Meet Our Trainers

PaulPaul Bueno de Mesquita, PhD, is a professor of Psychology and Director of the Center for Nonviolence & Peace Studies at The University of Rhode Island. For nearly forty years Paul has worked as a professional psychologist and advocate for children’s mental health. He specializes in violence prevention and positive psychological development, particularly in under-represented and underserved low-income communities. His international work has included nonviolence training in Nepal, India, and Ghana. A Level III Kingian Nonviolence Trainer, he directs the annual International Nonviolence Summer Institute. Paul teaches the URI PSY478 Kingian Nonviolence course – a semester long Level I Kingian Nonviolence training for URI students. A native Texan, Paul has been a life-long musical activist and singer/songwriter for peace, social justice, and nonviolent transformation.

 Kay Bueno de MesquitaKay Johnson Bueno de Mesquita in an Adjunct Professor in the URI School of Education and an education coordinator at the Center for Nonviolence & Peace Studies.  She teaches preservice teachers how how to create peaceful classrooms, and to infuse nonviolence into children’s literature by connecting story themes to King’s Six Principles of Nonviolence. A Level II Kingian Nonviolence Trainer, Kay has recently written a book with Dr. Bernard LaFayette, Jr., a civil rights activist and colleague of Dr. King. Their book, In Peace and Freedom, focuses on Bernard’s experiences during the Voting Rights Campaign in Selma, 1963-1965.


Bernard LaFayetteBernard LaFayette, Jr. EdD, has been a Civil Rights activist for over fifty years, beginning as a co-founder and leader of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNIC) Nashville sit-ins. He is known for being a courageous Freedom Rider and an associate of Dr. King in the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). An ordained minister, professor, educator, lecturer, and recognized authority on the strategy of nonviolent social change, Dr. LaFayette continues to fight for these same rights today. Founding Director of the URI Center for Nonviolence & Peace Studies, Dr. LaFayette has led education and training programs in Kingian Nonviolence on state, national, and international levels. He now serves as a Distinguished Visiting Scholar and Consultant at the URI Center, and a Distinguished Senior Scholar at the Candler School of Theology at Emory University in Atlanta, GA.


Thupten 3Thupten Tendhar is a Level II Kingian Nonviolence Trainer. Born of Tibetan parents, he joined Drepung Loseling monastery in South India at age 12, where he studied for over 18 years, and received Geshe (equivalent to PhD) in Buddhist Philosophy. He has traveled as a spokesperson for the Mystical Arts of Tibet World Tour. For the past four years Thupten has been a valuable member of our Center for Nonviolence & Peace Studies team and has helped to organize four Summer Institutes. He recently received his US Citizenship and also completed his Masters degree in Adult Education focusing on Inner Peace. He is currently pursuing PhD studies at URI. Thupten teaches a class for the URI Honors Program —  Tibetan Buddhism: Journey to Nirvana. He believes in flourishing smiles and promoting compassion for individual and global peace.

Gail Rashed Faris is a Level III Kingian Nonviolence Trainer. She has been involved with the Center for Nonviolence & Peace Studies since its inception over 15 years ago, during which time she has assisted with many programs with children, youth, and adults. Gail was one of the coordinators of the acclaimed 2010 Honors Symposium on “Race,” which explored key issues showing that race still matters. She has co-trained with Bernard LaFayette in the Level II week of the Summer Institute for the past 3 years.

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