Staff

The URI Global Support Office is headquartered in San Francisco, USA, with 17 regional support offices located throughout the world. URI staff provide administrative support, coordination, and connection within the global network. They facilitate beneficial relationships between Cooperation Circles, arrange international face-to-face gatherings, and present the URI network as a model of interfaith cooperation for the rest of the world.

EXECUTIVE STAFF

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.

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.

Linda Crawford

Assistant to the President

The first half of Linda’s career was predominantly in the tech industry in sales and marketing traveling all over the world. During the dot.com era, she decided it was time for a change, so she followed her heart to the nonprofit world; first with Raphael House, a shelter for homeless families in San Francisco, then as Executive Director at the Interfaith Center at the Presidio, one of the earliest URI CCs, and now with URI. She also co-founded and is on the board of the Interfaith Council of Alameda County (Oakland, CA area). Linda has served on several performing arts boards including Magnificat! and Baroque Choral Guild (now Bay Choral Guild) and is a founding member of Chora Nova in Berkeley. Volunteering is in her DNA – first through her church work from a very young age, through her university service sorority (blood drives, canned goods drives) and continuing into adulthood serving Grace Cathedral in multiple functions such as ushering, serving on the stewardship commission and GraceWorks, an outreach program for the unemployed. Linda is thrilled to be working for URI, especially as assistant to Bishop Swing who was her bishop and married her to her husband, Boyd Jarrell, who was on staff at Grace Cathedral when Rev. Swing became the bishop. It turns out they’re both from the same hometown! So, it feels like coming home on so many levels.

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.

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. Her ongoing passion for nonprofit work includes regularly volunteering with KEEN San Francisco and the Burning Man Project as a writer, videographer, and setup team coordinator. 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.

Dominique Gelin

Office Manager and Administrative Associate

Dominique Gelin joined URI as an Office Manager and Administrative Associate in November of 2015. Having gotten her start in political organizing as a student at the University of Central Florida, Dom brings with her a deep understanding of the impact grassroots work can have on our communities. With years of campaign work and experiences as a legislative aide combined, she is excited to support members of the URI’s mission and commitment to peace and progress. Outside of URI, Dom enjoys writing, visiting open mics throughout the city, and the occasional travel adventure with members of her family.

Stefan Howard

Director of Operations and Assistant to the Executive Director

Stefan came to URI in September 2014 from Stanford University, where he served as administrative supervisor in the Undergraduate Admission Office. Stefan’s nonprofit career includes most recently a national animal rights organization and over 10 years in youth, adolescent and family counseling programs; his professional experience also includes over 10 years in the travel industry both as a travel manager and in corporate finance and marketing for American Airlines. Stefan holds BBA and BA degrees from SMU in Dallas, TX. Hailing from the metropolitan village of Runzhausen in Germany, Stefan is grateful to have landed in Northern California and shares life with his 12 year old rescue mutt Juneau. In his free time, Stefan enjoys a variety of outdoor activities including daily dog walks, hiking, and tennis, as well as exploring the Bay Area’s wealth of vegetarian yumminess.

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 Mahé, a founding staff person of URI, has held senior staff positions for over 20 years.  Sally formerly served as 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 is co-author of A Greater Democracy Day by Day, and the Law in Action Series. Sally holds Master’s degrees from Harvard and the General Episcopal Seminary, NYC.  She lives in the Bay Area with her children and grandchildren nearby.

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.

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.

Jaya Reinhalter

Coordinator for US Western States and Global Programs Associate

Jaya was born and raised at Kashi, an intentional interfaith community, so interfaith approaches have been the foundation of her life and work from her earliest memories. She attended the Parliament of the World’s Religions for the first time at age 16 in 2004, and awoke to the global need for interfaith cooperation. Returning to live and work at Kashi after completing her education, Jaya applies the principles of her research on the capacity of intentional and interfaith communities to affect change in their larger societies, extending Kashi’s engagement and reach through partnerships with global spiritual, interfaith, and activist communities.

Marina Shkurko

Development and Finance Assistant

Marina joined the URI in November 2016, as the Development and Finance Assistant. In this role Marina will be supporting the Development Department with the annual fund and Circles of Light efforts, as well as the Finance Department with the audit and general efforts. Marina has 15 years of experience working in the non-profit sector including the Junior League of San Francisco as an accountant. Marina earned her B.S. and M.S. in Mechanical Engineering at the Ufa State Aviation Technical University in Russia and worked for 13 years at the Ufa Aviation Plant. She was born and raised in Ufa, capital city of the Republic of Bashkortostan, Russia near the Ural Mountains. She immigrated to the US over 17 years ago and lives in San Francisco with her husband. They have two sons, Alex and Boris. She is known in the Russian community to host meals for newly immigrant families and assist them in acclimating to their new surroundings.

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

Global Envoy of URI, Continental Director for URI-Africa and URI Representative to the United Nations in Nairobi

Ambassador Mussie Hailu is a peace activist 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. He considers himself as a Citizen of the World and strongly believes in the interdependence of human beings and 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. Currently he is the Regional Director of URI for Africa and representative of URI at the Economic Commission for Africa and African Union. He is a founding member of URI.

Despina Namwembe

Regional Coordinator for URI-Africa: Great Lakes

Despina is a social scientist with a Masters in Peace and Conflict Studies. She coordinates the work of over 30 grassroots interfaith organizations doing different social action in the Great Lakes countries of Africa. Despina is a community organizer, and trainer who also mentors many in organizational development. Growing up in a continent that sometimes fuses strong customs with religion to deter full women participation, Despina has passion for addressing issues that support women and girls achieve their full life potential. She is widely traveled something that has helped her conceive many life changing situations outside the box. She is also a contributor to different literature in the areas of interfaith, gender, environment and peace building.

Emmanuel Ivorgba

Regional Coordinator for URI Western Africa

Emmanuel is a success-driven visionary, scholar, researcher, social innovator, peacebuilder and author of several books. He is recipient of the 2014 Unsung Heroes of Compassion Award in San Francisco, CA, USA for his service to humanity and his peacebuilding efforts, especially in his native country, Nigeria. Emmanuel holds a PhD in Philosophy and Religion, specializing in Metaphysics and Comparative Religion. Emmanuel also serves as Resource Person, Trainer and Facilitator at the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations- Education First Summer School, in New York, USA, where he leads Special Sessions on Interfaith Dialogue Models and Discussions Circles. He is the founder of the leading-edge Creative Minds International Academy, a Nigeria-based model coeducational school empowering students with tools and opportunities for critical thinking to investigate information and inter-connectedness of all life, and then make wise decisions for sustainable relationships with each other and with Earth herself. Emmanuel is Convener/Director of the Annual International Conference on Youth and Interfaith Dialogue in Nigeria, which hosts over 350 participants from more than 10 countries annually.

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 holds a master’s degree in International Relations and has received extensive training on Peace and Conflict courses during her master’s program. Her passion to meet new people, understand histories and engage with new cultures and communities has taken her to work with several regional and youth organizations in Turkey and Nepal. Food and travelling are two passions of her life. She believes that the world can become a better place to live in if change is initiated by people themselves rather than being enforced upon them. Appreciative listening is one of the golden keys to achieve the same.

Abraham Karickam

Regional Coordinator for URI-Asia: India, South Zone

Abraham holds a Ph.D. in English and Inter-religious Studies and MA degrees in History and Literature. He served as Director of Comparative Literature for Mar Thoma College, Tiruvalla, Kerala. Formerly a journalist, Abraham was responsible for the literature departments in numerous colleges in South India. Involved in interfaith activities for past 20 years, he serves as URI-India's South Zone Coordinator and President of Interfaith Students Movements in South India. He trains young adults in interfaith peacebuilding and is participating in the URI Traveling Peace Academy. He is the author of 15 books. His recent books include: Concept of Salvation in the Upanishads; the Bible and the Qur'an; and Intertextuality of the Holy Books.

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 holds a Masters degree in International Business. He has been a dedicated social worker since early 90s. His lifetime mission of promoting intercultural and inter-religious understanding was crystalized in 1993 when he co-founded Friends of Foreigners club at the University of Jordan. After graduation 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, Euro- Mediterranean Partnership (EUROMED). In January 2003, Mamoun established "Quested Peace" as 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 Cooperation Circle.

MULTIREGION

Frederica Helmiere

Regional Coordinator for URI-Multiregion

Frederica has spent the past fifteen years studying and working at the intersection of religion, social justice, and ecology in the US and abroad, seeking to empower people and organizations to work more effectively for social change and peace. Most recently this work has taken the form of teaching and designing courses for undergraduate and graduate students on religion, power and privilege, and global concerns of social and environmental justice at the University of Washington and Seattle University. Frederica holds two masters degrees from a joint-degree program between the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and the Yale Divinity School, and a BA from Dartmouth College in Religion & Environmental studies. She served as an environmental education volunteer with the Peace Corps in the Philippines, and has lived or traveled in 35 countries. Frederica lives in Seattle where she enjoys backpacking, reading fiction, and introducing her two daughters to the wonders of the natural world.

NORTH AMERICA

Sari Heidenreich

Regional Coordinator for URI-North America

Sari joined the URI team in October 2014 as the Regional Coordinator for URI-North America, bringing with her a background of cross-cultural living and working. She spent middle and high school in Ghana, West Africa, where her parents worked with a network of churches. As an adult, she spent time living, traveling and working in Middle East, including a year-long stint in Jerusalem. This immersion gave her the life-changing experience of entering into the worlds of people from different backgrounds and finding common ground with them. Sari absolutely loves connecting with people and sharing their stories, a set of skills she is excited to apply to her work at URI.

SOUTHEAST ASIA AND THE PACIFIC

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 United Nations. 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 served as a founding member of the International Day of Peace NGO Committee at the UN in 2002 and is currently serving as the 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 2005-2010 to promote cooperation within the UN system on religion, peace and development. Monica was Chair of the 49th Annual DPI /NGO Conference at the United Nations. Her awards include the Spirit of the UN Award from CSVGC-NY and The Chapel of the Four Chaplains Award.

Mussie Hailu

Global Envoy of URI, Continental Director for URI-Africa and URI Representative to the United Nations in Nairobi

Ambassador Mussie Hailu is a peace activist 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. He considers himself as a Citizen of the World and strongly believes in the interdependence of human beings and 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. Currently he is the Regional Director of URI for Africa and representative of URI at the Economic Commission for Africa and African Union. He is a founding member of URI.