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Welcome to the Peace Studies Program @ GWC

8th Annual Golden West College 2014 Peace Conference

PEACE: Our Challenge, Our Opportunity, Our Legacy
Friday, April 18, 2014 @ 8:30 am to 5:00 pm

Please join us on Friday, April 18th for a day of peace-building.  The objective of the Peace Conference is to promote peace and humanity by building bridges between today's realities and tomorrow’s possibilities. Conference participants will explore innovative ways to promote peace and nonviolence individually, locally, and globally.

The 2014 Peace Conference will feature dialogues that focus on the following:

The event will include musical performances by artists exhibiting peace-building through thought-provoking lyrics, art, music, and dance. There will be a special appearance by the recipient of GWC’s 2014 Peace Studies Award.

The annual Peace Conference is sponsored by Golden West College and its Peace Studies Program, Peace & Leadership Club, Associated Students, United States Institute of Peace (USIP), Leadership & Ethics Institute (LEI), and SGI-USA organizations.  In addition, the event is collaboration with CSU Dominguez Hills, CSU Fullerton, UC Irvine, CSU Pomona, and the City of Huntington Beach Human Relations Task Force.


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Tickets can be purchased at the door. We will be accepting cash, check and credit cards at that time. We have ended our online registrations.

Type At the Door
College Student* $20
Faculty/Administration $30
Other $40

Make a donation to the GWC Peace Conference


Includes conference materials, complimentary breakfast, lunch, and parking in Lot B • Doors open at 8:00 am

*Note: Must provide college/university current school ID at registration desk.


Where Can We Find Gandhi Today?
Keynote Address by Nipun Mehta

In the times of Gandhi, social action organized in one-to-many formation. One Gandhi and many of us. His successor, Vinoba Bhave, came along and built a stronger network by walking across India and cultivating one-to-one connections.  Along the way, he also pointed to what was emerging: "What rises up like a fountain, will return in the form of many distributed drops."  That's exactly what we're seeing there.  Nipun Mehta calls it Gandhi 3.0, where Gandhi stands for the age-old principle of leading with inner transformation and 3.0 represents the many-to-many networks that are popularized by the modern-day Internet.  In a sense, it's a bridge from the Internet to the Inner-Net.
As he describes it: "You will not find these heroes on TV. They don't seek glory, nor do they wear any uniforms. Sometimes they do normal jobs but they are often doing the real work in subtle and invisible ways. They refuse any kind of payment for that priceless labor of love. These volunteers arrive in a thousand different shapes and sizes. Most work silently.  Slowly they are building a new world, leading with the heart, but also engaging hands and head. They move to a different beat, with the common understanding that being the change, changes the being. This is the transformative force that can move worlds. The work is slow and meticulous, like the formation of mountains. That's a good thing, because while we build the road, the road builds us."
In this talk, Nipun Mehta will explore his journey of building distributed and decentralized movements that lead with inner transformation, of leveraging technology to nurture generosity, of cultivating practices that encourage "being the change, and ultimately of putting priceless gifts -- like empathy, trust and compassion -- into greater circulation.
About The Speaker: At the age of 25, Nipun quit his job to become a "full time volunteer." He is the founder of Service Space, an all volunteer-run organization using technology to inspire greater volunteerism. What started as an experiment with friends is now a global ecosystem of over 400,000 members who have not only delivered millions of dollars in service for free but are regenerating a gift culture. Their projects range from DailyGood to KindSpring to KarmaKitchen.  Nipun has received the Jefferson Award for Public Service, the President's Volunteer Service Award and Dalia Lama's Unsung Hero of Compassion award. He is routinely invited to share his message of "giftivism"with a wide range of audiences and his speech at UPenn commencement was read by millions. Nipun's mission statement in life reads: "Bring smiles in the world and stillness in my heart."

Guest Speakers Information

Samantha Almaraz is an undergraduate at California State University, Long Beach, pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Development and a minor in Health Science. Her goal is to become an Occupational Therapist to make a difference. She attended her first Peace Conference in 2013 and fell in love with the non-profit organization Namaste Nepal, which motivated her to do good in her life. Every week, she coordinated many fundraisers to reach a goal of $5,000. With the support of family, friends, and strangers, she fulfilled a big challenge. She dedicated her summer to fundraising
money for educational scholarships for Himalayan children which would help prevent them from human trafficking. Nepal became her home and gave her more than she could have ever given it. Nepal gave her the chance to do something better for others, for herself, see the world in a completely new perspective, become more grateful for what she has at home, and see the joy of children light a room. This opportunity with Namaste Nepal might have been a once in a life time event, but it will never leave her heart. She plans to continue her work to help the children in Nepal.

Charlotte Backman is a mandala (MAHN-dah-lah) artist, teacher and facilitator whose art is seen in collections around the world. The history of the mandala is multicultural and rich, but simply put, is any symmetrical design radiating from a center, such as a flower. For Charlotte, painting mandalas
evolved from a fun diversion to artistic expression, to spiritual practice, to a life’s work. “As I immersed myself in this particular art form, I began to learn the lessons of the right brain, and the benefits of applying them to life as the ultimate creative endeavor. Delving even deeper led me into systems thinking, quantum mechanics, and the study of sound and vibration -not that I fully understand any of it! Mandalas are visual reminders of universal truths: everything is connected and everything is integral to
the whole.”She began leading collaborative art projects volunteering for the international organization Gather the Women. She has since founded the Many Hands Mandala Project, where she designs and facilitates projects for fundraisers and team-building. “Seeing the beauty we can create together is inspirational to me and gives me such hope for the future. No problem is insurmountable if we work together for the good of the whole.”

Peggy Callahan – Peggy Callahan’s sense of fairness has propelled her work as a television journalist and anti-slavery activist. She co-founded Free the Slaves, one of the leading anti-slavery organizations on the planet, and set about using her television skills to build a movement in a world where people believed Abraham Lincoln had already ended slavery. Free the Slaves works in 600 communities, across seven continents, and has been instrumental in getting four acts of congress passed to fight slavery. Peggy lives with her family in Los Angeles but has spent much of the last 14 years on the road documenting slavery on five continents. As one part of her work, she created the world’s largest film
library on modern-day slavery that is shared with media, free of charge to help spread the word, and executive produced 28 films on modern-day slavery. Three major television networks are engaged in campaigns to help end slavery. Free the Slaves is involved with all of them. Hundreds of millions of viewers have seen Peggy’s work around the globe. Her documentaries on slavery have been translated into Chinese, Hindi, Greek and Spanish. Peggy oversaw spreading the word of Free the Slaves’strategic, holistic approach to ending slavery through an award-winning website, celebrity outreach, message products and served as writer and editor for the book, Slavery. In 2008, Peggy created and produced the first Freedom Awards. The awards are part of a bigger, international strategy to end slavery and celebrate modern day heroes of the anti-slavery movement. The awards have been covered by 150 media outlets, broadcast to 85 million people in the United States and West Africa, and leveraged $2.1 million for the winners. As a television reporter, documentarian and show producer, Peggy specialized in social justice issues. She did projects on homelessness, racism, foster care and the death penalty. Her work has been recognized with more than a dozen major awards.

Hilary Carr is an award winning television producer, marketing executive and philanthropist. Dedicated to delivering television with a conscience, her programming has focused on subject matter ranging from peace and nonviolence, forgiveness and reconciliation, to science and health. She produced for Pierre Cossette Productions, The Grammy Hall of Fame and numerous MusiCares Foundation tributes. Her cause related work also includes projects for The SAG Foundation, The National Veterans Foundation, AIDS Project Los Angeles, Magic Johnson Foundation, Barbara Sinatra’s Children’s Center, City of Hope, and The Association for Global New Thought. As a Marketing & Sponsorship Director she has worked with multibillion-dollar corporations as well as iconic brands creating comprehensive marketing campaigns that encompass all media platforms, public relations, promotions, special events as well as establishing sponsorships and promotional partnership opportunities. She is a passionate stand for human rights, kindness and dignity, and honored to be working with Anonymous Good and Voices4Freedom.

Brent Collins is co-founder and executive director of Slow Money SoCal, a non-profit that delivers education, networking and action-oriented resources for entrepreneurs, investors, community advocates and everyday folk to support and grow healthy, sustainable, food systems at the local level. He has lived and worked in geographies around the world as an executive and business growth, strategy consultant in technology, financial, and environmental market sectors. His talk will focus on gross imbalances that exist in our financial and food system and the actionable, local imperative for both.

Monica Curca is a communications strategist and founder of PAX Manifesto and Transmedia for Good: SoCal group in Los Angeles. Monica works as a strategic communications and media consultant for international peacebuilding organizations and is currently the communications and development manager at the Orange County Congregation Community Organization. She has extensive on the ground experience in transmedia campaign strategy and management and training/building capacity
of civil society organizations and grassroots communities. She has worked with Sera Paz in Mexico, United Methodist Charity on Relief in the country of Georgia, The Center for Citizen Peacebuilding at University of California Irvine, and the Center for Civil Society and Democracy in Syria.

Chief Jackie Gomez-Whiteley has been in law enforcement for 28 years. She began her career as a Police Explorer. She has a BA in psychology from Loyola Marymount University and an MA in Organizational Leadership from Chapman University. She entered the police academy at the Golden West College Criminal Justice Training Center in 1986 and was hired by the Orange Police Department. While at the Orange Police Department she became the department’s first woman motor officer, as well as sergeant and lieutenant. In 1989, Jackie was involved in an officer-involved shooting of a kidnap and attempted murder suspect. As a result of her actions, she was awarded the Orange Police Department’s Medal of Valor, and was honored by both the Rotary Club and American Legion. Jackie instructs recruits at the Golden West College Criminal Justice Training Center where she has been on staff since 1994. She was the Program Coordinator for the Leadership and Ethics Institute and currently sits on the Steering Committee. In 2010, Chief Gomez-Whiteley was awarded the Golden West College Alumni Pillar of Achievement for her community-policing efforts. She is responsible for coordinating the Southern California region of the Women Leaders in Law Enforcement organization and she is a member of the California Police Chiefs Association, Orange County Police Chiefs and Sheriff Association, among many others. In 2011, Jackie was appointed Chief of Police for the City of Cypress. Chief Gomez-Whiteley was honored by OC Metro as one of 20 Women to Watch in 2013 and nominated by the Orange County Business Journal for the 2013 Women in Business Award.

Kathryn Hamel is a municipal police sergeant in the City of Fullerton. She has been a police officer for the past 20 years and has experience in a variety of assignments. She is a doctoral candidate and holds a Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice from Chapman University, Irvine, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Occupational Studies from California State University, Long Beach. Kathryn has recently joined the staff at the Golden West College Regional Criminal Justice Training Center and she is a POST certified instructor. She teaches at the Fullerton College Police Academy as well as for the University of Phoenix-College of Criminal Justice & Security.

Meymuna Hussein-Cattan is a board member of the United Nations Association of Pasadena/ Foothill Chapter, and the MAJOR Fund (a Muslim/Jewish partnership focused on providing clean water in 3rd world countries). She and her mother, Owliya Dima-Hussein, are co-founders of The Tiyya Foundation; a 501c3 nonprofit that provides basic necessities for refugees and displaced persons. Meymuna was born in a Somali refugee camp in 1980; her parents having fled Ethiopia in the mid 1970s due to civil
unrest. She received her B.A. in Social Sciences from the University of California, Irvine, her M.A. in Organizational Management from Antioch University Los Angeles, and she holds a certificate from Cal State Dominguez Hills in Administration & Grant Writing. Today, Meymuna is the Founding Executive Director of Tiyya. Senator Lou Correa, UC Irvine Public Health Department, Department of Social Services, and various media outlets have acknowledged her for her work, including NBC Nightly News.

Nicole Jafari - Dr. Nicole Jafari is an adjunct faculty member at two California State Universities in the departments of Human, Child, and Adolescents studies. Her research interests are in the area of cross-cultural and multi-disciplinary studies on human development, life span developmental challenges, application of scientific theories in the Baha’i Community, and the association between scientific and spiritual growth. In addition, Dr. Jafari is currently working with several co-authors on a college textbook
with a global, cultural, and multi-disciplinary view on human development and growth. She has also co-authored several child & adolescent related publications, particularly human resistance to change and its impact on development. For the past several years, she has been speaking on topics related to children, youth, and families in today’s multicultural and multi-contextual environment addressing such issues as Mass Media, Globalization, Cultural Integration, and Effective Parenting. She is currently collaborating with several nonprofit and like-minded organizations, who promote social consciousness,
public awareness, education, and awareness such as “Human In The Making”, “Bonyade’ Ensan”, “Hamzaaban”, “OMID Institute”, and Golden West College Peace Studies Program. Azim Khamisa is an inspiration. Hailed by dignitaries such as the Dalai Lama, Former President Bill Clinton and Al Gore, Azim carries his inspirational message of forgiveness, peace and hope into a world in desperate need of each. Following the loss of his only son Tariq in 1995 to a senseless, gang-related murder, Azim chose the path of forgiveness and compassion rather than revenge and bitterness, and this amazing choice led to the establishment of the Tariq Khamisa Foundation and the subsequent forgiveness movement which has reached millions. Azim is an international speaker and award winning author of four books. Azim’s profound work has been featured in the likes of The New York Times, Oprah Magazine, People Magazine, Parade Magazine, Washington Post and U.S.A. Today as well as on NBC’s Today Show, Nightly News, CBS’s Early Morning Show and KPBS’ Fresh Air.

Nipun Mehta – Keynote Speaker
At the age of 25, Nipun quit his job to become a “full time volunteer.” He is the founder of Service Space, an all volunteer-run organization using technology to inspire greater volunteerism. What started as an experiment with friends is now a global ecosystem of over 400,000 members who have not only delivered millions of dollars in service free, but are regenerating a gift culture. Their projects range from DailyGood to KindSpring to KarmaKitchen. Nipun has received the Jefferson Award for Public Service, the President’s Volunteer Service Award and Dalia Lama’s Unsung Hero of Compassion award. He
is routinely invited to share his message of “giftivism” with a wide range of audiences, his speech at the University of Pennsylvania commencement was read by millions. Nipun’s mission statement in life reads: “Bring smiles in the world and stillness in my heart.”

David Nahai is the President of David Nahai Consulting Services and a partner at the law firm of Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith. Mr. Nahai is a recognized expert in real estate, energy, water, and environmental matters. He is the former General Manager and Commission President of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, the nation’s largest municipal utility. During his time at LADWP, the department increased its renewable energy portfolio to 15 percent and the city of Los Angeles saw its lowest monthly water use in 32 years (in June 2009). Mr. Nahai also served several terms on the Regional Water Quality Control Board in the administrations of three separate California Governors. He was elected Chair for four terms. Mr. Nahai is additionally the former Senior Advisor to the Clinton Climate Initiative. He has been the recipient of numerous awards and commendations for his civic and environmental work.

Nimesh Patel - From an Ivy League education to Wall Street to fame and fortune as a MTV Rap star, at some point along Nimo’s journey he realized that he was walking a path of suffering and that the only path to light was selfless service to others and his own internal purification. For the past 4 and half years, Nimo has been serving as a volunteer with the underprivileged communities in the Gandhi Ashram in India. Most recently Nimo has reconnected to his roots of music and is offering this gift of love, peace and oneness through his songs: an offering he calls “Empty Hands Music.” Nimo will be
sharing real life stories and performing songs that offer the messages of love, kindness and oneness.

Colleene Preciado - Retired chief probation officer, Colleene Preciado joined Golden West College, Criminal Justice Training Center in August 2012 as academy coordinator for the State Specialized Investigators’ Basic Course. She brings 35 years of law enforcement background serving the public as a probation officer in Orange County, ultimately promoting to the position of Chief Probation Officer. Ms. Preciado has dedicated her efforts to reforms in juvenile detention, community safety enhancements in the supervision of high risk offenders, and building collaborations within government and the faith
community to reduce juvenile delinquency and gang violence. Since joining the team at Golden West College, Criminal Justice Training Center, she has served as one of the founding advisory members for the Leadership and Ethics Institute. She is also an active member of the Women Leaders in Law Enforcement. Recently she coordinated a collaborative effort of college and law enforcement professionals to establish a new 40 hour training course for campus safety officers. She has served on numerous local and state task force and committee efforts advancing professional and research based criminal justice practices. Ms. Preciado earned a BA Degree in Social Welfare from California State University, Long Beach and has completed hundreds of hours in state specialized training in community corrections. She teaches courses on managing critical incidents and ethical leadership for the Chief Probation Officers of California, the California Association of Probation Services Administrators and other mandated core management courses for corrections professionals.

Rev. Dr. Peggy Price has been actively engaged in interfaith peacebuilding since 1996. She is a founding member and past President of the Greater Huntington Beach Interfaith Council, a member of Wisdom Council of SARAH, and on the Advisory Board for the Association for Global New Thought. She has attended United Religions Initiative Global Peace Assembly in India in 2008, a guest of Pacifica Institute touring Turkey in 2005, presented on “The Common Enterprise of Peacebuilding” at the Parliament of World’s Religions in Melbourne, Australia, and served as a facilitator at the Awakened World Conference in Rome and Florence in 2012. Received the Peacemaker Award from the Greater Huntington Beach Interfaith Council, and the Unity Award from South Coast Interfaith Council in 2013. She is actively involved with the Former Mayor of Huntington Beach, Connie Boardman as a co-facilitator of Compassionate Huntington Beach, in partnership with the Greater Huntington Beach Interfaith Council. She is Minister Emeritus of the Seal Beach Center for Spiritual Living, and resides in Huntington Beach with her husband, Don. She is a mother of six adult children and seven grandchildren.
Her talk is “Compassion -No Exceptions” -about the Charter for Compassion and Compassionate Huntington Beach.

Chip Royston III, M.A. Anthropological Philosopher. Professor of Human Services and Anthropology at California State University, Fullerton, Mr. Royston is profoundly interested in the human condition; past, present, and future. He also has many interests outside of the classroom. He has an integral partnership with the Center for Living Peace and has twice been a keynote speaker at the Golden West College Peace conference. He authored an empowering children’s book endorsed by Dr. Jane Goodall. He was a founding member of Bundle of Twigs, a Long Beach-based community activism leadership organization. Mr. Royston’s interest in creating Peace has been nurtured by a life-long dedication to service and has created this purpose statement to guide his life: We Are One Global Family Where Each and Every Human Being can See Themselves in the Eyes of Another; Regardless of Different Background, Experience, or Belief. Adelia Sandoval is the Cultural Director for the Juaneno Band of Mission Indians/Acjachemen Nation the indigenous people of Orange County. She is also the liaison to the spiritual community of the tribe. Adelia is a ceremonial leader, clan dancer and directs the tribal women’s singing group, Tushmalum Helekatuum.

Peace Conference Organizers
Fran Faraz is the Peace Studies Program Director at Golden West College. She also lectures and teaches Peace Studies & Conflict Resolution. Fran provides mentorship to people of all age groups, particularly college students. She is the advisor of the Peace & Leadership Club at the college. Her professional experience as an educator is to provide leadership and incorporating Peace Studies in all different disciplines taught. In addition to her teaching, she hosts the annual Peace Conference at Golden West College. This is just one method Ms. Faraz employs to raise awareness and bring attention to different issues that can contribute to a peaceful world. Ms. Faraz also holds workshops and teaches stress reduction and self-awareness classes. Fran possesses a Bachelor of Arts in History and Minor in Political Science with focus on International Relations from Northeastern University. She also holds a Master of Arts degree from Northeastern University in History.

Valerie Venegas has been in the field of Student Services for twenty-five years. For twenty-two years, Valerie served as Student Activities Director at Golden West College and has expertise in special event planning. Currently, she is the Director of Special Events and Emergency Preparedness at the college. Over the last seven years, Valerie’s dedication and passion for the Peace Conference has led to the improvement of the event’s attendance and quality of the participants’ experiences. Her values consist of servant leadership and stewardship to the community. She is an avid recycler and encourages students to think about the environment and sustainable strategies to promote zero waste.

Golden West College 2011 Peace Conference - A Documentary


Peace Conference Testimonials

I wanted to thank you for something you probably had no idea you did! I took your class last Spring semester and you offered us extra credit to attend the Peace Conference at Golden West College. To be honest, I did go for the points, but during the conference, I was also inspired and found myself really listening. I met one of the speakers, Heather Guay, about her organization called Namaste Nepal. All last year I fundraised money for the organization and to go on the trip to Nepal! I have never felt so determined and motivated to go somewhere in my life. I held car washes and yard sales almost every weekend, I created a website, wrote letters, and told my classes. I raised over $5,000 and took a plane to Nepal to spend 3 weeks providing educational scholarships to students. Namaste Nepal works to prevent students from human trafficking. I met with some amazing people, I felt incredibly enlightened, and I had the best time of my life....all thanks to your class and the opportunity to go to the Peace Conference. I attached a few pictures of my travels!

- Samantha Almaraz

As a student, it was too often that I was surrounded by an enveloping feeling of helplessness, a feeling that the world we inherit will be more monotonous and broken than the one we were promised. Attending the Peace Conference doesn't promise that the world will be brighter or greener, or even happier; it promises that it will be if you put the effort in. The conference inspired me to be a nonviolent agent of change, to look within for that leader, that inspiration, in whatever venture I pursue. We don't have to be the next Gandhi or Martin Luther King Jr. if we as a world community we all work toward a culture of peace.

- Jeremy Napial

Attend the 2013 Golden West College Peace Conference with an open mind and you will be sure to have multiple visions on how to help create positive change around you. After attending the Peace Conference, I was inspired to commit to a lifestyle that promoted sustainability, inner peace, and cultural awareness. I am now more conscious with my actions and how the choices I make, affects others. With courage and confidence, we are able to become better beings. If there is anything I have gained from this life-changing experience, it is that peace is a journey and not just a mere destination.

- Ann Vu

Out of all the wonderful things I have learned at the Peace Conference, the feeling of community, love and growth has been the most influential. Besides the brilliant speakers, interesting demonstrations, and delicious food, what makes the Peace Conference so beautiful is the fact that it exists. College students are given a space to come together and collaborate on what is currently taking place around the world and in their own community to create a more peaceful world. By showing the average person that they are capable of something that great, pride and hope is instilled and positive change begins.

- Bree Brydenthal

To me, the peace conference is a motivational and inspirational experience in many aspects. It has given me the opportunity to interact with other individuals that have hope and are willing to work to make the world a better place. It gives me a greater understanding of the conflicts, difficulties, and struggles that are occurring in our country and all around the world. Though, the peace conference sends out a feeling of self-reflection, it teaches the responsibility and impact that as individuals we have on everyday actions. The peace conference was an eye opener for me since the first time I attended, since then, every year I learn something new that I can apply to my life for a significant and positive change.

- Janet Chavarria



Peace Studies PhotoThink Possibilities. Choose Action and make commitment to the world


The Peace Studies Liberal Arts degree at Golden West College offers students an opportunity to understand the value of Peace. This program teaches tomorrow’s leaders how to utilize peacemaking and conflict management skills in their daily lives, whether across the ocean, across the living room, or within oneself. This requires an awareness that allows people to respond proactively and creatively, rather than thoughtlessly or defensively, to conflict and violence at various levels.

The program has been developed to provide an interdisciplinary perspective to the study of conflict, violence, war, and peace. Such an approach is essential in view of the highly complex, interconnected, and interdependent world in which we live. This interdisciplinary program is open to all students.

A major in Peace Studies is a preparation for those seeking to pursue careers in international affairs, whether through the Foreign Service, Peace Corps, the United Nations, or international Non-Governmental Organizations. Areas of involvement might include human rights, social and economic development, disarmament, conflict analysis, and general peacemaking. The student seeking a domestic career may find work as a mediator or conflict resolution specialist, a human relations specialist, or an educator.

“We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”  - Albert Einstein

Be a leader towards a peaceful future