Liberato Bautista Elected New President of CoNGO

Rev. Dr. Liberato C. Bautista is the President of CoNGO—The Conference of Non-Governmental Organizations in Consultative Relationship with the United Nations. CoNGO is an international non-governmental organization founded in 1948. It relates to the United Nations through its General Consultative status granted by the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).

In the seventy years of CoNGO, Bautista is one of only two among nineteen CoNGO Presidents who have served two terms in non-consecutive fashion. He was CoNGO President between December 2007 and January 2011. Rosalind Harris, who represented the International Social Service at the UN, was president between 1972 to 1976 and between 1991 and 1994.

Bautista concurrently serves as the main representative of the United Methodist Church—General Board of Church and Society (GBCS), which is the international public policy and social justice agency of The United Methodist Church. 2018 is the twenty-first year Bautista has represented GBCS at the United Nations. GBCS is a longstanding full member of CoNGO. As a nongovernmental representative at the United Nations of a faith-based organization, Bautista served as president of the Committee of Religious NGOs at the United Nations  (CRNGO@UN, 2015-2017). Bautista chaired the Council of Organizations in New York of the United Nations Association of the USA (UNA-USA, 2006-2007) and elected in 2018 to serve in its Executive Committee. His NGO-related activities date back to 1974, working entirely from that year that to this day in non-governmental and faith-based organizations.

Bautista teaches, writes and lectures extensively in a variety of fields, including international affairs; NGO and civil society dynamics; social and political ethics; theology and religion; ecumenism and religious liberty; human rights and human dignity; indigeneity and indigenous peoples; and peace, justice, and social transformation. He has taught politics and civil society at Kyung Hee University in Seoul, Korea and dynamics of society and community organizing at Saint Andrews {Episcopal} Theological Seminary in the Philippines. He is currently teaching an online course on Christian social ethics at John Wesley College in Tuguegarao City.

Bautista studied political science, history, and international studies at the University of the Philippines. His doctoral studies at Drew University in Madison, New Jersey focused on religion and social and political ethics. He was awarded the Doctor of Divinity, honoris causa, by Union Theological Seminary in the Philippines in 2016. Bautista is an ordained United Methodist minister.

Bautista has attended major United Nations, ecumenical, interreligious, civil society, and academic conferences as early as the late 1970s. He has traveled extensively to some 80 countries and territories. Bautista’s biography appears in Who’s Who in the World (4th ed. 1991 – 1992) and Who’s Who in Religion (10th ed. 1993 – 1994). Among awards and accolades he has received is the 1996 Martin Luther King Humanitarian Award given by Drew University; one of eleven around the world awarded a plaque of thanks five in Seoul, South Korea in 2017 by the Korea Democracy Foundation as a recognition by Korean civil society and human rights organizations of Bautista’s contributions to the democratization and struggle for peace and justice in the Korean Peninsula. Bautista is also the recipient of an award of honor in 2017 from the International Religious Liberty Association for his work on religious freedom worldwide. In 2000, his alma mater, the University of the Phillippines Manila, recognized him as “Most Outstanding Alumnus in the Social Sciences.”

Bautista’s published work in books and journals include, among others, Turning Strangers Into Friends: Hospitality, Mercy, Justice—A Workbook on the Framework Documents of the Churches Witnessing With Migrants (NCCP and CWWM: Manila, 2017); The Intersections of Human Rights, Migration and Development Justice (GBCS and NCCP, New York and Manila, 2014), Engaging the Powers and Public Theology from the Perspective of Indigenous Peoples as a Key Mandate in AsianEcumenism (in Asian Handbook for Theological Education and Ecumenism (WCC Publications and Oxford, England: Regnum Books International, 2013), Meditations and Devotions on the Millennium Development Goals: A Prayerful Guide (GBCS, New York, 2012), Sustainable Development Goals: The Ethical Demands of Human Rights and Equity (in MDG Global Watch Journal, New York, 2012); Indigenous Peoples: Confession, Repentance and Forgiveness, (in On This Spirit Walk—The Voices of Native American and Indigenous Peoples, Nashville, Tennessee, 2012);  And None Shall Make Them Afraid: Militarism, Militarization and Human Rights (in Praxis, Hong Kong, 2000);  War, Peace and the Ecumenical Movement in the Philippines (Colombo, Sri Lanka, 1993);Witness and Hope Amidst Struggle (1991), Religious Freedom and Liberty in the Philippines (CCA: Hong Kong, 1991) And She Said No: Human Rights, Women’s Identities and Struggles (1990), Human Rights: Biblical and Theological Readings (1988), Towards a Theology of Struggle (Manila, 1988), and Those Who Would Give Light Must Endure Burning: Spirituality for Justice and Peace(WCC Publications: Geneva, 1986).

Bautista has written and published essays and monographs, many based on his lectures and speeches on the work and role of civil society and non-governmental and grassroots organizations, in local, national, regional, international and multilateral arenas. These writings address Bautista’s concern for the organizational life of NGOs and civil society organizations characterized by consultative processes, collaborative approaches, and cooperative spirit. Such organizational values elaborated in his writings point to the importance of NGOs as effective forces for change and transformation if they imbibe and flourish what he calls the “power of Co – consultation, collaboration, and cooperation.

A representative body of Bautista’s writings on matters related to his NGO and civil society work include, among others: Liberty, Citizen and the Future: A Tale of Two Revolutions—Czechoslovakia’s Velvet Revolution and South Korea’s Candle Revolution (Seoul, 2017); Civil Society and Business: Working Together for Peace, Security and Sustainable Development (UN Alliance of Civilizations Forum, Baku, Azerbaijan, 2016); Global Forced Migration and Challenges to NGO Work (Dianova International Assembly, Mallorca, Spain, 2015); Peace Education and Women’s Empowerment: A Reprise of Old Themes and Recurrent Concerns (CSW, New York, 2011); The Role of Men and Boys in Gender Equality (Geneva, 2010);  Another Global Warming is Possible: (Re)imagining Multilateralism, (En)gendering Civic Action, (Re)locating Transformation, and (Re)constituting A Humanitarian Planet (Seoul, 2009); Food for Thought, Thoughts on Food: The Role of NGOs in Fostering Multilateralism for a More Secure, More Just and More Peaceable World (Hamburg, 2009); Threats to the Health and Sustainable Development of Nations: Global Public Health in the Context of the Global Economic Crisis (ILO, Geneva, 2009);Multilateralism and Beyond: When and How NGOs Matter in a World of Nation States (San Jose, Costa Rica, 2008); Global Issues of the 21st Century and the Role of University Youth (KHU, Seoul, 2008); Fighting Poverty at Home or Fighting Poverty Abroad: Do We Have and Must We Really Make a Choice? (Detroit, 2008); and The Underside of Human Rights: On the Occasion of the 60th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (NGO DPI Conference, UNESCO, Paris, 2008).

Bautista is married to Adora Bautista, a public school teacher focused on curriculum development and special education. They have two adult children, Arvin Louis who is in the film and television industry and Aiena Laya who is in the health profession.