Dena Merriam, Founder and Convener, The Global Peace Initiative for Women
For over 35 years, Dena Merriam has been a student of Paramahansa Yogananda and a practitioner of Kriya Yoga meditation. She is also a long time student of the great texts of the Vedic tradition.
Ms. Merriam began working in the interfaith 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. She subsequently 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), an organized chaired by a multi-faith group of women spiritual leaders. Since its founding, GPIW has been working on programs in Israel/Palestine, Iraq, Sudan and Cambodia. GPIW has also developed, in partnership with the United Nations, a global leadership program for young community leaders, which resulted in the establishment of the Young Leaders International Peace Council. Her work at GPIW has been devoted to creating a global platform for women religious and spiritual leaders, and to engaging the Hindu and Buddhist leadership more actively on the world stage.
Ms. Merriam received her Master’s Degree from Columbia University and has served on the boards of the Harvard University Center for the Study of World Religions, the International Center for Religion and Diplomacy, The Interfaith Center of New York, the Manitou Foundation, All India Movement (AIM) for Seva, and Dharma Drum Mountain Buddhist Association.