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Jim Kenney

Host and Lecturer

Jim Kenney is recognized around the world as a pioneer and leader of the global interreligious and intercultural movement.


He has lectured widely, in the U.S. and around the world, on a variety of subjects relating to politics, religion, history, and culture. He was, for 45 years, the co-founder and Executive Director of Common Ground, a groundbreaking adult study center focusing on the world's great religious, philosophical, spiritual, and cultural traditions. 


He is the author of Thriving in the Crosscurrent: Clarity and Hope in a Time of Cultural Sea Change (Quest Books: May 2010). Thriving presents a hopeful, challenging, and inspiring vision of progressive cultural evolution in our time.


Jim Kenney has held the following roles with some of the world’s key interreligious organizations over the past 30 years:


  • Founding trustee and later Global Director of the Parliament of the World’s Religions, serving as its Global Director from 1988-2002.

  • Founder and Executive Director of the Interreligious Engagement Project (IEP21), working with global religious communities to address the world’s critical.


  • Founding Trustee and Project Coordinator for the International Interreligious Peace Council, whose members included Nobel Peace Prize Laureates, the Dalai Lama, Mairead Maguire, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and many other renowned spiritual leaders committed to working together for peace, justice, and ecological sustainability.


  • Former trustee of the International Interfaith Center in Oxford UK.


  • Co-Founder and former Co-Editor of Interreligious Insight: a Journal of Dialogue and Engagement, now published internationally and the UK by the World Congress of Faiths


  • Consultant to a wide variety of interreligious and intercultural programs and organizations dedicated to the promotion of peace, justice, and ecological sustainability, including, for example


    • SAIV (the Spiritual Alliance Against Intimate Violence), founded by Riane Eisler; served as the Alliance’s first Director.


    • The Abraham Path Initiative, working to revitalize the paths believed to have been trod by Abraham (patriarch of the three Middle Eastern religions – Judaism, Christianity, and Islam) as places of engagement, dialogue, and intercultural understanding.


    • The Dialogue of Civilizations initiative, including the creation (by Jim and colleagues) of “Vision to Action” statements for several of the world’s major religions, including Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and Buddhism.


    • The Association for Global New Thought, working with Executive Director Barbara Fields to design and implement several major projects, including the “Awakened World 2012” Conference, held in Rome and Florence, Italy.


    • Globalization for the Common Good – an international annual conference series bringing together religious leaders, economic experts, activists, governmental leaders, and others concerned about the dynamics of modern globalization; Director, the 2009 Conference, held at Loyola University, Chicago.

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