David C. Jehnsen, Chair and Founding Trustee (1978-Present)
David’s mission is to promote a reconciled world, develop and institutionalize programs and leadership education including research, training & education and public –information regarding the democratic way of life, Kingian Nonviolence Conflict Reconciliation, Historic Peace Churches and the values and practice of democratic social change.
Fifty- plus years in long-range strategic planning and implementation of practical programs with fundamental systems has been the core of his experience and effectiveness since 1962.
In 1978 David Jehnsen founded the Institute for Human Rights and Responsibilities (IHRR) along with fellow Nonviolence practitioner and scholar Bernard LaFayette and Reformation historian James Kittelson (see IHRR web site at KingianNonviolence.info for more background and information). The purpose of the IHRR is to promote nonviolence reconciliation programs and residential education to address the issues of the democratic way of life and nonviolence social, political and economic change and to publish and distribute educational materials about these issues in North American and throughout the world. Mr. Jehnsen has served as Chair and Founding Trustee of IHRR since 1978.
From 2008 Mr. Jehnsen served as Board Chair for the Every Church a Peace Church Board (ECAPC) until the fall of 2012. The ECAPC was a national organization in Atlanta, Georgia with a mission to develop the nonviolence justice and peacemaking capacities of local congregations and strengthen the peace and justice capacities of denominations. In 2012 ECAPC was merged with On Earth Peace of the Church of the Brethren as an external ecumenical program named Living Peace Church (see website).
From 2005 until 2012 he served Churches Supporting Churches (CSC) as Vice Chair of its National Working Group in New Orleans and served on the CSC Board of Directors. He conducted monthly Pastor’s Institutes on Capacity Building with Kingian Nonviolence since August 2006. He is a founding member of Living Peace Church of the Brethren in Columbus, Ohio.
Since 2012 David Jehnsen has helped IHRR and other organizations partner in the development of the Advanced Kingian Nonviolence Leadership Program designed for experienced and Certified Level I or II Kingian Nonviolence trainers trained by the IHRR or the University of Rhode Island Center for Nonviolence and Peace who want to devote their lives as practitioners to this field and the development of nonviolence social movements. This program includes multiple phases of 90 minute call seminars on 13 + books and two residential phases on the intellectual history that helped to shape Kingian Nonviolence; the curriculum authored by Bernard LaFayette and David Jehnsen on the Kingian Philosophy and Methodology of Nonviolence; published as The Leaders Manual by the IHRR with an associated series of booklets and training materials.
David Jehnsen has been a social change activist, organizer, and educator in adult education for democracy with emphasis on special projects and systems related to nonviolence and social responsibility. His experience with nonviolence began at an early age in the Church of the Brethren and was stimulated by exposure to Martin Luther King, Jr.’s leadership of the nonviolent human rights campaigns.
In 1962, his participation in the Albany, Georgia Movement- Chicago Delegation, part of a national delegation of 85 interfaith leaders that provided an opportunity for direct ongoing involvement in Dr. King’s campaigns through 1968. Along with Bernard LaFayette and James Bevel he helped lead the development of the Chicago End the Slums Campaign and Dr. King’s work in the Chicago Freedom Movement. He combines the experience and skills of organizing social movements with innovative ideas about the philosophy of learning and leadership education. His focus has been on institutionalizing the capacity to provide training, research, education and public information about nonviolent approaches to reconciling unjust social conflicts and violent conditions.
Mr. Jehnsen’s experience with schools has been nontraditional. He was awarded his Ed.M. degree from Harvard University Graduate School of Education in 1977 and completed his coursework and qualifying paper for an Ed. D. at Harvard in 1985. His dissertation topic was “The Cultural Transferability of N.F.S. Grundtvig’s Conception of Adult Education” however conflict with the HGSE Committee on Degrees prevented him submitting his thesis.
He designs and institutionalizes programs in leadership education about nonviolence conflict reconciliation and social change for democracy. He conducts seminars and programs that educate people at many levels of society about the philosophy and methodology of nonviolence. In 1980-81, he served as Deputy Director of the U.S. Congressional Commission charged with the design of the United States Institute of Peace. He drafted the Commission’s first proposal and supporting legislation for Chair Senator Spark M. Matsunaga.
David Jehnsen is a native of Michigan and lives in Galena, Ohio with his wife Deborah.