Festival Launch 20192019-01-15T22:37:05+00:00

Featured Presenters

Dr. Ali Haider

Alex Kimura

Joan Brannon

Garrett Bartholomew

Corrie Shull

Dr. Haider is an eye surgeon specializing in cornea, anterior segment and external disease. He is also a Clinical Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology at the University of Louisville; Adjunct Assistant Professor at School of Global Health, Michigan State University, and Medical Director of the Kentucky Lions Eye Bank. Dr. Haider has also established successful eye projects in developing nations, hiring and managing local eye surgeon who perform service with World Sight, an organization dedicated to providing access to ocular health care in remote areas of the developing world.
Alex Kimura is a filmmaker from Louisville, KY. Kimura is the co-founder of Sharing America's Marrow (SAM), a grassroots campaign to register life-saving bone marrow donors. While planning a yearlong, 50 state road trip for SAM, Kimura saw the opportunity to document their journey and create a film that helped raise even more awareness for their cause.
Joan Brannon is a percussionist, instructor, drum circle facilitator and community arts organizer. She specializes in West African and Healing Drum. Joan respects the drum as a sacred instrument using rhythms for communication, empowerment and expression. She makes instruments combining the tradition of Africa with folk art expression of Kentucky. She has studied with master drummers in Guinea, West Africa and throughout the U.S. Joan believes in the transformative power of drumming. She has taught thousands of youth and adults at community centers, arts centers, churches, spiritual centers, theaters, schools and other places where people come together to grow.Alone and with her groups, Sisters of the Sacred Drum and the Sacred Drum Ensemble, she has performed at venues spanning Kentucky. She has awakened and educated audiences with traditional West African music, original compositions, spoken word and African dance. Joan also drums with African Drum Ensemble, Sabari Bengoma and has toured with American Spiritual Ensemble.
Garrett Bartholomew is a senior at St. Xavier High School. He is the member of St. X’s 56-Day Club, the Student Activities Council, and Ryken Service Club. Garrett is also the Service Coordinator for St. X’s chapter of the National Honors Society, and the President of the Saint Joseph of Arimathea Society, an organization which provides burials for those who are unable to afford a funeral. After school, Garrett swims, plays lacrosse and baseball, and works as a cook’s assistant.
Daniel Corrie Shull is the Senior Pastor of the Burnett Avenue Baptist Church in Louisville, Kentucky. Under his leadership, the congregation has experienced tremendous growth through the addition of hundreds of families into church membership.In 2013, Rev. Shull led the Burnett Avenue congregation to purchase and renovate a new church campus which currently facilitates four weekend worship services and a myriad of church and community activities. In addition to preaching four times per weekend and providing leadership to a thriving congregation, Pastor Shull serves on a number of Boards for community organizations and institutions of higher education, mentors youth and is the author of a new book, Detours to Greatness. A proponent of education, Rev. Shull holds degrees from Fisk University and Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary and works as an adjunct professor for Louisville area colleges.He is the Proud father of Daniel Harrison and Zoe Elizabeth.

Dr. George Pantalos

Sarah Riggs Reed

Ron Esposito

George Pantalos has been a cardiovascular explorer for over 45 years. Much of that effort has included the development of surgical devices and procedures to make the research projects possible. He has been a Professor of Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery and Biomedical Engineering at the University of Louisville, in partnership with Jewish Hospital and Norton Children’s Hospital.His efforts to investigate cardiovascular function have focused on understanding and treating heart failure with mechanical devices including artificial hearts, ventricular assist devices, and cardiopulmonary support systems. George has also collaborated with NASA for many years helping to understand cardiovascular adaptation to the weightlessness of space flight and the return to Earth.George started to donate blood with the Red Cross over 40 years ago in Columbus, Ohio. He is now a regular platelet donor with the Red Cross in Louisville and has served on the Board of Directors for several years, focusing on biomedical services. For nearly 10 years, George has worked with students at the University of Louisville to convince the FDA to eliminate the restrictions on sexually active gay men from being blood donors.
Sarah joined the Center for Interfaith Relations in 2012 and became Managing Director in 2014. She has worked with a talented team to expand the Festival of Faiths as a physical audience, and a global virtual audience on both live stream and our YouTube channel. Prior to joining the Center, she directed fund development, business training, and program operations in local community development efforts, concentrating both in the workforce and urban business development services. Sarah also worked in finance in Boston and in Louisville. A graduate of Wellesley college, Sarah received her Master in Public Administration from the University of Louisville. Sarah is a life-long Episcopalian with early family experiences in ecumenism as the daughter of missionary parents in Colombia.
Ron Esposito, M.A. plays Crystal and Tibetan Singing Bowls and is a certified Life Coach and Enneagram Teacher at the Conscious Living Center in Cincinnati, Ohio. He has released six recording including most recently, “Triad” in 2016.Ron’s music has been played on the nationally syndicated program, “Echoes” (NPR) and the video for “Open Heart” received a 2010 “Bronze Telly Award” for “Best On-line Video”. Compositions from Ron’s recordings have been featured in the network and cable television shows “Hawaii 5-0” (CBS), “Nashville” (ABC), “Touch” (Fox), “Common Law” (USA) and “Ray Donovan” (Showtime).Since becoming an accredited Enneagram Teacher in 2007, Ron has published in the International Enneagram Association Journal (2008) and has presented at IEA Global Conferences in the USA, Canada and Europe. Ron travelled to Cuba in 2009 and visited with musicians of the Santeria religion.His website is: www.RonEsposito.com

Explore the space where faith and science intersect to move hearts

January 26, 2019

9 AM | Coffee and muffins
9:15 AM | Box office opens
9:30 AM | Theatre opens
10 AM | Program begins
12 PM | Program concludes
The Brown Theatre
315 West Broadway
Register for the Launch!


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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