Niebuhr Forum Participants
R. Gustav Niebuhr
Gustav Niebuhr is associate professor of newspaper and online journalism at Syracuse University's S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, with a joint appointment in the university’s Department of Religion. He also serves as director of the interdisciplinary Religion and Society Program and is the founding director of the Religion and Media Program.
The author of Beyond Tolerance: Searching for Interfaith Understanding in America (Viking, 2008), Mr. Niebuhr is a regular contributor to “Under God,” a feature on religion and politics at www.washingtonpost.com. Previously, Mr. Niebuhr worked in newspaper journalism, principally focusing on religion in the United States, at The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal. The grandson of H. Richard Niebuhr and the great-nephew of Reinhold Niebuhr, he was awarded an honorary doctorate in humane letters from Elmhurst College in 1997.
Rev. Dr. Alice Hunt
President and professor of Hebrew Bible at Chicago Theological Seminary, Rev. Dr. Hunt conducts research in areas including biblical interpretation and engagement in the public square, historiography and the Bible, Second Temple Studies, critical theological reflection and theological education, and leadership education. Ordained in the National Baptist Convention, she holds dual standing with the United Church of Christ in the Chicago Metropolitan Association.
Rev. Dr. Hunt has chaired the American Academy of Religion Committee on the Status of Women in the Profession and the Social-Scientific Studies of the Second Temple Period Section for the Society of Biblical Literature. She currently serves on the Board of Commissioners for the Association of Theological Schools.
Dr. Nancy C. Lee
Nancy Lee, the Niebuhr Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies at Elmhurst College, is an internationally recognized biblical scholar and the author and editor of many books and articles.
Dr. Lee's area of specialty is the Hebrew Bible, particularly Psalms, Lamentations, prophets and women in the Bible. She does additional cross-cultural work in religion and society and in social justice. The founding director of the Niebuhr Center at Elmhurst College, Dr. Lee co-leads Elmhurst’s international service course to South Africa and a new partnership in Nigeria. She is the author of The Singers of Lamentations: Cities under Siege, from Ur to Jerusalem to Sarajevo (Brill, 2002) and Lyrics of Lament: from Tragedy to Transformation (Fortress Press, 2010).
Dr. Eboo Patel
Eboo Patel is the founder and executive director of Interfaith Youth Core, a Chicago-based institution that fosters dedication to pluralism among young people from different religious traditions by empowering them to work together to serve others.
Dr. Patel is the author of the award-winning book Acts of Faith: The Story of an American Muslim, the Struggle for the Soul of a Generation. He is a regular contributor to The Washington Post, National Public Radio, USA Today and CNN. In 2009, U.S. News & World Report named him one of “America’s Best Leaders.” Dr. Patel served on President Barack Obama’s Inaugural Faith Council. He serves on the Religious Advisory Committee of the Council on Foreign Relations, the board of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and the national committee of the Aga Khan Foundation USA, and has spoken at the TED Conference, the Clinton Global Initiative, the Nobel Peace Prize Forum and at universities around the world.
Rabbi Herman E. Schaalman
An internationally known leader of Reform Judaism, Rabbi Herman E. Schaalman is a revered member of Chicago's interdenominational religious leadership. Rabbi Schaalman has served Emanuel Congregation on the North Side for more than 50 years. He is adjunct professor of theology at Chicago Theological Seminary and at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, Northwestern University.
A native of Munich, Germany, Rabbi Schaalman has served as director of the Chicago and Mid-West Regions of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations (now the Union for Reform Judaism). He has served on the board of directors of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago and is past president of the Chicago Board of Rabbis and of the Council of Religious Leaders of Metro Chicago.
He is a member of the education committee of the National Holocaust Council and past president of the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs.
A senior editor at The Weekly Standard and contributing editor at Newsweek and Atlantic Monthly, David Brooks is currently a commentator on The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer. He has written an op-ed column for The New York Times since 2003.
Mr. Brooks was the first to report on then Sen. Barack Obama’s love and appreciation for the writings of Reinhold Niebuhr. In a widely cited interview with Obama in 2007, he quoted the senator from Illinois as calling Niebuhr one of his “favorite philosophers.”
Mr. Brooks is the author of Bobos In Paradise: The New Upper Class and How They Got There and On Paradise Drive: How We Live Now (And Always Have) in the Future Tense, both published by Simon & Schuster.
Harry Knox is director of the Religion and Faith Program for the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, a program dedicated to inspiring and preparing people of faith to advocate for social equality on behalf of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons.
A former pastor of a United Methodist Church in Georgia, Mr. Knox started the Clergy Call for Justice and Equality, a national conference that has become an influence on public policy at the federal level. In 2009, President Obama appointed Knox to the administration’s Council on Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships.
Rabbi Rachel Mikva
Rabbi Rachel Mikva is the Rabbi Herman E. Schaalman Professor of Jewish Studies at Chicago Theological Seminary. Previously, she served for 13 years as a congregational rabbi. In her teaching and research, Dr. Mikva explores how the ideas in the Hebrew Bible reflect and shape the societies in which they unfold. “It is the ongoing search for meaning that makes for a holy text,” she says. “We search together in community and help each other reach toward the Divine call.”
Rev. Geoffrey A. Black
Geoffrey Black was elected general minister and president of the United Church of Christ in 2009. Previously, he served the church as a pastor, teacher and university chaplain. “The phrase ‘servant leadership’ encapsulates his understanding and practice of leadership,” says the Reverend Jim Moos, a North Dakota pastor and chair of the UCC’s executive council. “He does not believe that leadership is the exclusive purview of a single person, but rather the shared responsibility of the many.”