Dr. Riess Potterveld is President of the Graduate Theological School having started his term of service July 1, 2013. The Graduate Theological Union is a consortium of eight seminaries and various centers and affiliates that create one of the largest interreligious centers in the US. Prior to his appointment at the GTU, he served as President of Pacific School of Religion from 2010–2013. He also served as the tenth president of Lancaster Theological Seminary and Professor of Religion from 2002-2010. He is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ.
Under Potterveld’s leadership, the GTU has prioritized the advancement of its unique character as a center of interreligious learning, while continuing to cultivate ecumenical engagement within the Christian tradition. Several new initiatives are currently in process. These include new partnerships with Hindus and other Asian religions that will lead directly to new GTU course offerings in the coming year and, hopefully, the development of full academic centers in those religions.
Dr. Potterveld has taught courses in transformational leadership and the practical skills of ministry. He preaches and speaks widely throughout the region on issues of church and society and offers workshops on the interface between spirituality and art.
Under Dr. Potterveld’s leadership, Lancaster developed a unique ecology of theological education that offers learning opportunities to youth, lay leaders, congregations, newly ordained pastors, and seasoned pastors in addition to persons enrolled in regular degree and certificate programs. Over 3,000 persons from North Carolina to New York study in LTS’ special programs each year.
Before coming to Lancaster, Riess served for ten years as Vice President and Dean of Pacific School of Religion, a seminary of the United Church of Christ in Berkeley, California. He and his staff were responsible for all fund development and planned giving at Pacific School of Religion, publications and public relations, external educational events, church and denominational relations, foundation grant proposals, web site, and seminary data base.
Riess previously served as senior minister of The Congregational Church of Northridge, California for 18 years. While at Northridge, he also lectured in the religious studies department of California State University, Northridge, offering courses in comparative religion, religion and literature, and bible. He received the Meritorious Performance and Professional Promise Award at California State University, Northridge, in 1988.
Riess was the co-founder and president of The Valley Shelter, a large multi-service shelter for homeless people in the San Fernando Valley for three years beginning in 1986.
Riess graduated from Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, where he earned a B.A. in religion. After being named a Booth Ferris Fellow by the Fund for Theological Education, he attended Yale University Divinity School. He holds a Master of Divinity degree from Yale, and M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from Claremont Graduate University in philosophy of religion.
Riess is married to Tara Potterveld, a sign language interpreter for the Deaf and sculptor and they share four adult sons and seven grandchildren.
Professor Zunes received his PhD. from Cornell University, his M.A. from Temple University and his B.A. from Oberlin College. He has previously served on the faculty of Ithaca College, the University of Puget Sound, and Whitman College.
He has been a recipient of a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship on Middle Eastern and Central Asian Studies at Dartmouth College and a Human Rights Fellowship at the Center for Law and Global Justice at the University of San Francisco. He has also served as a research associate for the Center for Global, International and Regional Studies at the University of California-Santa Cruz. He has been a recipient of a Joseph J. Malone Fellowship in Arab and Islamic Studies as well as research grants through the Institute for Global Security Studies, the United States Institute of Peace, and the International Resource Center. In the early 1990s, Dr. Zunes served as founding director of the Institute for a New Middle East Policy in Seattle. In 2002, he won recognition from the Peace and Justice Studies Association as their first Peace Scholar of the Year.
Professor Zunes has made frequent visits to the Middle East and other conflict regions, where he has met with top government officials, academics, journalists and opposition leaders.
He is a regular contributor to the Huffington Post, Open Democracy, Common Dreams, Truthout, and Alternet websites, and serves as a foreign affairs columnist for the National Catholic Reporter and the Santa Cruz Sentinel. His op-ed columns have appeared in major daily newspapers on four continents. In addition, he has spoken at over 120 colleges and universities and scores of community groups in the United States, Canada, Europe, Africa, and Australia, and is a frequent guest on National Public Radio, Pacifica Radio, PBS, BBC, MSNBC and other media outlets for analysis on breaking world events. He serves as a consultant and board member for a number of peace and human rights organizations in both the United States and overseas.
He served as editor in chief of the IRFWP’s academic journal Dialogue and Alliance from 1998 until 2009, during which time, in 2004 was named as one of the top ten religion journals (out of 650) by an independent panel commissioned by the American Theological Library Association (ATLA)
All of Frank Kaufmann’s work transpires under the umbrella organization, Filial Projects. The for profit side of Filial Projects functions as a private consulting firm providing service, training, and hands on design and implementation for individuals and organizations needing help and expertise in areas derived from his life’s work.
In the aftermath of 9/11, one charismatic Pakistani American Muslim woman dared to envision a culture of peace, acceptance, mutual respect and harmony. She stood proudly in the face of fear, anger and retaliation, and bravely suggested that the country could heal if people truly got to know one another. It would be an idealistic notion, if not for the sincerity with which she has built so many bridges. Spreading her message and sharing her dream of an all-inclusive nation Ms. Samina F. Sundas, is founding executive director of the American Muslim Voice. www.amuslimvoice.org
Samina is committed to take the interfaith/inter-community dialog to the next level. Her focus is in fostering friendships among all Americans by bridging the cultural and religious gap and to walk on the path Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s paved for all of us. She is committed to work towards building an inclusive and beloved community. She enjoys working with and learning from youth. She specially is interested in empowering young women to become leaders of tomorrow. She is an advocate of civic engagement through volunteerism. She believes through education and social interaction we can build an inclusive and beloved nation where all of us feel safe and at home.
Leonard Joy was an economist in academia for 30 years at University College of East Africa, Cambridge, LSE, University of Sussex, the University of California; Consulted for the World Bank, FAO, WHO, UNICEF, UNESCO, IFAD, UNDP, ADB, and UNHCHR; for USAID, the UK Ministry for Overseas Development, Ford and Rockefeller Foundations. He is currently a leader of the Quaker Institute for the Future.
Under UNDP [United Nations Development Programme] Mr. Joy, worked as process consultant for governance systems change. In 2012 he also served as World Bank consultant on evaluation of values shift to secure non-bureaucratic collaboration between eight Tamil Nadu government departments.
He is becoming increasingly focused on the understanding of values development and the application of this understanding, especially with regard to the need for values shifts in response to global warming. He has a book in draft tentatively entitled Our Values Will Determine Our Future.