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THE 23RD ANNUAL FESTIVAL OF FAITHS is a five-day nationally acclaimed multi-faith celebration of music, poetry, art, film, and dialogue with spiritual leaders, practitioners, and teachers.

The 2018 Festival explores practices, teachings, and insight rooted in Feminine wisdom. Speakers and artists from diverse backgrounds and faith traditions examine the Feminine aspects of God, non-dual thinking, the wisdom of the natural world, suffering, healing, emotional intelligence, and creativity. The Festival seeks to offer deeper insight into the Sacred Feminine in all of us.



Pat McCabe

Diane Rehm

Ruby Sales

Lynne Twist

Sharon Salzberg

Pat McCabe, known as Woman Stands Shining, is a Dine' (Navajo) mother, grandmother, activist, artist, writer, ceremonial leader and international speaker. She is a voice for global peace, and her paintings are created as tools for individual, earth, and global healing. She has appeared in two documentary films: SEEDing Change and Journeying to Turtle Island and has presented at numerous conferences, events, and indigenous gatherings around the world including Bali, Belgium, Chile, Ecuador, England, India, Italy, Mexico City, Peru, Scotland, Sri Lanka, and in the U.S., as well as the national BIoneers Conference and the International Healing Conference in Bali. She lives in Taos, New Mexico, and hopes all peoples of the earth "can learn from Indigenous experience and re-member themselves and their own birth-right relationship with this Mother Earth." She draws upon the deep Indigenous sciences of thriving life to reframe inquiries about sustainability and balance, and she is devoted to supporting the next generations, the “Women’s Nation” and the “Men’s Nation” in being functional members of the “Hoop of Life" and upholding the honor of being human.
Diane Rehm is a native Washingtonian who began her radio career in 1973 as a volunteer for WAMU 88.5, the NPR member station in Washington, D.C. She was hired as an assistant producer and later became the host and producer of two health-oriented programs. In 1979, she began hosting WAMU’s local morning talk show, Kaleidoscope, which was renamed The Diane Rehm Show in 1984. The Diane Rehm Show grew from a local program to one with international reach and a weekly on-air audience of more than 2.8 million.Diane now brings her unique mix of curiosity, honesty, intimacy and nearly forty years as host of WAMU and NPR’s The Diane Rehm Show to the podcast world: Listen in to her weekly conversations with newsmakers, writers, artists and thinkers on the issues she cares about most: what’s going on in Washington, ideas that inform, and the latest on living well as we live longer. You can hear the podcast through her website www.drshow.org or iTunes.In 2014, President Barack Obama presented Rehm with the National Humanities Medal. “In probing interviews with everyone from pundits to poets to Presidents, Ms. Rehm’s keen insights and boundless curiosity have deepened our understanding of our culture and ourselves,” the White House said.Newsweek magazine named The Diane Rehm Show one of the most interesting talk shows in the country. National Journal says Rehm is “the class act of the talk radio world.” In fall 2013, the program was identified as one of the most powerful programs in public radio based on its ability to draw listeners to public radio stations.In 2010, Diane Rehm won a Personal Peabody Award, considered among the most prestigious and selective prizes in electronic media, for her more than 30 years in public broadcasting. Rehm has been also named “Washingtonian of the Year,” and one of the “150 Most Influential People in Washington” by Washingtonian magazine. She’s been included several times on the magazine’s list of the “100 Most Powerful Women,” most recently in 2013. The daughter of Arab immigrants who settled in Washington in the early 20th century, Rehm was selected as Arab American of the Year by ACCESS in 2013 in celebration of her rich heritage.Rehm has received many other honors and awards in her three-decade career, including: the inaugural Urbino (Italy) Press Award; the International Matrix Award from the Association for Women in Communications; and named a Fellow by the Society of Professional Journalists, the highest honor the society bestows on a journalist, for extraordinary contributions to the profession. In 2011, she received the Excellence in Journalism Award from the American News Women’s Club.In 1998, Rehm’s career nearly ended because of spasmodic dysphonia, a neurological voice disorder that causes strained, difficult speech. Rehm sought treatment, returned to the show, and called attention to the condition. The National Council on Communicative Disorders recognized her work with a Communication Award, and ABC’s Nightline devoted an entire program to a conversation with Rehm about her disorder. In 2011, Rehm was awarded the Voice Education Research Awareness (VERA) Award from The Voice Foundation for her sustained contributions to the field of voice communication.Rehm is the author of four best-selling autobiographical books: Finding My Voice (Knopf, 1999), in which she describes her childhood, marriage, career, and voice disorder; Toward Commitment: A Dialogue about Marriage (Knopf, 2002), a deeply personal book co-authored with her husband, John; Life With Maxie (Gibbs Smith, 2010), a lighthearted story about her dog; and her most recent book, On My Own (Knopf, 2015), an eloquent memoir about the death of her late husband, John.Rehm’s loyal connection to WAMU 88.5 and American University was recognized in 2007 when she was invited to receive an honorary degree and deliver the College of Arts and Sciences commencement speech. “I feel fortunate to have spent so many years in public broadcasting under the aegis of this fine University,” she told the graduates. “Our goals have been one and the same: to expand horizons, and to promote a deeper understanding of the world around us.” She has also been awarded honorary degrees from Virginia Theological Seminary, Washington College, McDaniel College, and Shepherd University.Rehm is a director emerita of the PEN/Faulkner Foundation and a trustee emerita of McDaniel College in Westminster, Md.Diane Rehm lives in Washington, D.C. She was married to her beloved late husband, John, for 54 years. She has two children and four grandchildren.
Ruby Sales looks at her work as a calling rather than a career. She answered the call to social justice as a teenager at Tuskegee Institute where she joined the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and worked on voter registration in Lowndes County, Alabama.  Sales received a B.A. degree from Manhattanville College and attended graduate school at Princeton University.  Sales received a Masters of Divinity degree from the Episcopal Divinity School where she was an Absalom Jones Scholar. While there, she developed a reputation as a preacher and has preached at churches and cathedrals around the nation.  After divinity school, she founded and still directs a national nonprofit organization, the SpiritHouse Project.   As a social justice activist, Sales’ work is cited in several books, journal articles and films such as Taylor Branch’s At Canaan’s Edge: America in the King Years 1965-68; Broken Ground: A Film on Race Relations in the South; Dan Rather’s American Dream Segment; and the newly released book, Blood Brother: Jonathan Daniels and His Sacrifice for Civil Rights by Rich and Sandra Neil Wallace.   Sales is one of the founders of SAGE Magazine: A Scholarly Journal on Black Women.  As a social critic, Sales has published works in several journals, newspapers and magazines and is a frequent guest on Sirius XM Radio Inside the Issues with Dr. Wilmer Leon. During summer 2016, Sales was keynote speaker at a gathering of nationally renown theologians to discuss “Public Theology Reimagined” hosted by and later broadcast on the NPR program, On Being with Krista Tippett.  Sales has received numerous awards and honors.  She was selected and honored as a Veteran of Hope by Vincent G. Harding in 2004 and taught a class with him at Morehouse College on “After the March on Washington” in 2012.  She continues to write and observe on Movement History.  Sales became a national HistoryMaker (www.HistoryMaker.com) in 2009. In August 2013, Sales was awarded the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference Living Legacies Civil Rights Recognition Award.  In 2014, she was inducted into the Morehouse College Martin Luther King Jr. Board of Preachers and became a recipient of the Beautiful Are Their Feet Award from the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference. In May 2015, Sales received an Honorary Doctorate Degree from West Chester University in Pennsylvania.  Sales was honored with the national Martin Luther King, Jr. Peace Award from the Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR) at their centennial celebration in November 2015. An oral history of Sales is housed at the Library of Congress and she was selected as one of fifty African Americans from the Civil Rights Movement to be spotlighted in the new Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, DC which opened September 2016. Sales has made the struggle for racial justice one of the centerpieces of her work through the SpiritHouse Project.  Since 2007, she has worked to expose the state sanctioned deaths of African Americans by White police, security guards and vigilantes by compiling a national database on these events; offering spiritual, financial and organizational support to families; and by exposing these activities through church and community meetings, forums, and press conferences around the nation.  In fall 2014, she co-sponsored a Teach In / Preach In with the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference, Eden Seminary and Christ the King Church in St. Louis, Missouri in response to the police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.  During the spring of 2015, she organized a Teach-In in Philadelphia which exposed the Means and Tools of Oppression that plague most communities of color. In March 2016, Sales and SpiritHouse Project organized a national Day of Action in Washington, DC entitled, Stop the War on Our Children, during which women from around the nation gathered to acknowledge young victims of state sanctioned violence with a silent procession from the White House to the US Capitol, a public hearing hosted by Dr. Wilmer Leon, and the delivery of caskets containing the names of victims to key Senate, House and Supreme Court leadership.  A report, “From the Womb to the Tomb: The History of Police Violence Against African Americans,” is forthcoming.   Recognizing a need to nurture the hope that still resides in young people as well as to revive an intergenerational community and human compassion, in 2016 the SpiritHouse Project introduced Hope Zones.™  They are alternative learning spaces designed to strengthen the hope, courage, reason and will of young people to individually and collectively stand up for themselves with dignity, clarity and nonviolent persistence. Hope Zones™ are sanctuary sites of learning, intergenerational connection and community formation which offer diverse communities an opportunity to work toward the common goal of advancing democracy and non-violence. Sales continues to preach and teach all around the United States. 
Lynne Twist has been a recognized global visionary committed to alleviating poverty,  ending world hunger and supporting social justice and environmental sustainability.From working with Mother Teresa in Calcutta to the refugee camps in Ethiopia and the threatened rainforests of the Amazon,  as well as guiding the philanthropy of some of the worlds wealthiest families, Lynne’s on-the-ground work has brought her a deep understanding of  people’s relationship with money.  Her breadth of knowledge and experience has lead her to profound insights about the social tapestry of the world and the historical landscape of the times we are living in.Her compelling stories and life experiences inspired Lynne to write her best-selling, award-winning book “The Soul of Money: Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Life” (W.W. Norton, 2003) which has been translated into nine languages including Korean, Chinese, Vietnamese, French, Spanish, German, Japanese, Bulgarian and Portuguese. The book will be re-released in 2017.In addition, Lynne has contributed chapters to more than ten books including:
  • Women of Courage: Inspiring Stories from the Women Who Live Them, by Katherine Martin (New World Library, 1999)
  • Nonprofit Management 101: A Complete and Practical Guide for Leaders and Professionals” by Darian Rodriguez Heyman (Jossey-Bass, 2011)
  • Einstein’s Business: Engaging Soul, Imagination, and Excellence in the Workplace” by Dawson Church, Ph.D. (Elite Books, 2007)
  • Birth 2012 and Beyond: Humanity’s Great Shift to the Age of Conscious Evolution by Barbara Marx Hubbard (Shift Books, 2012)
Ms. Twist has written numerous articles for RSF Quarterly, Fetzer Institute, Noetic Sciences Quarterly, and YES! Magazine and Balance.
Sharon Salzberg is a central figure in the field of meditation, a world-renowned teacher and NY Times bestselling author. She has played a crucial role in bringing meditation and mindfulness practices to the West and into mainstream culture since 1974, when she first began teaching. She is the co-founder of the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, MA and the author of ten books including NY Times bestseller, Real Happiness, her seminal work, Lovingkindness and, Real Love, her latest release by Flatiron Books. Acclaimed for her humorous, down-to-earth teaching style, Sharon offers a secular, modern approach to Buddhist teachings, making them instantly accessible. She is a regular columnist for On Being, a contributor to Huffington Post, and the host of her own podcast: The Metta Hour.

Cemalnur Sargut

Monica Coleman

Becca Stevens

Omid Safi

Najah Bazzy

Since 2000, Cemalnur Sargut has been the President of Turkish Women’s Cultural Association, Istanbul (TURKKAD),(www.turkkad.org) founded by her teacher, Samiha Ayverdi in 1966. Under her leadership and with the belief that tasavvuf (sufism) can be the common language of humans and societies, TURKKAD has been organizing international symposiums* addressing a wide range of people with a view to offering solutions to today’s problems through tasavvuf, which considers knowledge as a state to be practiced and sees worship as a journey towards love.Cemalnur Sargut’s teacher, Kenan Rifai once said, “We need to explain the teachings of tasavvuf, which our time desperately needs, in such academic contexts as foundations and associations, and not through mere words but by actually living tasavvuf”. In order to promote such an understanding to ourselves and the whole humanity, she initiated a chair of Islamic studies in 2009 at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she has been giving lectures since 2000. Another chair as such is about to be launched at Peking University, China. The main objective of such projects is to teach university students the true way of living Islam, i.e. tasavvuf, through scholars practicing it in their lives.With an intention to introduce Islamic tasavvuf rooted in Anatolia, Cemalnur Sargut has also been taking pioneering steps to have institutes established in collaboration with universities and governments in areas of literature, fine arts, sociology and history where graduate and undergraduate studies can be carried out on the lives and works of sufi masters in Anatolia.As outcomes of an understanding of service embracing basic human values with a progressive and reformist view, these academic efforts taking place both in and outside of Turkey play a leading role in building a spiritual bridge between the east and the west so that true Islam can be introduced.Cemalnur Sargut was born in Istanbul in 1952. After receiving her BSc in Chemical Engineering, she taught Chemistry for 20 years. Born into a sufi family, she was interested in philosophy and examined the lives of great philosophers when she was young. After realizing that philosophy is not a kind of knowledge that can be lived, she looked for an example who lived his knowledge and found Rumi. Upon her teacher, Samiha Ayverdi’s request, she started to work on the Quran and conduct a comparative study on Rumi’s Masnavi. Again on her teacher’s request she started giving Masnavi lessons to young people when she was 24, and since then she has reached millions of people.Her teacher, Samiha Ayverdi tells us about Cemalnur Sargut when she was a chemistry teacher: “Cemalnur Hoca was neither a pedagogue nor a psychologist. As a young woman standing at a teacher’s desk and inherent with the ability to unite the inner and outer forces of humanity as a single power, she must be one of the exceptionally unique ones who come to this earth with the attribute of a human being originating from the mist of love. She would teach her students according to the required curriculum but would delivering mere technical and materialistic knowledge suffice to occupy such a great desk?”As Sadık Yalsızuçanlar, a sufi researcher and an author, states, “With her deep comprehension in the wisdom of tasavvuf and her infinite love and knowledge, Cemalnur Sargut is the Rabia of modern times. Having received her training through the teachings of Ahmed er Rifai, Ken’an Rifai, Meskure Sargut and Samiha Ayverdi, she has reached spiritual maturity through remembrance of Allah (dhikr) and spiritual discourses (sohbet). She is a lover of Allah and the Prophet and a faithful follower of the Muhammedan path.”Apart from her studies on sufism, Cemalnur Sargut publishes books of commentaries on the Quran chapters compiled through the commentaries of such great sufi masters as Rumi, Ahmed-er Rifai, Abdulkadir Jilani, Ibn-i Arabi, Mısri Niyazi, Jili, Shams and Sultan Veled. She continuously serves people by giving spiritual discourses and teachings on Rumi’s Masnavi and Ibn Arabi’s Fususu’l Hikem.Cemalnur Sargut aims at enabling humanity to reach the joy of life where people live in harmony without attempting to change those that are different and see all as one without discriminating between genders, religions, sects or outlooks. Setting an example to such a living by practicing Muhammedan akhlaq (morals) is the reason for her existence and she performs her duty with great ease, only for the sake of God.
Monica A. Coleman is Professor of Constructive Theology and African American Religions at Claremont School of Theology in southern California. There she also serves as a Co-Director the Center for Process Studies and Director of Process and Faith.  Coleman has earned degrees from Harvard University, Vanderbilt University and Claremont Graduate University. She has received funding from leading foundations in the United States, including the Ford Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the Woodrow Wilson Fellowship Foundation, among others.Answering her call to ministry at 19 years of age, Coleman is an ordained elder in the African Methodist Episcopal Church. She brings her experiences in evangelical Christianity, black church traditions, global ecumenical work, and indigenous spirituality to her discussions of theology and religion.Coleman is the author or editor of six books, and several articles and book chapters that focus on the role of faith in addressing critical social and philosophical issues. Her memoir Bipolar Faith shares her life-long dance with trauma and depression, and how she discovers a new and liberating vision of God. Her book Making a Way Out of No Way is required reading at leading theological schools around the country, and listed on the popular #BlackWomenSyllabus and #LemonadeSyllabus recommended reading projects.Coleman’s strength comes from the depth of her knowledge base and from her experiences as a community organizer, survivor of sexual violence and as an individual who lives with a mental health challenges. Coleman often teaches Bible study in her local church, and speaks widely on religion and sexuality, religious pluralism, churches & social media, mental health, and sexual and domestic violence. Coleman is based in Los Angeles, and lives in an intergenerational household where she is an avid vegan cook and cyclist.
Becca Stevens is an author, speaker, priest, social entrepreneur, and founder and president of Thistle Farms. After experiencing the death of her father and subsequent child abuse when she was five, Becca longed to open a sanctuary for survivors offering a loving community. In 1997, five women who had experienced trafficking, violence, and addiction were welcomed home. Twenty years later, Thistle Farms continues to welcome women with free residences that provide housing, medical care, therapy, and education for two years. Residents and graduates earn income through one of four social enterprises. The Global market of Thistle Farms helps employ more than 1, 8 00 women worldwide, and the national network has more than 40 sister communities.Becca has been featured in The New York Times, on ABC World News and NPR, and was recently named a 2016 CNN Hero and a White House “Champion of Change.” She was featured in the PBS documentary, “A Path Appears,” named Humanitarian of the Year by the Small Business Council of America, and inducted into the Tennessee Women’s Hall of Fame. Stevens attended the University of the South and Vanderbilt Divinity School. She has been conferred two honorary doctorates.Her newest book, Love Heals, will be published by Harper Collins in September of 2017. Becca lives in Nashville with her husband, Grammy-winning songwriter Marcus Hummon, and their three sons.
Omid Safi is a leading public Muslim intellectual in America and columnist for On Being.He leads spiritual tours every year to Turkey, Morocco, or other countries, to study the rich multiple religious traditions there.He is director of Duke University’s Islamic Studies Center. He specializes in the study of Islamic mysticism and contemporary Islam and frequently writes on liberationist traditions of Dr. King, Malcolm X, and is committed to traditions that link together love and justice.Omid is the past chair for the Study of Islam at the American Academy of Religion. He has written many books, including Progressive Muslims: On Justice, Gender, and PluralismCambridge Companion to American IslamPolitics of Knowledge in Premodern Islam; and Memories of Muhammad. His forthcoming books include Radical Love: Teachings from the Islamic Mystical Traditions and a book on the famed mystic Rumi.Omid is among the most frequently sought out speakers on Islam in popular media, appearing in The New York TimesNewsweekWashington Post, PBS, NPR, NBC, CNN, and other international media.
Najah Bazzy, R.N. is a Transcultural Clinical Nurse Specialist and Diversity Specialist. She also is the Executive Director and Founder of Zaman International. She is CEO of Diversity Specialists and Transcultural Health Care Solutions. Bazzy has an extensive background in critical care nursing with special expertise in Cross Cultural health care, beliefs and practices. She is a global leader in Medical Ethics, Philanthropy, Nursing and Interfaith Dialogue and brings an ambassador style of diplomacy to her projects and life work.

Mary Berry-Smith

Tsoknyi Rinpoche

Elizabeth Mattis Namgyel

Hannah Drake

Nina Simons

Mary Berry is the Berry Center Executive Director.  She and her brother, Den Berry, were raised by their parents, Wendell and Tanya Berry, at Lanes Landing Farm in Henry County, Kentucky from the time she was six years old. She attended Henry County public schools and graduated from the University of Kentucky in 1981. She farmed for a living in Henry County starting out in dairy farming, growing Burley tobacco, and later diversifying to organic vegetables, pastured poultry and grass fed beef.Mary is married to Trimble County, Kentucky farmer, Steve Smith, who started the first Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farming endeavor in the state of Kentucky. If daughters Katie Johnson, Virginia Aguilar and Tanya Smith choose to stay in Henry County, they will be the ninth generation of their family to live and farm there.Mary currently serves on the Board of Directors of United Citizens Bank, in New Castle, Kentucky, and is on the board of directors of the Schumacher Center for a New Economics, in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. She speaks all over the country as a proponent of agriculture of the middle, in defense of small farmers, and in the hope of restoring a culture and an economy that has been lost in rural America. Recently she has written a letter for inclusion in the book, “Letters to a Young Farmer: On Food, Farming, and Our Future” (Princeton Agricultural Press, 2016), and the introduction for a new edition of essays, “Our Sustainable Table”, Robert Clark, ed. (Counterpoint, 2017).
Born in 1966 in Nubri, Nepal, Tsoknyi Rinpoche is one of the most renowned teachers of Tibetan Buddhism trained outside of Tibet. Deeply versed in both the practical and philosophical disciplines of Tibetan Buddhism, he is beloved by students around the world for his accessible style, his generous and self-deprecating humor, and his deeply personal, compassionate insight into human nature. The married father of two daughters, Rinpoche nevertheless manages to balance family life with a demanding schedule of teaching around the world, and overseeing two nunneries in Nepal, one of the largest nunneries in Tibet, and more than 50 practice centers and hermitages in the eastern region of Tibet. More information about Tsoknyi Rinpoche, his teachings, and his activities can be found at www.tsoknyirinpoche.org.
Elizabeth Mattis Namgyel has studied and practiced the Buddhadharma for 30 years under the guidance of Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche. After meeting Rinpoche in Nepal, she became his first Western student. Elizabeth has an academic background in both Anthropology and Buddhist Studies, but her learning is also grounded in practice. After many years of solitary retreat, Rinpoche appointed Elizabeth as Retreat Master at Longchen Jigme Samten Ling, Mangala Shri Bhuti’s retreat center in southern Colorado.Elizabeth is the author of The Power of an Open Question: The Buddha’s Path to Freedom and is currently writing her next book, tentatively titled, “The Logic of Faith”, about faith and the Middle Way teachings. She has edited Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche’s two books, “It’s Up to You” and “Light Comes Through” and teaches the Buddhadharma in the United States and Europe. She is an avid rock climber and enjoys horseback riding, long walks and the contemplative life of Crestone, Colorado.Elizabeth is known for her willingness to question the spiritual path in order to reach a place of genuine practice and awakening. Using the Buddha’s teachings on emptiness as a lens, she asks us to take a fresh look at all the assumptions and beliefs we have about reality and liberation.
Hannah Drake offers a powerful, inspirational message that has been heard in various arenas around the world. Hannah has performed her poetry at the Legendary Showtime at the Apollo and has had the distinguished privilege of opening for author and motivational speaker, Iyanla Vanzant, political and social justice activist, Angela Davis and National Book Award Winner and world-renowned poet, Nikki Finney. In 2016, Hannah’s poem Spaces was featured in the Courier Journal and shared at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Culture of Health Prize conference in Princeton, New Jersey. She is frequently asked to speak throughout the country, offering an inspiring, poetic message of hope and deliverance believing that her words will ultimately be used for true transformation. In 2014, she joined Roots and Wings, a dynamic group of artists that seek to bring social change within their community. In 2015 and 2016, Hannah Drake, along with the members of Roots and Wings were able to perform their written plays, The West End Poetry Opera and The Blood Always Returns, at the Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts. In addition, Hannah Drake was a guest poet at the Festival of Faiths offering poetry on social justice, believing that communication is truly the beginning of change. Her powerful, honest delivery has garnered her the nickname, “Brimstone”.Hannah is the author of several works of poetry, Hannah‘s Plea-Poetry for the Soul, Anticipation, Life Lived In Color, In Spite of My Chains, For Such A Time As This and So Many Things I Want to Tell You-Life Lessons for the Journey. Her debut novel Views from the Back Pew was received with stellar reviews and was performed on stage to a sold out audience. Her follow-up novel, Fragile Destiny has been hailed as life changing. Currently, Hannah is working on a new collection of poetry and life lessons, entitled Love, Revolution and Lemonade.Hannah was blessed to have her poem entitled #Formation go viral, having been shared over 20,000 times on Facebook and countless other times on Twitter and Instagram. #Formation has been shared all over the world-as close as down the block to London, Haiti, Cape Town and Ghana. In the Summer of 2016 Hannah Drake had the opportunity to travel to Dakar, Senegal, with Roots and Wings beginning her career as an international artist. “I have never felt at home until I placed my feet on African soil. It was there that I breathed in my life, my words, my love, my legacy.”“I am honored, blessed and humbled that I have been given this opportunity. My life has taken me on a series of journeys, paths I never thought that I would walk and roads I never should have traveled but in all pain, there is purpose.” The Bible says all things work together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose-this is my purpose and this is good. There are many layers to who I am as a person, as an author, and as a performer. All of it is reflected within the pages of my books and when I stand behind a microphone. I do not make any apologies for writing it the way I feel it, the way I see it, the way I experience it. This is simply my voice and I have been called for such a time as this. Hannah Drake is a graduate of the University of Colorado at Boulder with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications. Hannah Drake is the proud parent of one daughter Brianna Alysse.Learn more about Hannah and read her poetry at her website: Click Here.
NINA SIMONS cofounder of Bioneers, is a social entrepreneur passionate about reinventing leadership, restoring the feminine, and co-creating a healthy world for all. Nina is co-editor of Moonrise: The Power of Women Leading from the Heart, and a contributor to Ecological and Social Healing: Multicultural Women’s Voices. She co-facilitates transformative leadership intensives and retreats on regenerative leadership through relational mindfulness. Nina received a Robert Rodale award in 2003 and was a recipient in 2017 of the Goi Peace Award. For more information on Nina’s work, and to learn where she may be speaking or teaching, please visit ninasimons.com.

Brianna Harlan

Kenza Isnasni

Safiyyah Rasool

Naomi O’Connell

Kendall Regan

Brianna Harlan is a mixed media artist that creates Radically Vulnerable art to invite transformative dialogue. Themes of her work include identity, social/cultural dynamics, intimacy, oppression, and self-suppression. Brianna works primarily with participants, inviting them to share and unpack sensitive topics through questions and actions. The discoveries that come from these mindful investigations shape the concept and inform the work’s medium. She creates with people, not just about them, and views the process and resulting work as a tool for a moving experience and constructive conversation.
Kenza Isnasni is the co-founder of Marrakesh Organics. She is a master’s student in International Relations and Diplomacy with a concentration in Peace and Conflicts Studies. She has previously studied communication and human resources management. Kenza is also a humanitarian activist who is very sensitive to questions related to human rights, education, climate change and environmental protection, interfaith and intercultural dialogue. Kenza was involved in various humanitarian missions and projects in different countries such as Palestine, Turkey, the Philippines, Senegal, Macedonia, Belgium, Turkey, the UK, the USA etc. These particular experiences allowed her to think of an adapted way to develop projects. Kenza believes that engaging in the healing of our communities and our environment is our generation’s most important work.
Safiyyah Rasool is co-founder and artistic director of Safiyyah Dance Company in Louisville, KY. Safiyyah is renowned in the Midwest region for her Hip Hop artistry and award-winning dance instruction.  Safiyyah began her journey as a street dancer, showcasing her self-taught choreography at talent shows and parties.  Later, she moved to Atlanta to train with the most talented choreographers in Hip Hop, Jazz, Ballet, Technique, and Jazz Funk.  This experience helped launch her career as a much-sought-after choreographer.  In 2012, she opened Safiyyah Dance Company to share her talents with the wider community and inspire dancers to be the best they can be.Safiyyah infuses her street background in her choreography and is regarded as an innovative artist-to-watch.  In 2014, she was selected as one of 20 nominees in the nation to be recognized for her work at the Choreographers Cup in Los Angeles, CA.  Safiyyah has choreographed for several local and national acts including New Edition, Black, the Kentucky Derby Festival, Louisville’s Fresh Fest, Krump Kings, and many others.  Most recently, Safiyyah worked on and choreographed larger-scale productions for Actors Theatre, StageOne, the Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts, The Galt House Productions, and RAW Artists.
Hailed by the New York Times as “radiant”, Irish/German performer Naomi O’Connell divides her time between the recital platform, the theatre and opera stages.  As an opera singer, she has performed with New York City Opera, Atlanta Opera, Garsington Opera and Welsh National Opera.  In 2012, Naomi made her professional stage debut starring on London’s West End in Terrence McNally’s Tony Award-winning play Master Class in the role of aspiring young opera singer Sharon Graham, opposite Tyne Daly who portrayed Maria Callas.  First Prize winner of the 2011 Concert Artists Guild Competition, she was acclaimed as “a natural in the recital format” for her Carnegie Hall debut recital (entitled Witches, Bitches & Women in Britches), and she performs widely throughout the USA. www.naomioconnell.com

Kendall Regan is an artist and designer based in Louisville, KY. Through her work with Against the Grain Brewery, she has built a reputation as the go-to chalk artist in the city. Each piece she creates is filled with pop culture references, clever puns and striking typographic imagery. You might catch her designs on one of your favorite craft beer cans, cycling jerseys, or in the latest issue of Louisville Magazine, where she has been a contributing artist since 2014. Her work also extends to Nashville, TN, where she has produced a mural and chalk art for Stout Burgers and Beer. Other clients include Red Bull, Festival of Faiths, 502 Winery, Somewhere Restaurant & Bar, Rocky’s Sub Pub, and Over the 9.

Christopher Pramuk

Pravrajika Brahmaprana

Sayed Ali Abass Razawi

Rabbi Nina Beth Cardin

Gary Ruschman

Dr. Christopher Pramuk is the author of Hope Sings, So Beautiful: Graced Encounters Across the Color Line (2013), a sustained meditation on race relations in society and church, and two award-winning studies of Thomas Merton: At Play in Creation: Merton’s Awakening to the Feminine Divine (2015), and Sophia: The Hidden Christ of Thomas Merton (2009), recipient of the International Thomas Merton Society’s “Thomas Merton Award,” a.k.a., “The Louie,” its highest honor. Chris’s numerous essays and pastoral writings have appeared in America magazine, Theological Studies, Cross Currents, and the prayer journal Give Us This Day. With expertise ranging from Ignatian spirituality and African American history and spirituality to the life and writings of Thomas Merton, he has spoken widely and led retreats on all of these topics. A lifelong musician, Chris is presently working on a new textbook based on an undergraduate course he teaches in “Music, Art and Theology.” Chris blogs regularly and posts resources on race, faith, and culture at HopeSingsSoBeautiful.org. In August 2017, Chris begans his new position as Chair of Ignatian Thought at Regis University in Denver, CO.

Pravrajika Brahmaprana joined the Sarada Convent at the Vedanta Society of Southern California, in 1973 and has been an ordained sannyasini since 1984. She has been a Vedanta representative on several interfaith councils in America, including the Hindu-Catholic Dialogue sponsored by the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and the Snowmass InterSpiritual Dialogue, founded by Thomas Keating, O.C.S.O.; a guest lecturer at schools, colleges, and universities in America and India; and has participated in interfaith and scholastic seminars in America and abroad.

Brahmaprana has compiled and edited several books on Vedanta, including The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda, Volume 9; Vivekacudamani of Sri Sankaracarya, translated by Swami Turiyananda; With the Swamis in America and India, and A Light to the West: the Life and Teachings of Swami Prabhavananda. She has also written numerous articles on the philosophy and practice of Vedanta for journals and anthologies in America and abroad. Brahmaprana is currently the resident minister of the Ramakrishna Vedanta Society of North Texas, in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.

Sayed Ali Abass Razawi is an International Speaker and Teacher. Sayed uses his background in Ethics, Theology and Spirituality as a tool in breaking social barriers, creating awareness and healing communities.Sayed spends much of his time working with Inter-faith groups, Educational Institutions and Charity Organisations. He has also written on the need for dialogue and the concept of religion in Christianity and Islam. Having taught subjects such as Islamic Theology, Principles of Jurisprudence, Islamic History and Comparative Mysticism, Sayed continues to research and lecture at various Universities.
Nina Beth Cardin is a female rabbi, author, and environmental activist. In 1978 she founded the Jewish Women’s Resource Center. In 1988 she was ordained by the Jewish Theological Seminary, after which she held seminary jobs including Assistant to the Vice Chancellor, Special Assistant to the Chancellor, and Visiting Lecturer in Theology. In 1994 she became the founding associate director of the National Center for Jewish Healing. In 2006 she founded the Baltimore Jewish Environmental Network. From 2007 until 2009 she was general consultant to COEJL, the Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life. In 2011 she founded the Baltimore Orchard Project, which grows and distributes fruit to the poor in Baltimore. “Jewish Woman Magazine” named her one of 10 Women to Watch in 5771 (2011 by the Gregorian calendar.)Her books include: Tears of Sorrow, Seeds of Hope: A Jewish Spiritual Companion for Infertility and Pregnancy Loss (1999), The Tapestry of Jewish Time: A Spiritual Guide to Holidays and Life-Cycle Events, with Ilene Winn-Lederer (Apr 2000), Rediscovering the Jewish Holidays: Tradition in a Modern Voice, with Gila Gevirtz (Jun 1, 2002), and The Time of Our Lives: A Teen Guide to the Jewish Life Cycle, with Scott Blumenthal (Jun 1, 2003). She has also translated and edited Out of the Depths I Call to You: A Book of Prayers for the Married Jewish Woman, written “Mourning a Miscarriage”, a LifeLights™ pastoral care pamphlet and contributed to the anthology The Women’s Torah Commentary: New Insights from Women Rabbis on the 54 Weekly Torah Portions.
A 2017-18 recipient of a Faith Partners residency from American Composers Forum and Bremer Trust, Kentucky native Gary Ruschman is a performer, composer, and conductor who lights up texts with tuneful, organic, and accessible music. His scores have been called "stirring" (Opera News), "soulful" (St. Paul Pioneer Press), and "rousing" (American Record Guide).Gary’s works have been performed by the South Dakota Chorale, Cantus, Dream Songs Project, Lumina, Artemis, Wartburg College, St. Michael's Choir School Toronto, and the Oregon State Meistersingers. His children's opera Nice Mice and Friendly Frogs was produced in the summer of 2015 by Minnesota Opera, and his arrangement of Run On (God’s Gonna Cut You Down) was recently used as the opening theme to BBC Two's American Justice documentary series.Working across many genres, including early music, jazz, rock, classical, operatic, and comedic settings, Gary maintains an active conducting and singing schedule across the globe, and spends much of his offstage time composing for voices. He earned music degrees with honors from Northern Kentucky University and the San Francisco Conservatory



  • Admission to one Festival of Faiths session
  • Access to all Festival activities in lobby
  • General Admission Seating


  • Access to all 2018 Festival of Faiths programming
  • Receptions before evening programs April 25 -28
  • Exclusive discounts at other local restaurants & events
  • General Admission Seating

Tickets are available through the
Kentucky Center for the Arts

501 W. Main St, Louisville, KY

Walk-up & Drive-thru Box Office

Phone #502.584.7777




5:30 – 7:00 pm | OPENING CELEBRATION| Sacred Insight, Feminine Wisdom

The first night of the 23rd Annual Festival of Faiths is a joyful evening of music, song, and soul at Louisville’s historic Cathedral of the Assumption.  A celebration of the diverse faiths within our community and the wisdom, humanity, and beauty that unites them.

Cathedral of the Assumption 433 S. 5th Street | Free and open to the public – no ticket required

8:30 – 9:15 am | BUDDHIST SPIRITUAL PRACTICE | on the Sacred Feminine

with Elizabeth Mattis Namgyel

Kentucky Center for the Arts 501 W. Main Street

10:00 am – 12:00 pm | ONE, NOT TWO | Sacred Wholeness

with Elizabeth Mattis Namgyel, Christopher Pramuk, and Pravrajika Brahmaprana and more

From ancient times our faith traditions teach us that everything is inextricably united as a sacred whole. This eternal and perennial wisdom is hard to grasp by the human mind, which tends to see the world dualistically: right/wrong, male/female, sacred/profane. The contemplative, non-dual mind, however, can restore our understanding of the interdependence of all things. It holds paradox, and is unitive.

This session will explore how unifying and balancing the complementary feminine and masculine aspects of Divine Wisdom is essential to our approaching wholeness and the non-dual mind.

Kentucky Center for the Arts 501 W. Main Street

2:00 – 4:00 pm | CONFRONTING GENDER | Seeing, Hearing, and Valuing the Feminine

with Nina Simons, Rev. Monica Coleman, and more

We face many grave spiritual and cultural imbalances caused by our devaluing, oppression, and ignorance of the feminine. Discrimination, bias, and assault based on gender/identification is a global and systemic condition. Yet as evidenced by #metoo, #TimesUp, the women’s march, and prominent media stories from Hollywood to New York City, women’s voices are being heard around the globe, and with them, political will is building to confront gender bias.

Understanding, lifting up, and integrating the feminine may result in a new understanding and re-spiritualization of how we look at the world and ourselves. How can we more fully reconnect and restore feminine wisdom to our collective and cultural consciousness as a fundamental way to heal our wounds? How would the world look with a realignment of values, and the reinfusion of the feminine?

Kentucky Center for the Arts 501 W. Main Street

7:00 – 9:00 pm | FESTIVAL AFTER HOURS | LISTEN! Feminine Wisdom

Kentucky Center for the Arts 501 W. Main Street

8:30 – 9:15 am | TBA SPIRITUAL PRACTICE | on the Sacred Feminine

Kentucky Center for the Arts 501 W. Main Street

10:00 am – 12:00 pm | DARK NIGHTS OF THE SOUL

with Rev. Ruby Sales, Rev. Monica Coleman, Kenza Isnasni, and more

World religions teach us that suffering is part of the human condition. Our attempts to avoid suffering prevent us from experiencing essential insights and awareness that lead to spiritual healing and growth. Individually and collectively, we must step into the shadows, sit with our fears, and embrace vulnerability.

Spiritual teachings and practices help us transform the darkness into light, the fallow to the fertile, and awaken a deep level of awareness and accountability. Through these teachings, can we come to confront our shortcomings and broken behaviors? How can we face America’s most egregious acts, including genocide and slavery? How can feminine insight hold space for the darkness so that we can be transformed?

Kentucky Center for the Arts 501 W. Main Street 

2:00 – 4:00 pm | CULTURE OF ADDICTION

with Rev. Ruby Sales, Lynne Twist, Rev. Becca Stevens, and more

We live in a culture of addiction. Many of us feel increasingly alienated and disconnected as we try to find meaning and fulfillment through the accumulation of “more.” This pursuit leads to further fracture, and the destructive cycle continues. We are addicted to our ego, money, power, drugs, and “stuff.” In a world that has evolved to feed and profit from human suffering, how do we break the cycle and find happiness, contentment, and peace?

In this session, healers will show how accessing feminine wisdom today can help us accept our deepest wounds, and provide insight and forgiveness that leads to healing. Additionally, speakers will help us understand our cultural addictions to materialism and success, and illuminate the spiritual and human costs associated with these systems.

Kentucky Center for the Arts 501 W. Main Street

7:00 – 9:00 pm | FESTIVAL AFTER HOURS | EMERGE! Feminine Wisdom

An evening curated by Hannah Drake and Safiyyah Rasool

Kentucky Center for the Arts 501 W. Main Street

8:30 – 9:15 am | HINDU SPIRITUAL PRACTICE | on the Sacred Feminine

with Pravrajika Brahmaprana

Kentucky Center for the Arts 501 W. Main Street

10:00 am – 12:00 pm | MOTHER | Earth

with Lynne Twist, Rabbi Nina Cardin, and more

The Earth is our most profound teacher. Most spiritual traditions refer to the Earth in the feminine. She is the source of all life. Through her complex systems she models essential lessons such as interdependence, interconnection, mutuality, mystery, and wholeness. Her seasons are cycles of birth, death, and rebirth. Our relationship to the Earth is an access point for uncovering feminine wisdom and insight.

What we do to the Earth is a mirror of what we also do to the feminine aspects of ourselves. She has been objectified, dominated, tamed, brutalized, and neglected. This session will reveal how the wisdom of the natural world manifests itself, and how to use this wisdom as a teacher, guide, and healer to restore balance in our relationships with the Earth and each other.

Kentucky Center for the Arts 501 W. Main Street 

2:00 – 4:00 pm | MODELING WHOLENESS | People, Place, and Planet

with Mary Berry, Rabbi Nina Cardin, Kenza Isnasni, and more

Mass displacement of people, violence, war, and natural disasters are symptoms of our current relationship to the Earth. When we respect and value the interconnections among people, place, and planet, we are honoring the inextricable sacred web of all things. We are also honoring feminine wisdom, and the understanding that sustainable solutions address people, place, and planet together as one, complex, sacred system.

This session will explore best practices, and holistic approaches, to restoring and renewing bonds between people and the places they live. It will emphasize the feminine principles of interconnection, community, and care as models of wholeness.

Kentucky Center for the Arts 501 W. Main Street

7:00 – 9:00 pm | FESTIVAL AFTER HOURS | HONOR! Feminine Wisdom

with Diane Rehm

Kentucky Center for the Arts 501 W. Main Street

8:30 – 9:15 am | SUFI SPIRITUAL PRACTICE | on the Sacred Feminine

with Sheikha Cemalnur Sargut

Kentucky Center for the Arts 501 W. Main Street


with Sheikha Cemalnur Sargut, Omid Safi, Tsoknyi Rinpoche, and more

How do we honor and integrate the feminine aspects of Divine Wisdom in ourselves? Hear from spiritual voices deeply rooted in their sacred traditions about how they cultivate feminine wisdom. The Sacred Feminine manifests itself in a variety of forms in the world’s great faith traditions, including Sakinah, Guanyin, Sophia, Shakti, Kali, The Great Spirit, Chochmah, Yin/Yang, and many others.

What do religious institutions have to say about a reinfusion of feminine narratives? Whose stories are we telling? What do the female saints of our traditions teach us?

Kentucky Center for the Arts 501 W. Main Street 


with Sharon Salzberg, Najah Bazzy, and more

How can insight gained using feminine wisdom be incorporated into our lives? In the current socio-political climate, how can we shift the worldview to create a new narrative spiritually grounded, and based on a balance of the masculine and feminine? Speakers will explore practical approaches to restoring health and harmony in our modern society through the integration of feminine insight and wisdom.

This session will conclude with a short dialogue with the Festival of Faiths hosts, and special guests, to synthesize the week’s major themes.

Kentucky Center for the Arts 501 W. Main Street


The Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts
501 W Main St, Louisville, KY 40202

Cathedral of the Assumption
433 S 5th St, Louisville, KY 40202

Learn more about Louisville!
Visit the Louisville Convention & Visitors Bureau site to plan your Festival of Faiths trip.



The mission of the Festival of Faiths is to promote interfaith understanding, cooperation, and action through exploring how different participating faith traditions address a common issue, topic, or theme. The Festival is organized and supported by the Center for Interfaith Relations.










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