The Ripple Effect 2018, Live to Love

This year AYUDH is calling on individuals to emphasize the role of love in service, empowerment and global community.

Join those ages 15-30 from around the world in a five day meet of learning, inspiration, and exchange at AYUDH Americas’s 5th international youth summit – The Ripple Effect.

Early bird registration fee of $100 will end Saturday, July 21st due to multiple requests for an extension. Please register before this time to reserve your spot as soon as possible before the fee increases to $120. 

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In response to the violence, terrorism and rapid environmental destruction we see around us, AYUDH will be emphasizing the role of love in service, empowerment and global community. AYUDH is unique in its focus because we do not only work to support our communities through service or empowerment of young people, we do this with the mission of love, compassion and belief in the ultimate goodness of the world as espoused by Amma.  At The Ripple Effect, we offer a platform for 200 youth from 10+ countries come together in a high-level discussion on the most pressing issues of today. These discussions result in practical action– initiatives that will be carried out by our 20+ chapters across South and North America. 



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CASAR JACOBSON, former ms. canada & disability rights activist

Cäsar Jacobson is an activist, entrepreneur, attained a Master’s Degree in Genetics from the LMU (Ludwig-Maximilians Universität), former Miss Canada and first title holder to win with hearing loss in the history of Canada. One year prior to ‘’Miss Canada” she received “Audience Favorite” and after the national title she went on to an international competition in Europe where she won “Miss Peace”

She was born on November 8th to an Austrian father and Norwegian mother and currently resides in Vancouver, BC and is an Activist for the entity of Sustainable Goals with a focus on disability and gender equality.

At a young age she was losing her hearing in her anatomical left ear that eventually was rendered deaf – having slowly lost hearing in her anatomical right ear, this lead into a journey of hearing aids which no longer help nor are being used.
She has enveloped both the hardship and character building this had brought her but the benefit and love of the fun and picturesque culture of Sign Language while being 100 percent deaf.

She recently participated in the Toyota “What’s ‘YOUR’ Impossible” conference, in Athens Greece where Paralympians, and diverse champions worldwide, including one who was the first to climb mount Everest without any arms continue to face life’s disadvantages.

In 2016/2017 she was the first Norwegian-Canadian to be awarded the ‘United Nations Women Planet 50-50’ and ‘United Nations Youth Champion’ alongside her disability and Gender-Equality Activism and is currently working on an NGO project for both local and global scale sustainable goals. (video for a preview is available for this it is 55 seconds long with sign language, talking, closed captions and united nations sustainable goals and NGO goals globally)

Recently she had attained 9 months of health care education to achieve an HCA diploma at Saint Elizabeth as a pre-requisite to her interests in medicine in becoming a doctor; attained honors in theory and excelling in profound connection with her patients & residents that she helped to support, all with 100 percent hearing loss and without an interpreter.

Cäsar completed theory and clinical while she was 100 percent deaf, due to the nature of no access or equality it was one of the harder things she had done in her life – she found a connection and love that verbal communication, she believed, would never provide.

Cäsar will first attain proficiency in Medical Sign Language to verve the route of medicine via ASL with the current prospect to study neurosciences. Gallaudet University for ASL (American Sign Language) proficiency in order to prep for medicine which is at her forefront. Cäsar has narrowed down two universities to continue her studies after her entry and completion of Gallaudet for ASL.

Cäsar has participated in some film, one of which was a deaf-role; she enjoys ASL performing with music videos self-directed or otherwise – but no – you wouldn’t want to hear her verbally sing – its best for everyone involved.

From this perspective, of being deaf, she knows the removal of sound doesn’t mean the removal of success, feeling, humanity, hope, or love; in fact, helps her dive into the unique and in-depth perspective of a day in the life of no sound.



The Chicago native landed his first producing gig on the NBC series Midnight Caller starring Gary Cole. He next served as a producer Co-Producer of the acclaimed NBC series Reasonable Doubts, a one hour drama starring Mark Harmon and Academy Award winner Marlee Matlin For three seasons beginning in 1993, Michaels was Co-Producer of the ABC series Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman. The hit show starred Dean Cain and Teri Hatcher as the title characters. Some of Michaels' other producing credits include Charlie Grace, a one-hour ABC detective drama starring Mark Harmon as a private detective raising a 12 year old LeeLee Sobieski. Michaels also produced Escape From Atlantis, a two-hour cable movie for Starz/Encore. Jim's next project was the CBS series, Turks, starring William Devane followed by Cover Me: Based on the True Life of an FBI Family series for the USA Network. Michaels subsequently produced The Guardian pilot for CBS, the Odyssey 5 series for Showtime followed by Dr. Vegas for CBS. Jim produced the Golden Globe nominated Chris Rock inspired series Everybody Hates Chris. This Show set the record for highest rated comedy ever to air on the UPN/CW network. With the canceling of Everybody Hates Chris after 88 episodes, Jim joined the Producing team at Supernatural at the beginning of season 5 for Warner Bros. Television where he continues to this day on Season 14! Jim's been a featured keynote speaker all over the United States for various organizations including the AFCI and many Universities including UCLA, Academy of Art University and NYU. He is a longtime member of the Producer's Guild of America (PGA). Jim is also a member of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (Emmy's) as well as Screen Actor's Guild (SAG-AFTRA) and the Director's Guild of America (DGA).. Jim graduated from the University of Evansville in Evansville, Indiana.

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Sienna Nordquist has been an SDGs advocate in multiple forms since her tenure with United Nations Women as a 2015 Global Community Champion for Change. Since the start of her SDGs work in 2015, she has been a mentor to other UN Women Champions for Change, a delegate at the Vatican Youth Symposium, an SDGs Coordinator with the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network, and has been nominated to the Steering Committee for the Greater Atlanta Regional Center for Expertise on Sustainable Development. Sienna is also a Robert W. Woodruff Scholar at Emory University, where she studies International Studies and Economics.”



In 2003, the Tewa Dancers made the long journey to India to perform their sacred dances for Amma’s Amritavarsham 50th Birthday Celebration. Aspen (Curt Garcia), who is the grandson of the late Andrew Garcia, founder of the Tewa Dancers, described his experience with Amma, stating, “Being near Amma is like being in Nature.”  Curt Garcia now leads the dance troupe after his late grandfather. The Pueblo beliefs and actions are guided by the core values of love, respect, compassion, faith, understanding, spirituality, balance, peace, and empathy. “Amma’s teachings are right along the same path of bringing unity to humanity,” said Aspen. “Traditional dances and ceremonies like the Deer Dance create a connection to the community, to our ancestors and to the earth.”



Herb Graham, Jr. has had an extensive career as a musician and music producer. He has produced and worked on records for artists such as John Cale, Macy Gray, Leonard Cohen, Jeff Buckley, Kurt Elling, and Charlie Hunter. His band the B Sharp Jazz Quartet put out four critically acclaimed records while touring the world for six years. Karma Calling is the third feature film Herb has scored (The Collectors, Along for the Ride) as well as several shorts. He has consulted on music for films such as Manic and About Face. He also writes and scores for television shows airing on ABC, CBS, MTV, WE, and BET.



Along with a Masters in Applied Mathematics, Vino Gupta has a background in Project Management and leading Software Quality Assurance groups in the Financial and Pharmaceutical industries. She is currently a Senior Software Engineer, testing robots that assist warehouse management companies fulfill orders faster. When not chasing robots, she loves to spend time on the water - sailing, scuba diving, kayaking and traveling. In January 2018, as part of a core team of 4 people, Vino helped launch the Green Friends Source Reduction Campaign to honor Amma’s wish to reduce waste at its Source. Focusing on Plastic reduction in the first year, the team quickly grew to 30+ co-coordinators in 11 regions of North America. The Plastic Challenge raised awareness of the huge issue of plastic waste in our oceans and landfills and its threat to all beings in nature asked participants to pledge to reduce their plastic footprint.


Teresa Anavadya Palko

Teresa Anavadya Palko is a member of the National GreenFriends Committee for Source Reduction & the 3-step Plastic Challenge and has long been a proponent of the "zero-waste" life-style. She helped coordinate the Source Reduction Campaign during Amma's 2018 North American Tour, including the development of a "plastic-footprint calculator". Anavadya holds a degree in Biomedical Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology, and has been involved in other ETW initiatives, such as, Women Empowerment (WE) & AmritaSERVE.  


BR. RAMANAND, director 

Br. Ramanand, a long time monastic disciple of Amma met Her at the age of 3 and has had the good fortune of growing up at Amma's ashram from a very young age. Br. Ramanand directs the Amma's organizations and its activities in the eastern US and Canada. He travels around the US and Canada conducting satsangs in various cities, delivering talks at Universities, to share Amma's message of selfless service and love. He has written and composed many devotional songs and his melodious voice can often be heard alongside Amma’s during many bhajans. One can feel the divine grace flow through his soulful singing. Br. Ramanand is a PhD graduate in Computer Science from the University of Maryland, College Park and his talks, usually conveyed humorously, are very inspiring and uplifting.          



Born and raised in the USA, Br. Shantamrita Chaitanya met Amma in 1990. He became a Brahmachari (monk) in her Indian Monastery in 1993 and has been engaged in Amma’s social, educational and spiritual activities around the world ever since. He was based in Tokyo for ten years as Director of M.A. Center Japan, primarily active in East Asia, the Pacific Rim and Africa until 2012. Since then, he has been based in MA Center Chicago, conducting regular spiritual and social service programs there, and inspiring spiritual seekers throughout the central US with his heartfelt talks.



  • PHOTOGRAPHY with Todd Sanchioni

  • AFRICAN DANCE & DRUMS, Tara Murphy

  • BEATS, MUSIC & MORE,  Ruth Mendelson

  • MUSIC & PRODUCTION, Herb Graham

  • IAM Meditation, Clive & Kaivalya

  • AMRITA YOGA, Tanmayi langley


  • Source Reduction, Vino & Anavadya


We will provide transportation to and from the Chicago ORD and MDW airports at the following times.

Please book flights around the following shuttle times: 

  • Pickup from ORD on 7/31 and 8/1 at 11am, 2pm, 5pm, and 8pm and FRIDAY 8/3 at 8 pm
  • Pickup from MDW on 7/31 and 8/1 at 12:15pm, 3:15pm, 6:15pm, and 9:15pm and FRIDAY 8/3 at 9:15
  • Drop off to ORD on 8/5 and 8/6: 8am, 11am, 2pm, and 5pm
  • Drop off to MDW on 8/5 and 8/6: 9:15am, 12:15pm, 3:15pm, and 6:15pm

Interested in volunteering? 

We have a limited number of volunteering spots for those interested in coming during the five days and helping out. We need lots of help in transportation, accommodation, food, and summit prep. If you are interested in coming as a volunteer out of the AYUDH age range, please email and fill out the form below. 

At AYUDH, we believe that personal transformation lies at the heart of lasting change. Therefore, in addition to cultural, social, political and ecological perspectives, we also consider a spiritual dimension when addressing the main themes of the summit. The teachings of spiritual leader and humanitarian Amma (Mata Amritanandamayi) form an important part of this reflection.