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Rumi Forum Podcast

Rumi Forum was founded in 1999 with the mission to foster interfaith dialogue and intercultural understanding. The Forum aims to stimulate exchange of opinions in order to advance culture of democracy, freedom of thought, human rights and peace. For over 20 years, the Forum provides a common platform for building relationships, mutual learning and information exchange among adherents of different faiths. Our work has a particular focus on pluralism, peacemaking, interfaith dialogue, intercultural understanding, social harmony and community cohesion.

Oct 3, 2020

On October 2nd, the International Day of Non-Violence, we would like to thank Rev. Canon Leonard Hamlin, Hardy Merriman, Rivera Sun, and Mary Elizabeth King for the excellent discussion on the current state and relevance of nonviolent action in the contemporary globe.

Grievance and deprivation, perceived or real, tempt groups into violent behavior. Rapid change, social upheaval, and uncertainty make violent expressions of social discontent even more likely. It is in those moments that we are called to demonstrate a heightened sense of restraint and sound judgment. It is in those moments that nonviolence presents as a timely and timeless concept for contemporary societies. And yet, while few would disagree about the virtue of nonviolence, a similarly firm belief and understanding about its power, strategy, and discipline is much harder to locate.

The M.K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence and Rumi Forum, proudly inspired by two masters of nonviolent action, are co-hosting this event on Gandhi’s birthday, the International Day of Nonviolence. The program features a panel from scholarly as well as practitioner backgrounds. Our speakers will guide an exploration of the current state of nonviolent action around the globe, its growing relevance amid social unrest, and efforts to make it an inherent element of individual and collective behavior.


The Rev. Canon Leonard L. Hamlin, Sr. 

Canon Missioner, Washington National Cathedral

The Rev. Canon Leonard L. Hamlin, Sr. began his tenure at the Washington National Cathedral in April 2018. In his role as Canon Missioner, Dr. Hamlin oversees the Cathedral’s outreach and social justice initiatives, including gun violence prevention and racial justice and reconciliation. In particular, Dr. Hamlin assists in the building of partnerships and the equipping of the Cathedral community and the congregation to serve as the hands and feet of Christ in the world.

Prior to his arrival at the Cathedral, Dr. Hamlin served as the Pastor of Macedonia Baptist Church in Arlington, Va. for 22 years. Under his leadership, the congregation was strengthened numerically and spiritually while numerous ministries, discipleship classes and mission efforts were organized to meet the needs of the congregation and the community locally, regionally and nationally. Dr. Hamlin received his Bachelor of Business Administration Degree (1983) from the Howard University School of Business, Master of Divinity Degree (1994), and a Doctor of Ministry Degree from the Howard University School of Divinity (1996). He has served and been appointed to numerous community, faith based and governmental boards, commissions, agencies.

Dr. Hamlin is married to Machell Nicholson Hamlin, Esquire, assistant vice president of staff counsel for the GEICO Corporation, and they are the proud parents of one son, Leonard L. Hamlin, Jr.


Hardy Merriman 

President and CEO, International Center on Nonviolent Conflict

He has worked in the field of civil resistance for over 18 years, presenting at workshops for activists and organizers around the world; speaking widely about civil resistance movements with scholars, journalists, and members of international organizations; and developing resources for practitioners and scholars.  His writings have been translated into numerous languages. From 2016-2018 he was also an adjunct lecturer at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy (Tufts University).

Title of presentation:

“Civil Resistance: Powerful, Underrecognized, and Crucial in this Moment”


Dr. Mary Elizabeth King 

Director, James Lawson Institute

Mary Elizabeth King is a political scientist and author of acclaimed books on civil resistance, most recently “Gandhian Nonviolent Struggle and Untouchability in South India: The 1924–25 Vykom Satyagraha and the Mechanisms of Change.” She is professor of peace and conflict studies at the UN-affiliated University for Peace; Distinguished Rothermere American Institute Fellow at the University of Oxford, Britain; and director of the James Lawson Institute. Her academic specialty in the study of nonviolent action dates to four years working in Atlanta and Mississippi for the 1960s U.S. civil rights movement on staff of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, or SNCC. There she learned the basics of nonviolent struggle from the Reverend James M. Lawson in this profound experience that would define her life. Her website is

Title of presentation:

“Rediscovering How Gandhi Put Nonviolent Methods on the World Political Map”

Rivera Sun 

Editor, Nonviolence News

Author/Activist Rivera Sun is the editor of Nonviolence News and a nationwide trainer in strategy for nonviolent change. She has written numerous books and novels, including The Dandelion Insurrection and The Way Between.  She serves on the Advisory Boards of World Beyond War and Backbone Campaign.  Her writings on nonviolence as syndicated by Peace Voice and have appeared in over 100 journals.

Title of presentation:

“Challenges – And Possibilities – Of Teaching Nonviolence As A Way Of Making Change”