Pro-Ject' UnderstandingMeet The Team
Pro-Ject’ Understanding’s Administrators
James P. Gray
James P. Gray, shown here in Danang in 1973 carrying his soon to be adopted son Ky, is a former Peace Corps Volunteer in Costa Rica, Navy JAG attorney, federal prosecutor in Los Angeles, and trial court judge in Orange County, California who retired after 25 years of service. In today’s troubled world, Pro-Ject’ Understanding is close to his heart.
Dr. Reza Karkia
Dr. Reza Karkia has more than 30 years’ experience in education, senior management, and leadership. He is an involved and participating community member of Orange County at large in all areas of education, businesses, and constructive politics.
Dr. Reza Karkia has served the State of California under four recent Governors as Commissioner, California Council on Criminal Justice (CCCJ) and Commissioner, California Health Policy and Data Advisory. He serves on multiple nonprofit organizations.
Pro-Ject’ Understanding’s Essay Authors
Gail J. Stearns
The Irvin C. and Edy Chapman Dean of the Wallace All Faiths Chapel and Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Chapman University
Gail J. Stearns is The Irvin C. and Edy Chapman Dean of the Wallace All Faiths Chapel and Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Chapman University. She is the author of Open Your Eyes: Toward Living More Deeply in the Present (Wipf & Stock, 2011). An ordained minister of the Presbyterian Church (USA), Gail also holds an interdisciplinary Ph.D. from Washington State University, with emphasis in gender theory, and has taught university courses on world religions, happiness, interfaith dialogue, ethics, and spirituality and gender. Dr. Stearns received her Mindfulness Teaching Certification from UCLA.
Fereshteh T. Bethel holds a Ph.D. degree in Psychology, an M.S. in Education, and a B.A. degree in 'Comparative History of Culture' -- the latter was earned from Damavand College, a Christian-based institution of higher learning, in Tehran, Iran. Her doctoral dissertation was written on 'A Psychological Theory of Martyrdom: A Content Analysis of Personal Documents of Baha'i Martyrs of Iran Written Between 1979-1982'.
For 22 years, Dr. Bethel served as a member of faculty at California State University System teaching undergraduate and some graduate level courses in Psychology, Life span Human Development, and Education. In 1996, she was invited to present her 'Research on the Status and Rights of Women in the Holy Books of Major Abrahamic World Religions' at a national women's conference workshop sponsored by California State University - Long Beach. For an electronic version of this research compilation, please email: [email protected]
In a variety of settings and at some four continents of the world, she has presented on numerous psycho-social and religious topics. Dr. Bethel is a licensed Clinical Psychologist -- currently, not practicing -- and is married and has two children.
Dr. Richard Bliese
Leader, Teacher, Innovator and Visionary
An accomplished leader, teacher, innovator and visionary with extensive ministerial experience on three continents, 30 years of leadership, non-profit and entrepreneurial experience in over 15 different organizations, and deep teaching and consulting expertise nationally and internationally in theological education and congregational ministry. Skilled in executive leadership, strategic planning within complex environments, creative programs and fundraising. Presently working as a consultant for the Kern Family Foundation.
Dr. Sulekh C. Jain
Sulekh C .Jain, Ph.D is a Founder /Co-Founder of more than a dozen organizations and institutions in North America namely; Jain Center of Greater Boston , Jain Society of Houston , JAIN DIGEST Magazine , JAINA Library , Young Jains of America , Jain Center of Central Ohio at Columbus , Jain Academic Foundation of North America, Mahaveer Vision Inc., JAIN SPIRIT International Magazine , Ahimsa Times, World Council of Jain Academies , JVB Preksha Meditation Center in Houston and International School for Jain Studies in 2004. He can be reached at [email protected]
Harvinder Sahota MD, FACC, FSCAI
Practicing Cardiologist near Los Angeles. Inventor of Perfusion Angioplasty Balloon. Performed First Angioplasty in India, Mexico, Moscow, & Ukraine. Established a Chair in the name of his mother at the University of California, Irvine ( UCI). Holds over two dozen Patents, medical & non medical, including one for Identity Theft.
Kori Strobl is an Orange County based yoga teacher and has been teaching yoga since 2003. As a passionate student of yoga philosophy, her teaching emphasizes incorporating yoga’s sensible philosophy into the physical practice to support and enrich her student’s lives. She marvels at yoga’s unique ability to support practitioners of all religions to deepen their connection and understanding of their own faith. Kori has a knack for making complex and esoteric concepts approachable, interesting and practical. She has led teacher trainings, workshops, and retreats internationally and at home. She lives on an urban farm in Costa Mesa, CA with her wonderful husband and two energetic children.
Muzammil H. Siddiqi
Dr. Muzammil H. Siddiqi was born in India in 1943. He received his Islamic education at Darul Uloom Nadwatul Ulama, Lucknow, India. Siddiqi graduated from the Islamic University of Madina in Saudi Arabia in 1965 with a higher degree in Arabic and Islamic Studies. He received an M.A. in Theology from Birmingham University in England (1969) and a Ph.D. in Comparative Religion from Harvard University in the USA. (1978) He is presently the Imam and Religious Director of the Islamic Society of Orange County, Garden Grove, California, the Chairman of the Fiqh Council of North America (FCNA), and an Adjunct Professor of Islamic Studies at Chapman University, Orange, California.
Alex Habib Riazati
Alex Habib Riazati, is a Strategist/Scientist at Boeing Company, Psychotherapist at View Heights Hospital, Founder and program director of the Human in the Making foundation (www.humaninthemaking.org) a nonprofit foundation aiming at motivating, empowering and enabling individuals to think independently; Author; international lecturer on various interdisciplinary topics relating to the integration of religion, philosophy, psychology and science; Producer of weekly TV programs at Pars National TV discussing current social issues. Lastly, he is the developer of the www.oceanoflights.org website in three languages, listing the major works of the Central Figures of the Baha’i Faith.
Fulbright Scholar, University of Bonn
Senior Pastor, Robinwood Church, Huntington Beach, California
International Church of the Foursquare Gospel (Pentecostal)