NEW YORK CITY - Dr. Antonios (Tony) Kireopoulos, an Orthodox Christian theologian currently serving as Executive Director of the U.S. Conference of Religions for Peace, will join the National Council of Churches U.S.A. (NCC) staff on May 19 as Associate General Secretary for International Affairs and Peace. His responsibilities will include helping the NCC formulate its position on issues of peace, international issues and U.S. foreign policy, especially in conflict and post-conflict situations. High on the agenda will be the Middle East, including the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and post-conflict reconstruction in Iraq. He will also maintain relationships with Christian Churches, councils and other religious communities worldwide.
Announcing the appointment, NCC General Secretary Bob Edgar said, Dr. Kireopoulos brings particular strengths in the areas of interfaith relations and particular sensitivities to Middle East issues. He also will help bring a much-needed Orthodox Christian perspective to the NCC's senior staff.
The National Council of Churches U.S.A. is the nation's leading ecumenical body, with 36 Protestant, Orthodox and Anglican member Churches that in turn comprise 50 million adherents in 140,000 congregations.
The U.S. Conference of Religions for Peace (USCRP) is a national non-profit organization that promotes multi-religious collaboration and religious-secular partnerships to issues that cut across community lines, including ethnic, religious and racial diversity and religion in public life. Dr. Kireopoulos, USCRP's Executive Director since 1999, also serves as Advisor to the Secretary General of the World Conference on Religion and Peace, the USCRP's parent organization, which advances this same mission globally.
I hope to bring to the NCC experience that will help lead to comprehensive solutions in situations of conflict, Dr. Kireopoulos said. And by bringing the theological traditions of our member Churches to these same situations, I hope to further promote the NCC's vision of how our nation, particularly as a citizen of the world, can truly live up to its founding principles.
He hailed the NCC's substantial work in the area of Christian-Jewish and Christian-Muslim relations and expressed the hope to build on those good relationships in work for peace. Dr. Kireopoulos also said he will make religious freedom a focus of his work, with the hope of fostering a better understanding among US religious freedom advocates of the perceptions of American motivations within societies where religious freedom has been difficult to implement, and to likewise nurture a better understanding within those societies of the legitimate motivations for the promotion of religious freedom as a fundamental human right.
Dr. Kireopoulos holds a Doctor of Philosophy degree in theology from Fordham University (2003); a Master of Divinity degree from St. Vladimir's Orthodox Seminary (1991); a Master of International Management from the American Graduate School of International Management (1983); and a Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service degree from Georgetown University (1981). Dr. Kireopoulos has more than 10 years of experience in non-profit management, including administration, board relations, budgeting, development, program direction and public relations.
Previous to leading the United States Conference of Religions for Peace, he worked as Special Assistant to the Archbishop of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, where his duties included representing the Greek Orthodox Church at the United Nations and at the US State Department, and as the Assistant to the Chancellor of the Orthodox Church in America, in the area of executive communications. Among his affiliations, he is currently the President of the NGO Committee on Freedom of Religion or Belief.
By Albert H. Lee