About Our Presenters: Bishop Thomas Gumbleton, Kathy Kelly, David Swanson, John Horgan, Clare Grady, James Ricks, Matt Southworth, Walt Chura and more . . .

Conference Year:

We have some of the most dedicated peace activists in the country coming to this years conference. Along with Bishop Thomas Gumbleton is Kathy Kelly, a three time nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize, David Swanson, founder of "War is a Crime", John Horgan, Clare Grady, James Ricks, Matt Southworth, Walt Chura and more. For biographical sketches of our presenters and workshop providers please look inside. 

More to come soon!

Bishop Thomas Gumbleton

Bishop Gumbleton is a retired Auxiliary Bishop of Detroit.   His ministry has always been marked by his active opposition to all wars which has led him to be arrested numerous times in civil resistance actions. Insistently and consistently, he has worked to support the marginalized, the poor and the outcasts of society.  When Michael Moore sought a voice within the faith community to articulate the essential inhumanity of capitalism for his most recent documentary, Capitalism: a Love Story,  it was to Bishop Gumbleton that he turned. Bishop Gumbleton's lifetime of commitment to peace and justice has garnered him many honors and rewards and consistent among these is the recognition of his personal generosity,humility and  affirming warmth. His parishioners have called him" A pastor in the truest sense of the word."

Of the coming day of reflection, Bishop Gumbleton has said:
" I am looking forward to being with you. I will be speaking from the place of my grounding, the Gospel message of Jesus.  This will be the framework for my talks but I invite all who hunger and thirst for peace and justice to join with me in silence and reflection as we seek a deeper understanding of how to speak to the problems of violence and injustice in our world."


Kathy Kelly

Kathy Kelly co-coordinates Voices for Creative Nonviolence, (www.vcnv.org) a campaign to end U.S. military and economic warfare.

During late June and early July of 2011, Kelly, 58, was a passenger on the “Audacity to Hope” as part of the US Boat to Gaza project. She also attempted to reach Gaza by flying from Athens to Tel Aviv, as part of the Welcome to Palestine effort, but the Israeli government deported her back to Greece.

Since May 2010, she has visited Afghanistan four times with small delegations intent on learning more about conditions faced by ordinary people in Afghanistan, a country afflicted by three decades of warfare. Voices for Creative Nonviolence has been working closely with the Afghan Youth Peace Volunteers in search of non-military solutions to end the war.

In 2009, she lived in Gaza during the final days of the Operation Cast Lead bombing; later that year, Voices formed another small delegation to visit Pakistan, aiming to learn more about the effects of U.S. drone warfare on the civilian population and to better understand consequences of U.S. foreign policy in Pakistan. From 1996 – 2003, Voices activists formed 70 delegations that openly defied economic sanctions by bringing medicines to children and families in Iraq. Kathy and her companions lived in Baghdad throughout the 2003 “Shock and Awe” bombing.

She was sentenced to one year in federal prison for planting corn on nuclear missile silo sites (1988-89) and spent three months in prison, in 2004, for crossing the line at Fort Benning’s military training school. As a war tax refuser, she has refused payment of all forms of federal income tax since 1980.

She and her companions at the Voices home/office in Chicago believe that non-violence necessarily involves simplicity, service, sharing of resources and non-violent direct action in resistance to war and oppression.


David Swanson

David Swanson's books include:
Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union (2009)
War Is A Lie (2010)
When the World Outlawed War (2011)
The Military Industrial Complex at 50 (2012)

Swanson contributed a chapter to "Why Peace" edited by Marc Guttman, January 2012.

Swanson hosts Talk Nation Radio.

Swanson helped plan the nonviolent occupation of Freedom Plaza in Washington DC in 2011.

In December 2011, The Hook newspaper in Charlottesville, Va., named him a runner-up Person of the Year.

Swanson holds a master's degree in philosophy from the University of Virginia. He has worked as a newspaper reporter and as a communications director, with jobs including press secretary for Dennis Kucinich's 2004 presidential campaign, media coordinator for the International Labor Communications Association, and three years as communications coordinator for ACORN, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now.

He blogs at http://davidswanson.org and http://warisacrime.org and works for the online activist organization http://rootsaction.org

In April 2012, Swanson began working for Veterans For Peace.


John Horgan

JOHN HORGAN is a science journalist and Director of the Center for Science Writings at Stevens Institute of Technology, Hoboken, New Jersey. A former senior writer at Scientific American (1986-1997), he has also written for The New York Times, Time, Newsweek, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, The New Republic, Slate, Discover, The London Times, The Times Literary Supplement, New Scientist, and other publications around the world. He writes regular columns for Scientific American online, the Chronicle of Higher Education and BBC Knowledge Magazine and does video chats for Bloggingheads.tv (see links at left). He tweets under the tag Horganism (https://twitter.com/#!/Horganism).

Horgan's most recent book is The End of War, published in 2012 by McSweeney's Books (and now available as an e-book). The book has been called "the best book I've read in a very long time" (journalist David Swanson), "thoughtful, unflappable, closely argued" (novelist Nicholson Baker), "heartfelt and important" (evolutionary psychologist David Barash in Chronicle of Higher Education). In The Philadelphia Inquirer, the political scientist Michael Horowitz wrote: "Dialogue like that Horgan has opened here, in my opinion, is where the best pragmatic solutions [to war] are likely to emerge."

Horgan has discussed the book on NPR, MSNBC and Voice of America, among other media outlets, and he has been invited to give talks at Columbia, NYU, Rutgers and other universities. MSNBC host Dylan Ratigan called The End of War one of his "six favorite books." See "Appearances" page for information on book-related events.

Horgan's other books include Rational Mysticism: Dispatches from the Border Between Science and Spirituality, Houghton Mifflin, 2003, which The New York Times called "marvelous" and the Globe and Mail "splendidly written" (see the outtakes from the book posted on this site); The End of Science: Facing the Limits of Science in the Twilight of the Scientific Age, Broadway Books, 1996, a U.S. bestseller translated into 13 languages; and its followup The Undiscovered Mind: How the Human Brain Defies Replication, Medication, and Explanation, Free Press, 1999, which was a finalist for the 2000 British Mind Book of the Year and has been translated into eight languages.

He is the co-author with the Reverend Frank Geer of Where Was God on September 11?, edited by Robert Hutchinson, Brown Trout, 2002. He contributed essays to Within the Stone, a collection of photographs of mineral cross sections by Bill Atkinson, one of the creators of the original MacIntosh computer.

His publications have received international coverage, including front-page reviews and news articles in The New York Times, London Times, Washington Post, and Chicago Tribune. He has been interviewed hundreds of times for print, radio, and television media, including The Lehrer News Hour, Charlie Rose, and National Public Radio's Science Friday. He has lectured and participated in debates with prominent scientists and journalists before dozens of institutions in North America and Europe, including MIT, Caltech, Princeton, Dartmouth, McGill, the University of Amsterdam, and England's National Physical Laboratory.

His awards include the 2005 Templeton-Cambridge Journalism Fellowship in Science and Religion; the American Psychiatric Association Certificate of Commendation for Outstanding Reporting on Psychiatric Issues (1997); the Science Journalism Award of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (1992 and 1994); and the National Association of Science Writers Science-in-Society Award (1993). His articles have been selected for The Best American Science and Nature Writing in 2005, 2006 and 2007.

Horgan was an associate editor at IEEE Spectrum, the journal of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, from 1983 to 1986. He received a B.A. in English from Columbia University's School of General Studies in 1982 and an M.S. from Columbia's School of Journalism in 1983.


Clare Grady


I am a mother. It has been an important aspect to my work, one that gives me perspective and heart.                         

I have been a grateful member of communities that encourage faith based resistance to war and violence:  

the Catholic Worker Movement, and the east coast Faith and Resistance Community, the Atlantic Life Community and Plowshares community; oh and my very big wonderful family.

With all credit due to the collective effort of these communities, I have been able to join others in non-violent acts of resistance.... symbolic acts, acts that have been transformative for me, the communities that undertake them, and inshallah the wider world.

In the past 5 years , since getting out of Federal Detention Center in Philadelphia, I have been challenged to be as clear about the war at home, as I am about war over seas.

While the connection between the two is not a new thing for me or many others, it is new that I am spending more intentional time together with others in Ithaca, NY where I live.


James Ricks

James Ricks was born in Ithaca in 1949 and moved to Brooklyn at the age of ten. As James learned about his family history he discovered,  “My great great grandfather, Charles Reed had escaped slavery in the south, made his way to Canada, where he married my great great grandmother a Mohawk woman.Together they returned to upstate NY, settled in the Ithaca area where my family has lived for generations.” In Brooklyn he went to Catholic school and then to Oswego state, where he was involved in politics, during the Vietnam era. In  2004 James moved back to Ithaca.

As an adult James  became Muslim. In the 90‘s he became acutely aware of US intelligence operations and its manipulative nature during Desert Storm and later “Shock and Awe”. He saw a significant parallel in attitudes and tactics between the genocide of  first nation people here and in the countries we occupy, employing racial dehumanization, divide and conquer strategies and a legacy of death and exploitation.

At home, concerned with racism, James became involved with issues surrounding  the killing of Shawn Greenwood by the Ithaca police, a killing  which exacerbated class and racial polarity and left the  community strongly divided.

During this period  James Ricks learned of Ithaca's anti war, anti drone community and  became active in the anti drone civil resistance,joining in several actions at Hancock Air Field and raising consciousness about the illegal assassinations and war  crimes committed  by the USAF and US government at this installation.  The trial of the Hancock 38 became a formative experience for James. Of it he said, “ I want to thank my beautifully evolved codefendants during the trial for showing me that it is illegal not to speak out against illegal acts by a country even if it is my own country.  As long as I am able, I will for our nation’s  children and my grandson, work to change the momentum from authority as truth toward truth as authority.”

Matt Southworth

Legislative Associate, Foreign Policy

Matt Southworth, son of Harold and Nancy Southworth of New York, was born in Poughkeepsie, New York in 1984. Matt spent most of his adolescence in Florida. There, Matt was a four sport athlete at Belleview High School, in Belleview, Florida and went to state for wrestling his junior and senior years. Shortly after graduating high school with high honors, Matt joined the U.S. Army as an intelligence analyst in order to help pay for college in the future.

While in the Army, Matt served a tour of duty in northern Iraq, near Mosul, in 2004. Matt’s experience in Iraq turned him against war and into an anti-war activist. By happenstance, he was eventually led to Wilmington College, a small Quaker school in Wilmington, Ohio. In May of 2009, Matt graduated Magna Cum Laude from Wilmington College with his Bachelors of Arts in Political Science and History and a minor in Psychology. After graduation, Matt spent two months in Israel-Palestine—his second trip to the region—studying Arabic, volunteering at a Christian community center near Bethlehem, and living with a Palestinian family. Matt is convinced that the road to Middle East stability is conducive to U.S. national security and must travel through Israel-Palestine.

Currently, Matt works on Afghanistan policy and greater Middle East issues on Capitol Hill. He has been working closely with a number of Congressional offices in an effort to create a Congressionally led Afghanistan-Pakistan Study Group that will provide President Obama with recommendations moving past the July 2011 transitional phase. Matt also organizes young adults around the country by providing the tools that empower people to influence government through effective lobbying.

In August 2011, Matt organized a fact finding mission to Afghanistan. The trip was comprised of Congressional staff, journalists and non-profit leaders. The trip was done "under the radar" and without security or Pentagon and State Department support. The delegation met with a range of figures in Afghanistan to include Afghan government officials, international NGOs and opposition figures. The delegation discovered a number of urgent policy changes needed, as well as re-affirmed the fact that the U.S. military strategy has failed to deliver peace and stability in Afghanistan and the region.

Matt serves on the Board of Directors for Veterans for Peace and is the Washington, DC Chapter President of Iraq Veterans Against the War. He is an advocacy leader in the pro-peace veteran community.

You can follow Matt's work here: 
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/msouthworth 
Twitter: @MattLSouthworth 




Walt Chura

Walt Chura, O.F.S. is a writer and lecturer. He is a lay Franciscan, a member of the Emmaus House Albany Catholic Worker extended community and coordinator of the Thomas Merton Society of the Capital Region. He blogs at http://www.catholicconvergences.wordpresspress.com