Area of Focus: Conflict Resolution & Dialogue
Bassem Chaaban is the Director of the Peace Institute that focuses on organizing interfaith and social engagement peace events and programs in the community. He is also Executive Director for American Islam; a National organization focused on helping dispel stereotypes and misconceptions about Islam and Muslims.
He has been actively involved in lecturing and presenting the elements of Islam for 15 years. He is actively involved in community organizing related to bringing attention to the effects of social issues on the community. He has spoken at different universities, colleges, public schools, religious institutions and civic organizations throughout the United States and is professor of World Religions at Seminole State College in Orlando, Florida for the past 12 years. He has done research in the area of Religious History with an emphasis on Interfaith Dialogue in Turkey, Spain, Rome, Cuba and has taught World Religions College course in China.
He is the former Chairman of the City of Orlando Human Rights Chapter 57 Review Board that deals with Human and Civil Rights cases in the Orlando area. In addition, he is a former national advisor for Nacel Open Door, a non-profit organization dedicated to international student exchange that deals with building bridges of understanding between cultures. He holds a Bachelors degree in Economics and another in Business Administration from the University of Central Florida. He has a Masters Degree in Public Administration with a certificate in the non-profit sector.
Area of Focus: Media & Communication
For over forty-years Alan Wilgus has fought against ignorance and hatred believing that one person can make a difference. During his career as an Army Infantry officer he chose assignments that thrust him into the forefront of social change. In 1972 he served as a Race Relations Staff officer combating racism by raising awareness through training during a turbulent period for our country and its armed forces.
As a commander he facilitated the integration of women into training and combat support units. Later taking the best from the Human Potential Movement he pioneered the application of organizational development (OD) methodology in a military setting. Consulting to general officer headquarters across the Army and later serving on the faculty of the US Army Organizational Effectiveness School and Center at Fort Ord, CA. his focus was on the creation of high-performance work teams.
Upon retirement from the Army as a Major he spent a second career working with Fortune 500 companies as a management consultant. A published expert in organizational design and change, his interventions empower employees through the creation of team-based structures that improve bottom-line performance while creating more satisfying jobs.
While living in Atlanta he became active in his community through his local Kiwanis club where he has held several leadership positions including club president. He is a founding Director of Building
Understanding (BUDS) an organization that works to dispel prejudice by providing learning opportunities to young adults.
As a former military Psychological Operations (PSYOPS) officer he is familiar with how propaganda is used to influence both an enemy on the battlefield and a civilian population. He continues to fight bigotry and hatred by using this knowledge in speaking and writing about how Islamophobia is spread through the internet. Alan has a BS in Behavioral Science and a MA in Organization Development. He and his wife Helen currently reside in The Villages, Florida.
Area of Focus: Health and Environment
Patsy Holden is an anthropologist and nutritional therapist, and she spends much of her time teaching people about traditional foods and living naturally based on principles found in Medicine of the Prophet. She specializes in ancient healing foods and medicine wheel/seasonal philosophies found in ancient Greek, Islamic, Chinese, Native American and other cultures around the world, adopting most of the things she has learned into her own daily life. She has found ancestral threads of commonality between cultures around the world, and uses her classes as a way to reconnect people of diverse backgrounds and religious beliefs. Although the topics of her classes are ancient in nature, the information is critically important for modern times. Using holistic protocols such as detoxification, diet change and the use of powerful healing foods that are well-documented in their ability to reverse poor health, she has witnessed the complete reversal of minor, serious and even terminal health problems such as late-stage brain tumors, breast cancer, long-term chronic viral infections, COPD, eczema and adult acne, arthritis, and chronic fatigue and depression. She spends much of her time expanding her skills at growing food on her 5-acre property, taking care of her chickens and horses, teaching fermenting and food-as-medicine classes in the Central Florida area, and growing a new health food business (www.tlcwisdom.org) that offers a very healthy menu of traditionally-inspired foods. Patsy has been independently studying Islam as an anthropological research project at the Center For Peace since 2012, and now serves as a non-Muslim volunteer and laison between the Center For Peace and interested organizations.
Area of Focus: Constitutional Law & Civil Rights
Carlo Pedrioli joined the faculty at Barry University School of Law in August 2009. Prior to returning to academia, he was a legal aid attorney with California Rural Legal Assistance (CRLA) in Modesto, California, for several years. At CRLA, Professor Pedrioli represented indigent clients, mainly in the areas of housing, employment, and elder law. While he was working toward his Ph.D., Professor Pedrioli taught Mass Communication Law and Constitutional Law and coached intercollegiate debate at the University of Utah. Professor Pedrioli is a member of the State Bar of California and the bars of various federal courts.
Professor Pedrioli’s research interests include constitutional law, civil rights, critical theory, law and rhetoric, and legal history. Professor Pedrioli primarily teaches Constitutional Law, Property, and Criminal Procedure. Additionally, he teaches related courses such as Constitutional Theory and Creating the Constitution, and he has taught Comparative Constitutional Law in Barry’s summer abroad program in El Escorial, Spain. Since assuming his current position, Professor Pedrioli has provided pro bono representation to indigent litigants in federal court, particularly at the appellate level.
Area of Focus: Anti-Violence Causes
Andrea Halperin spent 20 years as a professional actor in California and New York City performing on and off Broadway, in national tours and at regional theaters all across the country. Devastated by the Sandy Hook shooting in Newtown, CT Andrea knew that she wanted to help prevent more of these tragedies. She started online by joining organizations, signing petitions and calling her representatives. Not long after Andrea and her family moved to Orlando in 2015 she decided that she needed to step up and step out from behind her computer as more and more shootings were making headlines. Andrea met with an organizing manager from Moms Demand Action For Gun Sense In America and in early 2016 she agreed to start the Orlando chapter. Since then she has helped the Orlando chapter grow to include thousands of supporters and many active volunteers. Her mission is make people aware of the work that Moms Demand Action is doing and to inspire people to get involved by providing tangible ways that they can take action to help save lives. Andrea's work with Moms Demand Action has inspired her to get her degree and pursue a career in politics. She lives in Orlando with her husband and two children.
Captain Tony Raimondo
Area of Focus: Fair & Impartial Policing
Captain Anthony (Tony) Raimondo has 20 years of Florida law enforcement experience. He is currently assigned as the Patrol Operations Captain for the Sanford Police Department. Captain Raimondo has served in numerous leadership positions within his department including Patrol, Street Crimes, and Narcotics/Vice Unit. Captain Raimondo has also held administrative leadership positions in Professional Standards, Training, and Tactical Operations.
Captain Raimondo has a Master of Science Degree in Criminal Justice from the University of Central Florida. Captain Raimondo’s undergraduate degrees include Criminology and Law Enforcement Technology. He is also a graduate from the F.B.I. National Academy 260th Session and the 47th Session of The Command Officers Development Course through the Southern Police Institute, University of Louisville.
Captain Raimondo is a member of the national training team for Fair and Impartial Policing. As a member of the team, Captain Raimondo has become recognized as leading authority on the impact of bias in police organizations. He has presented for the FBI National Academy, The International Association of Chiefs of Police, The Women’s Leadership Institute and the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center. Captain Raimondo has also trained numerous state and local law enforcement agencies on strategies to minimize the impact of bias in those organizations. In June 2015, Captain Raimondo was published in Police Chief’s Magazine regarding implementation of Fair and Impartial Policing programs. Captain Raimondo is also an adjunct faculty member for Seminole County Public Schools and the University of South Florida.
In 2012, Captain Raimondo gained international notoriety as the responding officer who tried to save the life of Trayvon Martin after he was shot by self-appointed neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman. Captain Raimondo sealed Mr. Martin’s wounds with a plastic grocery bag and did CPR for seven minutes until rescue units arrived.
Prior to entering law enforcement, Captain Raimondo served nine years in the United States Marine Corps as an infantryman at Camp LeJeune, NC and ANGLICO fire control team member at Camp Pendleton, CA. Captain Raimondo attended Airborne and Ranger training at Ft. Benning, GA.
Captain Raimondo is a lifelong resident of Edgewater and a graduate of New Smyrna Beach High School class of 1986. He has been married to his wife Jodi for 20 years. Together they live in Edgewater with their sons John and Christian. The Raimondos spend their free time together enjoying our coastal way of life.