Announcing URI's New Executive Director

1 August 2022

Social Entrepreneur, Senior Ashoka Fellow, and humanitarian activist Jerry White furthers his peacebuilding journey by joining United Religions Initiative as Executive Director on August 1, 2022.

Jerry White

“For several decades, URI and Jerry White have been on parallel tracks. Each breaking new ground in terms of creating cultures of peace, justice and healing, and each deeply involved throughout the world. Now their tracks converge, as White becomes URI's Executive Director.

URI is yearning to reach a new level of difference-making, and White is ready for the challenge. I could not be more excited or more ready for the adventure ahead.”

- The Right. Rev. William E. Swing, Founding Trustee and President Emeritus.

Jerry White is an author, diplomat, and humanitarian activist known for leading high-impact campaigns, three of which led to international treaties: the Landmine Ban Treaty, the Cluster Munitions Ban, and the U.N. Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

In 1984, White lost his lower right leg while hiking in an unmarked minefield in Israel. He worked closely with the late Diana, Princess of Wales, and shares the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize awarded to the International Campaign to Ban Landmines. White wrote of his experience helping thousands of war victims build resilience in “Getting Up When Life Knocks You Down.”

White studied religion at Brown University, theology at Cambridge University, and business at the University of Michigan. He has an honorary degree from Mount Sinai School of Medicine and teaches religion, violence, and strategy as a Professor of Practice at the University of Virginia. Jerry White and his wife Kelly live in Washington, DC, and have four adult children. 

After an extensive search, URI is delighted to have chosen Jerry White, a visionary, mission-driven, and results-oriented nonprofit leader with a track record of driving innovation and success.

“URI has entered a new phase of outcome-driven, strengthened governance and organizational coherence, reinforcing the need for impactful service to our global network.

At this significant juncture, White brings executive leadership focusing on accountability and evaluation along with exceptional experience in executing organizational growth and transformational change. Establishing a strengthened collaboration with the Global Council, the voices of our network will be elevated with dignity and respect.”

- Kiran Bali MBE JP, Global Council Chairperson.

As the newly appointed Executive Director of URI, White is passionate about working with diverse partners, particularly Indigenous groups. His key aspiration is to grow a dynamic, inclusive, and regenerative interfaith movement. Per White, no single organization succeeds alone. White hopes to expand and galvanize URI into moving the sector from conventional interfaith dialogue to creative coalition-building, tech-assisted strategies that achieve measurable results. 

“The world needs URI more than ever,” White says. “We remain committed to peace, justice, and healing, and will work tirelessly to unite people across diverse traditions through daily interfaith cooperation and spiritual practice, transforming ourselves and the world simultaneously.”

Jerry can be reached at [email protected]. Join us in welcoming Jerry White! 

In peace,

Bills signature
The Right. Rev. William E. Swing
Founding Trustee and President Emeritus
Kiran's signature
Kiran Bali MBE JP
Global Council Chairperson