Rabbi Awraham Soetendorp is an award-winning humanitarian, lecturer, writer, environmental activist and champion of civil society. Born as a Jewish child in 1943 in Amsterdam, he was saved by a righteous couple and survived as a ‘hidden child’. He received his ordination from Leo Baeck College and was instrumental in the re-establishment of Jewish communities in the Netherlands. He is the Rabbi Emeritus of the liberal Jewish congregation of Beth Jehuda in The Hague and former President of the European Region of the World Union for Progressive Judaism.
He is the co-chair of the Global Forum of Spiritual and Parliamentary Leaders for Human Survival that played a leading role in fostering a dialogue between spiritual leaders and governmental representatives at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992.
He serves as President of Green Cross – Netherlands and is a founding member of the Islam-West dialogue group of the World Economic Forum. He is an Earth Charter Commissioner, co-chairs the international Earth Charter Task Force on Religion, Spirituality and Ethics and has established the Jacob Soetendorp Institute for Human Values that helps to build bridges between the cultures, spiritual traditions, and generations.
Rabbi Soetendorp is a recipient of numerous honors, including the Peacebuilders Award (2005), the Gold Medallion “Peace Through Dialogue” awarded by the International Council of Christians and Jews (2007), the James Parks Morton Interfaith Award granted by the Interfaith Center of New York (2008) and the Juliet Hollister Interfaith Award (2012). In 1994, he was honored by Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands with the Royal Distinction as an Officer of the House of Orange.