Robert Chlala
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Profile Information

Religion / Faith
Nichiren Buddhist
I have attended the Parliament of Religions:
Local Religious Community / Interfaith Affiliation:
SGI USA Buddhist Organization
I have come to PeaceNext looking for:
networking, interreligious advocacy, intrareligious reflection
I am inspired by:
The unheard voices at the grassroots who are making change just by leading lives of wisdom and compassion; fearless leaders, teachers, artists and scholars such as Martin Luther King Jr, Daisaku Ikeda, Tsunesaburo Makaguchi, John Dewey, Talal Asad, Ruth Wilson Gilmore, Mahmoud Darwish, Naomi Klein, Thoreau, Joan Didion, Pauline Lipman, Ella Baker; the inseparability of human life and the environment.
My favorite spiritual places:
In a group of people in dialogue; chanting at home; the ocean.
Interreligious causes I care about:
Widereaching economic, social and political justice that shifts the values by which our world works towards humanism.
Changes I am working toward in my community:
Intercommunity dialogue work; uvenille Justice reformation towards transformative justice; education reform to retain public control; popular education.
About Me:
Robert Chlala is a freelance author and researcher who has written for multiple academic and news analysis sources, including Jadaliyya and The Public Record. For over ten years, he has worked in communications, organizing and popular education with immigrant rights, juvenile justice and education reform groups in Los Angeles and Northern California. He is currently based in Chicago, Illinois, aiding in several projects around equitable public education and transformative justice, including Teachers for Social Justice and Project NIA. A practicing Nichiren Buddhist with the Soka Gakkai, he sees faith as inseparable from grassroots activism – and Buddhist humanism as a critical means to grasp the interconnections between economic realities/values and a range of social/political crises.

Robert recently spent a year working with Interfaith Youth Core as a Campus Engagement Associate, training young leaders around interfaith action and helping colleges and universities create holistic approaches to religious diversity. His academic pursuits started at the University of California, Berkeley, where he studied Political Economy and City and Regional Planning. Working under the tutelage of Ananya Roy and Kiren Chaudhry, he examined USAID-funded “secular” microcredit and Hezb'allah-funded “religious” development programs vying for South Lebanon. His current research looks at the ways in which citizenship has been impacted by the encroachment of the neoliberal “security” state over the last 30 years, and the ways in which faith-based/religious and non-religious movements respond to and redefine the bounds of political/social belonging.

Robert Chlala's Blog

Courage in the Face of History: From the Alabama 15 to the Occupy Movements

Posted on November 22, 2011 at 6:00am 1 Comment

In the last weeks, the inseparability of the power of police, federal agencies and private security – the militarization of daily life - with our current economic system was brought home to hundreds of thousands of people in the U.S.

Occupy activists from Oakland to Portland to…


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