First Symposium: Sand Talk: How Indigenous Thinking Can Save the World

Inaugural Symposium

The Ansari Institute held the inaugural Nasr Book Prize Symposium Oct. 2-3, 2022 on the campus of the University of Notre Dame

We were delighted to honor Dr. Tyson Yunkaporta, an Indigenous Australian scholar and the author of Sand Talk: How Indigenous Thinking Can Save the World.

Dr. Yunkaporta's book, which earned widespread acclaim, raised important questions and brought Indigenous ways of knowing to the critical examination of global systems. We discussed this important work with symposium contributors representing diverse religious and secular traditions

We are grateful for the generosity of Drs. Sherif Nasr and Randa Nasr, co-founders of siParidigm Diagnostic Informatics in Pine Brook, N.J., whose support made this symposium possible.

Symposium Coverage

Please see below video of individual conference sessions as well as and coverage from the event.

Read Recap

Watch Conference Sessions

Symposium Speakers

Sunday, Oct. 2

12:30 – 2:00 p.m.
Welcome & Introductions

Scott Appleby

Dr. Scott Appleby
Marilyn Keough Dean
Keough School of Global Affairs




Dr. Mahan Mirza
Executive Director
Ansari Institute for Global Engagement with Religion



Charles Powell

Dr. Charles Powell
Adjunct Assistant Professor of Multifaith Engagement
Ansari Institute for Global Engagement with Religion

2:00 – 3:00 p.m.
Yarning with Indigenous Traditions

Sousan Abadian

Dr. Sousan Abadian
Scholar, educator, consultant



Ashlee Bird

Dr. Ashlee Bird
University of Notre Dame
(Native American)

3:30 – 5:00 p.m.
Engaging with Asian Traditions

Lara Braitstein

Dr. Lara E. Braitstein
McGill University



Christinegross Loh

Dr. Christine Gross-Loh
Author, The Path
(Chinese traditions)



Nirinjan Khalsa

Dr. Nirinjan Khalsa-Baker
Loyola Marymount University



Mugdha Yeolekar

Dr. Mugdha Yeolekar
California State University, Fullerton

7:00 – 8:30 p.m.
Award Dinner

Tribute to Sand Talk; Presentation of the Randa and Sherif Nasr Book Prize on Religion & the World; Conversation on Genre and Word of Gratitude

Carolyn Thompson Brown 2

Dr. Carolyn T. Brown
Board Chair
Fetzer Institute



Anantanan Rambachan 2

Dr. Anantanand Rambachan
Professor of Religion
St. Olaf College



Tyson Yunkaporta

Dr. Tyson Yunkaporta
Author, Sand Talk
Nasr Book Prize Honoree

Monday, Oct. 3

9:00 – 10:30 a.m.
Conversation with Baha’i, Sikh, and Secular Traditions

Jacques Berlinerblau

Dr. Jacques Berlinerblau
Georgetown University



Khushwant Singh

Mr. Khushwant Singh
Founder, Sikhi Council



Robert Stockman

Dr. Robert Stockman
Wilmette Institute

11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
In Dialogue with Abrahamic Traditions


Dr. David Cloutier
The Catholic University of America



Nana Firman

Ms. Nana Firman
Global Muslim Climate Network



Or Rose

Rabbi Dr. Or Rose
Hebrew College

12:45 – 2:00pm
Religions for Peace Award Luncheon

Featured Speaker


Dr. Azza Karam
Secretary General
Religions for Peace International



Kosho Niwano

Rev. Kosho Niwano
Co-Moderator and Executive Committee Member
Religions for Peace International




Mr. Abdul Ilah Rafie Marafie
International Trustee
Religions for Peace



Aruna Oswal

Dr. Aruna Abhey Oswal
Abhey Oswal Group and Aruna Abhey Oswal Trust