Euphrates 2019 Visionary of the Year & Gala Keynote Speaker
Nipun Mehta is the founder of ServiceSpace, an incubator of projects that works at the intersection of volunteerism, technology and gift-economy. What started as an experiment with four friends in the Silicon Valley has now grown to a global ecosystem of over 500,000 members that has delivered millions of dollars in service for free. Nipun has received many awards, including the Jefferson Award for Public Service, Wavy Gravy's Humanitarian award, and Dalai Lama's Unsung Hero of Compassion. In 2015, President Barack Obama appointed him to a council on poverty and inequality. Nipun is routinely invited to share his message of "giftivism" to wide ranging audiences, from inner city youth in Memphis to academics in London to international dignitaries at the United Nations; his speech at UPenn commencement in May 2012 was read by millions. He serves on the advisory boards of the Seva Foundation, the Dalai Lama Foundation, and Greater Good Science Center.
Nipun's high-school goal was to either become a tennis-pro or a Himalayan Yogi. Instead, by the third year of his Computer Science and Philosophy degree at UC Berkeley, he started his software career at Sun Microsystems. Dissatisfied by the dot-com greed of the late 90s, Nipun went to a homeless shelter with three friends to "give with absolutely no strings attached." They ended up creating a website, and also an organization named ServiceSpace. Over the years, they built thousands of websites for nonprofits but also started incubating a diverse set of projects that included online portals DailyGood and KarmaTube, offline movements like Smile Cards, a pay-it-forward rickshaw in India, and Karma Kitchen restaurants in three cities across the US. In 2001, at the age of 25, Nipun quit his job to become a "full time volunteer." He didn't have a plan of survival beyond six months, but so far, so good.
In January 2005, Nipun and Guri, his wife of six months, put everything aside to embark on an open-ended, unscripted walking pilgrimage in India, to "use our hands to do random acts of kindness, our heads to profile inspiring people, and our hearts to cultivate truth." Living on a dollar a day, eating wherever food was offered, sleeping wherever a flat surface was found, the couple walked 1000 kilometers before ending up at a retreat center, where they meditated for three months. Today, both Nipun and Guri live in Berkeley and stay rooted in a practice of small acts of service. The journey continues.
Nipun's mission statement in life now reads: "Bring smiles in the world and stillness in my heart."
Kern Beare is a former vice president of communications for a large technology firm in Silicon Valley, CA. After leaving the corporate world in 2005, he co-founded Global Mindshift, a non-profit offering online facilitated workshops on the essential skills we need to survive and thrive in today’s interconnected and interdependent world.
In 2009 Kern brought both his corporate and non-profit experience to FeelGood—a college youth leadership program—joining them as director of education and strategic communications. In 2015, he and his FeelGood colleagues launched Crew 2030—now called the Enlight Collaborative—a non-profit initiative serving organizations focused on youth engagement.
Kern has travelled extensively, including living two years in the People's Republic of China in the early 1980s, where he and his wife Amy taught English. He's sat on the board of two non-profit organizations—The Foundation for Global Community, and Volunteers in Asia.
Kern and his wife Amy live in Mountain View, CA and have two grown sons.
Sally Mahé, a founding staff person of URI, has held senior staff positions for over 20 years. Sally formerly served as Director of Organizational Development and Director of Global Programs, working primarily with regional staff across the world. As Senior Consultant, Sally is on call for consultation and makes core URI values, practices and in-depth organizational wisdom available to the URI global community. Sally co-authored The Birth of a Global Community in 2003, and is co-author of A Greater Democracy Day by Day, and the Law in Action Series. Sally holds Master’s degrees from Harvard and the General Episcopal Seminary, NYC. She lives in the Bay Area with her children and grandchildren nearby.
Sally maintains a weekly blog called Every Voice, where she presents thought-provoking quotes showing how people all over the world give voice to URI.
Aaron T. Wolf is a professor of geography in the College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences at Oregon State University, USA, whose research and teaching focus is on the interaction between water science and water policy, particularly as related to conflict prevention and transformation. A trained mediator/ facilitator, he directs the Program in Water Conflict Management and Transformation, through which he has offered workshops, facilitations, and mediation in basins throughout the world. He is the author, most recently, of The Spirit of Dialogue: Lessons from Faith Traditions in Transforming Conflict.
Euphrates 2018 Honoree and 2018 Visionary of the year & Facilitator
In early 2017, James Offuh began his endeavours as a Euphrates Chapter Leader in Côte d’Ivoire. The Euphrates community proudly named James the 2018 Visionary of the Year for his deeply inspiring and dedicated work leading reconciliation and healing. James envisions “a more just and inclusive world where engaged global citizens are fueled by the desire and the skills to come to deeply understand different perspectives, rather than to simply perpetuate their own.” This vision takes practical effect in his organization, United for Peace Against Conflicts International (UFPACI), as he currently works hard to establish a mediation and conflict transformation training center in Abidjan, the only center of its kind in Côte d’Ivoire. One of the most significant achievements of UFPACI was the successful reconciliation of two tribes entrenched in violent rivalry in Côte d’Ivoire, - the Gueree and Dozos - a feat which no other NGO had successfully accomplished. This is a powerful example of “making the impossible, possible and the idealistic, realistic.” James’ compassionate spirit calls for the humanity in all beings to be seen, and we are honored to have him share his compassionate spirit and work at the River of Hope Summit.
Rev. Dr. Barbara Leger
Arriving on Sept 11th, 2001, Rev. Dr. Barbara Leger is the Founder and Spiritual Guide of TEMENOS Center for Spiritual Living , No. America and for TEMENOS Center for Self-Realization, Ukraine. The evolution of her work in Ukraine now has, in addition to teaching SOM whenever possible, created 2 main outreach projects to meet people where they are and share a way of living that cultivates transformation: PEACE 1st and 21st Century Youth.
Today, 17+ years later, she has trained over 30 practitioners with 12 having current licenses, with 3 who teach and lead groups in the Regional Center in Cherkasy and 2 who teach in Crimea (formerly part of Ukraine before sovereignty breached by Russia).
VISION: TEMENOS East & West are Prosperous Centers of Consciousness: Cultivating Peace, Purpose & Possibilities for anyone seeking growth, prosperity and joy in their lives, we have a growing emphasis on youth and young adults.
PURPOSE: Peace on Earth in our lifetime
MISSION: Using all moments for good.
She is convinced that there is a new world emerging in the consciousness of people all around the world and, in our life-time, we will find our way to live in peace, love and harmony with the majesty & mystery of Life, with ourselves and with each other.
Her clear commitment can be expressed from the words of a powerful song by New Thought musician Jami Lula “I won’t waste, I won’t waste, I won’t waste one more minute of my life”
Sara Vetter is the Business Development Director of the Soul of Money Institute and is a coach, consultant, workshop leader, keynote speaker and strategist. She is also the Major Gift Fundraiser for the Pachamama Alliance. Sara has had experience in advertising, marketing and sales with several magazines including LA Magazine and the Disney Channel. From there, Sara spent time raising her family and helping her husband build his career as one of the early executives of Microsoft where Sara spent time in the tech world as a friend and colleague of many Silicon Valley luminaries. She has been working with the Soul of Money Institute for more than seven years and has become a key player in all the initiatives of the institute, working in partnership with Author and Founder Lynne Twist.
Sara has played a leadership role with the Nobel Women's Initiative, working closely with the six Nobel Women Peace Prize Laureates on fundraising, strategy and special delegations. Sara has co-led delegations to Dharamsala, India to see his Holiness the Dalai Lama, the Democratic Republic of Congo to work with Nobel Laureate Leymah Gbowee. She also co-led a coalition to Liberia working closely with Ms. Gbowe and Nobel Laureates Jody Williams, Mairead Maguire and Shirin Ebadi. Sara is also a member of the WPO (Women’s Presidents Organization).
Sara’s effectiveness in producing results for the Soul of Money Institute and Pachamama Alliance is legendary. For example: It was her initiative and skill that landed Lynne Twist’s interview on Oprah's Super Soul Sunday in 2016.
Her role at the Soul of Money Institute is to manage and run the business as well as participate in all of the programs as a leader (co-lead all the programs). Her leadership doubled business revenues from 2016 to 2017 and also significantly expanded revenue for Pachamama Alliance.
Fundraiser, Consultant, Facilitator and Coach
Sara has been coaching, consulting and leading workshops with Lynne Twist for the last five years, including the Fundraising from the Heart Workshop, Wisdom Gatherings, Remarkable Women’s Journeys and retreats. She also leads the following Pachamama Alliance Transformational Educational programs: The Awakening the Dreamer Symposium; The Awakener for Business Leaders; The Annual Pachamama Alliance fundraising events and other key fundraising conferences and gatherings. As the major gift fundraiser for the Pachamama Alliance, Sara has led and participated in more than 19 delegations and immersion trips to the Amazon Rainforest. She has raised millions of dollars for the Pachamama Alliance and the Nobel Women's Initiative and is a consummate fundraiser.
Euphrates 2018 Honoree
Sohini Jana joined the Euphrates community in 2016 and has since served as the Euphrates-Kolkata Chapter Leader with the mission of raising awareness on the need for peace leadership. Sohini envisions a world in which individuals experience and thrive in deep connection with one’s self, connection with others, and connection with the planet. Each day, Sohini works to actualize this vision by educating youth, uniting individuals across faiths, and initiating cross-cultural connections throughout South Asia. She has organized community events on interfaith harmony, the international day of peace, and identity-based dialogue. Sohini has proudly been selected as an Interfaith Dialogue Fellow with the King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz International Centre for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue (KAICIID) in 2019. At the River of Hope Summit, Sohini will lead a session inspiring and connecting participants around the concept of “universal religion.”
Euphrates 2019 Honoree
Leading Euphrates Institute’s Liberia Chapter since May 2017, Victor Garpulee serves as a model for peace leadership as he engages and educates youth to be active contributors to a peaceful society. Victor holds an innovative and creative spirit that has been captured in numerous peace- and community-building events in his local community. Victor organizes and facilitates ongoing events on topics including but not limited to diversity, capacity building, human rights, and communal cooperation. He seamlessly gathers individuals from religious, social, political, and academic institutions and communities for difficult conversations that inform, inspire, and equip individuals to meaningfully transform their communities. Victor has wide spread the Euphrates mission through youth camps in academic institutions with the mission of creating youth-led Chapters in 15 counties across Liberia. A dedicated practitioner of the international Golden Rule, Victor leads from the heart and will be a model of hope and courage at the River of Hope Summit.
Fuhbang Emmanual Tanifum
2019 Euphrates Honoree
With a recent welcome to the Euphrates community in the summer of 2018, Fuhbang Emmanuel Tanifum serves as the Chapter Leader in Bamenda, Cameroon. Emmanuel envisions a “compassionate world where everyone’s action is motivated by love.” Emmanuel has over ten years’ experience working with civil society in Cameroon in humanitarian, human rights, and peacebuilding contexts. He is the Co-Founder of Jechsmin Pool Human Rights and Freedoms, a human rights association in Bamenda, and the Rohi Foundation, an organization promoting peace, human rights, and humanitarian efforts. Emmanuel has taught human rights curriculum, began human rights clubs in schools, hosted educational radio programs, provided paralegal services and humanitarian assistance to victims of human rights abuses, and leads programs on plethora of social services including but not limited to youth development, SR education, family planning and restoration, and mental health. Emmanuel is an ordained pastor, and uses his leadership to promote peace and reconciliation amidst the worsening Anglophone crisis in Cameroon. He courageously dedicates himself to mobilizing civilian populations to participate in local peace processes. At the River of Hope Summit, we look forward to having Emmanuel build awareness of conflicts in Cameroon and the incredible ongoing peacebuilding projects across the country.
2018 Euphrates Honoree
Elesse Bafandjo began serving as the Euphrates Chapter Leader in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 2017, and has been a beacon of inspiration for our community. In his local community, he always seeks ways to bridge divides, address misconceptions and foster relationships among conflicting groups of people. Elesse has organized and facilitated meaningful dialogues, concerts, conferences and more cultivating connections between Albinos and non-Albinos, Christians and Muslims, and hearing and non-hearing individuals. Throughout all his work, Elesse promotes deep compassion, dignity, inclusivity, and shared humanity across identities. He relentlessly initiates efforts that break down barriers between people, and collaboratively create loving and harmonious coexistence. A wealth of knowledge and experience in leading peace, we are thrilled to have Elesse contribute his insights and support to fellow local and global peace builders at the River of Hope Summit.