Christopher L. Heuertz
Cultivating a renewed sense of contemplative activism, Christopher L. Heuertz has spent his life bearing witness to hope-the possibility of hope in a good God in a world that has legitimate reasons to question God's goodness. Chris, and his wife Phileena, may call Omaha, Nebraska home but together they have traveled to nearly 70 countries. Since 1996, Chris has served as the International Executive Director of Word Made Flesh and continues to live out the vision of the organization by working with and investing in the most vulnerable of the world's poor. It is in these experiences that he finds the inspiration for public speaking and books such as Simple Spirituality: Learning to see God in a Broken World and Friendship at the Margins: Discovering Mutuality in Service and Mission.
Twesigye Jackson Kaguri
Twesigye Jackson Kaguri was born and raised in Uganda in the small village of Nyakagyezi. At a very young age he demonstrated an unquenchable desire to learn, which led him to study at and graduate from Makerere University in Kampala. During this time he co-founded the human rights organization, Human Rights Concerns, to help victim of human rights violations in Uganda and to educate the public about their rights. In the 90s he became a visiting scholar at Columbia University where he studied Human Rights Advocacy. Over the years he has been involved extensively in international community efforts as a human rights advocate, fundraiser, and inspirational speaker.
In 2001, Kaguri founded the Nyaka AIDS Orphans Project in response to the devastating effects of AIDS in his hometown. The organization, which recently celebrated its tenth anniversary, provides free education to children who have lost one or both parents to AIDS. In addition to two schools, it also operates a library, desire farm and nutrition program, medical clinic, clean water system, and a support program for the grandmothers who care for up to 14 children at a time.
Since founding the project, Kaguri has also become an author. In A School For My Village he shares how he came to build the first school and the struggles he faced in the first few years. Last year, he resigned as Interim Senior Director of Development in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources at Michigan State University to focus full-time on the Nyaka AIDS Orphans Project. Kaguri has been named a Heifer International Hero, recognized in Time Magazine’s “Power Of One” Series, and spoken to the UN about his work. When not visiting the schools in Uganda or working at his office in Okemos, MI, Kaguri travels the country to speak with students and supporters about his organization.
Kohima Daring grew up in Bangladesh, close to the border of India, and comes from a large family of 8 children. She graduated from Jahangirnagar University with an MA in General History and Sociology.
Following college, Kohima worked as a trainer for World Vision Bangladesh as well as a research assistant for Dr. Robbins Burlling, a linguist from the University of Michigan. From 1989 to 1994, Kohima worked in Soshika, a CRWRC partner. Since 1995, Kohima has worked full time for CRWRC International as a Development Consultant.
Kohima serves on the International Board of SIL (Summer Institute of Linguistics); she especially appreciates being a part of this board as she has a particular interest in language. For hobbies, Kohima loves gardening and writing stories. She has written a small book of Garo language folk stories and is now currently working on Bible Stories in Garo.
Shane Marie Gilbert is an International Speaker, Independent Film Producer, and Leader, but most assuredly, she loves to start things.
Shane started her film career as a screenwriter, bringing her to LA in 1999 where she started and co-owned a successful Los Angeles based production company. She has managed well-known Olympic athletes, producing promo DVDs and materials for the Olympic Games. Shane once wrote 6 episodes of the Malaysian import cartoon, co-wrote a TV pilot, and more. What turned her toward documentary storytelling, however, was her short career as grassroots marketing guru, where she produced her first Feature Documentary, Last Dispatch, about the ‘largest independent rock concert in history’.
Shane is the founder of 2 non-profit organizations motivating American youth culture to
get involved in perhaps the worst humanitarian disaster in the world ~ Africa. Shane initially started the The Elias Fund working in Zimbabwe, and currently is the Founder and Executive Director of Come, Let’s Dance, a grassroots organization geared toward getting to the root of the orphan cycle and creating sustainable community development by empowering the local leaders of the community. CLD was awarded ‘The Multi-
Generational Leadership Award’ at Regis University, Denver CO, as the organization best utilizing all age demographics to work together for change.
Shane is a skilled motivational speaker and educator. She started out as a literature teacher, winning such awards as Walmart Teacher of the Year. She studied Shakespeare and the classics at both Trinity College, Dublin, and at Oxford University in England.
Currently, she enjoys teaching once-a-year at the renowned Phillip Exeter Academy in Exeter, New Hampshire, where she teaches Global Justice and Media & Society.
Shane has two favorite jobs in life: Being Jesca’s mom! And, speaking all around the world motivating people to think.
Alain Epp Weaver leads strategic planning for Mennonite Central Committee, a Christian relief, development and peacebuilding organization supported by Mennonite and Brethren in Christ churches in Canada and the United States. Currently working from MCC's Akron, Pennsylvania, office, Alain previously worked for 11 years with MCC in various parts of the Middle East: as an English teacher at a Catholic school in the northern West Bank village of Zababdeh; as development coordinator in the Gaza Strip; and most recently as MCC representative for Palestine, Jordan, and Iraq. A 1991 graduate of Bethel College (Kansas), Alain completed a Master of Divinity degree at the University of Chicago in 1999 and is currently finishing a dissertation on Palestinian Christian understandings of exile and return as part of the Ph.D. program in Theology at the University of Chicago. The author of States of Exile: Visions of Diaspora, Witness, and Return (Herald Press, 2008), Alain has also published numerous scholarly and popular articles in journals such as the Review of Politics, the Journal of Religious Ethics, and the Christian Century and has edited several books, including Under Vine and Fig Tree: Biblical Theologies of Land and the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict (Herald Press, 2007). Married for over two decades to Sonia Weaver, Alain is the father of two children, Samuel and Katherine.