Liberato Bautista re-elected to unprecedented third term as President of CoNGO

The 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 that relates to the United Nations through its General Consultative Status granted by the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).

In the seventy-five years of CoNGO, Bautista is one of only two among nineteen CoNGO Presidents who have served two terms in a non-consecutive fashion. On December 1, 2021, he was reelected to an unprecedented third term. He was CoNGO President between December 2007 and January 2011 and was elected again in 2017. He will serve his current term until 2025.

Bautista concurrently serves as the main representative to the UN for the United Methodist Church—General Board of Church and Society (GBCS), the international public policy and social justice agency of The United Methodist Church. He has represented GBCS at the UN for the last 25 years. GBCS is a longstanding full member of CoNGO. As a nongovernmental representative of a faith-based organization at the UN, 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 was elected in 2018 to serve on its Executive Committee. Bautista’s NGO-related activities date back to 1974, starting with a faith-based youth organization and moving on to work and related with ecumenical organizations, then on to a non-governmental position vis-a-vis the UN. His work has allowed him to travel and meet people in at least 80 nations worldwide.

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 the dynamics of culture and community organizing at Saint Andrews {Episcopal} Theological Seminary in the Philippines. He occasionally teaches 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 in Manila, which in 2000 awarded him the “Most Outstanding Alumnus in the Social Sciences.” His doctoral studies at Drew University in Madison, New Jersey, focused on religion and social and political ethics. Union Theological Seminary in the Philippines awarded him the Doctor of Divinity, honoris causa, in 2016. Bautista is an ordained United Methodist minister. In December 2021, the World Academy of Art and Science (WAAS) inducted Bautista as a Fellow.

Bautista has attended major United Nations, ecumenical, inter-religious, civil society, and academic conferences since 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 the awards and accolades, he received the 1996 Martin Luther King Humanitarian Award given by Drew University; one of eleven around the world awarded a plaque of thanks 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 also received an  award of honor in 2017 from the International Religious Liberty Association during that year’s World Congress for Religious Freedom for his work on religious freedom worldwide. In 2000, his alma mater, the University of the Philippines Manila, recognized him as the “Most Outstanding Alumnus in the Social Sciences.”

Bautista’s published work in books and journals includes, among others,  Shaping a World of Freedoms: 75 Years of Legacy and Impact of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Nelu Burcea and Liberato Bautista, co-editors, 2023), Book of Abstracts: Freedom of Expression, Hate Speech, Religious Freedom: A Human Rights Perspective (Nelu Burcea and Liberato Bautista, co-editors, 2023);  Migrants and Refugees: Voice and Agency–Towards an Infrastructure of Welcome and Hospitality and an Architecture of Advocacy and Solidarity, in International Handbook on Ecumenical Diakonia (Oxford: Regnum Books, 2021); Turning Strangers Into Friends: Hospitality, Mercy, Justice—A Workbook on the Framework Documents of the Churches Witnessing With Migrants, editor (NCCP and CWWM: Manila, 2017); The Intersections of Human Rights, Migration and Development Justice, Liberato Bautista and Mervin Toquero, editors (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 Asian Ecumenism, 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: WSCF Asia Pacific, 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, Liberato Bautista and Elizabeth B. Rifareal, editors (Quezon City: NCCP, 1990), Human Rights: Biblical and Theological Readings (Quezon City: NCCP, 1988), Towards a Theology of Struggle, co-editor (Manila, 1988), and Those Who Would Give Light Must Endure Burning: Spirituality for Justice and Peace, Samuel Amirtham and Liberato Bautista, editors (Geneva: WCC Publications, 1986). For more information about Bautista’s publications, see Worldcat.

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 influential 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 presentations and writings on matters related to his NGO and civil society work include, among others: Combating Corruption: The Relevance and Capacities of Faith-Based Organizations (Vienna: UN General Assembly Special Session Against Corruption, 2021); Words, Worlds and Worldviews: Glocal Citizenship Education, Learning and Literacy (La Union, Philippines: Don Mariano Marcos Memorial State University, 2021); Global Citizenship Education in a Human Crisis of Solidarity (Seoul: Interfaith Coalition Conference for Global Citizens, 2020);  Seeking Peace, Pursuing Justice: An Account of Hope for the Korean Peninsula (No Gun Ri Global Peace Forum, 2020);  Beijing+25 and UNSRC 1325+20: Gender Equality Action for an Equal Future (Seoul: Women’s Forum for Peace and Diplomacy, 2020);  Liberty, Citizen and the Future: A Tale of Two Revolutions—Czechoslovakia’s Velvet Revolution and South Korea’s Candle Revolution (Seoul, 2017); (Re)Locating Religious Freedom and (Re)Imagining  Sustainable Peace in the Context of Multilateralism and in the Service of Transformation (Ft. Lauderdale, FL: 8th IRLA World Congress on Religious Freedom, 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); The Intersections of Peace, Human Security, Human Rights and Human Dignity: Considerations of Ecumenical Discourses and Praxes (Princeton Theological Seminary 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 early childhood education curriculum development and special education. They have two adult children, Arvin Louis, in the film and television industry, and Aiena Laya, in the health profession.

Updated 13 May 2022