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Robert DeSena

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Robert DeSena

Bob is an educator, humanist, problem solver. He obtained his M.A. in English Language and Literature /Letters from New York University, followed by master's degree in education at Queens College in the administration and supervisory program.

As an educator, Bob saw the need for getting students from diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds under a big common tent, to minimize the violence that was a big challenge in the New York City public schools in the 70s.

Bob created the Council for Unity (CFU) in 1975, which grew from six gang leaders to a national award-winning movement in New York and beyond. As president of CFU since September 1975—45 years and counting—he developed curriculum around CFU's 4 Pillars: Family, Unity, Self-Esteem & Empowerment. Bob developed a holistic strategy to engage schools, community, law enforcement, and correctional facilities into a single network to prevent crime and discrimination.

The Interfaith Institute of Long Island has also benefitted from its interaction with the CFU, to quote Bob directly: "The Interfaith Institute's relationship with Council for Unity has now expanded your reach into the realm of education. The institute's sponsorship of a tour of your facility for our Westbury Middle School chapter had a far-reaching impact not only on our CFU members, but faculty as well. Many attended the visit with preconceived and erroneous conceptions about Islam and left with a new appreciation of one of the world’s great religions. And from that event, the Interfaith Institute provided ministers and imams to bless our congregation at our 44th anniversary induction with over 1,000 youngsters from over 130 different cultures witnessing the faith-based community celebrating the same unity and tolerance that is part of our mission. The impact on our kids was awe-inspiring and long-lasting, as this had never occurred at any of our events before."

IFI welcomes Bob to its advisory board and together help fulfill Bob's goal: "Through our partnership we have both extended our reach, and it is my fervent prayer that once this pandemic is under control that we will continue to collaborate to bring tolerance, mutual respect and love to a divided world."