International Secretariat


William F. Vendley, Secretary General
DR. WILLIAM F. VENDLEY has served as Secretary General of Religions for Peace since 1994. He is a member of its World Council, which is composed of outstanding international religious leaders. He also serves as the organization’s chief executive officer, overseeing the international secretariat in Asia, Africa, Latin America, Europe, the Middle East and North Africa.

Dr. Vendley coordinates the international activities and projects of Religions for Peace’s Interreligious Councils in more than seventy states around the world. He works in areas engaged in armed conflict to mobilize and equip religious communities to mediate and mitigate violent conflict and build a climate of peace.

In Ethiopia, Eritrea, Sierra Leone, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Liberia, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and many other countries, Dr. Vendley has led negotiations that have helped to prevent conflicts from developing, mediate peace among warring parties and rebuild societies in the aftermath of violence.

Under his leadership, Religions for Peace and its local affiliates engaged religious communities in collaborative work to assist orphans of HIV/AIDS in Africa.

Dr. Vendley was a participant in His Majesty King Abdullah’s historic inter-religious meeting in Madrid, Spain in 2008 and has been requested by the Muslim World League to serve on its Follow-up Committee. Dr. Vendley advises the White House through President Barack Obama’s Interreligious Dialogue and Cooperation Task Force.

Dr. Vendley is a theologian and has served as a professor and dean in graduate schools of theology. He lectures frequently in academic, United Nations and NGO fora.

He has been awarded numerous prizes for religion and human rights, and serves on the boards of a number of organizations ranging from the fine arts to those committed to peace building.

He holds a doctorate in systematic theology from Fordham University and a master’s degree in religious studies from the Maryknoll School of Theology.

Rev. Kyoichi Sugino, Assistant Secretary General
Rev. Sugino serves as Assistant Secretary General at Religions for Peace, co-ordinating regional offices in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America and the Middle East, and its affiliated Inter-religious Councils (IRCs) in more than seventy countries. Rev. Sugino has been directly engaged in multi-religious diplomacy and track-II negotiations in Iraq, Sri Lanka, and other conflict zones. After graduating in 1991 from Gakurin Seminary in Tokyo and receiving ordination as a Dharma Teacher in Rissho Kosei-kai, a major Japanese Buddhist denomination, Rev. Sugino served as Policy Research Officer at the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Geneva. Holding a master’s degree in international law and international human rights law from the University of Wisconsin, Rev. Sugino’s published work on humanitarian and peace-building issues includes The “‘Non-Political and Humanitarian’ Clause in UNHCR’s Statute,” Refugee Survey Quarterly, Volume 17, Number 1 (UNHCR/Oxford University Press, 1998) and “Building Peace in Iraq: Inter-religious Council of Iraq,” Vol. 4, (United Nations Journal, 2004).

The Rev. Donald “Bud” Heckman, Director for External Relations
An ordained Christian minister from the West Ohio Conference of The United Methodist Church, Rev. Heckman has served formerly as: Chief Development Officer of Hartford Seminary, Secretary General of Religions for Peace USA, Executive Secretary in the Mission Volunteers unit of the General Board of Global Ministries, and Program Administrator for the World Congress of Philosophy.

A summa cum laude graduate of Ohio University, Rev. Heckman has graduate degrees from the University of Chicago Divinity School and Boston University’s Division of Religion and Theological Studies, as well as additional education from several other schools and centers. He has served rural, urban, and suburban churches in Illinois, Ohio, Massachusetts, New York, and Connecticut.

A frequent speaker and writer on interfaith relations, Rev. Heckman is editor of a new reference book for the field called InterActive Faith: The Essential Interreligious Community-Building Handbook (SkyLight Paths, 2008).

Deepika Singh, Director of Program Coordination

Ms. Deepika Singh is the Director of Program Coordination at Religions for Peace, where she directs overall program strategy and related implementation and monitoring. Ms. Singh has more than ten years of professional experience in international affairs and development, including service in USAID-funded programs in Nepal and consultancies with UNDP, UNICEF, and other international NGOs. She holds a master’s degree in public administration from Pace University (New York, USA), a master’s degree in arts from Dhaka University (Dhaka, Bangladesh) and a bachelor’s degree, with honors, from St. Bede’s College (Simla, India).

Ms. Luisa Hernandez, Director of Finance, Administration and Human Resources

Mrs. Luisa Hernandez is the Director of Finance and Administration at Religions for Peace. Mrs. Hernandez has been the Director of Finance and Administration for Religions for Peace since 2006. Prior to become the Director of Finance and Administration she was hired as the Senior Accountant for Religions for Peace.

Mrs. Hernandez oversees all the financial and administrative systems, responsible for budget development and monitoring; managing of international and national funds receive from multiple non-for-profit and private agencies and collaborate and coordinate with international field office financial staff to ensure accurate and timely reporting of all financial information are prepared. She provides management and control for the office HR and Administrative policies and all fiscal operations of Religions for Peace. Mrs. Hernandez has more than ten years of non-for-profit finance and administration experience. She has worked in collaboration with development agencies like USAID, State Department, C.D.C, HRSA, UNDP, UNICEF, and other international NGOs. She holds a M.B.A. degree in Finance from Regis University, and a bachelor’s degree in Accounting from Herbert Lehman College of the City University of NY. Certificated in USAID Rules and Regulations, NICRA, NYS Notary Public and Individual Income Tax.

Jacqueline Moturi Ogega, Director of the Women’s Mobilization Program
Ms. Ogega is the Director of the Women’s Program at the World Conference of Religions for Peace. Prior to joining Religions for Peace-International in New York, Ms. Ogega served as the African Women’s Project Director at Religions for Peace in Africa where she established the African Women of Faith Network, a fundamental infrastructure for building multi-religious cooperation for action in Africa. Ms. Ogega has extensive experience and skills in gender, peace-building and development programming. She has worked to mobilize financial and human resources to tap on the global resource of women as agents for transformation. Ms. Ogega worked previously in various positions as a lecturer in Gender and Development Studies at the University of Nairobi in Kenya, National Coordinator of the Gender and Development Program of Caritas Kenya, and as a graduate teacher. Ms. Ogega’s field experience blends well with her academic qualifications and interests; she holds a masters degree as well as a post-graduate diploma in gender and development, both from the University of Nairobi Kenya. She earned her bachelor’s degree in education from Kenyatta University in Kenya. Ms. Ogega has international specialized training in peace-building and conflict transformation from the School for International Training (SIT) in Vermont, USA and from the Austrian Study Center for Peace and Conflict Resolution (ASPR).

Mr. Antti Pentikainen, Director of Conflict Transformation Program

Mr. Antti Pentikainen has extensive mediation experience in conflict zones and a long history of humanitarian work, including cooperation with UN agencies. In 1999, as head of the European Student Unions, he supported Kosovo students and Serbian Otpor peace activists during the war in Kosovo. He became an Advisor to Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari, future Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and co-founded the Crisis Management Initiative (CMI) with Mr. Ahtisaari where he led its finance and administration division. He became the Assistant Secretary General of the Helsinki Process, an initiative of the governments of Finland and Tanzania, which aimed to improve global governance. In 2004, he became Executive Director of Finn Church Aid (FCA), Finland’s largest development agency. During his leadership, FCA implemented conflict programs in a number of fragile states, and assisted traditional and religious communities to advance peace and development. In 2009, Mr. Pentikainen was elected President of Aprodev, a network of European ecumenical development agencies. He has been named an Ambassador of Good Will by Finnish President Tarja Halonen and one of Ten Outstanding Young Persons of the World for 2010 by the Junior Chamber of Commerce International (JCI) for his contributions to children, world peace and human rights. Mr. Pentikainen holds a Masters in Theology and is the author of several books on comparative religion.

Ms. Valerie Nash, Chief of Staff
Ms. Katerina Ragoussi, Associate Director for Youth and Network Coordination
Mr. Daniel Calder, Youth Network Associate
Ms. Allison Pytlak, Disarmament Program Coordinator
Ms. Janet Phillips, NPI Project Coordinator
Ms. Rosalee Laws, Constituent Relationship Manager
Ms. Nina Kalandadze, Web Media Manager and Online Communications Associate
Ms. Anna Keller, Communications Associate
Ms. Gloria DeCamps , Office Administrator and Human Resources Assistant
Ms. Darlene Garcia, Junior Accountant
Mr. Ugur Suri, Contract Accountant
Ms. Suri Katebi, Office Assistant
Ms. Regina Torrence, Receptionist
Ms. Tanya Coleman, Receptionist


Dr. Mustafa Ali, Director & Secretary General, African Council of Religious Leaders
Mr. Bernard Okok-Obuoga, Director of Programs Coordination and Communication
Mr. Joel Oloo, NPI Project Officer
Ms. Florence Omtokoh, Executive Secretary in the Office of the Secretary General
Ms. Hellen C. Kibowen, Administrative Assistant
Ms. Martha Mukulu, Programs Assistant, Conflict Transformation
Ms. Nyambura Gichuki, Youth Coordinator
Mr. Antony Mulele, Grounds Man

Dr. Kiplagat Dorcas, Acting Coordinator, Africa Women of Faith Network
Mr. Abdulrahman Wandati ,Consultant, Conflict Transformation
Ms. Meimuna Mohamed, Finance and Accounts Assistant
Ms. Purity Osumba Intern, NPI program
Ms. Jacinta Okumu Acting Finance and Administration Manager
Ms. Chacha Christine , Office Assistant


Mr. Elias Szczytnicki, Director & General Secretary of the Latin American and Caribbean Council of Religious Leaders (LACCRL)

Ms. Paula Franco, Regional Administration and Finance Officer
Mr. Oscar Amat y Leon, Regional Network Coordination Officer