Annual Inspiration Dinner Honoring Peter Coyote

International Association of Sufism Annual Inspiration Dinner

IAS’s humanitarian award is presented annually to an outstanding individual or organization for contributions in elevating the level of humanity in our society.  This year, the International Association of Sufism’s Annual Inspiration Dinner was held on Friday October 7, 2016 at the Embassy Suites Hotel in San Rafael, California, and celebrated the life and work of Peter Coyote, actor, Zen priest, activist, writer, community leader and cultural innovator. The guest speakers illuminated Peter’s model as a Zen practitioner and priest, Peter’s career as an actor, Peter’s work as a writer, and Peter’s contributions to the counter-culture movement of the 60’s and 70’s.

Peter Coyote Acceptance

The Emcee of the event was Jan Wahl, a Bay Area film critic for KRON-TV and KCBS-Radio and winner of two Emmy Awards. Speakers included: Tenshin Reb Anderson, a teacher and past Abbot of the San Francisco Zen Center and author; Stewart Brand, the author of The Whole Earth Catalog and winner of the National Book Award; Jonathan Granoff, a president, of the Global Security Institute, as well as an attorney, author and international advocate emphasizing the legal, ethical and spiritual dimensions of human development and security.  Safa Ali Michael Newman, IAS President welcomed everyone to the event, Shah Nazar Seyyed Dr. Ali Kianfar, IAS co-director, spoke to the mission and purpose of IAS and Dr. Nahid Angha, IAS co-director, provided the honoring of the award.  Peter Coyote spoke by video, and Jonathan Granoff accepted the award on Mr. Coyote’s behalf.

IAS’s Annual Dinner honors an individual whose life and work offers a model of engaged creativity and positive contributions to our community and culture.


Annual Dinner (1)

Annual Dinner (2)

Annual Dinner (3)

Annual Dinner (4b)

Past Dinners

Past honorees have included religious studies luminary, Huston Smith; best-selling Pakistani-American novelist, Nafisa Haji; Director of the United Religions Initiative, The Reverend Canon Charles Gibbs; Dominican University Humanities Department Chairman, Harlan Stelmach; renowned cosmologist and film-maker, Brian Swimme; internationally acclaimed theologian, Matthew Fox and Dr. Mary Kay Sweeney; the director of the primary Marin County provider of shelter and support services for homeless families and adults and the Dominican Sisters of San Rafael, for their work in education, health care and social justice issues.
Each year, the combination of perspectives offered and the focus on the fruit of unique striving represented in the life and career of each individual creates a palpable energy of celebration and appreciation in the room that is precisely the type of culture our dinner hopes to foster, out of which we all may take inspiration for pursuing our own growth, development and contributions to this beautiful life.  We hope you will join us for a good meal, interesting and illuminating insights, and the pleasure of sharing our well tended Bay Area community.
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