Speakers and Performers
Featured Breakfast Speaker: Os Guinness, author and social critic
Os has written or edited more than thirty books, including The Call, Time for Truth, A Free People’s Suicide, and The Global Public Square. His latest book is Last Call for Liberty, which will be published this summer.
Before moving to the United States in 1984, Os was a freelance reporter with the BBC. He moved to the U.S. in 1984 and since then, he has been a Guest Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Studies, a Visiting Fellow at the Brookings Institution, and Senior Fellow at the Trinity Forum and the EastWest Institute in New York. He was the lead drafter of “The Williamsburg Charter” and later “The Global Charter of Conscience,” which was published at the European Union Parliament in 2012. Guinness has lectured in many of the leading universities across the world, and in other major venues addressing political and business leaders on various issues, including religious freedom. He is currently a senior fellow at the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics and a member of the RZIM speaker team. He lives with his wife, Jenny, in the Washington, DC, area. www.osguinness.com
Featured Dinner Speaker: Kim Phuc, author of Fire Road: The Napalm Girl’s Journey Through the Horrors of War to Faith, Forgiveness & Peace
Phan Thi Kim Phuc was born and raised in the village of Trang Bang, 30 minutes north of Saigon. During the Vietnam War, the strategic Route 1 that runs through the village became the main supply road between Saigon and Phnom Penh. On June 8, 1972, an American military advisor coordinated the napalm bombing of Kim’s village by the South Vietnamese. Nine-year-old Kim fled from a pagoda, where she and her family had been hiding. Two of her infant cousins did not survive the attack, and Kim was badly burned.
Kim was photographed running down the road, screaming from the burns to her skin. Nick Ut, the Associated Press photographer who was there to cover the siege, took the photograph of young Kim. Moved by her pain, he rushed her to a South Vietnamese hospital. She then spent 14 months recovering in Barsky Hospital, the American hospital in Saigon, where her care was paid for by a private Foundation. Ut’s photograph of Kim remains one of the most unforgettable images of the Vietnam War.
Kim Phuc was not expected to live. Third degree burns covered half of her body, and she would require many operations and years of therapy. After two years, against all odds and with the help of doctors who were committed to her care, she was able to return to her village, where she and her family began to rebuild their lives.
In 1982, 10 years after the famous photograph was taken, a German photographer located Kim. In the interim, the Vietnamese Government had subjected her to endless interviews, communist officials had summoned her to Ho Chi Minh City to be used in propaganda films, and Kim had been forced to leave school and move back to her province where, as a “national symbol of war”, she was supervised daily.
In 1986, Kim seized the opportunity to study in Cuba, but once again her studies were cut short. She was beset with physical problems, including diabetes, which blurred her vision. While in Cuba, she met a fellow Vietnamese student, Bui Huy Toan. They married in 1992, and spent their honeymoon in Moscow. Returning to Cuba, the couple defected when their plane stopped to refuel in Gander, Newfoundland. They settled in Canada with the help of some Quakers. Her husband, a computer specialist, was able to find employment as a nurse’s aid working with the disabled.
In 1996, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund invited Kim to attend the Veterans Day ceremonies at the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, D.C. Kim spoke to a group of several thousand Vietnam War veterans about her experiences after the napalm attack on her village. She used that opportunity to share with the verterans about how she finally found happiness and freedom after years of pain and suffering; she spoke about pain and suffering. She even met a pilot who coordinated the air strike on her village – she forgave him!
Now Mrs. Kim Phuc lives in the Toronto area of Canada with her husband and two sons, Thomas and Stephen.
Featured Performer: Rosemary Siemens
Known for her love of sparkle and bling, quirky laugh, and warm genuine personality, world-class improv-violinist and vocalist, Rosemary Siemens, has mesmerized audiences around the world since the age of three. Hailing from a century-family-farm in Plum Coulee, Manitoba, and currently based in Vancouver, BC, Rosemary is a small-town farm girl dominating the world-stage playing a 300-year-old violin named Sparkle that was played in King Louis XIV’s orchestra.
She’s performed four times at New York’s Carnegie Hall, played private concerts for two living U.S. Presidents, Canada’s Prime Minister, and 16-time GRAMMY Award-winner David Foster, and was the first violinist to ever perform at the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican since its first mass in 1483. She and her pianist, Roy Tan, performed the world premiere of their composition, “The Courtial Concerto” written for the Ambassador of Rome at the world’s largest sacred music festival at the Vatican.
Her debut bluegrass album entitled, Plum Coulee, My Home, featuring her vocal debut with her band Rosemary & The Sweet Sound Revival hit #11 on the Canadian Country-Music Charts and won the 2016 Global Music Award for “Best Bluegrass/Country Album.” Rosemary has been featured in Billboard Magazine and her music video of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” with Roy & Rosemary went viral and reached over half a million views on YouTube.
Rosemary’s passion is to take her violin everywhere – to unexpected locations to touch, inspire, and make people smile through music. You can follow her exciting adventures on social media using #RosemaryPlaysItForward.
Featured Performer: Mat & Nicole Crisp
Mat & Nicole Crisp are a husband and wife duo who live in Bowmanville, Ontario with their two children, Hunter and Sawyer. Mat is the site pastor of C4 Church Bowmanville and Nicole works part time for a marketing agency of out Toronto. They believe that the local church is the hope of the world and have committed their lives to it. They help to equip, train and resource local churches in regards to the creative arts and leadership. They are passionate about writing songs for the church to sing and living lives on mission as disciples of Christ. They desire to encourage and remind the body of Christ of all that He is and to live in the incredible grace that the Father has freely given.
Mat & Nicole wrote and recorded their first musical project in Los Angeles in 2012 called “The Union Project Vol I.” It was nominated for five Canadian Gospel Music awards. They spent time in Nashville working on their second album, “The Union Project Vol .ll”. Launched on January 1, 2016, the album features rich congregational songs and stories inspired by the community of their local church. This album was nominated for five categories again and they received “New Artist” award honours. www.theunionmusic.com