The Role of the Divine Feminine in Global Transformation
Dena Merriam is the founder and convener of GPIW and serves on the boards of the Interfaith Center of New York, AIM for Seva and Dharma Drum Mountain Buddhist Association. She is a former member of the board of Harvard University Center for the Study of World Religions and the International Center for Religion and Diplomacy. She is also the co-chair of the Millennium World Peace Summit, the first summit held at the United Nations General Assembly for more than 1500 of the world's religious leaders.
Dena began working in the inter-faith movement in the late 1990s when she served as Vice Chair of the Millennium World Peace Summit of Religious and Spiritual Leaders held at the United Nation in New York in the year 2000. In the process of organizing that Summit she realized that there were few women in leadership position within the religious institutions, and so she decided to seek out those women religious figures who could play a more prominent role in peacebuilding. With the blessings of the UN Secretary General, she convened a meeting of women religious and spiritual leaders at the Palais des Nations in Geneva and from that gathering founded the Global Peace Initiative of Women (GPIW) in 2002, an organization chaired by a multi-faith group of women spiritual leaders. Under the leadership of women, the mission of this organization is to bring spiritual resources to help address critical global problems and to create greater East-West and gender balance in the inter-faith world. Merriam has actively led GPIW in bringing this message to seminal global platforms. In 2014, Merriam received the Niwano Peace Prize for her interfaith peace efforts.