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Co-Chair: Debrah Friedland-VanZyl

South African born, Debrah Daya Friedland-VanZyl, a board member of the Southern California Committee for a Parliament since 2008, is a Co-founder and Co-director of the innovative  online seminary, All Paths Divinity School. Friedland vanZyl is an Ambassador for the global Parliament of the World's Religions and is on the advisory Board of One Global Family Foundation and Interfaith and Indigenous Women Leaders. She has also been a board member of other interfaith organizations including the Order of Universal Interfaith, The Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Ethics, the Westside Interfaith Committee for a Parliament of World's Religions, Monks without Borders, and the International World Museum of Religions. Debrah has co-created many events and retreats globally and locally including several Seeds of Peace Events in Los Angeles and the Conversations on Pluralism Series. She was Assistant Producer of the Los Angeles 2012 Peace Sunday/Peace Fest for Unity and Diversity World Council.




Co-Chair: Dr. Richard Rose

Dr. Richard Rose serves as Department Chair and Program Director for the Ecumenical Center for Black Church Studies, La Verne University, California. His current research examines global issues related to Interfaith dialogue and Religious Pluralism.  He is the author of An Interreligious Approach to a Social Ethic for Christian Audiences (2017) and 7 Meditations on the Lord’s Prayer (2016), both published by Christian World Imprints, New Delhi, India.

Dr. Rose also serves as SCCPWR Treasurer.


Secretary: Eric Kowalczyk


Eric has a national reputation as a dynamic and engaging public speaker. Specializing in crisis communication and leadership strategies, Eric draws on a vast background of real-world and teaching experience to bring a new modality of communicating to varied professional audiences. In addition to his role as a public speaker and educator, he works with clients to achieve their goals.

Eric has trained more than 1,600 communications specialists in 40 states and 65 cities across the country. He has presented at numerous national conferences and is a 2016 TedX BeaconStreet speaker.

As Director of Communications, for the Baltimore Police Department, Eric was at the forefront of the Freddie Gray Riots. Handling local, national, and international media, he focused on transparency and accountability to connect with an already distrustful public.

Eric is currently studying Interfaith towards a Masters in Divinity Degree from All Paths Divinity School.


FORMER Co-Chair : Joseph Prabhu

Joseph Prabhu is Professor of Philosophy and Religion at California State University, Los Angeles, and has been a visiting professor at Harvard, Berkeley, Chicago and universities in Europe, Asia, and Australia.  Both an internationally-known scholar and peace-activist, he has lectured at more than sixty universities and religious and secular venues around the world. He is a Trustee Emeritus of  the Council of the Parliament of the World's Religions ( and he was the Program Chair of the 2009 Melbourne Parliament.  He was the Past-President of the  International Society for Asian and Comparative Philosophy ( and he serves on the  boards of many journals and as a consultant  to the UN High Commission for Human Rights in Geneva.

Dr. Prabhu is the editor of The Intercultural Challenge of Raimon Panikkar (Orbis Books, 1996) and the two-volume Indian Ethics (Ashgate, 2007, and Springer 2013) and the author of the forthcoming Raimon Panikkar as Modern Spiritual Master (Orbis Books, 2013) and Liberating Gandhi ( Rowman and Littlefield 2014).















Tahil Sharma

Tahil Sharma is a Southern California native born to a Hindu and Sikh Indian family. He is a nationally recognized leader promoting religious and secular pluralism, human rights, social justice. Tahil serves as a Religious Director from the Office of Religious Life at the University of Southern California working on local initiatives to promote inter-religious dialogue and community engagement with students of diverse religious and secular backgrounds, with emphasis on South Asian and Hindu students, with support of the Germanacos Fellowship through the Interfaith Youth Core. He also serves as an Interfaith Liaison for Sadhana: The Coaition of Progressive Hindus and the Vice Chair for the Committee on Human Relations for the city of Claremont. He has worked as the Hope Not Hate Campaign and Culturama Coordinator for AMP Global Youth, a project of Americans for Informed Democracy, to create an intercultural, virtual exchange between students in the United States and the Middle East with the support of the Aspen Institute and the US State Department and has served as a Youth Representative to the United Nations DPI NGO for the Parliament of the World’s Religion. Tahil was also recently appointed as the youngest Board Member of the Southern California Committee for the Parliament of World's Religions.




Executive Committee





  • Co-Chair - Richard Rose – Christian

  • Co-Chair - Debrah Friedland-van Zyl,   Jewish Vedanta Interfaith Interspiritual 

  • Treasurer - Richard Rose

  • Secretary - Eric Kowalczyk


  • Quincy Coleman

  • Swami Atmatattwananda – Vedanta

  • ​Ian Mcllraith – Buddhist/SGI 

  • Felicia Parazaider - Non-Violence

  • ​Andre van Zijl - Vedanta

 EMERITUS BOARD: previously served on board 

  • Jamshid Ashourian - Baha'i

  • Ashki Ayeshugul - Sufi

  • ​Laura Ava Tesimale - LDS, Indigenous

  • Ruth Broyde Sharone - Jewish

  • Jan Chase – Unity Minister

  • ​NoorMalika Chistie – Sufi

  • ​Doris Davis – Unity/Interfaith Minister

  • ​Randolph Dobbs – Baha’i

  • Arik Greenberg

  • ​Linda Groff – Christian/Interfaith Minister

  • ​Jasmine Hailey – Christian Science

  • Linda Hansen - LDS

  • Thomas Hedberg – Catholic

  • John Ishvaradas Abdullah - Sufi

  • Farrah Khan - Islam

  • Gurprasad Kaur Khalsa - Sikh

  • Simran Kaur Khalsa - Sikh

  • Eli Lester - Jewish

  • Shayna Lester - Jewish/Interfaith Minister

  • Anthony Manousos - Quaker

  • ​Joseph Prabhu – Christian

  • Gene Rothman - Jewish

  • Negin Saberi - Sufi

  • Tahil Sharma - Hindu-Sikh

  • Jeff Utter - Christian

  • ​Jonathan Whittle-Utter – Yogi/Buddhist




  • Salam Al Marayati: The Executive Director of the Muslim Public Affairs Council. 

  • Rev. Ed Bacon: Rector, All Saints Church, Pasadena

  • Rabbi Sarah Bassin: Executive Director of New Ground, a Muslim-Jewish Partnership for Change

  • Rev. Michael Beckwith: founder of the Agape International Spiritual Center in Culver City, CA

  • Venerable Bhante Chao Chur, Rosemead Buddhist Temple

  • Mr. Maneck Bhujwala: President of the Greater Huntington Beach Interfaith Counci

  • Prof. Chris Chapple: Doshi Professor of Indian Studies and Theology, Loyola Marymount University

  • Mallika Chopra, Living With Intent

  • Phillip Clayton, Claremont School of Theology

  • Rabbi Neil Comess Daniels: Beth Shir Shalom, Santa Monica

  • Rabbi Mordecai Finley: Spiritual leader of Ohr HaTorah Congregation, and former Provost and former President of the Academy for Jewish Religion, California 

  • Rabbi Mel Gottlieb: President Emeritus of the Academy of Jewish Religion (AJR) of California, former President and Dean of the Rabbinical and Chaplaincy Schools.

  • Rev. Dr. Gwynne Guibord: R.I.P. Founder and President of the Guibord Center--Religion Inside Out and Former Consultant for Interfaith Relations for the Episcopal Church of America

  • Milia Islam-Majeed: Executive Director of the South Coast Interfaith Council (SCIC), the largest interfaith council in Southern California.

  • Jean Lesher: R.I.P Author and Interfaith Activist

  • Rev. William E. Lesher: R.I.P Chairman Emeritus of the Global Parliament Board of Trustees Prof.

  • Don Miller: Professor of Religion and Director of the Center for Religion and Civic Culture, USC

  • Dr. Sadegh Namazikhah: Founder of Iman Cultural Center and of their Annual Festival of Interfaith Unity at IMAN Cultural Center

  • Chief Daniel Ramos: “Eagle Warrior” of the Navajo/Apache/Yamasee Nations and Spokesperson for N.A.L.A. "Native American Leadership Alliance

  • Swami Sarvadevananda: Spiritual Leader and Minister, Vedanta Society of Southern California

  • Dr. Nitin Shah: Board Member and Immediate Past President of the Jain Center of Southern California

  • Pastor Eric Shafer: Mt. Olive Lutheran Church, Santa Monica

  • Prof. Rita Sherma: Swami Vivekananda Visiting Professor of Religion, USC

  • Nirinjan Khalsa Singh: Executive Director of the California Sikh Council

  • Fr. Alexei Smith: Interfaith Officer of the Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles

  • Rev. Damali Najuma Smith: Program manager of the USC Cecil Murray Center for Community Engagement

  • Dr. Varun Soni: Dean of Religion at USC, the first Hindu dean on an American Campus

  • Rev. Leland Stewart: Veteran interfaith activist for more than 50 years and founder of Unity and Diversity World Council

  • Yoland Trevino: President and Executive Director of the Pasadena/Altadena Transformative Leaders and International Representative for the Mayan Confederacy Gutemala/USA

  • Imam Jihad Turk: Founding Board Member of Claremont Lincoln University, now heads the Bayan Claremont, a graduate school designed to train Muslim scholars and religious leaders;

  • Shepha Vainstein: Founder and Executive Director of reGeneration: training teachers in Israel and Palestine to create a curriculum for a culture of peace

  • Pastor Mark Whitlock: Executive Director of the USC Cecil Murray Center for Community Engagement and pastor of Christ Our Redeemer AME Church in Irvine,

  • Marianne Williamson: best-selling author, spiritual teacher & activist, candidate for Congress

  • Ani Zonneveld: Founder and Exec-Director of MPV (Muslims for Progressive Values) and a Grammy award-winning songwriter

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