The Institute has its origins in the International center for Religion and Diplomacy (ICRD).
ICRD has applied faith-based diplomacy to resolve identity-based conflicts in Sudan, Kashmir (both India and Pakistan), Syria, Israel, Palestine and Jordan. In 2008 ICRD partnered with the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution at Pepperdine University Law School to train and equip faith-based peacemakers through the PACIS (i.e. “Peace”) Project for Faith-Based Diplomacy. Previous FBR activities have included:
- Bringing senior Sudanese Christian and Muslim leaders together to create a spirit of greater coexistence as an alternative to persecution of Christians.
- Bringing Kashmiri Muslims and Hindu Pandits together to facilitate healing and a return of Pandit refugees to the Kashmir Valley.
- Bringing Kashmiri Muslims from Pakistan together with Kashmiri Pandits from India to create a wider process of healing across the Line of Control. A groundbreaking joint statement had a profound impact on changing perceptions of Pakistani Kashmiri leaders.
- Bringing Ladakhi Buddhists from Leh and Shiite Muslims from Kargil to effect reconciliation between the two major communities in Ladakh.
- Bringing Palestinian Christians and Muslims together to create a forward looking people movement in Palestine of healing, transformation and non-violence.
- Bringing Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood leaders together with American Christians from politics, the military, journalism and academia to create a new architecture of communication between the West and the Muslim world.
- Bringing Syrian opposition leaders together to affect unity and inspire with a vision of national healing and reconciliation for Syria.
- Bringing Syriac Christian and Syrian Kurds together to heal the history between their communities and create a social contract as a model for pluralistic community in the region.
- Bringing Syriac Christian, Yazidi, Shabak and Turkmen leaders from the Nineveh Plains of Iraq to create a social contract as a moral basis for their life together in the Nineveh Plains following the defeat of ISIS.
Canon Brian Cox is an ordained Episcopal Priest and a trained professional in conflict resolution who serves as a senior official of a Washington DC based non-governmental organization, and as an adjunct professor in an academic program devoted to faith-based diplomacy. He is a retired pastor.
He was born in Chicago, Illinois. He received his B.S. in Geological Sciences at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, California and his Master of Divinity degree from the Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He received a Master of Dispute Resolution degree from Pepperdine University School of Law in Malibu, California.
He was ordained an Episcopal Priest in 1975. He has served congregations in Southern California and Northern Virginia from 1975 to 2017. He recently retired as Rector of Christ the King Episcopal Church in Santa Barbara, California which he served over 25 years from 1992 to 2017. From 1998 to 2008 he was a leader in the work of Faith-Based Reconciliation on a local, regional and national context in the Episcopal Church.
His involvement with international affairs began in 1984 when he spent several months in South Africa under the auspices of Africa Enterprise and the Anglican Diocese of Pretoria. In 1985 he founded and became the first U.S. Director of Sharing of Ministries Abroad (SOMA) which was involved in conducting spiritual renewal conferences for leaders of the Anglican Communion in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East. In 1990 he founded the European Reconciliation Fellowship which focused on the work of Faith-Based Reconciliation with political and religious leaders in East Central Europe; particularly the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia and Kosovo. It was in East Central Europe that he began to develop the strategic paradigm of Faith-Based Reconciliation which is defined by eight core values and by a deliberative process of constructive joint problem solving.
In 1996 he founded the Reconciliation Institute in Santa Barbara, California and developed the Faith-Based Reconciliation process as a religious framework for peacemaking in intractable identity-based conflicts. As such, he sought to apply the principles and skills of Faith-Based Reconciliation to his own community which included initiatives concerned with reconciliation among pastors, racial reconciliation, Jewish/Christian reconciliation and civic reconciliation.
In 1999 he joined a newly formed non-governmental organization called the International Center For Religion and Diplomacy and later became ICRD’s Senior Vice President. The mission of the International Center For Religion and Diplomacy is to address problems of communal identity that exceed the grasp of traditional diplomacy (such as ethnic conflict, tribal warfare and religious hostilities) by effectively combining religious concerns with the practice of international politics. As such, it is committed to Faith-Based Diplomacy. He served as ICRD’s Project Leader for Kashmir and the Middle East. In Kashmir (2000 – 2008) he worked on both the Indian and Pakistani sides of the Line of Control. His groundbreaking work created a public conversation in Kashmir about reconciliation as part of its future; created movement in the stalemate between Kashmiri Muslims and Hindu Pandits; and led to an important bridgebuilding meeting between top Pakistani Kashmiri Muslim leaders and Indian Pandit (Panum Kashmir) leaders in Nepal in 2005. In the Middle East (2005 – present ) he has been or is currently involved with five project tracks: working with the leadership of the Northern Federation of Syria toward the creation of a pluralistic community in the Hassake region consisting of Syriac Christians, Kurds and Arab Bedouins; empowering young Palestinian Christian and Muslim leaders in the West Bank to create a forward looking people movement based on healing, transformation and non-violence; engaging with Israeli, Syriac Christian and Kurdish leaders in creating the Isaiah 19 Project that offers a faith-based alternative to enable enemies to sit together under a different architecture to solve their problems with each other; working with Muslim Brotherhood leaders to create a new role for them in world politics of peacemaking, reconciliation and problem solving; and working with Christian, Yazidi, Shabak and Turkmen leaders of the Nineveh Plains in Iraq to develop a social contract and create a unified movement to return and rebuild the Nineveh Plains after ISIS is defeated.
In 2001 he joined the faculty of the Straus Institute of Pepperdine University Law School in Malibu, California as an Adjunct Professor. He teaches a specialized course in Faith-Based Diplomacy.
In 2017, together with John Sandoz, Dana Moldovan and Gabriel Abdalla, he established the Institute For Faith-Based Diplomacy of Washington DC and became its first President. It is designed to identify, train and deploy next generation faith-based peacemakers as well as develop the Muslim Brotherhood Initiative. In 2017, together with Bassam Ishak, he established the Faith-Based Reconciliation Foundation focused on developing the political side of the Isaiah 19 vision. Toward that end he works with the leadership of the Northern Federation of Syria, the leadership of the Nineveh Plains in Iraq and conducts meetings in Cyprus with leaders from Assyria, Israel and Egypt. In 2016, together with Chander Khanna and Iftikhar Bazmi, he established the Faith-Based Reconciliation Trust of India focused on developing a completely indigenous movement of Faith-Based Reconciliation in Kashmir and introducing Faith-Based Reconciliation to Iran.
He has been a pioneer and practitioner in designing and developing faith-based approaches to intervention in large scale political and religious conflict. Over the course of his work in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America and the Middle East he has developed the strategic paradigm of Faith-Based Reconciliation as a fresh approach to larger scale political conflict, as a religious framework for peacemaking and conflict resolution and as an alternative to religious extremism. Besides his experience in some of the world’s roughest neighborhoods, he has contributed to the scholarly and conceptual development of Faith-Based Reconciliation with journal articles and opinion pieces. In 2007 his book “Faith-Based Reconciliation: A Moral Vision That Transforms People and Societies” was published by Xlibris Publishing. In 2008 he published three versions of the Reconciliation Basic Seminar. In 2011 his book “Faith-Based Reconciliation: A Religious Framework For Peacemaking and Conflict Resolution” was published by Xlibris Publishing. In 2015 his book “Faith-Based Diplomacy: The Work of the Prophets” was published by Xlibris Publishing. Two of his books have been published in Arabic and Romanian. You can visit the website at www.faith-basedreconciliation.com or at www.faith-baseddiplomacy.com.
He and his wife Ann live in Santa Barbara, California and have two grown and married children, and three grandchildren.
Mr. Sandoz is a co-founder of the Institute for Faith-Based Diplomacy and currently serves as its Board Chairman. His experience as a Defense consultant in national security planning has focused on developing partnering approaches to irregular security challenges. Following a career as a naval officer, Mr. Sandoz served as a Research Staff Member at the Institute for Defense Analyses (IDA) where he developed and incorporated red teaming techniques into joint experiments and authored papers on red teaming that advanced the development of red teaming organizations and activities. As task leader for an IDA-International Center for Religion and Diplomacy (ICRD) conference for US and South Asian policy makers, he facilitated cross-cultural dialogue that explored regional stability issues in the reconstruction of Afghanistan. As a Vice President at Hicks & Associates, Mr. Sandoz co-led the Defense Adaptive Red Team (DART), a group of subject matter experts sponsored by the Office of the Secretary of Defense that supported concept development and red teaming activities related to Defense planning. Currently, as President of Adaptive Strategies Consulting, LLC, Mr. Sandoz supports the development of the U.S. Navy’s partner engagement strategy.
As a former board member of the ICRD, Mr. Sandoz participated in Faith-Based Reconciliation workshops in the Middle East and currently co-leads the Institute’s engagement between traditional and faith-based diplomacy.
Mr. Sandoz is actively involved in jail ministry where he disciples men in the Christian faith. He is author of “Becoming a Disciple of Jesus: Equipped to Do Works of Faith.”
Mr. Sandoz received a B.A. in business administration from the University of Washington and an MBA degree from Marymount University. He is a graduate of the National War College and MIT Seminar XXI.
Mr. Sandoz has a grown son and daughter, four grandsons, and is married to the former Gabriela Enache. They reside in Falls Church, VA.