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Lowney, Chris

Lowney, Chris

PERSONAL:

Education: Fordham University, summa cum laude graduate, also M.A.

ADDRESSES:

Home—New York, NY. Office—Pilgrimage for Our Children's Future (POCF), 2621 Palisade Ave., Ste. 15A, Riverdale, NY 10463.

CAREER:

Investment banker, public speaker, activist, and writer. Pilgrimage for Our Children's Future, Riverdale, NY, founder. Previously J.P. Morgan & Co., managing director, served on Morgan's Asia-Pacific, European and Investment Banking Management Committees; was a Jesuit seminarian for seven years. Also serves part-time as special assistant to the president of the Catholic Medical Mission Board, New York, NY, and on the board of directors of Nativity Middle School and the board of regents of St. Peter's College.

MEMBER:

Phi Beta Kappa.

AWARDS, HONORS:

Honorary doctoral degrees from Marymount Manhattan University and from the University of Great Falls.

WRITINGS:

Heroic Leadership: Best Practices from a 450-Year-Old Company That Changed the World, Loyola Press (Chicago, IL), 2003.

A Vanished World: Medieval Spain's Golden Age of Enlightenment, Free Press (New York, NY), 2005.

SIDELIGHTS:

Chris Lowney, a former Jesuit seminarian, is the founder of Pilgrimage for Our Children's Future, a nonprofit organization based in Riverdale, New York. The organization funds education and health-care projects in developing nations. In addition, he serves part-time as special assistant to the president of the Catholic Medical Mission Board, a U.S.-based Catholic charity providing health-care programs and services to people in need around the world. He is a public speaker who addresses topics as varied as leadership, business ethics, and interreligious dialogue in engagements across the United States and in countries such as the Philippines, Mexico, Indonesia, Colombia, and Spain. Lowney is also the author of Heroic Leadership: Best Practices from a 450-Year-Old Company That Changed the World and A Vanished World: Medieval Spain's Golden Age of Enlightenment.

Heroic Leadership was called "a superbly perceptive account of the genius and continuing relevance of Ignatius Loyola and the early Jesuits" by People of theBook Web site contributor Jim Manney. Named a finalist for a 2003 Book of the Year Award from ForeWord magazine, the book examines organizational principles garnered from the history and teaching of the Jesuits to foster strong leaders and achieve longevity. The author applies them to modern corporate cultures and bases his guide on four core values to the Jesuits: selfawareness, ingenuity, love, and heroism.

In his book, the author writes: "Some elements of the Jesuit approach are increasingly finding validation in recent research—for example, the link between selfawareness and leadership." The author notes that organizations are still lagging behind Loyola's leadership wisdom and writes that "some aspects of Jesuitstyle leadership carry the uncomfortable and even kooky ring common to provocative new ideas." He explains: "For example, Loyola and his colleagues were convinced that we perform our best in supportive, encouraging, and positively charged environments … and so he exhorted his managers to create environments filled with … ‘greater love than fear.’ But after living with the idea of a loving work environment for a while, it seems to me more wise than kooky."

Heroic Leadership received many favorable reviews. "To a market hypersaturated with books on spirituality, leadership and, predictably, the spirituality of leadership, Chris Lowney, corporate executive and former Jesuit, adds a new twist," wrote Arthur Paul Boers in the Christian Century, adding that "there is much to like about the book. The sections on Jesuit history and influential leaders are fascinating." Noting that the author "takes the reader on an engaging romp through slices of Jesuit history," a Publishers Weekly contributor called Heroic Leadership an "absorbing, lucid book."

Summing up his case for Jesuit-style leadership, the author notes in his book: "In the end, I'm confident that readers will give Loyola and his team their due. After all, the ‘leadership lessons’ genre has proven flexible enough to embrace such unlikely gurus as Attila the Hun, Winnie the Pooh, the Mafia Manager, the Founding Fathers, and W.C. Fields. Surely any tent big enough to fit such a cross section of leaders also has room for a sixteenth-century priest and his colleagues!"

In A Vanished World, the author provides a new perspective on the twenty-first-century rise of terrorism largely based on religious fanaticism. He does this by focusing on a period in Spain when Muslims, Christians, and Jews lived together harmoniously. "His bold and compassionate articulation of medieval Spanish history, with its complex interactions among Jews, Muslims and Christians, speaks directly to contemporary international crises," wrote a Publishers Weekly contributor.

In the book's preface, the author writes about touring Spain not long after the 9/11 terrorist attacks on his native New York. The author notes that he "rattled around tourist sites scared empty of tourists." He adds: "Spain's churches, monuments, language, and literature are richly redolent of a unique, multifaith heritage. Muslims, Christians and Jews had worked, worshipped, and interacted in Spain on a scale unparalleled and even unimaginable elsewhere in the medieval west. As I pondered the wound inflicted on my own native city of New York, I wondered what these medieval Christians, Muslims, and Jews might teach us in a twenty-first century still plagued by enmity among adherents of the world's three great monotheistic religions."

In his book, the author writes of how, between the years 711 and 1492, Spain forged a golden age for each faith to live together and interact, thus distancing Spain from a Europe mired in the Dark Ages. James F. Powers wrote in the Catholic Historical Review that "the work spans Iberian history from the Visigoths to the Catholic Monarchs, providing a felicitous mixing of political, religious, and intellectual history."

The story of relative tolerance begins when Muslim North Africans conquer Christian Spain and launch the first and only Islamic state in Europe. It ends more than seven centuries later when Ferdinand and Isabella vanquish the last Muslim kingdom and ban all Jews from Spain if they do not convert to Catholicism. The author writes about Spain's many contributions to society during this period, from architecture to technologically advanced farming. He pays special note to the works of the country's many religious scholars, who created masterpieces such as the Jewish kabbalah and meditations from masters of Sufism.

The author tells his story through small biographies that relate the daily thoughts of various people, especially as they act toward the religious other. Gilbert Taylor, writing in Booklist, called the portraits "vivid and even mordant." What the author finds is that the Muslims, Christians, and Jews often accepted each other and worked side by side in an attitude of religious tolerance. The author writes about the agony of the Crusades and the Inquisition, as well as the agony of the jihad.

Noting that "Chris Lowney's oxymoronic title makes one wonder, ‘What was golden about this medieval age of darkness?,’" Paulette L. Pepin wrote in her review in the Historian: "Lowney not only answers this question fully, but this engaging and scholarly study also provides readers with a fascinating insight into a truly ‘Golden Age.’" A Kirkus Reviews contributor wrote that the book is "of much interest to those seeking evidence that we can, in fact, all get along."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

BOOKS

Lowney, Chris, A Vanished World: Medieval Spain's Golden Age of Enlightenment, Free Press (New York, NY), 2005.

Lowney, Chris, Heroic Leadership: Best Practices from a 450-Year-Old Company That Changed the World, Loyola Press (Chicago, IL), 2003.

PERIODICALS

Booklist, April 1, 2005, Gilbert Taylor, review of A Vanished World, p. 1340.

Business Owner, January-February, 2005, review of Heroic Leadership, p. 10.

Catholic Historical Review, July, 2005, James F. Powers, review of A Vanished World, p. 516.

Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries, February, 2006, M.M. Johnson, review of A Vanished World, p. 1082.

Christian Century, October 19, 2004, Arthur Paul Boers, review of Heroic Leadership, p. 62.

First Things: A Monthly Journal of Religion and Public Life, November, 2004, review of Heroic Leadership, p. 61.

Historian, fall, 2006, Paulette L. Pepin, review of A Vanished World, p. 635.

History: Review of New Books, summer, 2005, April Najjaj, review of A Vanished World, p. 157.

Kirkus Reviews, February 1, 2005, review of A Vanished World, p. 167.

Library Journal, June 1, 2005, Jim Doyle, review of A Vanished World, p. 146.

Publishers Weekly, May 26, 2003, review of Heroic Leadership, p. 65; February 28, 2005, review of A Vanished World, p. 56.

ONLINE

Chris Lowney Home Page,http://www.chrislowney.com (April 25, 2008).

People of the Book,http://peopleofthebook.us/ (September 11, 2006), Jim Manney, "Chris Lowney's Camino."

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