Samuel Mahaffy, Ph.D.

Dear Friends and Colleagues of Dr. Samuel Mahaffy: 

It is with great sadness that we report Samuel surrendered to grace in Renton, Washington on July 7, 2016, after a fourteen-year journey with advanced cancer. A memorial service to celebrate his life was held on July 23 at the First United Methodist Church, 621 Tacoma Avenue South, Tacoma, Washington. Additional information, including his obituary, is available at the following link:

We hope you will find comfort, as we have, in the thoughts he shared earlier this year about his journey with cancer:

Samuel found a great sense of community in the worldwide network he connected with through his blog posts and work on relational presence and peacemaking. 

Samuel’s Family

Samuel Mahaffy, Ph.D.


We will miss Samuel being among us. 

Samuel Mahaffy was an independent consultant to boards of directors and executive staff. He assisted more than 500 nonprofits and was recognized for inspiring hope and awakening possibility through Appreciative Inquiry (AI). He worked with institutions of higher learning, community and faith-based organizations, and public and private agencies.

Often, his work included “standing in the fire” with organizations in conflict. With extensive experience in mediation and conflict resolution, Samuel Mahaffy led organizations through a process which allows a community to honor the relational complexity of both their connectedness and their shared woundedness. This process mirrors back to participants in a poetic, responsive format, and in their own words, their shared voices. Participants discovered a relational restoration that grows from honoring the individual and collective voices, the passionate voices of both hurt and shared vision.

Samuel Mahaffy sought integral, collaborative, and relational perspectives on human engagement. This led to his PhD dissertation work with the Taos Institute PhD program on Relational Presence: The Spatiality of Breakthrough Decision Making through a Relational Constructionist Lens. Samuel Mahaffy extended the notion of relational being developed by Kenneth Gergen (2009) to an understanding of relational presence. 

Born and raised in Eritrea, East Africa, Samuel Mahaffy brought a perspective that was enriched by his encounter with the wisdom of indigenous cultures and the sacred texts of the major religions of the world. Samuel Mahaffy organized community conversations to support immigrant and refugee communities. He worked as a management consultant, workshop leader, public speaker, and welcomed collaborative conversations with those seeking life-giving alternatives to predominant paradigms.

To learn more about Samuel and his life, visit

Samuel Mahaffy, M.A. Dissertation