Staff

EXECUTIVE STAFF

The Rt. Rev. William E. Swing

President and Founding Trustee of URI; Former Episcopal Bishop of California

William E. Swing, 7th Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of California (1980-2006), was born in Huntington, West Virginia. He graduated from Kenyon College and Virginia Theological Seminary, and holds six honorary degrees. Bishop Swing served as a priest in Wheeling, Weirton, and Chester, West Virginia. He also started a church at Waterford Park Race Track in Chester, pioneered homeless work in San Francisco, and played a critical role in saving St. Luke’s Hospital. He served on the Board of the American Foundation for AIDS research for 20 years and has spoken throughout the world. He was instrumental in starting a capital development bank in Oakland. He is known as an outspoken leader about the standing of gays and lesbians in the church. He led the radical expansion of the Bishop’s Ranch in Healdsburg, California. Bishop Swing is the Founder and President of the United Religions Initiative. He is married to Mary Taylor Swing and has two children and three grandchildren.

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

The Rev. Victor Kazanjian leads URl's global grassroots interfaith peacebuilding network of over 1,000 groups working in more than 100 countries and at the United Nations to build bridges of cooperation between people of all beliefs and cultures. Prior to joining URI, Victor served as Dean of lntercultural Education & Religious and Spiritual Life and Co-Director of the Peace and Justice Studies Program at Wellesley College, and as visiting faculty at the Malaviya Center for Peace Research at Banaras Hindu University in Varanasi, India, where he served as Fulbright Professor of Peace and Justice Studies. Co-Founder of Education as Transformation Inc., an international organization that works on religious diversity and spirituality in higher education, Victor is also an author, educator, recognized thought-leader and trainer in areas of intergroup dialogue, multicultural and interreligious understanding, conflict transformation, diversity and democracy, social justice, community organizing, and peacebuilding. He is an ordained priest in the Episcopal Church and was trained as a community organizer working to address the systemic causes of poverty and injustice through the support of community-based groups. He holds degrees from the Episcopal Divinity School and Harvard University.

GLOBAL OFFICE STAFF

Pamela H. Banks

Director of Finance and Administration

Pamela joined URI in March 2011 originally as a Fiscal Consultant tasked with completing the annual audit, and then transitioning to the finance department. In July 2011, she accepted the position of Director of Finance and Administration. In 2000, as corporate finance was going through various changes, Pamela discovered non-profit service was a better fit for her skill set and was personally more rewarding. Her background includes 20 years of accounting experience, with the last 10 years being exclusively in not-for-profit service. She has directed not-for-profit finance in social service programs in Alameda, San Francisco and San Mateo Counties.

Biff Barnard

Director of Institutional Advancement

Biff Barnard joined URI as its Director of Institutional Advancement in October 2016, having served as a member of URI’s President’s Council. He was Managing Partner of Barnard/Montague Capital Advisors; Managing Director of Caltius Mezzanine; Senior Vice President of Allied Capital; and Chairman and CEO of Heller First Capital. Biff served as Chairman of the Advisory Council of the San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank, as President of the San Francisco Chapter of the Association for Corporate Growth, and as a Director of ACG-Global. He served on the board of advisors of TS Restaurants and currently serves on the San Francisco Advisory Board of the Presidio Bank. Biff received a B.A. from Stanford University. He lives in Walnut Creek, California, with his wife, Connie.

Diana Conan

Director of Development

Diana joined the URI team as its Annual Fund and Events Manager in January 2013. In August 2014, Diana was promoted to Associate Director of Development, and in September 2016 to Director of Development. In her new position, Diana oversees URI’s development team’s efforts and all the key aspects of URI's Development Department including the annual fund, the Circles of Light gala, major donors’ relations, international fundraising and foundation and corporate relations. After a decade in the corporate sector, Diana transitioned over the non-profit sector in search of a more rewarding work life and focused on women advocacy issues and affordable education. She has over 16 years of experience stewarding donor relations and managing fundraising events for URI, the Northern California Chapter of Achievement Rewards for College Scientists, The Foundation of City College of San Francisco, Coast Guard Foundation and various other non-profits in the Bay Area. Diana was born and raised in France and earned her BA degree from Barnard College in New York City, USA. Diana currently lives in San Francisco and enjoys learning about diverse religious traditions and cooking various cuisines.

Maria Crespo

Director of Cooperation Circle Support

Maria Crespo serves as the Director of Cooperation Circle (CC) Support from her office in Buenos Aires, Argentina. She maintains communication with CCs around the world, manages the CC approval process and is the staff liaison for the CC Approval Committee. Maria moderates URI’s listservs, assists with URI's social media activities, and oversees data collection for URI’s CCs. Prior to this, she served as the Regional Coordinator for Latin America for five years. Maria originally became involved with URI in 1997 when she was appointed as a Trustee in the Interim Global Council. By profession, she is a bilingual school teacher. She is very involved in the Roman Catholic Church as a catechist and lay person, collaborating in the Episcopal Conference for Ecumenism, Relations with Judaism, Islam and other religions. Maria is married and has five children.

Kathleen Daley

Executive Assistant to the Executive Director

Kathleen Daley joins URI as the Executive Assistant to the Executive Director and Global Council Coordinator. Kathleen was formerly Executive Assistant and Liaison to the Board of Trustees at UC Hastings College of the Law after an extensive background in business. She earned her M.A. in Holistic Health Education from John F. Kennedy University. Through exploring different spiritual traditions, including Indigenous ways of knowing, Kathleen feels drawn to serve a holistic and interconnected mission devoted to peace and healing through the empowerment of communities. Kathleen lives in San Francisco with her husband, Jack, and enjoys connecting with Nature, art and music, creating nutritious meals, and walks on the beach.

Gaea Denker

Communications Manager

Gaea joined the United Religions Initiative as the Communications Manager in 2015. Previously a freelance writer, editor-in-chief, and social media manager, she brings a decade of professional experience and enthusiasm, as well as a BA from Cornell University and an MFA from Florida State University, to her role. She transferred from the corporate sector in order to pursue a daily focus on actively creating a better world. In her free time, Gaea enjoys writing plays for the vibrant San Francisco theater community, painting murals for schools, restaurants, and other buildings around the Bay Area, walking her two rescue mutts, and learning new gardening tricks.

Mussie Hailu

URI Director of Global Partnerships, URI Representative at the UN and the African Union, URI-Africa Regional Director, Former Ambassador

Ambassador Mussie Hailu is a peacebuilder who is working at national, regional, and international levels for peace, reconciliation, interfaith harmony, disarmament, the Golden Rule, world citizenship, right human relationships, and international cooperation for the preservation of the environment. He considers himself a Citizen of the World, believing strongly in the inter-dependence of human beings. He celebrates cultural diversity, seeing the differences in race, ethnicities, religions, politics, and nationalities as important elements of the one and indivisible humanity. He has served many national and international organizations, including the United Nations. Mussie also served as Diplomat in the rank of Ambassador and Special Envoy of the President of Burundi. Currently, he serves as URI Director of Global Partnerships, URI Representative at the United Nations and the African Union, and URI-Africa Regional Director. He is a founding member of URI.

Katherine Lehmann

Executive Assistant to the President

Katherine Lehmann joins URI as the executive assistant to Bishop Swing, assisting the President’s Council and Voices for a World Free of Nuclear Weapons Cooperation Circle, and supporting the general URI office with data entry and other administrative tasks. Katherine has spent half of her career in administrative roles, as an executive assistant or office manager, working primarily with lawyers and real estate developers. She worked for two nonprofit groups in the past, as the job developer for the federally-funded Refugee Employment Assistance Program (REAP) and as the Associate Director of Development for Maternal & Child Health, at California Pacific Medical Center (CPMC) Foundation. The other half of her career has been spent teaching English as a Second or Other Language (TESOL) overseas and in the San Francisco Bay Area. She taught English to medical doctors in Xian, China; to Tibetan monks in Mill Valley; Russian Jewish émigré students at a Jewish Orthodox school in San Francisco; and most recently to high school girls in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Katherine received her B.A. in English from the University of Texas at Austin, and has taken graduate coursework at the Graduate Theological Union (GTU) in Berkeley and at the University of Southern California (USC). A self-described grammar enthusiast, Katherine is also passionate about multicultural exchanges and is a student of world religions. She has two Millenial daughters, one who lives locally and the other who is a medical student in Miami, Florida.

Myra Levy

Senior Accountant

Myra joined the URI team in September 2015 as Senior Accountant. She was born and raised in San Francisco, and remembers when the Presidio (where the GSO is located) was still a military base. Myra is passionate about working for social and economic justice. She has worked for more than 30 years in nonprofit organizations in San Francisco--including the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice, Friends of the River, Maitri Compassionate Care, and the Lavender Youth Recreation and Information Center. Myra says, "For me, finance work is satisfying because individual projects can be finished, and can be correct—unlike most of the rest of life." Myra is also a visual artist and painter (see www.myralevy.com). She enjoys hiking, watching documentary films, and has recently begun learning to knit. She and her partner have two young-adult sons.

Sally Mahé

Senior Consultant

Sally Mahe, a founding staff person of URI, has held senior staff positions for over 20 years. Sally formerly served as URI Director of Organizational Development and Director of Global Programs, working primarily with regional staff across the world. As Senior Consultant, Sally is on-call for consultation and makes core URI values, practices and in-depth organizational wisdom available to the URI global community. Sally co-authored The Birth of a Global Community in 2003 and A Greater Democracy Day by Day. Sally holds Master's degrees from Harvard and the General Episcopal Seminary, New York. She lives in the Bay Area with her children and grandchildren nearby. Sally maintains the blog Every Voice, where she writes about the varied ways URI Cooperation Circle members all over the world give voice to URI and contribute to its success.

Sally maintains a weekly blog called Every Voice, where she presents thought-provoking quotes showing how people all over the world give voice to URI.

Sarah Oliver

Global Youth Coordinator

Since 2016, Sarah has been the URI Youth Coordinator for the Southern African region, working to strengthen the voices of young people across the regional URI network. In this role, she has led interfaith and leadership skills training programs with youth from Cooperation Circles across South Africa, Malawi, and Mozambique. She developed the Girls Not Brides Campaign with URI Youth Ambassadors in these areas. As an experienced facilitator, Sarah runs interfaith youth programs for high school learners with the Cape Town Interfaith Initiative in partnership with GOAL (Giving Opportunity to Aspiring Leaders), both Cooperation Circles of URI. Within these programs, Sarah strives to create spaces of trust, dialogue, and learning across religious and cultural divides. In July 2019, Sarah took on the role of URI Global Youth Coordinator, expanding her work to connect, support and inspire youth engagement globally in URI’s network.

Isabelle Ortega-Lockwood

Director of Global Communications and Strategic Planning

As the Director of Global Communications and Strategic Planning, Isabelle ensures that the work of all parts of URI are acknowledged and shared within the URI community and the public. She joined the URI team in June 2012, bringing a decade of skills and experience specializing in communications and marketing strategy, graphic design, content development and integrated media planning. Isabelle has lived and worked in five countries across four continents, spearheading communications and marketing programs for non-profits in Canada and South Africa. She holds an Honours Degree in Media, Information and Technoculture from Western University, and completed her post-graduate work with a focus on Digital Graphic Design. Isabelle also sits on the board of FLAG, a Canadian foundation that provides education for underprivileged girls in the Philippines. An earnest cook and constant traveler, she lives in San Francisco with her husband and daughter.

Alice Swett

Director of Global Programs

Alice has spent most of her career applauding, mentoring and training youth and adults working for positive social change. Most recently she managed the City of Boulder, Colorado’s Youth Opportunities Program/YOAB for 16 years. She also served as a Trustee of the Community Foundation Serving Boulder County. In 2013 Alice was grateful to be named a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar, which enabled her to receive a Master’s Degree in Peace Education from the University for Peace in Costa Rica. She spent time in the Democratic Republic of the Congo with Theatre et Réconciliation, using participatory theater as a tool for community transformation. She loves vegetarian food, intercultural exchanges of all types, ragtime piano, and being outdoors.

Matthew Youde

Associate Director of Global Programs for Youth Leadership Development

Matthew has a background in media production and has worked on diverse projects from corporate videos for businesses to broadcast drama with the BBC. He has been involved in youth work in the UK for many years, in both interfaith and single-faith, Catholic, environments. He has a keen interest in social justice projects and the experiences of young people in the world of work. Matthew joined URI as a volunteer supporting the Global Young Leaders Program (YLP), helping to organise the first international gathering of URI youth in Mayapur, India, in 2008. Since then he has been a Trustee on URI’s Global Council, trainer at YLP events and now serves as the Coordinator of International Youth Leadership Development.

AFRICA

Mussie Hailu

URI Director of Global Partnerships, URI Representative at the UN and the African Union, URI-Africa Regional Director, Former Ambassador

Ambassador Mussie Hailu is a peacebuilder who is working at national, regional, and international levels for peace, reconciliation, interfaith harmony, disarmament, the Golden Rule, world citizenship, right human relationships, and international cooperation for the preservation of the environment. He considers himself a Citizen of the World, believing strongly in the inter-dependence of human beings. He celebrates cultural diversity, seeing the differences in race, ethnicities, religions, politics, and nationalities as important elements of the one and indivisible humanity. He has served many national and international organizations, including the United Nations. Mussie also served as Diplomat in the rank of Ambassador and Special Envoy of the President of Burundi. Currently, he serves as URI Director of Global Partnerships, URI Representative at the United Nations and the African Union, and URI-Africa Regional Director. He is a founding member of URI.

Despina Namwembe

URI-Africa Great Lakes Regional Coordinator

Despina is a social scientist with a Master’s in Peace and Conflict Studies. She coordinates the work of over 70 grassroots interfaith organizations doing different social action in the Great Lakes countries of Africa. Despina is a community organizer, trainer, and mentor in organizational development and peace work. Growing up on a continent that sometimes fuses strong customs with religion to deter the full participation of women, Despina has a passion for addressing issues that support women and girls to achieve their full potential. She has widely traveled, which has helped her conceive many “out of the box” solutions which have changed lives. She is also a contributor to different literature in the areas of interfaith, gender, environment and peacebuilding work.

Emmanuel Ivorgba

Regional Coordinator for URI Western Africa

Dr. Emmanuel Ande Ivorgba serves as URI Regional Coordinator for Western Africa. He concurrently leads the New Era Educational and Charitable Support Foundation, a Nigeria-based national nonprofit that received the 2013 United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) Youth Solidarity Fund Award. Emmanuel is Convener and Director of the International Conference on Youth and Interfaith Dialogue in Nigeria, which annually hosts over 350 participants from more than 10 countries. He is also the founder of Creative Minds International Academy, a school empowering Nigerian students with the ability for critical thinking, exploration of the interconnectedness of all life, and the establishment of sustainable relationships with each other and Earth herself. His life’s work is reaching out to youth around the world to create a culture of peace and justice. He is the recipient of several awards, including the 2014 Unsung Heroes of Compassion Award, for his service to humanity and his peacebuilding efforts, especially in his native country, Nigeria.

Mahamoud Sougueh

Regional Coordinator for URI-Africa: Horn of Africa

Mahamoud has been the URI Regional Coordinator in the Horn of Africa since 2014. He worked in the municipality of Djibouti and held the post of Director of External Relations (2012-2013). During his tenure as Director of External Relations, he organized civil society around a simple concept that was to give civil society a dialogue and sharing platform to better coordinate their work to help communities. Mahamoud is strongly committed to strengthening the participation of youth in socio-economic development activities and the promotion of living together between communities and respect of diversity. He also worked as a consultant in the field of renewable energies such as photopholtaïque system.

Karen Barensché

Regional Coordinator for URI Southern Africa

As Regional Coordinator for URI Southern Africa, Karen is passionate to discover more about the spiritual psyche of people and encourages the development of a true understanding of the inter- connectedness of us all. She focuses her energy on those who want to live in peaceful co- existence with one other. As a white person who grew up in South Africa she was part of the regime of apartheid and as a result now dedicates her life to serving humanity, inspired to live a life of principle, dedicated to a path of peaceful co-existence and collaboration. Her mission is to further this vision through supporting and implementing peace building infrastructures and peace education within governments, faith based communities and civil society to deliver a more loving and spiritually aware environment.

ASIA

Biswadeb Chakraborty

National India Team Coordinator and Regional Coordinator for URI-Asia: India, East Zone

Biswadeb holds a BA degree in Accounting. He was raised in a family with strong spiritual values and commitment. Since 1996, he has been involved in community organizing and serves in a leadership role with Ektaan Cooperation Circle. Biswadeb is an accomplished musician and songwriter, dedicated to using music as a medium for awakening inner consciousness, building bridges of respect across social barriers, and uniting life on earth.

Subhi Dhupar

Regional Coordinator for URI-Asia: Afghanistan and India, North Zone

Subhi is a peace educator and trainer with over four years of experience promoting interfaith consensus and social inclusion among people of diverse cultures at local and international levels. She works as the Regional Coordinator for URI, supporting and mentoring grassroots groups in North India and Kabul, Afghanistan. Subhi models bridge-building and an intergenerational approach as critical to effectiveness and sustenance for grassroots groups. Subhi’s work has taken her to many conflict and post-conflict countries, where she engaged with youth organizations, universities, and public policy makers from around the world. Subhi has studied at Lady Shri Ram College and at South Asian University. She holds a Master’s degree in international relations.

Abraham Karickam

Regional Coordinator for URI-Asia: India, South Zone

Dr. Abraham Karickam is a former Principal of Mar Thoma College, Tiruvalla, Kerala (affiliated to Mahatma Gandhi University), where he worked for 28 years in the Department of English. He holds PhDs in English and also in Inter-Religious studies. Dr, Abraham is a Graduate of Bossey Ecumenical Institute (affiliated to Geneva Universty) and has attended several summer institutes in Peace Studies at the Eastern Mennonite University, United States. He is the coordinator for the URI South India --Sri Lanka Zone and Secretary General for the URI Asia Region. Abraham has authored fifteen books and edited a number of books and journals. His important works are “The Concept of Salvation in the Upanishads, the Bible and the Qur’An” and the interfaith novel “Super Souls Revisited”. He also organises the International Conferences on Holy Books at regular intervals in different parts of the world. He represented Mar Thoma Church and URI in three General Assemblies of the World Council of Churches (Canberra, 1991, Harare, 1998 and Port Allegre, 2005). He has been a fellow traveller of Taize Community, France from his student days. He has been engaged in interfaith dialogue for more than thirty years.

Qutub Jehan Kidwai

Regional Coordinator for URI-Asia: India, West Zone

Qutub has been working for interfaith harmony since her university days. "In India, we often experienced violence in the name of religion," she says. "Therefore, I was actively involved in youth and peacebuilding programs. At present, I am involved in women's empowerment and other related issues, irrespective of caste, creed and religion. Humanity -- not any community identity -- counts. I believe in tolerance and propagating the gems of values present in all faiths and beliefs, as well as sensitivity toward human needs and sufferings." What Qutub says she finds most compelling about URI is that it represents hope in this war and conflict-prone world. "URI is a world of love, peace and humanity in itself," she says.

Father James Channan O.P.

Regional Coordinator for URI-Asia: Pakistan

Fr James is a Pakistani Christian and a Catholic priest. He is URI Regional Coordinator Pakistan and Executive Director of Peace Center, Lahore. He was appointed by Pope John Paul II to work with the Vatican's Commission for Religious Relations with Muslims for 5 years and as Consultant to the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue for 10 years. Fr Channan attended the Pontifical Institute for Islamic Studies and Arabic language in Rome from 1982-85 and obtained a Licentiate Degree. He also got Masters Degree in Counseling from Emmanuel College, Boston, USA, received graduate credits from Harvard University, USA and a course on Peace Building from the American University, Washington, DC, USA. He got Honorary “Doctor of Divinity” Degree from Norway. He served as Executive Secretary of the National Commission for Christian Muslim Relations for 17 years. He was the organizer of the URI's 1,500 Miles Journey for Peace (Karachi to Khyber). He is the author of 4 books: 2 in English and 2 in Urdu. He has devoted his life to promoting dialogue among religions.

EUROPE

Karimah Stauch

Regional Coordinator for URI-Europe

Karimah holds a MA degree in Economics. She also received a MA degree in Islamic Studies at the University of Bonn, Germany. She currently works for the IT Department of German Agro Action (development NGO) in Bonn. She has been the Europe Regional Coordinator since 2003 and is a member of the European Executive Committee (EEC) of URI Europe. She also holds the following positions: Vice-President of the German Muslim- League Bonn, Inc.; founding member of the Central Council of Muslims in Germany; member of the Council of the Sufi-order "Tariqah As-Safinah"; Vice- President of the Christian-Islamic Society (URI Europe),; member of the planning team for "Standing Conference of Jews, Christians and Muslims in Europe”; member of the advisory board and adviser for Islamic questions for the ESWTR Deutschland; and DMLBonn's delegate to the Muslim Council, Bonn.

LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN

Enoé Texier

Regional Coordinator for URI-Latin America and the Caribbean

Enoé is an Anthropologist and Ph.D. in Social Sciences, a professor at the Central University of Venezuela. She focused her research on the holistic paradigm of science. She has coordinated educational programs on inner peace, developing brain potential and exploring our capacity as a human race to live together in harmony. She is also founder and member of Circle of Cooperation of Dialogue and Coordinator of Father Luis Dolan Chair. Since June 2000, Enoé has been leading the Circle of Cooperation for Dialogue and the Luis Dolan Chair, as its academic body at the university, bringing together representatives of different spiritual traditions toward the promotion of interreligious and intercultural dialogue. She was the co-founder in México (1996) of the Inter-American Council on Indian Spirituality (CISEI) and was the Chair during the triennium 2007-2010. Among her publications, one of the most known is “Understanding Networks” (1999).

MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA

Mamoun Ahmad

Regional Coordinator for URI-Middle East and North Africa

Mamoun Ahmad holds a Master’s degree in International Business. He has been a dedicated social worker since the early 90s. His lifetime mission of promoting intercultural and inter-religious understanding was crystalized in 1993 when he co-founded the Friends of Foreigners club at the University of Jordan. After graduation in 1995, Mamoun continued his mission and social work under several entities, including The Conversation Club at American Language Centre in Amman, University of Jordan Alumni Club, Save the Children, Seeds of Peace, and Euro-Mediterranean Partnership (EUROMED). In January 2003, Mamoun established "Quested Peace" as a non-profit group aimed at promoting intercultural understanding and interfaith cooperation as well as engaging youth in community service activities. A year later, Quested Peace joined URI as a Cooperation Circle.

SOUTHEAST ASIA AND THE PACIFIC

Musa Mohamad Sanguila

Director of Pakigdait, Philippines, a URI Cooperation Circle, and URI-Philippines Country Coordinator

Mr. Musa Mohamad Sanguila, fondly called Mowkong, was born in war-torn Lanao del Norte, Mindanao, Philippines. For over 15 years, he served as Founding Director of Pakigdait, a grassroots interfaith peacebuilding civil society organization in Mindanao. He is currently one of the founding conveners of the Philippine Center for Islam and Democracy, and regularly participates in the think-tank circle that discusses mitigation and reconciliation of religiously-motivated violence in Mindanao. A former consultant of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, he passionately pursues peace talks with the Government of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front as the voice of local civil society organizations that are members of the monitoring team. He chairs the PAMANA-LANAW, a province-wide multi-stakeholder convergence that implements community-based projects and infrastructures in conflict-affected villages in Lanao areas, and jointly acts as Lead Convener of Bantay Kalilintad (Peace Watch), a civil society oversight body on the implementation of the Internal Peace and Security Plan of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

Sothearat Seoung

Regional Coordinator for URI-Southeast Asia and the Pacific - West Zone

Sothearat is a Cambodian with more than ten years of experience in the social development sector in Cambodia. He is a Clinical Psychologist and an EMDR (Eyes Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) practitioner, trained internationally in "Psycho- traumatology and EMDR." He is an independent facilitator, in the area of organization development. Sothearat has facilitated a great many other seminars and retreats focusing on relationship building and communication skills for various organizations. He was well recognized for using a ‘Whole Person Learning and Creative Process’ methodology, which is the foundation for behaviour change interventions. Sothearat has an extended experience in design leadership development programs for women, youth, and senior NGOs managers. His background and experience in psychotherapy and supervision/coaching for senior NGO managers give him an extra "edge", and an ability to quickly assess the strengths of an individual or organization, as well as an ability to recognize and heal the negative leadership habits and systemic dynamics that can hold an organization hostage. Additionally, Sothearat provides counseling for people with mental distress, and training in psychological health-related topics to organizations working with children and women, orphanages and shelters. Sothearat is a founder and managing director of Centre for Leadership Enrichment (CLE): www.cle-org.com. Additionally, Sothearat support three non-governmental organizations by volunteering to be a board member (BoD- board of director) for those organizations.

URI AT THE UNITED NATIONS

Monica Willard

URI Representative to the United Nations in New York

Monica Willard is the main URI Representative to the United Nations and coordinates the team of URI representatives to the UN. She has worked with the UN Department of Public Information (DPI) on the annual Student Observance for the International Day of Peace at UN Headquarters since 1997. She was a founding member of the International Day of Peace NGO Committee at the UN in 2002 and is currently serving as Co-Chair. As President of the Committee of Religious NGOs at the UN (2010-2013), she organized programs for World Interfaith Harmony Week, including two held in the UN General Assembly. She was a founding member of the Tripartite Forum, a group of UN member states, UN agencies, and religious NGOs who worked together from 2005 to 2010 to promote cooperation within the UN system on religion, peace and development. Monica served as Chair of the 49th Annual DPI/NGO Conference at the United Nations. Her honors include the Spirit of the UN Award and the Chapel of the Four Chaplains Award.

Mussie Hailu

URI Director of Global Partnerships, URI Representative at the UN and the African Union, URI-Africa Regional Director, Former Ambassador

Ambassador Mussie Hailu is a peacebuilder who is working at national, regional, and international levels for peace, reconciliation, interfaith harmony, disarmament, the Golden Rule, world citizenship, right human relationships, and international cooperation for the preservation of the environment. He considers himself a Citizen of the World, believing strongly in the inter-dependence of human beings. He celebrates cultural diversity, seeing the differences in race, ethnicities, religions, politics, and nationalities as important elements of the one and indivisible humanity. He has served many national and international organizations, including the United Nations. Mussie also served as Diplomat in the rank of Ambassador and Special Envoy of the President of Burundi. Currently, he serves as URI Director of Global Partnerships, URI Representative at the United Nations and the African Union, and URI-Africa Regional Director. He is a founding member of URI.