The mission of the Al Filipov Peace & Justice Forum is to promote peace and justice among all people and to demonstrate the power of an individual to make a positive difference in the world. Held annually in September, the Forum invites a distinguished individual to speak about his or her work and vision.
Speakers are drawn from a variety of backgrounds and faith traditions, but all share the commitment of a life actively engaged for a more peaceful and equitable world. The Forum’s goals are to challenge and engage the audience, to deepen the understanding of the issues, and to encourage listeners to work for social justice in their own lives, their communities, and in the world.
Past Speaker Profiles
2012 John Hockenberry Journalist and advocate, host of the nationally syndicated radio news program The Takeaway. A paraplegic since an auto accident at age 19, Hockenberry's most recent book is the memoir, Moving Violations: War Zones, Wheelchairs and Declarations of Independence, and he spoke about the specific complexities, challenges, and rewards of his career as a journalist traveling around the world.
2011 The Rev. Dr. James A. Forbes, Jr. Founder, Healing of the Nations Foundation. As Senior Pastor of The Riverside Church (1989-2007) and a key figure in wide-reaching interfaith efforts across the city, Dr. Forbes has ministered for many years to the people of New York. He offered an insightful perspective on the events of September 11, 2001, and their continued impact on the city, nation, and world over the past decade.
2010 Rye Barcott, co-founder Carolina for Kibera, author of It Happened On the Way to War: A Marine's Path to Peace. CFK works to prevent ethnic and gender violence and promote healthcare and youth employment through sustainable development in Kibera, one of Africa’s largest slums. CFK was founded on the belief that with the right kind of support people in desperate places can take control of their lives and create breathtaking change.
2009 Jessica Jackley, co-founder of Kiva.org, the world’s first peer-to-peer online micro-lending website. Worldwide in scope, Kiva’s mission is to connect people through lending for the sake of alleviating poverty. Since its founding in 2005, Kiva has facilitated $315 million in loans with a 98.95% payback rate.
2008 James Yee, author of For God and Country. West Point graduate, Captain Yee served as Muslim chaplain at the U.S. detention center in Guantanamo Bay, where he was falsely accused of espionage and aiding alleged Taliban and Al-Qaeda prisoners in 2003. Chaplain Yee spoke of his imprisonment, Guantanamo, Islam, and the challenges of protecting both national security and civil liberties.
2007 Jack DuVall, President and founding Director of the International Center on Non-violent Conflict, and Executive Producer of A Force More Powerful. In the face of global problems that defy traditional ideas about conflict and power, Mr. DuVall discussed new strategies for non-violent action that are being used to achieve democratic self-rule and human rights.
2006 Jessica Stern, author of Terror in the Name of God, Why Religious Militants Kill. Probing the roots of faith-based militancy spreading throughout the world, Dr. Stern provided insight into the origins of religious extremism and the underlying similarities that characterize them, while exploring how U.S. military action may adversely serve to catalyze groups that, despite conflicting agendas, unite in a common fight against globalization and Western culture.
2005 David Smock, Director, United States Institute of Peace, an independent, nonpartisan, national institution established in 1984 and funded by Congress. The USIP’s mission is to prevent and resolve violent international conflicts, promote post-conflict stability and development, and increase conflict management capacity, tools, and intellectual capital worldwide. The USIP empowers others with knowledge, skills, and resources to promote peace and engages directly in peacebuilding efforts around the globe.
2004 Loung Ung, author of First They Killed My Father. Cambodian born, Ms. Ung is the national spokesperson for the Campaign for a Landmine Free World. She described her compelling personal experiences during the Khmer Rouge genocide and the aftermath of war, and her current mission to rid her homeland and the world of landmines.
2003 Jim Wallis, author of Faith Works and God’s Politics, founder of Sojourners magazine, international commentator on ethics in public life. A life-long activist, Rev. Wallis has been a catalyst for social change focusing on the intersection of faith, politics and culture. He founded “Call to Renewal,” a national federation of churches and faith-based organizations dedicated to overcoming poverty, dismantling racism, affirming life, and rebuilding family and community. Now one organization, Call to Renewal and Sojourners seek ways to put faith to work for justice.
2002 Paul Loeb, author of Soul of a Citizen, Living with Conviction in a Cynical Time. A champion of citizen responsibility and empowerment, Paul Loeb spoke of the power of an individual to make a difference in his or her community. His book is regarded as the how-to guide for social activism.
Photo Credit: Richard Pasley