Deepa Patel and Host Serena Bian

What Does Love Have To Do With It? Bringing Mystery to Peacebuilding (part 1)

The subject tonight is Love
And for tomorrow night as well,
As a matter of fact
I know of no better topic
For us to discuss
Until we all
Die! – Hafiz

Crisis, war, injustice, and violence have a certain logic—and social change processes working to address these challenges carry a similar, reactionary logic. How can love help us to step out of the perceived reality of “what is possible” in building peace during conflict? Turning points in conflicts and crises are often mysterious, require acts of enormous creativity, and a willingness to risk. Social change is an artistic act, mobilizing love and prophetic imagination–and it requires us to step into the mystery of the unknown that lies beyond the far too familiar landscape of violence. In this series, join Host Serena Bian in speaking with three people who bear witness to the best and worst of humanity, holding a courageous moral imagination. Working and witnessing the front lines of injustice, war, climate change, these peacebuilders, mystics, storytellers hold space for the miraculous to emerge, refusing to be bound by a perceived reality of “what is possible.” Other conversations in the series: 

Weds, May 29 | Aljosie Aldrich Harding
Tues, June 25 | Kalyanee Mam

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Deepa Patel

Deepa Patel is a facilitator with a specialism in interdisciplinary collaboration and a passion for the arts, social justice, conversation, and living a contemplative life. She was born in Kenya to Indian parents and lives in England. This experience has shaped both her professional and personal life. Deepa has worked as a youth worker, in the field of cultural diversity, as a Live Music producer, and in music education with the BBC. Her current work is with The London College of Fashion, UNHCR, and the University of Sheffield in refugee camps in Jordan and Africa, and with the Fetzer Institute on two projects, one on creating sacred space in the virtual world and the other on their shared spiritual heritage project. Deepa is a guide and teacher in the Inayatiyya (a Sufi lineage) and co-chair of the Inayatiyya International Board. She is also the chair of the Tamasha Theatre Company, an advisor to the Loss Foundation, a cancer and COVID bereavement support service, and to the Charis Foundation for New Monasticism and Interspirituality on their interfaith dialogue projects.

Host Serena Bian

Serena is pursuing a life that remains attentive to the tenderness of a snail’s soft body and reverent to the miracle of its spiraled shell. Working with U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy, Serena serves as a Special Advisor and brings a spiritual and systemic understanding to the public health crisis of loneliness and isolation. As a chaplain-in-training, Serena is pursuing questions of how we chaplain the end of extractive systems that isolate communities from themselves and one another. She is involved with multi-generational, multi-spiritual communities like the Nuns and Nones, devoted to courage, peacebuilding, and love. She participates on the Board of Commonweal and CoGenerate.