International Advisory Board
The Twelve Gates international advisory board is composed of men and women committed to building a world of peace through interreligious dialogue, reconciliation and collaboration. Please contact Dr. Frank Kaufmann at firstname.lastname@example.org regarding recommendations for this board.
Achayra Shri Shrivatsa Goswami
Acharya Shrivatsa Goswami comes from the family of eminent scholars and spiritual leaders at Sri Radharamana Mandir of Vrindavan. He is a leading figure in the Vaishnava tradition. He has participated in conferences on philosophy and culture and lectured at major universities around the world, including as a visiting scholar at Harvard and Heidelberg. His book Celebrating Krishnawas received with much acclaim. He is Director of the Vraja Prakalpa, a multi-disciplinary research project that has already published eight volumes on various facets of Vraja culture and history.
Among other commitments, Goswamijiis devoted to Inter-faith relations worldwide and is presently working on the alliance of religion and conservation. He is connected with several important international peace and environmental movements.He was invited by the Archbishop of Canterburyand the President of the World Bank to represent Hinduism at a historic meeting of world religions at Lambeth Palace, London. In 2007 he was a resource person for religion to the meeting of over 40 heads of state in Vienna. In 2009he was invited as a Plenary Speaker at the Centenary Celebrations of the American Academy of Religions. In 2011 the Pope invited him to the Vatican. In 2012 he was one of the main speakersat the Interreligious Harmony Week function at the UN General Assembly.
The President of India awarded him the Sangit Natak Akademi lifetime award for overall scholarship and service to Indian culture.
Dr. Cheryl Lau
Dr. Cheryl Lau serves as a commissioner on the State of Nevada Commission on Ethics. Previously she was a commissioner on the Nevada Commission on Professional Standards in Education.
In the late 80s she served as Nevada’s Deputy Attorney General, and in 1990 was elected Secretary of State. Later she ran for governor of Nevada.
In 1995, Dr. Lau served as General Counsel to the U.S. House of Representatives. She was a visiting professor at Harvard University, and a Judge Pro Tempore for the Carson City Justice and Municipal Courts. She was the vice chair of the Republican National Platform Committee, secretary of the Republican National Convention, and chair of the National Commission for the Renewal of American Democracy.
Dr. Lau received her doctorate from the University of Oregon, and later earned a Juris Doctorate from the University of San Francisco.
Professor M. Darrol Bryant
Darrol is a Distinguished Professor Emeritus and the Director of the Centre for Dialogue and Spirituality in the World Religions at Renison University College, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. Educated at Concordia College, Harvard Divinity School and the University of St. Michael’s College (Toronto), he has edited/authored more than 30 volumes including A World Broken by Unshared Bread, Religion in a New Key 3rd ed, Inter-Religious Dialogue: Voices from a New Frontier, Muslim Christian Dialogue, Ways of the Spirit: Celebrating Dialogue, Diversity & Spirituality, Ways of the Spirit: Voices of Women, and most recently, Out of Galilee: Christian Thought as a Great Conversation.
He has been involved in interfaith dialogue since the mid-1970s. Sabbaticals with his family in India transformed his approach to the religious pathways of Hinduism, Islam, Tibetan Buddhism, Sikh and Jain traditions, as did time in China alter his approach to Confucian, Daoist and Buddhist Ways. The dialogue of the intercultural and interreligious world remains his passion. He received the Huston Smith Interfaith Educator award in 2007.
Professor Charles Selengut
Dr. Charles Selengut, a professor of sociology at County College of Morris since 1970, earned his PhD with highest honors from Drew University. He is known internationally for his expertise in the sociological, psychological and political dimensions of religious fundamentalism. His works include books, articles and monographs on Muslim, Jewish and Christian fundamentalism and their significance in international relations. He is the author of Sacred Fury: Understanding Religious Violence, Jewish-Muslim Encounters: History, Philosophy and Culture, and other significant work in the area.
He was a member of the University of Chicago “Project on Fundamentalism,” a National Endowment for the Humanities fellow at Harvard University, and a 1997 finalist for the Carnegie Professor of the year award.
Reverend Junsei Terasawa
Reverend Junsei Terasawa became a Buddhist monk at a young age, and thereafter spent six years in India intensively studying and practicing Buddhism, and involving himself in the social reform movement to end conflicts caused by communal and caste divisions. Later he contributed to the anti-nuclear peace marches and demonstrations throughout Europe, and established two Peace Pagodas in England.
In India, he initiated the Rajgir Symposium on the Victory of Law over the nuclear menace, producing the visionary “New Delhi Declaration to build a Nuclear-free Non-violent World.” He initiated the Peace Camp on the Iraq-Saudi border in a bid to avert the Gulf War, and more recently the three-month Pakistan-India Prayer March for Peace.
Reverend Terasawa represented the International Peace Bureau in annual sessions of the UN Human Rights Commission in Geneva, and initiated the Inter-Faith Peace Mission to Chechnya, with the support of Prince Hassan of Jordan and Mikhail Gorbachev. He invested greatly in an effort to resolve the Iraqi crisis through his initiation of the International Inter-Religious Peace Mission to Iraq.
Imam Shamsi Ali
During his studies in Islamabad, Imam Ali was hired as a muezzin in Faisal Mosque, the biggest mosque in the city.
In 1996 in New York City, Imam Ali served the Indonesian community mosque in Long Island City, Queens. In 2001, he was appointed as deputy Imam of Islamic Cultural Center of New York, the city’s largest mosque located in 96th street and 3rd Ave in Manhattan.
A few days after the events of 11 September 2001, Imam Ali was chosen by New York City to represent the Muslim community to visit the scene. He recited a prayer at the memorial service for the September 11th victims at Yankee stadium in the Bronx.
In 2006 Ali was chosen as one of the seven most influential religious leaders in New York City by New York Magazine. He represented the Muslim community at an interfaith discussion on Religions and Sustainable Development in the White House 2007, and took part in the Transatlantic Interfaith Dialogue in Frankfurt, Germany 2008. In 2008 Ali received the ICLI Interfaith Award.
Within the Indonesian Muslim community in North America, he serves as an Advisory Board to major national Muslim organizations such as IMSA (Indonesian Muslim Society in America) and ICMI (Indonesian Muslim Intellectual Society in America). Shamsi Ali is president of Nusantara Foundation, a community based operating and non-profit organization in New York established, publicly supported, operated by, and for the benefit of Indonesian culture.
Shamsi Ali is Chairman of the Board of Trustees for the ASEAN Muslim Federation of North America. He is Vice President of the Asian-American Coalition USA (AAC-USA) and its UN Representative. Ali is Advisory Board member to numerous interfaith organizations, including the Tanenbaum Center and Federation for Middle East Peace. Imam Ali is Board member for the Partnership of Faith in NY, and co-founder of the UNCC (Universal Clergy Coalition-International). He is Assistant Director and Board member of the Muslim Foundation of America, Inc. Imam Ali is Chairman of the annual Muslim Day Parade in NYC.