Born into the princely family of Burdwan, Usha Devi Rathore studied at the Walsingham House School for Girls in Bombay. After attaining a distinction in the Indian School Certificate exams, Usha did a BA honours in Philosophy at St. Xaviers College, Bombay.
Usha studied TV and Film in education at Hornsey College of Art, London and undertook work experience in film editing in Soho. She later returned to Bombay in 1974 to work on the Satellite Instructional Television Experiment for a year as an assistant producer.
From 1987 to 1995, Usha was the vice-president of the South Asia Council of the English Speaking Union. They initiated language projects in Sri Lanka and India, offering affordable English courses to the local people using the Callan method.
As a practitioner of yoga since the age of 13, Usha trained as a yoga teacher at the Bihar School of Yoga. She continued practicing Hatha Yoga and tried various meditation techniques, such as Vipassanna and TM Transcendental meditation, but settled for all the integrated practices of the Bihar School of Yoga. Usha first started teaching children at her son’s school and then the mothers. In the early days, Usha ran a weekly class at the Bhavan, and she taught at the Hale Clinic for 10 years.
Through the years, Usha has done quite a lot of yoga therapy and has worked with people with many stress-related ailments like asthma, blood pressure, Krohns disease, back problems etc. One of Usha’s students had breast cancer, and she has taught in the Haven, a holistic refuge for women with breast cancer. The holistic yoga she teaches is a process where one does yoga postures to get rid of physical tensions; the pranayama, or breathing practices, to regulate the brain; and yoga nidra, a tantric technique where the student is guided into a deep state of relaxation and various visualizations aid healing and unlocking one’s creative potential.
Usha has had her clients for many years, including Koo Stark and Bianca Jagger. Other celebrities who have been taught by Usha include Richard Gere and Stella McCartney. Usha has filmed a video on yoga for pregnancy with one of her students, the TV presenter, Clare Beckwith.
As a member of the International Yoga Fellowship founded by Swami Satyananda Saraswati, Usha promotes yoga worldwide as she believes it to be essential in the fast-paced modern age. Usha maintains that “unless we evolve spiritually real progress cannot take place; as long as Man is selfish the best political and economic systems will fail as history has shown time and again. The practices of Yoga were devised to help man evolve spiritually and remove the ignorance that limits us and help our consciousness to expand.”
Nafis Sadik is a national of Pakistan. Born in Jaunpur, India, Nafis served as Executive Director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), with the rank of Under-Secretary-General, from 1987 to 2000. When she was appointed in 1987, she made history as first woman to head one of the United Nations' major voluntarily-funded programmes. She has consistently championed the needs of women, and of involving women directly in making and carrying out development policy.
In June 1990, the Secretary-General of the United Nations appointed Nafis as Secretary-General of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), 1994. Nafis’ outstanding contribution to improve the health of women and children internationally has brought her many awards and honours.
She is a member of the Board of Governors of the Foundation for Human Development, and a member of the South Asian Commission on the Asian Challenge. Nafis was the President of the Society for International Development (SID) for the period 1994-1997.
Nafis has written numerous articles for leading publications in the family planning, health, and population and development fields, and edited several books, among them: Population: The UNFPA Experience (New York University Press, 1984), Population Policies and Programmes: Lessons Learned from Two Decades of Experience, (New York University Press, 1991), and Making a Difference: Twenty-five Years of UNFPA Experience, (Banson, London, United Kingdom, 1994).
Nicole Rassmuson was born in Washington D.C. in 1970, later she had a cosmopolitan upbringing in Switzerland, Sweden and America.
Nicole studied at Hobart and William Smith College in New York and at the American College in London, where she earned her Bachelors Degree in Commercial Art in 1993. After working as a graphic designer in Hong Kong and London for three years, Nicole entered Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, where she obtained a Masters in Communication Design.
Rassmuson Design is a studio that offers provocative and innovative graphic design solutions and art direction. Nicole's clients range form public relations consultancies, architecture firms and fashion designers to restaurants, academic foundations and a university. The work includes everything from catalogs, books, press advertisments, posters and corporate identities to educational CD-ROMs.
Prior to forming Rassmuson Design, Nicole gained diverse professional experience. She worked as the Art Director for Clic Advertising in Hong Kong in 1993. In 1994, Nicole joined Rimmel International, a subsidiary of Unilever, as a senior designer in 1994. At Rimmel, Nicole produced and managed creative design solutions from concept stage to final art work for the company's leading international cosmetic brands. In 2005 Nicole moved back to Stockholm and formed the international design consultancy named after herself.
Nivedita Nathoo was born on the 8th December 1968. She has created the highly successful Ayurvedic Spa concept "Surya" in Mauritius.
Directed by a keen sense of determination and focus, Nivedita Nathoo has evolved her life long interests and aptitude for health and well being into a prestigious accolade of achievements, not only on a personal level but in the highly competitive and specialized area of beauty and health.
Having studied extensively the world of Ayurvedic Medicine, Nivedita Nathoo has combined her training in esthetics with the holistic arts of Herbalism, Reflexology, Aromatherapy and Reiki to offer a unique approach in achieving "well being".
With persistent determination and vision, Nivedita Nathoo achievements in the Surya Spa concept won her the prestigious "Laurier D''Or from the French "International Federation of Tourism". Also, sensing a need for professional formation, this busy mother of 2 developed and instituted a complete curriculum for the Complexions Beauty Therapy School in the major city of Quatre Bornes, Mauritius, of which she is the owner and director.
Nivedita is a member of the Mauritian Association of Women Business Entrepreneurs and in January 2006, she was hand picked by Mr. Navin Ramgoolam, the Prime Minister of Mauritius, to chair the National Women's Entrepreneur Council. Her firm intention is to further contribute to the support and stimulation of business women internationally.
Oonagh Shanley-Toffolo was born and brought up in rural Ireland, County Leitrim, where she entered a convent at the age of 16 and was a nun for 20 years. During this time she trained as a nurse and was sent to India to look after the elderly, where she got to know Mother Teresa. However, her experiences in Calcutta made her believe it was young mothers who needed more care but that the only way to nurse them was to leave her order. Gaining a special Papal dispensation in 1965 to do so, she suddenly found herself in the outside world, with only a change of clothes and £100 in cash but with an enormous taste for freedom.
In 1969, she sought new adventures and moved to Paris. There, like so many others in Paris, she discovered new dimensions of living and loving. At the same time the American Hospital's Matron called her to nurse the Duke of Windsor, she cared for him up until he died. To this day her admiration for this remarkable man has not changed - he was a Prince who never lost the common touch.
After marrying in 1973, she and her husband, the architect, Joseph Toffolo, lived in Baghdad over a period of several months. To return home, Joseph sketched his map of the route from Iran and through Syria, Greece, Italy and France - All overland. He wanted to show her the delights and culture of other civilisations...it was their belated honeymoon.
Arriving home was tinged with sadness, and quickly, plans were made to find a studio in Paris, and the tale of two cities commenced!
Having long searched for an alternative to allopathetic medicine, she trained as an acupuncturist in 1979 and completed her studies in China in 1981. Eight years later, after having herself endured serious illness she was requested by Princess Diana to be her acupuncturist and spiritual mentor, a role she fulfilled until 1996.
Today, she continues her search for wholeness, and better ways to live and to love. Oonagh’s autobiography, The Voice of Silence, is published by Rider.
If ever there were living proof that you don’t need to settle for one career then that’s Parvin Ali, whose first degree was one in Education, as she planned on becoming a high school teacher but now heads the FATIMA Women’s Network which she set up. The Network, as a Social Enterprise, supports the personal development of all women from diverse backgrounds through dynamic initiatives in employment and self employment; its mission is to “Lift As We Go!”
As the UK delegate for the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-Operation & Development) Conference in Istanbul on Women in Enterprise in the MENA Region and as a speaker at the Inaugural World Islamic Economic Forum in Malaysia, Parvin has promoted an innovative model for a women's centre that she has developed for FATIMA. Post the 7/7 attacks in London she was appointed to the Government Working Group for Muslim Women and also set up the first Regional Muslim Women's Forum. Parvin is a keen advocate for interfaith work and spearheaded the setting up of the first global interfaith centre for women with the Council for Parliament of World Religions.
Born in Malaysia and brought up in the UK, Parvin had been involved in a variety of businesses with first her father and then her husband before deciding to try it on her own. She successfully ran her own textile company supplying high quality elastics to the major lingerie designers in the UK, and exporting to South Africa, for almost ten years, during which time she also decided at the eleventh hour to embark on a part time Masters degree in Business Administration. Excellent entrepreneurial genes and the love and support of her parents and two daughters have helped her manage a busy portfolio of interests which include being an Executive Member of the Regional Assembly, the Regional Planning Board, the Regional Ethnic Minority Voluntary Sector Partnership and the Regional Community Action Network. Her interests include travelling and buying fabrics and books.
Pera Wells served for nine years as the Acting Secretary-General of the World Federation of United Nations Associations (WFUNA), which was set up in 1946 to be a people's movement in support of the UN. Pera is the first woman to hold this position at WFUNA. How did she arrive at this point in her career? Pera grew up in Melbourne and is a 1960’s Honors Arts Graduate in Political Science from Melbourne University. “The sixties shaped the political imagination of my generation….we felt deeply that the war in Vietnam was wrong and we felt alienated from the dominant political processes shaping our lives. We dreamt about creating bridges between intellectual and political circles so that truth could speak to power”.
Pera’s career began as a research assistant to one of Australia’s leading public intellectuals, Bruce Grant, who in the early 70s was writing op-eds for The Age newspaper and went on to become Australia’s High Commissioner in India. Pera too went into the Australian Foreign Service – her first posting was to Ghana; she was the first female diplomat to be posted by the Australian Government to ‘black Africa’. On return to Canberra, she persuaded the Department of Foreign Affairs to let her create a new position in the UN Political Section focused on Human Rights. She was supernumerary but quickly demonstrated that Australia needed to engage in the UN debates on Human Rights; she worked closely with a network of people to define policy positions on the wide range of issues covered by the covenants on civil, political, social, economic and cultural rights.
For the next ten years Pera was devoted to her work on Human Rights. She served as a First Secretary at the UN in New York from 1979 – 81 working with others to open up the 1503 procedures to enable the UN Commission on Human Rights to consider appeals from people and groups all over the world whose human rights were being violated. She returned to Canberra and became the research assistant to the Governor-General, Sir Ninian Stephen, drafting all his speeches in 1983. The Foreign Affairs Department called her back in 1984 to set up the first Human Rights Section and then in 1985 she was recruited by Sonny Ramphal to set up the first Human Rights Unit in the Commonwealth Secretariat in London.
1987 was a turning point in her life – the Australian Government wanted her to resume her diplomatic career but at the same time she saw enormous potential in strengthening international mechanisms for the promotion and protection of Human Rights. In the event she returned to Canberra and served for another ten years in the Australian Foreign Service, as Director of the Papua New Guinea and Torres Strait Island Section, Director of the first Environment Section (working with Sir Ninian Stephen as the Ambassador for the Environment) and Deputy High Commissioner in India from 1991 – 94. On return to Canberra she set up the first Cross-Cultural Program in the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and was soon advising major Australian companies, such as BHP, on strategies for engaging with the Asian family-based businesses that were extending their operations across the Pacific.
Pera came to recognise that a core theme in her career was a creative commitment to breaking down communication barriers while at the same time opening up opportunities for people to engage with each other in support of the values espoused in the UN Charter and Human Rights Covenants.
It was while she was working as a Senior Fellow at Melbourne University and consultant on cultural diversity, that the senior advisor on Aboriginal Affairs, Lillian Holt, invited her to join a delegation to the UN “We the Peoples’ Millennium Forum” in May 2000. Pera took the opportunity to venture back into the multilateral world she had turned away from in 1987.
Pera stayed on in New York after the UN Millennium Forum as a volunteer, working to promote awareness of the Declaration that had been adopted (and which she helped to draft). The position at the World Federation of United Nations Associations came to her by surprise – and delight. She has devoted herself to building up a dynamic global network of United Nations Associations - www.wfuna.org.
And for the future?
Pera believes that the relevance and effectiveness of the United Nations depends mightily on finding a new balance between the Charter ordained sovereign independence of nation states and the Charter proclaimed statement that it is written in the name of “We the Peoples”. And it will be women, connecting with each other through the emerging global civil society who will make this happen in ways that will forever be most mysterious to men who rely on hierarchical forms of power.
Phyllis Krystal was born in London on May 11, 1914. She graduated from Bishop Otter College, Chichester and taught at high school for three years before moving to the U.S. in 1937. She married Sidney Krystal, a prominent attorney, and they had two daughters and two grandchildren, a grandson and a granddaughter. She has been a widow since 1993.
In the late 1950s she studied the work of Edgar Cayce. This led her to work with a friend and developing a method for contacting the inner source of wisdom which they called the Hi C for Higher Consciousness. Since that time, a visualisation method has evolved by working with the Hi C which she first used on herself and then with many others. As word of these techniques spread, she received numerous requests to write about her visualisation method. Her first book, Cutting the Ties That Bind, was published in 1982 shortly to be followed by Cutting More Ties That Bind and a Workbook to accompany the two Cutting the Ties books. Her other books are Sai Baba, The Ultimate Experience, an account of her experiences with Sri Sathya Sai Baba; Taming our Monkey Mind; Reconnecting the Love Energy; Cutting the Ties of Karma; and Let's Thank God.
All her books have been published by Samuel Weiser, now Redwheel/Weiser. They have also been translated into many languages, which has continued to spread her work even further and led to invitations to give seminars in many other countries, mainly in Europe, to teach the method and to give individual sessions. Now in her nineties, she continues to write and lecture around the world and is currently living in Munich, Germany where her work is in great demand.
Rachel Gilmour is Head of Strategic Communications for the Environment Agency where she is responsible for making sure that all their communications are coordinated and robust. Rachel is also formerly the Director of Communications at the NFU and the first woman to join the board of the UK's largest trade association, the UK’s leading and largest farming and food trade association with 55,000 members, 70,000 associate members: employing over 700 staff in an international, national and regional network with an annual income of £22 million. As Director of Communications specific duties include presenting UK farming as a modern British industry; promoting awareness of and confidence in UK food and farming on the world stage.
She studied Law at SOAS and English Literature at King’s College in London. She has worked as Head of Public Affairs for Everychild (formerly The European Children’s Trust), Head of Campaigns for the Royal National Institute for Deaf People (RNID) and Press and Parliamentary Liaison Officer for The Association of Personal Injury Lawyers. She was also caseworker and policy advisor to Nick Harvey MP and public relations office for Taunton Deane Borough Council.
In 1997, Rachel stood for Parliament in Nottingham North, and in 2001 in Totnes for the Liberal Democrat Party. Rachel has been a Devon Country Council School Governor and Mid Devon District Councillor. She lives with her children, Henry, Tom, Sophia and Charles, and is married to Patrick Gilmour, a solicitor who specialises in commercial law.
She was appointed as Head of Strategic Communications at the UK Environment Agency in 2008 and was promoted to Head of Strategy, Planning and Resources in 2010.
Born on 25th November 1924 in Patiala, Ramma Bans is the fitness guru and weight-loss pioneer, credited with introducing aerobics to India. She is responsible for setting up five-star ambience health clubs for the Taj Group, Welcome Group and Oberoi Hotels.
Ramma trained in London in beauty therapy in the 1960s and returned to Delhi in 1967 to start her own beauty salon, which was patronised by the diplomatic corp. She has worked with Sathya Saran, the magazine editor, to put Miss India on the world map, by training the competitors to keep fit. She has been Indira Gandhi’s beautician and her aerobic classes have been attended by Bollywood’s glitterati, from Dimple Kapadia to Rani Mukerji. Ramma and Rekha, the Bollywood legend, produced a documentary on the mind and body temple, with profits going to children with disabilities.
Ramma believes that “we have a body that serves us 24 hours a day, and we should serve this God given infrastructure for at least one hour a day and keep ourselves fit.” Her maxim in life is, “if you want to see what your thoughts were like yesterday look at your body today. It you want to see what your body will be like tomorrow look at your thoughts today.”
Regretfully Ramma passed away on 4th December 2010.
Thought of the day
"If only the women of the world would come together they could display such heroic non-violence as to kick away the atom bomb like a mere ball" M.K. Gandhi
Born in 1955 into the illustrious industrialist family of Modis, in Modinagar in Uttar Pradesh, Rekha Mody is in her own right, a woman who wears more than one hat. She is a connoisseur of art, a well-known publisher, a social worker and a woman campaigner. She started her education at a labourers school in Modinagar, which brought her close to the plight and the pain of the less privileged people. She did her high school in Gwalior, where she studied with tribal girls. This interaction imbued in her a value system with social responsibility. She got her Bachelor in Arts degree from the Meerut University in first division. Her college education at Modi Nagar exposed her directly to the dignity of labour.
Her Masters in literature was interrupted after one year due to her marriage to Padam Mody in 1974. She has two daughters Aditi and Isha who have both received higher education in England. She settled at Kolkata at the age of twenty-nine in 1984, she answered her inner call and set out for a cultural revolution, with a strong emphasis on social development. She started her work journey by founding four prestigious institutions working in different fields. She is the founder of Divya Chaya Trust- a public charity which along with an associate UK trust, Save A Child, works to restore hope and is providing opportunities to the deprived children. She is the CEO of the publishing house, Garutman Pvt Ltd, which promotes quality Indian literature translated from Indian regional languages to English and promotes them internationally.
To campaign for the cause close to her heart to fight for women’s issues she founded of Stree Shakti – The parallel force networking women’s forum with few eminent women.
More challenges are ahead of her as she is driven by the urge for nation building. Her forte lies in developing strategies and implementing them with international standard.
With the objective to providing visibility for women and their issues Rekha founded Stree Shakti – The Parallel Force, a dynamic forum aiming at ‘Networking for Action’. This forum aims to provide a platform for joint actions as well as for collection, systematic processing and distribution of information related to women’s issues in particular and general networking. The movement is a catalyst for fundamental social changes and to awake and activate women of every class. Women from different walks of life have responded and joined this networking forum. Parliamentarians, Writers, Intellectuals, Artists, Scientist, Entrepreneurs, Scholars and grass root rural workers are a part of the campaign.
Stree Shakti is committed to provide strategies for empowering women, one such is to mobilise support for an Equal Opportunity Commission in India. Past decades has witnessed an improvement in women’s participation in power sharing world wide. According to the latest findings the percentage at women’s representation in Single or in Lower House is: Nordic countries 39%, America 15%, Asia 15%, Europe, excluding Nordic countries, 14%, sub-Saharan Africa 12%, Pacific 12% and Arab states 5%. Yet India has lingered around 8%.
To encourage Indian women achievers all over the world, Stree Shakti Awards have been established. Prior to this only one or two awards were given. Since Stree Shakti awards were set up, many prestigious women awards have been introduce to recognise the efforts of woman achievers in the India, a feather in the cap of Stree shakti, the Parallel Force.
Thought of the day
"whatever you can do or dream, you can become it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it" Goethe
The founder and managing director of Corporate DNA Consulting in London, Rhea is a leading practitioner in Talent, Leadership and High Performance Teams. With over a decade of management consulting experience, Rhea is an ex - Director of Pricewaterhouse Coopers where she started her career. Rhea has a consistent track record of working with management boards, senior management, CEOs, HRDs and high potential teams. Her clients include Unilver, EDF Energy, Northern Trust, Pfizer and Dubai Holding. From facilitating board consensus on a talent management strategy with a global financial services company in UK, to assisting the world renowned Dubai Holding group with its structure and values, developing succession planning in a leading oil and gas company, leadership development for the CEO of Pfizer Hellas, and assisting the Leadership Team of an international real estate company with top team alignment, Rhea is known for her trusted advisor status with clients.
A regular commentator, author and speaker on leadership and talent management, Rhea has featured in The Wall Street Journal, The Economist and The Conference Board.
Rhea is a member of The Conference Board’s Global Advisory Committee on Talent Management.
Rhea was nominated for the Women of the Future 2008 as a successful entrepreneur in corporate Britain.
Rhea has an MBA, a Masters in Software Engineering and an Honours in English Literature. She is also an executive coach accredited by Middlesex University, ICF & EMCC and trained in a number of psychometrics. She has worked closely with INSEAD and Cranfield business schools on people projects.
Rhea’s book on cross cultural leadership is underway in 2009 where she reveals personal insights from cross-cultural unconventional leaders across industries and geographies.
Rhea is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in London.
Widely travelled, to 30 countries, Rhea dedicates her personal and professional success to her cross cultural experience and clients across the world - the UK, US, Europe Middle East, East Asia, Japan, and India.
Involved in a number of voluntary and charitable causes, Rhea was listed as one of 100 inspirational women by the ASHA Foundation and featured by the International Women of Excellence in 2005. In 2008 Rhea was invited by the Government of Malaysia to be a keynote speaker at their National Women’s Day addressing 1000 corporate senior and middle management women on navigating the leadership maze. Her company is also a corporate sponsor of Action Aid, the international charity on three projects covering healthcare for women in Cambodia, deprived children in southern Afghanistan and education for children in a notorious slum area in Brazil.
Rhea lives in London with her husband John, a British-Greek Chartered Accountant and OD consultant. At home, piano and painting are her pursuits.
Dr Rhona MacDonald (MRCGP, MPH, DRCOG, DCH) is currently working at Medicins Sans Frontiere and for the Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative, to step up their global campaign, while editing a new journal for European general Practitioners and the newsletter of the British Association of the Physicians of Indian Origin.
She recently left the international aid charity, Oxfam, where she was editor of Oxfam.org.uk, but still leads on Oxdocs, an initiative she created to inspire and encourage the medical profession to do something to help alleviate global poverty.
Rhona might be best known for her time at the BMJ (2000-2004) where she was editor of BMJ careers, editor of the student BMJ and assistant editor of the BMJ. In addition to initiating five different career services for doctors, she also helped to draw attention to the special problems faced by overseas doctors and doctors with disabilities and illnesses.
Before joining the BMJ, Rhona spent eight years in clinical practice, training and working as a GP, and laterally a public health doctor before specialising in tropical medicine. She has worked in developing countries with various NGOs (Non Governmental Organisations), particularly Bangladesh and Romania.She is currently working on assignments for the World Health Organisation (WHO) and Public Library of Science (PLOS) Medicine.Dr MacDonald has initiated and been involved with many international campaigns and is a fierce defender of human rights and social justice.
Rifat Wahhab is currently advising a Primary Care Trust on all aspects of learning and development. The role is challenging as well as being fulfilling. By being a part of the team that produces a strong learning programme for over 900 members of staff, Rifat is aware that the beneficiaries will also be patients who will receive higher quality care as a result of the training.
Rifat's career has centred on advising, developing and training individuals and organisations. Rifat has been particularly committed to communities who do not access traditional information and education routes. She worked for nine years in a NCVO project which later became independent helping inner-city voluntary groups across England develop as organisations so that they can provide stronger services to their communities.
Rifat also worked as an internal consultant for Haringey Council training and developing teams, departments and individuals so that the residents of Haringey can receive a better quality service.
Reflecting on her career so far, Rifat comments, "There has been a common thread in my career; from being a librarian for architects, to being a fundraising adviser for charities to being an internal consultant for local government and the NHS, I have been able to help organisations and professionals deliver the very best of services to those who need it most.”
Rifat holds a degree in Librarianship, two post graduate diplomas: Women's Studies and Diploma In Management Studies and a MA in Management Practice. Rifat has been a trustee of two charities: Abbey Community Association, serving the residents and non residents of South Westminster and the Consortium of Bengali Associations, a national charity set up to strengthen the Bengali voluntary sector.
In 2012 she became a Strategic Health Facilitator at CLCH.
So where does one begin a biography?
In the womb...? or further back with the idea of past lives. Or maybe it is a projection of one’s future life and where one's path is headed. Well I suppose it is that too. All I can really affirm here is that via the vehicle of my work, my life has been the discovery that....... all I really am.....is that I am.
For the working record, and since this is the only lifetime mortal me can recall at this time, I guess I will mention that it is influenced by having been educated around the world in at least 25 schools, having lived in as many cities and even more homes. On reflection, that is perhaps how I began my journey into wanting to understand the environment and how design may affect us.
I am the youngest in a family of 5 children brought up from an early age by a widowed and rather eccentric father. As siblings we experienced a rather unusual view of life, one which included not only many cityscapes but also long periods living at sea, and even surviving a plane crash.
To cope with all the continual crossings of culture and curriculum at the multifarious schools, I personally found it easier to lean towards the more common ground of maths and art. And so it was that architecture became my preferred area of study, though I did initially take a detour to Fine Art. Not surprisingly when I did my final thesis it was on.....architecture.
If one values one’s worth by editorial credit and financial reward, I suppose in my early working years I was a successful building developer and designer. But my real passion lay in understanding better what it was that made a building tick. And I was curious as to whether such a building could make us tick.
Over the years I studied social architecture, psychology of design, colour theory and human physiology in relation to ergonomics. For historical classical input I studied the Greeks and Egyptians, and then drifted east for a while, investigating the Chinese philosophy of the Tao, feng shui and India's vashtu to understand the Eastern take on environmental design and architecture. As a balance to these esoteric investigations, as best I could I studied lay bimolecular-chemistry and quantum mechanics to understand us and matter itself.
It was by integrating this unfolding information into my work that I found myself reaching for deeper pickings at the tree of life in general.
At a point of change in the 90s I took a gap year. I used it to work as creative director on film and video, along with lecturing at art schools. Working with leading lights of the stage and art/architecture world, as well as major players of the business world.....during this time I grew my skill... and my questions. At one stage I was invited in a professional capacity to Downing St. There, while sitting in Churchill's famous armchair and in response to questions about my evolving perspective on design, I was rather serendipitously able to quote the great man himself.
"We shape our buildings, thereafter they shape us." Sir Winston Churchill.
While working on my book on quantum mechanics and architecture, and generally blowing myself away with the wonders of our Universe, I wrote two other books on the Tao, the environment and us - 'Chinese Whispers' - and - 'Good Vibes'.
Researching and writing through the night while working on sites during the day, my life went from teach-ins to academic soirees, and from spiritual retreats to building sites. Designing churches, factories and high street shops, along with country house estates and live / work studios, altogether a rather satisfying play on my evolving stage.
Oh - and I finally found out what made a building tick.
We are the cause, the affect and the effect.
So in that my biography and my life comes back to its beginning. From many environments as a child to more as an adult. Via architecture my life has been the search and discovery of my simply being an interdependent vibrating mineral in water along with everyone and everything else.
I am that, you are that, this is that and that is this.......
Thought of the day
"You have to become toughened by the hammer strokes of joy and sorrow until you are unaffected by the vicissitudes of fortune" Sri Sathya Sai Baba
Reverend Rosemary Perry (née Barry) has had extraordinary experiences in her life from early childhood. They include vivid past life flashbacks, prophetic dreams, ‘out of the body’ experiences, clairvoyance and clairaudience. Her path has been winding and very hard in places but she has never let go of her faith and trust in God. She also firmly believes that nature is indeed ‘God’s vesture’ and that nature is profoundly intelligent. She believes not only that, in reality, everything in our worldly perception is interconnected and all one but also that humans are meant to be at one with nature and see everything as divine but do not realise this. Instead we generally come from an entrenched, estranged and misguided fear of nature and of each other.
Many years were spent engaged in attuning to the mystical British landscape in order to heal the alienation she felt towards it, after nearly 20 years spent in Africa’s vibrant terrain and diverse cultures. She believes feelings of alienation are not always simply a matter of skin colour. Her actual rift was an internal one, a separation from her true self. She has, over three decades, visited and meditated at many sacred places around the world and has been a vegetarian for various periods in her life but constantly so since 1991.
Rosemary was born in Hampstead, London in 1950 and in 1954 she went with her parents by steam ship, to live in The Gambia (a British colony at the time).
Her first schooling in the country’s capital, Bathurst (now Banjul), was at ‘Mrs Bolton’s Kindergarten’ then at St Joseph’s Convent where the nuns gave you a beating on the palm of your hand, with a split bamboo cane, for every spelling that you got wrong in a daily test! …She became a very good speller!
In 1959 her family lived in Provence, in the South of France, for nearly a year. From there they moved to a North Yorkshire village where she was educated at the village primary school and then at the nearby Grammar School. During that period regular visits were made back to West Africa where her father worked as a Chartered Accountant.
Three-Dimensional Design: After a family move south she did a ‘One-year Foundation Course in Art’ at Tunbridge Wells Adult Education Centre, as a prelude to studying 3-Dimensional Design at Guildford School of Art in Surrey. She worked in Shepherd’s Bush in London for a design company, as an Exhibition Stand Designer, principally for the Earl’s Court and Olympia exhibition centres.
She later returned to Africa, this time to Zambia in Central Africa, where she worked variously for eight years as: a Graphic Artist and Programme Presenter for Educational TV Zambia, a Printer’s Layout Artist, a Jewellery Designer and was for the whole time very involved in set/costume design at The Kitwe Little Theatre on the Copperbelt.
There followed two years in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania, then in 1981 she came back to England via six months in Malta, to live in Dorset with her two children.
Rosemary has developed and honed holistic and intuitive skills over forty years of working very closely with groups, clients and patients in different ways. She now allows her higher consciousness to direct sessions. She is a multi-discipline, ‘mixed skills’ complementary medicine practitioner.
In June 1986, she qualified as an analytical hypnotherapist with the Institute of Analytical Hypnotherapists. This later became the International Association of Hypno-analysts. She now specialises in highly focussed sessions designed to reach the core problem quickly.
In 1989, she became a homoeopath using Radiesthesia. She began training, in 1987, with an esteemed homoeopathy practitioner in Bournemouth, who is an expert in the field of Radiesthesia. This is a very useful tool in Homeopathic diagnosis. It involves dowsing along a calibrated box to ascertain the state of health and determine any inherited or acquired ‘miasma’ that may be points of weakness in the body’s energy field. She moved in 1988 to live near Winchester in Hampshire.
Ever since she first learned of the Buddhist proverb: “When the pupil is ready, the Master will appear,” this was something that she had yearned for. In 1991 Rosemary recognised, at a very deep level, the Holy Man, Sri Sathya Sai Baba, as that very Spiritual Teacher that she had always hoped would come into her life.
Past life investigation is something that Rosemary specialises in. She takes this very seriously and, since 1991, approaches this by either using hypnotic regression or by psychometry (reading the vibrations held within a personal item of the client). The purpose is always to seek a root cause or explanation for a seemingly insoluble problem or situation in this life. Clients have gone away and researched material that has arisen during their session and confirmed that it has indeed been fact.
Rosemary was, from 1994 – 1997, Global Coordinator of Fountain International (a worldwide organisation for Personal, Community and Earth Healing, using visualisation). During this time she organised annual international conferences, membership, circulation of magazine and so on. She became very involved in ‘Earth Healing’ work and took individuals and groups into Stonehenge, Avebury and many other wonderful landscape temples, including crop circles, to meditate and attune.
In the 1997 UK General Election she stood as a candidate, in May, for the Natural Law Party for a Southampton constituency and then again in November 1997, for the Winchester constituency, in that historic by-election. The main platform for her campaign was to end Genetic Modification of foodstuffs, to reform approaches to health by the NHS and to end the UK’s arms trade. Having developed her own style of meditation in the early 1980s, she was initiated into, and fully adopted, the Transcendental Meditation technique in August 1998.
Inspired to learn more about the world’s religions and spiritual pathways, Rosemary trained for two years at the first interfaith seminary in the UK. (This is now called the ‘Onespirit Interfaith Foundation’.) It was a sister branch of the world’s oldest interfaith seminary that was founded in 1981 in New York by Rabbi Joseph Gelberman. She was ordained as an Interfaith Minister in 2001 along with her husband, Steve.
As an Interfaith Minister, she is able to conduct services and rites of passage such as funerals, spiritual marriages, baby namings and house blessings. As a Spiritual Counsellor, she can offer people the means whereby they can learn from within how to live a life at a more soul-integrated level, with the perfect balance of mind, body and spirit.
In September 2005, she spoke at an Interfaith Forum at New Scotland Yard, in London, on the ‘July 7th Bombings’, emphasising that ‘community’ used to mean an entire group of people living within a certain geographical area – and was not a euphemism for a religious group living within an area.
In 2007 she was made a United Nations-related ‘Ambassador for Peace’, an award given by the Universal Peace Federation.
Rosemary was the National Vice Chair 2005 – 2007 and then National Chairperson 2007 – 2010 for the Sri Sathya Sai Service Organisation UK. She is currently a Trustee on the Sri Sathya Sai Charitable Trust UK.
Rosemary works with a set of impeccable morals and ethics, very intuitively and freely. She still sees a small number of patients and clients at her home in Hampshire. She has given talks on local radio and appeared in various news articles.
After two divorces early on in her life she now lives very happily with her husband Steve, whom she married in 1999. In April 1999, their Guru, the esteemed Indian Holy Man, humanitarian and educationist, Sri Sathya Sai Baba, asked them to marry and gave them a special personal Blessing in Southern India both for their marriage and for their future together. She has a son and a daughter who are happily married, and one grandchild – Luke - born on the ninth anniversary of the day Rosemary and Steve were given their Guru’s Marriage Blessing!
She regularly polishes dreams of:
Building a sustainable eco-home along ancient Vastu principles around an open central courtyard.
Seeing sacred geometry-based ‘Peace Temples’ built in all the major cities and towns of the world, to house knowledge of the various faiths and spiritual beliefs that exist. School children would learn universality there and spiritual-based drama and concerts would be performed in them.
Thought of the day"Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat." Theodore Roosevelt
Ruth Powys is a conservationist and human rights advocate. Brought up by missionaries, her childhood was submerged in an atmosphere of passion and conviction. This upbringing instilled in Ruth a strong value system; however the strict gender roles followed by the Church coupled with a curiosity for other religious edicts ultimately drew Ruth away from this version of Christianity.
Along with her twin sister, Mary, Ruth developed into an outspoken advocate for human rights among her peers and became particularly sensitive to issues affecting women. This lead to her arrest in 1997 for organising a campaign against Virgin Cola’s sexually exploitative advertising.
She went on to read Early Modern History at the University of Essex where subjects such as slavery, genocide and gender history motivated her to pursue a career in the not-for-profit sector. After graduating, Ruth studied with the Institute of Public Relations. This equipped her with the vision to develop highly creative public art campaigns, which have raised over £10 million for numerous causes in the past 5 years.
In 2004 Ruth joined forces with the travel writer and adventurer, Mark Shand, to establish the conservation charity, Elephant Family. Between Mark’s black book and Ruth’s creative ideas and energy she developed the charity from a team of one to what it is today; a £3m turnover conservation power house for the endangered Asian elephant.
Her campaigns consistently feature life size elephants in a myriad of forms – from topiary to paint and high fashion - her bold and ambitious ideas have engaged the public and generated mass awareness and funds on a grand scale.Her most high profile campaign, Elephant Parade London (www.elephantparadelondon.org), was the capital’s largest outdoor art exhibition on record. More recently the charity executed The Big Egg Hunt which saw over 200 giant eggs hidden all over London, painted by world famous artists. The event broke two Guinness World Records and was the biggest egg hunt on record globally http://2012.thebigegghunt.co.uk/
Thought of the day
"All forms of art to a greater or lesser degree depend on science or technology. The more developed we become the greater is the dependence on scientific inputs"
Her father, Youra Sleptzoff, a painter, was the son of a Russian General who died in battle. Her mother, Shakuntala Paranjpye, was one of the first Indian girls to study at Cambridge, going on to launch the family planning movement in India. Sai was brought up by her mother, whose name she took; and her maternal grandfather, Sir R.P. Paranjpye, India's first Senior Wrangler (Cambridge), a renowned educationalist, public servant and India's first high commissioner to Australia. Sai wrote her very first book at the age of eight. Her ability to weave fairy tales at such a young age made her mother realise that her daughter was blessed with some innate talent, which if given the right direction could blossom into a rewarding career.
She began her career at All India Radio in Pune. From AIR she moved on to theatre and then to television and films. Theatre has always been and will remain her first love, particularly the Marathi theatre. One of the prime reasons for this is its ability to connect with a live responsive audience. In an industry dominated by men, she has managed to carve a niche for herself.
Sai served for two terms as the Chairperson of Children's Film Society, Government of India. This extremely rewarding experience involves making decisions about various subjects related to children's films, an area in which she has won numerous accolades at both the national as well as international level. During her tenure she made four children's films for CFSI.
Sai asserts, "if you want to know the real me, try seeing it in my films which are laced by a gamut of human emotions and which cover a range of subjects that are ignored by today's filmmakers and writers. Today's cinema suffers a real dearth of good scriptwriters. The same old story is repackaged and sold to the audience in a new form. We need more writers who can reach out to the masses effectively."
Thought of the day
"May the power of silence devour our violence"
Sarah Miles was born on 31st December 1941 and is loved as one of Britain’s foremost theatre and film actresses. At the age of 15 she enrolled at RADA, the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, where she was seen by Sir John Gielgud, who put her straight into the play he was directing in the West End, Dazzling Prospect, opposite Margaret Rutherford. Sarah then went on to Worthing Repertory Company, where she was talent-spotted, and appeared opposite her icon, Laurence Olivier, as a precocious schoolgirl in Terms of Trial. For many, Sarah was the icon of the 1960s – beautiful, bold and brilliant.
In the following years, she became a popular actress of ‘New Wave’ with her roles in Joseph Losey's The Servant and in Michelangelo Antonioni's Blow Up. After a stint in the National Theatre, and some more West End plays, Sarah’s outstanding performance in 1970, in the lead role of David Lean’s Ryan’s Daughter, earned her an Academy Award (‘Oscar’) nomination for Best Actress. In 1973, Sarah appeared in The Hireling, with Robert Shaw, which won the Cannes Film Festival award.
Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Sarah delivered superb performances in Lady Caroline Lamb, The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing, Magnificent Men and their Flying Machines, Great Expectations, The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea, White Mischief, Hope and Glory.
Sarah prefers writing to acting and has written a one woman musical, Widow Smiles, and a three-handed play, Charlemagne, both of which have received excellent reviews in the UK and USA. Sarah has also written a trilogy of critically acclaimed memoirs – A Right Royal Bastard; Serves Me Right; and Bolt from the Blue. In 1998, Sarah authored her first book of fiction, Beautiful Mourning.
In 1967, Sarah married Robert Bolt, the award-winning playwright and screenwriter of Lawrence of Arabia, Ryan’s Daughter, The Mission, Lady Caroline Lamb, Dr Zhivago, and A Man for All Seasons – the latter two earning Robert Academy Awards. Robert’s plays include A Man for All Seasons, Flowering Cherry, The Tiger and a Horse, and Gentle Jack. Sarah and Robert were married for seven years, divorced for seven years, and remarried again for fourteen. Sadly, Robert died in 1995. They have one son together, Tom, and a grandson Billy.