Joan Brown Campbell — Trailblazer and Activist

Rev. Dr. Joan Brown Campbell retired in December 2013 after 13 years as Director of the Department of Religion at the historic Chautauqua Institution.  Before coming to Chautauqua,  Rev. Campbell, a distinguished life-long ecumenist, served as the first ordained woman appointed as General Secretary of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA.  Prior to her time at the NCCC USA, Rev. Campbell served as Director of the U.S. Office of the World Council of Churches.  During her time as General Secretary, Rev. Campbell, in concert with Paul Gorman, Carl Sagan, Dean James Morton, and Albert Gore, founded what is today the National Religious Partnership on the Environment (NRPE), and continues to serve as Chair of the Board.

Joan Brown Campbell
Stories of compassion and hope Find inspiration and courage in Joan Brown Campbell's words of wisdom.

Rev. Campbell is a devoted activist for peace and social justice, believing that citizens in a democracy must act on their conscience.  This commitment was crafted during her life changing work with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and was deepened in the struggle to end apartheid in South Africa. Archbishop Desmond Tutu referred to her as "a woman of courage and compassion." He pointed out that Rev. Campbell was the only woman in the clergy procession of over 200 for his installation as Archbishop of South Africa, commenting, "Her voice helped to bring an end to the evil of apartheid."
Rev. Campbell’s commitment to growing the global compassion movement is reflected in her work with the Charter for Compassion.  She also serves as Chair of the Global Peace Initiative of Women, providing leadership to GPIW's important work with women throughout the world, and is a member of the Fetzer Institute's Advisory Council on World Religions and Spiritualities.  She served as Chair of the Global Health Council and was a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Councils on both Faith and Values.  She is the recipient of 14 honorary degrees, including one from the University in Monrovia, Liberia sponsored by the African Methodist Episcopal Church.  In 2010 she was awarded the Walter Cronkite Faith and Freedom Award.  Rev. Campbell is author of Living Into Hope: A Call to Spiritual Action for Such a Time as This, and Prayers From Chautauqua, a recently published collection.  She is the mother of three grown children and grandmother to eight.

Speaking Topics Include:

  • Leadership
  • Women and faith
  • Trailblazing
  • History through the eyes of leaders I have known (King, Mandela,Clinton, Fidel Castro)
  • Our interfaith world: opportunities and challenges
  • The gift of grandchildren
  • Aging challenges and blessings
  • The charter of compassion: worldwide movement of hope
  • The teachings of MLK through first-hand experience

Past Speaking Engagements Include :

  • Participant, White House Conference on Early Childhood Development, The White House (1997)
  • Keynote Speaker, Missiology Consultation, Costa Rica (1997)
  • Panelist, USA Today Roundtable on Race, Washington, DC (1997)
  • Eulogist, Carl Sagan Memorial Service, Cathedral of St. John the Divine, New York (1997)
  • Universalist Unitarian Association, Ware Lecture, Phoenix, AZ (1997)
  • Keynoter, Ohio Ministries Convocation (1998)
  • Commentator, Odyssey Network TV, Coverage of Pope’s Visit to Cuba (1998)
  • Keynoter, Jewish Council for Public Affairs, Annual Plenum (1998)
  • Worship Leader/Preacher, The Eugene Carson Blake Seminar, Princeton Theological Seminary (1998)
  • Keynoter, Ellis Island Medal of Honor Service, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, NY (1998)
  • Host, Reception for Mr. Yasser Arafat, PLO President, and Religious Leaders from the New York Area (1998)
  • Speaker, Media 2000 Conference, Rome, Italy (1998)
  • Keynoter, Dedication of Roger Williams Statue, Roger Williams University, Bristol, NH (1998)
  • Lecturer, World Council of Churches 8th Assembly, Harare, Zimbabwe (1998)
  • Preacher, Foundry United Methodist Church, Washington, DC (1999)
  • Speaker, Bethlehem 2000 International Conference, Rome, Italy (1999)
  • Preacher, Harvard Memorial Church (November 2008)
  • Preacher, Holy Week, Harvard Memorial Chapel (April 2009)
  • Speaker, 30 Good Minutes, WTTW, Chicago, IL (September 2010)
  • Easter Week Preacher, Harvard Memorial Church (April 2011)
  • Preacher, Louisville Presbyterian Seminary, Louisville, KY (November 2012)

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