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Leadership of the Center for Inter-Religious and Communal Leadership Education (CIRCLE)

Co-Directors of CIRCLE

Jennifer Howe Peace is Assistant Professor of Interfaith Studies and co-director of CIRCLE at Andover Newton Theological School in Newton, MA.  Author of numerous articles and essays on interfaith cooperation, Dr. Peace co-edited My Neighbor's Faith: Stories of Inter-Religious Encounter, Growth, and Transformation (Orbis 2012). She has been an interfaith organizer and educator since the 1990s. She serves as one of the publishers of the Journal of Inter-Religious Studies and served as a founding board member of the United Religions Initiative, a founding leader of the Interfaith Youth Core, and a founding member of the Daughters of Abraham book groups. You can follow Jennifer on Twitter @jennyhowepeace.  

Rabbi Or Rose is the Director of the Center for Global Judaism at Hebrew College, and the co-director of CIRCLE: The Center for Inter-Religious and Communal Leadership Education, a joint venture of Andover Newton Theological School and Hebrew College. Rabbi Rose is the author or editor of many articles and books, including My Neighbor’s Faith: Stories of Inter-Religious Encounter, Growth, and Transformation (Orbis, spring 2012), and Jewish Mysticism & the Spiritual Life: Classical Texts, Contemporary Reflections (co-editor, Jewish Lights, 2010). He also serves as one of the publishers of the Journal of Inter-Religious Dialogue and is a member of the editorial committee of Sh’ma: A Journal of Jewish Responsibility. In 2009, Rabbi Rose was selected as a member of the Shalom Hartman Institute’s inaugural North American Scholar’s Circle. He is currently completing a doctorate at Brandeis University in Jewish Thought, with a thesis on the famed Hasidic mystic and communal leader, Rabbi Levi Isaac of Berditchev.  

Celene Ibrahim is the Islamic Studies Scholar-in-Residence jointly appointed to the faculties of Andover Newton Theological School and Hebrew College and co-director of CIRCLE. She lectures and publishes widely on topics including the histories and theologies of interreligious relations, Islamic religious leadership and higher education, Islam and Muslims in North America, Islamic family law, Muslim feminist theology, and Qur’anic studies. Some of her recent publications include “Interreligious Encounter in Women’s Words: Two Late Nineteenth Century American Accounts,” in Studies in Interreligious Dialogue, and “Religion, Gender, and Family Law: Critical Perspectives on Integration for European Muslims,” with Zainab Alwani, in Muslim Family Law in Western Societies, edited by M. S. Berger (Leiden University Press). Other recent essays appear in the award-winning Oxford Encyclopedia of Islam and Women; in Religious Leadership: A Reference Handbook, edited by S. H. Callahan (Sage); in the anthology Muslima Theology: The Voices of Muslim Women Theologians, edited by Elif Mendeni, Ednan Aslan, and Marcia Hermansen (Peter Land Verlag), and in The Journal of Muslim World Affairs

Ms. Ibrahim has been recognized as a Harvard Presidential Scholar, among other distinctions, and she has been a Fellow in Religion, Diplomacy and International Relations at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. Her work has recently been highlighted by the Religion Initiative of the Council on Foreign Relations. Ms. Ibrahim-Lizzio earned a Masters of Arts in Women's and Gender Studies and Near Eastern and Judaic Studies from Brandeis University, a Masters of Divinity from Harvard Divinity School, and a bachelor’s degree in Near Eastern Studies with highest honors from Princeton University. She is completing a doctorate at Brandeis University in Arabic and Islamic civilizations and is deeply committed to Islamic scholarship and to fostering interreligious learning environments. 

CIRCLE Administrator:

Rev. Soren M. Hessler is the CIRCLE administrator. He is a practical theology PhD student at Boston University School of Theology concentrating in leadership and administration. His dissertation research focuses on the history and practice of accreditation at protestant seminaries. Soren holds an MA in church administration, an EdM in policy, planning, and administration with a concentration in higher education administration, and an MDiv, each from Boston University. He is a provisional elder in the West Ohio Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church and is appointed as Chapel Associate for Leadership Development at Boston University's Marsh Chapel.

Contact Information:

ANTS CIRCLE Office: 617-831-2444 |
Hebrew College CIRCLE Office: 617-559-8816 |

To learn more about CIRCLE’s leadership, staff, programs, publications, resources, and giving opportunities, please visit their Web site at

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