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Baha’i, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jain, Jew, Muslim, Sikh, Sufi, Taoist, Unitarian Universalist

Board of Directors

Who we are

Board of Directors

Saleem Ahmed, PhD

Dr Ahmed is the author of Beyond Veil and Holy War: Islamic Teachings and Muslim Practices with Biblical Comparisons(2002) and spiritual founder of All Believers Network.  His aspiration is to appreciate the beauties of all religions and make Hawai‘i renowned as the “Inter-Faith Harmony Capital of the World.”  His forthcoming book, Islam: A Religion of Peace?, is now available.  He is also founder of Milun (Association for Promoting South Asian Culture) which shares the region’s common cultural heritage with others.  After retiring from the East-West Center in 1995 (where he led its botanical pest control initiative and introduced the neem tree to Hawaii).

Dharm P S Bhawuk PhD

Dr Bhawuk, a citizen of Nepal, is a professor of management and culture and community psychology at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa.  His vision – world peace through intercultural understanding – is grounded in his research in cross-cultural management, especially in the area of cross-cultural training, diversity management, and indigenous psychology.  His academic presentation and publication list runs over a hundred, and has written many papers on the psychology of spirituality.  He practices yoga and meditation, and conducts the monthly pooja(service) at the Waahiwa temple on third Sundays for LOTUS, an organization dedicated to South Asian culture and spiritual activities in Honolulu.

Joan Chatfield, MM, PhD

Sister Joan Chatfield is the Executive Director of the Institute for Religion and Social Change. Her activities span numerous interfaith and inter-religious groups and she is a member of the Assembly of the Parliament for the World’s Religions and the Executive Committee of the United States Religions for Peace.  From 1999-2003 she was one of the representatives for the Maryknoll Sisters as an NGO with the United Nations in New York.

Florence Kelley

Ms Kelley is director of the Office of External Relations of the Hawai‘i Bahá’í Community.  A graduate of DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana, she was a Baha’i pioneer to Monaco and has served on many Baha’i administrative bodies and committees, including the National Spiritual Assembly in both Hawai‘i and South Korea.  She is former chair of the Community Council of the Spark Matsunaga Institute for Peace at  the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa and is involved in various interfaith activities and international friendship societies.

Gregg Kinkley, PhD, JD

Dr Kinkley is currently serving as a State of Hawai‘i Deputy Attorney General.  He holds doctorates in linguistics, with specialties in Sino-Tibetan historical-comparative linguistics, and law.  Dr Kinkley has been trained as a lay leader by the Union of Conservative Jewish Synagogues, and is currently the chair of the Ritual Committee at Sof Ma’arav, Hawai‘i’s only Conservative Jewish congregation.

Valerie Noor Karima, MA

Ms Noor Karima is Center leader of the Mevlevi Order of America on Oahu and has studied with Sufis from Konya, Istanbul, the US, South America and Sri Lanka, and with Postneshin Jelaluddin Loras of the Mevlevi School (the Whirling Dervishes.)  She is a counselor with background in clinical psychology and leads the Dances of Universal Peace.

Irene Matsumoto, BE

Rev Irene Matsumoto is resident minister of Palolo Kwannon Temple. She attended Ochanomizu Women’s University, Tokyo, Japan as a foreign student, holds her Bachelor of Education, University of Hawaii and is a graduate of Tendai Buddhist Training Center. Rev Matsumoto was with the Hawaii Department of Education for 28 years.  She is first vice president of The Interfaith Alliance Hawaii (TIAH), president of Hawai‘i Conference of Religions for Peace (HCRP) and president-elect of the United Japanese Society of Hawai‘i.

Harendra Panalal, MSE, PE

Born and raised in Mumbai, Mr Panalal received his BSE and MSE degrees in mechanical engineering from the University of Michigan.  He was also enrolled in the MBA program at the University of Chicago.  He works for a mechanical contractor.  He also serves on the Boards of several condominiums.  All of his and his wife’s ancestors for the past hundred years were born and raised as Jains.  He is well versed in Jain literature.

Manjit Reddick

Manjit Reddick was born and reared in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania.  Living among a polyglot community of Africans, Ismailies, Isthnashries, Hindus, Muslims, Jews, Christians and so called “non-believers,” and her daily interaction with them at school, fed her curiosity  and need for understanding of their various cultural and faith traditions.  Currently, she conducts monthly Sikh religious services in Honolulu.

M Jan Rumi, M.S.

Mr Rumi is co-author of Wising Up: A Youth Guide to Good Living.  He is a prominent business and community leader with over 22 years of diverse advisory, management consulting and industry experience focusing especially on serving the needs of health care.  He is a principal of Consulting Factors International, LLC.

Merritt T. Sakata, ATA

Merritt Sakata, a professional architect, is a “sansei” (third generation American of Japanese Ancestry) born in Hawai‘i in 1946. For over 30 years, he has been active with Seicho-No-Ie (a “Humanity Enlightenment Movement” founded in Japan in 1930). As a SNI “lay-teacher” he guides monthly “home gatherings” at his home in Kaimuki..

Ishmael Stegner, Ed.D.

“Uncle” Ishmael Stagner, a graduate of Kamehameha Schools, spent his early years among many who are today seen as “kupuna” and “kumu”, masters of hula and other aspects of Hawaiian culture, ethics and practices. A member of the first graduating class of what is now Brigham Young University of Hawai‘i, he holds a doctorate in Education. After a long career in education, he continues to serve as a mentor/teacher in the very successful “anti-recitivism” project at the Hawai‘i Youth Correctional Facility, conducted by Alu Like. He recently authored: Kumu Hula: Roots and Branches.