Director of the Center for Interfaith Engagement
Ed most recently served with American Friends Service Committee as the Quaker International Affairs Representative for Iran, building connections between Iranian institutions and the United States, and providing resources for public education and advocacy regarding Iran in United States. Prior to that appointment Ed worked for 18 years with Mennonite Central Committee as director of programs for Central and Southern Asia, as well as the Middle East. Earlier, Ed worked at the International Irrigation Management Institute in Sri Lanka. He has a bachelor’s in engineering from Stanford University, and a master’s of public administration and PhD in agricultural economics from Cornell University.
Associate Director of the Center for Interfaith Engagement
After a brief career in counseling children and families, Gretchen returned to EMU in 2008 to help launch the Center for Interfaith Engagement. Her attraction to relationship building among people of different faith backgrounds stems from a combination of trying to figure out what it means to follow Jesus by taking seriously his “Greatest Commandment,” and recognizing that Christians are called to relate to all fellow humans in love. Paired with a love of travel and meeting people from all walks of life in international settings, interfaith work is an excellent fit.
Gretchen’s background in counseling children and families has intensified her belief that interfaith relationship building should begin with children. The Center offered to provide administrative and logistical support to assist an ad hoc group that had begun an Interfaith Peace Camp for children in 2008. The group’s one-week pilot session had met with excellent response and provided a good jumping off point to launch Abraham’s Tent Interfaith Peace Camp through the Center. Working with the Interfaith Peace Camp organizers has provided a natural link to the Muslim and Jewish communities in Harrisonburg where many wonderful new relationships are paving the way for more interfaith programming.