Global Programs Team and Regional Staff

The Global Programs Team is part of the Global Support Office (GSO) and works directly with Regional Staff.   

Regional Staff anchor the network of Cooperation Circles around the world. They collaborate with elected regional trustees to uplift the work of and address the needs of current CCs, and to assist in the establishment of new CCs.  Regional staff members are instrumental in helping CCs connect with one another regionally and globally for information exchange, inspiration, and collaboration.

Please use the search box below to meet the Staff from each Region.


Larissa Abaunza

Human and Women's Rights Manager

Larissa Abaunza joined URI’s violence prevention team as our first Human and Women's Rights Manager. Through this position, Larissa will support URI's mandate to reduce religiously motivated violence worldwide. 

Larissa first engaged with human rights work at the age of five. Having “grown up” in the offices of Amnesty International, where her mother served as a director, she has dedicated her life to grassroots human rights and social justice advocacy. Larissa received her BA in International Relations, with a concentration in Genocide, Human Rights, and Holocaust Studies from Claremont McKenna College, culminating in her award-winning thesis, titled "Rape and Sexual Violence Used as a Weapon of War and Genocide." In 2018, Larissa was selected as a Fulbright recipient through the U.S. Department of State where she conducted research into the educational segregation and racial discrimination of Roma children and communities in Eastern Hungary. Upon her return to the United States, Larissa pursued an MA in Human Rights Studies from Columbia University's Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, focusing her studies on the intersection of gender and terrorism, specifically on how women and girls are the keys to combatting violent extremism. Her graduate thesis examined the motivations of women combatants in Nicaragua's Sandinista movement and Sri Lanka's Tamil Tigers. Larissa specializes in open-source research, data, and policy analysis, as well as rigorous qualitative and quantitative research. Some of her other research and advocacy interests include gender dimensions of technology, indigenous feminism in Latin America, post-conflict transitional justice, and racial disparities in maternal healthcare in the US. Involved with charitable organizations in Ecuador and Nicaragua (where her family is from), she is a native Spanish speaker and loves traveling and reading.

Maria Crespo

Director of Member Support

Maria Crespo serves as the Director of Member Support (both for Cooperation Circles (CCs) and Individual Members) from her office in Buenos Aires, Argentina. She is also the URI Impact Assessment Project Manager. She maintains communication with CCs around the world, manages the CC approval process and is the staff liaison for the CC Approval Committee. Maria moderates URI’s listservs, assists with URI's social media activities, and oversees data collection for URI’s CCs. Prior to this, she served as the Regional Coordinator for Latin America for five years. Maria originally became involved with URI in 1997 when she was appointed as a Trustee in the Interim Global Council. By profession, she is a bilingual school teacher. She is very involved in the Roman Catholic Church. Maria is married and has five children.

Mussie Hailu

Regional Director for Africa 

Other Job Titles: URI Representative at the UN (Africa office)  and the African Union, Former Ambassador

Ambassador Mussie Hailu is a peacebuilder who is working at national, regional, and international levels for peace, reconciliation, interfaith harmony, disarmament, the Golden Rule, world citizenship, right human relationships, and international cooperation for the preservation of the environment. He considers himself a Citizen of the World, believing strongly in the inter-dependence of human beings. He celebrates cultural diversity, seeing the differences in race, ethnicities, religions, politics, and nationalities as important elements of the one and indivisible humanity. He has served many national and international organizations, including the United Nations. Mussie also served as Diplomat in the rank of Ambassador and Special Envoy of the President of Burundi. Currently, he serves as URI Director of Global Partnerships, URI Representative at the United Nations and the African Union, and URI-Africa Regional Director. He is a founding member of URI.

Wanda Holsman

Learning and Data Systems Coordinator

Born and raised in Buenos Aires, Wanda Holsman discovered her passion for education at an early age as part of a Jewish youth movement. After volunteering in various community organizations, she graduated as a psychopedagogue. In 2015, she started working at Centro Ana Frank Argentina for Latin America, where she designed, managed and developed several projects aimed at creating learning environments for teaching human rights and genocide prevention, promoting inclusion and coexistence in diversity against all forms of violence. With an extensive background in youth coordination and training, she has also enjoyed creating meaningful experiences for educators and other adult audiences. She believes that when people come together and are willing to truly connect with each other, magic happens.

Wanda now lives in Tel Aviv and looks forward to getting involved in peacebuilding initiatives. She loves to travel, especially because it's always an excellent opportunity to meet new people and try new flavors.

Anggita (Angie) Parameswari Latif (Angie)

Data Systems and Learning Associate

Angie joined United Religions Initiatives in May 2024, where she supports the Learning and Impact Strategies team, overseeing the monitoring, evaluation, learning, and adaptation of URI programs and network outcomes. With a background as a Doctoral Research and Teaching Assistant at the University of Massachusetts Boston, specializing in global governance and human security, her expertise includes research and administration, particularly in areas such as refugee camp education policy and peace education. Angie holds a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and a Master of Arts in Conflict Resolution from the same institution.

Her previous experiences encompass roles as a Student Services Intern and Admissions Counselor at an international education provider, along with various internships in government, public services, and marketing. Angie also freelances as a Risk Intelligence Consultant, analyzing threats to national or local security and devising mitigation strategies.

In her leisure time, Angie enjoys teaching pilates and scoliosis rehab, finding fulfillment in serving others. Her passion for learning about different traditions and religions stems from her upbringing in Indonesia and nearly a decade spent in Massachusetts, USA, where she honed her practical skills in interfaith and intercultural communication, which she now applies to her professional endeavors.

Sarah Oliver

Global Youth and Learning Coordinator

Sarah began her journey with URI in 2016, working as the Youth Coordinator for the URI Southern African region. In this role, she designed and facilitated interfaith and leadership skills training programs with youth from Cooperation Circles across South Africa, Malawi, and Mozambique. Sarah worked with CCs to develop the Girls Not Brides Campaign addressing early child marriage particularly in Malawi. In 2019, Sarah joined the Global Support Office, stepping in to coordinate the global youth network of URI. In doing so, she initiated projects of global connection for young people across the network, such as the URI Youth Connection Café’s, regional facilitator training programs, cross regional youth camps, and the youth capacity building and seed grant program. The aim being to enhance meaningful youth engagement and leadership across the network. In 2023, Sarah joined the Learning and Impact Strategies team, where she now serves in designing and facilitating collective learning experiences to advance our URI Purpose, with ongoing attention to URI's youth programming. 

As an experienced facilitator, Sarah is passionate about connecting issues of interfaith dialogue, youth leadership, peacebuilding and social justice. Locally in Cape Town, South Africa, Sarah volunteers with the Cape Town Interfaith Initiative, the African Climate Alliance and ChangeWays: Centre for Collaborative Justice - as a reminder that in a global network like URI, it’s important to always have one’s feet on the ground! 

Reuben Shank

Director of Learning and Impact Strategies

Reuben Shank (he/him; Patwin lands/Davis, CA) serves as the Director of Learning and Impact Strategies. He collaborates with the senior management team and the Global Programs Team to co-create innovative impact strategies that advance just peacebuilding and transformative healing across our religious, indigenous, ancestral, and cultural differences. He loves to co-design transformational learning programs and cultures of deep partnership and shared growth. Growing up in a minority Christian pacifist tradition (Mennonite) in Belgium, Reuben brings 25 years of deep commitment to the hard and rewarding labors of fighting for justice, building peace, and nurturing the learning, healing, and thriving of each and everyone, especially those most impacted by the intersecting painful crises of our times. He has facilitated collaborative learning and strategic projects at the grassroots level in South America, West Africa, and the US; in academic centers in the US and the UK; and in multi-sector national and international change-making organizations. In these projects, he invites all to courageously lean into our sometimes difficult differences, tend to our healing, and gently generate new powerful possibilities for ourselves, our communities, and our world. Reuben looks forward to speaking with you in French, Spanish, or English (and will try to learn any other language you speak). He loves the silence of wide open spaces as much as the inner soul, and renews himself by playing joyfully with his human and canine friends in high mountains, snow, and warm waters.

Bhavya Srivastava

Regional Director for Asia

Bhavya Srivastava works as a catalyst for faith-based and social organizations. His experiences in the domains of journalism, social work, religion, corporate, and technology provide him an edge in shaping ideas and various initiatives. As a consultant and advisor to various religious-spiritual, and social organizations, Bhavya is behind many social initiatives and programs. He played a vital role in diffusing conflicts between communities, shaping harmonious views between varying factors, and bringing together the various parties by utilizing his communication skills and his more profound understanding of subjects. He traveled extensively and is connected to a vast network of faith organizations and social institutions.  As a student of sociology, social development, and the role of religion, he has developed strong relations with interfaith leaders and covered issues addressed by interfaith programs and seminars. 

He has attended several international seminars in the past and has written on religious issues for media groups. He manages a website of all religions and has been awarded by many social organizations for his dedication. He wants to change the perception of religious leaders from preachers to change-makers.

Alice Swett

Director of Global Programs

Alice Swett has spent most of her career applauding, mentoring, and training youth and adults working for positive social change. Prior to joining URI, Alice managed the City of Boulder, Colorado’s Youth Opportunities Program/YOAB for 16 years. She also served as a Trustee of the Community Foundation Serving Boulder County. In 2013 Alice was grateful to be named a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar, which enabled her to receive a Master’s Degree in Peace Education from the University for Peace in Costa Rica. She spent time in the Democratic Republic of the Congo with Theatre et Réconciliation, using participatory theater as a tool for community transformation. She loves vegetarian food, intercultural exchanges of all types, ragtime piano, and being outdoors.

Sheetal Vaidya

Senior Advisor

Sheetal Vaidya comes with over two decades of experience, prominently focused on social entrepreneurship and driving meaningful social change. Co-founder of Aashwast Services, revolutionizing elder care services in India. She has worked as an Associate Advisor at Jerry White Impact Strategies, LLC (JWIS) in fostering societal transformation. Her advisory work in philanthropy and social entrepreneurship underscores her passion for values-driven, purpose-based initiatives that bring about systemic improvements. Her life-changing experience is her solo journey in India- Bhav yatra in 2014, traveling across 11 states for 22,000 km in seven months. The yatra was inspired by Mahatma Gandhi and Vinoba Bhave’s philosophy of connecting heart to heart.

Lauren Van Ham

Climate Action Coordinator

Raised in the Midwest, Lauren Van Ham's professional life began as a performing artist in NYC before attending interfaith seminary in California. After ordination (1999), Lauren served as chaplain in both healthcare and corporate settings, and seminary Dean at The Chaplaincy Institute. Her passion for spirituality, art and Earth's teachings construct her focus in eco-ministry, grief & loss, and sacred activism. She is a guest writer for “Progressing Spirit,” an online publication exploring theology, spirituality and public events. She holds degrees from Carnegie Mellon University and Naropa University. Lauren is a spiritual director and serves as guest faculty for several schools in the Bay Area.

Karen Volker

Director of Partnership and Violence Prevention

Karen Volker was born and raised in California before starting her international journey of diplomacy and violence prevention. She joined URI in January 2023 after a ten-year stint at Cure Violence Global (CVG), a community-based violence prevention nonprofit, and a 26-year career at the U.S. Department of State as a member of the U.S. Foreign Service. At CVG, Karen specialized in adapting the model to different social and cultural contexts and different types of violence.  While at the State Department, Karen spent over a decade overseeing the implementation of U.S. foreign assistance programming in a variety of regions undergoing transition (including Central & Eastern Europe, the former Soviet Union, the Balkans, and the Middle East).  Other areas of focus include countering violent extremism and multilateral diplomacy, especially vis-a-vis the European Union. Although Karen has devoted her professional life to promoting pluralism, defending human rights, and preventing violence, she has always found time to volunteer in her community and pursue her passion for holistic health and nutrition. Karen enjoys meeting and connecting people.

At URI, Karen focuses on expanding URI's partnerships and brings intentionality and effective practice to sharpen URI’s mandate to reduce religiously motivated violence worldwide. Karen represents URI at the United Nations, seeking to strengthen and expand relationships with partners as well as influencing global policies to advance interfaith cooperation, prevent violence, and promote cultures of peace, justice, and healing. Karen lives in Maryland, has two grown children, and loves spending time outdoors. In 2019, she summited Mt. Kilimanjaro and now looks forward to tackling her next big challenge: growing and energizing the world’s largest grassroots network of interfaith peacebuilders. 


Mussie Hailu

Regional Director for Africa 

Other Job Titles: URI Representative at the UN (Africa office)  and the African Union, Former Ambassador

Ambassador Mussie Hailu is a peacebuilder who is working at national, regional, and international levels for peace, reconciliation, interfaith harmony, disarmament, the Golden Rule, world citizenship, right human relationships, and international cooperation for the preservation of the environment. He considers himself a Citizen of the World, believing strongly in the inter-dependence of human beings. He celebrates cultural diversity, seeing the differences in race, ethnicities, religions, politics, and nationalities as important elements of the one and indivisible humanity. He has served many national and international organizations, including the United Nations. Mussie also served as Diplomat in the rank of Ambassador and Special Envoy of the President of Burundi. Currently, he serves as URI Director of Global Partnerships, URI Representative at the United Nations and the African Union, and URI-Africa Regional Director. He is a founding member of URI.

Mohamed Abdourahman

Regional Coordinator for the Horn of Africa

Mohamed Abdourahman is above all a peacemaker, and a young researcher in decentralization, and local development policy. He has long contributed to the local development of African countries, particularly during his tenure as an international assistant at the Observatory of Participatory Democracy in Africa.

During his mission, he led African associations to promote diversity and living together from Senegal, Mauritania, Ethiopia, Mali, and Djibouti (at present) in the context of terrorism and climate change.

He has organized, with development partners, research seminars on conflict resolution in Africa.

His vision is to continue activities in connection with the respect of the universal declaration of human rights, poverty alleviation, and environmental preservation, as well as to promote interfaith harmony and coexistence between different ethnic groups and cultures in Africa as well as in the whole world.

Together with URI, we can promote the culture of living together.

Emmanuel Ivorgba

Regional Coordinator for Western Africa

Emmanuel Ande Ivorgba, PhD, serves as West Africa Regional Coordinator for United Religions Initiative (URI). Emmanuel Ande Ivorgba holds a PhD in Philosophy and Religion, specializing in Comparative Religion. He is the recipient of several awards, including the 2014 Unsung Heroes of Compassion Award, in San Francisco, CA, USA. Dr. Ivorgba is Co-Producer of the 2012 Award-Winning Documentary titled: “Dialogue in Nigeria: Muslims and Christians Creating their Future Together”. Dr. Emmanuel Ande Ivorgba has previously served as Resource Person, Trainer and Facilitator at the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations- Education First Summer School, in Tarrytown, New York, USA, where he led Special Sessions on Interfaith Dialogue Models and Discussions Circles.

Nyasha Mukaratirwa

Regional Coordinator for Southern Africa

Nyasha Mukaratirwa is originally from Zimbabwe and currently resides in South Africa. Prior to joining URI, she has worked in the corporate and NGO sectors within Southern Africa. She holds a Bachelor of Business Studies, Master of Commerce Strategic Management, and Digital Marketing diploma. Nyasha is passionate about advocating for peace, justice, and improving the livelihoods of grassroots people. She has a unique mixture of trade qualifications, work experience, and the desire to deliver excellence in whatever role she assumes within the space. Nyasha is a proud mother of one, and in her spare time she enjoys spending time with her son, reading, and travelling. She looks forward to adding value to URI and working well with the team.

Despina Namwembe

Regional Coordinator for Africa Great Lakes

Despina is a social scientist with a Master’s in Peace and Conflict Studies. She coordinates the work of over 70 grassroots interfaith organizations doing different social action in the Great Lakes countries of Africa. Despina is a community organizer, trainer, and mentor in organizational development and peace work. Growing up on a continent that sometimes fuses strong customs with religion to deter the full participation of women, Despina has a passion for addressing issues that support women and girls to achieve their full potential. She has widely traveled, which has helped her conceive many “out of the box” solutions which have changed lives. She is also a contributor to different literature in the areas of interfaith, gender, environment and peacebuilding work.


Biswadeb Chakraborty (RDS)

National India Team Coordinator and Regional Coordinator for URI-Asia: India, East Zone

Biswadeb holds a BA degree in Accounting. He was raised in a family with strong spiritual values and commitment. Since 1996, he has been involved in community organizing and serves in a leadership role with Ektaan Cooperation Circle. Biswadeb is an accomplished musician and songwriter, dedicated to using music as a medium for awakening inner consciousness, building bridges of respect across social barriers, and uniting life on earth.

Ravindra Kandage

Regional Coordinator

Mr. Kandage is the Executive Director of the Sarvodaya Shanthisena Movement, a network of organizations that spans Sri Lanka, and has represented URI since its inaugural meeting. He has been directly involved in the reconciliation process in pre- and postwar Sri Lanka, and assisted in organizing a seminar on the moral imagination in Colombo. He is based in Kesbewa, Sri Lanka.

Abraham Karickam (RDS)

Regional Coordinator for URI-Asia: India, South Zone

Dr. Abraham Karickam is a former Principal of Mar Thoma College, Tiruvalla, Kerala (affiliated to Mahatma Gandhi University), where he worked for 28 years in the Department of English. He holds PhDs in English and also in Inter-Religious studies. Dr, Abraham is a Graduate of Bossey Ecumenical Institute (affiliated to Geneva Universty) and has attended several summer institutes in Peace Studies at the Eastern Mennonite University, United States. He is the coordinator for the URI South India --Sri Lanka Zone and Secretary General for the URI Asia Region. Abraham has authored fifteen books and edited a number of books and journals. His important works are “The Concept of Salvation in the Upanishads, the Bible and the Qur’An” and the interfaith novel “Super Souls Revisited”. He also organises the International Conferences on Holy Books at regular intervals in different parts of the world. He represented Mar Thoma Church and URI in three General Assemblies of the World Council of Churches (Canberra, 1991, Harare, 1998 and Port Allegre, 2005). He has been a fellow traveller of Taize Community, France from his student days. He has been engaged in interfaith dialogue for more than thirty years.

Tanya Sablok

CC Liaison and Communications Officer for URI-Asia: North India and Afghanistan Region

Tanya Sablok works on strengthening interfaith and intergenerational relations, bridging over 60 grassroots groups in the region,  and interweaving faith-based and indigenous solutions to solving local challenges. Tanya has been passionately working as a facilitator and peace educator and has also contributed to highlighting the regional stories of good practices in peacebuilding. Moreover, she has been engaging with various organizations in India to work on issues pertaining to peacebuilding, environment, youth gender, and inclusive education, and has contributed to faith-based interventions such as the UNEP-URI Faith for Earth Councillors Program and has co-edited the 'Faith for Harm Reduction Manual' in India. 


Karimah Stauch

Regional Coordinator for URI-Europe

Karimah holds a MA degree in Economics. She also received a MA degree in Islamic Studies at the University of Bonn, Germany. She currently works for the IT Department of German Agro Action (development NGO) in Bonn. She has been the Europe Regional Coordinator since 2003 and is a member of the European Executive Committee (EEC) of URI Europe. She also holds the following positions: Vice-President of the German Muslim- League Bonn, Inc.; founding member of the Central Council of Muslims in Germany; member of the Council of the Sufi-order "Tariqah As-Safinah"; Vice- President of the Christian-Islamic Society (URI Europe),; member of the planning team for "Standing Conference of Jews, Christians and Muslims in Europe”; member of the advisory board and adviser for Islamic questions for the ESWTR Deutschland; and DMLBonn's delegate to the Muslim Council, Bonn.


Enoé Texier

Regional Coordinator for URI-Latin America and the Caribbean

Enoé is an Anthropologist and Ph.D. in Social Sciences, a professor at the Central University of Venezuela. She focused her research on the holistic paradigm of science. She has coordinated educational programs on inner peace, developing brain potential and exploring our capacity as a human race to live together in harmony. She is also founder and member of Circle of Cooperation of Dialogue and Coordinator of Father Luis Dolan Chair. Since June 2000, Enoé has been leading the Circle of Cooperation for Dialogue and the Luis Dolan Chair, as its academic body at the university, bringing together representatives of different spiritual traditions toward the promotion of interreligious and intercultural dialogue. She was the co-founder in México (1996) of the Inter-American Council on Indian Spirituality (CISEI) and was the Chair during the triennium 2007-2010. Among her publications, one of the most known is “Understanding Networks” (1999).


Mamoun Ahmad

Regional Coordinator for URI-Middle East and North Africa

Mamoun Ahmad holds a Master’s degree in International Business. He has been a dedicated social worker since the early 90s. His lifetime mission of promoting intercultural and inter-religious understanding was crystalized in 1993 when he co-founded the Friends of Foreigners club at the University of Jordan. After graduation in 1995, Mamoun continued his mission and social work under several entities, including The Conversation Club at American Language Centre in Amman, University of Jordan Alumni Club, Save the Children, Seeds of Peace, and Euro-Mediterranean Partnership (EUROMED). In January 2003, Mamoun established "Quested Peace" as a non-profit group aimed at promoting intercultural understanding and interfaith cooperation as well as engaging youth in community service activities. A year later, Quested Peace joined URI as a Cooperation Circle.


Samira Fatma Baručija

Regional Coordinator for URI Multiregion

Samira Fatma Baručija is from Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and works as the Regional Coordinator for the URI Multiregion. She is an activist, trying to facilitate dialog, interfaith work, and reinforce the importance of living together for the sake of peace and security. Most of her work nowadays is focused on peacebuilding and creating cultures of peace. For the most of her nine-year-long experience in civil society, Samira has been an educator trying to use the platform of non-formal education to raise awareness, motivate and empower individuals and groups, reinforcing their role in the change they want to see. The work that Samira is doing locally is done through a youth led, youth founded organization called Youth for Peace. She is also a part of the UNDP’s Global Youth Programme as one of 16 young people from around the world, working toward fulfilling the UN’s 2030 agenda. Since 2014, Samira has been a Youth Leader for the United Religions Initiative. Samira loves traveling and cooking.


Tahil Sharma

Regional Coordinator for North America

Tahil Sharma is an interfaith activist based in Los Angeles who was born to a Hindu father and a Sikh mother. Following the Oak Creek, WI shooting of a Sikh temple in 2012, Tahil became involved in efforts for interfaith literacy and social justice and has been doing this work professionally for the past seven years. Tahil serves as one of three Interfaith Ministers in Residence for the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles and as the Los Angeles Coordinator for Sadhana: A Coalition of Progressive Hindus. Tahil also serves various organizations in different capacities to educate, engage, and serve various communities that promote interfaith cooperation and ethical pluralism and social and productive norms in society including the Interfaith Youth Core, the Parliament of the World’s Religions, The Guibord Center, and The Interreligious Council of Southern California. Tahil previously worked as the Faith Outreach Manager for Brave New Films, a social justice documentary organization based in Los Angeles that empowers communities and teaches civic participation through new media, facilitation, and strategies for action. He is also a contributing author to books including Co-Human Harmony: Using Our Shared Humanity To Bridge Divides, Hindu Approaches to Spiritual Care: Chaplaincy in Theory and Practice, and Acting on Faith: Stories of Courage, Activism, and Hope Across Religions.


Ann Aisatullin

Ann Aisatullin has been a kindergarten teacher for many years in metropolitan Adelaide.  She has also taught in remote kindergartens in the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands in the far north of South Australia and in a range of Jewish kindergartens in Melbourne including Ultra-Orthodox kindergartens.

Ann has specialized in promoting inclusive education strategies including a mini-thesis researching the benefits of an inclusive visiting program between children from a Special School with moderate to severe intellectual disability and children in a mainstream government kindergarten.  She has also researched inclusive education practices for culturally and spiritually diverse communities including the Aboriginal Kaurna community of the Adelaide Plains.  She participated in a Seminar at the University of Helsinki with Professor Arto Kallioniemi and Dr. Heidi Rautionmaa after participating in a panel in Toronto at the Parliament of the World’s Religions in 2018.

Ann is the Treasurer for Religions for Peace Australia.  She is a member of the Multifaith Association of South Australia where she was President for a short period in 2012/13.  She is on the steering committee for Interfaith Matters and is an early childhood consultant for Connect4children, a playgroup made up of families from many different faiths and cultural traditions.  Ann is a member of the Australian Religious Response to Climate Change and has been involved in the Living the Change initiative and has assisted in presenting the Divestment course Align Your Finances with Your Faith.  She is an Emergency and Disaster Chaplain with the South Australian Government and is a member of the Jewish community.

Musa Mohamad Sanguila

Director of Pakigdait, Philippines, a URI Cooperation Circle, and URI-Philippines Country Coordinator

Mr. Musa Mohamad Sanguila, fondly called Mowkong, was born in war-torn Lanao del Norte, Mindanao, Philippines. For over 15 years, he served as Founding Director of Pakigdait, a grassroots interfaith peacebuilding civil society organization in Mindanao. He is currently one of the founding conveners of the Philippine Center for Islam and Democracy, and regularly participates in the think-tank circle that discusses mitigation and reconciliation of religiously-motivated violence in Mindanao. A former consultant of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, he passionately pursues peace talks with the Government of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front as the voice of local civil society organizations that are members of the monitoring team. He chairs the PAMANA-LANAW, a province-wide multi-stakeholder convergence that implements community-based projects and infrastructures in conflict-affected villages in Lanao areas, and jointly acts as Lead Convener of Bantay Kalilintad (Peace Watch), a civil society oversight body on the implementation of the Internal Peace and Security Plan of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

Sothearat Seoung

Regional Coordinator for URI-Southeast Asia and the Pacific - West Zone

Sothearat is a Cambodian with more than ten years of experience in the social development sector in Cambodia. He is a Clinical Psychologist and an EMDR (Eyes Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) practitioner, trained internationally in "Psycho- traumatology and EMDR." He is an independent facilitator, in the area of organization development. Sothearat has facilitated a great many other seminars and retreats focusing on relationship building and communication skills for various organizations. He was well recognized for using a ‘Whole Person Learning and Creative Process’ methodology, which is the foundation for behaviour change interventions. Sothearat has an extended experience in design leadership development programs for women, youth, and senior NGOs managers. His background and experience in psychotherapy and supervision/coaching for senior NGO managers give him an extra "edge", and an ability to quickly assess the strengths of an individual or organization, as well as an ability to recognize and heal the negative leadership habits and systemic dynamics that can hold an organization hostage. Additionally, Sothearat provides counseling for people with mental distress, and training in psychological health-related topics to organizations working with children and women, orphanages and shelters. Sothearat is a founder and managing director of Centre for Leadership Enrichment (CLE): Additionally, Sothearat support three non-governmental organizations by volunteering to be a board member (BoD- board of director) for those organizations.


Mussie Hailu

Regional Director for Africa 

Other Job Titles: URI Representative at the UN (Africa office)  and the African Union, Former Ambassador

Ambassador Mussie Hailu is a peacebuilder who is working at national, regional, and international levels for peace, reconciliation, interfaith harmony, disarmament, the Golden Rule, world citizenship, right human relationships, and international cooperation for the preservation of the environment. He considers himself a Citizen of the World, believing strongly in the inter-dependence of human beings. He celebrates cultural diversity, seeing the differences in race, ethnicities, religions, politics, and nationalities as important elements of the one and indivisible humanity. He has served many national and international organizations, including the United Nations. Mussie also served as Diplomat in the rank of Ambassador and Special Envoy of the President of Burundi. Currently, he serves as URI Director of Global Partnerships, URI Representative at the United Nations and the African Union, and URI-Africa Regional Director. He is a founding member of URI.