New JLI Board Members and Executive Committee

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About JLI

An international collaboration on evidence for faith actors’ activities, contributions, and challenges to achieving humanitarian and development goals. Founded in 2012, JLI came together with a single shared conviction: there is an urgent need to build our collective understanding, through evidence, of faith actors in humanitarianism and development.

We are excited to announce new JLI Leadership Board Members, Ashella Ndhlovu-Chama, Speak One Voice, Jayeel Cornelio, Ateneo de Manila University, Somboon Chungprampree, International Network of Engaged Buddhists (INEB) Bangkok, Elisa de Benedetto, International Association of Religion Journalists,  Mara Manzoni Luz, International Cooperation and Organisational Development, and Ezra Chitando, University of Zimbabwe.

Please join us in welcoming six new board members.

Ashella Ndhlovu-Chama, Speak One Voice

Ashella Ndhlovu-Chama is a Local Governance expert, as well as a Gender Justice activist who promotes work against all forms of violence against women and children.   Co-Founder of the Speak One Voice movement that seeks to promote a collective understanding of how religion, culture and society inadvertently perpetuate Violence Against Women and Children and how women and youth can be agents of positive change in creating lasting solutions. The movement seeks to break the silence about violence and begin dialogue that makes a difference – in the church, the home and the community.  Ashella is also affiliated to Prison Fellowship International, and within that, currently provides prison and children of prisoner program support to National Ministries in the Anglophone Africa Region.

Ashella was awarded the African Women’s Public Service Fellowship by the Oprah Winfrey Foundation to study at New York University where she obtained an MPA, Public and Non-Profit Organisations.  She also holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree, as well as a Diploma in Biblical Studies.


Dr. Jayeel Cornelio, Ateneo de Manila University

Dr Jayeel Cornelio is the Director of the Development Studies Program and the incoming Associate Dean for Research and Creative Work at the Ateneo de Manila University, The Philippines. He conducts research in the areas of religion, politics, and generational change. He is the author of Being Catholic in the Contemporary Philippines: Young People Reinterpreting Religion (2016) and the lead editor of the Routledge International Handbook of Religion in Global Society (2021). Focused on the Philippines, his recent projects have been on some of the most controversial topics in the country: Christianity and the war on drugs, religion and the LGBTQ+ community, and youth in post-conflict Marawi. Some of his projects have been funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Programme, the UK Economic and Social Research Council, and the Global Religion Research Initiative at the University of Notre Dame. For his scholarship, he received the 2017 Outstanding Young Scientist Award from the National Academy of Science and Technology. Dr Cornelio is Associate Editor of the journal Social Sciences & Missions and a regular contributor to the Thought Leaders section of Rappler.


Somboon Chungprampree, International Network of Engaged Buddhists (INEB) Bangkok

Somboon Chungprampree (Moo) is a Thai social activist working for Peace and Justice in Asia. He became involved during the early 1990s in Thailand’s student movement which focused on Environmental Justice and Spiritual Engagement. Since 1997, he has held different positions with key Thai and Asia regional and international civil society organizations. They include Sathirakoses-Nagapradipa Foundation (SNF), a Thai NGO established in 1968, Spirit in Education Movement (SEM), focusing on empowering civil society in Burma, Laos PDR, Cambodia, and Thailand, School for Well-being Studies and Research, and Wongsanit Ashram.

Somboon is an international Program Director of Spirit in Education Movement (SEM), focusing on empowering Civil Society in Burma, Laos PDR, Cambodia and Thailand. He has served as Executive Secretary of the International Network of Engaged Buddhists (INEB) since 2010. He is the editor of the Seeds of Peace journal issued three times a year. As a civic leader he serves on the boards of several international and national foundations.



Elisa Di Benedetto

A passionate about communication in all its forms, Elisa Di Benedetto is a freelance journalist and a writer based in north-eastern Italy. Her areas of focus include cross-cultural and cross-religious issues, migration, Muslim communities in Italy, diversity and interfaith dialogue. A founding member of the International Association of Religion Journalists (IARJ), she is currently a Managing Director of the association. Previous positions include Project Manager at the IARJ and trainer at the ICFJ and at NATO Multinational CIMIC Group.

She reported from Afghanistan and Lebanon and in recent years she has also worked as a cultural mediator with refugees. A former recipient of the Henry Luce Fellowship in Washington DC, she is a member of the EU’s Global Exchange on Religion in Society (GERIS) network. She speaks regularly at conferences and events about journalism and religion, migration and interfaith issues.

She graduated in Communication Studies from Alma Mater Studiorum-University of Bologna (Italy) and holds a post-graduate MA Degree in Peacekeeping and Security Studies from RomaTre University (Italy).

Mara Manzoni Luz, International Cooperation and Organisational Development

Mara is a Consultant in International Cooperation and Organisational Development and, for about 30 years has coordinated popular education, capacity building, advocacy and fundraising initiatives among faith actors and social organisations. She contributes to strengthen networks with strong South-South and South-North perspectives and has been responsible for the strategic direction of personnel and work on development, humanitarian, communication and advocacy with local and international organisations in Latin America and the Caribbean. She is member of the Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil and lives with her Belgium husband, and hundreds of birds, in the mountain area of Mantiqueira, São Paulo state.


Ezra Chitando, University of Zimbabwe

Ezra Chitando a Zimbabwean religion Academic. He is a Professor of History and Phenomenology of Religion at the University of Zimbabwe,in Harare, Zimbabwe. He serves as Theology Consultant on HIV and AIDS  with EHAIA, The Ecumenical HIV and AIDS Initiatives and Advocacy, of the World Council of Churches.

Chitando holds a DPhil degree (University of Zimbabwe, 2011), a MA degree (University of Zimbabwe, 1993), and a BA HONS degree (University of Zimbabwe, 1991), all in the study of religion. He has held visiting positions and research fellowships with institutions such as the University of Bamberg (Germany), Nordic Africa Institute (Sweden), and the University of Edinburgh (UK).

Chitando has researched and published about contemporary religion in Africa, mostly in Zimbabwe.


Re-elected to the JLI Board through Dec 31, 2023

  • Andrea Kaufmann
  • Anwar Khan
  • Dionne Gravesande
  • Emma Tomalin
  • Julie Clague
  • Katherine Marshall

New Executive Committee elected

Dionne Gravesande, Board Chair is joined by a new Executive Committee and Officers:

  • Anwar Khan, Vice-Chair
  • Ashella Ndhlovu, Treasurer
  • Jayeel Cornelio, Secretary