The IRFWP is an international, interreligious organization with a 37 year history, overseen by an executive administration and a multi-religious board of advisers.
Discord, conflict, and separation lie at the root of human suffering and violence. These negative forms of relating are not limited to religions of course, but they do exist there as well. Religious evil especially violates our sensibilities, often is most enduring and intractable , and can generate extreme forms of horror.
The 38 year old Inter Religious Federation for World Peace exists solve these negatives in the religious world, to dissolve the evils that arise from these forms of conflict, and to instigate harmonious and collaborative relationships that then extend beyond religion to all parts of life, education, media, politics, arts and entertainment, and all else.
IRFWP is unique in its knowledge and capacity for dialogue and reconciliation, and in its history of success in extinguishing the flames of hatred and bringing about reconciliation and enduring collaboration among religions and believers.
Conscientious leaders from all areas, not just religious people are encouraged to support the crucial work of IRFWP, both financially, and with talent and good will. Supporting IRFWP contributes to safety and opportunity, both in the urgent short term, and in the chance to build a healthy and peaceful future.
IRFWP immediate strategy
IRFWP exists to establish inter-religious councils that serve municipalities, nations, regions, and the United Nations.
IRFWP councils comprise enlightened, peace-seeking religious leaders and scholars from all world religions, who consult and collaborate to offer wisdom and guidance to social, political, and economic leaders to advance peace, prosperity, and wholesome life at all levels.
Administration and Organization
IRFWP operates under the executive leadership of Dr. Frank Kaufmann, with oversight from the religious leaders and scholars on the IRFWP board of advisers.
IRFWP Board of Advisers
Shrivatsa Goswami comes from an eminent family of scholars and spiritual leaders at Sri Radharamana Temple, Vrindavan. He is the director of Sri Caitanya Prema Samsthana, an institute of Vaisnava culture and philosophy at Vrindavan. His written works on Vaisnavism, Sri Krishna, Radha, and the Hare Krishna movement have been published worldwide. He is the editor of the volume on Chaitanya for the Encyclopedia of Indian Philosophy, published by the American Institute of Indian Studies. He was invited by Pope Benedict XVI as Hindu representative at the 25th anniversary of the World Day of Prayer at Assisi in October 2011. He is involved in distinguished international movements including Religions for Peace and World Council of Churches.
Dr. Cheryl Lau received her Doctorate from the University of Oregon, and later earned a Juris Doctorate from the University of San Francisco.
She served as Deputy Attorney General in Nevada state until she was elected Secretary of State there in 1990. Later, she ran for governor of Nevada.
In 1995, Dr. Lau served as General Counsel to the U.S. House of Representatives. She was a visiting professor at Harvard University, and a Judge Pro Tempore for the Carson City Justice and Municipal Courts. She was the vice chair of the Republican National Platform Committee, secretary of the Republican National Convention, and chair of the National Commission for the Renewal of American Democracy.
Dr. Lau was earlier appointed by the Nevada Governor as a Commissioner on the State of Nevada Commission on Professional Standards in Education and is now serving as a Commissioner on the State of Nevada Commission on Ethics. She is also currently a National Peace Council member for the Universal Peace Federation.
Professor Sulayman S. Nyang is a former deputy ambassador and head of chancery of the Gambia Embassy in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. He was the chairman of Howard University’s African Studies Department in Washington, D.C., and co-principal investigator for the ‘Muslims in the American Public Square’ project. He served as a member and later became the first Muslim President of the Interfaith Conference of Metropolitan District of Columbia (IFC). He was the first Henry Luce Professor at the Hartford Seminary and the University of Connecticut.
Professor Nyang was Vice President of the American Council for the Study of Islamic Societies, and founding editor of the American Journal of Islamic Studies. He has also served on the boards of the African Studies Association, America’s Islamic Heritage Museum, and the Association of Muslim Social Scientists. Acclaimed works include Islam, Christianity, and African Identity, Religious Plurality in Africa, Line in the Sand, Saudi Arabia in the Gulf War, and Islam in the USA. He has contributed to many scholarly journals and popular magazines published in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Americas. Together with his colleague, Dr. Mustansir Mir, he is currently the co-editor of Studies in Contemporary Islam, based at Youngstown University in Ohio. Professor Nyang was the Lead Developer for the Africa Hall Project of the Museum of Natural History at the Smithsonian in Washington D.C.
Thomas Schellen is a writer and researcher in the fields of economy and religion. His professional journey has taken him from being a cub reporter in the 1970s on the international desk of the weekly Der Report, Frankfurt, to working today as business editor of Executive Magazine, an English-language magazine covering the Middle East based in Beirut. Thomas is known in his market as a leading writer on business and economy.
Thomas has been active from youth in interfaith and interdenominational dialogue in Europe, the United States, and in the Middle East.
As chief content officer for the Forum fuer Geistige Fuehrung, a German think tank dedicated to answering the ideological challenges of European identity in the 1990s, Thomas developed lectures and moderated conferences with high-profile participants.
Presently Thomas chairs the Universal Peace Federation – Lebanon, a Beirut-based NGO. Thomas has lived in Lebanon for the past 17 years, where his wife and he are active in interfaith and community projects and in peace leadership education.
Professor Charles Selengut, professor of sociology at County College of Morris since 1970, earned his Ph.D. degree with highest honors from Drew University. He is known internationally for his expertise in the sociological, psychological and political dimensions of religious fundamentalism. His works include books, articles and monographs on Muslim, Jewish and Christian fundamentalism and their significance in international relations. He is the author of Sacred Fury: Understanding Religious Violence, Jewish-Muslim Encounters: History, Philosophy and Culture, and other significant work in the area. He was a member of the University of Chicago “Project on Fundamentalism,” a National Endowment for the Humanities fellow at Harvard University, and a 1997 finalist for the Carnegie Professor of the year award.
Reverend Junsei Terasawa became a Buddhist monk at a young age, and thereafter spent six years in India intensively studying and practicing Buddhism, and involving himself in the social reform movement to remove communal and caste division conflicts. Later he contributed to the anti-nuclear peace marches and demonstrations throughout Europe and established two Peace Padogas in England. In India, he initiated the Rajgir Symposium on the Victory of Law over the nuclear menace, producing the visionary “New Delhi Declaration to build a Nuclear-free Non-violent World.” He initiated both the Peace Camp on the Iraq-Saudi border in a bid to avert the Gulf War, and more recently, the 3-month Pakistan-India Prayer March for Peace.
Reverend Terasawa represented the International Peace Bureau in annual sessions of the UN Human Rights Commission at Geneva, and initiated the Inter-Faith Peace Mission to Chechnya with support of Prince El Hassan of Jordan and Mikhail Gorbachev. He invested greatly in an effort to resolve the Iraqi crisis through his initiation of the International Inter-Religious Peace Mission to Iraq. He led the Buddhist Delegation to Baghdad with their Appeal to President Sadam Hussein, President G.W. Bush, and other world leaders.
Administration and Staff
Dr. Frank Kaufmann has worked in the area of religion and peace for 37 years.
His peace missions include work in Israel and Palestine, Croatian Refugee Camps, the Eritrea-Ethiopia border, Hindu-Muslim conflict zones in India and Kashmir, revolutionary centers of southern Philippines, the Gulf, Sri Lanka, and elsewhere. Some pictures of these efforts are gathered here.
Dr. Kaufmann completed his studies in religion at Vanderbilt University. He is widely published and a known speaker on the religious dimensions of current affairs. He is the author of The Foundations of Modern Church History, and editor of numerous works on religion and peace including Christianity in the Americas, Religion and the Future of Southern Africa, and Religion and Peace in the Middle East.
Under his editorial leadership the interfaith journal Dialogue and Alliance 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).
Dr. Kaufmann was nominated for the for the prestigious, international Guru Nanak Interfaith Award. Nominees that year include His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Nobel Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu, a former Indian Prime Minister Inder Kumar Gujral, US Senators Charles Schumer and Norm Coleman, academics Rabbi David Rosen, Dr Martin Marty, and others.
On June 5, 2010, Dr. Frank Kaufmann was awarded the 2010 Visionary of Peace Award by the Interfaith Roundtable of Ireland, the Inter Cultural Peace Center.
Dr. Kaufmann serves on boards for several international peace organizations. Dr. Kaufmann is Director of IRFWP.
Rahşan Çelik is a member of the international academic and business honor society Beta Gamma Sigma accredited by AACSB.
She holds an MBA with honors from Sacred Heart University (Luxembourg) and a Master’s degree of International and Strategic Management combined with Cultural Studies (Spanish and French) from the University of Mannheim (Germany).
Rahşan Çelik worked for diverse international companies, the European Investment Bank and the National Agency for Research and Innovation in collaboration with the Luxembourgish Ministry of Economy.
She was appointed Ambassador for Peace by the Women’s Federation for World Peace and Director of the Inter Religious Federation for World Peace in Luxembourg.
Rahşan Çelik strives for economic and social development as a member of Junior Chamber International (Luxembourg).
She contributes passionately to the achievement of United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals 2030. As a member of the United Nations Association’s administration board, she collaborates with the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs (Luxembourg). She also works in partnership with the Ministry of Sustainable Development and Infrastructure (Luxembourg).
He is President of the Bowers Family Genealogical Foundation, a member of the Board of Directors of the James Jay Dudley Luce Foundation which develops young men and women as global leaders, and is a leader in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for the New York, Hudson Valley. Dr. Bowers is Senior Financial Officer for IRFWP.
Mr. Alex Covone currently studies social sciences at Westchester Community College with the intent of pursuing a four-year degree. He is involved in several international and interreligious youth leadership training programs that focus on character development and life management training. He currently serves as an intern for IRFWP.
Ms. Hana Angelino is an International Political Economy graduate from Fordham University. Ms. Angelino is involved in several international and interreligious youth leadership training programs, and currently serves as administrative assistant on the staff of the IRFWP.
Ms. Kana Tateishi is a student of political science at Hunter College, NYC. As a student, Ms. Tateishi is involved in several local groups in her community and school that aim for greater unity. She currently serves as a remote assistant for the administrative staff of the IRFWP.
Mr. Kosei Suzuki studied political science at Villanova University and and literature at Queen Mary University of London. He is currently involved with several international organizations focused on service and youth leadership. Mr. Suzuki currently serves as an intern for IRFWP.