DENA MERRIAM is the Founder and Convener of Global Peace Initiative of Women. She serves on the boards of the Interfaith Center of New York, AIM for Seva and Dharma Drum Mountain Buddhist Association. Merriam is a former member of the board of Harvard University Center for the Study of World Religions and the International Center for Religion and Diplomacy. She is also Co-Chair of the Millennium World Peace Summit, the first summit held at the United Nations General Assembly for more than 1500 of the world’s religious leaders.
RABBI DR. JAY MICHAELSON, is Affiliated Assistant Professor at Chicago Theological Seminary, and author of The Gate of Tears: Sadness and the Spiritual Path. He is a columnist for The Daily Beast and the Forward newspaper, and has been a professional LGBT activist and Jewish activist for fifteen years. Michaelson’s contemplative background includes twelve years in the dharma, including several long-term vipassana retreats in the United States and Nepal. He is affiliated with the Practical Dharma movement and the Contemplative Development Mapping Project, and also holds nondenominational rabbinic ordination. Michaelson received his PhD in Jewish Thought from Hebrew University of Jerusalem, a JD from Yale Law School, and a BA from Columbia. He has held teaching positions at Yale University, City College, Harvard Divinity School, and Boston University Law School.