Board of Trustees
Imam Abdul Malik Mujahid
Chair of the Board of Trustees
Imam Abdul Malik Mujahid is an Imam in the Chicago Muslim community. He is president of Sound Vision Foundation, which runs the daily radio Islam, and former Chairperson of the Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago. He has written extensively on religion, public policy and applied aspects of Islamic living. Imam Mujahid has initiated a joint campaign between American Muslims and the National Organization of Women (NOW) to declare rape a war crime.
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Rabbi Michael Balinsky
Rabbi Michael Balinsky is the Executive Vice President of the Chicago Board of Rabbis, an organization representing two hundred rabbis of all denominations. He is a member of the Jewish Catholic Scholars Dialogue in Chicago, serves on the executive of the Council of Religious leaders of Metropolitan Chicago and is on the Advisory Board of the Bernadin Center at Catholic Theological Union. He is also an active participant in a number of Jewish, Christian and Moslem interfaith initiatives. Rabbi Balinsky was a Hillel director for twenty-two years, over nineteen of those as the director of the Louis and Saerree Fiedler Hillel Center at Northwestern University. He is a graduate of Yeshiva University and the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary.
Dr. Anne Benvenuti
Anne Benvenuti is a professor of psychology and philosophy, an integrative scholar, a licensed clinical psychologist, a priest of the Episcopal Church, a spiritual director, and a published poet, writer, and photographer. Her research interests include developing models for scientific investigation of qualia; explication of religious epistemology, especially with reference to the potential for neuro-scientific models of integrative knowing, policy implications of religious epistemology, and the clinical integration of spirituality, health, and ecology.
Ms. Anju Bhargava
Anju Bhargava is a Strategic Business Transformation and Risk Management senior professional and management consultant with over two decades of experience consulting/working for major companies globally. An ordained pujari, she strives to combine philosophy and practice from a contemporary view. She was the only Indian-American to serve in the Community Builder Fellowship, President Clinton’s White House initiative. She is a member of President Obama’s Inaugural Council on Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, founder of Hindu American Seva Charities, and President of Asian Indian Women in America.
Dr. Tarunjit Singh Butalia
Dr. Tarunjit Singh Butalia is a member of the Interfaith Committee of the World Sikh Council – America Region (WSC-AR) and served as the Secretary General of the organization for 2004-2005. At the national level on behalf of WSC-AR, he is on the Presidents Council and Steering Committee of Religions for Peace – USA as its Moderator, and serves on the Board of Directors of the North American Interfaith Network as its Vice-Chair.
Mr. Lewis Cardinal
Lewis Cardinal has spent most of his professional life in public service. As a communicator and educator, he has dedicated his work to creating and maintaining connections and relationships that cross cultural divides. His long track record of public service includes his involvement with many, many, Human Rights and Social Advocacy Boards. Lewis is also the owner of Cardinal Strategic Communications, a consulting company that specializes in Education, Governance, and Communications. He recently received Canada’s highest Aboriginal recognition award the National Aboriginal Achievement Award for Public Service, as well as receiving the Distinguished Alumni Award from Grant Mac Ewan University, the Anti-Racism Award from the Centre for Race and Culture, and the Alberta Centennial Medal for his work in Human Rights and Diversity.
Dr. Lawrence Carter
In 1958, Martin Luther King Jr. privately recruited Lawrence Edward Carter as a 10th grader to come to Morehouse College. Twenty-one years later, Dr. Lawrence Edward Carter became the first Dean of the Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel in 1979. Today, he is a tenured Professor of Religion and College Curator at Morehouse College. He holds the Ph.D. degree in Pastoral Psychology and Counseling from Boston University. He is also a licensed and ordained American Baptist minister. He was a 1994 Fulbright-Hayes Scholar in Brazil, and twice a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellow, in 1993 and 1996. He is preparing to publish his fourth book, Nonviolent Coexistence in the WorldHouse: Building Interfaith Bridges in the Tradition of Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr and Daisaku Ikeda.
Ms. Phyllis Curott
Phyllis Curott is an attorney, author and Wiccan priestess. An interfaith activist and advocate of religious liberties for minority faiths in the courts and media, Jane Magazine honored her as one of the Ten Gutsiest Women of the Year, New York Magazine described her as one of the "culture's most intellectually cutting-edge thinkers," and Beliefnet has featured her in their video series Preachers and Teachers. Curott is founder and president of the international Temple of Ara and president emerita of the Covenant of the Goddess.
Mr. Kirit Daftary
Kirit Daftary has been President of several religious and social groups including JAINA and has led the local Jain Center in North Texas. Currently, he is the President of Anuvibha of North America, which is an UN/NGO organization based in India and spiritually guided by Acharya Mahapragya Ji, the disciple of Acharya Tulsi, whose goal is awareness of non-violence to help achieve peace in the world through working with the United Nations.
Imam Khalid Griggs
Imam Khalid Griggs is the Imam of the Community Mosque of Winston-Salem in North Carolina and Associate Chaplain for Muslim Life at Wake Forest University. He is a member of the Board of Guidance of Interfaith Academy/Virtual University, Chairman of Board of ICNA Council for Social Justice, an advocacy branch of Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) that aims to keep the American Muslim community and broader public informed and involved in civil and social issues in the US, member of Central Shura (Board) of ICNA, member of Strategy Team (Board) of Communities Helping All Neighbors Gain Empowerment (CHANGE) , a grassroots, multi-faith, multi-ethnic community organization designed to promote civic engagment and public advocacy, national and international lecturer, and human rights and prison reform advocate
Ms. Janaan Hashim
Janaan Hashim is a founding partner of Amal Law Group, the nation’s first law firm founded by six Muslim women and practices criminal defense. She is also sits on the Board of Directors of both Sound Vision Foundation and the International Union of Muslim Women, and serves on the steering committee of the Religion Communication Congress 2010. You can hear Janaan on the radio every Tuesday evening where she hosts WCEV’s Radio Islam program, a daily call-in talk show designed for a non-Muslim market.
Dr. Robert C. Henderson
Robert C. Henderson is an elected member of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of the United States, the Baha'i Faith's senior national administrative institution. Dr. Henderson also serves as a Developer and President of the Philanthropic Division of Baharicom Development Company, co-builder of the Africa Coast to Europe (ACE)/Uhurunet submarine cable system. In its planned configuration, the 17,000 km-long fiber optic cable will stretch from France to South Africa and will be operational in the first half of 2012, connecting 23 countries and providing broadband capacity grants to thousands of schools, hospitals and social development projects.
Ms. Ginny K. Jolly
Ginny K. Jolly is on the board of FATEH (Fellowship for Activists To Embrace Humanity) a nonprofit organization involved in service projects for the community. She has been instrumental in aligning with other organizations like Habitat for Humanity, March of Dimes, and Make a Wish Foundation to arrange many service projects in the Chicago community. To give something back to the community, which she strongly promotes, she has adopted a special needs child from Vietnam. She is using her Masters of Nutrition education in effectively managing two GNC stores and helping clients in their health needs. An aspiring Sikh, and proud mother of three, Jolly was on the PTO for Willow Creek School for four years in charge of the school’s cultural programs.
Dr. Leo D. Lefebure
Leo D. Lefebure is the Matteo Ricci, S.J., Professor of Theology at Georgetown University and a priest of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago. He is the author of four books, including Revelation, the Religions, and Violence and The Buddha and the Christ. His next book will be Following the Path of Wisdom: a Christian Commentary on the Dhammapada, which is co-authored with Peter Feldmeier. He is an honorary research fellow of the Chinese University of Hong Kong.
Dr. Mary Nelson
Mary Nelson has spent the last 40 years working in 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 Boards of Sojourners (currently Chair) and Christian Community Development Association. She is also currently the coordinator of the Loyola University (Chicago) Institute of Pastoral Studies Masters in Social Justice and Community Development. Dr. Nelson is also the author of Empowerment.
Rev. Dr. John Pawlikowski
Rev. Dr. John Pawlikowski has studied the Nazi Holocaust extensively. His scholarly interests include the theological and ethical aspects of the Christian-Jewish relationship and public ethics. A leading figure in the Christian-Jewish dialogue, he is president of the International Council of Christians and Jews and author of Christ in the Light of the Christian Jewish Dialogue and co-editor of Ethics in the Shadow of the Holocaust.
Rev. Dr. Shanta D. Premawardhana
The Rev. Dr. Shanta D. Premawardhana is President of the Seminary Consortium for Urban Pastoral Education in Chicago. Originally from Sri Lanka, he was most recently the director for the Program Interreligious Dialogue and Cooperation at the World Council of Churches (WCC), a worldwide fellowship of 349 Protestant and Orthodox churches based in Geneva, Switzerland. Prior to moving to Geneva, Premawardhana served as the Associate General Secretary for Interfaith Relations at the National Council of Churches of Christ, based in New York.
Dr. Anantanand Rambachan
Dr. Anantanand Rambachan is Chair and Professor or Religion, Philosophy and Asian Studies at Saint Olaf College, Minnesota, USA, where he has been teaching since 1985. Prof. Rambachan has been involved in the field of interreligious relations and dialogue for over twenty-five years, as a Hindu participant and analyst. He is currently an advisor to the Pluralism Project (Harvard University), a member of the International Advisory Council for the Tony Blair Faith Foundation, and a member of the Theological Education Committee of the American Academy of Religion. Prof. Rambachan delivered the invocation address at the historic White House Celebration of the Hindu festival of Diwali in 2003 and also in 2004.
Dr. Robert P. Sellers
Dr. Robert P. Sellers is Connally Professor of Missions at Hardin-Simmons University in Texas. In the graduate seminary program, his classes emphasize cross-cultural living, the Global Church, Two-Thirds World and liberation theologies, world religions, and interreligious dialogue. He's taught in Canada and Mexico, Great Britain, Eastern and Western Europe, Eastern and Southern Africa, Southeast Asia, and South America. Along with Muslim and Baptist partners, Rob plans periodic national conferences. He also is active nationally as a member of the Interfaith Relations Commission of the National Council of Churches and internationally through the Baptist-Muslim Relations Commission of the Baptist World Alliance.
Dr. Mohammad A. Siddiqi
Dr. Mohammad A. Siddiqi is Professor of Journalism and Public Relations at Western Illinois University where he has been teaching since 1987. He is also the Journalism Program Director and Interim Chair of the Department of English & Journalism. Dr. Siddiqi is among the founding members of the World Council of Muslims for Interfaith Relations (WCMIR). He has served as Secretary General of WCMIR for four years and is currently its Executive Board member and Treasurer. He has authored several books and published more than two dozen articles in refereed publications. His most recent book is Islam, Muslims and Media: Myths and Realities. Dr. Siddiqi has served, for eight years, chair of the Islam and media Working Group of the International Association of Media and Communication Research (IAMCR) and is its life member. He has been a member of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) and serves on the international editorial advisory boards of the Journal of Arab and Muslim Media Research (UK) and Journal of Media Studies (Pakistan). He has also served as President of the Islamic Center of Macomb for five years and is currently its senior religious adviser and Imam. Born in India, Dr. Siddiqi has travelled more than 30 countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, and North America. He actively participates in Macomb Area Interfaith Alliance and is a member of Macomb Area Alliance for Peace and Justice.
Sardar Kuldeep Singh
Sardar Kuldeep Singh, a recognized author, speaker and leader within North America on Sikh related topics, is a Clinical Chemist by training and an Administrator of Reynolds Clinic. He is the Chairperson of the Membership and Organizational Affairs Committee of World Sikh Council - America Region (WSC-AR) and served as the founding Chairperson of the Organization from 1998-2001. He also serves as the President of the Sikh Youth Federation, USA, which he founded in 1968 to educate the Sikh youth about their heritage. He was one of the distinguished speakers at the 1993 Parliament in Chicago.