Saghir Akhtar is Director for Centre for Genome-based Therapeutics, Welsh School of Pharmacy, Cardiff University.
Prof Akhtar is the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Drug Targeting and is on the Editorial Board of Advanced Drug Delivery Reviews and Current Drug Delivery and an Editorial Adviser for the Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology Communications.
He is the winner of the Lilly Prize (1996), the Pfizer Academic Award (1997), the British Pharmaceutical Conference Science Medal (1998) and the Controlled Release Society (USA) Young Investigator Research Achievement Award (2001).
Candasiri, Sister Ajahn
Ajahn Candasiri is a senior nun at the Amaravati Buddhist Monastery in Hertfordshire.
Flood, Prof. Gavin
Prof. Gavin Flood is Academic Director of the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies. Professor Flood's main work has been on South Asian traditions, particularly Hindu Tantra, and he has research interests in sacred texts, phenomenology, asceticism, and theory and method in the study of religion.
He has published papers in Religious Studies and Indological journals. His books include An Introduction to Hinduism (Cambridge University Press, 1996), Beyond Phenomenology: Rethinking the Study of Religion (London: Cassell, 1999) and The Tantric Body (Tauris 2005). He is the editor of The Blackwell Companion to Hinduism (Oxford: Blackwell, 2003).
Alexander Goldberg is a chaplain, a barrister and human rights activist. He is the Chairperson of the CCJO - Ren Cassin, a Jewish human rights group committed to promoting Universal Human Rights. In recent years he has been appointed as Jewish Chaplain to the University of Surrey where he initiated the first Holocaust Memorial Day Commemorations in Surrey.
He has widely written on human rights and interfaith issues and is a national advisor to the Center for Research on Nationalism, Ethnicity and Mulitculturalism. He is on the National Advisory Council of the Three Faiths Forum and is a regular contributor to BBC Southern Counties Radio. In July 2006, Alex was appointed the Director of Community Issues at the Board of Deputies of British Jews.
Dr Mark Goodacre (MA, MPhil, DPhil(Oxon)) is Senior Lecturer in New Testament at the University of Birmingham and a practising Christian.
His publications include The Synoptic Problem: A Way Through the Maze.
Jim Herrick is the Rationalist Press Association's editor-in-chief and editor of New Humanist magazine.
He has written books on the history of humanism and free thought and will publish an introduction to humanism later in the year.
Jim is a classical music lover and Bach buff.
Tara Holmes is a journalist, author and lecturer. She began her career aged 16, combining part-time work on local newspapers in Birmingham with her A level and university studies. After graduating with distinction from journalism college in 1994, she was given an award by the French media group, Bayard Presse, for her contribution to print journalism.
She moved to Manchester and worked as a journalist on The Universe Catholic weekly for two years. In 1996, aged 25, she was was appointed deputy editor of the Catholic Times. She left the post in 2001 to pursue a career as a freelance journalist. She is a regular contributor to The Times and has published articles in The Irish Post, Good Health and Black Hair magazines. She published her first book, Changed, in 2005. She is also a part-time lecturer in journalism studies at Salford University and a freelance specialist researcher/writer for BBC Religion and Ethics Online.
More recently she has worked as an associate producer originating ideas for two Manchester-based independent TV companies, Unique Factuals and Clearcut Communications. Her first idea for TV has been commissioned for Channel 4 and will be screened as a one-off programme or mini-series in 2007.
Roy Jenkins worked as a newspaper journalist before training as a Baptist minister. He served churches in Bangor and Cardiff, and then spent eleven years as senior producer of religious programmes for BBC Wales.
Since 1990, he has presented the weekly award-winning BBC Radio Wales programme All Things Considered, for which he has interviewed many leading religious and political figures, and reported from a variety of countries. He has appeared regularly with Terry Wogan on Radio 2's Pause for Thought, as well as presenting Thought for the Day and the Daily Service on Radio 4.
He has been active in Amnesty International for more than 35 years, and with the Welsh churches' human rights campaign Christians Against Torture since it began in 1981.
His publications include a number of collections of broadcast talks, and several books on human rights issues; the most recent is Break a Body, Save a Soul: Christians and Torture in the world after 9/11 (Christians Against Torture 2006).
Edward Kessler is a leading thinker in contemporary Judaism, Jewish-Christian relations and Jewish-Muslim relations. He is Founder Director of the Woolf Institute of Abrahamic Faiths, and Fellow of St Edmund's College, Cambridge. As well as teaching, he is a prolific author and has written nine books.
Kessler's publications include Bound by the Bible: Jews, Christians and the Sacrifice of Isaac (Cambridge University Press, 2004), and he is also Specialist Editor of A Dictionary of Jewish-Christian Relations (Cambridge University Press, 2005). Kessler writes for the printed media and broadcasts regularly on radio.
Khalidi, Professor Talif
Internationally renowned Islamic Studies scholar Tarif Khalidi is Sheikh Zayed Chair in Islamic and Arabic Studies at the American University of Beirut. He has authored a number of books on Islam and the Middle East.
Lancaster, Professor Les
Professor Les Lancaster is a lecturer at Liverpool John Moores University where his interests focus on cognitive neuroscience and mysticism.
He is the author of numerous books, including Ethics of Kabbalah (Arcturus, 2005) and Approaches to Consciousness: the Marriage of Science and Mysticism (Palgrave, 2004)
Clive Lawton is the executive director of Limmud, chair of development charity Tzedek and a former head teacher of King David high school in Liverpool. He is also a columnist for totallyjewish.com.
Maqsood, Ruqaiyyah Waris
Ruqaiyyah is the author of around forty books on Islam and other subjects. She gained her honours degree in Theology in 1963 and Post Graduate Teaching Certificate in 1964, with distinctions in theory and practice.
Her professional life was spent as Head of Religious Studies at various UK inner city secondary schools, until she retired in 1996, to concentrate on writing and lecturing.
Ruqaiyyah grew up a devout Christian, but converted to Islam in 1986. Already established by then as an author of books on Christian and educational topics, she has since devoted her time to writing on Islam and doing dawah work to both Christian and Muslim audiences.
Tony Martin has taught at Wellesley College, Massachusetts since 1973. He was tenured in 1975 and has been a full professor of Africana Studies since 1979. Prior to coming to Wellesley he taught at the University of Michigan-Flint, the Cipriani Labour College (Trinidad) and St. Mary's College (Trinidad). He has been a visiting professor at the University of Minnesota, Brandeis University, Brown University and The Colorado College. He also spent a year as an honorary research fellow at the University of the West Indies, Trinidad.
Professor Martin has authored, compiled or edited eleven books, including Literary Garveyism: Garvey, Black Arts and the Harlem Renaissance, and the classic study of the Garvey Movement, Race First: the Ideological and Organizational Struggles of Marcus Garvey and the Universal Negro Improvement Association.
Prinja, Dr Nawal K
Dr Nawal K Prinja is a Vice Chair on the Executive Committee for the Interfaith Network UK.
Faraz Rabbani is a researcher in Islamic law. He is of Pakistani-Canadian background and graduated from the University of Toronto (Canada) in 1997, with a degree in Economics. He then went to Damascus to study the Islamic sciences under traditional Islamic scholars including Shaykh Adib Kallas, Shaykh Muhammad Jumuah, and Shaykh Hassan al-Hindi. In 2000 he moved to Amman, in Jordan, to continue his studies under the guidance of Shaykh Nuh Keller.
Faraz Rabbani teaches Islamic law, and answers questions on the Hanafi Fiqh forum. He has translated several works, one of which is Ilm al-Hal: An Introductory Manual of Hanafi Law.
Richard Reddie was born in Bradford, England to Jamaican parents. He is currently project director of Set All Free, a Churches Together in England initiative established to commemorate the bicentenary of the Abolition of the Slave Trade Act in 2007.
He became interested in slavery after watching the docudrama 'Roots' as a ten-year old. He subsequently studied the subject as part of his first degree and travelled to numerous countries in South, Central America and the Caribbean which had slave-based societies to assess for himself the impact of the Transatlantic slave trade.
Richard took a masters degree in Information Management and worked as an information officer for the Christian charity, Evangelical Alliance. He then worked as an Education Policy Officer for the social policy think tank ROTA where he devised at programmes to raise the attainment levels of young pupils, especially pupils from Black and minority ethnic communities.
He has written for a number of Christian and secular publications, including Focus, Christianity, the Weekly Gleaner and The Voice. He has written a book, Abolition, about the Transatlantic slave trade.
Roberts, Michael Symmons
Michael Symmons Roberts is an award-winning poet and writer of fiction, libretti and scripts for radio and TV. He was Executive Producer and Head of Development for BBC Religion & Ethics, before moving on from the BBC to focus on writing.
Romain, Rabbi Dr Jonathan
Rabbi Dr Jonathan Romain is a writer and broadcaster and serves as minister of the Maidenhead Synagogue in Berkshire. He is a prominent member of the Reform Jewish Community in Britain and is frequently asked to comment on news issues on radio and television.
He has written a number of books, including Your God Shall Be My God: Religious Conversion in Britain Today, which reveals the enormous growth in religious conversion that is becoming a widespread phenomenon throughout the country.
Rubinstein, Rabbi YY
Rabbi YY Rubinstein was born in Glasgow. He studied at Glasgow University and then went on to Gateshead Talmudical College where he studied for a further seven years receiving his Rabbinic ordination. He is one the most sought after Jewish speakers in the UK and regularly speaks in the United States, Gibraltar, South Africa, Israel and Belgium.
He is a regular broadcaster on BBC TV and Radio including the Terry Wogan Show. Radio 2 recently gave him his own show, Sunrise Sunset: Rabbi YY's Guide to the Jewish Religion.
The Independent newspaper cited him, along with Tony Blair's mentor, as being amongst five people in the Britain to turn to for advice.
He writes for several Orthodox newspapers and teaches at two advanced Orthodox Jewish Colleges, one for men and one for women.
His main position is Campus Rabbi for the North West of England serving over two thousand Jewish Students.
His book Dancing Through Time sold out six times in the UK and the US in its first year.
Ruth, Diana St
Diana St Ruth has been a practising Buddhist since the early sixties. She was a member of the Sharpham North Buddhist Community from 1989-1993. She is the co-director of the Buddhist Publishing Group, edits the magazine, Buddhism Now, and is the author of several books, including Experience Beyond Thinking: A Guide to Buddhist Meditation (1993, BPG) and Karma, Reincarnation, and Rebirth, (2002, Thorsons). She is a trustee of the newly formed Golden Buddha Centre in Devon. Her main practice has been within the Zen and Theravada traditions, though she takes a keen interest in all forms of Buddhism.
Nikki Singh is the Crawford Family Professor and Chair of the Department of Religious Studies at Colby College in Maine, USA.
She has lectured widely in North America, England, France, India, and Singapore, and her views have been aired on television and radio in America, Canada, and India.
Peter Stanford is a writer and broadcaster. He has written for several national newspapers including the Guardian, the Independent and Independent on Sunday. He has presented and produced award-winning radio and television programmes and series, including three adaptations of his own books.
Roderick Steel was born in Brazil in 1969 and was educated at Winchester College, before going on to obtain a BS in Film from Boston University in 1991. He was initiated into Candomblé in 1999, and his photographs on African Brazilian religions have been exhibited in several countries. He lives in São Paulo and works as a translator, artist and documentary filmmaker.
As well as Contributing Editor to Empire, Caroline works for a number of national and international media outlets. She had a monthly column in the Jewish Chronicle, and is a contributor and co-founder of SomethingJewish.co.uk.
In her spare time, she volunteers her time to London-based arts radio station, hosting a weekly Jewish music show on Sunday afternoons.