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Event Schedule

Keynote speakers:

Saturday, November 12: Dr. Khyati Joshi

Sunday, November 13: Ms. Melissa Wood Bartholomew

Saturday Panelists:

Dr. Kavita Pallod-Sekhsaria

Dr. Raj Balkaran

Ms. Shama Mehta

Saturday Workshop Leaders:

Rev. Dr. Monica Sanford

Dr. Preeta Banerjee

Sunday Workshop Leader:

Rev. Kate Smanik

Keynote Speakers

Saturday Keynote

Dr. Khyati Y. Joshi

Khyati Y. Joshi is a public intellectual whose social science research and community connections inform policy-makers, educators, and everyday people about race, religion and immigration in 21st century America. Professor Joshi earned her doctorate in Social Justice Education at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. 

She is the co-founder of the Institute for Teaching Diversity and Social Justice and consults on equity and inclusion for schools, colleges and universities, nonprofit organizations, and businesses. Dr. Joshi has appeared on or been quoted by numerous news outlets across the globe.

As a Professor of Education at Fairleigh Dickinson University, Dr. Joshi received the 2014 Distinguished Faculty Award for Research and Scholarship. She was a consultant or the Pew Research Forum’s groundbreaking 2015 survey on Asian Americans and Religion and part of the Asian Pacific American Religions Research Initiative (APARRI) for more than twenty years.

She most recently authored the book White Christian Privilege: The Illusion of Religious Equality in America (NYU Press, 2020), which has received much acclaim. Dr. Joshi’s keynote will feature themes from this landmark book. Dr. Joshi’s extended bio, research, numerous publications, and an interview with Dr. Cory Booker may be found at her website:

Sunday Keynote

Dr. Melissa Wood Bartholomew

Melissa Wood Bartholomew (she/her), Ph.D., JD, MDiv, MSW, is the Associate Dean for Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging at Harvard Divinity School. She is a Christ-centered minister and a racial justice and healing practitioner. Melissa is an attorney with nearly a decade of experience in public interest law. She is committed to a multifaith, multidisciplinary, Afrocentric approach to healing justice that is rooted in the African philosophy of Ubuntu, restorative justice, and love.

Melissa has studied restorative justice in Rwanda, where she learned about its capacity to help a nation advance justice in a communal way. She believes in the power of restorative justice to operationalize love and transform individuals and systems.

Melissa is witnessing the impact of applying the heart-centered restorative justice approach to advancing equity, diversity, inclusion, and belonging at HDS through various DIB initiatives.

The DIB office provides structural support to help facilitate the collaborative work across departments and communities within HDS that are working together to advance the vision of a restorative, anti-racist and anti-oppressive HDS. Melissa teaches a course in restorative justice at Boston College Law School and a course in diversity and systems of oppression through a restorative approach at Boston College School of Social Work.

Saturday Panelist

Dr. Kavita Pallod-Sekhsaria

Dr. Kavita Pallod-Sekhsaria is the founder of KPS Psychotherapy, a private practice focused on providing psychotherapeutic services to the South Asian community in Maryland. Kavita's doctoral dissertation "Hindu Indian American Conceptions of Mental Health" aimed to unpack how understanding a Hindu worldview of mental health can enable greater access to mental healthcare by the underserved Hindu American population. Kavita is passionate about more broadly destigmatizing the use of spiritual means of coping in the therapeutic space. Kavita also serves as the volunteer Hindu Chaplain at American University.

Saturday Workshop Leader

Rev. Dr. Monica Sanford 

Rev. Dr. Monica Sanford is the Assistant Dean for Multireligious Ministry at Harvard Divinity School. As a Buddhist chaplain and minister, Dr. Sanford supports students who have been traditionally underserved by graduate level religious vocational education – such as Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists, Humanists, etc. Dr. Sanford conducts scholarly research on Buddhist chaplaincy across all employment sectors and college chaplaincy across all religious and spiritual traditions. As a Dharmic chaplain working in a primarily Christian profession, Dr. Sanford dedicates a large portion of her scholarship to building the academic field of Dharmic religious vocation and working in solidarity with members of other minority religious and spiritual traditions (including people with no religious tradition) to ensure that chaplaincy is a vocation open to all. She focuses on building bridges between existing professional standards and Dharmic wisdom.

Dr. Preeta Banerjee

Preeta Banerjee, Ph.D., is the Hindu Chaplain at Tufts University and a spiritual companion who draws on a broad and deep range of experience, having spent over 20 years in academia, coaching, and consulting as an advocate, educator, researcher, and author.

​Her passion lies in creating brave spaces at the intersection of contemplation, activism, and healing and deepening in interreligious manyness from a lens rooted in bhakti, gyan, karma, and raj yog. She is a founding board member of the North American Hindu Chaplains Association, Vice Chair of the Mystic Soul Project, and Advisory Council member of the Spiritual Directors of Color Network.

Co-founder and partner at WhiteLeaf Advisors LLC, she previously led a team at Deloitte and was a business school professor at Brandeis and University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. She has a Ph.D. in Strategic Management from the Wharton School; a BS in Computational Biology and Business from Carnegie Mellon; and has recently completed her Graduate Certificate in Interreligious Studies at Hartford International University for Religion and Peace.

Sunday Workshop Leader

Rev. Kate Smanik

Rev. Kate Smanik is the Dean of Religious and Spiritual Life at Colby College.  She is a graduate of the College of Wooster (2001, B.A.) and Yale University (2005, M.Div.) and has more than 17 years experience in higher education.  Kate is a doctoral candidate in higher education administration at Indiana University, where her research focuses on chaplaincy in higher education, the spiritual and religious education of young adults and the role that restorative practices can play in research and education.  Kate received her training in Circle Process from Kay Pranis in the Spring of 2019 and further training in Restorative Practices from the Restorative Justice Project of Maine in the summer of 2021. Kate lives with her family on the Colby College campus in Waterville, ME, where you can find them building fairy houses in the Colby arboretum and exploring the rocky coastline of Maine.