Advisory Board

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Venerable Thubten Chodron graduated with a B.A. in History from UCLA in 1971 and did graduate work in Education at USC while teaching in the LA City Schools. She was ordained as a Buddhist nun in the Tibetan tradition in 1977 and has studied and practiced Tibetan Buddhism under the guidance of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and other Tibetan masters for many years in India and Nepal. She has been resident teacher at Amitabha Buddhist Centre in Singapore and at Dharma Friendship Foundation in Seattle. She is founder and abbess of Sravasti Abbey in Newport, Washington, one of the few Buddhist monasteries in the United States. Active in interfaith dialogue and prison work, she corresponds with many inmates and has given talks to inmates in many prisons in the USA as well as in Singapore and Mexico. Sravasti Abbey sends out a quarterly newsletter to inmates, provides them with Buddhist study materials, and invites them to participate from afar in meditation retreats. An author, Venerable Chodron teaches Buddhist philosophy, psychology, and meditation worldwide. Her books include Open Heart, Clear Mind; Buddhism for Beginners; Working with Anger; Taming the Mind; Cultivating a Compassionate Heart; How to Free Your Mind; and Guided Meditations on the Stages of the Path.


As clergy member of the Wisconsin Conference United Methodist Church, Bruce S. Fenner entered a government service as a chaplain in the federal prison system in 1988. From 2003 to 2010, he served as the Deputy Chaplain Administrator for the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP), Washington, D.C. There Chaplain Fenner was extensively involved with policy formation, curriculum development and staff training to ensure religious accommodation of the First Amendment. In addition, Chaplain Fenner was extensively involved in the creation and implementation of the Bureau of Prisons Life Connections and Threshold re-entry programs.  Since 2010, he has served as a director of Extension Ministry and Pastoral Care in the Division of Ordained Ministry's United Methodist Endorsing Agency. In this capacity he works with professional pastoral care organizations and endorsing networks to ensure standards for professional certification, as well as provides pastoral care for the endorsed community.

A native of Madison, Wisconsin, Chaplain Fenner received his BA degree from Westmar College, 1975; a Masters in Theology, Southern Methodist University, 1979; and a Master of Science- Counseling from the University of Wisconsin- Whitewater, 1993.


Imam Abu Ishaq Abdul Hafiz attended Tuskegee Institute (University ) where he graduated with a B.S. degree in U.S. History . He participated in the first major study program for American Imams in 1978 where he completed the program at Umm Al Qura University in Mecca, Saudi Arabia; this was followed by studies at Riyadh University where he received a certificate for Arabic language studies for non-Arabs and Islamic Education studies at King Ibn Saud University in Riyadh.

Chaplain Hafiz has served as Imam in a number of cities across the United States and lectured on Islam at Universities in the United States and Canada . He began his career with the Bureau of Prisons in 1987 at United States Penitentiary at Lompoc California and moved in 1989 to F.C.I. Terminal Island as Staff Chaplain In 1994, he became Senior Chaplain, and was selected as Supervisory Chaplain at the Metropolitan detention center in Los Angeles in 2002. Shortly afterwards his duties expanded to shared services where he has oversight of two facilities.

Abdul Hafiz was selected as "Staff Member of the Year" at Terminal Island in 1996, Bureau of Prisons Chaplain of the year in 1997, and National recipient of J. Michael Quinland award in 1998. In July of 2008, he received Jewish organization Aleph Institute "Chaplain of the Year" award and in June 2009 he received the Bureau of Prison "Western Regional Director" award. He has been recognized by many churches and other religious and community organizations over the years for his dedication to Prison Ministry.


Kavneet Singh, serves as the Managing Director of the Sikh American Legal Defense & Education Fund (SALDEF). During his tenure at SALDEF, Mr. Singh has headed the Media Relations Department, developed SALDEF’s interactive curriculum, “Sikhism 101 for Law Enforcement” and “Sikhism 101 for Teachers and Administrators” to ensure law enforcement and public officials effectively relate to Sikh Americans. He was also Executive Producer and co-writer of the joint DOJ-SALDEF Sikh American cultural awareness training video, On Common Ground.

Mr. Singh and has addressed numerous audiences about civil rights issues, the post 9-11 American landscape, Sikhism and the Sikh American community, and conducted several legislative policy briefings.

Mr. Singh currently works on Strategy Development and Market Planning with Kasier Permanente, a health care organization based out of California. He has been actively involved with various Sikh Youth Camps across the country during the past several years, and previously instructed students in Sikh history and ethos at the El Sobrante Gurdwara Khalsa School. Mr. Singh received his B.A. from the University of California with an emphasis in Public Health