Ms. Merriam began working in the inter-faith movement in the late 1990s when she served as Vice Chair of the Millennium World Peace Summit of Religious and Spiritual Leaders held at the United Nation in New York in the year 2000. In 2008, Ms. Merriam was one of the founding members of the Contemplative Alliance, which later became a program of GPIW. The purpose of the Alliance is to bring together meditation teachers and practitioners in a collective effort to uplift and transform society, while caring for and honoring our Mother Earth. For over 40 years, Dena Merriam has been a student of Paramahansa Yogananda and a practitioner of Kriya Yoga meditation. She is also a long time student of the great texts of the Vedic tradition. Ms. Merriam received her Master’s Degree from Columbia University and has served on the boards of the Harvard University Center for the Study of World Religions, the International Center for Religion and Diplomacy, The Interfaith Center of New York, the Manitou Foundation, The All India Movement (AIM) for Seva, Dharma Drum Mountain Buddhist Association, and Seven Pillars. In 2014 she received the Niwano Peace Prize for her interfaith peace efforts.