Meet Our Trainers


Bernard LaFayette

Bernard LaFayette, Jr. EdD. I have been a Civil Rights activist for over fifty years, beginning as a co-founder and leader of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), Nashville Sit-ins, a Freedom Rider, and associate of Dr. King in the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). As the founding Director of the URI Center for Nonviolence & Peace Studies for nine years, I have led education and training programs in Kingian Nonviolence on state, national and international levels, focusing on the strategies of nonviolent social change. I am currently a Distinguished Senior Scholar at the Candler School of Theology at Emory University in Atlanta, GA. Every year I return as a Distinguished Visiting Scholar for the International Nonviolence Summer Institute to conduct the advanced Level II training program.

(w): 404.727.2974,

PaulPaul Bueno de Mesquita, PhD. For more than thirty years I have worked as a professor, a psychologist, and advocate for youth’s mental health. My scholarship is focused on violence prevention and positive psychological development, particularly in under-represented and underserved low-income communities and schools. As a Level III Nonviolence Trainer, I have enjoyed directing the Annual International Nonviolence Summer Institute and training individuals from the US and across the world. I also enjoy singing and sharing the music of peace, justice and nonviolent social change.

(w) 401.874.2875, (c) 401.207-6928,

 Kay Bueno de MesquitaKay Johnson Bueno de Mesquita. Level II Kingian Nonviolence trainer.
For the last 20 years I have taught in the School of Education and supervised student teachers at the University of Rhode Island. I infuse nonviolence into the teacher training curriculum and helping teachers create peaceful instructional environments. The highlight of my year is the trainings Paul & I facilitate in Nepal & India, and meeting people from many nations and cultures at Summer Institute. Recently, Bernard LaFayette and I co-authored a book, In Peace and Freedom, about his civil rights experiences in Selma during the AL Voting Rights Campaign, 1963-1965.

Thupten 3Thupten Tendar. Level II Kingian Nonviolence trainer. Born of Tibetan parents, I joined a monastery in India at age 12 where I studied for over 18 years, earning a doctoral level Geshe degree in Buddhist Philosophy. I am currently enrolled in a Ph.D. Program at URI in Adult Education focusing on inner peace. I work as a graduate administrative assistant at the Center and teach an Honor’s course, “Tibetan Buddhism: Journey to Nirvana.” I want to promote compassion for individual and universal peace. The Center published my first book of poetry, Peace – Rhythm of My Heart.

(c) 510.610.5060,

Gail Rashed Faris. Level III Kingian Nonviolence trainer. I have been involved with the Center since its inception. In 2005, I created the course “Academic Alternative Spring Break: Classroom without Borders.” This social justice/service learning class engaged students in the classroom and in the field, working with Habitat for Humanity in areas of acute and chronic poverty. I was one of the coordinators of the 2010 Honors Symposium on “Race.” I am retired as Asst. Director of the URI Women’s Center. I have assisted Bernard for several years in Level II.

Kazu HagaKazu Haga. Level II Kingian Nonviolence trainer. I am the founder and Coordinator of the East Point Peace Academy in Oakland, CA. Born in Tokyo, Japan, I have been engaged in social change work since the age of 17, when I participated in the Interfaith Pilgrimage of the Middle Passage, a 6-month walking journey to retrace the slave route. I have since played leading roles in many movements and organizations, and have been trained by elders such as Dr. Bernard Lafayette, Joanna Macy and Rev. James Lawson. I work to empower incarcerated communities, youth and activists around the country.

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