Sunday, October 16, 2:00 p.m.
Panel discussion with Jian Hu Shifu, Mahan Mirza, Fr. Jon Pedigo, Arvind Patel, and Rabbi Michael Lotker, moderated by Angie Coiro
Venerable Jian Hu came to the U.S. from Taiwan as a teenager and graduated from the California Institute of Technology and received a Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of California, San Diego. In 2004, Venerable Jian Hu helped establish the Zen Center of Sunnyvale where he now serves as the Abbot. He frequently gives lectures and conducts retreats within and outside of the U.S. Venerable Jian Hu represents the Buddhist religion.
Mahan Mirza recently completed his doctorate in Religious Studies from Yale University. He has edited two special issues of The Muslim World on topics related to contemporary Islam in America. He is also assistant editor for the forthcoming Princeton Encyclopedia of Islamic Political Thought. With a master's degree in the study of Islam and Christian-Muslim relations from Hartford Seminary, work as a university Muslim chaplain, and training in a traditional Muslim setting in Lahore, Dr. Mirza engages in the study of Islam from multiple perspectives. He has taught a range of courses over the years at Yale, the Department of Religious Studies at California State University, Chico and the University of Notre Dame. In July, 2011, Dr. Mirza was appointed as Vice President for Academic Affairs at Zaytuna College. He currently resides in Berkeley with his family.
Father Jon Pedigo, is a native of the Bay Area, has been active in civic affairs and social justice causes for over 25 years. Since his ordination to the Diocese of San José in 1991, he has been involved with several local social justice causes and inter-faith dialogues. Fr. Pedigo has both a Bachelor's and Master's Degree in Music. He holds a Licentiate in Sacred Theology and serves as Pastor at St Julie Billiart Parish, in San Jose, CA.
Arvind Patel, Ph.D in Electrical Engineering; retired from IBM in 2000 where he was an Engineer/Scientist for 39 years. Even though Dr. Arvind Patel grew up studying Hindu scriptures, he felt that all the questions about the Hindu mystery of 'Who am I?' could only be answered after he furthered his education in science and mathematics. Dr. Patel thinks that the mystery of God and His creation becomes easier to comprehend in light of modern science and mathematics along with the revelations laid down in ancient scriptures.
Rabbi Michael Lotker is a second career rabbi having been ordained at age 55 from the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 2003. He is a physicist who spent his first career in Alternative Energy focusing on wind, solar and geothermal energy.