Ron Young's Bio

National Interreligious Leadership Initiative for Peace in the Middle East
Ronald J. Young, Consultant
Tel/Fax: (360) 652-4285
Available to Speak in Congregations, Colleges and Community Forums
Biographical Information
2003 – Consultant for the National Interreligious Initiative for Peace (NILI). Ron works with leaders of
25 U.S. Jewish, Christian and Muslim national religious organizations to develop united advocacy
positions and mobilize public support for active, fair and firm U.S. leadership for Arab-Israeli-Palestinian
peace. Building on founding “Principles of Cooperation,” and a December 2006 statement, “Arab-IsraeliPalestinian Peace: From Crisis to Hope,” Jewish, Christian and Muslim leaders met on September 3, 2008
and developed a new consensus statement, “A Window of Hope for the Peace of Jerusalem,” and action
plans for Fall 2008-Spring 2009. Ron will travel nationwide to meet with local religious leaders and speak
in congregations, at colleges and in community forums on interreligious efforts for Arab-IsraeliPalestinian peace
Building on the work of the U.S. Interreligious Committee for Peace organized by Ron in 1987, the
National Interreligious Leadership Initiative was organized in 2003. In 2004-05 Ron held meetings with
local religious leaders in 40 cities. In June 2004 Jewish, Christian and Muslim leaders met Secretary of
State Colin Powell and in January 2006 with Karen Hughes, Under Secretary of State. In June 2005 the
Initiative organized 50 local host sites for a Town Meeting for Peace (via the Internet) sponsored by A
Different Future with speakers from Jerusalem and Washington DC. In January 2007 NILI leaders met
with Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice and then met regularly with her Deputy. The religious leaders
believe the Annapolis Peace Conference, the Arab Peace Initiative, and the current emphasis on
negotiations among the parties make interreligious efforts for peace important and timely in the coming
months. Looking ahead to a new Administration and Congress, NILI leaders believe the new President
must make Arab-Israeli-Palestinian peace an urgent priority of U.S. policy.
Ron Young has spoken and written widely on the Middle East and interfaith cooperation; he taught a
course on the Arab-Israeli-Palestinian conflict at Haverford College; organized Interfaith Convocations
for Peace; and generated statements and other resources endorsed by Jewish, Christian and Muslim
leaders. Ron was invited by the White House for the Israel-PLO Oslo Declaration in 1993. Ron has
lectured at the Chautauqua Institution, speaking on peace in the Middle East, and “Religion As a Source
of Violence or Peace.” He was Chautauqua’s Chaplain on the theme “Iraq and Its Neighborhood.”
1987 - Organized the U.S. Interreligious Committee for Peace, a national organization of 2500 Jews,
Christians and Muslims, working together based on the deepest values in their three traditions. Ron
organized the National Interfaith Convocation and Congressional Visitation for Mideast Peace in March
1989; he’s led ten interreligious leadership trips to the Middle East.
1986 Authored Missed Opportunities for Peace: U.S. Middle East Policy, 1981-86, a book praised by
Jewish American and Palestinian American leaders, and by prominent U.S. policy analysts.
1982 - 1985 Middle East Representative for American Friend Service Committee (Quakers). Ron and his
wife, Carol Jensen, lived in Amman, Jordan and traveled regularly in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza,
Egypt, Syria and Lebanon to explore Arab and Israeli views about prospects for peace and how the United
E-Mail: [email protected]
National Interreligious Leadership Initiative for Peace in the Middle East
States could help to achieve peace.
1972 - 1982 National Peace Education Secretary, American Friends Service Committee. Ron coordinated
peace education work nationwide on a range of international issues, including Vietnam, arms control,
human rights and the Middle East.
1965 - 1972 National Youth Secretary for the Fellowship of Reconciliation; popular speaker at hundreds
of high schools and colleges; and National Coordinator of the Marches on Washington for Peace in
Vietnam in November 1969 and May 1970.
1960 - 1965 Student at Wesleyan University in Connecticut and participant in the Student Interracial
Ministry in Memphis as Assistant to the Reverend J.M. Lawson, Jr.; served as Youth Minister at a
Congregational Church in Connecticut ; and in March 1965 Ron worked with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
in Selma, Alabama.
Suggested Topics for Lectures and Discussion
Looking Ahead to 2009: Why the New President Must Make Arab-Israeli-Palestinian Peace an
Immediate, Urgent Priority
American Jewish, Christian and Muslim leaders United on How the U.S. Can Help Achieve
Arab-Israeli-Palestinian Peace
Four Problematic Tendencies in U.S. Foreign Policy: Toward a Constructive U.S. Role for
Middle East Peace
Investing for Peace in the Holy Land – Interreligious Support for Israeli-Palestinian Cooperative
Sharing Jerusalem: Impossible Dream or Essential Goal for Regional and World Peace?
American Jews, Christians and Muslims: Conflict or Cooperation for Mideast Peace?
Religion: Source of Peace or Source of Violence?
“Ron Young serves as a Consultant to the National Interreligious Initiative for Peace in the Middle East.
He is widely respected by Jewish, Christian and Muslim religious leaders because he brings a holistic and
balanced perspective to the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. Ron has worked for many years
promoting dialogue and practical solutions that aim at fostering a just peace--two states living side by side
with security and human rights for both peoples.”
Dr. Stephen Colecchi, Director
Office of International Justice and Peace
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
“Ron Young is a bridge-builder and a teacher. It takes a special person to keep the flame of hope
burning, and that is exactly who Ron is. His passion, his depth of knowledge, and his understanding of
Middle East and American politics, make him a unique and indispensable guide to ever-changing work of
bringing peace to the Middle East.”
Rabbi David Saperstein, Director
Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism
E-Mail: [email protected]
National Interreligious Leadership Initiative for Peace in the Middle East
“Ron has dedicated his life to promote understanding between the Abrahamic faiths. He has served as a
bridge between people of different faiths and cultures who may not feel comfortable with each other. His
personal commitment to work for the resolution of difficult issues in the Middle East has earned him
respect and appreciation from those who know him. His vast experience in the field of conflict resolution
in the Middle East makes him a good teacher and speaker about those issues.”
Dr. Sayyid Syeed, National Director
Islamic Society of North America
“Ron Young has an unusual depth of experience in the whole area of understanding the realities of the
Middle East. He also has a strong calling to help religious leaders work together for peace. He will
contribute realistic hope and vision to those who are looking for understanding and some ways to be
involved in reconciliation.”
Reverend Leighton Ford, President
Leighton Ford Ministries
“Ron Young is a trusted bridge-builder among Jews, Christians, and Muslims. His years of experience
working for Middle East peace both in the region and in the United States equip him to provide analysis
and guidance to grassroots peace-making groups, and especially those seeking interreligious partners in
their endeavors.”
Carol LaHurd, Coordinator
Peace, Not Walls Campaign
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
“Ron Young is knowledgeable in a sophisticated way on the issues; he knows the Middle East intimately,
including key Arab and Israeli leaders; he is fair but does not talk around the hard problems; he is positive
but hard-nosed and realistic; and he is wonderfully articulate. I’ve seen Ron address all kinds of
audiences - Jewish, Muslim and Christian, separately and mixed - with great effectiveness.”
Rabbi James Diamond, Former President
Hillel Directors Association
E-Mail: [email protected]