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Mark Nepo
Mark Nepo
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Marianne Williamson
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David Whyte
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The Sophia Institute hosts some of the world’s foremost teachers, speakers, and presenters of transformative thought that fosters integration of the sacred feminine and masculine for the transformation of self and society. Learn more about the faculty and their work.

Angeles Arrien (1940-2014)

Teaching Faculty / National Advisory Board

Angeles Arrien is an anthropologist, educator, award-winning author, and corporate consultant. She lectures worldwide, conducting workshops that bridge cultural anthropology, psychology, and mediation skills. Her work with multi-cultural issues, mediation, and conflict resolution has been used with the International Rights Commission, the World Indigenous Council, and featured on the Cable News Network (CNN). She is

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Angeles Arrien (1940-2014)

Teaching Faculty / National Advisory Board

Angeles Arrien is an anthropologist, educator, award-winning author, and corporate consultant. She lectures worldwide, conducting workshops that bridge cultural anthropology, psychology, and mediation skills. Her work with multi-cultural issues, mediation, and conflict resolution has been used with the International Rights Commission, the World Indigenous Council, and featured on the Cable News Network (CNN). She is currently on the faculty of the End of Life Program at the Alaya Institute and a Fellow at the Institute of Noetic Sciences.

She is the founder and president of the Foundation for Cross-Cultural Education and Research. Dr. Arrien's research and teaching have focused on values and beliefs shared by humanity cross-culturally, and on the integration and application of multi-cultural wisdoms in contemporary settings. She teaches universal components of leadership skills, communication, health care, and education; and has received three honorary doctorate degrees in recognition of her work. She is the author of The Four-Fold Way: Walking the Paths of the Warrior, Teacher, Healer and Visionary, published by HarperCollins, San Francisco; Signs of Life, winner of the 1993 Benjamin Franklin Award published by Tarcher/Putnam; and Working Together: Diversity As Opportunity published by Berrett-Koehler, currently in its second printing.

Sera Beak

Teaching Faculty / National Advisory Board

Sera Beak is a Harvard-trained scholar of mysticism and comparative religion and an intrepid spiritual cowgirl who’s spent the last dozen years traveling the world exploring spirituality. She’s the author of The Red Book: A Deliciously Unorthodox Approach to Igniting Your Divine Spark. Check out: http://www.serabeak.com. Sera was featured on the cover of

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Sera Beak

Teaching Faculty / National Advisory Board

Sera Beak is a Harvard-trained scholar of mysticism and comparative religion and an intrepid spiritual cowgirl who’s spent the last dozen years traveling the world exploring spirituality. She’s the author of The Red Book: A Deliciously Unorthodox Approach to Igniting Your Divine Spark. Check out: http://www.serabeak.com. Sera was featured on the cover of The New York Times Sunday Style Section in the article “Seeing Yourself in Their Light” as one of the new “Carrie Bradshaws of self-help spirituality”. Her work has been published in magazines ranging from People Magazine to Skirt! to Washington Woman. She has been interviewed in Publishers Weekly and on numerous radio shows ranging from the Dr. Oz show on Oprah and Friends, Martha Stewart’s “Living A Charmed Life,” NPR’s New Dimensions with Justine Toms, Father Paul Keenan’s Catholic radio show, “As You Think,” Kristin and David Morelli’s show, “Everything is Energy”, and Stuart Davis’s HBO T.V. show: Sex, God, Rock and Roll. She has facilitated Red workshops and presented Red talks at retreat centers such as Omega Center, Kripalu, The Open Center, Mount Madonna, and The Sophia Institute, as well as bookstores, yoga studios, churches, and universities. She’s also a member of the blog posse on Crazy Sexy Life and a proud board member of REVEAL Conference: Young Women Defining the Divine

Jean Shinoda Bolen

Teaching Faculty / National Advisory Board

Jean Shinoda Bolen, M. D. is a psychiatrist, Jungian analyst, clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of California San Francisco, a Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association and recipient of the Institute for Health and Healing’s "Pioneers in Art, Science, and the Soul of Healing Award". She is a former board member

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Jean Shinoda Bolen

Teaching Faculty / National Advisory Board

Jean Shinoda Bolen, M. D. is a psychiatrist, Jungian analyst, clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of California San Francisco, a Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association and recipient of the Institute for Health and Healing’s "Pioneers in Art, Science, and the Soul of Healing Award". She is a former board member of the Ms. Foundation for Women, and the author of The Tao of Psychology, Goddesses in Everywoman, Gods in Everyman, Ring of Power, Crossing to Avalon, Close to the Bone, The Millionth Circle, Goddesses in Older Women, Crones Don't Whine, and Urgent Message From Mother. Visit jeanshinodabolen.com.

The Sophia Center has drawn a line-up of notable authors and workshop leaders second to none to speak about the sacred feminine. Names that draw large audiences to Omega and Esalen come to Charleston to give size-limited workshops that stimulate thought and can touch heart and soul."
- Jean Shinoda Bolen, M.D. Jungian analyst and author.

Joan Borysenko

Teaching Faculty / National Advisory Board

Joan Borysenko, Ph.D. is known for her gracious presence, world-class sense of humor and brilliance as a speaker and workshop facilitator. Trained as both a cell biologist and clinical psychologist, Joan is a pioneer in psychoneuroimmunology, stress management, and women’s health. She is the author of 15 books, including the New York Times bestseller Minding

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Joan Borysenko

Teaching Faculty / National Advisory Board

Joan Borysenko, Ph.D. is known for her gracious presence, world-class sense of humor and brilliance as a speaker and workshop facilitator. Trained as both a cell biologist and clinical psychologist, Joan is a pioneer in psychoneuroimmunology, stress management, and women’s health. She is the author of 15 books, including the New York Times bestseller Minding the Body, Mending the Mind and her most recent book Fried: Why You Burn Out and How to Revive. A radio and television personality, wife, mother, and grandmother, Joan lives in the front range of Colorado’s Rocky Mountains. You can find out more about her at www.joanborysenko.com.

Ellen Burstyn

Teaching Faculty / National Advisory Board

Ellen Burstyn’s illustrious acting career encompasses film, stage and television. She became a “triple crown winner” when she won an Emmy for her guest appearance in “Law & Order: SVU” (2009) to add to her Oscar win for “Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore” (1974) and her Tony Award for “Same Time, Next Year” (1974)

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Ellen Burstyn

Teaching Faculty / National Advisory Board

Ellen Burstyn’s illustrious acting career encompasses film, stage and television. She became a “triple crown winner” when she won an Emmy for her guest appearance in “Law & Order: SVU” (2009) to add to her Oscar win for “Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore” (1974) and her Tony Award for “Same Time, Next Year” (1974) on Broadway. Ellen has been nominated for an Academy Award five other times for “The Last Picture Show” (1972), “The Exorcist” (1973), “Same Time, Next Year,” (1979), “Resurrection” (1981), and “Requiem for a Dream” (2000).

Her many theater credits include the Broadway production of “84 Charing Cross Road” (1982), the acclaimed one-woman play “Shirley Valentine” (1989) and “Sacrilege” (1995). She received glowing reviews in Stephen Adley Guirgis’ play “The Little Flower of East Orange” (2008), directed by Philip Seymour Hoffman at The Public Theater in New York. Earlier this year, Ellen appeared in London’s West End in Lillian Hellman’s “The Children’s Hour” to rave reviews. She
just finished shooting a TV miniseries, “Coma,” and is teaching a Master Class in acting in Australia.

Ellen was the first woman elected president of Actors Equity Association (1982-85), and served as the Artistic Director of the famed Actors Studio where she studied with the late Lee Strasberg. She continues to be active there as co-president with Al Pacino and Harvey Keitel.

Academically, Ellen holds four honorary doctorates, one in Fine Arts from the School of Visual Arts, a Doctor of Humane Letters from Dowling College, a doctorate from the New School for Social Research, and a doctorate from Pace University where she teaches in The Actors Studio M.F.A. program. Ellen lectures throughout the country on a wide range of topics, and became a national best-selling author with the publication in 2006 of her memoir, Lessons in Becoming Myself, published by Riverhead Press.

In addition to a continuing and thriving acting career, Ellen is writing a screenplay, as well as planning a book of her photography accompanied by her favorite poetry.

Lama Palden Drolma

Teaching Faculty / National Advisory Board

Lama Palden has been a student and practitioner of Buddhism for over 35 years, and of Comparative Mysticism for over 40 years. She is the founding teacher of Sukhasiddhi Foundation www.sukhasiddhi.org in Marin County, California, a Tibetan Buddhist center in the Shangpa Kagyu lineage and co-founder of Zen Heart Vajra Heart, a

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Lama Palden Drolma

Teaching Faculty / National Advisory Board

Lama Palden has been a student and practitioner of Buddhism for over 35 years, and of Comparative Mysticism for over 40 years. She is the founding teacher of Sukhasiddhi Foundation www.sukhasiddhi.org in Marin County, California, a Tibetan Buddhist center in the Shangpa Kagyu lineage and co-founder of Zen Heart Vajra Heart, a Zen teacher and personal disciple of Suzuki Roshi’s. She also co-founded the Feminine Wisdom School, dedicated to helping actualize the deep feminine wisdom for individuals and for humanity as a whole. The school just completed a year-long pilot program entitled “Unfolding the Sacred Feminine.” Also a licensed therapist, Lama Palden is engaged in facilitating psycho-spiritual integration and development.

China Galland

Teaching Faculty / National Advisory Board

China Galland, M.A., is the author of The Bond Between Women, A Journey to Fierce Compassion, one of five national finalists for the annual “Best Spiritual Book” award, as well as the critically acclaimed non-fiction, Longing for Darkness, Tara and the Black Madonna, a pilgrim’s tale of travel and transformation. She is also the author

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China Galland

Teaching Faculty / National Advisory Board

China Galland, M.A., is the author of The Bond Between Women, A Journey to Fierce Compassion, one of five national finalists for the annual “Best Spiritual Book” award, as well as the critically acclaimed non-fiction, Longing for Darkness, Tara and the Black Madonna, a pilgrim’s tale of travel and transformation. She is also the author of Women in the Wilderness, A Woman Like You. and Family Secrets. Her newest non-fiction work is The Keepers of Love brings us into the heart of America’s most searing dilemma: how to choose love when there’s reason to hate, forgiveness, reconciliation and race, the story of Love Cemetery in East Texas.

She is featured in a documentary on the Black Madonna by BBC/Opus Arte in the DVD, Stabat Mater, in an hour-long PBS documentary with Gloria Steinem, Jane Goodall, Alanis Morisette and others in the 2003 special, “Women of Wisdom and Power” and in the prize-winning documentary, On the Road Home, A Spiritual Journey Guided by Remarkable Women by Christina Lundberg.

Founder and Director of the non-profit, Images of Divinity (IOD), Galland is also a Professor in Residence at the Center for Arts, Religion and Education (CARE) at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley where she teaches periodically. She has lectured at universities all over the country from Harvard, Columbia, and Cornell, to Prescott College in Arizona, as well as local colleges and universities in the Bay Area, and taught at Chartres Cathedral outside of Paris for Lauren Artress’s World-Wide Labyrinth Project.

"Carolyn Rivers has her hand on the pulse of the emerging sacred feminine. Rightly she sees this emergence not as an end in itself, but one that brings the gifts of the feminine into an eternal movement that includes both male and female. With the Sophia Institute, Carolyn has created a unique and intimate container for creativity, beauty, and intelligence, warmed by southern hospitality, to foster the dance of being fully human. The arts, music, our relationship with a divine center, our natural inclination towards inclusivity, diversity, and social justice, all find a place in Carolyn Rivers' garden. Let yourself blossom in this exquisite container called the Sophia Institute. I loved teaching there."
- China Galland

Please visit www.imagesofdivinity.org

Andrew Harvey

Teaching Faculty / National Advisory Board

Andrew Harvey is an internationally renowned religious scholar, writer, and teacher, and the author of over 30 books, including the critically acclaimed Way of Passion: A Celebration of Rumi, as well as Journey to Ladakh, The Return of the Mother, Son of Man, and The Direct Path: Creating a Journey to the Divine Using the

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Andrew Harvey

Teaching Faculty / National Advisory Board

Andrew Harvey is an internationally renowned religious scholar, writer, and teacher, and the author of over 30 books, including the critically acclaimed Way of Passion: A Celebration of Rumi, as well as Journey to Ladakh, The Return of the Mother, Son of Man, and The Direct Path: Creating a Journey to the Divine Using the World’s Mystical Traditions. He is also coauthor of the best-selling The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying. His work has been honored with the Benjamin Franklin Award and the Mind Body Spirit Award (both for Mary’s Vineyard: Daily Readings, Meditations, and Revelations, with photographs by Eryk Hanut), and the Christmas Humphries Award for A Journey in Ladakh. Born in south India in 1952, Harvey studied at Oxford University and became a Fellow of All Soul’s College in 1973. He is Founding Director of the Institute for Sacred Activism. His work can be seen at www.andrewharvey.net

Barbara Marx Hubbard

Teaching Faculty / National Advisory Board

Barbara Marx Hubbard is a visionary, social innovator, author, educator, and leader in the new worldview of conscious evolution which she describes as the awakening of the spiritual, social, and scientific potential of humanity, in harmony with nature, for the highest good of all life. She has worked closely with some of the great innovators

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Barbara Marx Hubbard

Teaching Faculty / National Advisory Board

Barbara Marx Hubbard is a visionary, social innovator, author, educator, and leader in the new worldview of conscious evolution which she describes as the awakening of the spiritual, social, and scientific potential of humanity, in harmony with nature, for the highest good of all life. She has worked closely with some of the great innovators of our time such as Dr. Jonas Salk, Abraham Maslow, and the great Buckminster Fuller who said of Barbara, “she is the best-informed human now alive regarding futurism and the foresights it has produced.” She is the producer and narrator of the award-winning documentary series entitled Humanity Ascending: A New Way through Together. She has been instrumental in founding many future-oriented and progressive organizations, including the World Future Society, New Dimensions Radio, Global Family, Women of Vision In Action, The Foundation for the Future, and the Association for Global New Thought. Barbara’s books include: The Hunger of Eve: One Woman’s Odyssey toward the Future; The Evolutionary Journey: Your Guide to a Positive Future; Revelation: Our Crisis is a Birth – An Evolutionary Interpretation of the New Testament; Conscious Evolution: Awakening the Power of our Social Potential and Emergence: The Shift from Ego to Essence.

Jean Houston

Teaching Faculty / National Advisory Board

Dr. Jean Houston, scholar, philosopher and researcher in human capacities, is one of the foremost visionary thinkers and doers of our time, one of the principal founders of the Human Potential Movement. A powerful and dynamic speaker, she holds conferences and seminars with social leaders, educational institutions and business organizations worldwide. Jean Houston has worked

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Jean Houston

Teaching Faculty / National Advisory Board

Dr. Jean Houston, scholar, philosopher and researcher in human capacities, is one of the foremost visionary thinkers and doers of our time, one of the principal founders of the Human Potential Movement. A powerful and dynamic speaker, she holds conferences and seminars with social leaders, educational institutions and business organizations worldwide. Jean Houston has worked intensively in 40 cultures and 100 countries helping to enhance and deepen their own uniqueness while they become part of the global community. In 1965, along with her husband Dr. Robert Masters, Dr. Houston founded The Foundation for Mind Research. She is also the founder and principal teacher since 1982 of the Mystery School, a school of human development, a program of cross-cultural, mythic and spiritual studies, dedicated to teaching history, philosophy, the New Physics, psychology, anthropology, myth and the many dimensions of human potential. She also leads an intensive program in social artistry with leaders coming from all over the world to study with Dr. Houston and her distinguished associates. She is a prolific writer and author of 26 books including A Passion for the Possible, Search for the Beloved, Life Force, The Possible Human, Public Like a Frog, A Mythic Life: Learning to Live Our Greater Story, and Manual of the Peacemaker. As advisor to UNICEF in human and cultural development, she has worked to implement some of their extensive educational and health programs. Since 2003, she has been working with the United Nations Development Program, training leaders in developing countries throughout the world in the new field of social artistry.

Helen LaKelly Hunt

Teaching Faculty / National Advisory Board

Helen LaKelly Hunt has been active within the women’s movement for the past eighteen years. She is founder and president of The Sister Fund, a private women’s fund dedicated to the social, political, economic, and spiritual empowerment of women and girls. Committed to building society that invites the full participation of all, Helen has long

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Helen LaKelly Hunt

Teaching Faculty / National Advisory Board

Helen LaKelly Hunt has been active within the women’s movement for the past eighteen years. She is founder and president of The Sister Fund, a private women’s fund dedicated to the social, political, economic, and spiritual empowerment of women and girls. Committed to building society that invites the full participation of all, Helen has long recognized the need to strengthen women’s rights and leadership. She sees the unearthing of women’s contributions throughout the ages, within both the social and religious spheres, as being a crucial aspect to achieving justice in society. Along with her studies and activities on behalf of women and girls, Helen has co-authored seven books with her husband, Harville Hendrix, and has been instrumental in the development of Imago Relationship Therapy, which he founded.

Dr. Lee Irwin

Teaching Faculty / National Advisory Board

Dr. Lee Irwin is a scholar of world religions with an emphasis on Native American traditions, Western Esotericism, contemporary spirituality, and transpersonal religious experience — particularly as connected to dreams and visions. He is a Guiding Voice for The Seven Pillars House of Wisdom (Sufi International Order) and the Vice President of the

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Dr. Lee Irwin

Teaching Faculty / National Advisory Board

Dr. Lee Irwin is a scholar of world religions with an emphasis on Native American traditions, Western Esotericism, contemporary spirituality, and transpersonal religious experience — particularly as connected to dreams and visions. He is a Guiding Voice for The Seven Pillars House of Wisdom (Sufi International Order) and the Vice President of the Association for the Study of Esotericism. He has been a workshop leader and group facilitator for over twenty years, particularly in the areas of visionary cosmology and the development of the sacred human.
 His books include: The Dream Seekers; Visionary Worlds; Awakening to Spirit; The Alchemy of Soul; and Coming Down From Above: Prophecy, Resistance, and Renewal in Native American Religions.

Gloria Karpinski

Teaching Faculty / National Advisory Board

Gloria D. Karpinski is a holistic counselor, spiritual director, teacher and author. For twenty-plus years, Gloria has taught all over the world for such diverse groups as psychotherapists, actors, and doctors, in venues ranging from large conferences to colleges, churches, and hospitals. Gloria is the author of Where Two Worlds Touch: Spiritual Rites of Passage

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Gloria Karpinski

Teaching Faculty / National Advisory Board

Gloria D. Karpinski is a holistic counselor, spiritual director, teacher and author. For twenty-plus years, Gloria has taught all over the world for such diverse groups as psychotherapists, actors, and doctors, in venues ranging from large conferences to colleges, churches, and hospitals. Gloria is the author of Where Two Worlds Touch: Spiritual Rites of Passage (1991) and Barefoot on Holy Ground: Twelve Lessons in Spiritual Craftsmanship (2001). In 1989, Gloria received a grant from the Laurence D. Rockefeller Fund for the Advancement of the Human Spirit.

Pat Mitchell

Teaching Faculty / National Advisory Board

Pat Mitchell’s diverse background in media includes work as a journalist, producer, and executive. She has worked in front of the camera and behind, anchoring the news and reporting for broadcast networks, producing award-winning documentaries as president of CNN Productions, becoming the first woman president and CEO of PBS, and currently is the president and

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Pat Mitchell

Teaching Faculty / National Advisory Board

Pat Mitchell’s diverse background in media includes work as a journalist, producer, and executive. She has worked in front of the camera and behind, anchoring the news and reporting for broadcast networks, producing award-winning documentaries as president of CNN Productions, becoming the first woman president and CEO of PBS, and currently is the president and CEO of The Paley Center for Media, whose mission is to convene media professionals and media consumers for programs that explore the role of media in society. Throughout her career, Mitchell has engaged the power of media and storytelling as an agent of social change and specifically, to highlight the stories of women and girls. She was the first woman to launch, produce, and host her own nationally syndicated program “Woman to Woman,” and continues to be active in breaking new ground for women across the media landscape, including a current series of initiatives and programs called Women@Paley, which includes producing an annual TEDxWomen conference in partnership with the TED organization. Her many awards include multiple Emmy Awards, five Peabodys, and two Academy Award nominations. Mitchell is also a sought-after speaker and mentor. She was most recently featured in Fast Company’s Special Report, The League of Extraordinary Women and Huffington Post named Pat one of the Powerful Women Over 50. Pat also recently was named one of the 21 Leaders For The 21st Century and Newsweek‘s 150 Women Who Shake the World. She has received the Sandra Day O’Connor Award for Leadership, the Women in Cable’s Woman of the Year Award, and was inducted into the Broadcasting & Cable Hall of Fame. The Women’s Media Center has honored Ms. Mitchell with the Pat Mitchell Lifetime Achievement award, an award that will be given annually in her name. Ms. Mitchell serves on the boards of VDAY, a movement to end violence against women and girls, is Vice Chair of the Sundance Institute, a Trustee of the Mayo Foundation, a board member of Global Green USA and Acumen Fund, and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, Women’s Forum Inc., and the International Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. Mitchell also sits on the corporate board of AOL.

Mark Nepo

Teaching Faculty / National Advisory Board

Mark Nepo is a poet and philosopher who has taught in the fields of poetry and spirituality for forty years. A New York Times #1 bestselling author, he has published fourteen books and recorded eight audio projects. Recent work includes: Reduced to Joy (2013), Seven Thousand Ways to Listen which won the 2012 Books for

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Mark Nepo

Teaching Faculty / National Advisory Board

Mark Nepo is a poet and philosopher who has taught in the fields of poetry and spirituality for forty years. A New York Times #1 bestselling author, he has published fourteen books and recorded eight audio projects. Recent work includes: Reduced to Joy (2013), Seven Thousand Ways to Listen which won the 2012 Books for a Better Life Award, Staying Awake (2012), Holding Nothing Back (2012), As Far As the Heart Can See (2011), Finding Inner Courage (2011),and Surviving Has Made Me Crazy (2007), as well as audio books of The Book of Awakening, Finding Inner Courage, and As Far As the Heart Can See (2011). As a cancer survivor, Mark devotes his writing and teaching to the journey of inner transformation and the life of relationship.

Mark has appeared with Oprah Winfrey on her Super Soul Sunday program on OWN TV, and has been interviewed twice by Oprah as part of her SIRIUS XM Radio show, Soul Series. He has also been interviewed by Robin Roberts on Good Morning America about his New York Times bestseller The Book of Awakening. As well, The Exquisite Risk (Harmony Books) was cited by Spirituality & Health Magazine as one of the Best Spiritual Books of 2005, calling it “one of the best books we’ve ever read on what it takes to live an authentic life.” Mark’s collected essays appear in Unlearning Back to God: Essays on Inwardness (Khaniqahi Nimatullahi Publications, 2006). He is also the editor of Deepening the American Dream: Reflections on the Inner Life and Spirit of Democracy (Jossey-Bass, 2005). Other books of poetry include Suite for the Living (2004), Inhabiting Wonder (2004), Acre of Light (1994, also available as an audiotape from Parabola under the title Inside the Miracle, 1996), Fire Without Witness (1988), and God, the Maker of the Bed, and the Painter (1988).

His work has been translated into twenty languages including French, Portuguese, Japanese, and Danish. In leading spiritual retreats, in working with healing and medical communities, and in his teaching as a poet, Mark’s work is widely accessible and used by many. He continues to offer readings, lectures, and retreats.

Connie Numbers

Teaching Faculty / National Advisory Board

Connie Numbers, PsyD, is an author, inspirational speaker, spiritual teacher and a psychotherapist who believes that the inner journey is by far, the most exciting and rewarding quest we can take in our lives. It is an adventure like no other, filled with mystery, intrigue, and suspense, along with a myriad of opportunities to discover

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Connie Numbers

Teaching Faculty / National Advisory Board

Connie Numbers, PsyD, is an author, inspirational speaker, spiritual teacher and a psychotherapist who believes that the inner journey is by far, the most exciting and rewarding quest we can take in our lives. It is an adventure like no other, filled with mystery, intrigue, and suspense, along with a myriad of opportunities to discover love, happiness, and the richness of life. Dr. Numbers has devoted her life to this ‘diving to the depths’ adventure and believes that anyone can grow as a human and evolve as a soul through the practice of Self Love. Believing in one’s self-worth is the first step to accepting our Divine magnificence as a soul who is here to learn, grow, and become the next outstanding version of ourselves.

Dr. Numbers has a passion for helping others remember this version of who they are by discovering that they can lead a deeply fulfilling spiritual life while still experiencing and loving themselves as an imperfect human being. She brings a wealth of wisdom, experience, and humor into her retreats and workshop settings, illustrating the concept that inner work does not have to be a burden. Instead, it is a joy and a privilege that brings healing, love, and light to the adventure of being human and divine at the same time.

Connie has a Bachelor and Masters in Music, as well as a Masters in Social Work and a Doctoral degree in Psychology. She has been in private practice as a psychotherapist for 30 years helping others to find their way and lead a more fulfilling life. She is the author of The Dear One Letters: A Path to Growing as a Human and Evolving as a Soul, and is currently working on Volume II of the same title. She continues to offer workshops, retreats, spiritual guidance and psychotherapy and more information is available on her website: www.connienumbers.com.

Paula Reeves

Teaching Faculty / National Advisory Board

Dr. Paula Reeves is a well-known workshop leader in the fields of psychology and women's spirituality. A therapist in private practice in Atlanta, GA, she has led retreats in Spain, Switzerland, Ireland, England, Canada and the US. She has taught at the CG Jung Institute in Zurich. A colleague of Marion Woodman’s for over fifteen

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Paula Reeves

Teaching Faculty / National Advisory Board

Dr. Paula Reeves is a well-known workshop leader in the fields of psychology and women's spirituality. A therapist in private practice in Atlanta, GA, she has led retreats in Spain, Switzerland, Ireland, England, Canada and the US. She has taught at the CG Jung Institute in Zurich. A colleague of Marion Woodman’s for over fifteen years, she leads women’s retreats with her as a member of the BodySoul Rhythms team. Author of two books, Women's Intuition: Unlocking the Wisdom of the Body and Heart Sense: Unlocking Your Highest Purpose and Deepest Desires, she has a deep interest in the relationship between spirit and matter, leading her to work with the metaphors of both the body and the psyche. The founder of Spontaneous Contemplative Movement, she teaches participants in her retreats how to listen to the wisdom of the body and follow the directions of the embodied feminine.

Peggy Rubin

Teaching Faculty / National Advisory Board

Peggy Rubin is Founding Director of the Center for Sacred Theatre in Ashland, Oregon. She is also the principal teaching associate of Jean Houston, Ph.D., in Dr. Houston’s worldwide multicultural transformational work and in her schools of spiritual studies, as well as a member of the core faculty of the School for Social Artistry, an

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Peggy Rubin

Teaching Faculty / National Advisory Board

Peggy Rubin is Founding Director of the Center for Sacred Theatre in Ashland, Oregon. She is also the principal teaching associate of Jean Houston, Ph.D., in Dr. Houston’s worldwide multicultural transformational work and in her schools of spiritual studies, as well as a member of the core faculty of the School for Social Artistry, an intensive leadership, training program. Working with Jean Houston, Peggy Rubin has presented classes, workshops and trainings throughout the United States, and in Australia, New Zealand, England, Ireland, Sweden, Greece, Egypt, The Netherlands, India, West Africa, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Jamaica, and on behalf of the United Nations Development Programme, in Albania, St. Lucia, Barbados and Kenya.

Before joining Dr. Houston’s staff in 1987, Peggy was for 14 years the Public Information and Education Director for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, one of the largest classical repertory companies in the United States. She has also been a teacher of English, a freelance writer and editor, and an actor. She has studied extensively with Elaine De Beauport, Ph.D., founder of the Mead Institute, leading teacher of humanistic and behavioral applications of current brain/mind research; and with William Emerson, Ph.D., pioneer in the field of pre and peri-natal psychology, and its importance in understanding human development.

"Carolyn Rivers has created a dream world in The Sophia Institute, a world of wisdom, goodness, beauty, clarity, intentions, intuition, and power. The work presented here inspires the mind and touches the heart."
- Peggy Rubin

Gail Straub

Teaching Faculty

A pioneer in the field of empowerment, Gail Straub co-directs the Empowerment Institute, a school for transformative social change where her primary focus is women’s empowerment. For the last three decades she has offered her work to tens of thousands of people worldwide. She co-founded IMAGINE: A Global Initiative for the Empowerment of Women to

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Gail Straub

Teaching Faculty

A pioneer in the field of empowerment, Gail Straub co-directs the Empowerment Institute, a school for transformative social change where her primary focus is women’s empowerment. For the last three decades she has offered her work to tens of thousands of people worldwide. She co-founded IMAGINE: A Global Initiative for the Empowerment of Women to help women heal from violence, build strong lives, and contribute to their community. This initiative applies the Institute’s empowerment methodology to the United Nation’s Millennium Development Goal “to promote gender equality and empower women.” IMAGINE initiatives are under way in Afghanistan, Kenya, Nigeria, Sudan, South Africa, India, Brazil and Jordan. Gail has consulted to many organizations furthering women’s empowerment including the Chinese Women’s Federation, Women for Women International, the Omega Women’s Leadership Center, and World Pulse.

Gail is the author of four books including, with her husband David Gershon, the best selling Empowerment: The Art of Creating Your Life As You Want It, the critically acclaimed, The Rhythm of Compassion: Caring for Self, Connecting with Society, and the awarding-winning feminist memoir Returning to My Mother’s House: Taking Back the Wisdom of the Feminine. She is also a contributor to the anthology Enlightened Power: How Women Are Transforming the Practice of Leadership.

Lynne Twist

Teaching Faculty / National Advisory Board

Lynne Twist, global activist, fundraiser, speaker, consultant and author, has devoted her life to eradicating hunger and poverty, and supporting global sustainability and security, human rights, economic integrity and spiritual authenticity. She has raised hundreds of millions of dollars and trained thousands of fundraisers to be more effective in their work for organizations that serve

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Lynne Twist

Teaching Faculty / National Advisory Board

Lynne Twist, global activist, fundraiser, speaker, consultant and author, has devoted her life to eradicating hunger and poverty, and supporting global sustainability and security, human rights, economic integrity and spiritual authenticity. She has raised hundreds of millions of dollars and trained thousands of fundraisers to be more effective in their work for organizations that serve the best instincts of all of us - ending hunger, empowering women, nurturing children and youth and contributing to the creation of a world view of equity and sustainability for all life.

David Whyte

Teaching Faculty / National Advisory Board

Poet David Whyte grew up with a strong, imaginative influence from his Irish mother among the hills and valleys of his father’s Yorkshire. He now makes his home, with his family, in the Pacific Northwest of the United States.

The author of eight books of poetry and four books of prose, David Whyte holds a degree

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David Whyte

Teaching Faculty / National Advisory Board

Poet David Whyte grew up with a strong, imaginative influence from his Irish mother among the hills and valleys of his father’s Yorkshire. He now makes his home, with his family, in the Pacific Northwest of the United States.

The author of eight books of poetry and four books of prose, David Whyte holds a degree in Marine Zoology and has traveled extensively, including living and working as a naturalist guide in the Galapagos Islands and leading anthropological and natural history expeditions in the Andes the Amazon and the Himalaya. He brings this wealth of experience to his poetry, lectures and workshops.

His life as a poet has created a readership and listenership in three normally mutually exclusive areas: the literate world of readings that most poets inhabit, the psychological and theological worlds of philosophical inquiry and the world of vocation, work and organizational leadership.

An Associate Fellow at Templeton College and Said Business School at the University of Oxford, he is one of the few poets to take his perspectives on creativity into the field of organizational development, where he works with many European, American and international companies. In spring of 2008 he was awarded an honorary doctorate from Neumann College, Pennsylvania.

In organizational settings, using poetry and thoughtful commentary, he illustrates how we can foster qualities of courage and engagement; qualities needed if we are to respond to today’s call for increased creativity and adaptability in the workplace. He brings a unique and important contribution to our understanding of the nature of individual and organizational change particularly through his unique perspectives on Conversational Leadership.

Marianne Williamson

Teaching Faculty / National Advisory Board

Marianne Williamson is an internationally acclaimed spiritual author and lecturer. Marianne has been a popular guest on television programs such as Oprah, Larry King Live, Good Morning America, Charlie Rose & Bill Maher. Seven of her twelve published books have been New York Times Best Sellers. Four of these have been #1. The mega best

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Marianne Williamson

Teaching Faculty / National Advisory Board

Marianne Williamson is an internationally acclaimed spiritual author and lecturer. Marianne has been a popular guest on television programs such as Oprah, Larry King Live, Good Morning America, Charlie Rose & Bill Maher. Seven of her twelve published books have been New York Times Best Sellers. Four of these have been #1. The mega best seller A Return to Love is considered a must-read of The New Spirituality. A paragraph from that book, beginning “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure…” is considered an anthem for a contemporary generation of seekers.

Marianne’s other books include The Law of Divine Compensation, The Age of Miracles, Everyday Grace, A Woman’s Worth, Illuminata, Enchanted Love, Healing the Soul of America, A Course in Weight Loss, The Gift of Change, A Year of Miracles, and her newest book, Tears to Triumph: The Spiritual Journey from Suffering to Enlightenment, available now.

Marianne is a native of Houston, Texas. In 1989, she founded Project Angel Food, a meals-on-wheels program that serves homebound people with AIDS in the Los Angeles area. To date, Project Angel Food has served over 10 million meals. Marianne also co-founded the Peace Alliance. And she serves on the Board of Directors of the RESULTS organization, working to end the worst ravages of hunger and poverty throughout the world.

According to Time magazine, “Yoga, the Cabala and Marianne Williamson have been taken up by those seeking a relationship with God that is not strictly tethered to Christianity.”

Carol Anderson

Teaching Faculty

Carol Anderson toured a variety of shows nationally including “A Feather on the Breath of God: The Remarkable Life of 12th Century Mystic Hildegarde of Bingen.” which she presents here for us. Her one woman show on eating disorders, “A Size 7 Forever” was aired on PBS in 1991. After performances of the show at

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Carol Anderson

Teaching Faculty

Carol Anderson toured a variety of shows nationally including “A Feather on the Breath of God: The Remarkable Life of 12th Century Mystic Hildegarde of Bingen.” which she presents here for us. Her one woman show on eating disorders, “A Size 7 Forever” was aired on PBS in 1991. After performances of the show at Harvard, Ohio Wesleyan and conferences across the country, she and husband Jim Shores formed a company called Acts of Renewal. Carol has a MFA in Acting from UNC Chapel Hill where she also worked in PlayMakers Repertory Co. Both as a solo performer and with her husband Jim, she has written and performed extensively a variety of shows for performances at colleges, universities, conference and arena events addressing issues of recovery, relationships, marriage and personal growth. Carol continues to tour nationally while living in Black Mountain, NC.

Carol offers an extraordinary performance of the life and wisdom of Hildegarde of Bingen, “A Feather on the Breath of God” during the Mosaics of Mary: Sophia’s Mysteries retreat.

Carolyn Baker

Teaching Faculty

Carolyn Baker, Ph.D. is the author of Love In The Age Of Ecological Apocalypse: The Relationships We Need To Thrive (2015) as well as Collapsing Consciously: Transformative Truths For Turbulent Times (2013). Her previous books are and Navigating The Coming Chaos: A Handbook For Inner Transition (2011). With Guy McPherson, Carolyn co-authored and published Dark

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Carolyn Baker

Teaching Faculty

Carolyn Baker, Ph.D. is the author of Love In The Age Of Ecological Apocalypse: The Relationships We Need To Thrive (2015) as well as Collapsing Consciously: Transformative Truths For Turbulent Times (2013). Her previous books are and Navigating The Coming Chaos: A Handbook For Inner Transition (2011). With Guy McPherson, Carolyn co-authored and published Dark Gold: The Human Shadow And The Global Crisis (2016). She lives and writes in Boulder, Colorado and manages Carolyn Baker Educational Services, LLC at www.carolynbaker.net. A former psychotherapist and professor of psychology and history, Carolyn is a life coach and spiritual consultant for people who want to live more resiliently in the present as they prepare for the future. Her podcast, the New Lifeboat Hour airs weekly online. Carolyn and Andrew Harvey released their collaborative book, Return To Joy in November, 2016.

Nella Barkley

Teaching Faculty

For more than 20 years, Nella Barkley has been helping people find their own personal career and life paths. Through strategic planning principles and her own innate drive to enable others, Nella has become a sought-after mentor, public speaker and coach. Her counsel is sought by Fortune 500 corporations, career changers, international media and others.

In

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Nella Barkley

Teaching Faculty

For more than 20 years, Nella Barkley has been helping people find their own personal career and life paths. Through strategic planning principles and her own innate drive to enable others, Nella has become a sought-after mentor, public speaker and coach. Her counsel is sought by Fortune 500 corporations, career changers, international media and others.

In her life and practice, Nella has learned an essential truth: “Life goals are complex constructs. They don't arrive full blown but, with coaching, they do arrive and - when they do - they illuminate every step you take in life."

Christopher Bamford

Teaching Faculty

As editor-in-chief of Steiner Books, Christopher Bamford has introduced, edited, and translated many volumes of Rudolf Steiner. He is also a recognized authority on Western esotericism, the author of two books, and a lecturer. Two of his essays have been recognized in Best Spiritual Writing (2000 and 2005).

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Christopher Bamford

Teaching Faculty

As editor-in-chief of Steiner Books, Christopher Bamford has introduced, edited, and translated many volumes of Rudolf Steiner. He is also a recognized authority on Western esotericism, the author of two books, and a lecturer. Two of his essays have been recognized in Best Spiritual Writing (2000 and 2005).

Tater Beak

Teaching Faculty

Tater Beak moved to Charleston with her husband Bill in 2006 from the Chicago area. Prior to the move, Tater was a docent for twenty-three years at The Art Institute of Chicago. She was also a docent at the Terra Museum of American Art in Chicago and at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta

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Tater Beak

Teaching Faculty

Tater Beak moved to Charleston with her husband Bill in 2006 from the Chicago area. Prior to the move, Tater was a docent for twenty-three years at The Art Institute of Chicago. She was also a docent at the Terra Museum of American Art in Chicago and at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta Georgia. In addition to a love of art, Tater enjoys Yoga, Nia, Pilates, and reading. While living in Chicago she belonged to a book discussion group that met weekly. In Charleston Tater volunteers at the Halsey Museum of Contemporary Art, the Sophia Institute; she is a member of Grace Episcopal's Journey Group, a monthly book group and a group of women that explores new and interesting events, places and ideas in the Charleston area.

Charlotte Beers

Teaching Faculty

A self-described Mad Woman version of Mad Men, Charlotte Beers is the woman who broke the glass ceiling in advertising when she was named Chairman and CEO of Oglivy advertising and later chairman of J Walter Thompson, both multinational, worldwide advertising agencies. After failing at retirement yet again, Charlotte served as the Undersecretary of Public

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Charlotte Beers

Teaching Faculty

A self-described Mad Woman version of Mad Men, Charlotte Beers is the woman who broke the glass ceiling in advertising when she was named Chairman and CEO of Oglivy advertising and later chairman of J Walter Thompson, both multinational, worldwide advertising agencies. After failing at retirement yet again, Charlotte served as the Undersecretary of Public Diplomacy for the U.S. State Department under Colin Powell, Secretary of State, from 2001 to 2004. Since then, she has been deeply involved in conducting these seminars in New York and throughout Europe for women in every kind of enterprise. This is the first one here in Charleston.

Linda Bender

Teaching Faculty

Linda Bender¹s love of the natural world began in her childhood back yard. From orphaned deer to blue jays prematurely bumped from their nests, animals in distress somehow found their way to her. Her rapport with animals inspired her to earn a doctorate in veterinary medicine.

During the fourteen years she spent living in England, Asia,

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Linda Bender

Teaching Faculty

Linda Bender¹s love of the natural world began in her childhood back yard. From orphaned deer to blue jays prematurely bumped from their nests, animals in distress somehow found their way to her. Her rapport with animals inspired her to earn a doctorate in veterinary medicine.

During the fourteen years she spent living in England, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East, Linda'[s veterinary work included the rescue, rehabilitation, and protection of wildlife, often in remote areas. Working with zoos in Southeast Asia, she treated animals rescued from the wildlife trafficking trade and helped reintroduce them back into their natural habitats. Among those given a second chance at life were clouded leopards, tigers, orangutans, and numerous species of rare psittacine and passerine birds.

Working in the field with rarely encountered wildlife, she helped to develop treatment protocols.

In both Asia and Africa she worked with local communities promoting anti-poaching initiatives and education programs. Sharing stories of her deep connection to animals helped school children understand, respect and protect both wildlife and domestic animals.

Linda¹s other enduring interest is spirituality. For over twenty five years, she has practiced meditation and studied many of the world¹s wisdom traditions, including shamanism. Learning the traditions and ancient wisdom of indigenous people enriched her understanding of the sacred connection between humans, animals, and nature. These experiences helped shape her environmental consciousness and deepened her commitment to conservation.

Linda is a certified instructor with The Chopra Center in Carlsbad, California and has lectured on animals and healing at The Chopra Center. In England, she studied energy medicine and is a certified practitioner of "Energy For Life". Her interest in the spiritual aspects of human healing led her to found the Mind the Gap Wellness Center in Cincinnati and a pet therapy program through the Ohio Mental Health Association. She is co-founder of the nonprofit organization, From The Heart. Linda has also produced a meditation CD entitled "Awakening the Heart."

Tom Blagden

Teaching Faculty

Tom Blagden Jr. is a professional nature photographer and author of First Light: Acadia National Park and Maine's Mount Desert Island, which won a 2006 National Outdoor Book Award.

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Tom Blagden

Teaching Faculty

Tom Blagden Jr. is a professional nature photographer and author of First Light: Acadia National Park and Maine's Mount Desert Island, which won a 2006 National Outdoor Book Award.

Henk Brandt

Board of Directors / Teaching Faculty

Henk Brandt is the author of Sleeping with Sophia, a collection of poems, and The Heart of a Pilgrim, a spiritual memoir. Henk is part of a new breed of speakers and consultants who are working to bring soul into the workplace and heart into the way we conduct ourselves in the world. Henk’s innovative

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Henk Brandt

Board of Directors / Teaching Faculty

Henk Brandt is the author of Sleeping with Sophia, a collection of poems, and The Heart of a Pilgrim, a spiritual memoir. Henk is part of a new breed of speakers and consultants who are working to bring soul into the workplace and heart into the way we conduct ourselves in the world. Henk’s innovative fusion of Western empiricism and Eastern wisdom offers a new vision for embodying dynamic growth at every level. As a mindfulness-based counselor, Henk has developed a non-pathological system that empowers practitioners to transmute painful experiences into expressions of natural growth. According to Henk, mindfulness provides a proven process for overcoming adversity by moving beyond the victim-perpetrator dyad. In this way, permanent solutions are achieved, instead of temporary ones. He emphasizes that the obstacle is the path: “People need to learn how to minister to themselves by changing how they use their minds so that over time they actually rewire the way their brains function. Mindfulness-Based Counseling enables people to find the light inside the dark, to dwell on the frontier of unknowing and to engage in mature intimate relationships that are consciously committed to mutual growth.”


A Time for Awakening: Mindfulness Training and Heart Callings

Jessica Boylston-Fagonde

Teaching Faculty

As an international speaker and teacher, Jessica Boylston-Fagonde’s work empowers people's capacity to deeply connect with themselves and their purpose. With a focus on these three overarching questions—who are you, what do you have to offer, and how is it unique, her distinguished approach is inspired by 17 years of experience on the creative sides

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Jessica Boylston-Fagonde

Teaching Faculty

As an international speaker and teacher, Jessica Boylston-Fagonde’s work empowers people's capacity to deeply connect with themselves and their purpose. With a focus on these three overarching questions—who are you, what do you have to offer, and how is it unique, her distinguished approach is inspired by 17 years of experience on the creative sides of branding and marketing, and 20 years of exploring the world and yoga. Jessica is a regular contributor at The Sophia Institute, in yoga teacher trainings, and her methodology has been featured in the book Theme Weaver. Learn more about Jessica and her work at jessicaboylstonfagonde.com.

Millicent E. Brown, Ph.D.

Teaching Faculty

Millicent Ellison Brown, Ph.D. is a native of Charleston, SC who credits her parents' involvement in mid twentieth-century civil rights initiatives for her lifetime commitment to social and economic justice.

She received her B.A. In History from the College of Charleston, an M.Ed. In Counseling from the Citadel and a Ph.D. In U.S. History from Florida

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Millicent E. Brown, Ph.D.

Teaching Faculty

Millicent Ellison Brown, Ph.D. is a native of Charleston, SC who credits her parents' involvement in mid twentieth-century civil rights initiatives for her lifetime commitment to social and economic justice.

She received her B.A. In History from the College of Charleston, an M.Ed. In Counseling from the Citadel and a Ph.D. In U.S. History from Florida State University. Brown recognizes a transformative year of study at Howard University (D.C.)) for grounding her academic career in the intersections of race, gender and class.

Co-Founder/Project Director of the Somebody Had to Do It Project, identifying "first children", like herself, to desegregate all-white schools; Brown encourages ongoing examination of the multiple dynamics of using youth to create social change. She explores these and other issues reflected in contemporary policy-making and practice. Brown has held staff and faculty positions at the College of Charleston, Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture, Claflin University, North Carolina A and T State University, Hofstra University, Guilford College and Bennett College for Women. She is a board member of the SC American Civil Liberties Union, and a member of numerous organizations supporting quality public education for all students. She consults with local, state and national historical institutions on issues of interpretation and inclusion.

Rick Brown

Teaching Faculty

Rick Brown is Executive Director of the Institute for Relationship Therapy. He offers national and international workshops and seminars for couples, as well as training for qualified therapists in the theory and practice of relationship therapy. Rick has trained hundreds of psychiatrists, psychologists, marriage and family therapists and other mental health professionals. Rick is a

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Rick Brown

Teaching Faculty

Rick Brown is Executive Director of the Institute for Relationship Therapy. He offers national and international workshops and seminars for couples, as well as training for qualified therapists in the theory and practice of relationship therapy. Rick has trained hundreds of psychiatrists, psychologists, marriage and family therapists and other mental health professionals. Rick is a graduate of Florida State University, Princeton and Union Theological Seminary. He is a pastoral psychotherapist and licensed mental health counselor with over twenty-eight years of clinical experience working with individuals, couples, and families. His appearance on the Oprah Winfrey Show for his expertise in creating intimacy in even the most difficult relationships, was named by Oprah as one of her Top 20 episodes.

Mirabai Bush

Teaching Faculty

Mirabai Bush is a Senior Fellow and Founding Director of the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society. Under her direction, The Center introduced contemplative practices into the fields of higher education, law, business, journalism, social justice activism, and the military. A key contributor to Google’s Search Inside Yourself curriculum, she has taught mindfulness in organizations

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Mirabai Bush

Teaching Faculty

Mirabai Bush is a Senior Fellow and Founding Director of the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society. Under her direction, The Center introduced contemplative practices into the fields of higher education, law, business, journalism, social justice activism, and the military. A key contributor to Google’s Search Inside Yourself curriculum, she has taught mindfulness in organizations including AMEX, Hearst Publications, Mind and Life Institute, and Fetzer Institute.

She is the co-author of Contemplative Practices in Higher Education: Powerful Methods to Transform Teaching and Learning and author of Working with Mindfulness CD. She is co-author with Ram Dass of Compassion in Action. In 2015, her chapter, “Awakening at Work: Introducing Mindfulness into Organizations” will be published in Mindfulness in Organizations by Cambridge University Press.

Mirabai’s contemplative teachers include Neemkaroli Baba, S. N.Goenka, Kalu Rinpoche, Gelek Rinpoche, Kanai Sensei, and others. She is the mother of digital artist Owen Bush and grandmother of the divine 5-year-old Dahlia. She lives in western Massachusetts.

Nicole Campbell

Teaching Faculty

Nicole Campbell boasts a fiercely flourishing career as an entrepreneur, educator, and professional speaker. To this list she has now added ‘author’. Driven by a passion for empowerment, she represented Jamaica at MIT’s Junior Summit and was selected to address then UN Secretary General Kofi Annan at just 13 years old. She was subsequently featured

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Nicole Campbell

Teaching Faculty

Nicole Campbell boasts a fiercely flourishing career as an entrepreneur, educator, and professional speaker. To this list she has now added ‘author’. Driven by a passion for empowerment, she represented Jamaica at MIT’s Junior Summit and was selected to address then UN Secretary General Kofi Annan at just 13 years old. She was subsequently featured in local and international media, including CNN and Nickelodeon and was chosen as one of “20 Teens Who Will Change the World” by Teen People Magazine.

She is a graduate of the St. Andrew High School for Girls, and completed her high school studies at Phillips Academy ‘Andover’ in Massachusetts, before going on to earn an undergraduate degree in Economics from Princeton University in 2006. Nicole also studied at Stanford University’s Summer Institute and the University of London, where she earned a Master’s Degree in Globalization and Development.

Nicole returned to Jamaica immediately to join the Ministry of Education where she served as Senior Policy Analyst to the then Minister of Education, now Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness. At 25, Nicole resigned from the Ministry to start AIM Educational Services – with just two students. Nicole sites her decision to tap into her passion for human development in education as one of the best she’s made. Today, AIM sees hundreds of students and delivers an average return of over 5000% to parents – results Nicole attributes to a strong, motivated team whose focus remains on possibilities, not problems.


How Do You Streamline Your Goals?
Pursuing too many goals at once will lead to diminishing returns ... so the great ones say! Nicole breaks it down.

Sister Joan Chittister

Teaching Faculty

Benedictine Sr. Joan Chittister, OSB has been one of America's key visionary spiritual voices for more than 30 years. Sister Joan manifests herself in many forms: social psychologist, communications theorist, best-selling author, columnist, Benedictine nun, but the voice is a constant. It is always clear, true, fierce and loving. Leadership, she believes, is

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Sister Joan Chittister

Teaching Faculty

Benedictine Sr. Joan Chittister, OSB has been one of America's key visionary spiritual voices for more than 30 years. Sister Joan manifests herself in many forms: social psychologist, communications theorist, best-selling author, columnist, Benedictine nun, but the voice is a constant. It is always clear, true, fierce and loving. Leadership, she believes, is not force but the ability to see the vision beyond the reality and make a road where no road has been. Honorary degrees, awards and countless organizations have recognized her work for justice, peace and equality, especially for women. She is the author of over 50 books – thirteen of which have won Catholic Press Association Awards – the latest: The Way of the Cross (Orbis) in 2014. She is a regular web columnist for the National Catholic Reporter (ncronline.org) and Huffington Post (Huffingtonpost.com). Her PhD is from Penn State University in Speech-Communication Theory, her masters from the University of Notre Dame. She founded and directs Benetvision (joanchittister.org) , a center for contemporary spirituality in Erie, Pennsylvania, was president of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, president of the Conference of American Benedictine Prioresses and was prioress of the Benedictine Sisters of Erie for 12 years. Sister Joan Chittister is Co-Chair of The Global Peace Initiative of Women (www.GPIW.org).

Ta-Nehisi Coates

Teaching Faculty

Ta-Nehisi Coates is one of the most original and perceptive black voices today—“the single best writer on the subject of race in the United States” (New York Observer). Coates is the author, most recently, of Between the World and Me, the #1 New York Times bestseller that “will be hailed as a classic of our

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Ta-Nehisi Coates

Teaching Faculty

Ta-Nehisi Coates is one of the most original and perceptive black voices today—“the single best writer on the subject of race in the United States” (New York Observer). Coates is the author, most recently, of Between the World and Me, the #1 New York Times bestseller that “will be hailed as a classic of our time” (Publishers Weekly) and which Toni Morrison calls “required reading.” Between the World and Me is written by Ta-Nehisi Coates in the form of a letter to his teenage son, Samori. In 160 pages, it moves from Baltimore to Howard University to New York City to Paris, France, addressing what it means to be black in America. Slate calls it, “a book destined to remain on store shelves, bedside tables, and high school and college syllabi long after its author or any of us have left this Earth.” An Atlantic National Correspondent, Coates has written many influential articles, including “The Case for Reparations,” which reignited the long-dormant conversation of how to repay African-Americans for a system of institutional racism that’s robbed them of wealth and success for generations. New York called the George Polk Award-winning cover story “probably the most discussed magazine piece of the Obama era.” More recently, The Atlantic cover story “My President was Black,” Ta-Nehisi’s reflection of President Obama’s time in office, has generated wide acclaim. Coates’s debut book, The Beautiful Struggle, is a tough and touching memoir of growing up in Baltimore during the age of crack. In 2012, Coates was awarded the Hillman Prize for Opinion and Analysis Journalism. Judge Hendrik Hertzberg, of The New Yorker, wrote, “Coates is one of the most elegant and sharp observers of race in America. He is an upholder of universal values, a brave and compassionate writer who challenges his readers to transcend narrow self-definitions and focus on shared humanity.” A former Village Voice writer, Coates has previously served as the Journalist in Residence at the School of Journalism at CUNY and the Martin Luther King Visiting Associate Professor at MIT. He has been awarded the Hillman Prize for Opinion and Analysis Journalism. He is the winner of a 2015 MacArthur Fellowship, and was named one of TIME Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People.

Stephen Cope

Teaching Faculty

Stephen Cope is the Founding Director of the Kripalu Institute for Extraordinary Living--America's largest yoga research institute. For many years, he has been Senior Scholar in Residence at Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health--where he writes and teaches about the relationship between Western psychological thinking and the Eastern contemplative traditions. His most recent

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Stephen Cope

Teaching Faculty

Stephen Cope is the Founding Director of the Kripalu Institute for Extraordinary Living--America's largest yoga research institute. For many years, he has been Senior Scholar in Residence at Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health--where he writes and teaches about the relationship between Western psychological thinking and the Eastern contemplative traditions. His most recent book is The Great Work of Your Life (Bantam, 2012.)

Tradd Cotter

Teaching Faculty

Tradd Cotter founded an 8-acre research farm and tissue culture laboratory near Clemson, SC creating spawn and kits for growers, teachers, and researchers. They maintain over 50 species of edible and medicinal mushrooms and are isolating new strains. Tradd helped guide Mepkin Abbey into a new mushroom farming enterprise serving as their lifelong consultant and

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Tradd Cotter

Teaching Faculty

Tradd Cotter founded an 8-acre research farm and tissue culture laboratory near Clemson, SC creating spawn and kits for growers, teachers, and researchers. They maintain over 50 species of edible and medicinal mushrooms and are isolating new strains. Tradd helped guide Mepkin Abbey into a new mushroom farming enterprise serving as their lifelong consultant and fungal spiritual advisor.

Judy Cornwell

Teaching Facultyy

Judy Cornwell was born and raised in Pennsylvania, but now, with her husband, the novelist Bernard Cornwell, divides her time between Cape Cod and Charleston. On Cape Cod Judy was a founding board member of WeCan, an organization which helps and mentors women in crisis. She has worked with the suicide prevention charity, The Samaritans,

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Judy Cornwell

Teaching Facultyy

Judy Cornwell was born and raised in Pennsylvania, but now, with her husband, the novelist Bernard Cornwell, divides her time between Cape Cod and Charleston. On Cape Cod Judy was a founding board member of WeCan, an organization which helps and mentors women in crisis. She has worked with the suicide prevention charity, The Samaritans, and has been a volunteer with Hospice of Cape Cod for over fifteen years. She has a passion for the theater and was President of the Friends of Monomoy Theatre which offers drama students a chance to perform summer stock on Cape Cod. Judy is a yoga teacher, deeply involved in the search for spirituality, and is mother to three children and grandmother to another three.

Beki Crowell

Teaching Faculty

Beki Crowell has lived in the US, Canada and the Bahamas and since 1986 has made her home Charleston, SC where she owns and showcases her artwork in Utopia, Boutique and Gallery in the historic downtown district. She has exhibited her artwork internationally and has loved collaborating with other artists to create multi-sensory shows. Her

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Beki Crowell

Teaching Faculty

Beki Crowell has lived in the US, Canada and the Bahamas and since 1986 has made her home Charleston, SC where she owns and showcases her artwork in Utopia, Boutique and Gallery in the historic downtown district. She has exhibited her artwork internationally and has loved collaborating with other artists to create multi-sensory shows. Her bold, colorful paintings are a reflection of her own spiritual journey as well as the organic connection between nature and the nature of humanity as sensual beings embodying the Divine. She has been divinely guided to paint/channel 'Soul Portraits' along with other forms of Energy Healing, as a way to support others in their own journeys of spiritual expansion and Awakening to their True Divine Self. Her latest masterpiece she has yet to publish but looks forward to sharing her book, a spiritual memoir about her personal journey of Awakening.

Joanna Crowell

Teaching Faculty

Joanna Crowell is the founder of Ascension Theatre and the Women Writing from Experience workshop series, where she facilitated creative writing workshops for women and teens and created a platform for them to perform/share their stories. She was a professional actress for over 20 years, having been the member of numerous theatre companies, including Living

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Joanna Crowell

Teaching Faculty

Joanna Crowell is the founder of Ascension Theatre and the Women Writing from Experience workshop series, where she facilitated creative writing workshops for women and teens and created a platform for them to perform/share their stories. She was a professional actress for over 20 years, having been the member of numerous theatre companies, including Living the Dream Theatre in Columbus, Ohio, The African American Performance Troupe, The New American Stage Company, and The Actors’ Theatre of South Carolina. She has performed her own poetry across Canada and the US. At age 34, with a 9-month old baby at home, she returned to University and to her native country, Canada, in quest of incorporating more effectively women’s issues and social justice and peace issues into her performance art. She earned a BA in Women’s Studies and Feminist Research, as well as Social Justice and Peace Studies from the University of Western Ontario. She is the author of a book of poems called I Ate a Rainbow for Breakfast and the play AWOL: A Soldier’s Journey produced by PURE Theatre in 2011. Currently, Joanna is a hardcore-single-tennis-mom, and manager of wonderful internal medicine & wellness center in Charleston, called Remedy. Joanna's remedy is the law of attraction and deep connections through art. She is all about affirming well-being in herself and in others. She does this through her art, her food consultations, her poetry, her photography and her performances.

Armand Derfner, LL.B.

eaching Faculty

Armand Derfner, LL.B. has practiced civil rights law and constitutional law for more than a half century. He has tried civil and criminal cases, argued appeals in courts ranging from Justice of the Peace and Magistrate’s Courts to the Supreme Court of the United States. He has represented community organizations, drafted legislation, testified

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Armand Derfner, LL.B.

eaching Faculty

Armand Derfner, LL.B. has practiced civil rights law and constitutional law for more than a half century. He has tried civil and criminal cases, argued appeals in courts ranging from Justice of the Peace and Magistrate’s Courts to the Supreme Court of the United States. He has represented community organizations, drafted legislation, testified in Congress, taught and written about law, been held in contempt several times and been arrested once, in the middle of a courtroom. He has never been disbarred but he was once accused in open court (falsely, he says) of threatening to put a bullet in the back of a client’s head.

He received a National Merit Scholarship the first year they were offered. He has an A.B. from Princeton University (1960), where he received the Koren Prize in History and a Woodrow Wilson Foundation Fellowship. He has an LL.B. from Yale (1963), where he was Note & Comment Editor of the Yale Law Journal, and was Order of the Coif.

After graduation he clerked for Hon. David L. Bazelon, Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. He was then an associate at Covington & Burling, Washington, D.C., before going to Mississippi for several years as a civil rights lawyer. After several years back in Washington, he came to Charleston, South Carolina, where he has been a partner in a succession of small firms ever since, except for another period in Washington where he lobbied for the Voting Rights Act and spent a year as Visiting Professor of Law at the Washington College of Law of the American University.

Currently he is a partner at Derfner & Altman, of Charleston, South Carolina.

He has specialized in voting rights litigation, especially cases under the Voting Rights Act. He argued the first Supreme Court case to interpret Section 5 of the Act, Allen v. State Board of Elections 1969), and many other Voting Rights Act cases since then.

In 2002, he and his co-counsel were named Trial Lawyer of the Year by the American Trial Lawyers Association, for a 25-year case to desegregate the public universities of Mississippi. In 2007, his firm was named Pro Bono Lawyer of the Year from the American Bar.

He was born in Paris, France, and came here as an immigrant with his parents when he was two years old. He now lives in Charleston with his wife, Mary Giles. He has two sons, Joel and Jeremy, both writers, who live in New York and Seattle.

More information is available in a High Profile article about him in the Charleston Post & Courier, November 16, 2002.

Meghan Don

Teaching Faculty

Meghan Don is an initiate of the Sophian Lineage, and Founder and Leading Guide of The Gnostic Grace Circle. An award-winning author, spiritual mentor, and retreat presenter, Meghan’s work helps to raise the feminine consciousness and confidence in our world. She has worked extensively with the Christian mystics, Gnostic and Kabbalistic teachings, and Jungian psychology,

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Meghan Don

Teaching Faculty

Meghan Don is an initiate of the Sophian Lineage, and Founder and Leading Guide of The Gnostic Grace Circle. An award-winning author, spiritual mentor, and retreat presenter, Meghan’s work helps to raise the feminine consciousness and confidence in our world. She has worked extensively with the Christian mystics, Gnostic and Kabbalistic teachings, and Jungian psychology, and is renowned for her keen insight into the human soul. Coming from Celtic heritage and raised in New Zealand, Meghan’s work is informed by deep connection with the natural world. Her work incorporates mystical prayer and meditation, and sacred dance and chant, bringing ancient wisdom into a contemporary and accessible form.

Meghan has taught at Omega Institute, Esalen Institute, Unity and New Thought Churches, and Episcopal and Methodist Churches. She has led many sacred pilgrimages to Europe, and is the author of Meditations with Teresa of Avila: A Journey into the Sacred, which won the Ashton Wylie/New Zealand Book Council Award for Best Book and Author in 2006. She has also authored Sacred Companions Sacred Community: Reflections with Clare of Assisi. Her upcoming book, The New Divine Feminine: Spiritual Evolution for a Woman’s Soul is to be released in August 2016.

Meghan divides her time between the Carolinas in the United States and Nova Scotia, Canada.

Carolyn Evans

Teaching Faculty

Carolyn Evans, MSW, has worked as a therapist and used to perform regularly as a singer/songwriter with her band. She continues to write songs, but instead of late nights singing in bars, she spends her days meeting with Beaders—online and in person as she supports the growing Forty Beads nation.

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Carolyn Evans

Teaching Faculty

Carolyn Evans, MSW, has worked as a therapist and used to perform regularly as a singer/songwriter with her band. She continues to write songs, but instead of late nights singing in bars, she spends her days meeting with Beaders—online and in person as she supports the growing Forty Beads nation.

Carol Lee Flinders

Teaching Faculty

Carol Lee Flinders is a national speaker, retreat leader, and author of Enduring Grace: Living Portraits of Seven Women Mystics, Rebalancing the World, and one of our favorites, At the Root of This Longing: Reconciling a Spiritual Hunger and a Feminist Thirst. Dr. Flinders has taught courses in mystical literature at UC Berkeley, and at

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Carol Lee Flinders

Teaching Faculty

Carol Lee Flinders is a national speaker, retreat leader, and author of Enduring Grace: Living Portraits of Seven Women Mystics, Rebalancing the World, and one of our favorites, At the Root of This Longing: Reconciling a Spiritual Hunger and a Feminist Thirst. Dr. Flinders has taught courses in mystical literature at UC Berkeley, and at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley. She is currently a Fellow of the Spirituality and Health Institute at Santa Clara University. In May 2006, Penguin/Putnam will publish her latest book, Enduring Lives: Living Portraits of Women and Faith in Action, which profiles contemporary women she believes live and work in the "spiritual mother-line" of Saint Teresa of Avila and Saint Catherine of Genoa. She has written about natural foods, co-authoring the popular Laurel's Kitchen cookbooks. Carol lives in Northern California at the Blue Mountain Center of Meditation with her husband Tim. Visit www.tworock.org.

Erica Ariel Fox

Teaching Faculty

Erica Ariel Fox, J.D., is a Lecturer at Harvard Law School and the Founder of the Global Negotiation Insight Institute. She is internationally known as a pioneer in the integration of wisdom traditions and spiritual practice into the negotiation and conflict resolution field. She is passionate about the connection between personal mastery and high performance.

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Erica Ariel Fox

Teaching Faculty

Erica Ariel Fox, J.D., is a Lecturer at Harvard Law School and the Founder of the Global Negotiation Insight Institute. She is internationally known as a pioneer in the integration of wisdom traditions and spiritual practice into the negotiation and conflict resolution field. She is passionate about the connection between personal mastery and high performance. As a partner of Mobius Executive Leadership, Ms. Fox works with Fortune 500 companies as well as public sector leaders to build consensus, facilitate change, and transform crises into opportunities for growth. She is currently completing her first book, Beyond Yes, based on a dozen years of teaching negotiation at Harvard Law School and over a decade of training professionals around the world, including in Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and Latin America, throughout Europe and across the United States.

Matthew Fox

Teaching Faculty

Matthew Fox is an internationally acclaimed theologian and spiritual maverick who has spent the last 40 years revolutionizing Christian theology, taking on patriarchal religion, and advocating for a creation-centered spirituality of compassion and justice and re-sacralizing of the earth.

As a spiritual theologian, he has written over 30 books including Original Blessing, The Coming of

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Matthew Fox

Teaching Faculty

Matthew Fox is an internationally acclaimed theologian and spiritual maverick who has spent the last 40 years revolutionizing Christian theology, taking on patriarchal religion, and advocating for a creation-centered spirituality of compassion and justice and re-sacralizing of the earth.

As a spiritual theologian, he has written over 30 books including Original Blessing, The Coming of the Cosmic Christ, A Spirituality Named Compassion, Christian Mystics and The Pope’s War. His books have been translated into 49 languages and have been known for pioneering a unique approach to spirituality as a powerful force to transform religion, education, and culture.

The late Thomas Berry said of him that “he might be the most creative, the most comprehensive, surely the most challenging theologian in America”. He was described as “the most important living theologian” by Bishop Marc Andrews.

Originally a Catholic priest, he was silenced for a year and then expelled from the Dominican Order to which he had belonged for 34 years by Cardinal Ratzinger for teaching liberation theology and creation spirituality. Matthew Fox currently serves as an Episcopal priest after he received what he calls “religious asylum” from the Episcopal Church. With exciting results he has worked with young people to create the Cosmic Mass (www.thecosmicmass.org) to revitalize worship by bringing elements of rave to the western liturgical tradition.

In 2005, when Cardinal Ratzinger became Pope Benedict, Fox went to Martin Luther’s church in Wittenberg, Germany and pounded 95 contemporary theses at the door to call people to a New Reformation.

His action was motivated by a belief that “At this critical time in human history, when the earth is being ravaged by the violence of war, poverty, sexism, homophobia, and eco-destruction, we need to gather those who offer a future that is one of compassion, creativity, and justice to speak their conscience as never before. Religion and Spirituality ought to be part of the solution, not the problem.”

He has worked extensively and consciously to reinvent forms of education for 31 years in master's degree and doctor of ministry programs with adults and currently with inner city high school students. Key to that reinvention, he believes, is putting Creativity first.

His work has been featured by The New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, San Francisco Chronicle, Rolling Stone Magazine, National Catholic Reporter, The Young Turks, Democracy Now! and he is a recipient of numerous awards including the Courage of Conscience Award by the Peace Abbey of Sherborn, Mass. Other recipients of this award include the Dalai Lama, Mother Theresa, Ernesto Cardinal, and Rosa Parks.

Richard Garcia

Teaching Faculty

Richard Garcia is the author of Rancho Notorious and The Persistence of Objects, both from BOA Editions. A chapbook of prose poems, Chickenhead, came out from FootHills Publishing in 2009. His poems have appeared in The Georgia Review, Crazyhorse, Ploughshares, Pushcart Prize XXI and Best American Poetry. He teaches in the MFA in Creative Writing

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Richard Garcia

Teaching Faculty

Richard Garcia is the author of Rancho Notorious and The Persistence of Objects, both from BOA Editions. A chapbook of prose poems, Chickenhead, came out from FootHills Publishing in 2009. His poems have appeared in The Georgia Review, Crazyhorse, Ploughshares, Pushcart Prize XXI and Best American Poetry. He teaches in the MFA in Creative Writing Program of Antioch University Los Angeles, the College of Charleston, and privately. He lives on James Island, SC, with his wife, poet Katherine Williams, and their dog Louie. www.richardgarcia.info.

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– Kathy Calvin, CEO of the UN Foundation
 

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