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Musings: 2018 in Review

2018 was another busy and fulfilling year. As many of you know a large part of my life is the Tariq Khamisa Foundation – which entered its 24th year in October 2018. Since TKF was founded in October of 1995 – I have routinely spent 20 to 25 hours a week as a volunteer in my capacity as the Founder/ Chairperson and speaking to students. Each year TKF reaches thousands of students through teaching the principles of nonviolence, the practice of empathy, compassion, forgiveness and most importantly peacebuilding and peacemaking. I am thrilled to see that restorative practices are now being widely practiced in our schools and correctional facilities. This is good news as the punitive system we have practiced since our nation’s founding 240 years ago has created a highly polarized and divisive nation. Restorative practices, on the other hand, promote inclusiveness, consideration, empathy, kindness, compassion and a vision to create a world that works for everyone. We have a long way to go but I am in gratitude to the grace of the Universe that TKF’s programs are delivering exemplary results.

Some TKF 2018 highlights are as follows:

1) We reached a total of 11,250 students, presented 29 assemblies and hosted several workshops in restorative practices and individual mentoring.

2) We are in the final stages of completing a 5-year business expansion plan to reach 500 sites in 5 years.

3) Our Safe School Model (assemblies, 10-week curriculum, Peace Clubs on school campuses, and a mentoring program) is a viable and affordable solution to the youth violence epidemic.

4) In February, TKF supported Helix Charter School following several school incidents. Through presentations, teacher trainings, circles, and student curriculum we further support the school with restorative based practices.

5) In early March, TKF trained its first school team to facilitate our Restorative Workshop Curriculum. TKF trained 8 counselors and teachers at Newtown Elementary School located in PA, which launched its facilitation in October with 200 5th and 6th-grade students.

6) In late March, TKF presented a workshop on Teaching Students Restorative Principles at the national Deeper Learning Conference hosted by High Tech High.

7) In June, TKF attended the Grantee Convening for Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkley and was selected as a grantee to develop a research-based parenting program that teaches families restorative principles. The program expects to launch in early 2019.

8) In September, TKF trained a second school team of local teachers and administrators from four Sweetwater District schools to facilitate our Restorative Workshop Curriculum for 2019.

9) In October, TKF presented on the healing value of forgiveness at the 2018 International Restorative Practices Conference hosted in Detroit, MI.

10) In November, TKF presented on teaching restorative principles at the regional Rocky Mountain Restorative Conference in Colorado Springs, CO.

Finally, the BIG news in 2018 was Tony’s parole hearing on 11/28 at the Men’s Colony Prison in San Luis Obispo. A grueling and emotional 6-hour experience that was difficult to stomach. My daughter Tasreen and I attended and advocated for his release as we have been trying to get Tony to join TKF for several years. The good news is the two presiding parole commissioners granted him the parole but it must be approved now by the full parole board of 12 commissioners and by the Governor of California. This may take up to 5 months, but we are praying that Tony successfully gets these approvals and if so will join TKF when he is fully acclimatized and ready in the next few years. This has been a 24-year long journey that has ultimately helped redeem and saved Tony.

I know he will save many other young souls when he shares his story during TKF programs in schools to students that may be considering following in his former footsteps of gangs, guns, drugs, crime, and violence. Tony – has made a remarkable recovery and sincerely wishes he could turn the clock back! While that is unfortunately not possible – what is possible is that he can save many thousands of young souls when he is on stage with me and his grandfather advocating peace practices. Indeed – The Power of Forgiveness!

Outside of TKF, I am involved in other synergistic efforts as a speaker, author, board member, and thought leader. One of my other favorite nonprofits is The Institute of Noetic Science (, established by Edgar Mitchell (the 6th astronaut to walk on the moon). IONS does a deep dive in consciousness and noetic research with the same rigor as NIH. As an avid meditator, I discovered this wonderful organization in 1999 when I received the Temple Altruistic Award and since have spoken at their many conferences. We have a conference coming up in July, so if you are interested in strengthening your spiritual and noetic strength be sure to sign up for a life-changing experience. 3 years ago, I was invited onto the Board and now am proud to serve as IONS Vice Chair which has also been a highly fulfilling part of my life.

Each summer I participate in the Wisdom Council of the Summer of Peace (SOP) with an outstanding number of peers. SOP is sponsored by The Shift Besides prompting several global activities to foster more peace in the world through the work of SOP, The Shift Network also offers several programs to further develop your spiritual resiliency and strength. I recommend signing up for their offerings if you are not already subscribed.

Ples and I were selected to be included in the Plus Wonder’s ( worthy effort to promote the strength of partnerships. PW taps into wise love and sometimes confronts the honesty of some of the greatest partnerships of our lifetime; from friends to business partners, to siblings, to romantic partners, to partnerships with Mother Nature. All of these relationships show us how we can bring wonder into our lives and the lives of many others, through the partnerships we shape. Plus Wonder is a good collection of partners that features Richard Branson & Peter Gabriel; Jimmy & Rosalyn Carter, Desmond & Leah Tutu; Ben & Jerry plus many others. We are proud to be selected in this group of visionaries that are indeed changing the world.

I continue to speak nationally and internationally and typically give another 50 keynote presentations each year at conferences and various other venues listed on my website. In particular, each summer I enjoy presenting to two separate student gatherings:

The Hansen Institute – over 1000 college undergraduates apply (only 25 qualify under a stringent selection process) to travel to the United States and participate in 3 weeks of activities to learn how to be leaders that can go back to their home communities to promote peace and understanding. Many of these students are from some of the war-torn areas like Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, the African & India subcontinents (

Hands of Peace which started in Chicago about 12 years ago now has a chapter in San Diego. Each year they bring 25 Israeli high school seniors, 25 Palestinian seniors and 25 American seniors to participate in a deep dialogue to learn to raise their voices and become leaders of change.

I look forward to these presentations each year as I teach and role model six separate principles of nonviolence that they can espouse in their lives and further promote these values and attributes to their communities. Each year the positive response from these student leaders gives me tremendous hope that they will indeed spawn a better world than we have in the last couple of generations.

Wishing you and your loved ones a joyous, healthy, prosperous, blessed and a life of service in 2019 and beyond.

Azim Khamisa

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Azim Khamisa

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