June 19, 2012, 3:52 PM
The new Global Council officers began their service immediately upon their election Wednesday. Their appointments, made by the unanimous vote of the newly-elected Global Council, will be reviewed at the council’s face-to-face meeting in March 2013.
Kiran Bali, a trustee from Huddersfield in the United Kingdom who serves on the executive committee for URI Europe, will succeed Yoland Trevino as Chairperson of the Global Council. Ms. Bali has founded, chaired and worked with many international organizations dedicated to enhancing understanding among cultures and resolving conflicts.
“I think Kiran brings a great spirit and a wealth of interfaith experience to the role,” said Debra Bernstein, Associate Executive Director of URI.
Trustee Tareq Z. Al-Tamimi of Hebron, Palestine will succeed Shlomo Alon as Vice-Chairperson of the Global Council. Mr. Al-Tamimi is an active member of the steering committee for URI in the Middle East and North Africa and a member of URI’s Young Leaders Program.
“Tareq has a passion for peace, and his experience in building and maintaining an organization will be invaluable to the council,” Bernstein said.
At-Large Trustee Rebecca Burad of San Francisco, California in the USA will succeed Rabbi Doug Kahn as Global Council Treasurer. A founder and principal of Bridgeway, LLC, a financial services company, Ms. Burad has served on the boards of Grace Cathedral, the San Francisco AIDS Foundation and Lutheran Social Services of North America, and has been chairperson of the URI Audit committee since 2007.
“Rebecca has been a strong resource for URI, as we have worked to develop systems that will support long-range sustainability,” Bernstein said.
Trustee Ravindra Kandage of Kesbewa, Sri Lanka will serve as Assistant Treasurer. Mr. Kandage, executive director of the Sarvodaya Shanthisena Movement, a network of service organizations throughout Sri Lanka, has represented URI since its inaugural meeting.
“Ravi’s work with Sarvodaya Shanthisena has been so important to building peace in Sri Lanka,” Bernstein said. “He is truly an inspiration.”
Trustee Rebecca Tobias of Vancouver, British Columbia will serve as Global Council Secretary. Ms. Tobias has served as a Fellow at the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva with the Working Group for Indigenous Populations and is the program director of the Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Ethics.
“Rebecca’s unique ability to build bridges and partnerships with so many different communities has been demonstrated over and over again,” Bernstein said.
Trustee Vrajapati Das of Kolkata, India will serve as the council’s Assistant Secretary. Mr. Das, a software engineer and monk, serves as President of the Bhaktivedanta Institute in Kolkata and Secretary of the URI India Trust.
In addition to the newly-elected officers, the Rev. Canon Charles P. Gibbs will continue to serve URI as Executive Director and the Right Rev. William E. Swing, URI’s founder, will continue to serve as President. Both men reside in San Francisco.
The 25-member Global Council expanded Thursday to include Burad and fellow At-Large Trustees Elisabeth Lheure and Don H. Frew, both of whom agreed to extend their service to the council.
Trustee Lheure, a resident of Barcelona, Spain, is head of Citizen Dialogue Between Beliefs and Convictions and has worked with the UNESCO Association for Interreligious Dialogue for the last decade. She has served on the executive committee for URI Europe since 2006.
Trustee Frew, a Wiccan Elder and High Priest of Coven Trismegiston in Berkeley, California, USA, is director of the Lost & Endangered Religions Project. He has served as a member of URI’s elected Global Council – either as an At-Large trustee or a representative of North America – since its inception.