2019 | Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit

Inaugural Michael Huffington Lecture featuring Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit

Annual Huffington Lecture
Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit
"Christ's Love Moves the World to Reconciliation and Unity"
Tuesday, April 2, 2019 | 7 p.m.
Roski Dining Room
Loyola Marymount University


Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, a Norwegian theologian, serves as the General Secretary of the World Council of Churches. The WCC, established in 1948 in Amsterdam, follows the model of the United Nations, developing new paths for ecumenism, promoting theological education, and taking care of justice and peace throughout the globe. It leads the largest ecumenical network in the world, bringing together nearly 350 churches, denominations, and church fellowships in more than 110 countries and territories, and representing over 500 million Christians.

For the inaugural Michael Huffington Lecture, Tveit will be speaking on the theme of the upcoming WCC General Assembly, “Christ’s Love Moves the World to Reconciliation and Unity.” This topic explores the ecumenical movement as a movement of love, expressed in the search for justice, peace, and unity.

Tveit’s lecture will be followed by a panel discussion with Father Alexei Smith, director of ecumenical and interreligious affairs of the Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles, and Bishop Mary Ann Swenson of the United Methodist Church

Reception immediately following.

View the Photo Gallery Here

About the Speaker

Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit

The Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit was elected general secretary of the World Council of Churches (WCC) in August 2009, and was re-elected to a second term in July 2014. At the time of his nomination, Tveit was the general secretary of the Church of Norway Council on Ecumenical and International Relations (2002-09).  Before taking up the post of general secretary of the WCC, Tveit served as a member of the Faith and Order Plenary Commission and as a co-chair of the Palestine Israel Ecumenical Forum core group. In his home country, he served as a member of the board of directors and executive committee of the Christian Council of Norway. He was also a moderator of the Church of Norway, both with the Islamic Council of Norway contact group and the Jewish Congregation contact group. Additionally, he was a member of the Inter-Faith Council of Norway and a member of the board of trustees of Norwegian Church Aid. 

Tveit’s previous assignments included the position of secretary for the Church of Norway Doctrinal Commission (1999-2000) and Church-State Relations (2001-02). He is an ordained pastor in the Church of Norway and has served as a parish priest. In 2002, he was awarded a doctorate in theology by the Norwegian School of Theology/Menighetsfakultetet in Oslo for his dissertation on Mutual Accountability as Ecumenical Attitude. In 2012, he received the Friends of the Armenians Award for his advocacy worldwide. In 2013, King Abdullah II of Jordan presented him with the Al-Hussein Decoration for Distinguished Service in the field of inter-religious dialogue and cooperation in pursuit of peace among peoples. In 2015, Hanshin University in Seoul, Republic of Korea, awarded him an honorary doctorate in recognition of his vision of unity, justice and peace. In 2018, Serampore College in India, awarded him an honorary doctorate in recognition of his ecumenical work.

About the Panelists

Bishop Mary Ann Swenson

Currently vice moderator for the central committee of the World Council of Churches, Bishop Mary Ann Swenson has also served as ecumenical officer for the United Methodist Council of Bishops (2012-2016), bishop of the California Pacific Conference and supervisor of the Western Jurisdiction Korean Mission (2000-2012), and bishop of Yellowstone and Rocky Mountain Conferences (1992-2000). She also served as president of the church's Board of Discipleship (1996-2000), president of the General Council on

Finance and Administration (2004-2008), and president of the General Commission on Christian Unity and Inter religious Relationships (2009-2012). In her retirement she enjoys being on the board for Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice and the advisory council for the Guibord Center.

Born in Arkansas and educated in Mississippi with a BA from Millsaps College (1969) and D.Min. from the School of Theology at Claremont, California (1975), she served as a pastor in the Pacific Northwest Conference of the United Methodist Church for 25 years before being elected bishop in 1992. She and her husband Jeff have been married 50 years. They worship at Hollywood United Methodist Church and enjoy riding their tandem bicycle and public transportation on the city bus and light rail. She has led the church with passion toward becoming a more inclusive community, filled with grace, compassion and justice, growing in more perfect love of God and neighbor. 

Father Alexei Smith

Father Alexei was born and raised in the Hyde Park area of Los Angeles and attended local Catholic elementary and secondary schools. After earning his undergraduate degree in international relations from USC, he went on to earn a M.Div. from the Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology in Boston, and was then ordained a Greek Catholic Priest of the Eparchy of Newton, MA. He served as an elected member of the Council of Priests of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles for six years, serving as vice president of the Council and chair of the Priestly Life and Ministry Committee for two years. In addition to his current position as director of ecumenical and interreligious affairs for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, Father Alexei is a Knight Commander of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem and a co-coordinator of the Western Region’s Catholic/Muslim Dialogue for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.