Ms. Dena Merriam

31st Recipient, 2014, America

Dena Merriam, an American citizen, founded the Global Peace Initiative of Women in 2002 and has been its leader since then. The organization was founded because Dena Merriam, bringing together a core group of colleagues, was concerned that women’s roles were so little recognized in global interfaith movements and efforts. When she played a central role in organizing the path-breaking Millennium Peace Summit at the United Nations on the eve of the historic year 2000 General Assembly Forum, she saw that women, who are often the backbone of religious communities and who carry religious wisdom from generation to generation, were scarcely visible. This was also true at most other interreligious events. She therefore organized a global gathering of women inspired by their faith in Geneva in 2002. The Global Peace Initiative of Women (GPIW) was born there.