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Greenville 2019 Atlantic Peace and Dialogue Award Dinner

Younts Conference Center, Furman University, April 11th, 2019

The Atlantic Institute of Greenville would like to thank all of our guests, sponsors, awardees and speakers for helping make the 2019 Atlantic Peace and Dialogue Dinner a truly memorable experience. We would like to thank Dr. Steve Morgan, our MC, for guiding us through this evening with wit, charm and insight. In addition, we would like to thank Adela Mendoza, Curtis Johnson, Roann Abdeladl and Jerry Blassingame for being pillars of the community worthy of recognition. Our guest calligrapher, Aydin Cayir, was fantastic and had the guests on the edge of their seats.

We would like to extend a very special thanks to Jerry Blassingame for sharing his story with us and for agreeing to do so on short notice. To the table sponsors, guests, and friends of Atlantic Institute that made this night possible: we appreciate you! The dedication, generosity, and kindness that we get from our community in Greenville is truly humbling. Thank you all for a wonderful night!

Thanks for our sponsors:

Steven Morgan
Inman United Methodist
Green Acquisition Corporation
Holy Cross Episcopal Church
IUMC Friends and Seekers-a
Reconciling Ministry
Clemson University, Office of Inclusion and Equity
First Baptist Clemson
Nathalie Morgan
107.3 JAMZ
Long Branch Baptist Church
Dr Peter Cohen




MC- Rev. Steve D. Morgan

smorganRev. Dr Steven D. Morgan is a retired minister in the South Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church. He holds degrees from Wofford College, Duke Divinity School, and Candler School of Theology of Emory University. He held appointments in Glasgow, Scotland and several churches around South Carolina, including his most recent appointment of twelve years at Saint Mark UMC in Seneca. He is interested in venues of interfaith and interracial dialogue and advancing progressive theological thought and serves on the Greenville Interfaith Forum and the Anderson Forum of Progressive Theology.








Speaker- Brian Luke Seaward: Presenting: Stand Like Mountain, Flow Like Water: Moving From Fear To Love:


Brian Luke Seaward is regarded as one of the foremost experts in the field of stress management and a pioneer in the fields of mind-body-spirit healing and corporate health promotion. The wisdom of Brian Luke Seaward can be found quoted in PBS specials, The Chicago Tribune, The Huffington Post, college graduation speeches, medical seminars, boardroom meetings, church sermons, and keynote addresses all over the world. He has authored more than twelve books, including the classic best sellers, Stand Like Mountain, Flow Like Water, The Art of Calm and Stressed Is Desserts Spelled Backward and the leading college textbook, Managing Stress (9E). Dr. Seaward’s mission, as expressed through his legacy of acclaimed books, documentary films and public appearances, is to make this a better world in which to live by having each of us reach our highest potential. His corporate clients include Hewlett Packard, Royal Caribbean, Wells Fargo, TransAmerica, Procter & Gamble, Conoco-Phillips, Motorola, Quaker Oats, John Deere, BP-Amoco, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Maxtor-Seagate, Organic Valley Dairy, US ARMY, The US Airforce and many others. For 25 years he served on the faculty of the University of Colorado Consortium for Public Health and now currently he is a faculty member of The Graduate Institute. Dr. Seaward is the Executive Director of the Paramount Wellness Institute in Boulder, CO. Former Good Morning America host, Joan Lunden says, “Dr. Seaward’s words have touched my life profoundly and helped me to find grace and dignity, the patience and compassion needed to navigate my ever-changing course. They have helped me understand that it is the way I choose to see the world that I will create the world I see.” It’s been said several times that Brian Luke Seaward looks like James Taylor, dresses like Indiana Jones, and writes like Mark Twain. In the role of traveler, visionary, mystic, healer and mentor, Dr. Seaward has created a legacy in the field of wellness and health promotion for all to share. He can be contacted at


2019 Awardees - Atlantic Peace & Dialogue Awards

Peace and Dialogue Award: Adela Mendoza, Executive Director of Hispanic Alliance.

Adela is an international professional skilled at building strategic collaborative partnerships, facilitating cross-cultural relationships, and leading diverse teams and coalitions. As the Executive Director of the Hispanic Alliance, Adela is helping build collective capacity to embrace the emerging Hispanic population as a thriving, productive, and positive contributor to the community at large.

Adela is a native of Veracruz, Mexico, where she earned her Bachelor of Arts in Communications and Journalism from Universidad del Valle and worked for a leading radio station directing media relations, planning and managing large-scale event logistics attended annually by over 12,000 people, and coordinating communications with international recording companies.

Before joining the Alliance, Adela worked for SE Consulting, Inc., and was Statewide Program Manager for the South Carolina Immigrant Victim Network, where she helped establish international cooperative relations among foreign consulates and US organizations.

In 2013, Adela was selected as an Aspen Ideas Festival Scholar among 60 leaders from around the world chosen for their accomplishments and their ability to transform ideas into action. She continues to engage with and take inspiration from the Institute in the development of the Student DREAMers Alliance leadership program. Adela is a Liberty Fellow and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network. She is also a graduate of Leadership Greenville and Furman University's Riley Institute Diversity Leaders Institute, which honored her in 2018 with their "Outstanding Contribution to International Diversity Award."

Adela is a founding member of Upstate International and serves on the boards of Community Foundation of Greenville, United Way Community Investment Cabinet, Goodwill Industries of the Upstate/Midlands, the International Center of the Upstate, and the advisory boards of the Greenville Chamber of Commerce and MedEx Academy.

Adela’s dream for South Carolina is that we, collectively, will build an ecosystem of opportunity where every person has access to the conditions and resources to thrive.


Public and Community Service Award: Jerry Blassingame founder of Soteria Community Development Corporation:


Jerry Blassingame is the Executive Director of Soteria Community Development Corporation. He endeavors to empower individuals and the community through education, affordable housing, financial literacy, community and economic development, and entrepreneurship. His passion is assisting individuals who have been incarcerated through reentry and helping them to become productive citizens.

Jerry attended Columbia International University and studied architectural engineering at Greenville Technical College. Jerry received a 20 year prison sentence in 1995 and only served 3 ½ years after being paroled in 1999. He is also a Social Entrepreneur who believes in social enterprise for the non- profit sector. Jerry has continued to fight for change in legislation since he was granted a pardon in 2004. One of his greatest accomplishments was to receive the Chuck Colson award from IPM through Wheaton College in 2014.

Jerry has served as PTA President for PJ Fisher Middle School. He is also Vice President of Correctional Ministries and Chaplain Association International based out of Wheaton College through the Institute for Prison Ministries. Jerry is currently Chair of the Greenville Reentry Coalition and 2016 fellow of JustLeadershipUSA

Jerry lives in Greenville South Carolina with his wife, Stephanie of 20 years and 3 of their 6 kids. He is an active part of the community and an advocate for economic and social justice.


Media and Communications Award: Pastor Curtis Johnson Gospel Director for JAMZ:


 Pastor Curtis L. Johnson is the Senior Pastor of the V alley Brook Outreach Baptist Church, a position he’s held since 1993. He also serves as the Gospel Director of 107.3 JAMZ, WJMZ in Greenville, SC for which he has received the South Carolina Broadcaster Service Award.

Pastor Johnson has been a pillar of the community as the founder and member of many projects and committees that promote peace and equality. He is currently the Chairman of the Board for one of the leading anti-poverty Community Action Agencies in SC, SHARE (Sunbelt Human Advancement Resources). In addition, Pastor Johnson is on the Diversity Advisory Committees for the Greenville Health System (Prisma) and Greenville Technical College.

Pastor Johnson Founded and is the Chairman of the MLK Dream Weekend. This 10-year multi-event program celebrates in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King and has produced over $1 million in scholarships to deserving students across the Upstate.

Pastor Johnson organized the 107 Days of Nonviolence Service Project, which was designed to address the violence in the community. It was also designed to inspire youth and adults of the Upstate to embrace nonviolence as a lifestyle, and improve the quality of life in the Upstate. This effort helped to account for a 15% reduction in violent crime in Greenville County during the 107 Days.

He recently received the Presidential Lifetime Volunteer Service Award from the Obama Administration.

Through his preaching and teaching, God has used Pastor Johnson to affect the lives of many churches, pastors, men, women and youth. Pastor Johnson and his wife of 27 years, Charla Johnson have two sons, Isaiah & Joshua.


Impact and Innovation Award: Roann Abdeladl, Youth Interfaith Organization:

roannRoann Abdeladl is the Founder and Executive Director of the Youth Interfaith. As a first generation Muslim-American, she recognized the prominent Islamophobia in her community, which then inspired her to found the Youth Interfaith. In addition to Youth Interfaith, she is the speech captain of her school’s Speech and Debate Team, founded and leads her mosque’s youth group, Young Muslims Greenville, teaches sunday school at the Islamic Society of Greenville, volunteers through her school’s Students in Action Team, serves as the secretary of Greenville Health System’s Health Careers Club, and advocates for various social justice issues. Roann is passionate about Youth Interfaith because she believes in the transformative power of youth voices to building a tolerant, peaceful generation.