Leadership and Speakers

Leadership

David N. Hempton

David Hempton PhotoDavid N. Hempton is the Dean of Harvard Divinity School, the Alonzo L. McDonald Family Professor of Evangelical Theological Studies, and the John Lord O’Brian Professor of Divinity. He is an internationally recognized historian of Christianity with particular expertise in populist traditions of evangelicalism in Europe, North America, and beyond. His many award-winning publications include Methodism and Politics in British Society, 1750-1850 (Stanford 1984), Methodism: Empire of the Spirit (Yale 2005), and The Church in the Long Eighteenth Century (Tauris 2011).

H. Bruce McEver

Bruce McEver PhotoThe Religious Literacy in the Professions Initiative is being funded by Mr. Bruce McEver, who is the co-founder and chairman of Berkshire Capital Securities LLC, a 2011 graduate of the MTS program at Harvard Divinity School, and a published poet. He partnered with the late Ronald Thiemann to create the Religious Literacy Foundation and was recently honored with a bronze medal at the first Global Business and Interfaith Peace Award ceremony held in Rio de Janeiro before the Paralympic Games in 2016.

Diane L. Moore

Diane Moore PhotoDiane L. Moore is the founder and director of the Religious Literacy Project at Harvard Divinity School, where she is also a Senior Lecturer on Religious Studies and Education and a Senior Fellow at the Center for the Study of World Religions. Her work is focused on advancing the public understanding of religion in collaboration professionals from a wide range of fields.  She is the Principal Investigator for both the Religious Literacy an the Professions Initiative and a Luce funded partnership with Oxfam investigating how international humanitarian aid organizations understand religion. 

Stephen Prothero

Stephen Prothero PhotoStephen Prothero is a professor of religion at Boston University and the author of the New York Times bestseller Religious Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know—and Doesn’t (Harper 2007). His publications also include God Is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions That Run the World and Why Their Differences Matter (Harper 2010) and Why Liberals Win the Culture Wars (Even When They Lose Elections) (Harper 2016). He has been a regular contributor to CNN’s “Belief Blog” and Newsweek/The Washington Post’s blog “On Faith,” and he has also written for The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Politico, and Salon.

 

Plenary Speakers

Alastair Ager

Alastair Ager HeadshotAlastair Ager is Director of the Institute for Global Health and Development, Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh and Professor of Population and Family Health, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University. He has worked in the field of health and development for over 30 years, after training in psychology at the universities of Keele, Wales and Birmingham. He has worked as a consultant with a broad range of agencies including UNICEF, UNHCR, WHO, Save the Children, and World Vision.

Rudelmar Bueno de Faria

DeFaria headshotRudelmar Bueno de Faria is the World Council of Churches representative to the United Nations (UN) and the Coordinator of the UN Ecumenical Office in New York. He facilitates the advocacy role of ecumenical organizations and religious leaders on issues pertaining to peace and security, gender equality, economic and ecological justice, human rights and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, as well as the organization of high-level events with UN and Member States at the UN General Secretariat.

Azza Karam

Azza Karam HeadshotAzza Karam, Ph.D. serves as a Senior Advisor on Culture and Social Development, at the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). She is the Lead Facilitator for the United Nations Strategic Learning Exchanges on Religion, development and humanitarian issues. She represents UNFPA as Coordinator/Chair of the United Nations Inter-Agency Task Force on Engaging Faith-Based Organizations for Development; and coordinates engagement with members of a Global Interfaith Network for Population and Development with over 500 faith-based organizations.

 

Speakers

Sahar Ali

Sahar Ali headshotIn her capacity as the Sudan Humanitarian Program Manager for the international relief and development organization Oxfam, Sahar Ali Babiker Fallal leads Oxfam’s humanitarian programs in the conflict areas of Darfur and South Kordufan. Ms. Ali has been working with Oxfam for over 10 years, starting her career with Oxfam in Addis Ababa where she developed a strong background on the socio-economic, cultural and political challenges experienced in the Horn of Africa and the impact of conflict as a source of instability and poverty.

Nahuel Arenas

Nahuel Arenas headshotNahuel Arenas is the Director of Humanitarian Programs & Policy at Oxfam America and has more than 16 years of experience working in the development and humanitarian sectors. He started his career working for local NGOs in the slums of Buenos Aires. Nahuel joined Oxfam in 2007 and was involved since then in Oxfam’s humanitarian responses around the world, in places like Mozambique, Burkina Faso, South Sudan, Haiti and Vanuatu among many others.

Vinya Ariyaratne

Vinya Ariyaratne headshotDr.Vinya Ariyaratne, MD, MPH, 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 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.

Nobuyuki Asai

Nobuyuki Asai headshotNobuyuki Asai is a program coordinator of Soka Gakkai International, where he is in charge of advocacy and networking in terms of humanitarian affairs. He joined Soka Gakkai’s recovery taskforce in Tohoku which was established after the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011. After the Kumamoto Earthquake in April 2016 he served in Soka Gakkai’s relief coordinating team. Nobuyuki participated in the UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction held in Sendai in 2015, “Asian Roundtable Dialogue for Faith Based organizations and Religious leaders in Humanitarian Action” held in Bangkok in 2015, and the World Humanitarian Summit in May 2016.

Jean Duff

Jean Duff headshotMs Duff supports multi-faith collaboration for the common good in a variety of ways. She leads the Partnership for Faith & Development supporting faith groups in their work with governments and with international public and private sector bodies, for impact on local community health and development. She serves as Coordinator of the Joint Learning Initiative on Faith & Local Communities, Project Coordinator for Faith for International Assistance, and Advisor to the Programa Inter-Religioso contra a la Malaria, in Mozambique. In 2008, she co-founded the Center for Interfaith Action on Global Poverty (CIFA) at Washington National Cathedral.

Tara Gingerich

Tara Gingerich headshotTara R. Gingerich is Senior Humanitarian Researcher with Oxfam America. For the past three years, she has been researching and writing about the need for the global humanitarian system to shift to a system featuring more locally led humanitarian action, better partnerships, and more capacity strengthening of local actors. She leads Oxfam’s research on local humanitarian leadership and religion, as part of the Luce Foundation project with the Harvard Divinity School.

Fadi Hallisso

Hallisso headshotFadi Hallisso is the CEO and Co-founder of Basmeh and Zeitooneh for Relief and Development, an organization committed to serving Syrian refugees and the communities that are hosting them in Lebanon and Turkey. Born in Aleppo, Syria, Fadi graduated with Bachelors in Civil Engineering from Aleppo University, and obtained a Bachelor degree in Philosophy and Arab Culture from Saint Joseph University in Beirut. From 2008-2014 he served as a Jesuit brother. 

Susan Hayward

Susan Hayward headshotSusan Hayward is the director of religion and inclusive societies at the U.S. Institute of Peace. Hayward directs the Institute’s efforts to advance conflict prevention, resolution and reconciliation projects engaging the religious sector. Since joining the Institute in 2007, her field work has focused on Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Colombia and Iraq. From 2010-2012 she coordinated an initiative exploring the intersection of women, religion, conflict and peacebuilding in partnership with the Berkley Center at Georgetown University and the World Faiths Development Dialogue.

Anwar Khan

Anwar Khan headshotAnwar Khan is currently the CEO of Islamic Relief, USA. He 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.

Katherine Marshall

Katherine Marshall headshotKatherine Marshall has worked for over four decades on international development, focusing on the world’s poorest countries. A senior fellow at Georgetown University’s Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs and Professor of the Practice of Development, Religion, and Conflict in the School of Foreign Service, she is the executive director of the World Faiths Development Dialogue (WFDD), a non-governmental organization born in the World Bank. WFDD’s mission (and center of Marshall’s current work) is to bridge gulfs separating the worlds of development and religion.

Manal Omar

Manal Omar headshotManal Omar is the associate vice president for the Middle East and Africa Center at the United States Institute of Peace. Previously, she was regional program manager for the Middle East for Oxfam - Great Britain, where she responded to humanitarian crises in Palestine and Lebanon. Omar has extensive experience in the Middle East. She worked with Women for Women International as regional coordinator for Afghanistan, Iraq and Sudan. She also served as an international advisor for the Libya Stabilization Team in Benghazi in 2011. Omar lived in Baghdad from 2003 to 2005 and set up operations in Iraq.

Tahir Zaman

Tahir Zaman headshotTahir Zaman​ is a visiting research fellow at the Centre for Religion, Conflict and the Public Domain at the University of Groningen, and is a member of the refugee hub for the Joint Learning Initiative on Faith and Communities. Tahir is primarily interested in matters pertaining to refugee agency and alternative socio-cultural understandings of refuge during times of mass-displacement. He was awarded a PhD in Refugee Studies from the University of East London in 2013. His work explored the social and cultural life-worlds of Iraqi refugees in Damascus where he undertook fieldwork in 2010 and 2011.

 

Research Staff

Carleigh Beriont

Carleigh Beriont HeadshotCarleigh received her Master of Theological Studies in Religion, Ethics, and Politics from Harvard Divinity School in 2015. She is currently pursuing her doctorate in Religion and Politics at
Harvard University. Prior to coming to Harvard, Carleigh worked for the Ministry of Education of the Republic of the Marshall Islands and served as the director of the Dartmouth Volunteer Teaching Program. She has a BA in Religion, French, and Politics from Mount Holyoke College.

Rob Brodrick

Rob Brodrick HeadshotRob Brodrick is an independent contractor for Oxfam America.  His current research focuses on the relationship of religious actors to the local leadership agenda of international humanitarian organizations. At the present time, he is also a doctoral candidate at Boston College and is completing a dissertation on the location and role of the Catholic Church within global power structures.  Previously, Rob engaged in community development work in Dayton, OH and is a co-founder of the Mission of Mary Cooperative, a local non-profit organization dedicated to food access and sustainable livelihoods education.

Lauren R. Kerby

Lauren R. Kerby is a Ph.D. candidate in the Graduate Division of Religious Studies at Boston University, where she also teaches writing-intensive religion courses in the undergraduate Writing Program. Her dissertation, “Founders and Exiles: Lived History and Evangelical Identity in Christian Heritage Tours of Washington, D.C.,” analyzes the way that contemporary American evangelicals use history as a political resource. Lauren earned a B.A. in Religion with a minor in Classics from Colgate University in 2011 and an M.A. in Religious Studies from Boston University in 2014.

Sarabinh Levy-Brightman

Sarabinh Levy-Brightman photoSarabinh Levy-Brightman coordinates and does research for the Religious Literacy in the Professions Initiative.  Her academic background lies in the study of religion and she holds a Master’s degree from The University of Chicago Divinity School and an MDiv from HDS as well as a Bachlor’s degree in History and Religion from Vassar College.  For many years Sarabinh taught in high school humanities departments, both in English and in History.