Center for the American Idea - Speakers
Barbara J. Elliott is the president of the Center for Renewal, a resource center she founded in 1997 for faith-based organizations working to renew the inner cities of America. She is the author of Street Saints: Renewing America’s Cities (Templeton Foundation Press, 2004) based on more than three hundred interviews across the country. Since Street Saints was published, along with the companion volume Equipping the Saints, she has addressed audiences throughout the entire country, including universities, public policy think tanks, philanthropists, churches, civic organizations, radio broadcasts, and national television.
As an analyst on faith-based and community initiatives and the author of scores of articles on civic renewal, she has served as a Senior Fellow with the Hudson Institute, and Associate Fellow for the Sagamore Institute. The Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology inducted her as a fellow in May 2006. She is also a Philanthropic Advisor with the Legacy Group and lecturer for the Catherine of Siena Institute.
President George W. Bush awarded her the Eleanor Roosevelt Award for Human Rights in 2001, recognizing her work with refugees and the poor. She has collaborated with the White House Office for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives and the Compassion Capital Fund.
She was an international television correspondent, covering economic and political news for PBS in Europe. She launched a private initiative to assist refugees fleeing communist countries in 1989. From that work came 150 interviews in Eastern bloc and the former Soviet Union with Christians who resisted communism because of their faith. The result is the book Candles Behind the Wall: Heroes of the Peaceful Revolution that Shattered Communism (Eerdmans 1993).
Barbara served President Ronald Reagan in The White House Office of Public Liaison, having been the Director of Legislative Information for The Heritage Foundation on Capitol Hill. Before that, she was the director of the Center for Constructive Alternatives at Hillsdale College, and the editor of its journal, Imprimis.
Her undergraduate work was done at Ohio Wesleyan University, and graduate work in theology at the University of St. Thomas in Houston. She received an honorary doctorate from the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology in May 2006.