Global Council Trustees

URI’s primary governing body, the Global Council, is comprised of Trustees who are elected from - and by - URI Cooperation Circles. Each region selects three Trustees to serve on the Global Council for a four-year term, providing guidance and overseeing URI’s strategic growth.

AT-LARGE TRUSTEES

Kiran Bali, MBE JP

URI Global Council Chairperson (At-Large Trustee)

Kiran Bali MBE JP is a practicing Hindu has been leading at the global interfaith level for many years. As an environmental activist, Kiran has been leading grassroots projects to help tackle climate action. Most recently, she was on the frontline of a climate march to the Vatican the entire time leading slogans of justice for the environment. She gave the Hindu opening words for the One Earth, One Family multi-faith climate march to a cheering crowd and called for all religions to join hands to create a brighter and more sustainable future through the divine spirit. She launched the Hindu declaration on Climate Change in India, and spoke at the launch of the interfaith declaration on climate change in New York. For her voluntary endeavours, Kiran has been honored by Queen Elizabeth II and has been the recipient of a number of international awards. She is a regular keynote speaker at events in a number of different countries and has also addressed the UN General Assembly.

Becky Burad

URI Global Council Treasurer (At-Large Trustee)

A founder and principal of Bridgeway, LLC, a financial services company, Ms. Burad has served on the boards of Grace Cathedral, the San Francisco AIDS Foundation and Lutheran Social Services of North America, and has been chairperson of the URI Audit committee since 2007.

Rev. Dr. Joan Brown Campbell

URI Trustee for North America

Dr. Campbell was inspired to strive for a culture of justice ever since Dr. Martin Luther King taught transformative nonviolent activism during the Civil Rights Movement and the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa. Since then, her life’s work has been grounded in faith-based organizations, most notably in the National Council of Churches where she served as General Secretary. As one of the first female Ministers, she has always been connected with those who are marginalized and struggling to have their voices heard, and advocated for interfaith understanding as the foundation to unity and peace. Dr. Campbell has participated in some of the greatest interfaith and peacebuilding events in recent history, including leading peace missions to the Middle East and negotiating the release of American soldiers in Serbia. She is based in Ohio, USA.

Don Frew

URI At-Large Trustee

Elder Frew is a Wiccan Elder and High Priest of Coven Trismegiston in Berkeley CA. He is a National Interfaith Representative for the Covenant of the Goddess. He has represented Wicca in interfaith work for over 30 years, including on the Board of the Berkeley Area Interfaith Council, at all of the modern Parliaments of the World's Religions, and on the Board of the Interfaith Center at the Presidio. He founded and serves as Director for the Lost and Endangered Religions Project and is Vice-President of The Interfaith Observer online journal. He has been active in the URI since 1998 and currently coordinates the Spirituality and the Earth CC (Multiregional). He served as a North American Trustee on the URI's first elected Global Council, as an At-Large Trustee on the second & third Global Councils, as a Continuing Trustee on the fourth Global Council, and serves again as an At-Large Trustee on the current Global Council.

Hereditary Chief Phil Lane Jr.

URI At-Large Trustee

Hereditary Chief Phil Lane Jr. is an enrolled member of the Yankton Dakota and Chickasaw First Nations and is an internationally recognized leader in human and community development. During the past 45 years, he has worked with Indigenous peoples in North, Central and South America, Micronesia, South East Asia, India, Hawaii and Africa. He served 16 years as an Associate Professor at the Faculty of Education at the University of Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada. With Elders from across North America, Chief Phil co-founded the Four Worlds International Institute (FWII). As well, Chief Phil is a Director of the Four Directions Corporation, an Indigenous owned company, incorporated in 1996 as Four Worlds’ economic development arm.

Swamini Adityananda Saraswati

URI At-Large Trustee

Swamini Adityananda is the Director of Programmes, Policy and Development of the Global Interfaith WASH Alliance (GIWA). GIWA was launched at UNICEF Headquarters in New York with the understanding that it is crucial to engage the world’s many faiths to address the vital cause of poor water sanitation and hygiene (WASH) conditions, the main reason behind the majority of our world’s childhood deaths. She has over 28 years of experience in the NGO and communications sectors, having served the poor and marginalized in locations including several African nations, India, the United States, Southeast Asia, as well as at the United Nations and World Bank levels. Swamini Adityananda is also the co-founder of the Pan-African Association, which has provided direct services to survivors of war, violence, displacement and torture to over 100,000 people from nations across the world.

AFRICA

Rattan Kaur Channa

URI Trustee for Africa

Mrs. Channa is a Trustee for the Sikh Women Society of Kenya and the Convenor for Social Welfare for the Sikh Supreme Council. She has served many roles in the Inter-Religious Welfare Council of Kenya during the past decade, including as co-chair. Ms. Channa also has served as an Executive Member of the Social Welfare Committee of the East African Ramgahria Board from 2003-2007. She received the Outstanding Leader Award from the Sikh Supreme Council of Kenya in 1992. Mrs. Channa is a founding member of URI, which was first introduced in Kenya in 1998. She is based in Nairobi, Kenya. 

Honorable Elisha Buba Yero

URI Trustee for Africa

An elder statesman, experienced peace builder and community developer, Honorable Yero is the Wakilin Kpope (ambassador to the Chief and traditional ruler of his community) in the Kaduna State of Nigeria. He works as Board Director with the Interfaith Meditation Center of the Christian/Muslim Dialogue Forum, and previously served as Special Advisor on Religious Affairs to the Executive Governor of Kaduna State. He also served as Permanent Secretary in the Kaduna State Ministry of Religious Affairs, and has initiated and directed several interfaith peacebuilding initiatives. He is based in Jos, Nigeria.

The Most Rev. John Baptist Odama

URI Trustee for Africa

Archbishop Odama has served as the Catholic Archbishop of Gulu, Uganda since 1997 and as chairman of the Uganda Episcopal Conference since 2011. He served as chairman of the Acholi Religious Leaders Peace Initiative, an interfaith peacebuilding organization, from 2002-2010, and has worked with numerous other initiatives aimed at ending the war in Northern Uganda. As a bridge builder between the Lord's Resistance Army and the government of Uganda, His Grace acted as an adviser and observer at the Juba Peace Process talks in 2006. He is based in Gulu, Uganda.

ASIA

Kazi Nurul Islam

URI Trustee for Asia

A professor at the University of Dhaka, Dr. Islam worked with different religious scholars to establish the Warm Heart Association – dedicated to promoting inter-religious harmony. He later established the Department of World Religions and Culture, before leaving his country to study Judaism as a Fullbright Senior Fellow. Upon his return from the USA, he founded and now directs a Dialogue Center at Dhaka University, funded by the Bangladesh government. He is based in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Ravindra Kandage

URI Global Council Assistant Treasurer

Mr. Kandage is the Executive Director of the Sarvodaya Shanthisena Movement, a network of organizations that spans Sri Lanka, and has represented URI since its inaugural meeting. He has been directly involved in the reconciliation process in pre- and postwar Sri Lanka, and assisted in organizing a seminar on the moral imagination in Colombo. He is based in Kesbewa, Sri Lanka.

Professor John Kurakar

URI Trustee for Asia

Professor Kurakar is a renowned teacher from the St. Gregorios College in Kottarakara, and an author of books related to literature, history and the environment. He serves as the president of the Kerala Palliative Care Initiative and as the Chair of the URI South India region, as well as conducts an examination training center and publishing house in Kottarakara. He is based in Kottarakara, India.

EUROPE

Petar Gramatikov

URI Trustee for Europe

Mr. Gramatikov is a hierodeacon of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, as well a Doctor (Didiaskalos) of the Universal Orthodox Church. He is currently the Chief Expert in religious questions in the municipality of Plovdiv, as well as Vice President of the Eastern European Forum for Dialogue-Bridges NGO. He has been working for years in the field of human rights, defending the traditional view of Orthodox church in terms of respect for all beliefs, beside all theological conceptions. He is based in Sofia, Bulgaria.

Marianne Horling

URI Trustee for Europe

An artist and teacher, Ms. Horling is a member of an intercultural choir and has worked with migrant children from many different backgrounds, teaching them to explore and reflect upon the world of art. She spent many years working with a member of the German Parliament, has participated in several interfaith conferences and organized seminars on the hidden meanings of fairy tales. She is based in Bonn, Germany.

Bart ten Broek

URI Trustee for Europe

Mr. ten Broek is a longtime friend of URI: he co-founded the Steering Committee URI the Netherlands CC in 2003, and attended the Mayapur Global Assembly in 2008. He works as a school director, a Gestalt Therapist, an advisor of a Dialogue House in the district of Segbroek in The Hague, as well as member of Interreligieus Beraad Segbroek (IBS), a URI CC. He is based in Amsterdamn, The Netherlands.

Duncan Wielzen

Ex Officio Trustee

Duncan Wielzen is the current URI Europe Chairperson. Mr. Wielzen is employed as a pastoral worker in the R.C. diocese Rotterdam (Netherlands). He has MA degrees in Theology, Religious Studies (Intercultural Ministry), and Educational Studies. He also has a Ph.D. in Theology from Catholic University Leuven (Belgium). Mr. Wielzen works at the intersection of pastoral ministry and religious education. He is the chief editor of Interfaith Education for All: Theoretical Perspectives and Best Practices for Transformative Action (2017), prefaced by the Rev. Victor Kazanjian, URI’s Executive Director. Next to chairing the URI Europe Board, Mr. Wielzen is also a member of two URI CCs in the Netherlands. His involvement is at both the interfaith grassroots level and the international academic level.

LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN

Salette Aquino

URI Trustee for Latin America and the Caribbean

Ms. Aquino was born into a Catholic family and did not have any exposure to other religious traditions until 1997 when Pope John Paul II expressed his desire for a more ecumenical church, inspiring her to explore other faiths. This journey led her to URI in 2000 and to a CC, introducing her to many different religions and traditions. With her 15 years’ experience in URI in Brazil and in wider Latin American work, she is looking forward to apply the lessons of her journey to fostering more interfaith dialogue for more effective approaches to poverty, hunger, injustice, environmental issues, and intolerance in our communities. She is based in Campinas, Brazil.

Sofia Painiqueo

URI Trustee for Latin America and the Caribbean

Ms. Painiqueo is an experienced Mapuche leader and activist, working for the preservation, dissemination, and sociopolitical, economic, and cultural development of the Mapuche people. She founded the Aflailai Foundation in 1980 in Santiago, and has facilitated and participated in several workshops and training courses for organizations, communities, colleges and universities, lectures, and conferences to further understanding of indigenous issues and the Mapuche culture. She contributes to the development of a grapheme alphabet to write the Mapuche language, produces Mapuche music, and directed a documentary on the Mapuche in Chile. Ms. Painqueo was a candidate for Member of Parliament, a Councillor of the Lumaco commune, represents Mapuche women in different national and international meetings, and is a member of URI as a woman of faith and based on her firm belief in the need for more inclusive intercultural dialogue. She is based in Lumaco, Chile.

Rev. David Limo Pajar

URI Trustee for Latin America and the Caribbean

Rev. Pajar has dedicated his life to bringing people together through understanding and peace, dreaming of a global village where everyone can live in warmth and generosity. He believes that to truly give voice to the most excluded and uniting local, regional, and global efforts will allow communities to build from the diversity of our experience rather than letting them be barriers. This spirit of cooperation requires responding to circumstances without prejudice, expectations, or requirements. He is based in Lima, Peru.

MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA

Dr. Ahmed Osama Abu Doma

URI Trustee for Middle East and North Africa

A member of URI from 2004, Dr. Abu Doma is also a researcher, university lecturer, and social activist. He has been involved with various international and local organizations including the Al Karma Foundation, Al Ilkhaa Aldiny, Rotary International, and the Egyptian Council for Foreign Affairs. He is an elected officer of the Egyptian Engineering Syndicate Board, regularly speaks and participates in international and Egyptian conferences and seminars, and has appeared on several political and economic television shows. Dr. Abu Doma holds a doctorate from Helwan University, Cairo. He is based in Dokki, Egypt.

Naoufal El Hammoumi

URI Trustee for Middle East and North Africa

Mr. El Hammoumi started working with youth NGOs in Morocco when he was seven years old, and went on to found several national and international level initiatives focused on youth empowerment and engagement in peace tolerance. He is the president of the Young Peoples' Development NGO in Tiflet, the founder of Salam Shabab CC, and a founder-member of the Association of Arab Youths, the International League of Young Journalists, and the Arab Fund to Support Mobility for Young People. Selected as one of the top ten best young journalists in Morocco in 2003 by the Moroccan government, he is also regularly featured in the press and authors works on subjects pertinent to his activism. Through his work with Salam Shabab CC particularly, he hopes to contribute to establishing a harmonious society with people of different religions and an appreciation of this diversity of faith. He is based in Tiflet, Morocco.

Ameenah Ezzat Yaqoob

URI Trustee for Middle East and North Africa

Ms. Yaqoob started her journey as an interfaith activist in 2005 as a participant in a program on religion’s role in conflict; though she believes that religion can be instrumental to or become a mask for violence, she has seen firsthand that many recent conflicts have also involved religious beliefs themselves. She has worked for a range of international and local NGOs including ActionAid, the International Rescue Committee, Right to Play, CARE International, and currently the Luminous Group, with a strong focus on monitoring and evaluation, training, and capacity building. She is a member of various organizations including the Jordan Youth Forum, Leaders of Tomorrow, the Jordanian-Danish Dialogue Center, the Arab Network for Dialogue, and Youth Spirit. She is based in Amman, Jordan.

MULTIREGION

Suchith Abeyewickreme

URI Trustee for Multiregion

Mr. Abeyewickreme was born in Bangkok but has spent most of his life Sri Lanka. Initially intending to be an electrical engineer, he realized his life path lay in social development and peacebuilding. In university, he was part of AIESEC, the world’s largest student-run leadership organization, spending several years in various leadership roles within the organization. Currently, he serves as the Secretariat Coordinator for the South Asia Region of the Global Network of Religions for Children (GNRC) at Sarvodaya, coordinating interfaith and intercultural ethics education programs for children in South Asia. He has also been involved in many projects on education, entrepreneurship, leadership, HIV/AIDS, and cultural diversity. He is based in Kiribathgoda, Sri Lanka.

Elana Rozenman

URI Trustee for Multiregion

Ms. Rozenman is the Founder and Executive Director of “TRUST - Emun”, an Israeli organization building trust and mutual understanding among people of different faiths in the Middle East in the midst of violent conflict. She has been involved in interfaith and inter-cultural work since the recovery of her son from being severely wounded in a Palestinian suicide bombing in Jerusalem in 1997. She co-founded the WIN URI in 2006 as an interactive global network for women's projects to be realized locally and globally. She co-founded the TRUST WIN (Women’s Interfaith Network) and has led Women’s Walks for Peace locally, regionally, and internationally – most recently at the Parliament of the World’s Religions. She co-coordinates the WIN MENA (Women’s Interfaith Network of the Middle East and North Africa) which is involved in training women leaders in the region. She is based in Jerusalem, Israel.

Audri Scott Williams

URI Global Council Secretary (Multiregion Trustee)

Ms. Williams was first introduced to URI in 2005 as a walker on the Trail of Dreams World Peace Walkers on their world tour. Being a CC member and experiencing the network of support inspired her to become an advocate for interfaith and intergenerational dialogue as a foundation for creating peaceful and just communities. She has received several awards for her service, including the Presidential Certificate of Merit from President Bill Clinton; HBO’s Hearing Her Voice, Telling Her Story Award; Volvo for Life’s American Heroes Award; and the 2008 URI Bowes Award to the Trail of Dreams Team. She is based in Alabama, USA.

NORTH AMERICA

Fred Fielding

URI Trustee for North America

Mr. Fielding is an Episcopalian and a lifelong resident of the San Francisco Bay Area, and first discovered interfaith work as a seminary student. His background in television production has also translated into his interfaith work, supporting youth activists and use of digital technology to enable a deeper interfaith, inter-generational focus. He has produced videos and facilitated programs with youth and digital media as an entry to interfaith relationship building for URI, Partners in Peace, and Crop Walk SF. He is based in California, USA.

Johnny Martin

URI Trustee for North America

Johnny Martin is a student at Arizona State University (ASU) studying Religion, Public Life, and Conflict. He is the founder of Sun Devils Are Better Together (SunDABT), an interfaith student organization and URI Cooperation Circle at ASU. He is a board member of the Arizona Faith Network (also a URI Cooperation Circle). Johnny was a Young Adult Scholar with the North American Interfaith Network in 2015 and is a former Better Together Coach at Interfaith Youth Core. He is a convert to Islam and has been practicing Sufism since he became Muslim in 2014.

Valeria Vergani

URI Trustee for North America

Valeria Vergani is a religious studies scholar and interfaith activist based in Vancouver, British Columbia. She was born and raised among the vineyards of Valpolicella, in Northern Italy, and lived in the Polish capital city of Warsaw for two years. She moved to British Columbia to attend Quest University Canada, where she studied contemporary expressions of Tibetan Buddhism in the kingdom of Bhutan. Currently she serves as Interfaith Coordinator for City in Focus Foundation, an interdenominational Christian organization, and as a Director of the InterSpiritual Sustainability Society, a registered URI Cooperation Circle in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Ardey Turner

Ex Officio Trustee

Ardey Turner is a Reiki Master, Healer, Trainer and Medical Intuitive. She has been a part of URI since 1998 in putting on two conferences at Stanford and at Carnegie Mellon for the charter signing. She formed the Multiregion Circle of Healers Cooperation Circle. As chair of the Leadership Council, Ardey piloted a variety of experimental fundraising programs for the region.

SOUTHEAST ASIA AND THE PACIFIC

Peter Mousaferiadis

URI Trustee for Southeast Asia and the Pacific

Mr. Mousaferiadis has had an extensive career as a creative director, producer, artistic director, music director, composer and a champion of intercultural dialogue. He has established himself as one of Australia’s leading cross cultural directors. Peter has directed large scale intercultural concerts and ceremonies throughout Australia, China, the Philippines, and Malaysia. In 2003, Peter founded Cultural Infusion, a global social enterprise that works with schools, youth, digital media and the arts to promote cultural harmony for a more cohesive and richer society. Cultural Infusion delivers programs in India, Brazil, South Africa, Egypt, Cambodia and throughout Australia. Cultural Infusion has been the recipient of numerous awards including the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations Intercultural Innovation Award. In 2015, Peter was appointed as an Associate to the UNESCO Chair for Intercultural and Interreligious Relations, Asia-Pacific, and elected as a board member of the Ethnic Communities’ Council of Victoria. In 2014, Peter was appointed a patron of the Model Global Parliament and in the same year was presented with the Cultural Revolution Award by the Punjab Government of Pakistan in recognition of 25 years’ contribution to cultural diversity through arts and cultural programs. He is based in Melbourne, Australia.

Ros Sam An

URI Trustee for Southeast Asia and the Pacific

Ros Sam An is the deputy director of Santi Sena, a non-governmental organization founded by Buddhist monks that aims to improve working and living situations for Cambodians through programs in natural resources management, community peace building and alternative education. He is a member of the Interfaith Youth Circle of Cambodia CC and serves on the board of directors of Humanity Bright. He is based in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

Musa Sanguila

URI Trustee for Southeast Asia and the Pacific

Mr. Sanguila is Chairman of Muslim Sharing Skills for Peace & Development and Director of Pakigdait, a grassroots interfaith, peace-building civil society organization in Mindanao, Philippines. He has participated in the Summer Peace Building Institute of Eastern Mennonite University, Harrisonburg, Va., USA, and completed a course in “Islamic Theology: Mazhab Shinazi” at Al-Mufid University, Quom, Islamic Republic of Iran. He is based in Iligan City, Lanao del Norte, The Philippines.

EXECUTIVE TRUSTEES

The Rt. Rev. William E. Swing

President and Founding Trustee

Bishop William Swing is the President and Founder of the URI. Bishop Swing had the original vision of URI in 1993 in response to an invitation from the United Nations which asked him to host an interfaith service honoring the 50th anniversary of the signing of the UN Charter. Bishop Swing served as the Episcopal Bishop of California from 1980 until his retirement in 2006. In that capacity, he was a national and international leader in response to the AIDS crisis, co-founded Episcopal Community Services to address San Francisco’s homeless problem, and co-founded Community Bank of the Bay to support local businesses and the economy.

Bishop Swing is an inspirational speaker and an author, most recently of A Bishop's Quest: Founding a United Religions and The Sacred and the Silly: A Bishop's Playful and Eventful Life. Both books are available on Amazon.com; the proceeds of book sales will benefit URI.

The Rev. Victor H. Kazanjian, Jr.

Executive Director

Victor Kazanjian comes to URI as a lifelong peacebuilder dedicated to interfaith and intercultural understanding. For the past two decades, he served as Dean of Religious and Spiritual Life, Dean of Intercultural Education, Co-Director of the Peace & Justice Studies Program, and Director of the India Program at Wellesley College in Wellesley, Massachusetts, USA. Victor’s work at Wellesley College is widely acknowledged as the catalyst in the national and international movement to include religious diversity and spirituality as core issues in higher education. Specializing in inter-religious dialogue and conflict transformation, diversity and democracy, and peace building, Victor is a recognized thought-leader, the co-author and editor of several books and numerous articles and a frequent lecturer worldwide. In 1998, Victor co-founded Education as Transformation, an international organization working with colleges and universities around the world to promote religious pluralism and spirituality in education. He is also a visiting faculty member and Fulbright Scholar at the Malaviya Center for Peace Research at Banaras Hindu University in Varanasi, India, and member of the Global Learning Leadership Council of the American Association of Colleges and Universities (AAC&U). Victor is also an ordained Episcopal priest. He holds a Master of Divinity degree from the Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and an B.A. from Harvard University.