Janessa Gans Wilder


Founder and CEO of the Euphrates Institute, a URI Cooperation Circle

Ms. Wilder is a former CIA officer turned peacebuilder, social entrepreneur, and nonprofit executive. She founded the Euphrates Institute, a grassroots peacebuilding organization, after five years at the CIA, including 21 months serving in Iraq from 2003 to 2005. For over a decade, Janessa has provided the vision and leadership to grow Euphrates Institute into a global network of peacebuilders and changemakers, now comprising over 30 Chapters in 15 countries, featuring travel study programs to Israel, the Palestinian Territories, and Jordan, and a Visionary of the Year program. Janessa holds a Master’s degree in international policy from Stanford University and a Bachelor’s in international relations from Principia College, where she has taught political science. Janessa is a frequent speaker in interfaith, community, government, international, and educational settings. She has written dozens of articles and been interviewed by major news outlets, including CBS, CNN, Los Angeles Times, Christian Science Monitor, and Democracy Now.

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