Category Archives: Svi Shapiro

Sunday, May 11, Plus What’s Up Next

Hi again!

Thanks again to Dick Graves, Charlie Suhor, and Alice Brand for a warm and moving reunion last week! I will be posting transcripts of that and earlier calls in the coming weeks before the conference.

We are going to switch speakers in our call May 11. Svi Shapiro from the Network of Spiritual Progressives will be on. This is a movement–hold onto your seats–to bring wisdom to democratic politics. Most of our speakers–Matthew Fox, Michael Nagler, Riane Eisler, and Robert Inchausti–as well as several participants and I myself have been involved in it. You can find out more from

The procedure is simply to dial 218-936-6666, follow the prompts, and then enter the code 9936250#.

The following week (May 18) will feature speakers from international movements for wisdom education, including this week’s scheduled speakers–more to follow.
The weekend before the conference is Memorial day. I thought it might be best to have the call in the morning, and just to debrief about the calls in general before the actual conference later in the week. We can talk about that tomorrow and the next week and see what you’d like.
We hope to have the full schedule out soon–there’s been a lot of bureaucracy to deal with recently that has kept us from finalizing it. Let me put a few things on the table for you:
1) We have a number of students and others who need help coming to the conference. Two people have already made donations that are covering several hundred dollars to fund scholarships and one is a $300 matching grant. If you would like to make a tax-deductible donation to AEPL (a 401c3 through our sponsoring organization, the National Council of Teachers of English), please write to me and say how much you are willing to pledge. This will help greatly, not just these individuals, but all of us, in helping to make our conference more diverse.
2) We are able to accommodate all of you in the main conference lodge–with not a single room to spare. We do also have access to four cabins that are more isolated, but a bit more primitive, if any of you would prefer to be more by yourselves. Here is their description: (Heat and electricity in rooms, no water. Sinks, separate compost privies and shower in buildings nearby, standard bathrooms in nearby buildings.) If you’d like to move to one of the cabins, let me know, preferably by Tuesday, as I need to submit our housing list the next day.
3) If any of you who are presenting have books that you would like to sell, you may either bring them to the conference, or have us order them for you. Get your order to me by Wednesday if you’d like us to order them for you. We are ordering through Barnes and Noble and returning what does not sell to the B & N store in San Jose, so there will be no losses on them.
All for now! I’m looking forward to winding down my bureaucratic role very soon and simply enjoying you and the conference! See you very soon!

Sunday Conference Calls–April 13, 20, & 27

Hi all,

Next week’s call will be moderated by Conference Co-Chair Stan Scott and will feature conference speaker Michael Nagler. I just got and read Michael’s recent book Our Spiritual Crisis: Recovering Human Wisdom in a Time of Violence, and must say there is a remarkable confluence between it and the thinking of this conference, from the use of the phrase “the wisdom tradition” (which I learned comes from Huston Smith) to the emphasis on “the sacred individual whose depth connects with the reality of all others” as the ultimate means to uproot the violence in today’s world. Michael can also talk with us about his work with Educators for Nonviolence. I will be joining the call late, as it overlaps with a conference session I’ll be attending in Boston. It will take place at the usual time of 9pm Eastern, 6 Pacific, Sunday the 13th. The call-in info is just below this message.
The following week’s call will be in the at noon Eastern, 9AM Pacific on the 20th, so folks can celebrate the second night of Passover in the evening. It will feature Robert Larry Inchausti, and will focus on the life and thought of Thomas Merton, which were seminal in provoking a revival of spiritual thinking in the last century, being particularly influential for the thought of Parker Palmer and others. If you can, read Merton’s The Seven Storey Mountain and/or Larry’s Thomas Merton’s American Prophecy.
The call on the 27th will feature Tikkun Magazine education writer Svi Shapiro. You can access Svi’s many articles over the years for just $10 at Or get his recent, powerful book Losing Heart: The Moral and Spiritual Miseducation of America’s Children. It will take place at the usual time of 9pm Eastern.
Just today, I asked for more rooms at Mount Madonna Center. We have only a few left at this writing. Please send in outstanding registrations as soon as possible, so we can accommodate you! (There will definitely be space offsite, but down a small mountain.)
We are also getting in quite a number of terrific proposals. To accommodate them, we will most likely need to begin the conference on Thursday morning and end on Sunday evening. If you can arrive early and/or stay late, notify Louise Smith to reserve space for you for Wednesday and/or Sunday night. There will be no additional registration fees, other than what we are charged by Mount Madonna for the additional nights.
Stan and I will be putting the program together at the end of the month. Please send any additional proposals by the 20th, so we can consider them!
Looking forward to attaching names and voices to faces very soon!


Upcoming Conference Calls


We now have a schedule for the calls for the next six weeks after Easter. March 30 and April 6, we will finish the Armstrong. I’ll copy and send a few passages out and we’ll read and discuss them over the phone.

On April 13, featured conference speaker Michael Nagler, founder of the UC Berkeley Peace Studies Program and award winning author, will be talking to us. You might want to prepare by reading his The Search for a Nonviolent Future and/or Our Spiritual Crisis: Recovering Human Wisdom in a Time of Violence.

Following that, on April 20, will be featured speaker Robert Inchausti, who will talk about Thomas Merton, perhaps the most important American figure in the reclaiming of the wisdom tradition we’ve been exploring in Jaspers and Armstrong. For that you might want to read Merton’s classic The Seven Story Mountain or Inchausti’s great book on Merton, Thomas Merton’s American Prophecy.

Our last five calls will turn from exploring the wisdom tradition in general to issues in education, and our speakers will be people who are unable to attend the conference. On April 27, we will hear from Svi Shapiro, education columnist for Tikkun Magazine and its Network of Spiritual Progressives, the education wing of which has several members coming to our conference. Svi’s most recent book is Losing Heart: The Moral and Spiritual Miseducation of America’s Children.

On May 4, the three founders of AEPL–Dick Graves, Alice Brand, and Charlie Suhor–will all join in conversation for the first time in many years, to talk about the founding of this organization and how it helped to answer the yearnings for a deeper understanding of education in the field of English, and helped to form a deeper kind of professional community than is commonly available.