Fr. William Headley, CSSp

Adjunct Special Professional Faculty

Fr. William Headley, CSSp

100 Hesburgh Center for International Studies
Notre Dame, IN 46556

Phone: (619) 260-7918

William R. Headley, CSSp, Ph.D., is a sociologist, counselor and Catholic priest. He has a broad background in Church leadership, justice, peace and international aid with experience in over 70 countries. Bill was the Major Superior (1979-85) of the USA-Eastern Province of his Holy Spirit (Spiritans) community. While Provincial of the Spiritans, Headley served on the Executive Committee, Conference of Major Superiors of Men; was the first President of the Africa Faith and Justice Network/USA; and was instrumental in starting the Washington Office on Haiti.  In 1986, he conducted for Jesuit Refugee Services a study of Nairobi, Kenya’s refugees.


Called to Generalate administration for the Spiritans in 1987, Bill started his Community's first International Justice and Peace Office (Rome, Italy). He directed it for five years. Haunted by intra-state conflict witnessed in Africa, Fr. Headley used a sabbatical to research grassroots efforts at peacemaking in Northern Ireland, Israel/Palestine, South Africa and Haiti. 


In July 1993, Professor Headley established a graduate program in Conflict Resolution and Peace Studies at Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, PA. He was named Deputy Executive Director of Policy and Strategic Issues, Catholic Relief Services, in March 2000.   As part of CRS’ Executive Team, he helped to guide CRS’ relief, development, and justice/ peace programs. Early in 2003, he was appointed Counselor to CRS’ President with major responsibility for the Agency’s peace work. As a peace builder, Bill has assisted conferences of bishops in Ghana, Nigeria, the Balkans, Sudan, Haiti and Burundi. He has a doctorate in sociology (New York University), advanced degrees in counseling and theology and has done post-doctoral work at Harvard Divinity School, George Mason University’s Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution and the Gandhi Peace Institute, New Delhi. In August 2007, Bill became the founding Dean of the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies at the University of San Diego, San Diego, CA. The Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies is reputed to be the only academic School of Peace in the USA. In 2009, Bill received an Honorary Doctorate in Ministry from the Catholic Theological Union in Chicago, Illinois, and in 2010, Bill received an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from St. Martin’s University in Lacey, Washington.


Bill returned to the graduate classroom as a full Professor of Peacebuilding during the Spring semester 2013, following an international teaching/research sabbatical in Thailand, Egypt and Nepal. His teaching and research are focused on Interreligious Peacebuilding and he is developing additional new programming for his School in this area. In addition, our colleague holds a joint part-time appointment as a Professor of Practice, Kroc Institute of International Peace Studies, University of Notre Dame. Bill is enrolled in a program with the Living School under the direction of Rev. Richard Rohr, OFM at the Center for Action and Contemplation, Albuquerque, NM.