Dr. William Vendley is the Secretary General of Religions for Peace International. He is a member of its World Council, which consists of 60 senior religious leaders from all continents. He coordinates the activities and projects of Religions for Peace’s 70 national and five regional councils.
Religions for Peace is the world’s largest and most representative multi-religious coalition, advancing common action for peace by working to stop war, eliminate extreme poverty, and protect the earth.
William assumed leadership of Religions for Peace International in 1994. He is a pioneer in employing religious cooperation to help resolve conflict. He facilitated the establishment of the Inter-religious Council of Bosnia-Herzegovina in the immediate aftermath of the civil war, which resulted in the commitment of its religious leaders to rebuild a single, multi-ethnic Bosnia. He established the Inter-religious Council of Sierra Leone in the midst of a ten-year civil war, advanced successful multi-religious mediations between the rebels and the government, and was requested to assist in the formal peace talks in Lome, Togo. He has led multi-religious efforts to prevent conflicts, mediate among warring parties, and heal societies in the aftermath of violence in Ethiopia, Eritrea, Liberia, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Iraq, and other countries. He is actively working in the Middle East with religious leaders in Israel, Palestine, and neighboring states to advance peace. He is convinced that multi-religious efforts for peacemaking provide unique strengths that complement those marshaled by governments and bodies like the United Nations.
With the CEOs of CARE, Save the Children, and Plan International, William co-founded the Hope for African Children Initiative to target the needs of African children orphaned by HIV/AIDS. The Initiative resulted in over US$ 50M being raised to equip African communities, particularly grassroots religious congregations, to provide needed services to vulnerable children.
William is an advisor to President Obama through his service on the Multi-religious Cooperation and International Affairs Task Force of the White House Faith-Based Council. He lectures frequently in academic, governmental, and other forums. He is a theologian and has served as a professor and dean in graduate schools of theology. Born and raised in Indiana, he earned his BA from Purdue University (1971) and was the recipient of its Distinguished Alumni for Science Award in 2005. He has an MA from the Maryknoll School of Theology (1976) and a Ph.D. from Fordham University (1984).
William is married to Mrs. Yasuko Vendley, and they reside in New York City.