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releasinglanternsPathways to Moral Leadership: Hope, Integrity, and Imagination

October 21, 2022
Vanderbilt Divinity School
- Free and open to the public with advanced registration
- Breakfast and lunch provided

This is a free, day-long conference hosted by the Cal Turner Program for Moral Leadership in conjunction with Vanderbilt Divinity School’s office of Admissions, Vocation, and Stewardship as well as other co-sponsors throughout the university. Keynote and workshop presenters will lead attendees in a lively exploration of the moral and the theological components of their feminist, womanist, interfaith, queer, decolonial, and liberationist approaches to moral leadership. We hope participants will leave the conference inspired and impressed, and with a better understanding of the versatility, power, and usability of these concepts of moral leadership, hope, imagination, and integrity in their everyday lives.

The conference features two keynote speakers:

  Lama Rod Owens, black queer Buddhist and author of  Love and Rage: The Path to Liberation through Anger

  Yara González-Justiniano, assistant professor of religion, psychology and culture at Vanderbilt University Divinity School and author of  Centering Hope as a Sustainable Decolonial Practice: Esperanza en Práctica  (releases October 15 2022)

It will also feature several workshop leaders in the areas of restorative justice, moral imagination, spiritual leadership, interfaith dialogue, and nonviolent practice and liberatory practice. What these speakers all have in common is a commitment to restoration and transformation, conversation, and respect for human dignity and distinctiveness.

Prospective and current students, as well as alumni and the general public are welcome to attend.


Featured Speakers

Lama Rod Owens photoLama Rod Owens

Our morning plenary speaker will be black and queer Buddhist Lama Rod Owens, author of Love and Rage: The Path to Liberation through Anger and co-author of Radical Dharma.




portrait of Yara Gonzalez-JustinianoYara Gonzalez-Justiniano

Our afternoon plenary speaker will be Dr. Yara González-Justiniano, Assistant Professor of Religion, Psychology, and Culture with an emphasis on Latinx studies at VDS, and a researcher and writer on sustainable hope in connected community. Her book, Centering Hope as a Sustainable Decolonial Practice: Esperanza en Práctica, will be released from Lexington Books in October 2022.





Conference Schedule

8:00 breakfast

8:30 am-9:00 am: Opening remarks

9 am-10:00 am: Keynote by Lama Rod Owens with graduate student interview

10:00 am -10:30 am: Table conversation on keynote

10:30 am-10:45 am: Break; move to workshop rooms

Workshop Section One (10:45 am-12:15 pm)

  1. Spiritual Leadership with End-of-Life Doula Jill Schock, VDS Alumna
  2. Social Cohesion Amidst Religious Difference  led by members of the Vanderbilt University Student Interfaith Council Malak Elmessiry, Davis Glen Ellis, Namrah Ajmal, and Ethan Morris
  3. Info session on the Cal Turner Program for Moral Leadership and the Vanderbilt Interprofessional Student Moral Leadership Fellowship  led by Director of the Student Fellowship Dr. Laine Walters Young and Co-Director of the Student Fellowship and Graduate Assistant Mediatrix Kisienya
  4. Moral Imagination and Interfaith Conflict  led by the Director of VDS Lifelong Learning and Louisville Institute Postdoctoral Fellow Dr. Aaron Stauffer

12:15-12:30 pm: Break: Move back from workshops for lunch

12:30 pm Invite people to make a plate and find a seat

12:45-1:45 pm: Keynote on Sustainable and Community-engaged Hope by Dr. Yara González-Justiniano

1:45-2:00 pm: Break, table conversation, move back to break out rooms

Workshop Section Two (2:00-3:30 pm)

  1. Cultivating a Nonviolent Heart  led by Dr. Phillis Isabella Sheppard, Director of the James Lawson Institute for the Research and Study of Nonviolent Social Movements, Vanderbilt University
  2. Transformative Change through Liberatory Practices  led by Dr. Ashley Brown, Director of the Vanderbilt University Student Center for Social Justice and Identity
  3. Restorative Justice  led by Travis Claybrooks, CEO of the Raphah Institute and Dr. Graham Reside, Convener of the Prison and Carceral Studies Concentration at Vanderbilt Divinity School and associate professor of Ethics and Society
  4. Narrative Circle  led by Dr. Hasina Mohyuddin, Assistant Dean of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion at Peabody College, Vanderbilt University

3:30 pm-3:40 pm: Break, table conversation, move back to main room

3:40-4:00 pm: Reflection Integration "for the road”