CMEP’s Leadership Council is an advisory group of prominent diplomats (retired), politicians, church leaders, academics, and business and media professionals with a particular interest and connection to the Middle East. We are grateful for their experience, wisdom, and work on behalf of CMEP and peace.
Sir Jeffery M. Abood, KC*HS
Jeff has served as Advocacy and Outreach Director for the Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation. In 2006, he received a Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition for his leadership in promoting awareness and support for the Palestinian Christian communities in the Holy Land. In 2010, Jeff was knighted by the Vatican into the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem and holds the rank of Knight Commander with Distinction. He has been awarded the Bronze Palm of Jerusalem and the Pope Pius IX award for extraordinary service to the Order and the Holy Land. He is a speaker and writer on the Churches' perspective on the current situation of the Christians in the Holy Land. His book, A Great Cloud of Witnesses: The Catholic Churches' Experience in the Holy Land, collects 70 years of the Catholic Churches' statements on the situation in the Holy Land. Recently, Jeff has worked in conjunction with the Justice and Peace Commission of the Assembly of Catholic Ordinaries of the Holy Land on their new book, Is Peace Possible? for its’ North American release. Jeff also serves on the Board of the Caritas Baby Hospital Foundation, the U.S. fundraising arm of the Caritas Baby Hospital in Bethlehem. He also coordinates a support program for Holy Family School and summer camp in Gaza and co-leads pilgrimages to the Holy Land.
Drew Christiansen, S.J
Drew Christiansen, a Jesuit priest, is Distinguished Professor of Ethics and Global Human Development at Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service and Senior Fellow at the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs. Ordained in 1972, he received his Ph.D. in religious social ethics from Yale University in 1982. He has served as editor in chief of America, the national Jesuit weekly, from 2005 to 2012, director of the Office of International Justice and Peace (1991-1998) and Counselor for International Affairs (1998-2004) of the United States Catholic Conference, director of the Center for Ethics and Social Policy at the Graduate Theological Union Berkley (1982-86), and as interim director and director-elect of the Woodstock Theological Center (2002) before being assigned to the staff of America as associate editor (2002-2005).
Susan Hayward serves as Associate Director for the Religious Literacy and the Professions Initiative at Harvard Divinity School’s Religion and Public Life program. In this role, she works with leaders in secular-defined fields and civic spaces to better understand how religion impacts social, political, and economic life.
Prior, Hayward spent fourteen years with the U.S. Institute of Peace’s Religion and Inclusive Societies program, where she led the Institute’s efforts to understand and engage religious factors and actors shaping conflict and peace worldwide. Her research interests include interfaith engagement in the midst of political violence, political Buddhism, and the role of religion in hampering and propelling women’s work for peace and justice. She’s served as chairperson of the Niwano Peace Prize, as an advisor to the Transatlantic Policy Network for Religion and Diplomacy, and a consultant to The Carter Center. Prior to her work in peacebuilding, Hayward conducted political asylum and refugee work with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and Advocates for Human Rights.
Hayward studied Buddhism in Nepal and is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
Rev. Dr. Charles Kimball
The Rev. Dr. Charles Kimball is Presidential Professor Emeritus of Religious Studies at the University of Oklahoma, where he served as department chair from 2008-2020.. Between 1996 and 2008, he served as Chair of the Department of Religion and the Divinity School at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, NC. During the 2006 fall term, Dr. Kimball was the Rita and William Bell Visiting Professor at the University of Tulsa. A native of Tulsa, he is a graduate of Oklahoma State University and holds the M.Div. degree from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He received his Th.D. from Harvard University in comparative religion with specialization in Islamic studies. An ordained Baptist minister, Kimball was a co-founder of CMEP when he served as Middle East Director for the National Council of Churches between 1983-90. He is the author of six books and numerous articles on the Middle East, Islam, and Christian-Muslim relations. Kimball has lectured at more than 200 colleges and been interviewed more than 1500 times by national, international and local TV, radio and print media during the past four decades.
John Lindner is retired as Associate Dean for External Relations, Yale Divinity School. He spent over a quarter century providing leadership for international, ecumenical/interfaith programs for the PCUSA, the NCCCUSA and the WCC. He served as writer for the task force that produced the NCCCUSA’s Middle East Policy that was adopted in 1980. He first traveled to Israel/Palestine in March 1974 and was an intern in Beirut with the Middle East Council of Churches in 1975 Over the years, he has traveled frequently to the Middle East and has served on CMEP’s Leadership Council since its inception. In retirement he volunteers with Bright Stars of Bethlehem, where he helped launch the blog: “Peace Doers…building a future for Palestine”; served as a coordinator for the 2018 Jerusalem Conference; and for the last four years has co-lead the Leadership Program in Palestine (a two week advanced seminar with a focus on Palestine).
David T. Maloof
David T. Maloof is an international lawyer and a senior partner in the New York law firm Maloof Browne & Eagan LLC. Dave previously worked as an investigative television reporter, seen on WNET-13. In 2016 he published a history book entitled Christianity Matters: How Over Two Millennia the Meek and the Merciful Revolutionized Civilization — and Why It Needs to Happen Again, which won an international award from the Catholic Press Association. He holds degrees from Columbia University and the University of Virginia Law School.
Gregory Movesian’s career in professional fund development spans three decades and includes a variety of human service and religious organizations. Currently, Greg serves as a senior fundraising consultant and Manager of his firm, Upway Consulting, LLC. He served as Chief Advancement Officer of the Denver Scholarship Foundation, which provides scholarships to low income graduates, as well as advising and mentoring services at the high school and college level. Greg is also Vice President of the Community College of Denver Foundation. Internationally, he served as the U.S. Director of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund during the Rwandan Civil War and Genocide. He is also the co-founder of the Abrahamic Initiative, which invites Christian, Jewish and Muslim religious leaders and laypeople into dialogue and collaborative service. Greg received his M.A in Social Sciences, concentrating on Middle East economic and social development, from the University of Chicago in 1981.
Ambassador Richard Murphy
Richard W. Murphy has followed Near Eastern developments for over 50 years, 34 of which were spent as a career foreign service officer. He holds A.B. degrees from Harvard and Cambridge University. After service in the U.S. Army he joined the foreign service of the State Department and from 1955-68 served in Salisbury, Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe); Beirut Lebanon; Aleppo, Syria (1960-63); Jeddah, Saudi Arabia(1963-66); and Amman, Jordan(1966-67).
Russ W. Rosenzweig is an entrepreneur/social entrepreneur best known for founding Round Table Group, the world’s largest expert witness search and referral firm, since acquired by Thomson Reuters. Round Table Group was elected an unprecedented 6 times in the Inc. Magazine 500/5000 list of the fastest growing private companies in the US and was profiled in numerous press stories including the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, Fortune Magazine, and in 5 Stanford University case studies.
Aziz Abu Sarah
Aziz Abu Sarah is an entrepreneur, speaker, peace builder and author. He is a National Geographic Explorer and a TED Fellow. In 2009, Aziz co-founded MEJDI Tours, a cultural exploration vehicle for an ever-changing travel market. He is a seasoned tourism professional with over a decade of experience in the industry. In 2014, he gave a TED Talk about his vision for redefining tourism. Aziz has spoken at countless of international organizations and universities, including The United Nations, Nexus, TED, BMW, European Parliament, Georgetown, Yale and Harvard.
Ambassador Patrick Nickolas Theros
Ambassador (Retired) Patrick Nickolas Theros recently retired as President of the US Qatar Business Council after 17 years. He had taken over the Council after a 36-year career in the US Foreign Service a career that culminated as US Ambassador to Qatar from 1995 to 1998. Ambassador Theros remains deeply involved in issues of the Holy Land as representative in the US of the His Beatitude the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem. He heads a family-owned consulting firm, Theros & Theros, LLP in Washington DC.
Rev. John Thomas
The Rev. John H. Thomas is an ordained minister of the United Church of Christ. From 1999 to 2009 he served as General Minister and President of the United Church of Christ. He has also been a pastor in congregations in Connecticut and Pennsylvania, the denomination’s ecumenical officer, and a member of the faculty of Chicago Theological Seminary. He has served on the governing boards of the National Council of the Churches of Christ, USA, and the World Council of Churches. A native of Connecticut, he is a graduate of Gettysburg College and Yale Divinity School. He helped found the United Church of Christ Palestine Israel Network and serves on its steering committee. Rev. Thomas is currently retired and lives with his wife, Lydia Veliko, in Chicago.
William Zartman is the Jacob Blaustein Distinguished Professor Emeritus of International Organizations and Conflict Resolution at SAIS and a senior fellow and member of the International Steering Committee of Processes of International Negotiations (PIN) Program formerly at Clingendael, Netherlands; he is also a member of the International Academic Advisory Council on Mediation of the UN Department of Political Affairs.
Ann Kerr is the Fulbright Coordinator at the UCLA International Institute. She has taught at American University of Beirut and the American University in Cairo, and is the author of the memoir “Come with Me from Lebanon.” Ann received a bachelor’s degree from Occidental College, during which time she studied at the American University of Beirut, and a master’s degree from the American University in Cairo. Her late husband Malcolm Kerr served as the President at the American University of Beirut until his death in 1984. Ann also serves on the Advisory Board of the RAND Center for Middle East Public Policy, and previously served as the Chair of Churches for Middle East Peace leadership council.
Dr. Carol LaHurd
Dr. Carol Schersten LaHurd is Distinguished Affiliate Professor (Emerita) at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago and serves as outreach consultant for A Center of Christian-Muslim Engagement for Peace and Justice there. She has been professor of biblical studies and Islam at the University of St. Thomas, Wake Forest University and Fordham University. She has published numerous scholarly articles and book chapters on biblical and interfaith topics, and authored two annual Bible studies for the Women of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA): “Luke’s Vision: The People of God” and “Transforming Life and Faith.” From 2006-2010 she coordinated the ELCA's Middle East peace-making strategy and more recently has served on the denomination’s inter-religious life task force. LaHurd received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Augustana College (Ill.), a Master of Arts in English from the University of Chicago, and a doctorate in religious studies from the University of Pittsburgh and Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. She is married to Dr. Ryan LaHurd. They have two children and five grandchildren.
Maureen Shea was Director of Government Relations for the Episcopal Church for six years, retiring in the fall of 2009. During that time, she traveled to China, the Holy Land, Iran, Jordan, Syria, South Africa, and Tanzania. She also served on the board and as Chair of Churches for Middle East Peace. From 1997-2001 she was Special Assistant to the President and was in charge of outreach to the religious community in President Clinton’s Office of Public Liaison.
Ambassador Philip C. Wilcox, Jr.
Ambassador Wilcox, the recently retired President of the Foundation for Middle East Peace, served for 31 years in the U.S. Foreign Service. He held positions in U.S. diplomatic missions abroad in Laos, Indonesia, Bangladesh and as Consul General and Chief of Mission in Jerusalem. Before joining the Foreign Service, Wilcox taught schooling Sierra Leone, West Africa, and practiced law.
Bill Yontz grew up on a large grain and livestock farm in Illinois. He earned a B.S. degree in Marketing at the University of Illinois. Several years later he earned an MBA from St. John’s University.
Khalil Jahshan, Emeritus
Rev. Clifton Kirkpatrick, Emeritus
Eileen White Read, Emeritus