The Power of Choice

“What gives you #TangibleHope in the world today? How do your values and/or belief systems come into conversation with this #TangibleHope?”


Sister Jenna, spiritual leader, author, radio and TV personality, renowned speaker and founder of the Meditation Museum I & II:

Before I began my spiritual journey, over twenty years ago, I had no interest in spirituality of helping humanity from the inside out. I was driven more towards success in business, the ownership of beautiful things, and the prestige of important relationships. Then one day, I had a vision and experience of Light. And, without my asking, I found myself in a completely different way of seeing myself and the world around me. It was one that was focused on inner treasures, fine-tuned through silence, and in relationship with a Source beyond material possessions. It touched a truth in me so deeply that it transformed my whole story. 

In 2013, I began the America Meditating Radio Show. The intention was to highlight everyday Americans, and others around the world, living their truth and as a result, inspiring others to do the same. To hear the story of another, and see their courage and triumph offers hope. I have interviewed hundreds of folks, from celebrities to survivors, politicians to artists. All responded to a moment in their lives that invited them to change, let go, create newness. This has given me deeper insight and conviction while journeying: the proof that each and every one of us can do better, and live our truth fascinates me.

During my visit to India earlier this year, one of the first questions posed to me was regarding the presidential election in the United States. It was clear that this election was already having a global impact. I sat with the question during early morning meditation, and felt a #TangibleHope arise. There was a way that concerned citizens of the world could come together on a neutral platform and discuss not what was most important to the candidates, but what was most important to us. So, an alliance of friends formed the movement, Meditate The Vote. 

The primary aim of #MeditateTheVote is to invite individuals, Americans and abroad, to explore the power of choice and how important it is for us to gain deeper awareness of who we are. The current presidential election is focused on dis-empowerment, of candidates and citizens. One of its goals is to incite the need for external forces in power to re-deliver what means the most to us. However, in order to truly know what does mean the most to us, and who holds it for us, we need to ask ourselves the critical questions we continue to wait for others to answer:

Are you powerful enough to affect change? What do you value most about America? Do you believe in your self-worth, and how does your life model that belief? Is there a way for us to engage in conversation without creating separation or division? If so, how?

These questions serve as the foundation for engagement with the #Meditatethevote initiative. Events have taken place throughout the country in museums, coffee shops, community spaces, homes, and Universities. The movement has engaged various genres of folks from around the country. Black, white, rich, poor, republicans, and democrats have all participated.  All events introduce and offer the tool of meditation, an exercise in how best to interpret the scenes and folks we encounter.  The intent is to stimulate a broader view of choices and how best to make a decisions that’s beneficial for all. 

These are hopeful times and we are being challenged to raise our way of thinking and being. I believe the story of humanity is being tested everywhere and we are being called to ask ourselves the right questions, so that we can experience deeper answers of who we are. Our inner judgments and fears are rising, to give way to a deeper understanding and compassion. We are receiving countless opportunities to choose to come from resistance, or love. More people are recognizing this choice, and more are finding the courage to love. This is #TangibleHope.

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Sister JennaSister Jenna is a spiritual leader, author, radio and TV personality, renowned speaker and founder of the Meditation Museum I & II in metropolitan Washington, DC. Selected as one of the Empower a Billion Women 100 List of Most Influential Global Leaders Empowering Women Worldwide and served as a principal partner with the Oprah Winfrey Network and Values Partnerships on the Oprah Winfrey Belief Team, a community of individuals from diverse spiritual, cultural and faith backgrounds, and as an influential connector, she coordinated bringing on-board organizations and thought leaders to engage in this global dialogue on Belief.

Every Tuesday, the #TangibleHope Diaries series features responses from North American grassroots peacebuilders on what gives them tangible hope in the world today. See you next week! Learn more here.

2012-14 Strategic Plan

URI North America

URI North America

Our Blueprint for Action

Each year, all regions of URI are charged with developing a Work Plan which will guide its operations in the coming year. Our region’s Work Plan is drafted with the direct participation of members of our region’s CCs through a committee of the Leadership Council.

All our region’s CCs are asked to participate in this process by reviewing the final draft.

The 2012 Work Plan and Budget is still in draft status.  Once finalized, this will be our road map for work to be done in the coming year.

Download 2011 Work Plan and BudgetLatest draft of 2012-2014 Strategic Plan – if it won’t open in firefox, try chrome

And here is 2011.

Download 2011 Work Plan and Budget Download the 2011 Work Plan and Budget



The North America 2020 Vision guides our long range planning.  

Download 2011 Work Plan and Budget Download the 2020 Vision

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Leadership Council

Rev. John Denker

The Region’s Leadership Team

Rev. John Denker John Denker joined the ILC in October 2009 and serves as Treasurer of its board. He is an ordained United Methodist minister, and was an ecologist for the U.S. Department of Interior for close to thirty years. John has authored the books  Why Science Proves God (and Creationism is Nonsense), and The Quantum God (Why Our Grandchildren Won’t Know Atheism).

Rev. John Denker
Interfaith Council at Stapleton CC

(303) 421-6799
revjdenker@aol.com
Aurora, CO 80103

Fred Fielding Fred Fielding joined the LC in January 2013.

Fred Fielding
Interfaith Center at the Presidio

(5103) 599-5750
fredfielding3@yahoo.com
Alameda, CA 94501

Sande Hart

Sande is the Founder and President of S.A.R.A.H. CC, and author of “Make A Difference 101, a Practical Step-by-Step Guide to Community Service for Kids. She is the URI North America Chair.  She serves on the board of the Interfaith Youth Council, and is a co-Founder of I Am Jerusalem, dedicated to reminding us that we share common ground. Sande also owns Mom Smart Security.

Sande Hart
SARAH CC

(949) 635-0279
sandehart@gmail.com
Rancho Santa Margarita, CA

Michael Pappas Michael has had a career in New York finance before going into the Greek Orthodox ministry where he served as senior pastor of San Francisco’s Holy Trinity Church.  In 2008 he become the first full-time executive director of a URI CC. Michael attended the 2008 Global Assembly in India, and also URI-NA’s 2009 Regional Assembly in North Carolina. In less than two years he has helped to substantially increase the CC’s budget and engaged in numerous interfaith projects. He is a trustee of the Interfaith Center at the Presidio, works hard, takes his responsibilities very seriously, and has a terrific sense of humor.

Michael Pappas
Global Trustee
Executive Director,  San Francisco Interfaith Council (SFIC).

(415) 474-1321; cell (415) 425-9631
mgpappas.sfic@gmail.com
San Francisco, CA 94129

Rebecca Tobias

Rebecca Tobias is a Global Council Trustee of the United Religions Initiative and the Program Director of the Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Ethics which designs and facilitates interfaith and intercultural programming that serves to foster a culture of peace.  Through her work she has coordinated capacity-building projects with civic, faith, and social justice advocacy organizations locally, nationally and internationally. As a past Fellow with the Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights for the Working Groups for Indigenous Populations, Rebecca has assisted in the drafting of resolutions presented at the Human Rights Sub-Commission and has served as an NGO delegate for several assemblies, including the inaugural meeting of the Tripartite Forum on Interfaith Cooperation for Peace.  Most recently she took part in the UNCSD conference at Rio+20, where she prepared a panel presentation on the Ethics and Spirituality of Water.

Rebecca Tobias
Global Trustee
Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Ethics CC

(310) 916-8888
rebeccatobias@gmail.com
Maryland Heights, MO 63146

Ardey Turner Ardey Turner is a Reiki Master, Healer, Trainer and Medical Intuitive, and Immediate Past Chair of URI North America. She has been a part of URI since 1998 in putting on two conferences at Stanford and at Carnegie Mellon for the charter signing. She formed the Multi- Region Circle of Healers CC. As chair of the Leadership Council, Ardey piloted a variety of experimental fundraising programs for the region.

Ardey Turner
Circle of Healers MRCC

(559) 277-0730
ardeyt@sbcglobal.net
Fresno, CA 93722

Osama Wazan Born in Beirut, Lebanon, Mr. Wazan moved to the United States in 1989 and became the founder and CEO of Stripling and Beck, an IT services firm. He is currently a full-time author and public speaker, and author of a novel, The Last Moderate Muslim. He is a member of the United Religions of Charlotte CC, and a URI Global Trustee.

Osama Wazan
Global Trustee
United Religions of Charlotte CC

(704) 848-7000
osamawazan.blogspot.com
author@osamawazan.com

Charlotte, NC

Danya Wellmon

Danya Wellmon joins the Leadership Council as of January 1, 2012. She is co-Founder of Women Transcending Boundaries an interfaith women’s organization founded two weeks after 9/11. Medical Laboratory Technician with the American Red Cross. Member of the Islamic Society of CNY and past board member.

Danya Wellmon
Co-founder  Women Transcending Boundaries

wellmond@msn.com
Syracuse, NY


Former Members of the Leadership Team

Margie Coles Margie has been in URI since 2002 when the Interfaith Council of Washington became a URI Cooperation Circle. She served as President of that Council for several years, and has helped to form the URI-NA regional structure/organization during the past few years. Raised within an interfaith family, she is now an active member of Bet Alef Meditative Synagogue, an inclusive spiritual community in Seattle. In her professional life, Margie works in technology. Served through Dec 31, 2011.

Margie Coles
Individual Affiliate

Seattle, WA 98119

Kali Mallik Dr. Mallik served as an Associate Research Professor in Rehabilitation Medicine at George Washington University, Washington, D.C., where he developed rehabilitation engineering techniques to promote independent living and employment for people with severe disabilities  Kali is now retired but serves as an active volunteer in nine non-profit organizations. He has been a faithful participant of the local Baltimore CC, a diligent advocate of interfaith activities at the Greater Baltimore Hindu Temple and in the community, and a committed volunteer for many other social causes.

Kalisankar “Kali” Mallik
Member, URI of Greater Baltimore CC

(410) 252-4865; cell (443)955-1424
kalimallik@yahoo.com
Lutherville, MD 21093

Anne Roth In 1977 Anne Roth was one of the first women ordained in the United Methodist church.  She spent 10 years in parish work on the East Coast, then a number of years working in AIDS ministry in California before moving into interfaith work with the birth of the United Religions Initiative.  She is active in Denver area nonprofits and, as a Global Trustee for URI North America,  serves on the Finance Committee of the Global Council.

Anne Roth
former Global Trustee
Interfaith Council at Stapleton CC

(303) 604-6768
AVD.Roth@comcast.net
Lafayette, CO 80026

Adelia Sandoval Adelia Sandoval is a Ceremonial Leader, Cultural Director and Liaison for the Janeno Band of Mission Indians/Acjachemen Nation, the indigenous people of Orange County, California. She is an ordained minister, and member and advisor to two CCs, the Spiritual and Religious Alliance for Hope, and the Orange County Interfaith Coalition for the Environment.

Adelia Sandoval
former Global Trustee
SARAH CC

(949) 632-0315
songoftheearthministries@yahoo.com
San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675

Katie Ward Katie Ward came to URI through her internet search for children’s literature on the world’s religions.  Katie is passionate about developing interfaith understanding and respect in the North American region, and is particularly interested in engaging and connecting with like-minded youths.  As a development professional for over 10 years, Katie has served on the fundraising committee for the URI North America region for the last year.  Katie, her husband and daughter live in Burlingame, California. Served through June 2011 and as of January 17, 2012 is the new Regional Coordinator for North America.

Kathryn “Katie” Ward
Member, Young Ambassadors MRCC, now Regional Coordinator (with daughter)

kward@uri.org    
619 804 6882
Burlingame, CA


Application for Membership on the North America Leadership Council of URI

URI North America

URI North America

 
Leadership Council Involvement and Application

 
The URI North America Leadership Council

The Leadership Council is made up of 9 voting members (3 Global Trustees, 6 At-Large members) and 2 non-voting staff members.  Each of the voting members serves a three-year term.  Global Trustees’ terms are determined by the Global Council elections. Currently, two At-Large members rotate onto the Leadership Council and two rotate off each year.  As of January 2013, the number of potential At-Large members is increased to 10 for a total of 13 voting members. 

Applying to Serve on the Leadership Council

Service on the Leadership Council is open to any member of our Cooperation Circles or Affiliates, including Individual Affiliates.  Applications are accepted to fill open At-Large seats on the Leadership Council during August and September of each year. The Leadership Council then interviews and appoints new members to the Leadership Council from among those who apply.

What’s expected of a member of the Leadership Council?

1. Take part in monthly telephone meetings of the Leadership Council, and attend one or two physical meetings each year.

2. Serve as leader in one of the region’s strategic focus areas. The area of the focus is determined in consultation with each Leadership Council member and will be based on your interests and skill set.

3. Represent and promote the strengthening and expansion of URI through public presentations, physical or telephone visits with Cooperation Circles, and/or advocacy of affiliation by individuals and other interfaith organizations.

4. Annual financial contribution in support of URI North America.

Can a member of the LC be re-elected to serve another term?

Yes, an individual can serve on the Leadership Council for up to 6 consecutive years if re-appointed, then they must step down from being on the Leadership Council for at least one year before becoming eligible to serve again.

What are the qualifications for serving on the LC?

Anyone who is part of part of a Cooperation Circle and lives in North America (Including MultiRegion Cooperation Circles)  – OR – anyone who is a registered Individual Affiliate or member of a registered Organizational Affiliate of URI North America.  – AND –

  • Exemplifies the vision and values of the URI Preamble, Purpose and Principles, and has a deep commitment to serve URI in North America.
  • Is at least 18 years of age.
     

How do we send in an application?

Download nowThe Application form can be downloaded here. Applications will be accepted each year from August 1st through midnight September 30th. They can be sent via email to the Regional Coordinator (hyperlink) or by mail to the address below.
 
URI North America
P.O. Box 1653
Burlingame, CA 94011

If you have any additional questions or comments please contact the Regional Coordinator.

 

URI-NA Staff

Katie Ward

Meet the URI North American Staff

Katie Ward and daughter Katie Ward came to URI through her internet search for children’s literature on the world’s religions.  Katie is passionate about developing interfaith understanding and respect in the North American region, and is particularly interested in engaging and connecting with like-minded youths.  As a development professional for over 10 years, Katie has served on the fundraising committee for the URI North America region for the last year.  Katie, her husband and daughter live in Burlingame, California. She served through June 2011 on the Leadership Council and as of January 17, 2012 is the new Regional Coordinator for North America.

Katie Ward
Regional Coordinator

619 804 6882
kward@uri.org
Burlingame, CA

Roger Eaton Roger began serving as the URI-NA Technology Coordinator in January 2010.  His background in data management and website maintenance prepared him well to serve as the regioinal coordinator’s  “right hand man”. He maintains our website at www.urinorthamerica.org and edits the monthly URI in North America Newsletter.  Roger is personally committed to nuclear disarmament, and is pursuing the dream of human unity with his InterMix Voices of Humanity Software.

Roger Eaton
Technology Coordinator
 

(415) 933-0153
rogerweaton@gmail.com
355 Serrano Drive, Apt 4F
San Francisco, CA 94132

Map of URI


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President’s Council

URI President's Council
URI President's Council

Advisors to the Global URI

The Rt. Rev. William E. Swing, President

Bishop William Swing is the President and Founder of the URI. Bishop Swing had the original vision of URI in 1993 in response to an invitation from the United Nations which asked him to host an interfaith service honoring the 50th anniversary of the signing of the UN Charter. Bishop Swing served as the Episcopal Bishop of California from 1980 until his retirement in 2006. In that capacity, he was a national and international leader in response to the AIDS crisis, co-founded Episcopal Community Services to address San Francisco’s homeless problem, and co-founded Community Bank of the Bay to support local businesses and the economy.

John Weiser, Chairperson

John Weiser served as a partner in the New York law firm of Shearman & Sterling. He joined Bechtel Group in 1980 as General Counsel and Director. After retiring in 1996, he became a trustee of the Graduate Theological Union and served as Chairman of the Board for eight years. He was also a director of XL Capital Ltd for 20 years, serving there as Chairman of the Governance Committee and Chairman of the
Compensation Committee. He currently serves as a trustee of the S.D. Bechtel Jr. Foundation.  John and his wife Maria have eight children and eleven grandchildren.

Lord Amir Bhatia

After leaving India, Lord Bhatia joined his family business in Tanzania. He administered some 55 Kindergarten and technical schools, and managed a large scholarship program which enabled students to receive a university education in Europe, U.S.A., Canada and other parts of the world. After arriving in the UK in 1972 (where he lives now) he built a successful business and has become an outstanding leader and champion of social and charitable causes in the UK. As an Ismaili Muslim, Lord Bhatia has been involved in a wide range of initiatives focused on ethnic minorities. He is on the Board of the Queens Awards for Enterprise Advisory Committee, the Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Fund, St. Christopher Hospice, Project Fullemploy, Overseas Students Hostels, Water Aid Project and many more. He was awarded the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 1977 and was amongst the 15 peers appointed from 3000 nominations to the House of Lords in 2001.

William K. Bowes, Jr.

Mr. William K. Bowes has had three careers – each somehow leading to the next.  After twenty-five years of investment banking in San Francisco, he founded U.S. Venture Partners in 1981, providing him with the opportunity to help create initiatives at their earliest stage. “Venture Philanthropy” followed naturally and has included “Start-ups”; financing initiatives inside established institutions; larger “transformative” investments in institutions. The following Board and Advisory Council assignments are indicative of areas of interest: the University of California San Francisco Foundation, Exploratorium, Grace Cathedral, Environmental Defense Fund, Stanford’s Bio-X, Asian Art Museum, QB3, Institute for Systems Biology, San Francisco Jazz, Xoma Corporation, Creative Capital, Harvard Business School Visiting Committee, San Francisco Conservatory of Music.

The Honorable George P. Shultz

The Honorable George P. Shultz has had a distinguished career in government service, the private sector and academia. He served as Secretary of State and Chairman of the President’s Economic Policy Advisory Board during the Reagan Administration. During the Nixon Administration he served as Secretary of Labor, Director of the Office of Management and Budget, Secretary of the Treasury, and Chairman of the Council on Economic Policy. He was also a Senior Staff Economist on the President’s Council of Economic Advisors during the Eisenhower Administration. He has also played a leading role at a number of universities. Secretary Shultz was awarded the Medal of Freedom in 1989. He also received the Seoul Peace Prize, the Eisenhower Medal for Leadership and Service, and the Reagan Distinguished American Award. He rejoined Stanford University in 1989 to teach international economics. He is currently the Thomas W. and Susan B. Ford Distinguished Fellow at the Hoover Institution.

Dame Charlotte Mailliard Shultz

Dame Shultz has served seven San Francisco Mayors as Chief of Protocol and Director of Special Events for the City and County of San Francisco. During her tenure, she was responsible for receiving and entertaining many world leaders, including the Pope, Queen Elizabeth, Mikhail Gorbachev and Francois Mitterand. Shultz is a member of many civic boards such as the War Memorial Performing Arts Center, the San Francisco Symphony, Grace Cathedral, the Commonwealth Club of California, and the San Francisco Ballet. She has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the State of California Woman of the Year Award, the United Nations Association of San Francisco’s Eleanor Roosevelt Humanitarian Award for Lifetime Achievement and the Commonwealth Club of California’s Distinguished Citizen Award. She is married to former Secretary of State, George P. Shultz.

Wade M. Aubry, M.D.

Wade Aubry is a San Francisco physician who has had a career as a clinician, administrator, health policy researcher, and health care consultant.  He is a member of the core faculty of the Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies at the University of California, San Francisco, a former chief medical officer for Blue Shield of California, and a former chief of staff for Saint Francis Memorial Hospital in San Francisco.  Dr. Aubry has served on numerous national health care advisory panels and has international health care experience.  He is a graduate of Stanford University and the University of California, Los Angeles School of Medicine, and he has been a supporter and volunteer in varying capacities in the Episcopal Diocese of California over the last two decades, including service on the Board of Trustees of Grace Cathedral during the United Nations 50th Interfaith Service at Grace Cathedral in 1995, which provided a spark for the creation of URI.

Biff Barnard

Biff Barnard has 30 years of experience in small and middle market companies. He is currently owner of Barnard/Montague Capital Advisors. Until recently, Mr. Barnard was a partner of Wood Warren & Co., a middle-market focused advisory firm. Previously he was Managing Director of Caltius Capital Management; Senior Vice President of Allied Capital Corporation; Founder, Chairman, CEO, and President of First Capital Corporation, and one of the founding operating partners of the Rusty Scupper restaurant chain. Mr. Barnard served on the Advisory Council of the San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank, as its Vice Chairman and then Chairman. He is Past-President of the San Francisco Chapter of the Association for Corporate Growth (ACG) and has served on the Board of Directors of ACG-Global. He currently serves on the board of advisors of TS Restaurants. Mr. Barnard received a B.A. from Stanford University. He lives in Walnut Creek, California, with his wife, Connie.

Jonathan Burgstone

Mr. Burgstone is Managing Director of Symbol Capital, a San Francisco-based hedge fund, where he leads the firm’s activities in portfolio management and research. He also serves as Faculty Chair and Adjunct Professor of the Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology at the University of California, Berkeley. Earlier in his career he was co-founder and CEO of SupplierMarket, then served as Vice President and co-head of corporate development in Ariba. Jonathan has also worked as a high-tech strategy consultant and in general management for Ford Motor Company. He is a trustee of the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, and serves on boards of the Rock Center for Entrepreneurship at Harvard Business School and the University of Illinois College of Engineering. Mr. Burgstone actively supports organizations working to improve education and to promote human rights. For more information: www.burgstone.com/

Bob Freelen

Bob Freelen worked at Stanford University for thirty years where he earned the title of Vice President of Public Affairs Emeritus. He also held senior level positions in Development, the Dean of Students Office, and the Alumni Association. Mr. Freelen then served as Vice President of External Affairs at Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. He has served as a volunteer in higher education as a board member and Chair of CASE, the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities, and the Stanford Alumni Association. Mr. Freelen is currently the Vice President of the Stanford Historical Society Board. He has served as a trustee for National University System from 1990-2009. He was Chair of the National Board from 1991-1995 and 2008-2009. He is on leave from the National University Systems Board to serve as National University’s Vice President for University Relations in San Diego.

William P. Fuller

William P. Fuller served as President and CEO of The Asia Foundation from 1989 until 2004 and is currently President Emeritus. From 2004 to 2008 he was Vice Chairman of ChinaVest, a merchant bank with offices in Shanghai, Beijing and San Francisco. Mr. Fuller was Deputy Assistant Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in Washington, D.C. from 1987 to 1989. He joined USAID in 1981 as Director of the USAID mission in Indonesia. From 1971 to 1981, Mr. Fuller served with the Ford Foundation in Thailand, and later as head of the Foundation’s office in Bangladesh. He worked with the World Bank in Paris, and with UNICEF in Beirut, Cairo, and New York. Mr. Fuller is on the board of the Bank of the Orient in San Francisco, Give2Asia, the World Affairs Council, the Japan Society, and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He is a two-time recipient of the United States President’s Meritorious Service Award and USAID’s Distinguished Honor Prize.

Margaret G. Gill

Margaret has been Chair and President of the Stephen and Margaret Gill Family Foundation since 1999. She was the Senior Vice President of Legal, External Affairs & Secretary from 1994 to 1999 with Air Touch Communications. Prior to this she was Associate of Pillsbury Madison & Sutro from 1966 to 1972, and Partner from 1973 to 1993. She was the Practice Group Manager and Senior Partner, Corporate and Securities Group (46 attorneys in 6 offices) from 1983 to 1993. She is on the Board of Directors/Trustee for Con-Way, Inc., Episcopal Church in the Diocese of California (President through 2008), the San Francisco Ballet (Vice Chair, Chair of the Governance Committee, Chair of the 75th Anniversary Celebrations), and Episcopal Charities (President 2001-2006). She is a member of the International Women’s Forum and Women’s Forum West, and the Wellesley College Capital Campaign Class Committee in California.

Rupert H. Johnson Jr.

Rupert Johnson earned a Bachelor of Arts / Science from Washington and Lee University, and then served as a Marine. He next took over his father’s business, Franklin Templeton, with his half brother, Charles.  Johnson is on the board of trustees at Santa Clara University, and has made charitable contributions to the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco and the Delaware Art Museum.

Jill H. Kramer

Jill Kramer is President & CEO of the Kramer Family Foundation; a Director of the Institute for Myeloma and Bone Cancer Research in Los Angeles; a Trustee of Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, and a founder of CLAW, a group dedicated to raising public awareness and support for the San Francisco Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. She has been a member of Achievement Rewards for College Scientists (ARCS) Foundation since 1977, and has served in many capacities on the National and Northern California Chapter Boards. Focusing on non-profit organizational development, her other projects have included a pilot program on career development with the Junior League of San Francisco and the San Francisco Community College, as well as the development of Coro Foundation’s pilot project for women over 40. A native of Southern California, Mrs. Kramer lives in San Francisco and the Napa Valley.

Bob Lurie

Bob Lurie has a lifelong dedication to business, civic and community affairs in San Francisco. He served as a lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force from 1951 to 1953 before returning home to enter the San Francisco business community. Upon his father’s passing in 1972, Bob Lurie assumed the presidency of the Lurie Company, a San Francisco and Chicago-based real estate company specializing in commercial properties. In 1976, a Lurie Company subsidiary purchased interest in the San Francisco Giants Baseball Club. Under Lurie, the team won the National League Western Division title in 1987 and the National League Championship in 1989. The team was sold to a group of local investors in 1993. Lurie is a vigorous participant in a host of local civic and charitable activities. In addition to his duties with The Lurie Company, he serves as President of the Louis R. Lurie Foundation. Bob is married to Connie, who is active in a wide variety of civic, social and charitable endeavors.

Jane Taylor McCoy

Jane Taylor McCoy spent her childhood in Palo Alto, California, USA, graduated from Smith College in 1966, and received her M.Ed. from Stanford in l967. She moved with her husband, John, to Columbus, Ohio for 30 years where she was active in Planned Parenthood’s Volunteer Speakers program, and served on the boards of The Kenyon Festival Theatre, The Columbus Academy, and The James Cancer Hospital at Ohio State Univ. Though now living in Florida and California, she is still active in LeaderSpark, an Ohio program educating students in leadership skills, and currently serves on the board of The Monterey Museum of Art and the Advisory Council of the Big Sur Land Trust.

Robert A. Oden Jr.

Robert A. Oden Jr. is the past president of Carleton College, an independent non-sectarian, coeducational, liberal arts college in Northfield, Minnesota, USA. He began his tenure on July 1, 2002 and retired in June 2010, which marks the end of Carleton’s current academic year. Oden was born in Vermillion, South Dakota. He graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Harvard University. He then earned a second bachelor’s degree and a master’s from Cambridge University (where he was a Marshall Scholar) and a master’s in theology and a Ph.D. in near Eastern languages and literatures from Harvard. He served on the faculty of Dartmouth College as a professor of religion from 1972 to 1989, where he was the first recipient of Dartmouth’s Distinguished Teaching Prize. Oden then served in administrative positions, first as headmaster of The Hotchkiss School in Lakeville, Connecticut from 1989 to 1995, and afterwards as president of Kenyon College from 1995 to 2002, when he accepted the presidency at Carleton College. He also currently holds a faculty appointment in the religion department at Carleton, and regularly teaches a fly-fishing course at the college.

James Sherman

James Sherman is an experienced financial executive with strong operational experience in large and mid-sized companies.  Following two decades of merchant banking experience in Chicago, London, Sydney, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, he has served as CFO and COO of public and private companies.  He now advises operating companies on efficiency measures, organizational and marketing strategies, and financings of debt and equity.  James has served on the boards of Cathedral School for Boys (Chairman), Grace Cathedral, The San Francisco Yacht Club Youth Sailing (Chairman), St. Mary the Virgin Episcopal Church, Shared HR, FGIC, and The Heritage in San Francisco (Chairman). The father of three adult children, he resides in Marin County, California, with his wife of twenty-eight years and two labradors.

Roselyne C. Swig

Ms. Swig is Founder & President of ComCon International, and member of the Board of Directors of The Swig Company and founder of Roselyne C. Swig Artsource (1978-94). She was appointed Director of the U.S. Department of State Art in Embassies Program by President William J. Clinton (1994-97). She has devoted decades to philanthropic and community service efforts, at local, national and global level with focus on women empowerment, social welfare, fine art, political advocacy and education. Ms. Swig is founder of Partners Ending Domestic Abuse. Additional board memberships include Vital Voices Global Partnership; NCPB/KQED; National Public Radio Foundation; Mills College; SF Art Institute; Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Film Archives; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; The Contemporary Jewish Museum, past-president; AIPAC; American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee. Ms. Swig is the widow of Richard Lewis Swig and has four children and twelve grandchildren.

Kat Taylor

Kat is active in a variety of social business, public benefit and philanthropic ventures in the San Francisco Bay Area. She currently focuses on beneficial banking services and food systems through two primary organizations. She and her husband, Tom Steyer, are the Founding Directors of OneCalifornia Bank and a Foundation which lends to low-income communities to support local economies and job creation. Kat is also a Founding Director of TomKat Ranch Educational Foundation dedicated to returning to sustainable food production. Kat is a Partner in INKA, a startup renewable food company pioneering closed loop food systems. Since 1986, Kat served on the board of the Good Samaritan Family Resource Center and the Insight Prison Project. Kat has also served as a member of the Board of Directors of KQED, Inc., the Bay Area and Northern California’s public radio and television station. Kat and Tom reside in San Francisco with their four children and many animals.

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URI Charter

URI North America

United Religions Initiative - North America

URI’s Birthday: June 26th, 2000

The idea for URI came to California Episcopal Bishop William Swing in 1993, after an invitation by the United Nations to host a large interfaith service in San Francisco, marking the 50th anniversary of the signing of the UN Charter. He asked himself, “If the nations of the world are working together for peace through the UN, then where are the world’s religions?”

Through dozens of meetings with world religious leaders, he discovered a thread of competition, a focus on expanding individual denominations, and little institutional commitment to building bridges. But in those at the grassroots of the world’s religions, he found a deep desire for cooperation and peace. From this inspiration, the vision for URI took shape: a supported network connecting people across religions and cultures in the service of peace and justice.

Bishop Swing hired a small staff in San Francisco, led by Executive Director Charles Gibbs. In partnership with Professor David Cooperrider from Social Innovations in Global Management at Case Western University and Dee Hock, developer of VISA and the Chaordic Alliance, they launched a four-year organizational design process that included meetings among hundreds of stakeholders of diverse religions, cultures and disciplines all over the world. What emerged was a group of committed founders who formed the heart of URI’s global community, and a highly regarded, inclusive Charter that provides a unique, grassroots-based structure and a set of principles for action on behalf of the common good. With the signing of this Charter, the global URI organization was born on June 26, 2000.

You are warmly invited to participate in the life of URI and become part of this extraordinary force for peace and justice around the world. Welcome!

Download NowTo view the charter please click here

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The idea for URI came to California Episcopal Bishop William Swing in 1993, after an invitation by the United Nations to host a large interfaith service in San Francisco, marking the 50th anniversary of the signing of the UN Charter. He asked himself, “If the nations of the world are working together for peace through the UN, then where are the world’s religions?”  Through dozens of meetings with world religious leaders, he discovered a thread of competition, a focus on expanding individual denominations, and little institutional commitment to building bridges. But in those at the grassroots of the world’s religions, he found a deep desire for cooperation and peace. From this inspiration, the vision for URI took shape: a supported network connecting people across religions and cultures in the service of peace and justice.   Bishop Swing hired a small staff in San Francisco, led by Executive Director Charles Gibbs. In partnership with Professor David Cooperrider from Social Innovations in Global Management at Case Western University and Dee Hock, developer of VISA and the Chaordic Alliance, they launched a four-year organizational design process that included meetings among hundreds of stakeholders of diverse religions, cultures and disciplines all over the world. What emerged was a group of committed founders who formed the heart of URI’s global community, and a highly regarded, inclusive Charter that provides a unique, grassroots-based structure and a set of principles for action on behalf of the common good. With the signing of this Charter, the global URI organization was born on June 26, 2000.  You are warmly invited to participate in the life of URI and become part of this extraordinary force for peace and justice around the world.  Welcome!

Brochures and Presentations

URI North America

URI North America

URI North America – Brochures and Presentations
 

Download Brochure1.     The North America region brochure gives a brief overview of the nature and history of URI, lists the Purpose of URI, provides information about how to connect with this region’s programs and leadership, and answers questions about URI: How is URI organized? What do URI members do? Why do new URI circles form? Why do existing groups join as a Cooperation Circle or an Affiliate?

Download Brochure
2.     The North America Affiliate Program brochure describes a form of relationship which other organizations and individuals committed to interfaith peacebuilding may find serves their preferences and interests better than joining or forming a Cooperation Circle.

Both brochures may be printed locally, either directly from a personal computer or through a commercial copying service such as Office Depot, Staples, Office Max, etc. If producing multiple copies, the following specifications are recommended:

    • 80# white semi-glossy paper
    • letter folded, full color for the cover side

 

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