More information about our
Why this kind of dinner?
Our national climate has been characterized by a lack of civil conversation and too few venues devoted to understanding. CCIU has sought myriad ways to respond to hatred, bigotry, and the unfortunately commonplace rudeness of much of our national discourse. Besides many other actions, we held a major gathering in January at the Cathedral of St. Joseph in Hartford called “An Interreligious Call to Love Your Neighbor and Act for All Americans.” Building on that theme, now we are inviting area leaders from a wide variety of backgrounds -- people who would not normally have the chance to be in the same room together -- to speak to each other and with us.
Rather than try to find one keynote speaker with a long, big, speech, we decided that it would be more appropriate to have leaders from many segments of our community participate in substantive, significant, but very short ways. We have invited leaders from education, political, religious, and cultural strata to participate. Each is invited to speak on the concept of how the notion of “Loving Thy Neighbor” has mattered to them professionally and personally — for no more than four minutes.
The funds generated from this dinner will go to support the ongoing work of CCIU to create further opportunities -- such as this special event -- for understanding, dialogue, and education.
Cost of the dinner is $100 per person.
Our speakers and their backgrounds:
Imam Refai Arefin- Refai Arefin is the Assistant Imam at the Islamic Association of Greater Hartford. He studied Arabic and Islamic Sciences abroad in Egypt, Jordan, and Syria, after graduating from Brown University. Refai Arefin is also an attorney, with a law degree from Quinnipiac University.
Reverend Stephen W. Camp- Reverend Stephen Camp attended Faith Congregational Church from the time he was born until he went away to college. After college he served at many churches and social action projects in Chicago including the South Side Health Project. He also served as Conference Minister of the Southern Conference of the United Church of Christ. In 2009 Reverend Camp went back to Faith Congregational Church, Hartford’s oldest black church, as the Senior Pastor.
Susan Campbell- Susan Campbell is a professor at University of New Haven. She is the author of the books “Dating Jesus: Fundamentalism, Feminism and the American Girl” and “Tempest Tossed: The Spirit of Isabella Beecher Hooker”. She is a columnist for the Hartford Courant; she has been recognized by the National Women’s Political Caucus, New England Associated Press News Executives, the Society for Professional Journalists, the American Association of Sunday and Feature Editors, the National Society of Newspaper Columnists and the Sunday Magazine Editors Association for her editorials.
John Dankosky- John Dankosky is the Executive Editor of the New England News Collaborative, an eight station consortium of public media newsrooms. He is also the host of Next, a weekly program about New England and appears weekly on the Wheelhouse, WNPR news.
Trooper First Class Kelly Grant- Trooper Fist Class Kelly Grant has been with Connecticut State Police since 2001, and for the last 8 years has been working in the Public Information Office. In her 16 years with the state police, she has also been an instructor at the State Police Academy.
Oz Griebel- Oz Griebel is a banker, lawyer, and in 2010 was a candidate in the Connecticut Gubernatorial election. His past experience includes serving as the President and CEO of BankBoston Connecticut and as President and COO of MacDermid, Inc.. Since 2001, he has served as President and CEO of the MetroHartford Alliance, the economic development leader for the Hartford region.
Heidi Hadsell, Ph.D.- Heidi Hadsell has been the president of Hartford Seminary for 18 years and is a professor of social ethics. Before coming to Hartford Seminary, Dr. Hadsell served as Director of the Ecumenical Institute at the World Council of Churches in Switzerland. Further experience abroad includes her membership on the International Resource Panel of the Islamic Council of Singapore.
Thomas Loughman, Ph.D.- Thomas J. Loughman is the 11th Director and Chief Executive Officer at the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art in Hartford, Connecticut.
Prior to coming to Hartford, he served as the Associate Director at Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Massachusetts, (2008-2016) as well as in a variety of curatorial, research, and teaching roles in the field. A highlight of Dr. Loughman’s past work is his organization of the 2010-2014 global tour of the Clark’s core collection.
Dr. Loughman’s global view of museums and their impact facilitated the launch of an exchange program to bring Chinese museum professionals to the United States for training in American museum practices. Loughman currently serves as Co-Chair for the Board of Directors of the U.S. National Committee of the International Council of Museums (ICOM-US), and is involved with the American Alliance of Museums (AAM), the Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD), and the French Regional American Museum Exchange (FRAME).
Deacon Art Miller- Deacon Art Miller is an author, radio host and retired businessman. He was the director of the Office for Black Catholic Ministries for the Archdiocese of Hartford and the Catholic Chaplain at Capitol Community College in Hartford. He has traveled the country, from New England to Mississippi and New Mexico and Chicago, preaching the need for “Radical Love”. He is also a part of the Connecticut Coalition to Save Darfur, which is dedicated to bringing the Sudanese conflict to an end.
Mark Scheinberg- Mark Scheinberg is the founder and president of Goodwin College, which he says is a college for people who may not ordinarily have had the opportunity to go to college, or the “undiscovered student”. Scheinberg has served on the board of many community organizations including the Hartford Consortium for Higher Education, Connecticut Council of Independent Colleges, Connecticut Campus Compact and the International Board of the Young Presidents Organization. He was also president of the East Hartford Chamber of Commerce.
Harold Schwartz, M.D.- Harold Schwartz is psychiatrist-in-chief at the Institute of Living, and regional vice president of Behavioral Health for Hartford HealthCare. Dr. Schwartz is also a professor of psychiatry at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine and adjunct professor of psychiatry at Yale University School of Medicine. His special interests lie at the interface of psychiatry, law, ethics and public policy. He advocates for mental health services and has served on numerous commissions and panels, including the Governor’s Sandy Hook Advisory Commission.
Ripi Singh, Ph.D. - Dr. Ripi Singh is an Innovation and Productivity coach, driven to support a robust eco-system in the state of CT. For the past 20 years, he has been at the forefront of aerospace and defense, healthcare, energy and power, manufacturing, and IT products; working with industry, academia, and government; in USA, Europe and Asia. He is a winner of numerous National and Corporate honors, author of 70+ publications, 250+ lectures, few patents and books edited. Over the years, he extended the traditional business processes to a much more versatile and powerful framework for business growth. On the personal side he loves to travel, particularly the holy places such as Haridwar, Jerusalem, Hemkund, Vatican City, and Bethlehem, and learn about how we evolved to what we are today.
James C. Smith - Jim Smith is chief executive officer (since 1987) and chairman (since 1995) of Webster Financial Corporation (NYSE: WBS) and Webster Bank. Jim has held a number of positions in state, regional and national banking organizations, including currently serving as Vice Chairman of the Midsize Banks Coalition of America.
Jim has had a positive impact on Webster’s communities through his leadership with many organizations. He serves as General Chairman of the Hartford Bishops’ Foundation, formed to assist the Archdiocese of Hartford to fulfill its mission. He served on the board of directors of Saint Mary’s Health System in Waterbury for over 30 years until it recently joined Trinity Health of New England as an affiliate and now serves on the Strategic Planning Committee of Trinity Regional Ministry. In addition to these leadership roles and others, he has served on the boards of, and chaired the annual giving campaigns of, multiple Connecticut United Ways.
Howard Sovronsky- Howard Sovronsky has served as president of the Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford since 2015. After a career in Long Island as commissioner of mental health and developmental disabilities, he moved to Connecticut to work as chief operating officer for a non-profit behavioral health and child welfare agency.
Dr. Leslie Torres-Rodriguez- Dr. Leslie Torres Rodriguez is the current superintendent of Hartford Public Schools. She has taught social and behavioral science at Capitol Community College and was a social worker at Goodwin Technical High School. Dr. Torres-Rodriguez also served as principal of Great Path Academy at Manchester Community College and of CREC Public Safety Academy. She also was the Associate Program Coordinator at the Connecticut Center for School Change. Prior to serving as superintendent, Dr. Torres-Rodriguez was Assistant Superintendent for Instructional Leadership for Hartford Public Schools.
Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman- Lt. Governor Wyman has served as an elected official for four decades beginning with her election to the Tolland Board of Education in 1979. She then served four terms in the State House of Representatives and 16 years as the state’s first woman Comptroller. She is now in her second term as Connecticut’s Lieutenant Governor. As Lt. Governor, she chairs many boards, among them, the Board of Access Health CT, one of the most successful Affordable Care Act exchanges in the nation. Education, economic growth, the welfare of Connecticut’s military and veterans, and healthcare are among the Lt. Governor’s priorities.