Talks

Introduction to Sleepless in Gaza and Jerusalem Screening American University, School of International Studies Washington D.C., June 3, 2010

"...I unilaterally chose not to show this work at the recent Amnesty International Human Rights Art Festival, which I produced..... What I found upon introspection was that there was a hidden and insidious dynamic playing out inside of me. Buried beneath my desire to control the Festival’s content [was] a feeling of embarrassment, humiliation, impotence and even horror at the behavior of a government with whom I am identified."

Producer's Welcome Speech Amnesty International Human Rights Art Festival Silver Spring, MD, April 23, 2010

"This coming together of our political leaders with advocacy artists highlights that what Amnesty International represents, and what these artists are fighting for in Amnesty’s name, is at the heart of the American dream: human rights and justice for all. "

Machiavellian Resistance Rethinking Resistance 2007 Conference, Emory University, Atlanta, GA, March 31, 2007

"Perhaps the greatest single roadblock between resistance activists and more successful interventions are our own misguided "good" intentions. These stop those working for the common good from using methods perfected by those in power to disseminate their ideas, fearing that by doing so, they will be "copping out," or using immoral practices...."

Painting as Prayer: Artistic Process as Mystical Exploration "Robert & Elizabeth Johnson Professorship in Leadership" lecture series Franklin College, Franklin, IN, March 15, 2007

"The great contemporary British painter Frank Auerbach said: "Real artistic style is not donning a mantle or having a program; it’s how one behaves in a crisis." A truly personal artistic vision cannot grow out of a search among the known and easy to understand symbols awash in the general culture; it is into the crisis that an artist must plunge to achieve visionary worth...."

The Artist as Shaman in an Age of Uncertainty Southeast College Art Conference, Nashville, TN, October 26, 2006

"...We live in a time of desperate uncertainty and unbounded possibility. The religious structures that have provided vessels for our spirituality, as well as structures of explicit existential meaning for the members of each religious tribe, have been slowly crumbling for more than three centuries. The resulting insecurity has often left us — humanity — feeling alone, adrift and afraid, or scurrying unthinkingly towards the apparent safety of traditional and even fundamentalist religious institutions..."

Speech at Model UN in conjunction with the UNESCO Center for Peace: Hood College, Frederick, MD, March 11, 2006:

"...My Human Rights Painting Project, in conjunction with Amnesty International, uses a series of portraits that I have painted of human rights figures from around the world to raise issues of human rights, spread the word about the good work of Amnesty International and show how human rights concerns plague all of us. None of us is immune from the need to safeguard human rights for all in our country - and each of us has a responsibility to ensure that all people's rights are respected all of the time...."

Speech in conjunction with the UNESCO Center for Peace on United Nations Day Hood College, Frederick, MD, October 24, 2005

"...It was Zeno, the 3rd century B.C. Greek philosopher, who gave form to the vision of a world which should be a single global community of humankind, 'in which all humans should be members one of another, citizens of one state without distinction of race or institutions.' It would take more than 2000 years for this vision to be imagined as a legal entity, with the creation of the League of Nations after World War I. Today's United Nations, the heritor of this impetus, is the largest and most powerful international body in the history of humankind that has grown out of Zeno's vision of a single global community...."

Speech at the Phillips Museum Franklin and Marshall College, Lancaster, PA, September 22, 2005

"It is an honor to be showing my work in conjunction with the Eyes Wide Open exhibit, sponsored by the American Friends Service Committee, opening tomorrow. In culture where "Radical Peace Group" is a pejorative term; where showingthe true cost of war in the mainstream media is considered 'unpatriotic,' the Eyes Wide Open exhibit, which brings true cost of war to the general public, is absolutely incontrovertible...."

Speech at the Symposium with Drs. Saperstein and Nasr George Washington University, Washington D.C., November 11, 2004

"...In a general sense, this next couple of hours represents one of my highest aspirations as an artist: that my visual work will spur the coming together of scholars, students and others to see relationship between Muslims and Jews in a fresh and more positive light. This is my goal, to move the ideas of peace and understanding that underpin my artwork outside of the narrow confines of the art world, and to a more general audience...."

Speech at opening of Shalom/Salaam: The Untold Story of a Mystical Entanglement George Washington University, Washington D.C., September 9, 2004

"...I have no doubt that the answer to the conundrum that is the current Middle East situation does not lie in this room, as represented by my art show. Art can be a gentle lover, but it is no miracle worker .However, there are definite things that an art project such as this can offer by way of an impetus for peace, and by providing a fresh manner in which to view the relations between Muslims and Jews, Israelis and Palestinians. And it is my hope that by adding this voice to the cacophony surrounding the situation in the Middle East, I can help move the conversation towards the positive - and away from the energy that drives the current war...."

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