ISHV Leadership  

Leadership Team


Dr. Paul Kurtz [1925-2012] Professor of philosophy (retired emeritus) at the State University of New York at Amherst (Buffalo) and founder of the Center for Inquiry Transnational and Prometheus Books. He was a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and humanist laureate and president of the International Academy of Humanism.

(Read Bill Cooke's well written article on "The Acheivements of Paul Kurtz")




Jonathan Kurtz  President of Prometheus Books





President and Public Policy Director

Toni Van Pelt is co-founder, president, and public policy director of the Institute for Science and Human Values, focusing on the importance of science, the use of empirical evidence as the basis for public policy, separation of church and state, secularism, and women's and LGBTQI rights. She launched and directed one of the first public policy offices of the secular humanist movement in Washington, DC as the vice president of the Center for Inquiry Office of Public Policy.


She regularly presents on a variety of issues including proposed federal legislation and regulations, human rights, how to effectively participate in federal and state government, and how to lobby legislative bodies. Further, she educates on, and advocates for the passage of Equal Rights Amendment and the United Nations Convention to Eliminate Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). As a secular humanist, feminist activist and citizen of the world, she serves on the board of the Institute for Humanist Studies, is the Chairwoman of Americans United for Separation of Church and State Speakers Bureau and on many of the boards and committees of the National Organization for Women. She has been recognized by the Veteran Feminists of America for her long time activism for women's rights.





Vice President

Vince Parr Ph.D., Clinical Psychologist, post doctorate at the Albert Ellis Institute and a co-founder of the Institute for Science and Human Values (ISHV).





Marcia S. Cohen, ISHV’s legal counsel, holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Education from Roosevelt University of Chicago, a Masters degree in Music Composition from Northwestern University, and received her Juris Doctor degree from Stetson University College of Law in 1984. Since becoming a member of The Florida Bar, she has practiced almost exclusively in the area of labor and employment law with a concentration in employment discrimination and sexual harassment. She is a member of the Legal Panel of the Pinellas County Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union and was the 2007 recipient of its Gardner Beckett Civil Rights Award.




D. J. Grothe, board member, has lectured widely on topics at the intersection of science and ethics at dozens of universities including Stanford, Harvard, Yale, UCLA and UC Berkeley. Once a professional magician, with special interests in the psychology of belief and processes of deception and self-deception, Grothe is formerly president and CEO of The James Randi Educational Foundation and served as vice president at the Center for Inquiry.





Soma Ilangovan M.D., (Gastroenterolgy), Founder, Director of Periyar International,USA

Saroja Ilangovan  M.D., retired neuropathologist from Cook County Hospital, Chicago, Illinois

Robert Tapp Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of Humanities, University of Minnesota, associate editor of Human Prospect.

Stuart Jordan Ph.D., Senior staff scientist (retired emer.) NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

International Advisory Board:

Mona Abousenne, Professor of English Literature, Faculty of Education, English

Department, Ain Shams University, Egypt

James E. Alcock, Ph.D., York University, Canada

Gwen W. Brewer, Ph.D., Prof. Emer., Calif. State University, Northridge

Arthur Caplan, Ph.D., Prof. (Bioethics), University of Pennsylvania

J. Beth Ciesielski, Ex. Dir. Fundatia Centrul pentru Constiina Critica, Romania

Margaret Downey, Founder, Freethought Society of Greater Philadelphia

Sanal Endamaruku, Indian Rationalist Association

Hugo Estrella, Founder, Argentine Humanist Asscoiation/Co-Founder International Liasion Committee of Atheists and Freethinkers Professor and researcher, Pisa University (Italy)

Valerie Fehrenbach, Ph.D., clinical psychologist

Rebecca Newberger Goldstein, Ph.D., philosopher, author

Sheldon F. Gottlieb, Ph.D., retired educator, Scientist (Physiologist, Biologist)

Douglas J. Grothe, President, James Randi Educational Foundation

James A Haught, Exec. Editor, The Charleston Gazette

Leo Igwe, Founder, Nigerian Humanist Movement

Soma Ilangovan, M.D. (Gastroenterology), Founder, Director of Periyar International, USA.

Leon Jaroff, former science editor Times and Discover

Lawrence Krauss, Ph.D., Foundation Prof. (Theoretical Physics) Ariz. State University

Valerie Kuvakin, Prof. Moscow State University

Elizabeth Loftus, Ph.D., Distinguished Prof. (Psychology), University of Calif. at Irvine

Innaiah Narisetti, Prof. Hydrabad University, India

Jean-Claude Pecker, Ph.D., astronomer, College de France

Steven Pinker, Ph.D., Harvard College Professor and Johnstone Family Professor in the Department of Psychology at Harvard University

Howard Radest, Ph.D., Adjunct Professor of Philosophy at the University of South Carolina-Beaqufort

James Randi, Founder, James Randi Educational Foundation

Robert Tapp, Ph.D., Professor emeritus of Humanities, Religious Studies, and Soth Asian Studies, University of Minnesota

Carol Tavris, Ph.D., Fellow, American Psychological Assn.

Lionel Tiger, Ph.D. Prof. (Anthropology), Rutgers University

K. Veeramani, M.A., B.L., President, Dravidar Kazhakam and Pro Chancellor Periyar Maniammai University

Mourad Wahba, Professor Emeritus of Philosophy, Faculty of Education, Ain Shams University, Egypt


Coordinating Committee:

J. Beth Ciesielski, Ex. Dir., Fundatia Centrul pentru Constiinta Critica, Romania

Elizabeth Daerr, Environmental Business Owner, Former Ex.Dir. CFI Washington DC

Stanley Friedland, Ed.D., Educator; Educational Consultant

Innaiah Narisetti, Prof.,  Hydrabad University, India.

Joe Beck, Founder, Humanists of the Treasure Coast


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