2008 Summit Speaker Bio’s


Kevin Burke, SJ – The Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley

Academic Dean
Associate Professor of Systematic Theology
B.S.B.A., Rockhurst College; M.Div., S.T.L., S.T.D., Weston Jesuit School of Theology

Fr. Kevin Burke assumed the role of academic dean at the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkley in 2006. He came to JSTB from the Weston Jesuit School of Theology in Cambridge, MA, where he taught from 1997-2006. An associate professor of systematic theology, he also directed the Licentiate degree program (1998-2005) and Doctoral program (2005-2006) while at Weston Jesuit.

A native of Wyoming and a Jesuit of the Missouri Province, Fr. Burke entered the novitiate in 1976. After his ordination in 1986, he served as a faculty member and campus minister at Regis University in Denver where he founded the Mexico and Romero House projects. He lived and studied in Central America and the Philippines between 1992 and 1994, before returning to doctoral studies in the fall of 1994.

In 1996 Fr. Burke spent a semester in El Salvador doing research for his dissertation on Fr. Ignacio Ellacuris,S.J., the president of the University of Central America assassinated by Salvadoran soldiers in 1989. As a member of the Weston faculty, Fr. Burke led delegations to El Salvador on several occasions.

A fundamental and systematic theologian, Fr. Burke teaches courses in Christology, Liberation Theology, Spirituality, Ecclesiology, Theological Method, and Theological Synthesis. In recent years he has lectured and published on a number of themes, including the philosophical and theological vision of Ignacio Ellacuría, the witness of Archbishop Oscar Romero, the theological significance of martyrdom, the theological dimensions of peacemaking, the faith that does justice, cultural diversity in the American Catholic experience, and Ignatian spirituality.


Mr. Manuel JF Hernandez - United States Army (Lieutenant Colonel, Retired)

Mr. Hernandez is a graduate of the United States Academy, West Point.  He began his career as a Firing Battery Executive Officer in the 2nd Battalion, 83rd Field Artillery, 41st Brigade, V Corps in Babenhausen, Germany.  During his first tour in Europe he served as a Fire Direction Officer, Service Battery Executive Officer, and Commander of Service Battery and of Bravo Battery.
During his second assignment he Mr. Hernandez served at the National Training Center, Fort Irwin, California.  His positions included Battalion Intelligence Officer Trainer, Firing Battery Trainer and Fire Support Trainer for the Live-Fire and Fire Support Teams.
Mr. Hernandez served in numerous assignments at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, Heidelberg, Germany, and at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, as he continued throughout his distinguised military career.
He is currently in his eigth year teaching theology at Immaculata High School, a Catholic College Preparatory school in Leavenworth, Kansas, where he teaches grades 9 - 12.  He is also the tennis coach, while coaching youth soccer and basketball, and is the youth minister of his parish.
Mr. Hernandez has a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering, a Master of Science in Adult and Continuing Education, and a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts in Pastoral Ministry.  He is married to the former Maureen Carney of Prairie Village, Kansas and has four children: Theresa (14), Phillip (12), Mark (10) and Joseph, (4) who attend Xavier Elementary in Leavenworth.


Gary Smith, S.J.

For nearly forty years, Gary Smith, S.J., has been doing God’s work as spiritual guidance counselor and friend to the poor and homeless on the street up and down the West Coast. Over the years he has been witness to the many hardships that can beset, seemingly indiscriminately, men and women who have fallen on hard times. Some have looked to him for a way out of the drug and alcohol addiction that tethers them to the streets. In 1969, Smith began ministering to the poor and those with drug and alcohol addiction in prisons in Toronto. By 1972 he was setting up a street ministry program in San Jose, California. Once the ministry was established he moved on to Oakland, where he continued to work and live among the poor until 1984, when he headed to Tacoma to spread his street ministry. Along the way, he kept a journal documenting his observations and conversations with the many people who came to him either for help or in need of a friend. These ruminations and recollections formed the basis for two books: Street Journals, about his years in Tacoma, and Radical Compassion: Finding Christ in the Heart of the Poor, based on his ministry work in Portland.

Smith, who joined the Society of Jesus in 1959, says it is his calling to use his skills and talents to reach out to those less fortunate. This higher calling took him to Africa in 2000 for the start of what would be seven years of pastoral work in villages in northern Uganda. Through his involvement with the Jesuit Refugee Service, he lived among Sudanese refugees struggling to survive in refugee camps. He traveled to this dangerous, pitiless place to be with these forsaken people out of conviction that “Jesuits should be going where no one else goes.” But he also went to discover the answer to the question many of us ask: What is most important in life?

Smith’s journal is a vivid, inspiring account of the deep connections he forged during his six years as a missionary with the refugees in Africa. Along the way, he discovers a suffering people who, despite being displaced by a brutal civil war, find the spiritual strength to let go of the many and deep sorrows of the past. Through his account of being a missionary in Africa, Smith is both a witness to and a teacher of how the Holy Spirit’s power provides this spiritual strength to move forward.


Debra Dominic and Annette Lavelle – The VA Hospital

In October 2007, Mrs. Debra Dominic became the Program Director for a Veteran assistance initiative called Operation Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. Based out of the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Phoenix, Mrs. Dominic’s job as program director is to work with Army and navy veterans and their families. Her goal is to help return them to civilian life by assisting them through physical and psychological medical needs. As a native of Illinois, Mrs. Dominic attended Rosary College in Riverforest and transferred to Washington State University. There, she earned her Bachelor’s degree of Science in psychology. She then earned her Master’s degree in the field of Social Work at the University of Washington, Seattle. While living in Seattle as a clinical psychologist, she worked for the Veterans Administration for three years. After serving over 2,000 vets each year, she was transferred to Phoenix. Mrs. Dominic currently splits her time between the VA and the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale.

Annette Lavelle is employed by the Phoenix Veterans Center as the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT) readjustment counseling technician for not only Phoenix, but also the East Valley and Prescott Veterans Centers. Ms. Lavelle performs outreach to veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, providing information about benefits to veterans. She also speaks to families and the community about the difficulties that veterans face when they return home from a combat zone. As she said in a recent newspaper article, “Anything can happen in Iraq. You’re on alert 24 hours a day. You’re then supposed to put that away when you come home, but we can’t just put it away. We can’t just get over it.” She recently retired from the Arizona Army National Guard in 2007 with just short of 21 years of service as a Sergeant First Class. She served for six years of active duty for the National Guard. Ms. Lavelle is an Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF 1) veteran, who deployed in 2003-2004 with the 222oth Transportation Company out of Flagstaff, AZ. Ms. Lavelle graduated with a Bachelors of Science in Healthcare Administration degree with high honors from the University of Phoenix College in 2007.


Gabriela Rosario Leite Soares

Born in E. Timor and experienced war growing up as a child.  She received some of her education in Indonesia and now attends Gonzaga University.  She would like to work for the United Nations either in Palestine or Africa for two years before going to Grad school. She plans to study international law on human rights.


George Lopez - University of Notre Dame

George A. Lopez is a founding faculty of the Joan B. Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame where he holds the Theodore M. Hesburgh, C.S.C. Chair in Peace Studies. Lopez’s research work on human rights, state violence, ethics and war has been published widely in international affairs and peace research journals. With David Cortright and Alistair Millar, Lopez wrote WINNING WITHOUT WAR: SENSIBLE SECURITY OPTIONS FOR DEALING WITH IRAQ in October 2002.  This policy report has been called the most influential document in Europe and the United States for those favoring an alternative to war with Iraq.  Lopez and Cortight’s research detailing the unlikely presence of WMDs in Iraq was published before the war in “Disarming Iraq” in Arms Control Today (Sept. 2002) and then further articulated after the war in “Containing Iraq: the Sanctions Worked” in Foreign Affairs (July/August, 2004).

Since 2001 he has been a frequent commentator in the public square regarding Christian ethics and the use of force, with numerous articles appearing in Commonweal, America, Sojourner’s and more than a dozen major newspapers. From 2004 through 2006 he wrote a monthly column for La Opinion.


Doug Shaw- Physicians for Social Responsibility, Senior Fellow; Georgetown University

Doug holds Bachelor's and Master's degrees from Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service and is a doctoral candidate in Georgetown University's Government Department, a Senior Fellow in that department’s Institute for International Law and Politics and a member of the core faculty of Georgetown’s Master of Arts in International Law and Government.  He has taught courses on weapons of mass destruction, terrorism, and international relations at George Washington University and Georgetown University and delivered invited lectures at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government, Germany's Heidelberg University, and India's Jawaharlal Nehru University.

Douglas B. Shaw serves as Director of Security Programs with Physicians for Social Responsibility where he leads programmatic work to assert a strong medical voice for the prevention of nuclear war and against the development and use of nuclear weapons.

Doug joined PSR from service as Director of Policy Planning in the Office of the President at Georgetown University, where he developed and implemented strategic initiatives related to global governance and international development.

Previously, Doug served as the Director of Communications of the Lawyers Alliance for World Security, an organization of legal professionals dedicated to preventing the spread and use of nuclear weapons.  As a member of the U.S. Department of Energy's Nuclear Material Security Task Force for Russia, the New Independent States, and the Baltics, Doug worked to secure plutonium and highly enriched uranium from theft or diversion in Ukraine, receiving a Meritorious Service Award for "the significant improvement of safeguards and security of tons of weapons usable nuclear materials.”  As an aide to Ambassador Thomas Graham at the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency from 1993 to1996, Doug was centrally involved in the global diplomatic campaign to indefinitely extend the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).


Michael Witmer, Deputy Attorney General for the State of California, FBR

Professionally, Michael obtained his law degree and a MBA from UCLA School of Law and School of Management in 1983, and has practiced as a trial lawyer ever since.  He received training as a mediator under the auspices of the Los Angeles Superior Court and is presently a Deputy Attorney General for the State of California.

As part of his lay ministry, Michael began intensively studying faith-based reconciliation in 1999 with the Rev. Brian Cox. Working with Brian and others, Michael went on to found Reconcilers.net (www.reconcilers.net ), which has become a growing movement of Christians who provide training in the principles, skills and disciplines of faith-based reconciliation.  Reconcilers.net teaches that faith-based reconciliation is the heart of the Gospel. It is a way to reclaim religion as an instrument for healing relationships between people and groups, in situations where religion has been distorted to foster, justify or aggravate conflict.

Reconcilers.net works across national, cultural and religious boundaries. Under the auspices of the International Center for Religion & Diplomacy, an inter-denominational NGO in Washington DC, members of Reconcilers.net have been building peace initiatives in Kashmir and the Middle East for several years.  Its conferences and consultations with Muslims and Jews have confirmed that the principles of faith-based reconciliation capture the living essence of Islam and Judaism, and demonstrated the power of these principles to transform hate into love.


Terry Donovan Mansfield – Executive Director & Co-founder of the Arizona Department of Peace Campaign

Terri Donovan Mansfield is an internationally acclaimed civilian Peacemaker. As Executive Director and Co-founder of the inclusive and transpartisan Arizona Department of Peace Campaign, she is a recognized diplomat, carefully laying international, national, and local legislative foundations for peace. Terri explains that the proposed US Dept. of Peace  will research, articulate, and facilitate nonviolent solutions to domestic and international problems. For the past several years Terri has consulted with political leaders from Baghdad to the U.S. Congress, presidents of universities and major corporations, rock musicians and educators. She specializes in conflict resolution, leadership skills, community building, connections and hugs. As a former hospice volunteer coordinator, she expanded her community focus on the power of  compassion to the universal focus of the power of peace. Terri shares her diplomatic expertise as a Phoenix Human Relations Commissioner; World Peace Prayer Society Representative; Reiki master teacher; Madonna Minister; advisory board for ASU Lincoln Center for Applied Ethics, Exopolitics Institute, Starshine Academy, ONE Planet Magazine, The Harp Foundation; and public speaker and educator. Terri's husband is a retired Air Force colonel; they reside in Paradise Valley, AZ, and have a son and a daughter.


Mike Baxter - University of Notre Dame, Catholic Peace Fellowship

Assistant Professor of Theology- Michael Baxter, (Ph.D. Duke University, 1996) examines the interrelationship of theology, history, and ethics, with particular attention paid to the morality of war and Christian peacemaking. Baxter's long-term research focuses on the emergence and development of the Americanist Tradition in Catholic Social Ethics from World War I to the present. He is currently compiling a collection of essays, tentatively American Catholics to the Rescue and Other Essays on Theology, Ethics, and History. He has published articles in the DePaul Law Review, Pro Ecclesia, Communio, The Thomist, and other journals. During the fall of 1984, he co-founded Andre House, a house of hospitality dedicated to serving the poor and homeless of downtown Phoenix, where he lived and worked until the fall of 1988. He has been a Fellow of the Kroc Institute since 1999.  He also serves as the National Secretary of the Catholic Peace Fellowship.

Vaughn Vig

Vaughn Vig is a native of western Washington State where he was drafted into the US Army in August of 1967. After a tour of Viet Nam in the infantry he married Betty Jean (Jeanie) Denman of Phoenix. Taking advantage of the GI Bill, he completed an undergraduate degree in philosophy at the University of St. Thomas. Vaughn and Jeanie have been blessed with 10 children. Three of their seven sons graduated from Brophy. Vaughn retired from the Air Force Reserve as a chaplain assistant in 2002 and has been a letter carrier for the US Postal Service for nearly 30 years. In 2005 he received an MA in theology from the University of San Francisco.



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