We would love to hear from you. You can contact Jewish, Christian, and Muslim leaders of NILI through their national organizations. Consider organizing a local event in which you would invite one or more of these religious leaders to speak.
Meet Ron Young - NILI Consultant
Ron Young serves as staff Consultant to NILI leaders, helping to develop consensus statements and arrange meetings for the leaders in Washington, DC. He would be glad to respond to your inquiry. He travels regularly and would be pleased to visit your community to meet with local religious leaders and speak at public forums; please see the list of topics he often speaks about. He can be reached by email or phone at (425) 263-9369 (office) or (425) 327-7545 (cell)
2003 – present: 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 consensus advocacy positions and mobilize public support for active, fair and firm U.S. leadership for Arab-Israeli-Palestinian peace. In March 2012, acknowledging momentous changes and new challenges in the Middle East. NILI leaders declared, “Arab-Israeli-Palestinian peace is more urgent than ever,” and they cautioned candidates not to use rhetoric in election campaigns that could harm chances for a two-state peace agreement. In April and May 2011, during P.M. Netanyhu’s visit to Washington, NILI leaders wrote to President Obama and ran ads in Politico urging the President to visit Jerusalem to restart talks based drawing on elements from official and informal negotiations. In September 2010 a NILI delegation to met at the White House and with Secretary of State Clinton.
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 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. NILI leaders believe that the 2011 Israeli Peace Initiative launched by former senior Israeli government, intelligence and military officials, the earlier Arab Peace Initiative and the Geneva Accord taken together offer benchmark principles and practical ideas for resolving even the toughest issues, including refugees and Jerusalem. These positive initiatives create a context in which strong, sustained leadership by the Obama Administration, supported by interreligious advocacy for constructive responses by Congress can help achieve Arab-Israeli-Palestinian peace.
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. The White House invited Ron to the Israel-PLO Oslo Declaration signing 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
This is a national organization of 2500 Jews, Christians and Muslims, working together based on the deepest values in their traditions. Ron organized the first National Interfaith Convocation and Congressional Visitation for Mideast Peace in March 1989; he has led ten interreligious leadership trips to the Middle East.
1986: Authored Missed Opportunities for Peace: U.S. Middle East Policy, 1981-86
This book earned praise from Jewish American and Palestinian American leaders, and by prominent U.S. policy analysts.
1982 – 1985: Middle East Representative for American, British and Canadian 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 opportunities and obstacles for peace and how the United 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
Ron was a 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
As a student at Wesleyan, Ron participated in the Student Interracial Ministry in Memphis as Assistant to the Reverend J.M. Lawson, Jr. in black Methodist congregation; 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.
What religious leaders say about Ron Young
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
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
Suggested Topics for Lectures and Discussion at Congregations, Colleges and Community Forums
Ron is available to speak or lead discussions at community forums; here are possible topics that might interest your organization:
- Post-Election U.S. Push for Arab-Israeli-Palestinian Peace: the Important Role of Interreligious Cooperation
- Preserving and Preparing the Ground for Negotiated Two-State Israeli-Palestinian Peace in a Season of U.S. Elections
- Interreligious Cooperation for Middle East Peace, 1985-2012: Accomplishments and Challenges. Where Are We Now?
- On Campus: How Students Can Be Pro-Israeli, Pro-Palestinian and Pro-Peace and Work Together to Help Get There
- 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?
Please feel free to copy and distribute this material, using the citation:
From The National Interreligious Initiative For Peace In The Middle East
For more information, please contact Ron Young.