Rev. Dr. Joan Brown Campbell retired in December 2013 after 13 years as Director of the Department of Religion at the historic Chautauqua Institution.  Before coming to Chautauqua,  Rev. Campbell, a distinguished life-long ecumenist, served as the first ordained woman appointed as General Secretary of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA.  Prior to her time at the NCCC USA, Rev. Campbell served as Director of the U.S. Office of the World Council of Churches.  During her time as General Secretary, Rev. Campbell, in concert with Paul Gorman, Carl Sagan, Dean James Morton, and Albert Gore, founded what is today the National Religious Partnership on the Environment (NRPE), and continues to serve as Chair of the Board.  

Rev. Campbell is a devoted activist for peace and social justice, believing that citizens in a democracy must act on their conscience.  This commitment was crafted during her life changing work with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and was deepened in the struggle to end apartheid in South Africa. Archbishop Desmond Tutu referred to her as "a woman of courage and compassion." He pointed out that Rev. Campbell was the only woman in the clergy procession of over 200 for his installation as Archbishop of South Africa, commenting, "Her voice helped to bring an end to the evil of apartheid."  

Rev. Campbell’s commitment to growing the global compassion movement is reflected in her work with Charter for Compassion International.  She also serves as Chair of the Global Peace Initiative of Women, providing leadership to GPIW's important work with women throughout the world.  She served as Chair of the Global Health Council and was a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Councils on both Faith and Values.  She is the recipient of 14 honorary degrees and, in 2010, was awarded the Walter Cronkite Faith and Freedom Award.  Rev. Campbell is author of Living Into Hope: A Call to Spiritual Action for Such a Time as This, and Prayers From Chautauqua, a collection of her prayers published in 2013.  She is the mother of three grown children and grandmother to eight.