Davis E. "Dee" Froeber - President & CEO

Leadership Positions

President & CEO, The Global Institute For Religious And Cultural Diplomacy
President & CEO, Intercultural Dimensions
Minister to Internationals Emeritus, Forest Hills Baptist Church, Raleigh, NC
Executive Director, American Chinese Multi-Faith Religious Exchange
Advisory Board Member &Chair, Cultural Committee, North Carolina China Center

Davis E. “Dee” Froeber has over 30 years experience relating to persons from different cultures and ethnic backgrounds. From migrants to trans-national businesspersons, from refugees to foreign embassy staff, he has learned how to bridge the differences encountered in communicating across cultural and ethnic boundaries and help others do the same.

Mr. Froeber has served as Minister to Internationals at Forest Hills Baptist Church (FHBC), Raleigh, NC since 1981. He is founder of The Global Institute for Religious and Cultural Diplomacy. He will be resigning his positionat Forest Hills in December of this year with the title Minister to Internationals Emeritus to devote himself full-time to the work of citizen diplomacy.He continues to provide intercultural training, consulting and research for government, education and industry through his firm,Intercultural Dimensions.

Mr. Froeber is able to offer those he collaborates with expertise, knowledge and skill in several disciplines and areas of focus from cross-cultural business negotiations to consultations in international diplomacy. He has been called upon by education, business, industry and government to facilitate effective intercultural communication across cultural boundaries. His undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate studiesin the fields of comparative religion (with a focus onChinese studies and Islamics), intercultural communication, mediation and conflict resolution, and country specific studies serve as a foundation for the skills and services he offers to others.

Under his leadership, the Ministry to Internationals at FHBC grew from a handful of English as a second language students attending ESL classes offered to a population of up to 1,500 internationals from over 50 nations who pass through the doors of the church various weeks for a wide variety of activities and events. He designed and developed a holistic ministry for internationals that included ESL classes, retreats, social events, refugee sponsorship, cross-cultural counseling, interfaith dialogues, and more. In the social aftermath of 9/11, he reached out to the local Muslim community leading people-to-people exchanges between FHBC and the Islamic Association of Raleigh. He was instrumental in founding three ethnic churches that are sponsored by FHBC, supervising and working with the ethnic pastors of these churches to carry-out a broad reaching ministry to diverse expatriate ethnic groups. Mr. Froeber was also responsible for overseeing the work of three ethnic language schools hosted by FHBC, co-founding one of these, who enroll 900 students meeting weekly in FHBC’s facilities.

His ministry has included supporting several expatriatestate-wide ethnic associations including Afghanian, Bengali, Columbian, Iranian, Nepali, Nigerian and othersthat have met in the church’s facilities. He worked closely with the international student director and staff at North Carolina State University providing support and services to their international student body. Leading and working with a team of hundreds of dedicated volunteers over the years, he impacted the lives of an estimated 15,000 internationals who have come to FHBC since he was hired in 1981. The expatriates Mr. Froeber worked with spanned the socio-economic spectrum from refugees and migrants, to international students, trans-national businesspersons, and foreign diplomats including several of China’s ambassadors to the U.S.

In 2010, Mr. Froeber founded The Global Institute For Religious and Cultural Diplomacy (GIRCD).The Institute’s mission is to use the power of citizen diplomacy to promote harmony, peace and intercultural understanding among peoples and nations around the globe through multi-faith religious encounters and cultural exchanges. GIRCD grew out of the first bi-lateral exchange of its kind between national level multi-faith religious leaders from the People’s Republic of China and the United States as well as dialogue with political and religious leaders from North Africa and the Middle East.

GIRCD utilizes the platforms of interfaith dialogue and cultural exchange to explore issues of faith, religion-in-society, divergent political perspectives and cultural differences to help world citizens understand, value and appreciate the fundamental ethos that defines each and every human being as citizens of nations, states and our world. Through our efforts, our vision is to transform individuals into global citizen diplomats who are empowered to lead us beyond the universal barriers and pitfalls that divide us in order to bring the fruit of reconciliation, peace and hope to humankind.

His life experiences have complemented his formal studies. One of his passions is the study of Chinese and American culture and the communication between these two as East meets West. As China began opening its doors to the West in the early 1980s, he began friendships with many of the first visiting Chinese scholars who came to the U.S. to engage in research at North Carolina State University. He has been traveling, researching, and working in China yearly since 1999. In 2004,he lived briefly in Shanghai engaged in intensive studyof Mandarin while immersing himself in Chinese life and culture. He also studied Chinese at North Carolina State University. His insight into the interplay of Sino-U.S. cultures has been gained through relationships with Chinese locally, through working and living experiences in China, and through intensive study and research in the field of intercultural communication and Chinese culture, language and history.

Mr. Froeber’s ministry to internationals grew to have international influence. He hosted a number of delegations visiting the U.S. under the auspices of the U.S. Department of State in conjunction with the Research Triangle International Visitor’s Council. He engaged innumerous dialogueswith state-level government and national-level Muslim religious leaders from over a dozen different North African and Middle Eastern nations as they explored the concepts of American democracy, religious freedom and the separation of church and state.

Mr. Froeber has facilitated and been involved in a number of high-level exchanges with China. In 2007, at the invitation of China’s ambassador to the United States, Ambassador Zhou Wenzhong, Mr. Froeber traveled to China to investigate the possibility ofmulti-faith dialogue between religious leaders in China and the U.S. and to pursue opportunities for cultural and educational exchanges. During this trip he met with Chinese leadersof the State Administration for Religious Affairs (SARA), the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Culture, the China Christian Council and China Central Television. After this exploratory trip,Ambassador Zhou Wenzhong and SARA asked Mr. Froeber to initiate and host the first multi-faith religious delegation of its kind from the People’s Republic of China (P.R.C.) to visit the U.S. In September of 2008, this delegation arrived and dialogued with U.S. religious leaders and metwith government, civic and business leaders in Atlanta and Washington, D.C. Former President Jimmy Carter hosted the Chinese delegation at his home church, Maranatha Baptist Church, Plains, Georgia, and has offered his on-going support to these initiatives.

In 2009, China’s State Administration for Religious Affairs (SARA) invited Mr. Froeber to form and lead a delegation of U.S. religious leaders to reciprocate China’s 2008 U.S. visit. In October of 2009, this delegation met with Chinese Communist Party officials and the leaders of China’s five officially recognized faiths. They visited Beijing, Nanjing, Shanghai and Hong Kong for dialoguewith Chinese multi-faith religious leaders on topics ranging from the growth, development and practice of these faiths to human rights and religion-state relationships. Interchanges were also held withCommunist Party Officials including China’s Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, Minister Wang Zuo’an, head official of SARA, and Chinese Academy of Social Scientist scholars.

At Hong Kong University(HKU) religious leaders representing Hong Kong’s six prominent religious faiths and the U.S. delegation presented white papers on the social responsibility of religions in modern society.The2009 delegation had the honor of being the first U.S. multi-faith delegation to visit HKU in its 111 year history and represented the first U.S. multi-faith religious delegation to visit the People’s Republic of China since the founding of that nation in 1949.

In 2008, Mr. Froeber founded the American Chinese Multi-Faith Religious Exchange, sponsored and supported by FHBC, to carryout these multi-faith religious exchanges with China’s political and religious leaders. He recently co-authored an article in Baylor University’sJournal of Church and State entitled, “American–Chinese Multi-Faith Religious Exchanges: Sino-U.S. Multi-Faith Dialogues Build Bridges to Bilateral Understanding” that details the 2008 and 2009 exchanges and analyzes the P.R.C.’s current religious market economy.

Mr. Froeberhas been actively involved with and held numerous leadership roles in various professional organizations including NAFSA: Association of International Educators,the national Society for Intercultural Education, Training, and Research,the North Carolina Society for Intercultural Education, Training and Researchas well as Teachers of English as a Second or Other Language. He was a charter board member and founder of two state-wide professional organizations: the North Carolina Association of International Educators and the North Carolina Society for Intercultural Education, Training and Research. He was a co-founder of the Raleigh-based Chinese American Friendship Association that was formed in 1996 that serves 15,000 local Chinese expatriates. In 1995, he was instrumental in founding the Raleigh Academy of Chinese Language, a Saturday school for teaching children of P.R.C expatriates Chinese language and culture.

He co-founded and served on the executive board of Americans for a Permanent Peace in Afghanistan helpingto distribute aid to citizens left destitute by war in Afghanistan. He is an advisory board member of Kusette Foundation dedicated to providing educational scholarships for children in Nigeria. Presently, he serves on the Advisory Board of the North Carolina China Center and is Chairperson of the Center’s Cultural Committee. The Cultural Committee sponsors performances of nationally known performing arts groups from China, provides intercultural training for Chinese and Americans, and promotes Sino-U.S. friendship exchanges.

Mr. Froeber has been an invited speaker, presenter, and trainer at numerous conferences nationally and internationally. Among others, he has presented at conferences held by NAFSA: Association of International Educators and the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. In October of 2007, he was invited by the Chinese Embassy, Washington, D.C. and the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, P.R.C to speak at the George Bush China-U.S. Relations Conference in Washington, D.C. where he addressed the topic of best practices in people-to-people exchanges. In January of 2008, he presented a working paper on resolution of conflict in cult-state tensions at the Shenzhen International Forum on Cultic Studies, Shenzhen, P.R.C.

He is married to Marilyn Fortner Froeber. Marilyn is a dental hygienist and has been a leader in FHBC’s children and youth programs. She has supported Dee in all his various pursuits and helped raise their three grown children. Their daughter Deanna is enrolled in the School of Divinity at Vanderbilt University and leads and manages a non-profit organization dedicated to helping economically disadvantaged women. Justin is a senior at North Carolina State University majoring in horticulture. Their youngest son, Jason, is a freshman at Wake Technical Community College. Mr. Froeber enjoys a wide variety of pursuits and interests including reading broadly, playing classical and rock guitar, composing music, writing poetry, and going scuba diving and fishing. His most avid interests however are spending time with his family and learning more about other cultures.