SDI is pleased to introduce our seven 2021 Fellows: experienced, mature spiritual companions who are inspired to grow SDI’s grow global movement. These fellows help us achieve our objectives of greater depth, breadth and diversity of members and offerings through mutually beneficial partnerships. Functioning as ambassadors of sorts, SDI Fellows forge and strengthen relationships between SDI, themselves, and institutions and organizations with whom they have a meaningful relationship.
Teresa Mateus, LCSW, E-RYT 200, is an author, speaker, trauma therapist, professor and the Executive Director and co-founder of The Mystic Soul Project. She has served as a trauma psychotherapist/traumatologist for more than a decade of her career and recently co-created a program for addressing trauma within social movements called TRACC4movements. She is a graduate of NYU School of Clinical Social Work, Sivananda Yoga Teacher Training, and the Living School at the Center for Action & Contemplation. Teresa is the author of Going Naked: Camino de Santiago & Life as Pilgrimage, Mending Broken: A Personal Journey Through the Stages of Trauma & Recovery, Sacred Wounds: A Path to Healing From Spiritual Trauma.
Brenda Bertrand is a chaplain at Fuller Theological Seminary. Her career spans work in media, government, coaching, consulting and university chaplaincies. She recently spent a year as a university lecturer in the People’s Republic of China, and currently serves God and country as a chaplain in the U.S. Army Reserve. An ordained minister, public speaker, and spiritual companion, Brenda inspires people in the simplicity of prayer and helps leaders lessen the gap between their spirituality and everyday life.
Piers Kaniuka, MA, MTS, serves as Director of Spiritual Life for Granite Recovery Centers in New Hampshire. He works within the nexus of recovery, spirituality, and activism, and is especially interested in practices that utilize Heart Awareness and Silence to bring us into a deeper resonance with one another and the Earth. Piers is a co founder of the Plymouth House, a 12 Step retreat for addicts in early recovery, and of the Liberation Institute, a 501c3 dedicated to training incarcerated men in the Maine State Prison to be yoga instructors at the 200 hour level. Former chair of the department of Transpersonal Psychology at Burlington College, he is a core faculty member in the Contemplative Spiritual Direction certificate program at the Alcyon Center in Seal Cove, Maine. Piers is the co-author of the book Real People, Real Recovery: Overcoming Addiction in Modern America.
Preeta Banerjee, Ph D is a spiritual companion who draws on a broad and deep range of experience, having spent 20 years in academia, coaching and consulting as an advocate, educator, researcher and author. She is a strong voice for combining spirituality, creativity, innovation, entrepreneurship and social change. Her daily practice comes from yoga, Let Your Yoga Dance, meditation, as well as being an Ayurveda and a black-belt Tae Kwon Do practitioner. 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 PhD in Strategic Management from the Wharton School and BS in Computational Biology and Business from Carnegie Mellon.
Mona Haydar, rapper, chaplain, poet, and theologian, brings her fierce, wise voice to the community of SDI. A keynote speaker at our 2019 conference in Bellevue, WA, Mona engages with many themes: combating the rising tide of White Supremacy, music and art as a tool of resistance, intersectional identity, and what it means to be an artist, musician, rapper, activist and God-lover in our current times. Mona holds a Masters in Christian Ethics from Union Theological Seminar in New York City. Billboard Magazine named Haydar’s breakout hit “Hijabi” one of 2017’s best protest songs and one of the top feminist anthems of all time. Her “Ask A Muslim” project, created in the wake of the Paris and San Bernardino terrorist attacks, garnered international attention and extensive press. The project was featured on the series “The Secret Life of Muslims” and remains the most-watched episode of the series. She recently released a debut EP “Barbarican.” Photo credit: Feida Eid
Ed Bastian is the founding president of the Spiritual Paths Foundation that provides InterSpiritual programs, books, and websites for the study of meditation and the application of contemplative values and insights in the world. These programs and resources enable people to “lead from within” by developing a spiritual foundation to guide their work for the common good. Ed’s teaching includes InterSpiritual Meditation, the Mandala Process, Mindfulness Meditation, Buddhism, Spirit & Nature and End-of-Life. Ed’s doctorate is in Buddhist Studies and Western Philosophy from the University of Wisconsin-Madison under the guidance of Geshe Lhundup Sopa. He studied for nearly a decade with Buddhist Monks in monasteries in the U.S., India and the Himalayas. As a Fulbright Scholar, he studied Indian philosophy at Banares Hindu University, Sarnath and Sera Monastery and translated Buddhist scriptures from Tibetan and Sanskrit sources. At the Smithsonian Institution, Bastian served as Director of programs on BioDiversity and Intellectual History, where he taught courses and moderated programs on Buddhism, world religion and Tibetan human rights.