The Leadership Council is the core convening space of the JLI network. Council members are senior leaders of organizational and academic members who are committed to support JLI’s work through financial and in kind contributions. It is an inclusive and diverse space representing international and national organizations, networks and research institutions active in faith-inspired efforts to transform communities, achieve equitable societies, and promote the well-being of people and the planet through evidence informed faith partnership strategies. This peer to peer learning space meets virtually four times annually, and plans are in place for biannual in person meetings.
Executive Vice President
Episcopal Relief & Development
Abagail Nelson is the Executive Vice President at Episcopal Relief & Development. She has worked globally in human development with a technical focus on financial inclusion, economic development and disaster risk reduction for more than 20 years. Abagail takes a systems approach to development challenges, and has led broad coalitions of private, public and faith- based partners to achieve programmatic impact. Before coming to Episcopal Relief & Development, Abagail worked with the government of Ecuador on its coastal resource management program and as a financial analyst for several investment banks. Abagail is a graduate of Harvard College, with an MSc from London School of Economics. She is currently an Officer-at-Large for Corus International, and a lifetime member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
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).
Muhamad Ali Yusuf
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 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.
Ana Maria Daou
Ana Maria Daou
Research and E-Learning Manager
As a Chevening scholar, Ana Maria completed her M.A in Conflict Resolution in Divided Societies at King's College, London. Her thesis, entitled “Know Thy Neighbour: Interfaith Dialogue, Peacebuilding and Reconciliation in the Lebanese Context” explored the role of practical interfaith dialogue in the Lebanese peacebuilding and reconciliation process, and received academic praise. Valedictorian of the Faculty of Humanities, she also graduated with a B.A., Summa Cum Laude, in Communication Arts and a B.A. in Translation and Modern Languages. She is currently the Research and E-Learning Manager at Adyan and the Deputy Coordinator of the International Youth Committee at Religions for Peace. Her scope of work focuses on the organization’s projects on pluralism, dialogue, inclusion, education, and faith-based activism in the MENA region and beyond. Daou has also co-authored book chapters, journal articles and reports on topics of inter-religious dialogue, peace-building, and sustainable development. Last but not least, she participated as a trainer and speaker in several workshops and conferences in Lebanon and abroad.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
W. Bramwell Bailey
Director of Programs
Salvation Army World Service Office
W. Bramwell Bailey currently serves as the Assistant National Secretary and the Program Director for The Salvation Army World Service Office in Alexandria, Va, USA. He directs and coordinates all program sections in this office which work with vulnerable communities in more than 60 countries. These sectors include Community Health; Livelihood; Education; Emergency Response and Mitigation, and Anti Human trafficking. Mr. Bailey works with staff to provide technical support to Salvation Army programs in the field, and works to develop partnerships with other organizations, agencies and faith-based organizations. He has worked in the field on faith-based international development for more than 30 years in South America, Africa, India, Europe and Asia. Mr. Bailey has extensive experience in HIV/AIDS, Interfaith Collaboration, Refugee support, and emergency response and recovery. He has served on several boards including being a member and co-chairman of CORE, an association of international non-governmental organizations that work to promote and improve the health and well-being of children. Mr. Bailey holds a master’s degree in International Development, with a focus on capacity development and non-formal education.
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
Christa Foster Crawford
Associate Director & Founding Partner/Principal Consultant
Human Rights Law Center at Payap University & 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.
Payap University & Freedom Resource International
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.
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.
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.
Elisa Di Benedetto
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).
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.
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.
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.
VP for Programs
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
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.
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.
Partnership for Faith and Development
Ms Duff works for full engagement of the positive power of local faith actors for the common good. She serves as an advisor to faith groups, and to governmental and private organizations seeking to enhance global and local faith engagement on community development and humanitarian issues. Recent focal areas include Gender, Climate Change, WASH, People on the Move, and principles of effective partnerships. She co-moderated the working groups on Partnership (2022) and Gender Equality (2021) for the 17 Rooms project, supported by the Rockefeller Foundation and Brookings institution. She served as Senior Advisor for March 2022 Women Leading Change conference focusing on advancing gender equality in faith contexts. She currently serves as Chair of the Board for A World of Neighbors, an interreligious cross sectoral peer to peer support network for practitioners in Europe working with and for people on the move
In 2012 she co-founded the Joint Learning Initiative on Faith and Local Communities which she served as CEO until 2020, and continues as a member of its Leadership Council. 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. In 1991 she co-founded the Community Council for the Homeless at Friendship Place. Previously she led the Campaign for New Community focused on social inclusion, and served for many years with Hospice Care DC. Ms Duff holds graduate degrees in Clinical Psychology (University College Dublin) and in Epidemiology (Columbia University, New York) She is a Visiting Research Fellow at Trinity College Dublin, a member of the US Council on Foreign Relations.
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.
Acting Director and Associate Research Professor
INTERFAITH HEALTH PROGRAM - EMORY UNIVERSITY
John Blevins is the Acting Director of the Interfaith 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.
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.
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.
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.
Mary Zulu Mwiche
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.
Speak One Voice & United Church of Zambia University
Maurice A. Bloem
Maurice A. Bloem
Chief Sustainability and Impact Officer & Main Representative at UN Headquarters
Church World Service
As CWS’s Chief Sustainability and Impact Officer, Maurice A. Bloem is responsible for strategic analysis, advice and impact initiatives, high level representation with key stakeholders, and increasing organizational thought leadership and visibility. Bloem applies the use of innovation, technology, data and research (especially via the CWS Innovation Hub) to ensure that CWS increases its impact and is a “state of the art” organization. He also ensures that CWS communicates its work in the larger context of the SDGs and Global Climate Change.
Further, he is the agency’s main representative to the UN. Bloem is the former country director and regional director of CWS in Indonesia/Timor-Leste. In that position he led CWS’s multi-million-dollar response to the tsunami & the earthquakes that devastated the region in 2004 & 2005 & directed the development & implementation of innovative HIV/AIDS programs & programs for youth. A native of the Netherlands, Bloem earned a Master of Science degree in cultural anthropology from the University of Leyden in the Netherlands.
In 2011, Bloem started the 100-mile Walk, to raise awareness of issues around hunger and poverty. As part of the annual effort, Bloem Walks 100 miles in a single week, visiting programs supported and funded by CWS. More recently, as he needed to walk alone during the 2020 100-mile campaign, he started a podcast called Walk Talk Listen, so that he could still walk virtually with a number of guests. Now, he speaks on a weekly basis with leaders, including young and emerging ones, from different walks of life. The objective is to connect people around the world and to show that everyone's perspective is true, albeit partial. Connecting might lead to listening and talking and even to walking and/or taking actions to make this world a bit better.
Professor, School of International Service & Director, Peacebuilding and Development Institute - American University
President, Salam Institute for Peace and Justice
Mohammed Abu-Nimer, of the International Peace and Conflict Resolution program, is a full professor who has conducted interreligious conflict resolution training and interfaith dialogue workshops in conflict areas around the world, such as in, Egypt, Northern Ireland, the Philippines (Mindanao), Israel, Palestine, Chad, Nigeria, and Sri Lanka. As a professor with over 35 years of teaching experience, he has developed numerous courses that deal with different facets of peacebuilding and conflict resolution and regularly publish on the subject. While his research has focused on a wide array of areas in peacebuilding and conflict resolution, his most recent areas of focus have included faith-based peacebuilding, interfaith dialogue in peacebuilding and building social cohesion, and pedagogical considerations on incorporating peace and forgiveness education in the Arab world and Muslim world. He also served as a Senior Advisor to the KAICIID Dialogue Centre, an international organization that specialized in interreligious and intercultural dialogue. Abu-Nimer has been both author and an editor of more than 13 books on faith-based and interfaith peacebuilding (e.g. Nonviolence and Peacebuilding in Islamic Context: Bridging Ideals and Reality (2003); Evaluating Interreligious Peacebuilding (2021); Peace-Building By, Between and Beyond Muslims and Evangelical Christians (2009), as well as interfaith dialogue and its role in peacebuilding and reconciliation (e.g. Unity in Diversity: Interfaith Dialogue in the Middle East (2007). In addition, he has author numerous articles in refereed journals, such as the International Review of Education , the Journal of International and Comparative Education , Journal of Religious Ethics, Peace and Change: A Journal of Peace Research and the International Journal of Politics , Culture and Society' . In addition to his articles and publications, Dr. Abu-Nimer is the co-founder and co-editor of the Journal of Peacebuilding and Development .
Director for sustainable development and humanitarian affairs
Soka Gakkai International
Nobuyuki Asai serves as director for sustainable development and humanitarian affairs in Soka Gakkai International (SGI).
He joined SGI's Office for Peace & Global Issues in 2010 and has promoted advocacy and awareness raising on the issues including disaster, nuclear disarmament and SDGs.
In 2011, he joined Soka Gakkai’s recovery taskforce in Tohoku region that was established after the Great East Japan Earthquake. After the Kumamoto Earthquake in April 2016 he served in Soka Gakkai’s relief coordinating team.
He has participated in several UN conferences including the UN Conference on Sustainable Development in 2012 (Rio+20), the UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction held in Sendai in 2015, and the World Humanitarian Summit in May 2016.
He is a focal of the Japan CSO Coalition for Disaster Risk Reduction.
He studied law in Tokyo University and was awarded Bachelor of Law in 1999. In 2018 he published a thesis titled “Function of social capital embedded in religious communities at times of disaster: Cases of disaster relief activity by a Muslim community and a Soka Gakkai community in Japan” on Journal of Disaster Research.
Director- New York Office and Prayer and Action for Children
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.
Senior Technical Advisor for Faith Community Engagement
IMA World Health
Rebecca Waugh serves as Senior Technical Advisor for Faith Community Engagement at IMA World Health, part of the Corus International family. She has more than 25 years of program development and management experience in multi-cultural NGO environments, including 20 years in the international development and human rights arena. Along the way, she managed UNIFEM Trust Fund to Eliminate Violence against Women, promoting innovative, scalable approaches to GBV; oversaw country/regional offices of Church World Service; served on the international steering group for the Ecumenical HIV/AIDS Initiative in Africa; developed a country-level strategic planning process for CARE USA; consulted on three strategic evaluations for the World Food Programme; served as Deputy Country Director and then Country Director for IMA World Health South Sudan, and now serves as focal point for IMA/Corus engagement with faith-based partners and ecumenical networks. She has a Master of Divinity in Theology from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (1977) and a Master’s Degree from the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University (2000).
Programme Analyst & Researcher
International Dialogue Centre (KAICIID)
Ms Nelson is an expert in International Relations and Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue. She has worked extensively to engage religious actors on countering hate speech, fostering inclusive societies and tackling global challenges. She has represented KAICIID on a wide range of international platforms. Ms. Nelson’s research has included research projects on interreligious dialogue, education, monitoring and evaluation of interreligious peacebuilding, and the role of religious actors in contributing to the achievement of SDG16.
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.
Dr Romina Istratii
UKRI Future Leaders Fellow at the School of History, Religions and Philosophies at SOAS University of London
Co-Chair of the SOAS Centre of World Christianity
Dr Romina Istratii is UKRI Future Leaders Fellow at the School of History, Religions and Philosophies at SOAS University of London. She is also co-Chair of the SOAS Centre of World Christianity. She acts as Principal Investigator of the UKRI-funded project “Bridging religious studies, gender & development and public health to address domestic violence: A novel approach for Ethiopia and the UK” more widely known as project dldl/ድልድል. Her work focuses on developing decolonial, cosmology-sensitive and people-centred methodologies and approaches for analysing and addressing issues with gender dimensions, with a focus on domestic violence, in religious societies of Africa, Asia and other regions of the world. Dr Istratii specialises in Eastern Orthodox and pre-Chalcedonian (also known as ‘Oriental Orthodox’) Christian Churches and traditions and is particularly versed in Orthodox theology of gender, marriage and the conjugal relationship. Previously, she also conducted gender-related research with Muslim communities in Africa and is involved with inter-faith initiatives in the UK, Ethiopia and Egypt. She is the author of the monograph Adapting Gender and Development to Local Religious Contexts: A Decolonial Approach to Domestic Violence in Ethiopia (Routledge, 2020).
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.
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.
Somboon (Moo) Chungprampree
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.
Islamic Relief Germany
Tarek Abdelalem has been the CEO of Islamic Relief Germany since 2005. As a valued partner and leader he has served on various boards and committees of Islamic Relief Worldwide in the fields of governance, leadership, management, organisation and strategy development. Tarek represents Islamic Relief Germany in numerous national and international alliances, networks, think tanks and forums, and is involved in actively shaping strategic partnerships.
Tarek holds an MBA from the Frankfurt School of Finance and Management. He acts as a trainer, consultant and coach in various international settings, especially those with reference to capacity building and localisation. Tarek is the co-editor of the books "Strategic Management of Humanitarian NGOs" and "International Challenges of Humanitarian NGOs" published in 2018 and 2021 by Springer Gabler Verlag, Berlin.
Director of Programmes
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.
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.