Honorary International Advisors
In service to its mission and vision to enhance the international interreligious movement, the Council for a Parliament of the World's Religions is informed and guided by an International Advisory Committee of socially-engaged religious and spiritual leaders and activists. Each member of this committee is an exemplary figure in the movement for peace, justice, and sustainability.
The International Advisory Committee includes:
Dr. Saleha Abedin
Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
Dr. Abedin serves as Director of the Institute of Muslim Minority Affairs headquartered in London. Dr. Abedin is a specialist in the affairs of minority Muslim groups in non-Muslim countries. She is a professor of sociology from Pakistan committed to the scientific and scholarly study of social and cultural issues, particularly those relating to ethnicity and identity and their interconnectedness with religious identity and gender roles. Her knowledge of Islam and its role in different cultural contexts around the world has made her a sought-after scholar in interreligious forums for world peace.
Rev. Dr. Marcus C.R. Braybrooke
Oxford, United Kingdom
Rev. Dr. Braybrooke serves as Chairman of the World Congress of Faiths and Patron of the International Interfaith Centre at Oxford. He is a Co-Founder of the Three Faiths Forum and formerly served as Executive Director of the Council for Christians and Jews in Great Britain. In addition to his parish work, he has been involved as a leading organizer and scholar in interfaith work for over forty years. He is the author of several important books regarding the interreligious movement, including: Pilgrimage of Hope; Faith and Interfaith in a Global Age; 1,000 World Prayers; What We Can Learn from Islam; and What We Can Learn from Hinduism. He was awarded a Lambeth Doctorate of Divinity by the Archbishop of Canterbury in recognition of his contribution to the development of interreligious cooperation and understanding throughout the world.
Sri Sri Mata Amritanandamayi Devi
Amritanandamayi, whose full name means "Mother of Absolute Bliss”, is known by her followers as 'Amma', 'Ammachi' or 'Mother'. Amma has dedicated her life to the uplifting of suffering humanity through the simplest of gestures – an embrace. Amma has blessed and consoled more than 21 million people throughout the world. She is widely respected as a loving humanitarian and revered by some as a mahatma (great soul) and a living saint. Amma's humanitarian activities have grown into a wide-ranging network of service providers branching out into the social, medical, educational, environmental and spiritual dimensions.
Mrs. Mairead Corrigan-McGuire
After the death of three of her sister’s children due to the conflict in Northern Ireland, Mrs. Corrigan-McGuire co-founded the Community of Peace People along with Betty Wiliams as a peace movement which brought 35,000 people onto the streets of Belfast to petition for peace between the republican and loyalist factions. Along with Betty Williams, Mrs. Corrigan-McGuire was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for this groundbreaking community organizing work in 1976. She is also a member of the Honorary Board of the International Coalition for the Decade of the culture of Peace and Nonviolence.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso
His Holiness the Dalai Lama is the head of state and spiritual leader of the Tibetan people. His Holiness was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989 for his non-violent campaign to promote Tibetan causes. Since 1967, His Holiness has traveled and met with adherents, leaders and scholars in over forty-five countries and has authored or co-authored more than sixty books.
Dr. Homi Dhalla, India
Dr. Dhalla is founder and President of the Cultural Foundation of the Zarathustra World and has been a leader and featured speaker in numerous international conferences focusing on the Zoroastrian view of peace, ecology, and inter-religious dialogue. Has been very active in the interfaith movement both at the local as well as the international level. He promotes interreligious dialogue and cooperation as a pathway to peace.
Ven. Dr. Dhammananda Bhikkhuni
(Dr. Chatsumarin Kabilsingh)
Bhikkhuni Dhammananda is a Professor at Thammasat University and the editor of Yasodhara, the newsletter for International Buddhist women's activities. Upon completion of her studies in India and Canada, Ven. Dhammananda became the first woman in Thailand to earn a Ph.D. in Buddhist Studies. She is well known internationally among Buddhist academics for her involvement in the ordination of women and concern for the environment. She also serves as a Buddhist committee member to select Niwano Peace Prize.
Ms. Ela Gandhi
Durban, South Africa
Ms. Gandhi is Vice President of the Natal Indian Congress and a member of Parliament in South Africa. Ela Gandhi walks in the peacemaking footsteps of her revered grandfather, Mahatma Gandhi. Ms. Gandhi served on the Transitional Executive Council before the elections in 1994 and served as a Member of Parliament in the newly led ANC government.
Dr. Haruhisa Handa
Born in Japan in 1951, Dr Handa operates more than a dozen companies in Japan and abroad, ranging from management consulting to publishing. He is heavily involved with social causes; currently serving as the vice-president of the UK’s Royal National Institute for the Blind; founder and chairman of Asia Faiths Development Dialogue; president of the International Shinto Foundation; trustee of World Faiths Development Dialogue; advisor to the Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions; and chairman of the International Foundation for Arts and Culture.
Dr Handa is a poet, artist, author, actor and opera singer of note and contributes to many artistic and cultural activities. He has published and sold many books and paintings, and is a well known radio personality in Japan.
Dr. Susannah Heschel
Hanover, N.H., United States
Dr. Heschel serves as an Associate Professor in the Department of Religion at Dartmouth College. Dr. Heschel has served on the academic advisory Committee of the Research Center of the U.S. Holocaust Museum. Dr. Heschel is a frequent commentator on issues of religion and gender, appearing on the Jim Lehrer News Hour and as a contributor to such periodicals as The Nation, Dissent, Commentary, and Tikkun magazines. Dr. Heschel was awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Colorado College in 2005. Her numerous publications include a prize-winning monograph, Abraham Geiger and the Jewish Jesus (University of Chicago Press), for which she won a National Jewish Book Award, and a forthcoming book, The Aryan Jesus: Christians, Nazis and the Bible.
H.E. Dr. Abdullah Omar Nasseef
Jeddah , Saudi Arabia
Dr. Nasseef serves as President of the World Muslim Congress. Dr. Nasseef is the Former President of King Abdul Aziz University and has been a member of the Board of Trustees of East-West University in Chicago. Dr. Nasseef has also served as Chairman of the Forum for Social Studies, the Global Club International and as a member of the Board of Trustees of the History of Islamic and Arabic Sciences based in Frankfurt, Germany. He holds several honorary doctorates from leading Universities across the globe.
Rabbi David Rosen
Rabbi David Rosen is the International Director of Interreligious Affairs of the American Jewish Committee. He was the Senior Rabbi of the largest Jewish congregation in South Africa and a rabbinic judge on the Ecclesiastical Court (Beth Din). He was the founder of the Inter-Faith Forum as well as the Interreligious Coordinating Council in Israel. He is President of the World Conference on Religion and Peace (WCRP) and a charter member of the International Advisory Committee of the Council for a Parliament of the World's Religions (CPWR). He is Honorary President of the International Council of Christians and Jews (ICCJ), the umbrella organization for more than thirty national bodies promoting Christian-Jewish relations.
Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu
Cape Town, South Africa
Bishop Tutu is the Emeritus Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town and the 1984 recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize for his role in the anti-Aparthied struggle. Bishop Tutu served as the General Secretary of the South African Council of Churches (SACC). In this position, Tutu became a national and international figure. He was appointed by President Nelson Mandela to chair the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, a body set-up to probe gross human rights violations during apartheid. Tutu has been a visiting professor at Emory University (Atlanta), the Episcopal Divinity School (Boston) and the University of North Florida (Jacksonville). He has published several books, the latest of which is titled God Has a Dream.
Mrs. Lally Lucretia M. Warren
Chairperson, National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’i's in Bostwana
Ms. Warren, a nurse and midwife, began her involvement in interfaith activities two decades ago by being one of the organizers of local observances of World Religion Day. Since that time, she has led a wide variety of interreligious initiatives and has served as Chairperson of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’i’s in Botswana. She chaired a prominent session at the 2004 Parliament of the World's Religions entitled “Strategies for Mainstreaming Gender into Peace Building and Inter-Faith Programs”.
Dr. Tu Weiming
Taoist / Confucianist
Boston, MA, United States
Dr. Tu Weiming has been a Professor of Chinese History and Philosophy and Confucian Studies in the Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations at Harvard University since 1981. He was Director of the Harvard-Yenching Institute (1996-2008) and is currently interpreting Confucian Ethics as a spiritual resource for the emerging global community. His research interests are Confucian humanism, Chinese intellectual history, philosophies of East Asia and comparative religion. As a renowned international scholar and thinker, he is committed to the study of Confucian teachings in the modern age.