Spiritual Practice and Social Consciousness
Hosted by Gail Straub

In these uncharted times many of us yearn for a stronger connection between our social consciousness and our spirituality. Knowing that real sustainable change is ultimately up to each of us, what then are the spiritual practices that can inspire and sustain us, empowering us to have lasting impact during this turbulent era? Visionary teachers, activists, and writers, Sophfronia Scott and David Gershon bring their knowledge, heart, and soul to shed light on the intrinsic connection between spirituality and social change. How are these demanding times the perfect catalyst for deepening both our practice and our social impact? And what kind of writing is called for in these unprecedented times?

Gail Straub is a woman with light skin tones, short white hair and blue eyes. She's wearing earrings and a white blouse

Gail Straub is the Co–Founder of the Empowerment Institute and one of the world’s leading authorities on women’s empowerment. She co-founded IMAGINE: A Global Initiative for the Empowerment of Women where initiatives are currently under way throughout Africa, India, and the Middle East, where they have impacted over half a million lives. She is the author of seven books that have garnered multiple awards including the best-selling Empowerment, Returning to My Mother’s House, and The Ashokan Way, her love letter to Woodstock and the Hudson River Valley.


David Gershon, co-founder and CEO of Empowerment Institute has been called “the number one expert on social change.” He applies his visionary leadership and social change expertise to designing second order change solutions for cities, countries, and the planet that enable the seemingly impossible to become possible. Over the past four decades his initiatives have won myriad awards and impacted millions of lives. David is author of thirteen books, including the award-winning Social Change 2.0: A Blueprint for Reinventing Our World, the best-selling Empowerment, as well as his critically acclaimed contributions in the field of climate change and sustainability, Low Carbon DietGreen Living Handbook, and The Cool Block Program.

Sophfronia Scott has brown skin tones and long locks. She is wearing a white v-necked sleeveless blouse.

Sophfronia Scott is a novelist, essayist, and leading contemplative thinker whose work has appeared in many publications including Time, People, and the New York Times. She is founding director of Alma College’s Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Creative Writing, a low residency program based in Michigan. She is the author of multiple visionary fiction and nonfiction books including This Child of Faith, Love’s Long Line, The Seeker and the Monk: Everyday Conversations with Thomas Merton, and her latest novel, Wild, Beautiful, and Free.

Get a Full Festival pass and you’ll get to take in the Story Slam on Thursday night. Then sail into the weekend: attending all the wonderful panels, both Little Bites and Big Libations Cocktail Parties, and both evening events. And share the bounty from our always-stuffed goody bag.

Kleinert/James Center
34 Tinker Street
Saturday April 1, 2023