President of World Vision United States
As president of World Vision U.S., Rich Stearns calls Christians to action on the greatest needs of our day. His award-winning, best-selling book, The Hole in Our Gospel, has encouraged hundreds of thousands of readers to open their hearts to those who are hurting in our world.
The former CEO for Parker Brothers Games and Lenox, Rich holds a B.A. from Cornell University and an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. Following a sense of God’s call on his life, he resigned from Lenox in 1998 to become World Vision’s U.S. president.
Driven by his passion to raise awareness and support for poverty and justice issues, Rich is also author of Unfinished: Filling the Hole in Our Gospel. He speaks regularly at churches and conferences.
Rich and his wife, Reneé, live in Bellevue, Washington, and have supported World Vision since 1984. They have five children of their own — plus millions more around the world.
Founder of the Equal Justice Initiative
Bryan Stevenson is the founder and Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative and one of the most acclaimed and respected lawyers in the nation. His memoir, Just Mercy, is the story of a young lawyer fighting on the frontlines of a country in thrall to extreme punishments and careless justice. It is an inspiring story of unbreakable humanity in the most desperate circumstances, and a powerful indictment of our broken justice system and the twisted values that allow it to continue. Nobel Peace Laureate Desmond Tutu has called Stevenson “America’s young Nelson Mandela.” His work on individual cases has generated national attention and his efforts have reversed death penalties for dozens of condemned prisoners. Stevenson’s remarkable twenty-minute TED Talk on the subject of injustice has been viewed over 2.35 million times on the TED website and another 299k times on YouTube; The New Yorker named it one of five essential TED Talks.
After graduating from Harvard Law School in 1985, Stevenson moved to the South, a region on the verge of a crisis: the states were speeding up executions, but many of the condemned lacked anyone to represent them. On a shoestring budget he started the Equal Justice Initiative, a law practice dedicated to defending some of America’s most rejected and marginalized people. The cases he took on would change Stevenson’s life and transform his understanding of justice and mercy forever.
Stevenson is the recipient of numerous awards, including the MacArthur Foundation “Genius” Grant and the NAACP Image Award for Best Non-Fiction, and was named one of Time’s 100 Most Influential People for 2015. Stevenson is a tenured law professor at New York University School of Law.
Author of “Muslims, Christians, and Jesus”
30 years of living in and traveling to the Middle East has given Carl Medearis a true insider’s view of the region; making him one of a handful of American expert voices in the field of Arab-American and Muslim-Christian relations.
Carl serves as a catalyst for a number of current movements in the Middle East to come together around the life and teaching of Jesus of Nazareth in order to promote peace-making, as well as cultural, political and religious dialog leading toward understanding and reconciliation. He is the author of the acclaimed books on these issues: “Muslims, Christians and Jesus” as well as “Tea with Hezbollah” and most recently, “speaking of Jesus: the art of not-evangelism.”
Carl, his wife Chris, and their three kids lived in Beirut, Lebanon for 12 years. Through their unique and strategic approach around the Arab world, they encouraged university students, business professionals and political leaders to live their lives by the principles and teachings of Jesus in order to change their societies and nations.
Today Carl spends much of his time working with leaders both in the Arab World and in the West with the hope of seeing the Middle East and the West experience full and fruitful relationships through Jesus of Nazareth.
Rev. Liz Walker
Pastor of Roxbury Presbyterian Church
Reverend Liz Walker is pastor of the Historic Roxbury Presbyterian Church. Installed in March of 2014, she was called to this ministry after 21 years as Boston’s first African American Television News Anchor on WBZ TV and 12 years of humanitarian work in war torn Sudan where she helped build a school for girls, one of the first of its kind in that region.
In the summer of 2001, Reverend Walker traveled to Sudan on a fact-finding mission on the controversial slave trade there. Sudan is the scene of the worst human rights atrocities in the world. Reverend Liz was so outraged by what she saw she co-founded the humanitarian organization “My Sister’s Keeper” which focuses on economic and educational initiatives for Sudanese women and girls. Reverend Walker shot her own footage during that first journey and produced a number of television specials including one that earned the prestigious Edward R. Murrow Award from the New England Radio Television News Director’s Association in 2002. She also produced an award winning documentary called “A Glory from the God” which profiles the work of “ My Sister’s Keeper”.
A graduate of Harvard Divinity School, Reverend Walker has long been actively involved in many community service organizations and projects. She has a special interest in the victims and survivors of domestic violence, and helped found the Jane Doe Safety Fund, a multi-million dollar statewide anti-violence initiative that works on policy and supports domestic abuse shelters and safe houses around the Commonwealth. Reverend Walker is the chair of the Roxbury Presbyterian Church Social Impact Center responsible for the creation of the community’s first Science Technology Engineering and Math Academy (with construction to be completed in 2017). She is a member of the Core Strategy Team of the Greater Boston Interfaith Organization and the Board for the New England Chapter of the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund. She has also served on the Board of Trustees for Andover Newton Theological Seminary, the Tufts Health Foundation and Board of Overseers for Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Reverend Walker has been awarded honorary degrees from a multitude of New England institutions including University of Massachusetts in Dartmouth, Boston College, Simmons College, Salem State University and Bridgewater State University.
MAY 20-21, 2016
Connecticut Convention Center | Hartford, CT