JLI Staff

Kirsten Laursen Muth
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Kirsten Laursen Muth

chief executive officer

Main areas of work at the JLI: Responsible for leading strategy, expanding staff capacity, managing organizational growth, and communicating with the Board and Leadership Council.

Location: I live in Lagrangeville, New York with my husband, three pets and numerous wild visitors.

Previous work experience: Previous positions include Special Advisor for Leadership Development and Senior Director for International Programs at Episcopal Relief & Development; Deputy Director of Programs at Church World Service; and Deputy Director of Training and Communication Education at Helen Keller International. I have collaborated with UN agencies and have worked with government, non-profit, education, and faith organizations in more than 40 countries. I have extensive experience in adult learning, training design and facilitation. I hold a Bachelor of Science, Foreign Service from Georgetown University, and a Master’s Degree in Social Anthropology and Education from Teachers College, Columbia University.

Joined JLI in: June 2020

What I enjoy most about working with JLI:  Working with a stellar and supportive team of women, increasing evidence enabled faith leadership, sharing learning across religions, regions and cultures, and collaborating with an fantastic and growing network of members.

What I like to do outside of work: I collect and design textiles, enjoy hiking the Hudson Valley, scuba diving, reading and visiting friends.

Chief Executive Officer
Dr. Olivia Wilkinson
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Dr Olivia Wilkinson

Director of research

Main areas of work at the JLI: I lead JLI's research team supported by Dr Eggert and research associates and assistants on specific projects. We collaborate on research projects and faith engagement advisory work with partners from UN agencies and governments to faith-based organizations and NGOs and in collaboration with universities. We publish research reports, policy briefs, blogs, and academic articles to communicate our work, as well as sit on multiple faith advisory committees and participate in practice and academic conferences and webinars.

Location: US West Coast

Previous work experience: I have researched and worked at the intersection of sociology of religion and humanitarian/development studies for 12 years. My PhD from Trinity College Dublin focused on the humanitarian response to Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. I published my book from the PhD, "Secular and Religious Dynamics in Humanitarian Response" with Routledge in early 2020, which unpicks how secularity is one of many privileges and biases in the humanitarian system that makes aid irrelevant and inappropriate. I have previously worked as a research consultant, as well as for universities in a number of research and administrative positions.

Joined JLI in I've been a member of JLI since 2014, a consultant with JLI since 2016, and then a full-time staff member since 2018.

What I enjoy most about working with JLI: First and foremost, I love our team! Second, I feel extremely lucky to be able to work on a subject (religions, humanitarianism, and development) and in an organisation that is so closely aligned with my own research interests.

What I like to do outside of work: I'm a reader, baker, and hiker!

Director of Research 
Dr. Jennifer Philippa Eggert
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Dr. Jennifer Philippa Eggert

Senior Research Fellow

Main areas of work at the JLI: I am part of JLI's research team.

I currently lead on JLI's work in the following areas: conflict, peace and PVE (preventing violent 'extremism') + MEAL (monitoring, evaluation, accountability, learning) + MHPSS (mental health and psychosocial support).

Other main areas of focus of my work at JLI include: our research capacity-building work + our work with Muslim faith actors + our work in the Middle East.

Location: I'm based in the UK.

Previous work experience: I have been working in academia and the NGO sector (in Europe, the Middle East, South Asia and the US) since the early 2000s. Before joining JLI, I was Head of Research at Islamic Relief Worldwide. I also advise two British Muslim women's organisation on research and strategic matters.

Joined JLI in: September 2020.

What I enjoy most about working with JLI: It's a wonderful team of competent, kind and hardworking people; the work is never the same; we get to work with researchers, practitioners and community members from all over the world.

What I like to do outside of work: I love reading, writing, cooking, photography and spending time with my family. I also enjoy going to the gym and going for walks.

Senior Research Fellow
Rima Alshawkani
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Rima Alshawkani

FINANCE & OPERATIONS MANAGER

Main areas of work at the JLI: I manage all financial and HR related tasks and handle general administration and day to day operations of JLI. I also manage programs including contracts, budgets, team projects, travel and calendars, consultants and vendors. Finally, I oversee the publication of JLI external communications (including the website, newsletter, and annual reports) and serve as the board liaison.

Location: Washington D.C. area

Previous work experience: Prior to joining JLI, I was in Yemen working on development on the ground ranging from illiteracy programs, enriching school and youth activities, and establishing health clinics in remote villages.

Joined JLI in: October 2018

What I enjoy most about working with JLI: Working with a very supportive and high functioning team that encourage one another.

What I like to do outside of work: I thrive on social interaction. I also spend much of my time with my kids doing their various activities, or going on long walks in trails, or drives in backroads. Tennis and basketball are my competitive edge. Travel at any chance I get.

Finance & Operations Manager
Sadia Kidwai
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Sadia Kidwai

FAIR & EQUITABLE INITIATIVE COORDINATOR

Main areas of work at the JLI: I lead on coordinating JLI's Fair & Equitable Initiative in partnership with my colleague Zainab Chamoun. This involves supporting regional partners to develop Regional Learning Hubs in East Africa, the Middle East, and South East Asia, as well as coordinating the JLI Fair & Equitable Dialogues - a two year series of webinars, blogs, workshops, and discussion to reflect on the roles that local faith actors can and do play in challenging unequal power dynamics in evidence creation.

Location: Nairobi, Kenya

Previous work experience: For over ten years I have worked at the intersections of faith, development, research, and activism. As a Project Officer at MADE in Europe, a youth-led campaigning charity, I trained young European Muslims on how to run effective campaigns, as well as leading organisational campaigns and education work on maternal health, ethical trade, and environmental stewardship. As a Policy & Research Analyst at Islamic Relief, I developed organisational policies and guidelines on Zakat (faith-based giving), sexual and reproductive health, working in conflict zones, and environmental sustainability. I also led research on Islamic Relief's work with refugees and forced migration, which led me to join the JLI as Co-Chair of the JLI Refugees and Forced Migration Learning Hub. 
Joined JLI in: I first joined JLI in 2016 as Co-Chair of the Refugees and Forced Migration Hub; I then joined as a staff member in 2020, working first on Communications support for the EVAC and MEAL Hubs, before becoming the Fair & Equitable Coordinator in May 2021.

What I enjoy most about working with JLI: Being able to work directly on challenging some of the unequal power dynamics I've witnessed in my work in the sector; getting to know and learn from the examples of our incredible global network of local faith actors; and being part of such a talented and supportive team!

What I like to do outside of work: Outside of JLI I volunteer with the Museum of British Colonialism, supporting their strategy, communications, and project work. I am also an avid writer, and was recently commissioned to write my first play. Besides that, I like to spend my weekends exploring the various forests around Nairobi, and have become an expert den-maker with my kids.

Fair & Equitable Initiative Coordinator
Susanna Trotta
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Susanna Trotta

Research Associate

Main areas of work at the JLI: I work on different JLI projects, including on faith and COVID-19, on collaborations between faith actors and other stakeholders in religions and development, and on faith-based responses to forced displacement. I mostly focus on research and knowledge production, but I also provide support with the projects' coordination and organisation.

Location: Berlin, Germany

Previous work experience: I hold a MSc in Global Migration from University College London (UK) and a BA in Intercultural Communication from the University of Genoa (Italy). I am a PhD candidate and visiting researcher at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin's Research Programme on Religious Communities and Sustainable Development. I previousely worked as a social worker with asylum seekers in Italy and Germany, and as a researcher at Bruno Kessler Foundation's Centre for Religious Studies in Trento (Italy).

Joined JLI in: I've worked with the JLI as a research consultant since 2018 and have become a research associate in February 2022.

What I enjoy most about working with JLI: I like JLI's focused and friendly enviroment. I think our work on evidence in religions and development can help build bridges between scholars and practitioneres at local, regional and international level.

What I like to do outside of work: When I'm not working, I like to listen to and play music. I'm also a tennis fan!

Research Associate
Zainab Chamoun
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Zainab Chamoun

Regional Coordinator

Main areas of work at the JLI: With my colleague Sadia, I support and coordinate the different efforts under JLI's Fair and Equitable Initiative, including the establishment of joint learning hubs in the Middle East and East Africa regions, the Fair and Equitable Dialogues Series (public webinars), and the Faith Dialogues Group. Coming from Lebanon, my role mainly focuses on outreach and networking with local faith actors and practitioners from the Middle East. I also support the team in visual and written communication.

Previous work experience: I hold an MA in Media Studies from the American University of Beirut. My thesis, "Affective Engagement with the National Screen: The Case of Iranian-Armenians in Tehran," focuses on Iranian-Armenians and their articulation of a national identity and belonging in the light of their misrepresentation on the national Iranian screen. Before joining JLI, I worked in M&E and communication at Adyan Foundation. My interests lie at the intersections of community-led development, religion and politics, decolonization, ethnography, and affect studies. I have experience in interfaith, community engagement and development work with adventures in Lebanon, France, Iran, Iraq, and beyond. I also have an experience in storytelling—telling locally-rooted stories through words and photographs.

Joined JLI in: July 2021

What I enjoy most about working with JLI: I mostly enjoy working with a super smart, creative, inspiring, and loving team! I also enjoy the space the JLI gives me to become an active player in making the world more inclusive and just place, critically condemning injustices with words and actions, networking with voices from around the globe, and producing knowledge beyond dominant approaches.

 

What I like to do outside of work: When I'm not working, I'm most probably on a roadtrip chasing sunsets with friends. I love cats, coffee, photography, and books. I'm also a tennis fan and soon-to-be good enough player.

 

Regional Coordinator
Florine De Wolf
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Florine De Wolf

FPCC Coordinator & Research Assistant

Main areas of work at the JLI: I’m part of both JLI’s research and project teams. With Kirsten, JLI's CEO, I coordinate the knowledge management side of the Faith and Positive Change for Children, Families and Communities Initiative. I also work on knowledge and research production with my colleagues from the research team. Part of my work also includes supporting the team with social media management, updating our website and our CRM.

Location: Brussels, Belgium

Previous work experience: I hold an MA in International Humanitarian Action and another one in Religion, Conflict and Globalization. I wrote both of my thesis on faith-based organizations and have always been very interested in this topic, so joining JLI was a dream come true. I worked as a research consultant on some projects for JLI in 2018 and 2019, but only joined officially as a team member in March 2022. I have also worked with several international organizations active in peacebuilding, development and humanitarian aid. Before joining JLI, I worked as a Programme and Operations Assistant for 4WINGS Foundation, a Belgian foundation that fights poverty in Belgium.

Joined JLI in: March 2022

What I enjoy most about working with JLI: Working with a team of amazing, smart and inspiring women on a topic I was always passionate about!

What I like to do outside of work: Reading, playing board games and discovering new places!

FPCC Coordinator & Research Assistant
Gabrielle Matlock
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Gabrielle Matlock

Fellowship Program Manager

Main Areas of Work at JLI: I am the program manager for the Women in Faith Leadership Fellowship, managing the implementation and guidance – a cohort of women of faith from the Catholic Sisters through a fellowship designed to harness their leadership skills and drive forward gender equality within
collaboration within faith networks and institutions. I work closely with consultants, Georgetown University, and thought leaders to design a pilot fellowship that establishes leadership development, courses, mentorship, documentation, with opportunities of visibility that elevates the voices and impact of the Catholic sisters.  

Location: I’m based in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area.

Previous work experience: I hold an (MUP) Master Urban Planning with a focus on International and Economic Development from the University at Buffalo (SUNY). My research and writing were in global poverty and gender, resistance and locating voice through empowerment strategies. I’ve also embarked on a path of deepening my faith with a pursuit of a Master of Divinity at Howard University School of Divinity with a focus on ethics and social justice. My work engages at the intersections of faith, gender, and economic development to support women faith actors via social impact projects, global nonprofit support, and faith-based consultation within religious context for the fortification of gender equity. Pragmatic with passion about improving outcomes and achieving goals that increase sustainability and livelihood within communities and society 

Joined JLI in: July 2022

What I enjoy most about working at JLI: I enjoy working with a great team of supportive leaders, and trailblazers who embody great depth, substance, sense of humor, along with skilled capabilities of intentionality to make change in the world.

What I like to do outside of work: Outside of work I love travel adventures, road trips, connecting with friends and breaking bread. I find ways weekly to experience peace, and meditation by going to the beach or sitting by a body of water.  I also volunteer at local church weekly. One of my best enjoyments is spending time with my daughter and our family dog.

Fellowship Program Manager
Alvin Andanje
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Alvin Andanje

FPCC Coordinator Africa Region

Main Areas of Work at JLI: I am the current FPCC Africa Region coordinator. I work closely with Kirsten, Florine, and the tripartite partners including Religions for Peace and UNICEF to enhance faith engagement and mainstream positive change for children, families and communities. I support the knowledge management, stakeholder engagement and M&E of the FPCC initiative in Africa.

Location: I’m based in Nairobi, Kenya.

Previous work experience: Before this role, I have worked as a regional communications advisor at Evidence Frontiers, and as an M&E and communications officer at TAABCO among other positions.

Joined JLI in: September 2022

What I enjoy most about working at JLI: I enjoy working with JLI's vibrant team whose diverse and complementary skills present a great learning opportunity and an even better chance to create social impact globally working with FBOs.

What I like to do outside of work: I read widely, largely about current affairs and I'm a small scale poultry farmer too.

FPCC Coordinator Africa Region

JLI Board of Directors

Andrea Kaufmann
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Andrea Kaufmann

DIRECTOR, FAITH PARTNERSHIPS

WORLD VISION INTERNATIONAL

Andrea Kaufmann serves as Director for Faith Partnerships at World Vision International, leading a team focused on the integration of faith and faith actors across World Vision’s technical sectors and priority project models. Her previous work includes providing program management and design, monitoring and evaluation support to World Vision’s integrated faith programming as well as serving as Communications Director for World Relief, promoting the role of faith and churches in sustainable development.

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Anwar Khan
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Anwar Khan

President

ISLAMIC RELIEF USA

Anwar Khan has more than twenty years of experience working in the field of humanitarian and development assistance. Mr. Khan was born in Pakistan and grew up in England. He earned a degree in biochemistry in 1993, and began working with Islamic Relief Worldwide. In 1994 he moved to the United States. Since then, he has aided in IRUSA’s expansion, helping start up offices in the Los Angeles and Dallas areas. Mr. Khan has extensive experience in the field: he has traveled to conflict and disaster zones including Bosnia-Herzegovina, Chechnya, Gaza, Darfur, Haiti, Pakistan and Syria. He has also traveled for development work in Africa and South Asia, visiting locations including Timbuktu. In the United States, he helped set up an extensive volunteer network that now consists of several thousand people. On behalf of IRUSA, Mr. Khan has been appointed to the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)’s Advisory Committee on Voluntary Foreign Aid (ACVFA). Along with other leaders in the international development field, Mr. Khan provides advice, analysis and recommendations to USAID on the most pressing development issues in the world today. He is also serving on the U.S. State Department’s Religion and Foreign Policy Working Group, where he advises on humanitarian issues and the intersection of faith and development. Previously, Mr. Khan held a variety of leadership roles at Islamic Relief USA, directing Islamic Relief USA’s program efforts, managing its fundraising offices, operations, and overseeing its fund development work.

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Ashella Ndhlovu-Chama
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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.

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Dionne Gravesande
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Dionne Gravesande

CHRISTIAN AID

Dionne Gravesande has over 25 years of experience in the UK charity sector, much of which has focussed on the humanitarian and development sector working with churches, national and international non-governmental organisations. Currently she is an executive manager and strategic adviser at Christian Aid with a corporate remit for faith partnerships and ecumenical collaborations in the areas of inequalities, peacebuilding, gender and climate. Her graduate education and training embraces theology, international relations, community development and business administration.

Her Pan-African work includes international outreach in USA, Asia, Africa and the Caribbean through the Transatlantic Roundtable on Religion and Race and other forums, more recently she has worked with INGOs as a consultant on strategic leadership and providing change management support. In December 2021 she told up the role of Chair of board at the Joint Learning Initiative.

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Elisa Di Benedetto
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Elisa Di Benedetto

INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF RELIGION JOURNALISTS

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).

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Emma Tomalin
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Emma Tomalin

PROFESSOR OF RELIGION AND PUBLIC LIFE

UNIVERSITY OF LEEDS RELIGIONS AND THE SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT NETWORK

Dr Emma Tomalin is Professor of Religion and Public Life at the University of Leeds. She carries out research into the role of religion in public life in the world today with research interests in Gender, Religion and Society, Religion and Global Development and Buddhism and Hinduism amongst others. She has published multiple books and journals. She is currently working on an AHRC network grant on work a project entitled – Keeping Faith in 2030: Religions and the Sustainable Development Goals which will completed late in 2018. She also works with Public Health Leeds on a project that examines the role of places of worship as Public Health settings in Leeds and Co-Chair of the International Development and Religion Group of the American Academy of Religion. Since 2013, with Drs Caroline Starkey and Jas Singh, she has been carrying out scoping studies on places of worship in Buddhist, Hindu, Jain, Zoroastrian and Bahai traditions in England.

She also co-chairs the new JLI Hub on Anti-Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery.

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Jayeel Cornelio
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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.

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Julie Clague
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Julie Clague

Lecturer & Associate Academic

UNIVERSITY OF GLASGOW

Julie Clague studied Chemistry at Nottingham University, and theology at Heythrop College, London University and Jesus College, Cambridge. Julie works as a theologian with the Catholic development agencies CAFOD and SCIAF, and sits on SCIAF’s Development Policy Advisory Group. She is a member of the Theological Commission of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales agency, Caritas-Social Action. Julie serves on the theological panel of the Centre for Theology and Public Issues at Edinburgh University, and chairs the Ethics Committee of the Assisted Conception Service of Greater Glasgow NHS Trust.

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Katherine Marshall
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Katherine Marshall

Senior Fellow, Executive Director

WORLD FAITHS DEVELOPMENT DIALOGUE (WFDD)

Katherine Marshall has worked for some four decades on international development, with a focus on issues facing the world’s poorest countries. A senior fellow at Georgetown University's Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs and Visiting Professor in the School of Foreign Service, she is Executive Director of the World Faiths Development Dialogue.

Her long career with the World Bank (1971-2006) involved a wide range of leadership assignments. She was Country Director in the Bank’s Africa region, first for the Sahel region, then Southern Africa and led the Bank's work on social policy and governance during the East Asia crisis years. In 2000 the World Bank’s president appointed her to a newly created post of liaison with faith-based development charities, with the objective of clarifying shared objectives and building trust and coordination.

Ms. Marshall is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and serves on various boards of non-profit organizations. She served as a core group member of the Council of 100, an initiative of the World Economic Forum to advance understanding between the Islamic World and the West.

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Mara Luz
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Mara Luz

Consultant

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.

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Somboon (Moo) Chungprampree
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Somboon (Moo) Chungprampree

INTERNATIONAL NETWORK OF ENGAGED BUDDHISTS (INEB)

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.

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