Barbara Williams-Skinner and Douglas Birdsall

Thursday, July 06, 2017

Location Hall of Philosophy

Gate pass required. Purchase at our Main Gate Welcome Center, (716) 357-6250

Dr. Barbara Williams-Skinner has made an indelible imprint in American public policy, government, diversity, and community relations. She has a long history of building bridges and advancing the inclusion of people of all cultures in both the private and public sector with organizations like Toyota and GE.

Born in Richmond, California, she began her career serving as a senior congressional staff member, and became the first female Executive Director of the Congressional Black Caucus. She continues to serve as advisor to CBC Members and to the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation. She is currently CEO of Skinner Leadership Institute, specializing in networking, bridge-building, and leadership development opportunities between Congressional leaders, business executives, diverse groups, college students, faith leaders, young professionals, and urban youth. Dr. Williams-Skinner is considered one of Washington’s most influential leaders, and is included in 2008’s “Presidential Who’s Who among Business and Professional Achievers.

Her commitment to equipping young people as effective, high character leaders of their generation led to the creation of the Masters Series for Distinguished Leaders (MSDL). The Honorable Alexis Herman, and the late Dr. Dorothy Height, were important advisers in the creation of this one-of-a-kind leadership excellence program. 

Dr. Williams-Skinner holds a B.A. in Social Welfare from San Francisco State University; a Master of Social Work and a Juris Doctor from U.C.L.A., and Master of Divinity and Doctorate of Ministry Degrees from Howard University School of Divinity. She served on the White House Faith Council, and has worked for over 30 years in close partnership with high-level leaders of diverse backgrounds across the nation to find common ground for strengthening all communities.

Dr. S. Douglas Birdsall, Ph.D. is a Presbyterian minister who has spent most of his thirty-seven-year career in the global mission of the church.  In 1980 Doug and his wife Jeanine began their service in Japan, where they served for 24 years. In 2004 Doug was appointed Executive Chairman of the Lausanne Movement. He led the revitalization of the movement culminating in the Third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization, held in Cape Town in 2010. That congress brought together 4200 Christian leaders from 198 nations to consider the challenges and opportunities before the church with respect to global mission in the 21st century. After completing his service with the Lausanne Movement, he was appointed to serve as the 27th President of American Bible Society.  

In 2015, Doug Birdsall founded the work of Civilitas with a vision to bring “convicted, Christian civility” to our increasingly uncivil society. Much of the work of Civilitas has focused on the work of racial reconciliation through an initiative called “After Charleston: Overcoming Evil with Good.” 

Doug is a graduate of Wheaton College, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, Harvard University, and the Oxford Centre for Mission Studies. The Birdsalls live in South Hamilton, Massachusetts. Their three children live in New York, London, and Cambridge.