Donald W. Mitchell
Donald W. Mitchell is a Professor Emeritus at Purdue University, a visiting professor at Sophia University Institute, Italy, and the editor of Claritas: Journal of Dialogue and Culture. Specializing in Buddhism and the Buddhist-Christian dialogue, he was a founder of the Society for Buddhist-Christian Studies and associate editor of its journal. He has been director of the International Buddhist-Christian Theological Encounter, and a consultant to the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, and the Monastic Interreligious Dialogue.
He has received grants for his dialogical work from the United States Department of State, the John Templeton Foundation, Lilly Endowment, and the Niwano Peace Foundation. His publications include: Spirituality and Emptiness: The Dynamics of Spiritual Life in Buddhism and Christianity, Masao Abe: A Zen Life of Dialogue, The Gethsemani Encounter, Green Monasticism: Buddhist and Christian Monastic Perspectives on Ecology, and Buddhism: Introducing the Buddhist Experience (Fourth Edition), and numerous journal articles.
Professor Mitchell's work for the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue (PCID) began in 1986. He helped organize and lead the first three Buddhist-Christian dialogues of the Catholic Church at the request of Pope John Paul II. In 2015, he organized the first United States Conference of Catholic Bishops's joint dialogue with the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue under Pope Francis. Pope Francis met with the dialogue participants in Rome and asked that they return to the United States to address social ills together in their cities. As a result of this request, Mitchell organized green affordable housing projects in Brooklyn, Chicago, and Los Angeles for the working poor, the homeless, and the elderly poor
The PCID invited Professor Mitchell to help organize and lead their first All-Asia Buddhist-Christian Dialogue that was held in Taiwan held in Taiwan from November 11 to 16, 2017. The theme of the dialogue was: "Buddhists and Christians Walking Together on the Path of Nonviolence." It addressed religious and secular violence in Asia and ways of addressing them by interreligious cooperation. At the closing of that event, with leaders of the Catholic Church from Asia and officials from the government of Taiwan, The Pontifical Council awarded Professor Mitchell with a certificate "to express its sincere appreciation and deep gratitude to Professor Donald W. Mitchell for his outstanding contributions and tireless efforts to foster the Church's Buddhist-Christian Dialogue for over 30 years." The award certificate is signed by Jean-Louis Cardinal Tauran, President of the PCID, and is accompanied by a rare medallion from Pope Francis