Canon Brian Cox is an ordained Episcopal Priest and a trained professional in conflict resolution who serves as a pastor, as a senior official of a Washington DC based non-governmental organization, and as a director of an academic program devoted to faith-based diplomacy.
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. At the present time he serves as Rector of Christ the King Episcopal Church in Santa Barbara, California. He has been 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 leadership 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 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 has served as ICRD’s Project Leader for Kashmir and the Middle East. In Kashmir 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 he oversees four ICRD project tracks: working with Syrian opposition leaders toward national healing and rebuilding; 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 leaders in creating a Jerusalem-based entity that offers a faith-based alternative to enable enemies to sit together under a different architecture to solve their problems with each other; and building a bridge with Muslim Brotherhood leaders in Jordan and Egypt to create a track two faith-based problem solving mechanism between the Islamic world and the Washington D.C. power structure.
In 2001 he joined the faculty of the Straus Institute of Pepperdine University Law School in Malibu, California as an Adjunct Professor. He presently serves as Director of the PACIS Project in Faith-Based Diplomacy and continues teaching Master’s level courses.
He has been a pioneer and practitioner in integrating faith and politics in the international context. 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 identity-based 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. You can visit the website at www.faithbasedreconciliation.com.
He and his wife Ann live in Santa Barbara, California and have two grown children, Clare and John.