Leadership Council

Agnes Abuom

Moderator of WCC Central Committee
World Council of Churches

Dr. Agnes R.M. Aboum is the Moderator (President) of World Council of Churches (WCC), Central Committee. She represents the Anglican Church of Kenya on the WCC governing bodies and has been a member of the National Christian Council of Churches (NCCC) Executive Committee. She serves on the All Africa Conference of Churches (AACC) Advisory Committee on Peace, Healing and Reconciliation; Chairs the Board of
KESWICK Books and Gifts as well as serving on the Governing Board of Inter-Peace a Swiss NGO and on the Arigatou International Advisory Board. Dr. Abuom has served as an Ecumenical Accompanier for AACC and WCC. She was a Co-President of Religions for Peace. Dr. Abuom is the founder and Director of TAABCO Research and Development Consultants and an FBO known as Building Eastern Africa Community Network (BEACON), Nairobi. She is a development consultant serving both Kenyan and
International Organizations coordinating social action programmes for religious and civil society across Africa. She holds a PhD in Development Studies and BS in History from the University of Uppsala (Sweden).

Atallah Fitzgibbon

Faith Partnerships Advisor
Islamic Relief Worldwide

As IRW’s Faith Partnerships Advisor, Atallah has led the development of Islamic Relief’s new Global strategy from 2011-15, which has involved leading on the drive to improve faith literacy within IRW’s work and the development of IRW’s conceptual framework and theory of change on development, humanitarianism and human rights, incorporating perspectives around spiritual capital and the role of religious institutions. After 12 years of working in the voluntary and public sector in the UK followed by 17 years experience in humanitarian aid work,Atallah has worked at senior management and director level managing international programmes, spearheading organisational and performance improvement and leading on strategy and policy development. Atallah hse also led on the development of a global impact measurement plan involving aggregation of data and impact assessment.

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.

Anwar Khan

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.

Muhamad Ali Yusuf

Humanitarian Forum Indonesia

Muhamad Ali Yusuf is Chairman of Nahdlatul Ulama Institution for Disaster Management and Climate Change (LPBI NU). Prior to become General Chairman of Humanitarian Forum Indonesia (HFI) in September 2019, He has been Chairman of Humanitarian Forum Indonesia (HFI) from 2016 to 2019. From 2014 to 2017, He was Board of National Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction Indonesia. He also was Chair Executive for Indonesian Humanitarian Alliance (IHA) from 2017 until now. Currently, He is Expert Panel Members for National Plastic Action Partnership Indonesia as part of Global Plastic Action Partnership (World Economic Forum).

Amjad Mohamed-Saleem


Amjad Mohamed-Saleem is a political analyst and free lance consultant with interests in Peace Building & Humanitarian Policy; South Asia and Interfaith Action. He has worked with International Alert, KAICIID, the Commonwealth Foundation,Islamic Development Bank, The Cordoba Foundation, Muslim Aid among others. He sat as a thematic advisor  for the UN initiated process, the World Humanitarian Summit (WHS) looking at 'Meeting the needs of People in Conflict' for the UN initiated process, the World Humanitarian Summit (WHS) and an advisor for the WHS work streams on 'Islamic Social Finance' and ‘Religious Engagement in Humanitarian Work’. He is a regular contributor to Huffington Post and State of Formation and also to academic journals. He has also published a book on the Aceh Peace Process and contributed chapters to ‘The World of Prayer’, ‘Cosmopolitanism, Religion and the Public Sphere’, ‘Muslim Minority – State Relations: Violence, Integration and Policy’, the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting 2015 Report and the CIVICUS “2015 State of Civil Society’ Report. He has an M.Eng from Imperial College, an MBA from U21 Global Singapore and is currently pursuing a part time PhD at Exeter University

Benjamin Laniado


Benjamín Laniado was born in a Jewish family in Mexico City, he is the youngest of 7 siblings.
He is married and has three children.
Benjamin has always been a leader, looking forward to repair the world (a Jewish value: Tikkun Olam).
Since he was young, he started getting involved in different projects that would help his community, his country and eventually, the world.
He studied business administration in Mexico City, and later he made a master’s degree on Jewish philosophy.
On 2009 he went to live in Israel for two years, where he started getting involved in civil protection and rescue subjects.
Benjamín is the president and founder of CADENA, an NGO which mission is to reduce the vulnerability of people who suffer in Natural Disasters.
On 2015 Benjamin won the Herzl Award, and on 2014 the CLARES Social Leadership Award.
CADENA was recognized on 2014 by mexican government with the National Civil Protection Award

W. Bramwell Bailey

Director of Programs

Catriona Dejean

Director of Strategy and Impact

Catriona Dejean is Tearfund’s Director of Strategy and Impact, and previously headed up the their Impact and Effectiveness Team. Prior to this, she was a consultant in the social enterprise sector, providing advice to UK and international clients. She has also worked for World Vision on development programmes, and at strategy level – predominantly in Latin America. She started her career in environmental consultancy in the private sector. Catriona also served as a trustee for Cafedirect Producers' Foundation (now Producers' Direct) – an award-winning fairtrade enterprise, led by farmers across East Africa and Latin America.

Christa Foster Crawford

Associate Director, Human Rights Law Center at Payap University & Founding Partner/Principal Consultant, Freedom Resource International

Christa Foster Crawford, J.D. is founder of Freedom Resource International, a strategic partnership empowering the anti-trafficking movement for greater effectiveness through training and capacity building, resource development and sharing, expert advice, and strategic-level impact. She teaches courses on trafficking, exploitation, migration, gender and law at the university and graduate level (including for Fuller's Children at Risk Program and Multnomah's Program on Global Development and Justice), and serves as the Associate Director of Payap Center on Human Rights Law in Thailand. Christa has also authored and edited numerous books, articles, and curricula to equip practitioners. Her training courses include the Certificate Course on Excellence in Anti-Trafficking Response. She has worked at both the grassroots and policy levels, including United Nations ESCAP, country director of the International Justice Mission, and pioneered a social enterprise to provide sustainable options to vulnerable people. Christa is a graduate of Harvard Law School and Claremont McKenna College. Originally from the United States, she has lived with her family in Chiang Mai, Thailand. since 2001.

Christine MacMillan

Senior Advisor - Social Justice
World Evangelical Alliance

An inspiring and effective advocate of social justice for all, Commissioner Christine MacMillan has been a Salvation Army officer holding appointments in five countries: Canada and Bermuda, Australia, England, Papua New Guinea and USA.

In 2007, she became the founding director of The Salvation Army International Social Justice Commission.

In July 2012, following retirement from The Salvation Army, Christine was selected by the World Evangelical Alliance to serve as their Senior Advisor for Social Justice, where 600 million Christians join forces under the banner of impacting God's so loved and unloved world.

Since 2012, Christine now holds the position with World Evangelical Alliance as: Associate Secretary General for Public Engagement. This executive team position plays a catalytic role in identifying global key issues while developing a WEA voice and responses of participation through the offices at the United Nations and influential bodies. A recent book “When Justice is the Measure” with Christine as author, brings her vast journey of experience with observations and paradigms that are both challenging and achievable.

By faith Christine holds the conviction that the Gospel is a redeeming invitation to listen with the anticipation that accompaniment impacts the hope of transformation.

David Boan

Commissioner for Relief and Development, World Evangelical Alliance
Northwest Nazarene University

Dr. Boan (Ph.D., Biola University’s Rosemead School of Psychology) He has extensive experience in healthcare quality and safety, public health, and capacity building as the vice president for research and development for the Delmarva Foundation for Medical Care (Maryland) and Executive Director for Innovation, Joint Commission Resources and Joint Commission International. Dr. Boan’s research interests include the role of faith-based organizations in community resilience, faith and trauma, and vulnerability and justice.
In January 2017 Dr. Boan became the Director of Humanitarian Advocacy for the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA). This role emphasizes training, research and capacity building that helps global evangelical alliances support the local church participation in humanitarian causes. This role includes serving as WEA technical liaison to national alliances and also for strategic WEA partners, such as World Vision, World Relief, and Micah Global. He continued with Wheaton College as a Clinical Fellow in the Graduate School of Psychology, and operates a learning lab for students as a partnership between Wheaton College and WEA. His most recent work is on trauma, the church and community resilience in North Kivu, Democratic Republic of Congo.
Currently, Dr. Boan's primary affiliation is with World Evangelical Alliance as Commissioner for Relief and Development managing relations with R&D NGOs and their collaboration with national alliances and local faith communities. His secondary affiliation is with Northwest Nazarene University as Adjunct Professor of Psychology.

Deepika Singh

Associate Secretary General and Director of Programmes
Religions for Peace

Ms. Deepika Singh is the Associate Secretary General and Director of Programmes at Religions for Peace, where she directs overall programme strategy and related implementation and monitoring.
Ms. Singh has more than fifteen years of professional experience in international affairs and development, including service in USAID funded programmes in Nepal and consultancies with UNDP, UNICEF, and other international NGOs.
She holds a Master of Public Administration degree from Pace University in New York, USA; a Master of Arts degree from Dhaka University in Dhaka, Bangladesh; and a BA with honors from St. Bede’s College in Simla, India.

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.

Floyd Lalwet

Provincial Secretary and Legal Counsel
Episcopal Church in the Philippines

Mr. Floyd Lalwet is the Provincial Secretary and Legal Counsel for The Episcopal Church in the Philippines (ECP). He is also National Development Officer of the Episcopal Care Foundation, a member of the Anglican Alliance, Professor of Canon Law at St. Andrew’s Theological Seminary, Corporate Secretary and Director of the for BIMAKA Renewable Energy and Development Corporation, Trustee and Corporate Secretary of Brent International Schools, Inc., among other Board positions. For the past almost 40 years, he has studied and resided in Quezon City. He is a pioneer in asset-based community development (ABCD), which emphasizes assets or resources instead of needs or deficiencies as the drivers of development. He re-visioned and re-structured the development program to become Episcopal ECARE (Community Action for Renewal and Empowerment). E-CARE innovated on the ABCD concept and imposed what has been adopted by in the ECP and now known as the “From Receivers to Givers” Policy. This propelled the program to become financially autonomous.
ECARE also conducts programs in livelihoods and disaster risk reduction.

Imad Madanat

VP for Programs
ADRA International

Imad Madanat is the Vice President for ADRA Programs Since October 2013. The ADRA veteran has served the agency for more than a decade in various roles, including Senior Program Finance Manager and Country Finance Director in Yemen. Madanat’s wealth of experience includes new business capture, program expansion into new countries and managing portfolio of innovative projects and teams. He leads ADRA/International programmatic work and manages the team responsible for responding to natural disasters, humanitarian assistance and long-term development. During the last year he led ADRA’s programs team to triple ADRA’s USG portfolio, expand ADRA work in the MENA, Africa and across Latin America to address the needs of the displacement of people in those regions. Recently played a key role in ADRA’s Global COVID-19 Task force to address the needs of ADRA offices and programs as a result of the pandemic and planning for the recovery stage.

Imad was born in Jordan, moved to the US in 1989 and complete his Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry from the University of Maryland in 1995. In 1999 he completed a Masters in International Management with a Finance emphasis from the University of Maryland, University College (today known as University of Maryland Global Campus).

Imrana A. Umar

President and CEO
International Interfaith Peace Corps (IIPC)

Imrana A. Umar serves as Co-founder and Executive Director of International Interfaith Peace Corps (IIPC). Imrana brings over 30 years of private and public sector experience in policy design and implementation to IIPC. He is responsible for setting IIPC’s overall objectives and ensuring that activities meet the stated objectives. He also has the responsibility for supervising senior staff and programing, as well as setting the tone for the programs. He assumes the overall leadership in guiding all administrative, fiscal, and program activities in the areas of Healthcare, Education, Peacebuilding and Scoio-economic Development through religious diplomacy.
Imrana is also the co-founder of Powersim Solutions, a simulation-based business strategy consulting company. Since 2001, he has served as President and CEO of Powersim guiding its overall vision, strategy and operations. His consulting experience spans many industries in both private and public sectors, including Aviation, Energy, Financial Services, Health Care, High Technology, Hospitality, Manufacturing, Retail, Construction, ICT and Telecom. He has also consulted for private and public organizations globally including Microsoft, The World Bank, McKinsey & Co, Accenture, BP Amoco, Chevron, US National Energy Laboratories, FAA, Qatar Foundation, among others; in areas such as Organizational Transformation and Change Management, Analysis of Investment Options, Project Evaluation, Strategic Alignment and Risk Assessment, Competitive Strategy, Policy Alignment and Coordination, Scenario-based Strategic Planning, Resource Planning, Technology and Product Innovation, Human Performance Management.
Mr. Umar is currently an adjunct professor of Performance Management Systems and Business Strategy Simulation in GMU’s Executive Education program on Building Business Acumen and Corporate Ventures.
Mr. Umar is a System Dynamicist by education and practice. He has his graduate and post-graduate degrees from the University of Bergen, Norway.

John Blevins

Acting Director and Associate Research Professor
Interfaith Health Program - Emory University

John Blevins is the Acting Director of the Interfatih Health Program (IHP) at the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University. IHP examines religion's influence as a social force on global health and development programs, focusing on religion's impact on health policies, beliefs, and behaviors as well as the ways in which religion serves as a motivation to carry out health/development initiatives.

Julie Clague

Lecturer and Associate Academic
University of Glasgow

Julie Clague lecturers in Christian theology and ethics at the University of Glasgow, UK. She is a member of the steering committee of the Joint Learning Initiative and co-chair of the JLI learning hub on HIV and maternal health. She works with a number of Catholic development agencies on issues of international development, human rights, gender, and sexual and reproductive health.

Jean Duff

Senior Advisor and Former President of JLI
Partnership for Faith & Development

Ms Duff is the Senior Advisor and Former President to the Joint Learning Initiative on Faith & Local Communities (JLI) an international, interfaith, multi-sector collaboration for excellent evidence for faith groups’ activity and contribution to development and humanitarian challenges. JLI’s goal is to equip policymakers and practitioners with the information they need to scale up faith engagement for the common good. In 2008, she co-founded the Center for Interfaith Action on Global Poverty at Washington National Cathedral. Previously, she led the Cathedral’s global poverty program as Managing Director of the Center for Global Justice and Reconciliation. In 2008, she co-convened the Women, Faith and Development Alliance. Ms Duff holds graduate degrees in Clinical Psychology (University College Dublin) and in Epidemiology (Columbia University) She is a Visiting Research Fellow at Trinity College, Dublin and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

James Cox

Chief Operating Officer
Helen Keller International

In February 2020, Jim Cox joined Helen Keller Intl as Chief Operating Officer, based in Washington, D.C. Jim has 25 years of senior management experience in the field and in the US offices of international development organizations.
He comes to Helen Keller directly from Lutheran World Relief- IMA World Health (LWR-IMA), where he was Executive Vice President of Health and Emergency Programs. He was Chief Operating Officer for IMA World Health for nearly five years, after serving as Country Director for IMA in Tanzania for five years.
Jim’s expertise in program management includes emergency interventions, as well as livelihoods and health initiatives in partnership with vulnerable communities and major donor agencies including USAID, DFID, UN agencies, and private foundations. He has also improved global operational efficiency for IMA World Health and United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR), where he held various positions over ten years, including that of Executive Director.

Jill Olivier

Assoc Professor: Senior Lecturer and Research Coordinator
International Religious Health Assets Programme (IRHAP) at University of Capetown

Dr. Jill Olivier is a Senior Lecturer and Research Coordinator at the University of Cape Town in the Health Policy and Systems Division, School of Public Health and Family Medicine. She is the Director of the International Religious Health Assets Programme (IRHAP-ARHAP); coordinates the UCT program of the Collaboration for Health Systems Analysis and Innovation (CHESAI), lectures on health systems research, and is the principle investigator for several active multi-country research studies. Prior to this she was based in Washington at the World Bank with a focus on non-state health service delivery and community response to HIV/AIDS. With a background in the social sciences, her current publication focus is on health systems research; non-state health providers; community engagement; interdisciplinary research; and multisectoral collaboration. She has operated as a researcher and research manager across Africa, as well as in the USA and the Asia-Pacific region.

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.

Mohammed Abu-Nimer

Senior Advisor
International Dialogue Centre (KAICIID)

Mohammed Abu-Nimer, of the International Peace and Conflict Resolution program, serves as Director of the Peacebuilding and Development Institute. He has conducted interreligious conflict resolution training and interfaith dialogue workshops in conflict areas around the world, including Palestine, Israel, Egypt, Northern Ireland, the Philippines (Mindanao), and Sri Lanka. In addition to his articles and publications, Dr. Abu-Nimer is the co-founder and co-editor of the Journal of Peacebuilding and Development. At American University, Professor Abu-Nimer is also Director of the Peacebuilding and Development Institute. Professor Abu-Nimer also serves as Senior Advisor to KAICIID.

Matthew Frost

Director of PilgrimWay

Matthew Frost is passionate about seeing the local church transforming the lives of poor people in communities across the world and he loves climbing mountains.

Director, PilgrimWay, UK — 2016-present
Chair of Lay Leadership Task Group, Church of England, UK — 2016-present
Chief Executive, Tearfund, UK — 2005-2015
Head of Strategy, Department of Education & Skills, UK — 2004-2005
Engagement Manager, McKinsey & Co, UK — 1999-2004
MBA Student, IMD, Switzerland — 1998
Country Director, Medair, Afghanistan — 1996-1997

I currently serve on the following Boards: Archbishop’s Council of the Church of England, Christians Against Poverty, Open Doors, Westminster Theological Centre, JLI

1998 - MBA, IMD, Lausanne, Switzerland.
1984-1987 - MA Economics, University of Cambridge, UK.

Nobuyuki Asai

Program Coordinator
Soka Gakkai International (SGI)

Nobuyuki Asai is a program coordinator of Soka Gakkai International, where he is in charge of advocacy and networking in terms of humanitarian affairs. He joined Soka Gakkai’s recovery taskforce in Tohoku which was established after the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011. After the Kumamoto Earthquake in April 2016 he served in Soka Gakkai’s relief coordinating team. Nobuyuki participated in the UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction held in Sendai in 2015, “Asian Roundtable Dialogue for Faith Based organizations and Religious leaders in Humanitarian Action” held in Bangkok in 2015, and the World Humanitarian Summit in May 2016.

Mary Zulu Mwiche

Programs Manager at Speak One Voice, Clergy/Lecturer in the United Church of Zambia University

Mary Zulu Mwiche (Reverend) is a Clergy/Lecturer in the United Church of Zambia University. In 2016, Mary started teaching Theology and Development, Community Development, Church History, Christian Education and History and Philosophy of Christian Mission. Mary also coordinates field work in a formation programme for the student ministers, including liaising with Congregation Ministers and arranging Evangelism campaigns with Presbyteries. In 2019, she became a Programs Manager for Speak One Voice to promote across the Church a collective understanding of how religion, culture and society inadvertently perpetuate VAWC. In 2012-2015, Mary held the Academic Dean position in UCZ Theological College and served as Minister prior to that. Mary holds a PhD in Practical Theology and a Masters in Theology and Development from the University of Kwa-Zulu, Natal (UKZN)- South Africa.

Ruth Messinger

Global Ambassador
American Jewish World Service

Ruth W. Messinger is currently the Global Ambassador for American Jewish World Service (AJWS). In this role, Ruth is continuing her crucial work of engaging rabbis and interfaith leaders to speak out on behalf of oppressed and persecuted communities worldwide. She formerly was President of AJWS from 1998 to July of 2016.

Ruth’s remarkable 18-year presidency at AJWS began after a 20-year career in public service in New York City as a city council member and Manhattan Borough President. Under Ruth’s leadership, AJWS grew exponentially—granting more than $270 million to promote human rights in the developing world and launching campaigns to end the Darfur genocide, reform international food aid, stop violence against women and LGBT people, end land grabs and respond to natural disasters around the globe.
She came to AJWS in 1998, after a 20-year career in public service in New York City. As an activist for human rights around the globe, Ruth currently sits on the State Department’s Religion and Foreign Policy Working Group and co-chairs the Sub-Working Group on Social Justice. Many national Jewish organizations have honored Ruth, and The Jewish Daily Forward, The Jerusalem Post and Huffington Post have named her on lists of the world’s most influential Jews and religious leaders.

Rebeca Rios-Kohn

Director- New York Office and Prayer and Action for Children
Arigatou International

Rebeca Rios Kohn is a native of Uruguay and a French citizen with over 25 years of experience in human development, human rights and children’s rights. She currently serves as Director of Arigatou International New York Office and Prayer and Action for Children. She received a Juris Doctor from the T.C. Williams School of Law, at the University of Richmond, in Virginia and practiced law in Virginia and New York. In 1989 she joined the United Nations where she held several senior level positions with UNICEF and UNDP. During her years with UNICEF she focused on advocating for children's rights and was responsible for building and managing partnerships with religious leaders, faith-based organizations, parliamentarians and mayors. She led a number of advocacy initiatives in many parts of the world at the highest levels to promote the ratification and implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). Ms. Rios-Kohn authored a number of articles and academic papers for law journals, and developed studies and training materials for UNICEF, UNDP and others on a wide range of subjects related to children including the CRC and CEDAW, a human rights-based approach to development and diverse gender issues.

Richard Santos

Chief Executive Officer
Church World Service

Richard L. Santos is the President and CEO of Church World Service. Prior to joining CWS in 2021, he was most recently the President and CEO of IMA World Health, where he led several strategic pivots that positioned the agency well for the future.
Mr. Santos has a decade of field experience in Asia and has spent 23 years working for and with faith-based organizations, including - earlier in his career - more than a decade with Church World Service. His developmental approach includes building and prioritizing robust local and regional partnerships—communities, organizations and networks—which he believes are the key ingredients to successful and sustainable development work. Rick has significant experience overseeing and managing projects and organizations in the health, livelihoods and nutrition sectors.
He began his time with Church World Service as a Program Officer in Vietnam, rising through the ranks to eventually serve as Coordinator of Strategic Planning and Evaluation. Prior to joining IMA World Health, Rick also served as Director of Communication and Advocacy at International Relief and Development.
Mr. Santos currently serves as Chair of the Board of Directors of the Joint Learning Initiative on Faith & Local Communities; Board and Treasurer of Christian Connections for International Health; and recently ended stints at InterAction as a Fellow and as Principal at NXPivot LLC.
Rick has spent a good part of the last two years assisting non-profit Boards and CEOs to develop comprehensive approaches to building organizational resilience and relevance. He provided strategic advice and consulting services to U.S.-based senior non-profit leadership as they consider adaptive and technical strategies and supports efforts of civil society organizations, faith-based organizations, networks and facilities to achieve organizational change and build capacity, focusing on leadership and governance, both in developed and developing country contexts.
Mr. Santos holds a Master of Business Administration degree from Johns Hopkins University’s Carey Business School, a Masters of Theological Studies degree from Harvard Divinity School, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from George Washington University.

Sally Smith

Independent Consultant

Dr Sally Smith is an independent consultant having previously worked for 14 years at UNAIDS in the organization’s Community Mobilization Division, in Geneva, most recently as Senior Adviser, and formerly as Partnership Adviser for community engagement on HIV with focus on faith-based organizations (FBO’s). In 2018 she graduated from Glasgow University with a Doctorate in Practical Theology. Her thesis, entitled: ‘Religion in the United Nations (UN) Political Declarations on HIV/AIDS: An interdisciplinary, critical discourse analysis’ - explores conflicts and tensions within the four political declarations on HIV/AIDS adopted by the United Nations in 2001, 2006, 2011 and 2016. Before moving to Geneva in 1999, Dr Smith and her family worked in Nepal for the United Mission to Nepal (UMN) for 16 years as medical missionaries. She is married to Ian and they have two children.

Thorsten Göbel

Director of Programmes
ACT Alliance

Thorsten Göbel was appointed Director of Programmes in March 2018. He leads the ACT secretariat programmatic work and manages the team responsible for humanitarian assistance, sustainable development and advocacy action. He is a member of the Core Management Team and deputizes for the General Secretary.
Prior to that, Thorsten Göbel worked as Head of the Policy, Dialogue and Theology Division of Bread for the World and Diakonie Katastrophenhilfe, based in Berlin and Stuttgart. He led a team of 15 staff who coordinate the lobby and advocacy work of these two agencies in Berlin and Brussels, and functions as a think-tank on a variety of policy issues.

Vinya Ariyaratne

General Secretary

Dr.Vinya Ariyaratne is the General Secretary of the Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement which is Sri Lanka’s largest non-governmental grass roots development organization. He is a physician specialized in Public Health.

Dr.Ariyaratne has also been involved extensively in civil society peace, interfaith and reconciliation initiatives in Sri Lanka. He has been trained as a professional facilitator for peace dialogues and he engages in teaching assignments related to peace building, conflict resolution and reconciliation. Through the Sarvodaya Movement, Dr.Ariyaratne has developed numerous innovative community health programmes working closely with the government sector, universities, professional colleges as well as other civil society organizations. He has also been extensively involved in health and development programmes related to the war affected communities in Sri Lanka. Dr.Ariyaratne has been closely involved in the implementation of Global Fund activities in Sri Lanka in prevention and control Malaria and HIV/AIDS. After the Tsunami disaster in 2004, Dr.Ariyaratne was responsible for the overall coordination of the Sarvodaya’s emergency response and later the entire reconstruction programme which is one of the largest Tsunami recovery programmes in the country with a portfolio of projects worth over 15 million US dollars. When the large displacement from the Northern Province took place in early and mid 2009, Dr.Ariyaratne was coordinating the humanitarian relief efforts of Sarvodaya to assist the Health Ministry, the UN agencies and humanitarian organizations to provide services to the large numbers of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).

Dr. Ariyaratne was awarded the Social Entrepreneur of the Year 2014 by the Schwab Foundation and serves as a member in the Global Agenda Council on Fragility, Violence and Conflict of the World Economic Forum.

Advisory Group


UNAIDS- United Nations Programme on AIDS

Jacek Tyszko, a national of Poland, has taken up his duties as the UNAIDS Senior Adviser on Faith Engagement in September 2018.

After completing his graduate studies in journalism and international relations at the Moscow State Institute for International Relations in 1991, he started working at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Poland as the UN system relations desk officer. His portfolio included development issues, human rights and specialized agencies.

In April 1995, he became First Secretary of the Permanent Mission of Poland to the UN Office in Geneva, where he worked until moving to the UNAIDS Secretariat in August 1999.

Jacek joined UNAIDS to facilitate international consultations on HIV notification and disclosure, then he moved to Africa desk, where - among others - he coordinated the UNAIDS involvement in the 2000 Africa Development Forum and worked as the project officer for the International Partnership against AIDS in Africa.

Since November 2002 he worked as an External Relations Officer in the Governance department, in January 2012 taking over as Chief Governance and UN Relations a.i.

In April 2013 he became the Country Director of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) in Ukraine where he served until September 2018.

Thomas Lawo

International Partnership on Religion & Sustainable Development (PaRD)


Studies of Law at Bochum University (1972-74), Agriculture and Nutrition Sciences at Bonn University 1974-78 (Degree: Dipl.oec.troph); additional studies of Philosophy and Education Sciences (1976-78) at Bonn University.

Post-graduate studies of Agricultural Sociology and Nutrition Sciences at Bonn University and doctoral Dissertation (PhD/ Dr.oec.troph) in 1983 on Agriculture and Food Policy Issues in Bangladesh.

Professional career:

Full-time work in development co-operation since 1978 as Project Officer for South Asia (1978-86), Head of Asia Department (1990-94) and Managing Director of Bischöfliches Hilfswerk MISEREOR, Catholic Central Agency for Development Assistance, Aachen/ Germany (1995-99).
From 1986 until November 1990 Resident Representative of the Konrad-Adenauer- Stiftung (Foundation) in Malaysia attached to the Malaysian Institute of Management (MIM), Kuala Lumpur. Concurrently Visiting Research Fellow at the Asian and Pacific Development Centre (APDC) in Kuala Lumpur and Associate Fellow at the Institute for Development Studies, (IDS) Sabah in Kota Kinabalu/ Malaysia.

From January 2000 until October 2013 General Secretary of EADI (European Association of Development Research and Training Institutes) and Executive Director of the international secretariat in Bonn/ Germany.

From October 2013 until December 2015 Country Representative for Myanmar of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS), with residence Yangon/ Myanmar (Rangoon/ Burma).

Since May 2016 Senior Advisor at GIZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit), attached to the secretariat of the International Partnership for Religion and Sustainable Development, PaRD in Bonn.