Bishop Michael J Nazir-Ali


Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali was the 106th Bishop of Rochester, for 15 years, until 1 September 2009. He is originally from Asia and was the first non-white Diocesan Bishop in the Church of England. He was appointed in 1994. Before that he was the General Secretary of CMS from 1989-1994 and before that Bishop of Raiwind in Pakistan. He holds both British and Pakistani citizenship and from 1999 was a member of the House of Lords where he was active in a number of areas of national and international concern. He has both a Christian and a Muslim family background. He is now President of the Oxford Centre for Training, Research, Advocacy and Dialogue (OXTRAD).

Michael’s secondary education was in Pakistan. He read Economics, Sociology and Islamic History at the University of Karachi, and Theology at Fitzwilliam College and Ridley Hall, Cambridge.

His interests have led him to research and study in several fields, including comparative literature, comparative philosophy of religion and theology at the Universities of Cambridge, Oxford, and elsewhere. He has taught at colleges and universities in the United Kingdom and Pakistan. He is an Hon. Fellow of St. Edmund Hall, Oxford and of Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge. He is Visiting Professor of Theology and Religious Studies in the University of Greenwich and Senior Fellow of Wycliffe Hall, Oxford. He is also on the faculties of the London School of Theology and of the Oxford Centre for Mission Studies.

In Pakistan, Michael taught at Karachi Theological College, worked as a parish priest in a poor urban area, became Provost of Lahore Cathedral and was consecrated the first Bishop of Raiwind.

In 1986 he was appointed to assist with the planning and preparation for the 1988 Lambeth Conference, and so joined the staff of the Archbishop of Canterbury in Britain. He was the editor of the Report and the Pastoral Letters of the 1988 Lambeth Conference.

Michael has served as a director of the Oxford Centre for Mission Studies, was on the board of Christian Aid and was a trustee of Traidcraft.

He was a member of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority and Chair of its Ethics and Law Committee 1997 – 2003

He led the dialogue with Al-Azhar, is a founder member of the Dialogue of Scholars and is President of the Network for Inter-Faith Concerns in the Anglican Communion (NIFCON) as well as having been a member of a number of committees including:

Theological Consultant to the Crown Appointments Review Group from 1998 – 2001

Secretary to the Archbishop’s Commission on Communion and Women in the Episcopate (the Eames’ Commission);

Chairman of the Mission Theology Advisory Group of the Board of Mission (1992-2001)

Member of ARCIC-II (the Anglican and Roman Catholic International Commission);

Member of the Archbishops’ Council

Member of the House of Bishops’ Standing Committee

Member of the International Anglican Roman Catholic Commission on Unity and Mission

Chairman of Working Party on Women in the Episcopate

Chairman of the House of Bishops Theological Group

Chairman of Council, Trinity College, Bristol

Michael has been a visiting lecturer in a number of universities and colleges in the UK, Canada, the USA and Australia. He has travelled widely in Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, North and South America.

He is the author of eleven books and of numerous articles on Faith and Public Life, Freedom of Belief, Bioethics, Mission, Ecumenism, the Anglican Communion, and relations with people of other faiths (particularly Islam). In 2005, he was awarded the Paul Harris Fellowship by Rotary International.


Michael is married to VALERIE, and they have two sons, SHAMMY (Shamaoun), and ROSS.


His interests other than theology are; cricket, hockey, table tennis, scrabble, listening to music and watching television. He enjoys reading humour and detective fiction, and poetry. He writes poetry in English and Persian and has had his work periodically published since he was at school.