About Us

Who We Are

The OMNIA Institute for Contextual Leadership trains faith leaders -- clergy and lay, women and men -- to counter religious extremism and religion-based oppression, domination and violence. OMNIA has trained over 3500 peacemakers around the world, who are organized in to Interfaith Peacemaker Teams. In Nigeria, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh there are 166 Interfaith Peacemaker Teams -- 94 in Nigeria, 39 in Sri Lanka, 30 in Bangladesh, 2 in Uganda, and 1 global virtual IP Team.

OMNIA was established in 1976 as the Seminary Consortium for Urban Pastoral Education (SCUPE), as an organization of 12 Christian seminaries. It trained seminary students to take the context of the city seriously, and to build a theology from the bottom-up. After 40 years of training thousands of pastors to take their context seriously, SCUPE decided to take its learning to religious leaders across the world, particularly those in situations of religious extremism. With this expanded mission, in December 2016, SCUPE changed its name to OMNIA Institute for Contextual Leadership.

Please click here to read a statement on OMNIA's Mission, Values and Method.

People in Sri Lanka with hands together in prayer

What We Do

Each Interfaith Peacemaker Team has about 20 faith leaders who are tough-minded and focused, collaborate across identity barriers, build power by organizing people and organizing money and act strategically on critical issues that arise from the ground. The Teams have one-on-one conversations with people in their communities to determine shared self-interests, evaluate the level of power they have and undertake strategic actions that are urgent, relevant and winnable.

As IP Teams win, people are often amazed that age-old antagonism crumble in the face of effective and collaborative action. As a result, IP Teams grow. As they increase in number and impact in a particular locality, the culture shifts from one that affirms or tolerates extremisms to one that celebrates pluralism. IP Teams are a valuable component of a community’s social-infrastructure.

Leadership Team

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Shanta Premawardhana

President
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Nancy Renick

Chief Operating Officer
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Abare Kallah

National Coordinator, Nigeria
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Soraya Deen

Coordinator, Women's Initiatives
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Kumara Illangasinghe

National Coordinator, Sri Lanka
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David A. Das

National Coordinator, Bangladesh

Board of Directors

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Larry Greenfield

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Kenneth W. Bensen

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Charilyn Goolsby

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Paul Knitter

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Munib Younan

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Daniel Conley -- on leave

Resource Team

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Wesley Ariarajah, Ph.D.

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Afri Atiba, D. Min

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Sharon Ellis-Davis, Ph.D.

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Mohamed Elsanousi, Ph.D.

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Mary Gonzales

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Jeannine Hill-Fletcher Th.D.

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Débora Junker, Ph.D.

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Isaac Laudarji, Ph.D

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Mary Nelson, Ph.D.

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Sharon D. Welch, Ph. D.

Make Peace Work

Interfaith Peacemaker Teams engage the best resources within every community to help turn the tide of extremist violence to create a new season of peaceful cooperation. You can become a team member - through your voice, your involvement, and your financial support!
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OMNIA Institute for Contextual Leadership 

155 N. Michigan Avenue, Suite 519, Chicago, IL  60601