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Board & Staff


JLI Staff

Kirsten Laursen Muth

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Kirsten Laursen Muth

chief executive officer

Kirsten is JLI’s Chief Executive Officer. Kirsten’s previous positions include Special Advisor for Leadership Development and Senior Director for International Programs at Episcopal Relief & Development; Deputy Director of Programs at Church World Service; and Deputy Director of Training and Communication Education at Helen Keller International. She has collaborated with multiple UN agencies and has worked with government, non-profit, education, and faith organizations in more than 40 countries. Kirsten holds a Bachelor of Science, Foreign Service from Georgetown University, a Master’s Degree in Social Anthropology and Education from Teachers College, Columbia University. She has also studied textile design at Parson’s School of Design and the School of Visual Arts, and design fabrics. She and her spouse, Mike, live in upstate New York in an antique house with three pets and numerous wild visitors.

Chief Executive Officer

Olivia Wilkinson | Director of Research

Olivia Wilkinson

director of research

Olivia Wilkinson is a qualitative researcher with expertise in religion, secularism, and international humanitarian action and development. She completed her PhD from Trinity College Dublin on secular humanitarian organizations’ interactions with local religion following Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. She has been published in academic journals and written NGO reports and policy briefs. Her research has covered gender mainstreaming, education in emergencies, humanitarian principles, ethical research standards, refugee response, and most recently localization of humanitarian action.

She has been a Visiting Scholar at Columbia and the University of the Philippines Diliman, and received her undergraduate and Master’s degrees from the University of Cambridge and Universite catholique de Louvain respectively.

Rima Alshawkani | Project & Finance Assistant

Rima Alshawkani


Rima assisted in establishing and managing the Acacia Foundation in Yemen for development, a non-profit organization focused on preservation, education, and promotion of arts. She also founded and supervised a recreational program named Pay it Forward to serve the youth, poor and disabled in Yemen. In recent years in the United States, she collaborated with different organizations to promote fundraising efforts and campaigns to help the people of Yemen. Rima’s educational background is in Finance. She formerly worked as a budget analyst and financial assistant. Rima is excited to join JLI and continue her work in the dynamic non-profit sector.

Jennifer Eggert | Sr Research Assistant

Jennifer Eggert


Prior to joining JLI, Jennifer worked with (faith-based and secular) NGOs and international organisations in Europe, South Asia and the Middle East and as an academic at British and US American universities. Jennifer is co-chair of the Religions and Development Study Group of the Development Studies Association and previous co-chair of the JLI MEAL Hub.

Jennifer’s research interests include gender, violent conflict, counter-extremism, Islam, work with/in/as Muslim communities, migration and development. She has planned, conducted and supervised research in the UK, Germany, Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, Turkey and Sri Lanka as well as online research with development practitioners in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America and the Middle East.

She has authored a number of academic and policy/practice-focused papers, including the JLI compendium on MEAL in partnerships with local faith actors.

Sadia Kidwai | Fair & Equitable Initiative Coordinator

Sadia Kidwai


Sadia Kidwai has spent over ten years working on the intersection between faith teachings and global humanitarian and development challenges. As a Project Manager for MADE in Europe, Sadia pioneered a pan-European environmental campaign which provided training to young Muslims from across Europe, building their campaign skills and drawing on faith-teachings about stewardship to take positive action on climate change and environmental protection in their local communities. As a Policy & Research Analyst at Islamic Relief Worldwide, Sadia developed organisational policies, research, and procedures around Zakat distribution, sexual and reproductive health, and environmental responsibility. She led much of the organisation’s research and policy on refugees and forced migration, authoring a report on The Rights of Forced Migrants in Islam and representing Islamic Relief Worldwide at the 2016 UN Summit for Refugees and Migrants. Sadia has been collaborating with the JLI since 2015, and co-Chaired the JLI Refugees and Forced Migration Learning Hub in 2016.

Sadia graduated from the London School of Economics with a BSc in International Relations and History, and completed her MSc at SOAS in Violence, Conflict & Development. She is now based in Nairobi.

Steffie Kemp | FPCC Coordinator

Steffie Kemp


Steffie Kemp is a social development consultant and practitioner, based in Blantyre, Malawi. She combines supporting the work of a local faith-based NGO with international consultancy. Steffie’s focus is on gathering evidence about the role of faith in mindset change to facilitate community-owned development and achieve lasting transformation; and supporting others to apply these effective approaches. Her experience includes participatory facilitation in a wide variety of settings; designing and adapting tools that create space for faith and community dialogue; and supporting processes that mobilise faith groups and communities to work together, take responsibility for their own development and achieve holistic change.

Steffie has lived in Malawi for 13 years and lived and worked in India. She graduated with a First-Class Degree from Oxford University and is completing an MSc from Oxford in Human Rights Law.

Jean Duff | Former President & Strategic Advisor

Jean Duff


JLI is appreciative of Jean Duff’s leadership and support of the JLI over the last eight years. Jean Duff served as President and Coordinator of the JLI between 2012-2020.

Ms Duff consults with JLI as a Strategic Advisor. Jean served as President of the JLI between 2012-2020. JLI’s goal is to equip policymakers and practitioners with the information they need to scale up faith engagement for the common good. In 2008, she co-founded the Center for Interfaith Action on Global Poverty at Washington National Cathedral. Previously, she led the Cathedral’s global poverty program as Managing Director of the Center for Global Justice and Reconciliation. In 2008, she co-convened the Women, Faith and Development Alliance. Ms Duff holds graduate degrees in Clinical Psychology (University College Dublin) and in Epidemiology (Columbia University) She is a Visiting Research Fellow at Trinity College, Dublin and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

JLI Board of Directors

Andrea Kaufmann | Director

Andrea Kaufmann



Andrea Kaufmann serves as Director for Faith Partnerships at World Vision International, leading a team focused on the integration of faith and faith actors across World Vision’s technical sectors and priority project models. Her previous work includes providing program management and design, monitoring and evaluation support to World Vision’s integrated faith programming as well as serving as Communications Director for World Relief, promoting the role of faith and churches in sustainable development.

Anwar Khan | President

Anwar Khan



Anwar Khan has more than twenty years of experience working in the field of humanitarian and development assistance. Mr. Khan was born in Pakistan and grew up in England. He earned a degree in biochemistry in 1993, and began working with Islamic Relief Worldwide. In 1994 he moved to the United States. Since then, he has aided in IRUSA’s expansion, helping start up offices in the Los Angeles and Dallas areas. Mr. Khan has extensive experience in the field: he has traveled to conflict and disaster zones including Bosnia-Herzegovina, Chechnya, Gaza, Darfur, Haiti, Pakistan and Syria. He has also traveled for development work in Africa and South Asia, visiting locations including Timbuktu. In the United States, he helped set up an extensive volunteer network that now consists of several thousand people. On behalf of IRUSA, Mr. Khan has been appointed to the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)’s Advisory Committee on Voluntary Foreign Aid (ACVFA). Along with other leaders in the international development field, Mr. Khan provides advice, analysis and recommendations to USAID on the most pressing development issues in the world today. He is also serving on the U.S. State Department’s Religion and Foreign Policy Working Group, where he advises on humanitarian issues and the intersection of faith and development. Previously, Mr. Khan held a variety of leadership roles at Islamic Relief USA, directing Islamic Relief USA’s program efforts, managing its fundraising offices, operations, and overseeing its fund development work.

Ashella Ndhlovu-Chama

Ashella Ndhlovu-Chama


Ashella Ndhlovu-Chama is a Local Governance expert, as well as a Gender Justice activist who promotes work against all forms of violence against women and children. Co-Founder of the Speak One Voice movement that seeks to promote a collective understanding of how religion, culture and society inadvertently perpetuate Violence Against Women and Children and how women and youth can be agents of positive change in creating lasting solutions. The movement seeks to break the silence about violence and begin dialogue that makes a difference – in the church, the home and the community. Ashella is also affiliated to Prison Fellowship International, and within that, currently provides prison and children of prisoner program support to National Ministries in the Anglophone Africa Region. Ashella was awarded the African Women’s Public Service Fellowship by the Oprah Winfrey Foundation to study at New York University where she obtained an MPA, Public and Non-Profit Organisations. She also holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree, as well as a Diploma in Biblical Studies.

Dionne Gravesande

Dionne Gravesande


Dionne Gravesande has over 25 years of experience in the UK charity sector, much of which has focussed on the humanitarian and development sector working with churches, national and international non-governmental organisations. Currently she is an executive manager and strategic adviser at Christian Aid with a corporate remit for faith partnerships and ecumenical collaborations in the areas of inequalities, peacebuilding, gender and climate. Her graduate education and training embraces theology, international relations, community development and business administration. Her Pan-African work includes international outreach in USA, Asia, Africa and the Caribbean through the Transatlantic Roundtable on Religion and Race and other forums, more recently she has worked with INGOs as a consultant on strategic leadership and providing change management support. In December 2021 she told up the role of Chair of board at the Joint Learning Initiative.

Ezra Chitando

Ezra Chitando


Ezra Chitando a Zimbabwean religion Academic. He is a Professor of History and Phenomenology of Religion at the University of Zimbabwe,in Harare, Zimbabwe. He serves as Theology Consultant on HIV and AIDS with EHAIA, The Ecumenical HIV and AIDS Initiatives and Advocacy, of the World Council of Churches.

Chitando holds a DPhil degree (University of Zimbabwe, 2011), a MA degree (University of Zimbabwe, 1993), and a BA HONS degree (University of Zimbabwe, 1991), all in the study of religion. He has held visiting positions and research fellowships with institutions such as the University of Bamberg (Germany), Nordic Africa Institute (Sweden), and the University of Edinburgh (UK).

Chitando has researched and published about contemporary religion in Africa, mostly in Zimbabwe.

Elisa Di Benedetto

Elisa Di Benedetto


A passionate about communication in all its forms, Elisa Di Benedetto is a freelance journalist and a writer based in north-eastern Italy. Her areas of focus include cross-cultural and cross-religious issues, migration, Muslim communities in Italy, diversity and interfaith dialogue. A founding member of the International Association of Religion Journalists (IARJ), she is currently a Managing Director of the association. Previous positions include Project Manager at the IARJ and trainer at the ICFJ and at NATO Multinational CIMIC Group. She reported from Afghanistan and Lebanon and in recent years she has also worked as a cultural mediator with refugees. A former recipient of the Henry Luce Fellowship in Washington DC, she is a member of the EU’s Global Exchange on Religion in Society (GERIS) network. She speaks regularly at conferences and events about journalism and religion, migration and interfaith issues. She graduated in Communication Studies from Alma Mater Studiorum-University of Bologna (Italy) and holds a post-graduate MA Degree in Peacekeeping and Security Studies from RomaTre University (Italy).

Emma Tomalin | Professor of Religion & Public Life

Emma Tomalin



Dr Emma Tomalin is Professor of Religion and Public Life at the University of Leeds. She carries out research into the role of religion in public life in the world today with research interests in Gender, Religion and Society, Religion and Global Development and Buddhism and Hinduism amongst others. She has published multiple books and journals. She is currently working on an AHRC network grant on work a project entitled – Keeping Faith in 2030: Religions and the Sustainable Development Goals which will completed late in 2018. She also works with Public Health Leeds on a project that examines the role of places of worship as Public Health settings in Leeds and Co-Chair of the International Development and Religion Group of the American Academy of Religion. Since 2013, with Drs Caroline Starkey and Jas Singh, she has been carrying out scoping studies on places of worship in Buddhist, Hindu, Jain, Zoroastrian and Bahai traditions in England. She also co-chairs the new JLI Hub on Anti-Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery.

Julie Clague | Lecturer & Associate Academic
Leadership member

Julie Clague

Lecturer & Associate Academic


Julie Clague studied Chemistry at Nottingham University, and theology at Heythrop College, London University and Jesus College, Cambridge. Julie works as a theologian with the Catholic development agencies CAFOD and SCIAF, and sits on SCIAF’s Development Policy Advisory Group. She is a member of the Theological Commission of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales agency, Caritas-Social Action. Julie serves on the theological panel of the Centre for Theology and Public Issues at Edinburgh University, and chairs the Ethics Committee of the Assisted Conception Service of Greater Glasgow NHS Trust.

Jayeel Cornelio
Leadership member

Jayeel Cornelio


Dr Jayeel Cornelio is the Director of the Development Studies Program and the incoming Associate Dean for Research and Creative Work at the Ateneo de Manila University, The Philippines. He conducts research in the areas of religion, politics, and generational change. He is the author of Being Catholic in the Contemporary Philippines: Young People Reinterpreting Religion (2016) and the lead editor of the Routledge International Handbook of Religion in Global Society (2021). Focused on the Philippines, his recent projects have been on some of the most controversial topics in the country: Christianity and the war on drugs, religion and the LGBTQ+ community, and youth in post-conflict Marawi. Some of his projects have been funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Programme, the UK Economic and Social Research Council, and the Global Religion Research Initiative at the University of Notre Dame. For his scholarship, he received the 2017 Outstanding Young Scientist Award from the National Academy of Science and Technology. Dr Cornelio is Associate Editor of the journal Social Sciences & Missions and a regular contributor to the Thought Leaders section of Rappler.

Katherine Marshall | Senior Fellow, Executive Director
Leadership member

Katherine Marshall

Senior Fellow, Executive Director


Katherine Marshall has worked for some four decades on international development, with a focus on issues facing the world’s poorest countries. A senior fellow at Georgetown University's Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs and Visiting Professor in the School of Foreign Service, she is Executive Director of the World Faiths Development Dialogue.

Her long career with the World Bank (1971-2006) involved a wide range of leadership assignments. She was Country Director in the Bank’s Africa region, first for the Sahel region, then Southern Africa and led the Bank's work on social policy and governance during the East Asia crisis years. In 2000 the World Bank’s president appointed her to a newly created post of liaison with faith-based development charities, with the objective of clarifying shared objectives and building trust and coordination.

Ms. Marshall is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and serves on various boards of non-profit organizations. She served as a core group member of the Council of 100, an initiative of the World Economic Forum to advance understanding between the Islamic World and the West.

Mara Luz
Leadership member

Mara Luz

Consultant in International Cooperation and Organisational Development


Mara is a Consultant in International Cooperation and Organisational Development and, for about 30 years has coordinated popular education, capacity building, advocacy and fundraising initiatives among faith actors and social organisations. She contributes to strengthen networks with strong South-South and South-North perspectives and has been responsible for the strategic direction of personnel and work on development, humanitarian, communication and advocacy with local and international organisations in Latin America and the Caribbean. She is member of the Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil and lives with her Belgium husband, and hundreds of birds, in the mountain area of Mantiqueira, São Paulo state.

Somboon (Moo) Chungprampree
Leadership member

Somboon (Moo) Chungprampree


Somboon Chungprampree (Moo) is a Thai social activist working for Peace and Justice in Asia. He became involved during the early 1990s in Thailand’s student movement which focused on Environmental Justice and Spiritual Engagement. Since 1997, he has held different positions with key Thai and Asia regional and international civil society organizations. They include Sathirakoses-Nagapradipa Foundation (SNF), a Thai NGO established in 1968, Spirit in Education Movement (SEM), focusing on empowering civil society in Burma, Laos PDR, Cambodia, and Thailand, School for Well-being Studies and Research, and Wongsanit Ashram. Somboon is an international Program Director of Spirit in Education Movement (SEM), focusing on empowering Civil Society in Burma, Laos PDR, Cambodia and Thailand. He has served as Executive Secretary of the International Network of Engaged Buddhists (INEB) since 2010. He is the editor of the Seeds of Peace journal issued three times a year. As a civic leader he serves on the boards of several international and national foundations.

JLI Leadership Council

Agnes Abuom | Moderator of WCC Central Committee

Agnes Abuom

Moderator of WCC Central Committee


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

Atallah Fitzgibbon | Faith Partnerships Advisor

Atallah Fitzgibbon

Faith Partnerships Advisor


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

Muhamad Ali Yusuf | Chairman

Muhamad Ali Yusuf



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

Amjad Mohamed-Saleem | Consultant

Amjad Mohamed-Saleem



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

Benjamin Laniado | President

Benjamin Laniado



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

W. Bramwell Bailey | Director of Programs
Leadership member

W. Bramwell Bailey

Director of Programs

Catriona Dejean | Director of Strategy & Impact

Catriona Dejean

Director of Strategy and Impact


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

Christa Foster Crawford | Associate Director

Christa Foster Crawford

Associate Director & Founding Partner/Principal Consultant

Human Rights Law Center at Payap University & Freedom Resource International

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

Christine MacMillan | Senior Advisor
Leadership member

Christine MacMillan

Senior Advisor - Social Justice


An inspiring and effective advocate of social justice for all, Commissioner Christine MacMillan has been a Salvation Army officer holding appointments in five countries: Canada and Bermuda, Australia, England, Papua New Guinea and USA. In 2007, she became the founding director of The Salvation Army International Social Justice Commission. In July 2012, following retirement from The Salvation Army, Christine was selected by the World Evangelical Alliance to serve as their Senior Advisor for Social Justice, where 600 million Christians join forces under the banner of impacting God's so loved and unloved world. Since 2012, Christine now holds the position with World Evangelical Alliance as: Associate Secretary General for Public Engagement. This executive team position plays a catalytic role in identifying global key issues while developing a WEA voice and responses of participation through the offices at the United Nations and influential bodies. A recent book “When Justice is the Measure” with Christine as author, brings her vast journey of experience with observations and paradigms that are both challenging and achievable. By faith Christine holds the conviction that the Gospel is a redeeming invitation to listen with the anticipation that accompaniment impacts the hope of transformation.

David Boan| Commissioner for Relief & Development
Leadership member

David Boan

Commissioner for Relief and Development, World Evangelical Alliance


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

Deepika Singh | Associate Secretary General & Director of Programmes
Leadership member

Deepika Singh

Associate Secretary General and Director of Programmes


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

Floyd Lalwet | Provincial Secretary & Legal Counsel
Leadership member

Floyd Lalwet

Provincial Secretary and Legal Counsel


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

Imad Madanat | VP for Programs
Leadership member

Imad Madanat

VP for Programs


Imad Madanat is the Vice President for ADRA Programs Since October 2013. The ADRA veteran has served the agency for more than a decade in various roles, including Senior Program Finance Manager and Country Finance Director in Yemen. Madanat’s wealth of experience includes new business capture, program expansion into new countries and managing portfolio of innovative projects and teams. He leads ADRA/International programmatic work and manages the team responsible for responding to natural disasters, humanitarian assistance and long-term development. During the last year he led ADRA’s programs team to triple ADRA’s USG portfolio, expand ADRA work in the MENA, Africa and across Latin America to address the needs of the displacement of people in those regions. Recently played a key role in ADRA’s Global COVID-19 Task force to address the needs of ADRA offices and programs as a result of the pandemic and planning for the recovery stage. Imad was born in Jordan, moved to the US in 1989 and complete his Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry from the University of Maryland in 1995. In 1999 he completed a Masters in International Management with a Finance emphasis from the University of Maryland, University College (today known as University of Maryland Global Campus).

Imrana A. Umar | President & CEO

Imrana A. Umar

President and CEO


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

John Blevins | Acting Director & Associate Research Professor

John Blevins

Acting Director and Associate Research Professor


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

Jean Duff | Senior Advisor & Former President of JLI

Jean Duff

Senior Advisor and Former President of JLI


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

James Cox | Chief Operating Officer

James Cox

Chief Operating Officer


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

Jill Olivier | Assoc Professor: Senior Lecturer & Research Coordinator

Jill Olivier

Assoc Professor: Senior Lecturer and Research Coordinator


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

Mary Zulu Mwiche | Programs Manager & Clergy/Lecturer

Mary Zulu Mwiche

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

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

Ruth Messinger | Global Ambassador

Ruth Messinger

Global Ambassador


Ruth W. Messinger is currently the Global Ambassador for American Jewish World Service (AJWS). In this role, Ruth is continuing her crucial work of engaging rabbis and interfaith leaders to speak out on behalf of oppressed and persecuted communities worldwide. She formerly was President of AJWS from 1998 to July of 2016. Ruth’s remarkable 18-year presidency at AJWS began after a 20-year career in public service in New York City as a city council member and Manhattan Borough President. Under Ruth’s leadership, AJWS grew exponentially—granting more than $270 million to promote human rights in the developing world and launching campaigns to end the Darfur genocide, reform international food aid, stop violence against women and LGBT people, end land grabs and respond to natural disasters around the globe. She came to AJWS in 1998, after a 20-year career in public service in New York City. As an activist for human rights around the globe, Ruth currently sits on the State Department’s Religion and Foreign Policy Working Group and co-chairs the Sub-Working Group on Social Justice. Many national Jewish organizations have honored Ruth, and The Jewish Daily Forward, The Jerusalem Post and Huffington Post have named her on lists of the world’s most influential Jews and religious leaders.

Rebeca Rios-Kohn | Director

Rebeca Rios-Kohn

Director- New York Office and Prayer and Action for Children


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

Richard Santos | CEO

Richard Santos

Chief Executive Officer


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

Sally Smith | Independent Consultant

Sally Smith

Independent Consultant

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

Thorsten Göbel | Director of Programmes

Thorsten Göbel

Director of Programmes


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

Vinya Ariyaratne | General Secretary

Vinya Ariyaratne

General Secretary


Dr.Vinya Ariyaratne is the General Secretary of the Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement which is Sri Lanka’s largest non-governmental grass roots development organization. He is a physician specialized in Public Health. Dr.Ariyaratne has also been involved extensively in civil society peace, interfaith and reconciliation initiatives in Sri Lanka. He has been trained as a professional facilitator for peace dialogues and he engages in teaching assignments related to peace building, conflict resolution and reconciliation. Through the Sarvodaya Movement, Dr.Ariyaratne has developed numerous innovative community health programmes working closely with the government sector, universities, professional colleges as well as other civil society organizations. He has also been extensively involved in health and development programmes related to the war affected communities in Sri Lanka. Dr.Ariyaratne has been closely involved in the implementation of Global Fund activities in Sri Lanka in prevention and control Malaria and HIV/AIDS. After the Tsunami disaster in 2004, Dr.Ariyaratne was responsible for the overall coordination of the Sarvodaya’s emergency response and later the entire reconstruction programme which is one of the largest Tsunami recovery programmes in the country with a portfolio of projects worth over 15 million US dollars. When the large displacement from the Northern Province took place in early and mid 2009, Dr.Ariyaratne was coordinating the humanitarian relief efforts of Sarvodaya to assist the Health Ministry, the UN agencies and humanitarian organizations to provide services to the large numbers of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs). Dr. Ariyaratne was awarded the Social Entrepreneur of the Year 2014 by the Schwab Foundation and serves as a member in the Global Agenda Council on Fragility, Violence and Conflict of the World Economic Forum.