FRD Senior Fellows

 

 

Rajan Zed

rajanRajan Zed (MBA, University of Nevada-Reno; MS, mass communications, San Jose State University) is a Senior Fellow to the Foundation and its Religious Advisor on Hinduism and related matters. He is president of the Universal Society of Hinduism and the director of interfaith relations of Nevada Clergy Association. His substantial work in interreligious dialogue has been based on building trust between religions by having high quality dialogue among individuals at the grassroots level. He has taken up religious rights issues nationally and internationally, including America, Europe, and India. He offered the groundbreaking first Hindu opening prayer in United States Senate and various State Senates and Assemblies/Houses of Representatives. He was invited by president of European Parliament as a Hindu leader for promotion of interfaith dialogue. Rajan Zed is one of the panelists for “On Faith”, an interactive conversation on religion produced jointly by Newsweek and the Washington Post. Active in promoting humanitarian cooperation, he has been bestowed the “World Interfaith Leader Award” and the “Nevada Religious Unity Award.” Zed has been on Editorial Board of Reno Gazette-Journal, a Gannett newspaper.


 

Brian D. Birch

Brian D. Birch is Director of the Religious Studies Program and Director of the Center for the Study of Ethics at Utah Valley University. After completing undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Utah in philosophy, he attended Claremont Graduate University where he received a Ph.D. in Philosophy of Religion and Theology in 1998. His research interests center on the ethical and theological dimensions of religious diversity. He currently serves on the Board of Trustees and Executive Committee of the Parliament of the World’s Religions where he oversees global education programs in interreligious engagement. He also serves on the Executive Council for the Society for Philosophy of Religion where he pursues research on the relationship between epistemology and religious diversity. He is completing his current book project entitled Mormonism Among Christian Theologies for Oxford University Press and has begun work on The Intellectual Life of Mormonism: Reason, Faith, and Science Among the Latter-day Saints.

 

 

Melissa Inouye

melissa-3Melissa Wei-Tsing Inouye received her doctorate from Harvard University in East Asian Languages and Civilizations. She studies religion in China with a specialization in the history of Christianity. As an advisor to The Foundation for Religious Diplomacy, she co-produced a TV documentary on interreligious relations in Southern California.

 

 

Parviz Morewedge

parvisParviz Morewedge (Ph.D. UCLA) is a Senior Scholar in Residence at the State University of New York at Old Westbury and advisor to several central Asian missions to the United Nations. A scholar of medieval Islamic and European philosophy, he has taught at various universities for over 42 years including Cornell, Columbia, Fordham, NYU, UCLA, and Rutgers. He has organized intercultural scholarly seminars and conferences all over the globe (Malaysia, UK, Uzbekistan, Canada, Iran, People’s Republic of China, Italy, Turkey, Syria, Egypt, Jordan, Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, and elsewhere). He has authored or edited fifteen books and more than fifty articles and reviews for university presses including Oxford, Cambridge, NYU, Fordham, and SUNY. He was employed for six years in the computer industry, working as a senior research engineer and designer for General Motors and Litton Industries. At present, he is the director of Global Scholarly Publications, a subsidiary of the Foundation for Religious Diplomacy specializing in editing and publishing a bi-lingual series of philosophical and religious classics.

 

 

Paul Louis Metzger

paulPaul Louis Metzger is Professor of Christian Theology and Theology of Culture at Multnomah Biblical Seminary/Multnomah University in Portland, Oregon. He is also the Founder and Director of the seminary’s Institute for the Theology of Culture: New Wine, New Wineskins and editor of New Wine’s journal, Cultural Encounters: A Journal for the Theology of Culture (2004-present). Dr. Metzger’s published works include the following: Evangelical Zen: A Christian’s Spiritual Travels with a Buddhist Friend (with Kyogen Carlson; Patheos, 2015); Connecting Christ: How to Discuss Jesus in a World of Diverse Paths (Thomas Nelson, 2012); A World for All? Global Civil Society in Political Theory and Trinitarian Theology (co-edited with William F. Storrar and Peter J. Casarella; Eerdmans, 2011); New Wine Tastings: Theological Essays of Cultural Engagement (Cascade, 2011); The Gospel of John: When Love Comes to Town (InterVarsity Press, 2010); Exploring Ecclesiology: An Evangelical and Ecumenical Introduction (co-authored with Brad Harper; Brazos/Baker, 2009); Consuming Jesus: Beyond Race and Class Divisions in a Consumer Church (Eerdmans, 2007); Trinitarian Soundings in Systematic Theology (editor; T&T Clark International, 2005); and The Word of Christ and the World of Culture: Sacred and Secular through the Theology of Karl Barth (Eerdmans, 2003). Dr. Metzger is a member of the Center of Theological Inquiry, Princeton, New Jersey. He writes regularly for Patheos at his column “Uncommon God, Common Good.” Among other initiatives, Dr. Metzger is currently involved in a Louisville Institute grant initiative that resonates with FRD values and that involves other Evangelicals titled “Multi-Faith Matters.”

 

 

Omer Salem

omer-2Omer Salem is a Senior Fellow of the Foundation of Religious Diplomacy, New York City, and is founder of the Ibn Rushd Institute for Dialog based in Egypt and the USA, an interreligious research association. Salem promotes the importance of using Islamic moral values as the basis for conflict resolution. Salem has been invited to various Churches, Synagogues, Mosques and international conferences, where he has spoken before audiences that included members of the U.S. Senate in Washington, D.C. and members of the Israeli Knesset in Jerusalem and Yeshivat Otniel. Salem is an honorary member of the Worldwide Association of al-Azhar Graduates. He holds a Ph.D. from the multi-university GTF and Al Azhar University in Cairo, Egypt. Master’s Degree from the Yale University Divinity School, a Bachelor of Science Degree in Engineering from the University of California at Berkeley, and is graduate of Stanford University’s School of Business Executive MBA program.

 

 

Gerald T. Snow

Gerald T. Snow (J.D, Harvard Law School, 1972; LL.M., New York University, Tax, 1976) is secretary and legal counsel for the Foundation for Religious Diplomacy. Snow is an attorney and chair of the Tax, Trusts, and Estate Planning Section at the Salt Lake City, Utah, law firm Ray Quinney & Nebeker. A fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC), Mr. Snow is a frequent consultant and speaker and was selected by his peers for inclusion in the list of The Best Lawyers in America in Trusts and Estates. The Martindale-Hubbell law directory gives him the highest rating awarded to attorneys for professional competence and ethics. He is married to Julie P. Snow and has four adopted children.

 

 

Yehuda Stolov

yehudaYehuda Stolov is the executive director of the Interfaith Encounter Association, an organization that works since 2001 to build peaceful inter-communal relations in the Holy Land by fostering mutual respect and trust between people and communities through active interfaith dialogue. Dr. Stolov has lectured on the role of religious dialogue in peace-building throughout the world, including Jordan, India, Indonesia, Turkey, South Korea, North America and Europe. He also published many papers on related issues. In 2006, he was awarded the Immortal Chaplains Foundation Prize for Humanity, which honors those who “risked all to protect others of a different faith or ethnic origin”; and in 2015 he was awarded the IIE Victor J. Goldberg Prize for Peace in the Middle East. Among other activities, Dr. Stolov is a member of the International Council of the International Association for Religious Freedom and was a member of the steering committee for the United Nations Decade of Interreligious Dialogue and Cooperation for Peace. He holds a B.Sc. and an M.Sc. in Physics and a Ph.D. from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He is married and father of three children, living in Jerusalem.

 

 

Dan Wotherspoon

danwDan Wotherspoon (Ph.D, Claremont Graduate University, Religion, 1996; M.A., Arizona State University, Religious Studies, 1990) is director of communications for the Foundation for Religious Diplomacy. He is a former executive director of the Sunstone Education Foundation and editor of Sunstone magazine. Dr. Wotherspoon is co-author with Charles Randall Paul of the forthcoming volume Fighting about God: Why We Do It and How to Do It Better. He hosts Mormon Matters, a popular weekly podcast that explores current events and wrestles with important religious questions, especially as they relate to contemporary Mormon experience. He is also an experienced lecturer and teacher in world religions, philosophy and ethics, as well as a former social worker. He has been married to his wife Lorri for more than twenty-five years, and they are the parents of two children.

 

 

Daniel C. Peterson

danDaniel C. Peterson (Ph.D., UCLA, Near Eastern Languages and Cultures, 1990) is professor of Islamic Studies and Arabic at Brigham Young University. He is the director and editor-in-chief of the Middle Eastern Texts Initiative, which publishes dual-language editions of classical texts. He is also a former director of BYU’s Center for the Preservation of Ancient Religious Texts, which produced a searchable database of the Dead Sea Scrolls and digitized images of many ancient manuscripts. Peterson is the author of the recent Muhammad: Prophet of God, published by Eerdmans in 2007. He has been married to his wife Deborah for more than thirty-five years, and they have three sons.

 

 

Blair Van Dyke

Blair Van Dyke has been actively engaged in interreligious work with FRD for about ten years. He teaches at the Orem LDS Institute of Religion as well as philosophy and religious studies at Utah Valley University (UVU). He serves as co-adviser to the university Interfaith Council. Blair has planned and executed many interfaith dialogues and multiple chapter-sponsored conferences. He did his doctoral work at Brigham Young University and is the author of many academic publications including Holy Lands: A History of the Latter-day Saints in the Near East. His forthcoming book publications include The Hebrew Translations of the Book of Mormon (co-author), Mormonism’s Open Scriptural Canon (co-editor) and Mormon Apologetics (co-editor). Blair maintains a passion for interreligious work and savors opportunities to collaborate with earnest partners in all manner of interreligious undertakings. He writes for Patheos Mormon Channel and his blog (“Civil Nations”) consistently addresses issues salient to his work with the foundation.