Council for a Parliament of the World's Religions
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About Us


Executive Director

Dr. Mary Nelson

Mary Nelson is our Executive Director.  She was a successful CEO and has earned a PhD and six honorary degrees.

Mary Nelson has spent the last 40 years working in a faith-based community development on the west side of Chicago, seeking to carry out the asset based community development principles in concrete ways through her leadership of Bethel New Life, Inc.  She is on the national Board of Sojurners (currently  Chair) and Christian Community Development Association.  She is also currently the coordinator of the Loyola University (Chicago) Institue of Pastoral Studies Masters in Social Justice and Community Development.  Dr. Nelson is also the author of Empowerment. 

Development Associate

Brian Savage

Brian was drawn to the Parliament of the World’s Religions’ commitment to peace, justice, and sustainability. He brings to his work a keen interest in that dynamic place where faith intersects with the public square. Brian received his earliest education - as well as his introduction to faith in action - from the farm folk by and among whom he was reared. He has since been further educated at Saint Louis Christian College, Emmanuel Christian Seminary, and Chicago Theological Seminary. He has an extensive career in fundraising and event production for national agencies focusing on AIDS, Breast Cancer, and youth education. He is very excited to marry his passion and experience to advance the mission of the Parliament.

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Director of Communications

Molly Horan

Molly brings a fierce love for social justice to her work directing communications initiatives of the Parliament. Coming to the interfaith world in 2012 to launch and coordinate the Parliament's Faiths Against Hate campaign, her service at the Parliament is dedicated to growing the movement through uplifting hearts and minds. 
Molly completed studies in Journalism, Sociology and Irish Studies and graduated Summa Cum Laude from DePaul University.
While interning in the Parliament of Ireland during the breaking economic crisis of 2008, she was inspired by the people's collective appeal to keep their leaders in their corner. Her coverage of a leading health insurance company's communications strategy for Universal Health Care became a day's top recommended story on DailyKos by its editor. Molly's work has been published by Patch, ChicagoNow, and Irish American News.

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Office Manager

Stephen Avino

Stephen earned his B.A. in Religious Studies at North Central College and is currently pursuing his Master of Arts at the Chicago Theological Seminary. He has always been attracted to learning about the many fascinating faith traditions found all over the world. He knows that religious tolerance and interfaith dialogue are some of the key steps to promoting world peace.

Contact Stephen Avino