Dena Merriam

Dena Merriam founded the Global Peace Initiative of Women to give a global voice to women spiritual leaders. For more than 40 years she 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. She holds a master’s degree from Columbia University.

In 2014 Dena was awarded the Niwano Peace Prize in Japan for her many years of commitment to interfaith dialogue.

She is the author of My Journey Through Time: A Spiritual Memoir of Life, Death, and Rebirth, The Untold Story of Sita: An Empowering Tale For Our Time, and soon to be released, When the Bright Moon Rises: Awakening Ancient Memories (2020).

Ms. Merriam began working in the interfaith movement as Vice Chair of the Millennium World Peace Summit of Religious and Spiritual Leaders held at the United Nations in New York. From that gathering, she founded the Global Peace Initiative of Women (GPIW) in 2002, which works in the areas of peacebuilding, fostering new models of development, and mobilizing faith communities to address the climate crisis. It also aims to shift our perspective to the environment, regaining the sense of awe, respect and reverence for the Earth and her life systems. GPIW creates a global platform for spiritual leaders and seeks to engage the Hindu and Buddhist leadership more actively on the world stage.

In 2008, Ms. Merriam became one of the founding members of the Contemplative Alliance, an initiative that brings together organizations and individuals from across various traditions who believe that inner development is an essential element in the positive transformation of the global community.

Learn more about Dena by visiting her website.
Learn more about Global Peace Initiative of Women.


The universe is not about judgment or punishment, but rather everything works toward our spiritual awakening. The law of cause and effect is for this purpose only to help with that awakening.

Dena Merriam