Thursday May 14, 2015 from 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM EDT
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George Washington University
The Elliott School of International Affairs
1957 E Street, NW
Washington, DC 20052 

Driving Directions 


William Aiken 

First White House - US Buddhist Leaders Conference 


"We have a brief window of opportunity to take action, to preserve humanity from imminent disaster and to assist the survival of the many diverse and beautiful forms of life on Earth. Future generations, and the other species that share the biosphere with us, have no voice to ask for our compassion, wisdom, and leadership. We must listen to their silence. We must be their voice, too, and act on their behalf."
From "The Time to Act is Now - A Buddhist Declaration on Climate Change"  

Join leaders, teachers, activists and scholars from throughout the diverse US Buddhist community for this historic event, as we engage with each other and with Obama Administration officials on climate change, religious freedom and other issues. PLEASE NOTE: Sessions for this event will be held at George Washington University   moving to the White House in the afternoon.

IMPORTANT - You must be registered both with the conference and the White House.  If you have registered for the conference, but have not received the link to the White House registration site, please contact Bill Aiken here.

For speakers' and facilitators' bios, click here

Morning Sessions - George Washington University (from 8:30 AM)

8:30 AM
Registration and continental breakfast (Breakfast courtesy of Soka Gakkai International-USA)

Program Begins

Opening Remarks by Bill Aiken

 A Moment of Meditation by Dr. Tara Brach

Welcome Remarks by Rev. A. Siafa Johnson

Greetings (video) by Dr. Mary Evelyn Tucker

Talk - The Four Noble Truths of the Climate Crisis by Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi
Talk - An Invonvenient Dharma - Cutting the Root of Climate Change by Rev. Angel Kyodo Williams 
Talk - American Buddhism: Engagement in the Public Square by Dr. Duncan Ryuken Williams

Profiles of Buddhist Communities in Action  (5 minutes each)

  • Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation - Debra Boudreaux
  • Soka Gakkai International - Daniel Hall
  • Buddhist Peace Fellowship - Katie Loncke
  • One Earth Sangha - Kristin Barker 
  • Los Angeles Buddhist Union - Ven. Chao Chu 
  • Buddhist Global Relief - Sylvie Sun

Introducing the Buddhist Climate Change Statement - Dr. Sallie King & Lou Leonard

Introducing the Statement on Racial Justice - Drs. Tara Brach and  Kamilah Majied

Breakouts by Interest Area (with these facilitators)

  • Climate Change  (Bob Doppelt, Christopher Ives, Marty Janowitz & Kenneth Kraft )   
  • Social, Economic and Racial Justice (Kamillah Majied & Gretchen Rohr)
  • Peace, Anti-Violence & Disarmament (Tatsushi Arai & Alan Senauke)

1:00 PM
Depart for White House

Thanks to Our Sponsors
Meeting space courtesy of GW Protestant Campus Ministry Association/Luther Rice Baptist Chaplaincy
Lunches Courtesy of University of Southern California's Shinso Ito Center for the Study of Japanese Religion and Culture
Breakfast courtesy of Soka Gakkai International-USA
Photography courtesy of Philip Rosenberg Photography
Videography courtesy of Lion's Den Studios

Afternoon Sessions - the White House (From 1:30 PM)

1:30 PM
Assemble at White House (Please allow time to go through WH security)

2:00 PM
Program begins  

 Welcome by Emcees – Patrick Duffy and Taylor Lustig 

Greetings by:

  • Ashley Allison, Associate DIrector, WH Office of Public Engagement 
  • Aditi Hardikar , White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI)
  • Congressional Asian Pacific-American Caucus (CAPAC) 

Vesak Commemoration - led by Rev. TK Nakagaki

Briefings and Q&A with Governmental Officials

  • Melissa Rogers Special Assistant to the President and Director of White House Office of Faith-based and Community Partnerships
  • Dr. Shaun Casey, Special Representative. for Religion and Global Affairs, US State Dept.
  • Angela Barranco, Associate Director for Public Engagement, White House Council for Environmental Quality

Presentation of Joint Buddhist Statement on Climate Change

  • Rev. Susan Hayward, Interim Director, Religion and Peacebuilding, US Institute of Peace  

Concluding Remarks by Jack Kornfield, Spirit Rock Meditation Center

Commemorative Photo

Hotel Information

Unfortunately, the demand during this week is very high and as a result, so are the prices.  It has not been possible for us to make an arrangement for any local hotel.

Here are some suggestions:

1. Use a travel web site (Tripadvisor.com , Expedia.com, Hotels.com, etc).  If you are willing the pay the rate for a close-in hotel, indicate that you want a hotel near “White House” or “1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington DC” 

2. If you want to pay less and are willing to take a short ride on the Metro (DC’s subway), then consider staying in Arlington (Crystal City or Rosslyn) VA,  Alexandria, VA, or Silver Spring, MD or Rockville, MD.  In any of these cases, check with the hotel for convenience to the Metro.

Getting to George Washington University by Metro 

  • From Virginia, take either the BLUE, ORANGE and SILVER line and exit at Foggy Bottom Station.
  • From Silver Spring and Rockville, MD, late the RED line and exit at Farragut North.

Detailed Metro directions are available at      http://www.wmata.com/rider_tools/tripplanner/tripplanner_form_solo.cfm    

This event is organized by the members of the planning committee:

  • Bill Aiken, Soka Gakkai International -USA
  • Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi, Buddhist Global Relief
  • Dr. Sallie King, James Madison University
  • Rev. Dr. TK Nakagaki, Buddhist Council of New York
  • Matthew Regan, International Buddhist Committee of Washington DC
  • Dr. Duncan Ryuken Williams, University of Southern California