry, comparative mysticism, integral development, socially engaged spirituality, and spiritual perspectives on sexuality and relationships. He is the author of Revisioning Transpersonal Theory: A Participatory Vision of Human Spirituality and editor of a monograph of the journal ReVision on New Horizons in Contemporary Spirituality. Jorge currently serves on the editorial board of The Journal of Transpersonal Psychology and ReVision.

Laara Fitznor is Cree First Nation with German Swiss ancestry, originally from Wabowden, Manitoba. Her PhD is from OISE where she led the development of a specialization in Aboriginal education and the creation of the Centre for Aboriginal Education and Research. She is currently an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Education, University of Manitoba.

Matthew Fox is a spiritual theologian who has been an ordained priest since 1967. A liberation theologian and progressive visionary, he was silenced by the Vatican and later dismissed from the Dominican order. After dismissal he was received as an Episcopal priest by Bishop William Swing of the Diocese of California. Fox is the founder and president of the University Creation Spirituality (UCS) located in downtown Oakland, California. UCS is unique in its commitment to bring spirit to education and our professions. UCS is deliberately located in the heart of the community as a model of hope and revitalization to the downtown area, as well as diversity and racial harmony. In addition to his work as founder of UCS, writer, and teacher in the San Francisco Bay area, Fox lectures throughout North America, Central America, Europe, and Australia. Much of the inspiration behind UCS stems from the strong responses to Fox's book, The Reinvention of Work, printed in 1996. He is author of 24 books, including the best selling Original Blessing; A Spirituality Named Compassion; Breakthrough: Meister Eckhart's Creation Spirituality in New Translation; Natural Grace (with scientist Rupert Sheldrake), and One River, Many Wells. His most recent book is called Creativity: Where the Divine and the Human Meet.

Ursula Franklin - acquired her Ph.D. in experimental physics from Technical University in Berlin, then joined the Ontario Research Foundation as a senior scientist. She has taught and researched extensively in the field of materials science and in the area of the social impact of technology. To determine the effect of fallout from testing nuclear weapons, she worked on gathering and analysing data on the strontium-90 accumulation in the teeth of children in Canada. Franklin became the first woman Professor of Metallurgy and Materials Science at the University of Toronto, and in 1984 she was the first woman appointed University Professor, U. of T.’s highest rank. She is an active public speaker on the effects of technology on society, a topic addressed in her book The Real World Technology (1999).


bell hooks (nee Gloria Watkins) is Distinguished Professor of English at City College in New York. Although hooks is mainly known as a feminist thinker, her writings cover a broad range of topics on gender, race, teaching and significance of media for contemporary culture. She strongly believes that these topics cannot be dealt with separately, but must be understood as being interconnected. A passionate scholar, hooks is among the leading public intellectuals of her generation. Like Paulo Freire, bell hooks sees education as the practice of freedom. She is a prolific and influential writer.

Satish Kumar – In addition to being the founder of the Small School and the Director of Programmes at Schumacher College, Satish Kumar is currently the editor of Resurgence (an international magazine promoting peace, non-violence, ecology, sustainability, organic agriculture, appropriate technology and holistic philosophy). He has, in turn, been a Jain Monk, a campaigner for land reform in the Bhoodan movement, and a pilgrim for peace, walking from India to America. Satish established the London School of Non-violence in order to teach the Gandhian way of passive resistance to the youth of Europe. Satish is the recipient of the Jamnalal Bajaj International Award for "Promoting Gandhian Values Abroad." His books include You Are, Therefore, I Am (2002) and No Destination (1992).

Rabbi Michael Lerner - editor of Tikkun, and author of Spirit Matters: Global Healing and the Wisdom of the Soul, The Politics of Meaning: Restoring Hope and Possibility in an Age of Cynicism and Jewish Renewal: A Path to Healing and Transformation and most recently Healing Israel/Palestine. He holds Ph.D.s in philosophy and in psychology. Described by some as America's pre-eminent Jewish intellectual, and by others as one of the most spiritual innovators of our time, Lerner has received awards from PEN and was honoured by Utne Reader as one of America's 100 Most Significant Visionaries. He is co-chair with Cornel West of The Tikkun Community.

Rabbi Michael Lerner will also be taking part in Building Bridges: Spiritual Politics and Reconciliation at Home and in the Middle East organized by the Tikkun Community of Toronto.

Diane Longboat (Turtle Clan) is from the Six Nations Grand River Territory of the Mohawk Nation. Diane is a traditional healer and teacher and has shared her knowledge and gifts with many communities in the areas of education and community wellness. She has worked with many institutions and organizations, residential school survivors, youth, chief and council, social service staff, health practitioners, educators, hospitals, medical staff, university programs, pre-natal programs, diabetes specialists, and with palliative caregivers. She describes her work as a full-time labour of spirit, which has been the richest time of her life as the medicine has grown around her and her own vision has unfolded giving shape to the direction given by the Creator who said, "go home and create a place of peace for the people." In 1978, Diane received her Master of Education from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education.

Chief Oren Lyons – Oren Lyons is Faithkeeper of the Turtle Clan, Onondaga Nation, Haudenosaunee (Six Nations Iroquois Confederacy). Oren has also been active in international indigenous rights and sovereignty issues for over three decades at the United Nations and other international forums. He is Associate Professor the American Studies Program at the State University of New York at Buffalo. He is also the publisher of Daybreak, a national Indian news magazine.

John Mohawk - is an author and professor in the Center for the Americas at the State University at Buffalo, N.Y. He has been called "a distinguished teacher, an inspiring editor, a compelling author, and an indefatigable speaker." His books include: Exiled in the Land of the Free (written with Oren Lyons), A Basic Call to Consciousness, and The Red Buffalo.

Edmund O’Sullivan is the Director of the Transformative Learning Centre at OISE / UT. His research interests include Transformative Learning, Environmental Education, Critical Pedagogy, Post-Colonial theory, Alternative Development, Indigenous Knowledge and Modern Knowledge, Hemispheric Peace and Social Justice and Spirituality and the Erotic. From 1983 to 1992 he was Professor of Applied Psychology at OISE. He is the author of numerous books including Transformative Learning: Educational Vision for the 21st Century and Critical Paychology: An Interpretation of the Personal World. He has also contributed a large number of chapters to various volumes, as well as articles in scholarly journals.


Raffi began his career as a Toronto-based singer/songwriter in 1970 and began performing for young children in 1974. He has recorded a total of 13 albums and 3 concert videos, sales of which in North America range from gold to triple platinum, and total over 12 million units. He has written a number of inspirational songs for parents, educators, children’s advocates and older children. In October, 2003, he released Where We All Belong, a three song CD in support of the Earth Charter. He has also paid tribute to former South African president Nelson Mandela with his moving song Turn This World Around at a ceremony in which Mandela and his wife received honorary doctorates. Raffi is currently devoting his energies to writing a book about Child Honouring, an integrated philosophy connecting the personal, cultural and planetary aspects of life, a unifying principle for restoring human and natural communities.


Zalman Schachter-Shalomi is a rabbi in the Jewish Renewal movement. He maintains a great interest in Kabbalah (esoteric Jewish mysticism) and ecology and environmental ethics. Professor emeritus at Temple University, Rabbi Schachter-Shalomi is an internationally recognized teacher of the heart who draws from many disciplines and cultures. His long-time interest and involvement in interfaith dialogue and collaboration includes a well-documented meeting with the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala, India in 1990. Schachter-Shalomi is founder and director of the Spiritual Eldering Institute, a multi-faith organization dedicated to the spiritual dimensions of aging and conscious living, and to teaching people in the elder years how to become mentors, wisdom keepers, and agents of healing and reconciliation. He is the author of numerous articles and books including From Age-ing to Sage-ing.

Vandana Shiva – was trained as a physicist and did her Ph.D. on the subject "Hidden Variables and Non-locality in Quantum Theory." She later shifted to interdisciplinary research in science, technology and environmental policy. An activist, she established India Navdanya in India, a movement for biodiversity, conservation, and farmers’ rights. She is ecology adviser to the Third World Network, which aims to bring a fair and ecologically sustainable distribution of world resources. For her contribution to environmentalism and women, she won the prestigious Right Livelihood Award, known as "the alternative Nobel Prize," in 1991. She is the author of 11 books, including Water Wars and Biopiracy.

Mary Evelyn Tucker - is a professor of religion at Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, where she teaches courses in world religions, Asian religions, and religion and ecology. She received her Ph.D. from Columbia University in the history of religions specializing in Confucianism in Japan. She has published Moral and Spiritual Cultivation in Japanese Neo-Confucianism (1989). She co-edited Worldviews and Ecology (1994) with John Grim, Buddhism and Ecology (1997) with Duncan Williams, Confucianism and Ecology: The Interrelation of Heaven, Earth, and Humans (1998) with John Berthrong, and Hinduism and Ecology (forthcoming) with Christopher Key Chapple. She is co-director of a series of twelve conferences on Religions of the World and Ecology at Harvard's Center for the Study of World Religions and is co-editor for a series on Ecology and Justice.

Paulo Wangoola – former secretary general of the African Association for Literacy and Adult Education, is currently the Nabyama of Mpambo, the African Multiversity based in Uganda. He has authored and co-authored several articles and books on a variety of themes, including the political economy of education, civil society, African indigenous knowledge systems, participatory development, multisectoral development partnerships, and North/South development co-operation.

Marion Woodman - is a widely read and acclaimed author, a leader in women's spirituality and feminine consciousness, and a Jungian analyst. Marion believes that centuries of "patriarchal thinking" have stripped the soul from the inner and outer lives of individuals and in the world. Internationally acclaimed for her work as a "bridge builder between the male and female worlds," she has earned a name as a groundbreaking analyst with a rare understanding of the role of the feminine in bringing about personal and cultural transformation. She is the best-selling author of many books, including Addiction to Perfection, The Ravaged Bridegroom: Masculinity in Women, Conscious Femininity, Leaving My Father's House, and, with psychologist Elinor Dickson, Dancing in the Flames: The Black Goddess in the Transformation of Consciousness.