Yoga for Peace Symposium: Changing the World from the Inside Out


Nawang Khechog

Nawang Khechog is a Grammy nominee and one of Tibet's foremost world music composers and musicians. He is also one of the first Tibetan musicians to be able to break into the international world music scene with his original and authentic musical compositions. In 2007, Nawang received the Tibetan Music Award (Special Recognition, similar to Life Time Achievement Award) and the International Civil Golden Award, the highest civilian award of Nepal. Nawang was a monk for 11 years and studied Buddhist philosophy and meditation with His Holiness the Dalai Lama and many other Tibetan masters.

Elaine Valdov

Elaine Valdov, PhD, a representative to the United Nations, is a peace and human rights activist, conflict resolution specialist, founder and president of Yoga Peace Ambassadors, Yogis Beyond Borders, International Peace Ambassadors, and the International Institute for a Culture of Peace. She lectures internationally and is a practicing psychotherapist in New York City.

Srinivasan is a senior disciple of Swami Vishnudevananda, a member of the Board of Directors of the International Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centers, and a practicing yogi for over 35 years. He is Director of the Sivananda Ashram Yoga Ranch in Woodbourne, New York, and the acharya (spiritual guide) of the Sivananda centers and ashrams of the eastern region of the US. Srinivasan is an instructor in the Sivananda Yoga Teacher Training Course and the Advanced Yoga Teacher Training Course and offers various programs throughout North America.

Dena Merriam

Dena Merriam began working in the interfaith movement in the late 1990s when she served as Vice Chair of the Millennium World Peace Summit of Religious and Spiritual Leaders held at the United Nation in New York. She eventually founded the Global Peace Initiative of Women (GPIW), an organization chaired by a multi-faith group of women spiritual leaders. Her work at GPIW has been devoted to creating a global platform for women religious and spiritual leaders, and to engaging the Hindu and Buddhist leadership more actively on the world stage. She has been a student of Paramahansa Yogananda and the great texts of the Vedic tradition for over 35 years, and is also a practitioner of Kriya Yoga meditation.

Amy Weintraub

Amy Weintraub is a registered yoga therapist and director of the LifeForce Yoga Healing Institute. The author of the best-selling Yoga for Depression and Yoga Skills for Therapists, she has been a pioneering teacher and researcher in the field of yoga and mental health for 20 years. The LifeForce Yoga protocol is being used in residential treatment centers, hospitals, and by health-care providers worldwide and Amy trains health and yoga professionals internationally.

Davod Azad
Davod Azad is a prominent master of Iranian music. Based in Tehran, Iran, he is a vocalist, composer, multi-instrumental musician, and virtuoso in several traditional instruments. His unique singing style integrates classical and modern spiritual elements, while his improvisation brings a contemporary sensibility to a traditional musical format. Few musicians from Iran have traveled and played before such diverse audiences as Davod. He has performed extensively over the last two decades in Europe, North America, the Caribbean, Australia, India, Japan, Bhutan, as well as throughout Iran, with over 300 performances worldwide, including for BBC television. His album The Divan of Rumi & Bach is the first Iranian fusion with Western classical music.

Swami Omkarananda

Swami Omkarananda is the director of the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Center in Los Angeles, California, and has over 25 years’ experience teaching yoga and meditation. Originally from Australia and trained as a medical doctor, she is certified in Permaculture Design and Advanced Permaculture, and is passionate about bringing together sustainability, permaculture, and spirituality.

Bill Wilson

Bill Wilson is an internationally recognized teacher of permaculture having hosted and taught at over 40 Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) Courses in just the last 7 years. He is the co-founder of Midwest Permaculture with his wife Rebecca and makes the subject not only easily understandable but brings it alive with possibilities. Bill has delivered 5 PDC Courses at the Sivananda Ashram Yoga Farm in Grass Valley, CA.


Presenter Spotlight Q&A: Bill Wilson

authentic human experience through permaculture


Please share what you do in 10-15 words:

Permaculture designer and teacher of the Permaculture Design Certificate Course.


Why do you do what you do?

I am inspired by the thinking and ethics behind permaculture design and am passionate about sharing it with others.  


What are you currently fascinated by in your work?

How so many people are already thinking and living like a permaculturist but are not even aware of the word yet nor do they understand the significance of their thinking or their contributions.


How did you come to your path? Any aha moments or key teachers?

It began as a spiritual journey to understand how life really works and what is true in this world.  Permaculture, like yoga, is a path in whereby people can peak behind the veil of our cultural illusions and fantasies to find an authentic experience of being human while learning to be an agent of peace and plenty in the world.


What book(s) are you currently reading?

Permaculture Handbook by Peter Bane and The Soul of the Soil by Grace Gershuny.

Becky Wilson

Becky Wilson, Co-founder of Midwest Permaculture, earned her Permaculture Design Certificate in 2007 and her Permaculture Teaching Certificate in 2011, the latter from Rosemary Morrow, a respected scientist, agriculturalist and elder in the permaculture world. Besides being active in family and community life, Becky has served as the Stelle Community Association Manager for 18 years and served as the Community Association Board President for 8 years. From these experiences she has developed a strong understanding of community process and development.  Read more about Bill and Becky.