Secretary General, Religions for Peace
Dr. William Vendley has served as Secretary General of Religions for Peace since 1994. He coordinates the international activities and projects of Religions for Peace’s 90 national and regional councils. He is a pioneer in employing religious cooperation to help resolve conflict. He facilitated the establishment of the Inter-religious Council of Bosnia-Herzegovina in the immediate aftermath of the civil war, which resulted in the commitment of its religious leaders to re-build a single, multi-ethnic Bosnia. He established the Inter-religious Council of Sierra Leone in the midst of a ten-year civil war, advanced successful multi-religious mediations between the rebels and the government and was requested to assist in the formal peace talks in Lome, Togo. He has led multi-religious efforts to prevent conflicts, mediate among warring parties and heal societies in the aftermath of violence in Ethiopia, Eritrea, Liberia, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Iraq and other countries. He is actively working in the Middle East with religious leaders in Israel, Palestine and neighboring states to advance peace. William co-founded with the CEOs of CARE, Save the Children and Plan International the Hope for African Children Initiative to target the needs of African children orphaned by HIV/AIDS.
William was an advisor to President Obama through his service on the Multi-religious Cooperation and International Affairs Task Force of the White House Faith Based Council. He is the recipient of the Distinguished Partner award from UNICEF. He is a theologian and has served as a professor and dean in graduate schools of theology. Born and raised in Indiana, he earned his BA from Purdue University and was a recipient of its Distinguished Alumni Award in 2005. He has a Ph.D. from Fordham University. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.