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How Can we Build Bridges between the West and Middle East?

Cafe de la Culture

The Venue for Visionaries



Philosophical Salon and Expert Panel Discussion:

"What are the core issues behind the Paris attacks and how can we effectively build bridges between the West and the Middle East?"


Wednesday, Dec. 2 at 8pm


Live from Boulder, Colorado




Meet the Panel:

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Obeid Kaifo

Obeid Kaifo is a First-Generation Syrian, American Muslim. He was born in L.A. and raised in Aurora, Colorado. Obeid's parents are from Aleppo, Syria. His first and last trip to Syria was in late December 2008. He has lost 4 family members to the Crisis in Syria and his family has made several dozen trips to Southern Turkey, actively helping Syrian refugees since 2012. Obeid is currently trying to help displaced family members out of Beirut, Lebanon into the USA or Germany -so far, with no success. He has been working directly with organizations and State Officials on the Syrian Crisis on behalf of the Syrian Refugees. He is now in the process of opening SAC: Syrian American Council in Colorado, in order to better represent the Syrian people and bridge a gap between Americans and the Syrian Community but even more so, the Muslim Community and the State. He aims to create an organization that can help integrate refugees more effectively, while facilitating and supporting a normal way of life and an easier transition into Western culture and society. Obeid is likewise dedicated to being an active part of the dialogue around rebuilding Syria and to helping keep Syrians in their homes in Syria. Obeid is a collage student at Metro State University with a double major in biology and psychology.

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Cameron Powers

Cameron Powers is a Musical Ambassador and linguist who performs love songs in more than a dozen languages. In 2003, aligning himself in solidarity with the Iraqi people he, with his singing partner Kristina Sophia, traveled from Egypt to Baghdad about two weeks after bombings began, singing Iraqi love songs on the streets of Baghdad. He and Kristina performed Egyptian music in the Cairo stadium a few months later for a crowd of 60,000 Egyptians. Cameron and Kristina were featured on Cairo television talk shows and became well known for their expressions of musical love in the Arab world. They continued traveling and performing in Syria, Jordan and Lebanon. Because of the deep emotional connection which forms between musicians, Cameron became qualified to represent the hearts and souls of many Arabic-speaking people in other parts of the world. Here in the USA the multi-media presentation "Singing in Baghdad" was performed approximately 200 times in more than half the American states. Cameron and Kristina also performed in Venezuela, Panama, Ecuador, and Mexico and eventually the non-profit organization Musical Missions of Peace was created around them. Subsequently they used the funds they raised to support Iraqi refugee musicians in Syria, Jordan and eventually also in the USA.Cameron's ongoing friendships with musicians and music-lovers in the Arab world gives him unique insights into the nature of the seeds of violent events which have been unfolding there.                          

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Camilo Casas


Camilo Casas is a global nomad and citizen. Born in Costa Rica, he has lived in twelve countries on five continents and has worked as a journalist as well as in a range of human services from public health interventions, to emergency medicine, to disaster relief. Ever since covering the rape epidemic in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, he has advocated for men to take on a greater role in ending sexual violence leading to his current position as the Men Standing Up Coordinator of Moving to End Sexual Assault. He holds a BA (Hons) and MA (Oxf) in Human Sciences from the University of

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Kimberly Braun

Kimberly Braun, Minister, M.A. and Meditation Coach has been devoted to stillness as a way to experience Oneness and Source from the age of 5, with over ten of her years spent as a monastic nun. Her Masters in theology was completed in 2001 in Washington D.C., and is concentrated upon the adult spiritual journey. She loves to be a part of inspiring others to live from the power and wisdom within them. Her style is playful, deeply inquiring, and ever growing in the synthesis of how to access this part of ourselves and how to live from that place more consistently. She is a retreat and workshop facilitator, TEDx speaker, meditation faculty at the Omega Institute, and fellow seeker on the path to living freely. She has three CDs and a book now available about her time as a nun: Love Calls, Insights of a former Carmelite nun. Visit her website to stay connected, check out her videos or services, or just reach out to say hi.


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Evan Mecham

Upon graduating from college with a degree in history, Evan served his country as an officer in the United States Air Force Reserve and was retired as a Major. He worked for 16 years in various management positions for manufacturing companies in the automotive aftermarket. The last 7 of those years, he was the President of Velm, Inc. producing automotive sunroofs for both aftermarket companies and General Motors. When he sold this company in 1993, he began BPE, Inc., a parent company for several operations including EMA,a marketing, sales and consulting firm that he continues to operate today. Evan has always been a 'life long learner' and has independently continued his study and research of world history and other topics relevant to this panel. In 2005, he returned to active studies and began taking courses in psychotherapy. Evan currently has an office in South Denver where he practices Regression Therapy, Clinical Hypnotherapy, and Spirit Release. He is an active volunteer for FISH, a foodbank in Broomfield, Colorado where he serves as a Navigator, counseling and mentoring individuals and families in need.

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Yuval Laor


Yuval Laor received his Ph.D. in culture studies from Tel Aviv University. His dissertation was concerned with the evolution of religious psychology, with an emphasis on evolutionary accounts of the human capacity for fervor and sudden conversion. Yuval published articles in the Journals of Religion Brain and Behavior and History and Theory. Currently he is working on a book which will be titled: The Religious Ape: What cults and fervor can teach us about the evolution of religion.


Meet the Singer:

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Kristina Sophia

Kristina Sophia is a world-traveler, pioneering co-creator  of Musical Missions of Peace, and co-star of Singing in Baghdad. She has sung in the Cairo stadium for an audience of 60,000 Egyptians and performed in the war-zones of Iraq with partner Cameron Powers.  She has taught singing, healing sound and voice therapy for 15 years and has 2 critically acclaimed CDs.

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Meet the Host:

Cara Cruickshank


Cara Cruickshank grew up in a multi-cultural family near Woodstock, N.Y. She began her artistic career at the age of 10 in the hit Broadway show "Les Miserables". Since then, she has maintained a love and passion for France, the arts and cross cultural understanding. She was a professional actor throughout childhood and became an entrepreneur at age 21. She has worked in educational design, childhood development, environmental and outdoor education, community building, girls' empowerment, public events and performing arts in both the U.S.and abroad for over 10 years. More recently, Cara has entrepreneured in business management, sales, health and fitness, team-building and strategic planning with the national startup ZAAZ, where she maintains several roles as an independent contractor. She founded Cafe de la Culture 4 years ago, as an international venue and crossroads for visionaries of all ages, cultural backgrounds and fields. She currently lives in Paris part-time where she is writing, acting, and directing independent films. More About Cara


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