Perspectives: How Faith-Based and Secular
Organizations Partner for Better Global Health

Perspectives provides a congregation-level forum for churches, synagogues and mosques to work across faiths and with secular partners as they engage in global health work.  In the past two years, WGHA initiated discussions among Jewish, Muslim, Christian and secular global health organizations with the goal of reducing discord and misunderstanding while encouraging collaboration. A core group of committed volunteers is at the heart of our Perspectives efforts. Dinners in 2012 and 2013 brought together different stakeholders to discuss finding solutions to community needs. 

We encourage you to look at the landmark Perspectives program that took place in July of 2012. Watch the program here. See below for more information on the 2012 Perspectives program. 

The 2012 Perspectives program

Faith-based and secular organizations work to provide access to better health for people around the world. But it’s not easy. How do organizations reconcile their differences in order to work together to effectively serve the people most in need? Watch the program for an honest conversation about the realities and challenges of partnership for faith-based and secular organizations. 800 people attended this discussion among Abed Ayoub (Islamic Relief US), Rich Stearns (World Vision), Caryl Stern (U.S. Fund for UNICEF) moderated by Lisa Cohen (WGHA) and introduced by Bill Gates, Sr. 

Abed Ayoub, CEO, Islamic Relief USA

Abed Ayoub comes from a strong management background with more than 21 years of experience in both the nonprofit and for-profit sectors. He holds an executive MBA and Doctorate in International Development, and has served in a variety of administrative positions during his professional career.

As a governance committee member of Islamic Relief Worldwide™ (IRW), Mr. Ayoub monitors the present performance of IRW and plans future aims and priorities for the international organization. He is also the chairman of a subcommittee focused on governance and improving IR partnerships.

Currently, Mr. Ayoub serves on the executive board of many local and international nonprofit organizations. He is a founding partner of the Center for Interfaith Action, a coalition of faith organizations working collectively to reduce global poverty and disease. In April 2010, Mr. Ayoub was appointed to the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Advisory Committee on Voluntary Foreign Aid (ACVFA). Along with other leaders in the international development field, Mr. Ayoub provides advice, analysis and recommendations to USAID on the most pressing development issues in the world today.

Most recently, Mr. Ayoub was appointed to the U.S. State Department’s Religion and Foreign Policy Working Group, where he will be advising on humanitarian issues.

William H. Gates Sr., co-chair, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

William H. Gates Sr. guides the vision and strategic direction of the foundation and serves as an advocate for the foundation’s key issues. He first answered his son's request for help in using his resources to improve reproductive and child health in the developing world by directing the William H. Gates Foundation, which was established in 1994. It merged with the Gates Learning Foundation to create the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in 2000.

Gates earned his bachelor's and law degrees from the University of Washington, following three years of U.S. Army service in World War II. A founding partner at Preston Gates & Ellis, Gates has served as president of both the Seattle/King County Bar Association and the Washington State Bar Association. He has served as trustee, officer, and volunteer for more than two dozen Northwest organizations, including the Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce and King County United Way. In 1995, he founded the Technology Alliance, a cooperative regional effort to expand technology-based employment in Washington. Gates also has been a strong advocate for education for many years, chairing the Seattle Public School Levy Campaign in 1971 and serving as a member of the University of Washington's Board of Regents since 1997.

Gates and his late wife, Mary Maxwell Gates, raised three children: Kristianne, Bill, and Libby. Now married to Mimi Gardner Gates, Gates continues his lifelong commitment to many civic programs, cultural organizations, and business initiatives.

Richard E. Stearns, President, World Vision US

Since 1998, Mr. Stearns has served as president of World Vision U.S., which supports the work of World Vision International--one of the largest humanitarian NGOs in the world with a global budget of $2.5B and 45,000 staff. Prior to joining World Vision, Mr. Stearns held CEO positions for two corporations. He has served on the White House Council for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, the boards of InterAction, the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability, USAID’s Advisory Committee on Voluntary Foreign Aid, and Seattle Pacific University, among others.

He holds a B.S. from Cornell University and an M.B.A. from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. Stearns chronicles his journey from the for-profit sector to the non-profit sector in his award-winning book, The Hole in Our Gospel, published in 2009. Stearns lives in the Seattle area and is currently working on his second book.

Caryl M. Stern, President & CEO, U.S. Fund for UNICEF 

 She joined the organization in 2006 as Chief Operating Officer and served as Acting President for a short time before assuming her current position in May 2007. Previously, Ms. Stern served as Chief Operating Officer and Senior Associate National Director of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), and prior to that had a ten-year career in higher education, most recently as a Dean at Polytechnic University in New York.

Ms. Stern is a member of the Boards of the United Nations International School, WE ARE FAMILY Foundation and the Martin Luther King Memorial Project Foundation, as well as an advisory Board Member of the WNBA. She is the co-author of Hate Hurts: How Children Learn and Unlearn Prejudice (Scholastic, 2000) and Future Perfect: A Model for Professional Development (NACA, 1987).

In December 2000, Ms. Stern was named one of "25 Mothers We Love" by Working Mother Magazine. In 2009, she was honored with the "Empowering Woman Award" from the General Federation of Women's Clubs and the "Woman of Influence" award by the Jewish Women's Foundation.  In 2010, she was named a "Role MOMel" by Moms and the City on  In 2011, Ms. Stern was named to Working Mother’s list of Most Powerful Moms in Nonprofits, and was selected to the Forward 50, a list of the most impactful Jewish leaders.

Ms. Stern holds a Bachelor's degree from SUNY Oneonta, where she was named "Outstanding Alumna," and has a Master's degree from Western Illinois University. She has also completed the course work towards a Ph.D. in higher education at Loyola University in Chicago.

Ms. Stern has served as a Charter Member of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF Kiwanis Club since September 2010. Ms. Stern is married and has 3 sons and a granddaughter.

Moderator: Lisa Cohen, Executive Director, Washington Global Health Alliance

Lisa Cohen is the Executive Director of the Washington Global Health Alliance (WGHA), a coalition of the state’s leading global health research and development organizations. WGHA supports and advances Washington State’s global health community as a nexus for research, education, training and delivery on the world stage.

Prior to the formation of WGHA, Ms. Cohen spent 25 years as a producer and manager in broadcast news. She taught journalism at the University of Washington, where she earned degrees in Broadcast Journalism and International Communications. She serves as Executive Director and Board Chair for the Global Health Technologies Competitiveness Program , and on the governance boards of Global Health Nexus, Seattle, Global to Local, Washington Biotechnology and Biomedical Association and Global Washington as well as numerous civic advisory committees.