Marianne Marstrand (USA)
Since her early years Marianne has been drawn to spiritual practice and the wisdom traditions. She had the great fortune of meeting the 16th Gyalwang Karmapa, head of the Karma Kagyu Lineage of Tibetan Buddhism when she was in her teens, marking a turning point in her life. In 1979 she began her work with the Lindisfarne Association helping to organize and bring together innovative thinkers, spiritual teachers and religious leaders around issues of global concern. For ten years she resided at KTD, H.H. Karmapa’s monastery, in Woodstock, New York and was then asked to move to Crestone, Colorado to help coordinate the Karmapa’s project there. This work included the construction of the 41 ft. Tashi Gomang Stupa and the creation of infrastructure for a major center there for the Kagyu lineage. In 2001 Marianne began to work with Dena Merriam at The Global Peace Initiative of Women (GPIW) in New York. In her capacity as the Executive Director she has had the privilege of helping to organize dozens of major gatherings around the world dedicated to interfaith understanding, peace, conflict and healing, the earth’s ecosystems and strengthening of the voices of women and young leaders --- issues that deeply touch her heart. She is a student of Sufi teacher Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee.
Hana Bowers (USA)
Hana was born and raised in Des Moines, Iowa. Inclined towards spirituality since she can remember, she began practicing yoga and meditation at an early age and always felt drawn towards something beyond herself. At age 18, Hana’s visceral calling brought her to the islands of Hawai’i where she pursued a double BA in Communications and French Language and Literature at the University of Hawai’i on the island of O’ahu. After living in Hawai’i for nearly five years, she had established a deep appreciation for the interconnectedness of nature and spirit. To delve deeper into this space, Hana moved to Melbourne, Australia where she embarked upon a master’s degree in Sustainable Tourism Management at Monash University with an emphasis on spiritual tourism. She carried out her final research project at the Govardhan Eco Village in Maharashtra on yoga tourism and the environment. Following several years working in the spiritual tourism sector for an international NGO based in Australia, she then moved to live in an ashram in India, where she studied the Bhakti Yoga, Sanskrit and the Vedas.
Hana is currently based in Manhattan, New York, where she serves as the Program Coordinator for the Global Peace Initiative of Women. She is also a certified Vinyasa yoga and pranayama instructor and regularly practices japa meditation, asana and pranayama. Hana feels indebted to her teachers and gurus, especially His Holiness Radhanath Swami and AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada of the Gaudiya-Vaisnava lineage, in whose footsteps she always aspires to follow.