Honorees Deepak Chopra and Marianne Partridge.

Gail Arnold

Honorees Deepak Chopra and Marianne Partridge.

World Business Academy Honors Deepak Chopra and Marianne Partridge

Annual Gala Also Raises Funds for Social and Environmental Justice Issues

At the World Business Academy’s (WBA) annual Awards Gala, a sold-out crowd of 240 guests gathered at El Encanto Hotel to celebrate the WBA’s 30th anniversary and to honor world-renowned endocrinologist and author Deepak Chopra and the Santa Barbara Independent’s editor in chief, cofounder, and co-owner, Marianne Partridge. The WBA honors individuals who have demonstrated “a responsibility for the whole,” a core tenet of this think tank and advocacy organization, which seeks to advance social and environmental justice.

Master of Ceremonies Geoff Green kept the evening lively. Jerry Brown, director of the WBA’s Safe Energy Project, introduced the WBA’s documentary, Beyond Nuclear Energy, which urges that the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant be closed immediately. Becca Claassen spoke about the Clean Energy Moonshot Initiative, a WBA project under her direction that seeks to bring California to 100% clean, renewable energy within the next decade.

A tribute film to Partridge included comments by social justice activist Suzanne Peck, on Marianne’s lifelong commitment to feminism and the Independent Senior Editor Tyler Hayden, who spoke about Marianne’s love for the Santa Barbara community, and how “that is reflected in the stories we choose to cover.” Sara Miller McCune, this year’s honorary chair and last year’s award recipient, introduced Marianne as a “woman who cares so much about journalism” and about “the four justices: economic justice, educational justice, environmental justice, and social justice.” Partridge accepted the award thanking the Independent’s staff, who, she said, have made her “the luckiest editor in America,” and to the audience, who make the paper possible.

The tribute film on Deepak Chopra followed his distinguished career as a writer of best-selling books that advance the understanding of how the body, mind, and spirit are interdependent and as a voice for transcendental meditation and other paths to inner wisdom, as well as his commitment to environmental causes. WBA founder and President Rinaldo Brutoco introduced Chopra, his friend and WBA fellow for more than two decades. He noted Chopra’s intelligence and breadth of knowledge, along with his extraordinary heart and commitment to human civilization. In accepting the award, Chopra said that our species was at a critical moment in the history of this planet. It is a time when we must decide to act in ways that will allow our survival or not. He spoke quietly but with great intensity.

For more information about the World Business Academy, go to

By Gail Arnold

Emcee and auctioneer Geoff Green with Honorary Chair Sara Miller McCune.

By Gail Arnold

Jim Poett (3rd from left) with Independent staff members: Marketing and Promotions Manager Emily Cosentino, President and Publisher Brandi Rivera, Advertising Director Sarah Sinclair, Senior Editor Tyler Hayden, and Executive Arts Editor Charles Donelan.

By Gail Arnold

Suzanne and Abe Peck with Judith Hopkinson.

By Gail Arnold

Director of Clean Energy Moonshot Initiative Becca Claassen, Boardmember Blaine Bartlett, VP of Community Outreach Judi Weisbart, and Director of Safe Energy Project Jerry Brown.

By Gail Arnold

Francis Jansen with Ian and Lara Sullivan.

By Gail Arnold

Hon. George Eskin and State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson.

By Gail Arnold

Aranza and Dawa Phillips.

By Gail Arnold

Honorees Deepak Chopra and Marianne Partridge.

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