About John Graz, Secretary-General
Dr John Graz is a citizen of both Switzerland and France. He studied theology, history, and sociology of religion in France, obtaining his Master’s Degree at the University of Montpellier and his Doctorate from the SorbonneUniversity in Paris. John Graz grew up in a family that accepted religious diversity and he has been involved in promoting and defending religious freedom and participating in interfaith relations since he was university student. All of his mother’s brothers and sisters joined the Allies during World War II, and his grandfather died in the Dachau concentration camp for having helped Jews and the French Resistance.
John Graz has worked as a pastor and church communication director, has produced radio and television programs, and has written several books which have been translated into more than ten languages. In July 1995, he was elected director of the Department of Public Affairs and Religious Liberty for the General Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist Church and he has served as United Nations liaison. In 1995 he also became Secretary General of the International Religious Liberty Association (IRLA). In 2002 he was elected Secretary of the Conference of Secretaries of the Christian World Communions, a group of world church leaders which represents two billion Christians. He continues in each of these positions.
Dr John Graz has traveled in nearly 100 countries in the promotion and defense of religious freedom for all. He has organized four world congresses on religious freedom and initiated more than 40 international congresses and symposiums on five continents. Dr Graz originated Festivals of Religious Freedom—the largest gatherings of religious freedom ever organized. Festivals have been held around the world and some of them have filled stadiums with more the 40,000 people. Dr Graz is also the executive producer of the TV show Global Faith & Freedom.
On December 15, 2004, by a decree signed by the Romanian President Ion Iliescu, John Graz was granted the high distinction of the National Medal “For Merit” with the rank of Commander. On January 13, 2011, Dr. Graz received the National First Freedom Award from the First Freedom Center in Richmond, Virginia and on October 10, 2013, the 2013 International Religious Liberty Award in Washington DC given by the International Center for Law and Religions Studies and the J. Reuben Clark Law Society.
Dr Graz is married to Medina, and they have three sons and two grandchildren.