AT THE CENTER
CENTER NEWSApril 21, 2014
Religious Freedom Project Launches New Blog
April 18, 2014
The Pope in the Attic: Benedict in the Time of Francis
April 17, 2014
Can Uganda’s Hospitable Culture Save the People of South Sudan?
April 16, 2014
A Fundamental Fight
April 12, 2014
Visions of Peace
April 11, 2014
Courtyard of the Common Good
April 3, 2014
Faith, Culture, and the Common Good Event
March 27, 2014
TB: Out from the Shadows
March 19, 2014
Faith Fired by Literature
March 17, 2014
Tips for Interfaith Organizing on College Campuses
March 14, 2014
Art of Service Delivery
March 13, 2014
The Challenge of Resilience in Bangladesh: Negotiating Faith, Politics, and Development
March 10, 2014
NGOs in Gulu: Observing the Role of Foreign Aid in Northern Uganda
March 8, 2014
The Church and the World
March 7, 2014
José Casanova Speaks at Harvard University Converence
Berkley Center News Feed
Cornerstone, a new blog from the Religious Freedom Project, is the only online platform devoted exclusively to the scholarly examination of the meaning and reach of religious liberty. Posts will explore religious freedom from international and domestic perspectives and from a variety of points of view.
Paul Elie profiles Pope Benedict and examines the similarities and differences between the two living popes.
Alex Pommier (SFS'15) says that refugees from South Sudan are welcomed in Uganda due to a special culture that encourages sharing and hospitality.
related | Junior Year Abroad Network
Paul Elie, 25 years after the fatwa against The Satanic Verses, speaks with Salman Rushdie, Stephen King, Ian McEwan, and others about the book and the controversy and discussion it caused around the world.
resource | The Satanic Verses controversy
Drew Christiansen considers how Pope Francis' theology of peace offers an approach to two very different challenges to peace in our time: ethnic and religious conflicts; and the encounter, or alternately the clash, of civilizations.
Paul Elie blogs about the Faith, Culture, and the Common Good conference held at Georgetown in partnership with the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Culture and the Archdiocese of Washington.
related | Caring for "Our Kids" Is a Faith Challenge
On April 10, Georgetown University, the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Culture, and the Archdiocese of Washington will host a major conference exploring how people of different faith traditions and beliefs work together to enrich civic life in America. RSVP today!
related performance | Everything That Rises Must Converge
Katherine Marshall says there would be real benefits to engaging faith communities in the global fight against tuberculosis but that there are a number of hurdles to translating potential into reality.
related | Experiences and Issues at the Intersection of Faith and Tuberculosis
Paul Elie explores the work of Flannery O’Connor, Walker Percy, Dorothy Day, and Thomas Merton during an On Being with Krista Tippett interview.
Aamir Hussain (C'14) suggests that engaging in community service activities, building a network of supporters on campus and in the community, and being persistent are some of the keys to successful interfaith work.
The World Bank's Quintin Woden reflects on a recent World Bank study showing that while faith-inspired healthcare providers' market share and reach may be smaller than often assumed, they seem particularly good at serving their patients.
Katherine Marshall says that an inclusive and cooperative society in Bangladesh is critical to building resilience. How religion factors in furthering this end is a central question.
interview | Benedict Alo D'Rozario, Executive Director of Caritas Bangladesh
Alex Pommier (SFS'15) asks whether the current model of aid distribution in post-conflict areas is the best solution for people trying to recover from decades of war and forced displacement.
case study | Uganda: Religiously-Inspired Insurgency
A new program, led by Drew Christiansen, S.J. and Gerard Mannion, will examine the Catholic Church's teachings on justice and peace and the related global challenges of economic and social development, democracy and human rights, conflict resolution, and interreligious dialogue.
related project | The Church and the Ecumenical Future
related project | The Church and Nuclear Issues
On March 7, 2014 José Casanova participated in a panel discussion at Harvard University's "Theorizing Religion in Modern Europe" conference. Fellow panelists included James Kloppenberg (Harvard University), Joan Scott (Institute for Advanced Study), and Slavica Jakelic (Valparaiso University; University of Virginia).
Katherine Marshall interviews Benedict Alo D'Rozario, executive director of Caritas Bangladesh, about the reasons for his organization's success and the recent tensions in his country.
Katherine Marshall explores how the faith-inspired Chemi Chemi Ya Uzima clinic in Kenya provides a wide range of healthcare services, including family planning, to those living in Nairobi's poorest neighborhood.
The Berkley Center's bilingual resource illuminates the role of religion in both countries and highlights key political and religious leaders, organizations, and communities.
related | Knowledge Resources
Four Georgetown undergraduates conducted in-depth examinations of innovative educational initiatives in Argentina, Cambodia, Peru, and Poland.
related | Education and Social Justice Project
Georgetown.edu | 2013 Education and Social Justice Project Presentations
Katherine Marshall interviews Sister Carol Keehan about her role at the Catholic Health Association, healthcare reform, and her belief in affordable care for all Americans.
related | 2013 Opus Prize
John Githongo, CEO of the NGO Inuka Ni Sisi!, says Kenya's primary challenges are creating a collective identity beyond tribe and integrating young people into the economy. In a new interview, he argues that inequality has replaced poverty as a development challenge.
Aamir Hussain (C'14) says addressing three risks to the interfaith movement can help it grow, and can help Americans break down stereotypes and find more areas of common ground.
Paul Elie speaks with Pulitzer Prize-winning author Taylor Branch about his acclaimed trilogy of books on the life of Martin Luther King, Jr and the civil rights movement.
related | Interfaith Service at Georgetown
Tom Farr, Timothy Shah, and Berkley Center students and staff were honored to meet the pontiff on December 14, 2013. The group was in Rome for the Religious Freedom Project's conference: "Christianity and Freedom: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives."
Georgetown.edu | Pope Francis Meets With Georgetown Professors and Students
Paul Elie reflects on Nelson Mandela's 1990 visit to Riverside Church in New York City.
Marshall | Soccer and the Soul
Tim Shah says the persecution of Christians is happening around the world and has political and economic consequences. He cautions that the West is not totally immune.
related | Christianity and Freedom conference
Katherine Marshall, just back from the King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz International Center for Interfaith and Intercultural Dialogue global forum and the Global Assembly of Religions for Peace, discusses five reasons that such conferences matter.
related | Welcoming the Other Through Human Development that Respects the Earth
Jocelyne Cesari explores the socio-economic, political, and cultural integration of Muslim immigrants in Europe and suggests two ways to overcome the exclusion of Muslims in West.
Join over 400 Georgetown undergraduates who have blogged about religion, culture, and society from six continents. Apply today!
related | 2012-2013 Junior Year Abroad Network Report
Jocelyne Cesari says the symbolic integration of Muslims within national communities would require a dramatic change in the current liberal and secularist narratives. It is a daunting task, but it can be done.
The Afghan Institute of Learning's Sakena Yacoobi is the winner of the 2013 Opus Prize for her work to provide education and healthcare to women and children in Afghanistan.
Katherine Marshall considers how the complex situation in Afghanistan can prompt stakeholders to adopt divergent views on the role of religion in supporting or hindering the quest for women's rights.
related | Opus Prize
Student blogger Hopey Fink reflects on the commercialization of Tabaski, drawing parallels between the celebration of the Muslim holiday in Senegal and celebrations of Christmas throughout the West.
On November 4, 2013, José Casanova 2013 delivered the Jarvis Lecture on Christianity & Culture at East Carolina University's Thomas Harriot College of Arts & Sciences. Casanova's lecture focused on "Transformations in American Civil Religion and American Christianity."
59 Georgetown students blogged about religion, politics, and culture while studying overseas in 28 different countries last year. This new report includes excerpts from their writing on a range of topics including foreign perceptions of the US presidential election, gender and sexuality, and socioeconomic disparity.
blog | Junior Year Abroad Network 2012-2013
In a new blog, Paul Elie brings together current affairs, literature and the arts, Catholicism, and spirituality from Georgetown and the wider world.
related￨The American Pilgrimage Project
In a newly published conference report from the Religious Freedom Project, distinguished Catholic intellectuals including Cardinal Donald Wuerl discuss the meaning of religious freedom within the Catholic tradition.
Georgetown University and the Opus Prize Foundation will award the tenth annual Opus Prize on November 13 to an unsung hero working to solve some of today's most pressing social problems. RSVP today!
interview | Sakena Yacoobi
blog | Liberation Theology Indonesia Style
related | Discussion with Sister Carol Keehan
Tom Banchoff explores the concept of human dignity and says that although there is an asymmetry between the secular-scientific and religious understandings of the human person, it need not be a barrier to dialogue.
Tom Farr discusses the need for American Christians to protect religious freedom for believers and non-believers at home and abroad, saying that the advancement of domestic and international liberty is key to US foreign policy.
Jocelyne Cesari says ending Syrian suffering requires a stronger international diplomatic initiative including Syria's neighbors, in order to rebalance the power between the different factions on the ground.
Katherine Marshall profiles Maggie Barankitse, founder of Maison Shalom. The organization provides care and education for thousands of children, including many who have been orphaned by Burundi's civil war.
related | Faith in Action blog
Katherine Marshall says State's new Office of Faith-Based Community Initiatives will help fill an important gap in America's diplomatic and development outlook, even if there are some risks that should be kept in mind.
Jocelyne Cesari argues that there is no reason to hope for a real democratic transition in Egypt. The end of the Morsi government is neither the end of Islamism nor a return of the state.
Tadros | The Backlash After the Demise: The Brothers and the Copts
In a discussion with Michael Kessler, Russell McCutcheon takes a critical eye to those who profess objectivity while espousing specific religious beliefs and advocating for specific moral positions.
Katherine Marshall examines the work of two Muslim women committed to helping those who are less fortunate. She argues that we need to further celebrate women like them who represent the gifts of Islamic values and traditions.
related | Interview with Edna Adan Ismail
Sarah Baran (C'14) reflects on her experiences in Buenos Aires, where she has been researching the work of Protagonizar, a Jesuit-run microfinance institution, as part of the Education and Social Justice Project.
Kevin Sullivan (SFS'14) writes that the Pope is offering the world, particularly Millennial Catholics, the opportunity to partake in the papacy in a way never before seen. He says that Catholics should join Francis on the journey.
Brian Grim examines the Pew Research Center’s studies on religious freedom over the last six years, including data showing that high government favoritism of one religion at the expense of others has the strongest association with social hostilities involving religion.
As Ramadan continues, explore the Berkley Center's Islam resource for more information on the beliefs, practices, and scriptures of the world's second largest religion.
related │Lailat-ul-Qadr: The Night of Power in Ramadan
In this blog post, Katherine Marshall discusses the international effort to raise a "coalition of conscience" that can find ways to work across boundaries of nation, race, religion, and political views for the common good.
Center Director Tom Banchoff has been named Georgetown’s first vice president for global engagement. He will work to strengthen the university's existing international initiatives; enhance the global dimension of teaching, research, and outreach activities; and reduce barriers to collaboration across campus. He will remain director of the Berkley Center.
Tom Farr argues that while the United States and Canada should be lauded for helping victims of religious persecution, Washington has done little to convince Muslim societies that moving toward religious freedom is beneficial in many ways.
related │ American Conservatives, Islam, and Religious Realism in US Foreign Policy
In this article Eric Patterson evaluated the American Revolution according to just war criteria.
Jocelyne Cesari, in a new book, provides unique insights into the religious and political lives of Muslims in Europe and the United States and assesses how western liberalism and secularism have been transformed since 9/11.
Annie Dale (C'14), who traveled and conducted research in Battambang this May, reflects on the legacy of genocide in Cambodia and its continued impact on education and development in the country.
Katherine Marshall contrasts the alarming practice of accusing children of witchcraft within certain Christian communities in Africa and the Christian-inspired groups that are fighting against such acts.
Angela Reitmaier says that just as world leaders discussed transparency at the G8 summit, faith communities can also encourage new initiatives to promote transparency in government, business, and within their own organizations.
related | Moving on Governance and Corrupt Practices
Tom Farr, in testimony on Capitol Hill, discusses why the United States should promote religious freedom abroad and ways the government might better integrate America's "first freedom" into its foreign policy.
related | Religious Freedom Project
Katherine Marshall offers daily reports from this year's Fes Forum on "A New Andalusia: Local Solutions for Global Disorder."
day one | Challenges for Diverse and Plural Societies
day two | Solidarity, Harmony and the World of Finance
day three | Gross National Happiness and Development
day four | Development Through Culture
Katherine Marshall, writing from the Fes Festival of World Sacred Music, examines how an event that combines appreciation of the arts and intellectual discussion can play a role in breaking through barriers of intolerance and misunderstanding.
related | blogs from the 2012 Fes Festival
Katherine Marshall says that religious leaders, institutions, and ideas can be more effectively utilized in the fight against corruption.
related | Ten Ideas to Enhance Religious Engagement in Global Integrity Movements
Eitan Paul (SFS'12) explains how his education at Georgetown, inside and outside the classroom, helped him to think critically about his own beliefs and learn more about other faith traditions.
Tim Shah and other RFP scholars explore how religion has shaped the international system of states and international relations theory and its role in contemporary international relations. Their essays are part of a new report published by the University of Notre Dame.
Robert Chase of Intersections International writes that religious leaders can strengthen the US-Pakistan bilateral relationship through regular dialogue, exchange programs, and a commitment to repair the damage of drone warfare.
response | Pakistan in the News
Jocelyne Cesari explains that contrary to popular perception, Muslims in the West are supportive of Western values and civic integration.
related | Islam and World Politics
61 Georgetown students wrote about religion, politics, and culture while studying overseas last year. This new report includes excerpts from their blogs on topics ranging from religious freedom and interfaith dialogue to secularization, democracy, and economics.
blog | Junior Year Abroad Network 2011-2012
Jocelyne Cesari explains why the conditions surrounding France's passage of the Marriage for All bill were surprising and unusual in the French secular context.
Carolyn Woo, president and CEO of Catholic Relief Services (CRS), says her upbringing and Catholic education in Hong Kong have shaped her path to CRS. She highlights the role of women leaders and interfaith collaboration in CRS's development efforts worldwide.
Katherine Marshall argues that faith leaders have much to contribute to the conversation about public integrity but they also need to make sure there is transparency and accountability within their own institutions and communities.
related | Ten Ideas to Enhance Religious Engagement in Global Integrity Movements
Paul Elie, Maureen Corrigan, Peter Manseau, and Samantha Pinto reflect on the role of religion in American literature, including in the work of novelist Alice McDermott. Their responses are based on a recent discussion with McDermott held at Georgetown University.
Jocelyne Cesari argues that in light of the Boston bombings, it is time to pay more attention to the social processes that lead to radicalization and less attention to the targeting of entire ethnic or religious groups.
Katherine Marshall highlights three issues—coordination, development philosophy, and the role of religion—facing faith-inspired groups working to combat human trafficking in Cambodia.
Lagon | Broader Lessons from Cambodia and Faith-based Actors
Aamir Hussain (C'14) argues that religious tensions and economic development in South and East Asia make the need for Muslim-Buddhist dialogue more important than ever. Despite theological differences, the two faiths have common ideas of respect and proper action.
Georgetown students examine innovative educational initiatives in Uganda, Uruguay, Bolivia, and France, with a focus on the work of Jesuit institutions, as part of an international summer research fellowship opportunity.
José Casanova argues that gender issues will not go away for the Catholic Church. The growing gap between church and secular morality on sex and gender will need to be addressed, hopefully with a new tone.
response | A Call for Discussion and Renewal in the Church
response | Adding Context to Women, Sexuality, and the Church
With 1000 days left to realize the UN's Millennium Development Goals, Katherine Marshall argues that the world has the knowledge and resources to eradicate poverty. She draws on World Bank President Jim Yong Kim's remark in a recent speech at Georgetown that "the time is ripe to do right."
On April 4, 2013, Berkley Center faculty José Casanova and Katherine Marshall participated in a panel discussion on "Rethinking the Public and the Private in Global Civil Society," sponsored by American University.
At a conference cosponsored by the Masters in Foreign Service Program, Tom Banchoff explored the resonance of human dignity as a foundational concept in various religions and cultural traditions.
Wendy Hamilton, Georgetown chaplain-in-residence, describes her road to the chaplaincy and the importance of engaging different faiths at Georgetown and beyond to serve others.
related | Interfaith Service at Georgetown
Nicholas Fedyk (SFS'14) discusses the different attitudes toward religion in Copenhagen and how they have caused him to reflect on his own faith.
related | Junior Year Abroad Network blog
On the tenth anniversary of the Iraq War, Jocelyne Cesari says that sectarian divides threaten a stable democracy in the country, but a more pragmatic political process may be able to unify Iraqis across religious sects and ethnic groups.
On March 6, RFP director Thomas Farr delivered the Annual True Family Lecture on Catholic thought at Oklahoma University. Dr. Farr's lecture, entitled "Christians May Dance No Longer," highlighted the urgent need for Christians in the West to speak out on behalf of persecuted Christians and other religious minorities.
Tariq Cheema, founder of the World Congress of Muslim Philanthropists, discusses the task of structuring charitable giving in the Muslim community and maximizing impact, while overcoming discrimination toward Muslim philanthropy.
Katherine Marshall argues that the religious dimensions of gender issues need to be more directly acknowledged and tackled in general discussions about women's issues and rights.
interview series | Women, Religion, and Peace
As part of a new initiative at Georgetown, US and Chinese educators met at Fudan University in Shanghai to examine the future of liberal education in an increasingly interconnected world and discuss areas for institutional collaboration.
Writing in response to the recent public conversation between Pastor Rick Warren and RFP Associate Director Timothy Shah, Interfaith Service at Georgetown blogger Trishla Jain reflected that Pastor Warren changed the way she thought about healthcare in the developing world and its relationship to religious freedom.
Tom Farr discusses why the encouragement of religious freedom is both a diplomatic and strategic goal of the United States.
related | Religious Freedom Project
A new report by the World Faiths Development Dialogue and the United Nations Foundation highlights the roles of faith-inspired actors in eliminating energy poverty worldwide and emphasizes the need for a unique, more coordinated faith-inspired approach.
Eric Patterson examines John Kerry's early days as Secretary of State and believes Kerry brings a more pragmatic, statecraft-centered approach to the State Department and US foreign policy than Hillary Clinton.
Paul Elie argues in a New York Times op-ed that American Catholics should resign as Pope Benedict did, if only for a time, in order to take stock of their Catholic faith and perhaps encourage Church reform.
Q&A | Pope Benedict's Resignation
video | The Church's Greatest Challenge
Junior Aamir Hussain writes that while differences will always exist between Christianity and Islam, Lent provides an opportunity to find common ground in Jesus' teachings and reinforce commonalities between the faiths.
related | Interfaith Service at Georgetown blog
Olusegun Obasanjo, former president of Nigeria, discusses the three-pronged approach he used to fight corruption and the challenges of defeating Boko Haram. He says Christianity, Islam, and traditional African religion all have a role to play in his country.
A new three-year project led by José Casanova and Tom Banchoff will examine the historical impact of the Society of Jesus and its contributions in an increasingly global era. Leading scholars and practitioners will explore Jesuit innovations and legacies in the areas of mission, education, and justice.
related | interview series
RFP scholar Daniel Philpott will give the introductory lecture of the National Cathedral's lenten series on reconciliation, on Sunday, February 17 at 10:10 A.M. Dr. Philpott's lecture will focus on his research into the role political reconciliation can play in promoting peace and justice after genocide and civil war.
Rick Warren, best-selling author of The Purpose Driven Life and founding pastor of Saddleback Church, spoke with Timothy Shah about religious freedom and faith-based solutions to some of today's most pressing problems.
related | event video
Eric Patterson says champions of religious liberty should ask the new secretary of state about his views on the intersection of religion and US vital interests, and how he plans to advance the cause of religious liberty and human freedom.
RFP director Thomas Farr joined an Amicus Curiae brief filed with the Supreme Court. The brief cites the court's precedent of allowing the democratic process to play out on contentious social issues to argue against "recognition of a constitutional right to same-sex marriage."
On February 7, 2013, José Casanova offered the keynote address at a conference on “'Post-Atheism': Religion, Society, and Culture in Post-Communist Eastern Europe and Eurasia," hosted by Arizona State University’s Melikian Center.
The Berkley Center is accepting applications for a postdoctoral fellowship for the 2013-2014 academic year. Candidates should be based at a Chinese university or institute and engaged in research at the intersection of religion, culture, and society.
Katherine Marshall writes that Secretary Clinton's achievements are monumental, including a vision of American foreign policy that pushes the meaning of values, puts women at the center, and accepts a Gehry complexity of architecture.
On January 31, 2013, José Casanova spoke at the Institute for Religion, Culture & Public Life on "Religions, Civil and Uncivil, in American Public Life."
The Berkley Center and World Faiths Development Dialogue will host a film screening of the feature documentary The Light in Her Eyes, introduced by filmmakers Julia Meltzer and Laura Nix. Shot before the uprising in Syria, the film offers an extraordinary portrait of a leader who challenges the women of her community to live according to Islam without giving up their dreams.
Jocelyne Cesari argues that we may be witnessing the rise of illiberal democracies in Arab Spring countries, where respect of election outcomes does not automatically mean the end of discrimination based on gender or religion among citizens.
Katherine Marshall says that religious communities can and should be a vital part of the global effort to vaccinate children.
related | Faith and Immunization report
Speaking in Germany, Tom Banchoff said the United States must find ways to lead more effectively through multilateral partnerships and institutions. He explained that such a collaborative style of leadership runs up against a tenet of American civil religion.
As part of the center's program on Islam and World Politics, Jocelyne Cesari will lead a new project examining the complex issues surrounding equal rights in Muslim democracies. Her work will focus on Tunisia, Turkey, and Malaysia.
event | Civil Rights in Muslim Democracies
Katherine Marshall says that religious leaders are determined to act on gun control in the wake of the Sandy Hook school shooting. She argues that faith is a powerful force for healing but leaders must face the question: what's different this time?
Paul Elie writes that Christian belief is figuring less and less into literary fiction. If any segment of our culture can be said to be post-Christian, it is literature.
related | American Pilgrimage Project
Georgetown junior Aamir Hussain writes that Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is an excellent opportunity for American Muslims to reflect upon Islam's support for diversity and racial equality.
related | Interfaith service at Georgetown
Explore the origins and development of religious freedom in the Christian tradition using the Religious Freedom Project’s interactive online sourcebook containing literature and primary documents from throughout history.
A new sourcebook from the Religious Freedom Project explores the complex relationship between religious freedom and violent religious extremism in ten countries around the world.
RFP associate scholar Mona Siddiqui has edited a new book, The Routledge Reader on Christian-Muslim Relations. The book includes an introductory chapter by Siddiqui with historical and contemporary contributions from key scholars engaged in Christian/Muslim dialogue.
Explore the origins and development of religious freedom in the Christian tradition using the Religious Freedom Project’s interactive online sourcebook containing literature and primary documents.
Join the Religious Freedom Project as it launches a two-year exploration of Christianity’s contributions to the construction and diffusion of freedom. RSVP today!
A joint initiative between BC/WFDD and Habitat for Humanity International (HFHI) assesses an interfaith toolkit pilot project implemented by Tom Jones, Ambassador-at-Large and Senior Leadership Team member of HFHI. The toolkit engages local community interfaith groups in HFHI efforts to provide adequate shelter for all in order to end poverty. Case studies will be drawn from six HFHI affiliates through qualitative, interview-based research.
Phramaha Boonchuay Doojai, chairman of the Asian Interfaith Network on AIDS, discusses the importance of interfaith work in Thailand and the surrounding region. He explains how helping others and resolving disputes relates to his responsibilities as a Buddhist monk.
During the annual Berkley Center Lecture, Jose Casanova critiqued the Catholic Church's response to demands for women's equality both within its ranks and the wider society. He argued that constructive engagement with positive trends in secular morality can help bolster the Church's moral authority.
related | Berkley Center Lectures
RFP scholar Roger Trigg discussed the topic "Is Belief in God a Basic Instinct?" in a segment of the UK's Channel 4 program, "4Thought," a program dedicated to questions of faith, morals, religion, and ethics.
RFP associate director Timothy Shah spoke at a major conference on Christian martyrdom, emphasizing the positive contributions that persecuted and martyred Christians have made to freedom throughout history and indeed, continue to make today.
RFP director Tom Farr will speak at a conference on "The Status of the Christian Communities in Iraqi Kurdistan: Challenges and Opportunities," sponsored by the US Commission on International Religious Freedom and the Catholic University of America Law School, December 5, 2012.
Tim Shah examines the civic contributions made by persecuted Christian communities throughout history and why it is important to care about such groups.
Jocelyne Cesari explains why it is misleading to argue that the reforms sparked by the uprisings would be halted by film protesters’ attempt to impose divine limitations on freedom of speech.
Samdech Preah Abhisiri Sugandha, great supreme patriarch of the Dhammayut Order of Cambodia, reflects on the role of religion, especially Buddhism, in Cambodia’s development. He says that all religions share certain common insights and goals.
Doyle Undergraduate Fellow Aamir Hussain says that as Hindus, Jains, and Sikhs prepare to celebrate Diwali—the festival of lights—Muslims can open new channels of interfaith dialogue by examining the importance of light within Islam.
Major Catholic journalist John Allen reports on the increasingly problematic issue of the global persecution of Christians, highlighting the work of RFP director Tom Farr presented at a recent conference at Notre Dame.
As the country looks toward the next four years, a new video by Millennial Values Fellows encourages young people to cultivate a conversation that can lead to the transformation of democracy in the United States.
related | Campus Conversation on Values
Scholars from Europe and North America debate emerging conflicts for religious liberty arising from a greater emphasis on equality claims in a new report from the RFP's April 2012 symposium at Oxford University
A new resource from the Berkley Center highlights significant organizations, individuals, and UN publications that promote a global society centered on multicultural exchange, interfaith dialogue, and moral conduct.
Nhat Vuong of i-kufi interviewed Katherine Marshall on November 3, 2012 to discover more about her long career with organizations including the World Bank, the Niwano Peace Prize, the Opus Prize, and World Faiths Development Dialogue and the role of social networking and crowdfunding in development work.
Of God's Century Michael Emerson writes, "Rarely is a book written that has the potential to save and improve the lives of millions of people. This is such a book."
RFP director Tom Farr and associate director Timothy Shah join scholars and religious leaders from around the world to address the growing problem of widespread persecution of Christians around the world.
In a new video by the Millennial Values Fellows, young people are encouraged to vote in order to have their views and values represented in the political process.
related | Campus Conversation on Values
A new report by the World Faiths Development Dialogue and the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunizations investigates what more can be done to build robust and effective partnerships around global vaccination campaigns and suggests where faith-inspired actors can play critical roles.
In a new book, Paul Elie tells the story of the transformation of the music of J.S. Bach through the encounters of modern musicians with new recording technology, from the phonograph and the LP to the CD and the MP3 file.
To shed light on the role that religion has played in this year's presidential race, the Berkley Center offers a unique site that tracks the faith-related statements of the candidates and other key players.
BBC Radio's "Desert Island Discs," one of its longest running shows, interviewed RFP scholar Mona Siddiqui. Siddiqui discussed themes from her life and her unique role in academia.
Katherine Marshall argues that with numerous new and sustainable energy options available today, energy access should be seen as a moral cause that unites organizations in order to change the lives of poor people.
interview | Solar Light for Africa
On Wednesday, October 24th, the RFP hosted a discussion of two books which chronicle the history of religion’s role in American foreign policy, and speculate about future threats to religious liberty. Andrew Preston, author of Sword of the Spirit, Shield of the Faith, and Gerard Bradley, editor of Challenges to Religious Liberty in the Twenty-First Century led the exciting discussions on these new works.
Top scholars discuss the sources of religious freedom in the West, its universality, and whether the American context is unique in a new report detailing the RFP's November 2011 symposium.
Experts from government and across the country examine the role religious freedom should play in Arab Spring countries in a new report from the RFP's March 2012 symposium.
Jørn Lemvik, secretary general of Digni, explains the role of religion in Norway and its impact on development work financed by the government. While efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals led to a more open approach to religion, he says recent changes in Oslo raise questions about future approaches.
A new survey of 18-25 year-olds finds deep divisions on race, religion, and views of government. President Obama's lead among younger millennials has widened to 16 points.
related | Campus Conversation on Values
In this book review of Religious Liberty, Why Now? Defending an Embattled Human Right principally authored by RFP associate director Timothy Shah, Francis Beckwith praises the work's call to look to the practical implications of religious freedom being attacked.
Mayors Svante Myrick (Ithaca, NY) and Alex Morse (Holyoke, MA), two of the youngest mayors in the country, discussed the role that young people can play in politics and importance of bipartisanship.
Valeria Martano, a member of the Catholic Community of Sant’Egidio, says the community’s work around the world is driven by a deep commitment to the dignity of women and by an appreciation for local cultural differences.
The Hoover Institution’s Policy Review on October 2 published an article by William Inboden on the links between religious freedom and national security. Titled “Religious Freedom and National Security,” the article draws correlations between religious persecution and security threats, and argues for a much more substantial role for religious liberty as a component of national security strategy.
Katherine Marshall examines efforts being made to shed light on human trafficking, including President Obama's speech at the Clinton Global Initiative and the work of the World Faiths Development Dialogue in Cambodia.
RFP director Tom Farr writes about a new report of the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life which details the troubling rise in global restrictions on religion.
On October 4, the Berkley Center and the Public Religion Research Institute will launch a timely survey that explores how 18-25 year-olds view values, politics, and the 2012 election. Register today!
Bishop Alden Hathaway explains how his faith-inspired non-profit works to transform lives and empower the people of Africa by providing solar power to under-served communities.
In a video blog, Millennial Values Fellows reflect on the complications of bringing one's faith life to the public sphere and consider the need for a middle ground.
Two decades after the war in the Balkans, a panel of experts discussed what has been learned about the causes of the conflict and the challenges of reconciliation. The event coincided with the International Prayer for Peace. Watch the full video online.
Speaking at a conference about Catholic perspectives on religious liberty, Cardinal Donald Wuerl said the role of religious faith has functioned as the conscious of American society.
RFP director Tom Farr spoke at a conference on "International Religious Freedom: An Imperative for Peace and the Common Good," held at the Catholic University of America on September 12, 2012.
Millennial Values Fellow Emily Atkinson says social media should be used from now through November 6 to make young people aware of Election Day and increase turnout.
Tom Farr argues that international religious freedom is in a state of deepening crisis. While U.S. foreign policy has not been particularly effective in advancing religious freedom, he says there are some reasons to be hopeful.
Senior Research Fellow Eric Patterson argues that Secretary Hilary Clinton's recent speech on religious freedom was important for declaring it a national interest. Now, he says the Obama administration must act to promote religious freedom worldwide.
Katherine Marshall says the annual Prayer for Peace organized by the Community of Sant'Egidio is part of the group's effort to build peace in hotspots around the world and to fight underlying causes of conflict, including poverty and injustice.
Discussing his new book Equality, Freedom, and Religion, RFP scholar Roger Trigg answers questions from Theos Think Tank on why he wrote the book and the major challenges facing state-religion interactions today.
RFP scholar Mona Siddiqui talks about a surprise resolution to a Pakistani blasphemy case on BBC Radio's Thought for the Day segment.
Katherine Marshall reflects on the Leadership Conference of Women Religious meeting, and recent news about nuns' relationship with the Vatican and their reactions to the sex abuse scandals, Obamacare, and the Ryan budget plan.
Eric Patterson says the opening of a mosque in Murfreesboro, Tennessee should remind us that religious liberty is a fundamental concern abroad, and the United States must continue to champion it.
Katherine Marshall blogs about a unique soccer tournament in Cambodia designed to raise awareness about the campaign to ban landmines and cluster munitions.
Katherine Marshall writes as Chair of the International Selection Committee for the Niwano Peace Prize about recipient Rosalina Tuyuc Velasquez as she returns home to in Guatemala where national celebrations and discussions of her work follow the May 10 prize ceremony in Tokyo.
Tom Banchoff and Jose Casanova hosted a three-day seminar with leading young Chinese scholars of religious studies. Participants discussed religion, politics, and society in the United States.
Tom Banchoff and Katherine Marshall write that while we should continue to criticize the Olympic movement for not living up to its values, we should also explore new ways to celebrate and realize those values in the years ahead.
Big Questions Online asks Thomas Farr, "Is Religious Freedom Necessary for Other Freedoms to Flourish?" In his response, Farr examines the possible links between religious freedom and other important human freedoms.
Appearing in Embassy Magazine, Canada's "Foreign Policy Newspaper," on August 9, 2012, RFP director Tom Farr discusses the important ambassador choice for Canada's new religious freedom office.
Professor José Casanova was awarded the Theology Prize of the Salzburger Hochschulwochen, an annual event hosted by the University of Salzburg in Austria, for his lifetime achievement in the field of Theology.
Sister Agatha Chikelue, founder of the Women of Faith Network in Abuja, explains why interfaith dialogue is important in Nigeria. She says that Muslim and Christian female religious leaders can work together to help find a resolution to the violence.
Katherine Marshall explores the "spirit houses" that play a major role in Cambodian daily life but are rooted in ancient traditions. These small shrines provide a place to make offerings to comfort and appease spirits and say much about how Cambodians live their Buddhist faith.
In this week's Big Question Online, Tom Farr discusses the importance of religious freedom within pluralist societies and at the individual level. Join the discussion online!
Giuliana DeAngelis blogs about a recent event at the American Enterprise Institute on the role of Millennials in the 2012 presidential election. Panelists predicted that Millennials' disenchantment with politics will likely result in low voter turnout, particularly among first-time voters coming of age in a time of recession and high unemployment.
Jocelyn Cesari argues that the participation of two Saudi female athletes in the Games is not a sign of improving conditions for women living in the Gulf state. Most Muslim countries have sent female athletes to the Olympics for decades; Saudi Arabia was only looking to avoid a ban from the IOC.
Tom Farr writes that there is much to praise about the new State Department Annual Report on International Religious Freedom. U.S. strategy and policy action now needs to match the powerful analysis.
Millennial Values Fellow Ganga Moorthy (University of Oklahoma) says that changes to health care in America must do more than heal disease; it is also a time to repair our idea of an inclusive society.
Katherine Marshall examines the important role that religious communities are playing to end the AIDS epidemic but also the challenges they face, including attitudes toward women in many societies.
RFP scholar Mona Siddiqui offers a reflection on non-violence for BBC's Thought of the Day in light of the recent shooting in Aurora, Colorado and last year's shooting in Norway.
Religious Freedom Project director Tom Farr critically examines the new State Department report on International Religious Freedom. The annual report outlines the status of religious freedom in 199 countries and identifies countries of particular concern where religious freedom rights are severely violated.
A new project on realizing Olympic values in the twenty-first century includes a thought-provoking paper by the chair of the British Olympic Association, interviews with thought leaders, student essays, and a report from the Olympic Values Symposium.
Jocelyn Cesari explains how the Alawi minority fits within Shi'a Islam and why the group gained power with the creation of the Syrian nation-state.
Millennial Values Fellow Spencer Nelson (Stanford) writes that many Millennials have been disillusioned with faded promises from the Obama administration and are looking for a candidate to speak honestly and realistically to them.
Millennial Values Fellow Rachel Stanley (Elon) says that women need to have a greater voice in debating the controversial issues that affect them most. She suggests that the Millennials need to push for more equality in political debates.
Millennial Values Fellow Jelani Harvey (Columbia) argues that certain future Supreme Court decisions could adversely affect minorities and that the country needs to have an honest discussion about race.
RFP associate scholar Will Inboden addresses the under-reported situation of Mali deterioration, including troubling accounts of religious persecutions throughout the country.
London-based faith leader Alex Goldberg discusses his role as a chaplain during the upcoming Olympics and the impact UK religious groups can have on the legacy of the London Games.
Millennial Values Fellow Zeenia Framroze (Harvard) examines some of the major reasons behind voter apathy among Millennials—a generation that ought to be engaged, aware, and passionate about American politics.
Published in the June/July 2012 issue of First Things, RFP scholar Daniel Philpott discusses the problems with the current model for seeking post-genocidal justice in his article titled "Peace After Genocide."
On July 9-10, students and staff from the Berkley Center participated in national gathering of administration and university officials and spoke about Georgetown's interfaith activities to mark the first year of the President Obama’s Interfaith and Community Service Campus Challenge.
Related blog: Optimistic About Interfaith Cooperation
Paralympian Eli Wolff discusses the link between sports and human rights and says that Olympic values are a key component in helping to propel a paradigm shift towards the inclusion of marginalized groups in sport. He sees educating young people as the key to promoting Olympic values and inclusion.
Discussing the International Criminal Court's sentencing of Congolese warlord Thomas Lubanga, RFP Scholar Daniel Philpott argues that the prosecution did not go far enough.
As the country's focus turns to the presidential election, Millennial Values Fellow Colin Steele (Georgetown) warns that agreement on the form, means, and end of our political system has become a victim of globalization and the current climate of hyper-partisanship.
Millennial Values Fellow Aamir Hussain (Georgetown) says that Millennials are constantly providing a much-needed dose of optimism amid a culture of pessimism. He explains that interfaith cooperation can be a powerful way to heal the country.
Tim Shriver, chairman of Special Olympics, reflects on the history of the organization, its work, and values. He says sports are a special unifier that offer a meaningful path toward social justice.
RFP scholar Daniel Philpott writes about the need for reconciliation in the aftermath of the Arab Spring.
Featured in Christianity Today, RFP associate director Timothy Shah reflects on the connections between Catholic Saints, Catholic Church Fathers, and the Founding Fathers as the "Fortnight for Freedom" comes to a close.
RFP director Tom Farr writes about the importance of religious freedom to US foreign policy, encouraging the United States and Western Europe to do more in promoting this basic human right around the world.
Katherine Marshall says the Olympics is not about athletics and competition alone. The core Olympic values of excellence, respect, and friendship point to meaningful rules for life.
RFP associate director Timothy Shah and RFP director Tom Farr discuss the new publication Religious Freedom: Why Now? Defending an Embattled Human Right and provide a summary of its major findings and arguments.
On Thursday, June 28, the RFP hosted a public forum on religious liberty and the HHS contraceptive mandate at Georgetown University’s Gaston Hall.
Millennial Values Fellow Brian Goldman (University of Pennsylvania) argues that a modern day "Profile in Courage" will not be a politician who compromises greatly but one who respects the other side enough to push through measures that are uncompromising at their core.
The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (aka Rio+20) is concluded in Rio de Janeiro amidst commentary that ranged from utter despair to very tempered hope. Those who see an existential threat to the survival of the planet and mankind describe the hard won consensus agreements that emerged as pathetically limp.
Professor José Casanova and philosopher Charles Taylor discussed Taylor's book The Secular Age at a seminar on "Ethics and Religion in the Modern World" at the Ukrainian Catholic University.
Congratulations to the winners and runners-up of the 2012 Olympic Values Essay Competition. Visit the Berkley Center website throughout the summer to join a global conversation and read essays on realizing Olympic values in the twenty-first century written by students in 60 countries around the world.
Millennial Values Fellow Tyler Bugg (University of Georgia) writes that political campaigns have become too far removed from the voices of voters. He calls for a renewal of compassion and equity in the political realm to reignite a dialogue about important issues and achieve real progress.
In a new video ahead of the G20 Summit in Los Cabos, religious leaders explain their role in encouraging G20 leaders to address global issues effecting millions of people around the world.
Katherine Marshall writes in a series of blogs about the 18th annual Festival of Global Sacred Music in Fes, Morocco. The festival aims to ease conflict through the power of music and to bring spirituality into struggles of globalization.
In the aftermath of the Arab Spring, do Middle Eastern nations need a new relationship between religion and state? On May 14, Georgetown University's Religious Freedom Project held a policy briefing with top experts designed to identify specific policy lessons concerning religion's future political role in Arab Spring countries.
Ed Scott, Founder and Chairman of the Center for Global Development, speaks with Katherine Marshall about the difficulty of linking religion with development work. He cites the HIV/AIDS pandemic as a prominent example of how faith-based institutions can shape behavioral change.
Speaking at the US Conference of Catholic Bishops' annual conference, RFP director Tom Farr noted the theological and intellectual roots of religious freedom while providing an overview of the challenges to religious freedom around the world.
Speaking about Egypt and Hosni Mubarak's prison sentence, RFP scholar Mona Siddiqui looks to Qur'anic quotations on BBC Radio's "Thought for the Day" segment.
Katherine Marshall writes from the final day of the Fes Forum on the nature of the crises of injustice and inequality, juxtaposing their relation to the modern financial crisis and capitalism against the more metaphysical historical evils of man while also considering the realist and idealistic approaches towards solutions.
Katherine Marshall writes from the Fes Forum on spirituality and enterprise, exploring the ethical challenges faced by business leaders in seeking moderation and balance while offering to "give a soul" to business jargon by returning to the spiritual and valued connotations at their roots.
The Washington Post's E.J. Dionne and Michael Gerson, and Margaret Steinfels discussed how religion may impact voting preferences in November. The discussion was part of the event, "Catholics, Evangelicals and the American Future" on May 30, 2012.
Katherine Marshall writes from the Fes Forum, highlighting Day 2's events and discussion, this time centered on the Arab Spring. She describes the important questions surrounding the role of religion, women, and the authentic changes occurring in Arab identities.
Speaking at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' annual conference, RFP director Tom Farr noted the theological and intellectual roots of religious freedom while providing an overview of the challenges to religious freedom around the world.
Katherine Marshall writes from the Fes Forum, "Recapturing Global Enchantment in the World," blogging on the daily highlights and themes of discussion. Day 1, inspired by the theme, "The Poet and the City," centered on the value of poetry, art, and culture, and the power they possess to address the immense challenges that face the world.
Abagail Claughs (Boston University) says there is a problem with honest conversation in the United States. The country needs to rediscover civil dialogue.
Related research: Millennial Values Survey Report
In her new book The Good Muslim: Reflections on Classical Islamic Law and Theology , RFP scholar Mona Siddiqui explores the Islamic tradition's rich history of thought on a number of key ethical topics.
The Berkley Center's José Casanova served as the keynote speaker for the University of Innsbruck's consortium on religion, politics, and violence. Casanova spoke on wars of conversion in Europe.
Millennial Values Fellow Emily Atkinson (Smith) says compassion, not conscience, will be the driving force for good in the future and asks how can we use it to help heal divisions facing the country.
With less than two months until the start of the London 2012 Summer Olympic Games, Bishop John Bryson Chane reflects on his role as a chaplain to the 1980 Lake Placid Games, ancient and modern Olympic values, and challenges to the integrity of the Olympic Movement.
Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Munich spoke at the Center about Catholic social teaching, its relevance to the current international predicament, and discussed economic crisis as an opportunity for far-reaching change.
RFP scholar William Inboden is quoted in the New York Times about Barack Obama's understanding of the lessons of the Vietnam War.
Speaking at the 2012 National Religious Freedom Conference on May 24th, 2012, RFP director Tom Farr delivered a speech entitled "Rising Threats to American Religious Freedom: Framing the Problem."
In an article on war termination and reconciliation in Thailand, the Asia Times references the work of RFP scholar Monica Duffy Toft.
Ela Bhatt spoke with Katherine Marshall after receiving the Niwano Peace Prize in May 2010. The discussion reflects on Bhatt's career advocating for the poor and for women and explores how she sees issues of peace and justice, for India and beyond. She is delivering the commencement address for the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown on May 19, 2012.
Berkley Center Associate Director Michael Kessler spoke at American University of Beirut's Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Bin Abdulaziz Alsaud Center for American Studies and Research on May 10, 2012. Kessler spoke on the topic "Drawing the line between Religion and Politics: Challenges of the 2012 U.S. elections."
Millennial Values Fellow Clara Gustafson (Georgetown) argues that setting up a legislative structure to incentivize personal choice while respecting the freedom of institution is of the utmost importance. Leaders need to come together to discuss the logistics of the system.
It takes only an instant to recognize in Rosalina Tuyuc Velasquez a force to be reckoned with. Rosalina was taking on Japan last week, as winner of the prestigious Niwano Peace Prize, sometimes called the "spiritual Nobel." She was making history, as the first indigenous religious leader to receive this award.
Professor José Casanova delivered five lectures over a period of five days at the Ukranian Catholic University in Lviv, speaking specifically on the causes and effects of global secularism.
Millennial Values Fellow Jelani Harvey (Columbia) says President Obama's comments about gay marriage encouraged all Americans to see the struggles of others, which many simply do not take time to do.
Worldwide Support for Development (WSD), World Faiths Development Dialogue (WFDD) and Georgetown University are co-supporting an online essay competition on Olympic Values in today’s world. The competition is designed to spark a global online conversation in advance of the Olympic Values Symposium to be convened in London by Lord Colin Moynihan, Chair of the British Olympic Association (BOA), from June 29-July 1, 2012.
Berkley Center research assistant Aamir Hussain (C' 14) is profiled on the Georgetown College website about the Millennial Values Symposium, in which he participated as a fellow. He reflects on the results of a survey of 18-24 year-olds and the values of the Millennial generation.
In far flung corners of the world, religious leaders are protesting against mining companies and projects. What are their complaints?
The widely viewed Kony 2012 video has raised awareness of the atrocities of Uganda's Joseph Kony. But as RFP scholar Dan Philpott points out in The Huffington Post, the video does not show the decades long work of reconciliation that many Ugandans, inspired by their Christian faith and tribal values, have been working to achieve.
Professor José Casanova gave a lecture on "Multiple Secularities: Comparative Reflections on the Nordic Protestant and Southern Catholic Patterns from a Global Perspective" at the University of Oslo in Norway.
After ten years under the leadership of Dr. Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, the Building Bridges Seminar for Christian and Muslim Scholars will enter its next phase under the stewardship of Georgetown University.
In our cynical times, it is gratifying and invigorating to be with young people whose sights are truly fixed on translating ideals into action. One example is the Global Engagement Summit, a Northwestern University student run enterprise.
The latest in modern social networking has focused enormous attention on the crimes of Joseph Kony. But the peace-making resources of ancient religious and tribal traditions offer the only way to heal the wounds he has inflicted.
A joint effort between the Berkley Center and the Public Religion Research Institute, this groundbreaking survey explores how 18-24 year-olds view faith, values, and the 2012 election.
> Watch Video of Bishop Philip Tartaglia's Keynote Address, "Religious Freedom - An Unexpected Issue for Our Times?"
The Roman Catholic Bishop of Paisley, Scotland, Philip Tartaglia, delivers the keynote address for the Religious Freedom Project's international conference, Religious Freedom and Equality: Emerging Conflicts in North America and Europe held at the University of Oxford, April 11-13, 2012.
RFP scholar Daniel Philpott releases a documentary film with the Fetzer Institute about the aftermath of the Lord’s Resistance Army and the role of the Church in the reconciliation process in Uganda. Uganda: The Challenge of Forgiveness consists of interviews conducted by Philpott with Ugandan leaders discussing the civil war and their post-LRA country.
Professor José Casanova gave an address at the Loyola University of Chicago entitled "Catholic Actors in the Third Wave of Democratization: Lessons for the Arab Spring and the Muslim Fourth Wave?" as part of Loyola's Islamic World Studies Lecture Series, organized around the theme "Forces of Change in the Muslim World."
On the afternoon of Thursday, April 19th, the Center is hosting a panel discussion on Millennial Values featuring Joshua Foer, Sharifa Rhodes-Pitts, Rev. Jim Wallis, and student leaders from around the country. Earlier in the day, the Center and PRRI are releasing a groundbreaking survey of 18-24 year-olds on faith, values, and the election.
What is distinctive about Millennials? How will their views shape the 2012 campaign? On Thursday, April 19, the Berkley Center and the Public Religion Research Institute released a groundbreaking survey of 18-24 year-olds on faith, values, and the 2012 election.
RFP scholar Dan Philpott is interviewed on FoxNews about the release of a new documentary film, Uganda: The Challenge of Forgiveness. Philpott produced the film, which focuses on the rebuilding of communities through a spirit of reconciliation, with the Fetzer Institute.
On Thursday, March 22 the Religious Freedom Project convened a group of leading legal scholars to discuss the tensions between the HHS mandate for contraceptive and other services and religious liberty. The informative discussion can now be viewed online.
RFP director Tom Farr is interviewed on CSPAN's Book-TV program about his book World of Faith And Freedom: Why International Religious Liberty is Vital to American National Security. Farr discusses how religious freedom, as a fundamental human right, is under siege around the world and he addresses the various challenges to international religious freedom.
LSU Political Scientist James Stoner reviews the new book, Religious Freedom: Why Now? principally authored by Religious Freedom Project associate director Timothy Shah. In his review, Stoner notes the timeliness of the new book and praises its multi-layered approach to the defense of religious liberty.
March 22 is World Water Day, and today events the world over focus on water's importance, for life in every form, and for the human spirit. Few would disagree that WASH -- the acronym that links water, sanitation and hygiene -- is a critical need.
Islam expert Jocelyne Cesari has joined the Center as a Senior Research Fellow. She directs the international “Islam in the West" program and is the creator of Islamopedia, a leading online resource for the contemporary study of Islam in society and politics. At the Center, she will continue to lead both projects and develop a new program on Islam in World Politics.
Center Director Tom Banchoff sat down with C-SPAN's Book TV to discuss his newest book, "Embryo Politics." You can watch the interview here.
Amid the death of Egyptian Coptic Pope Shenouda III, people are questioning how safe the Coptic Christians in Egypt now are. RFP director Tom Farr explores how the Coptic minority in Egypt has been affected by Pope Shenouda III’s death and how the Egyptian society must approach these religious minorities in order to foster a stable democracy in post-revolution Egypt.
Michael Kessler writes about the American Academy of Religion's (AAR) recent special forum on "Scholars and the Public Representations of Islam in the US." Kessler serves on the AAR's Committee on the Public Understanding of Religion.
On April 19-20, the Center is convening student leaders from around the country for a symposium to mark the release of a groundbreaking survey of young Americans on values, religion, and the 2012 election. Learn more about the symposium and the survey and participate in a nation-wide campus conversation on values.
RFP associate director Timothy Shah speaks with Anthony Gill about his new book Religious Freedom: Why Now? The interview touches on the importance of religious freedom as a fundamental human right and as a key objective for foreign policy makers.
C-SPAN news live-streamed and broadcasted the Religious Freedom Project's symposium on "Religious Freedom and Extremism: Lessons from the Arab Spring." A brief synopsis of the event and the network's video of it are available at C-SPAN's web site.
In this exchange with Katherine Marshall, Lord Carey reflected on his longstanding interest in international development, his role in these matters during his tenure as Archbishop of Canterbury, and his vision and the history of his role as a founder of the World Faiths Development Dialogue (WFDD).
> Katherine Marshall Blogs: The Untold Stories of Spiritual Response to the 3/11 Japanese Earthquake
The huge earthquake that struck northeast Japan on March 11, 2011 tested a nation and its faith. On this first anniversary we pause to remember that day, with prayer and reflection on what it means.
To mark the one-year anniversary of the March 11, 2011 "triple disaster" in Japan, the Berkley Center and WFDD co-sponsored an event to highlight the role of Shinto shrines and priests in the disaster response and recovery efforts in Japan. The event was part of Japan Awareness Month at Georgetown.
National Catholic Register senior editor Joan Frawley Desmond, covering the release of "In Defense of Religious Freedom" by Evangelicals and Catholics Together, mentions Religious Freedom Project director Thomas Farr and associate director Timothy Samuel Shah's comments at the RFP's March 1 event on religious freedom.
Religious Freedom Project scholar Mona Siddiqui gave a "Thought for the Day" on BBC Radio 4. Considering a colleague's remark about caring for her mother, who is suffering from dementia, Professor Siddiqui pondered the tension between the religious desire for the good of the afterlife with the human desire to hold on to this life.
Writing in Patheos.com's "Black, White and Gray" blog, Margarita Mooney covers the Religious Freedom Project's event on March 1st celebrating the publication of Religious Freedom: Why Now? Defending an Embattled Human Right . Mooney offers a synopsis of the event and engages with the ideas of Princeton professor Robert George's keynote address.
Jose Casanova gave the Inaugural Lecture of the Programme of Post Graduate Studies in Sciences of Religion at the Pontifícia Universidade Católica de São Paulo, Brazil on March 2nd. He spoke on the theme of Religion, Globalization and Secularization.
In his popular Council on Foreign Relations blog, "The Arab Street," CFR Senior Fellow Ed Husain discusses the Religious Freedom Project event, Religious Freedom: Why Now and the dinner that evening which featured Shaykh Hamza Yusuf in conversation with Robert P. George.
In this broadcast discussion, RFP scholar Roger Trigg explains the encroachment that secularization has caused on religious freedom in the public life. Affirming that religious freedom implies freedom for religious expression, Trigg insists that people of religious faith ought to be protected from coercion against their conscience.
Dr. Mamphela Ramphele spoke with Angela Reitmaier in Cape Town on February 9, 2012 at a conference where Dr. Ramphele gave a keynote address on "Mining's Contribution to Sustainable Development." Dr. Ramphele reflects on the spiritual dimension that is needed to heal the many wounds that Apartheid inflicted on black citizens of South Africa.
Professor José Casanova offered remarks as part of the panel on "Transformations of World Religions" at the fortieth International Institute of Sociology Conference. He was joined by Said Arjomand of the State University of New York and Ashis Nandy of the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies.
Center Director Tom Banchoff will speak on religious pluralism at the American Academy of Religion Mid-Atlantic meeting in New Brunswick next month.
The United Nations General Assembly began on February 11 to debate Syria's prolonged and bitter tragedy of killing, after the Security Council, next door, failed miserably to find enough agreement among the world's dominant nations to act. On February 7 in the same General Assembly Hall a very different group gathered in a very different spirit.
RFP director Tom Farr speaks out against the recent ruling sustaining the overturning of Proposition 8, the California initiative to define marriage as between one man and one woman. Farr explains that the ruling is not based on democratic process and it infringes upon the religious freedom of millions of citizens who voted to protect marriage on religious grounds.
> Presidential Candidate Rick Santorum Signs Religious Freedom Pledge Drafted by RFP Director Tom Farr
Presidential Candidate Rick Santorum is the first candidate to sign the Presidential Pledge for Religious Freedom drafted by RFP director Thomas Farr and Open Doors USA. The pledge is a commitment by presidential candidates to protect religious freedom in full in America and advance religious freedom as part of American foreign policy.
Jose Casanova will give the Loring Sabin Ensign Lecture at Yale Divinity School on February 21, 2012. He will speak on the topic "Global Religious and Secular Trends."
Katherine Marshall spoke at the UN on February 7, 2012 for World Interfaith Harmony Week on the topic "Revitalization of the United Nations." World Interfaith Harmony Week brings together world leaders and religious groups to demonstrate their common ground on shared areas of concern.
Paul Elie, author of the award-winning The Life You Save May be Your Own: An American Pilgrimage, has joined the Berkley Center as a senior fellow. Elie will lead the American Pilgrimage Project, a partnership with StoryCorps that will aim to document the faith lives of ordinary Americans.
> Fitchburg State University Invites RFP Scholar Monica Duffy Toft for International Studies Speaker Series
Harvard University Associate Professor and RFP scholar Monica Duffy Toft spoke on "resurgent religion, global politics and conflict resolution" as part of the International Studies Speaker series at Fitchburg State University on February 6th, 2012.
Religious Freedom Project director Thomas Farr explains in a recent interview with Columbia magazine that international religious freedom is in a moment of "global crisis" and that it is imperative that the United States stand up for this "first freedom" around the world
Two horrific news stories this week shine a spotlight on how far we are from the ideals of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the "golden rule" that we treat others as we would have them treat us.
RFP scholar Daniel Philpott recently traveled to Uganda to conduct research on the role of forgiveness in the peace building process. While forgiveness can be under recognized in the peace building process, Philpott shows the role of reconciliation in the wake of the civil war between the LRA and the Ugandan government.
On Monday, February 13, philosopher and RFP scholar Roger Trigg will discuss his new book, Equality, Freedom, and Religion (Oxford, 2012), which raises the question of whether any freedom can be preserved for long if the basic human right to religious liberty is subordinated to other social concerns (particularly to the pursuit of equality). Responding to the book will be William Galston and Helen Alvaré.
The British newspaper The Telegraph features RFP scholar Roger Trigg’s argument that the courts have been curtailing religious freedoms in favor of other social issues. Trigg promotes the idea of there being reasonable accommodation for religion and that the courts should not take it upon themselves to decide what are or aren’t core values of religion.
> Catholic News Agency Quotes RFP Director Tom Farr on the Obama Administration's Stance Towards Religious Freedom
RFP director Tom Farr criticizes the Obama administration's recent ruling that religious-based employers must provide certain forms of contraception to their employees even if such actions violate the religion's moral beliefs.
Katherine Marshall spoke at The Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict at Arizona State University on January 30, 2012, on the topic of religion, gender and human rights.
Berkley Center Graduate Research Assistant Anny Gaul writes this blog on the complex interrelationships between religion and cultural practices, particularly female genital cutting. It is based on a pioneering case study that she helped to prepare, the first in a series addressing the links between religion and global development.
RFP director Tom Farr speaks with Joan Frawley Desmond of the National Catholic Register about the Obama Administration's mandate that employers, including church-affiliated hospitals, agencies and universities, offer contraception and sterilization in their employee health care plans.
RFP scholar Will Inboden looks at recent decisions of the Obama administration on religious liberty and asks, "Is the White House Trying to Turn America into France?" at the Foreign Policy blog Shadow Government
Joan Frawley Desmond of the National Catholic Register speaks with Tom Farr on a number of recent issues related to religious freedom including the just released open letter "Marriage and Religious Freedom: Fundamental Goods that Stand or Fall Together," signed by representatives of Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, and Sikh faiths.
What is the effect of blasphemy and apostasy laws on basic political freedoms of Muslim-majority countries? What happens when Western governments and bodies like the United Nations begin passing similarly motivated restrictions on speech? These and other questions will be addressed by Paul Marshall and Nina Shea as they discuss their new book, Silenced: How Apostasy and Blasphemy Codes are Choking Freedom Worldwide at a Religious Freedom Project event on Tuesday, January 31, 2012.
The Canadian government's decision to open a new office of religious freedom has not been without controversy. Yet in this Globe and Mail editorial, the author argues that the global rise in religious persecution warrants sustained attention. RFP director Tom Farr is quoted on the important connection between religious freedom and issues of justice and human dignity.
On November 16 the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs; World Faiths Development Dialogue; and the United States Embassy to the Holy See met via live video feed for a conference that explored the intersections of faith and the environment, with a focus on implications for policy. The meeting report summarizes key themes and suggested next steps that emerged from the dialogue.
Last spring President Obama challenged American colleges and universities to take up the question of interfaith dialogue and community service. Georgetown’s response to the President’s challenge is an extensive, year-long program of service in the DC community and reflection on campus focused on improving educational opportunity and reducing poverty, in keeping with the Jesuit ideal of “Men and Women for Others.”
The New York Times featured RFP associate director Tim Shah and director Tom Farr in a special "Room for Debate," centered around the question, "Is Americans' Religious Freedom Under Threat?" The feature also included pieces from Noah Feldman and Michael McConnell who recently debated the question "What's So Special about Religious Freedom?" at the RFP's November 17th conference.
Professor José Casanova served as a search advisor for the Yves Oltramare Chair on Religion and Politics in the Contemporary World at the Institute for International Development in Geneva, Switzerland. The scholar in this chair explores religion's effect on societal development at an international level.
Marley's ghost, in Charles Dickens' great moral parable, The Christmas Carol, reflected in anguish on what, beyond the grave, he finally understood to have been his core moral obligation in life: "Mankind was my business." Just as Marley and his Spirits exhorted Scrooge to confront the realities of poverty and his responsibility to help, we also are confronted during this end of the year holiday season with appeals to our conscience.
Top ten lists are loads of fun, but they often predict future political outcomes worse than the Ames Straw Poll (won by Mitt Romney in 2007 and Michele Bachmann in 2011, thank you). What follows, then, is a look back that tries to look forward. What were the biggest American politics and religion stories of 2011 and how might they play out in the presidential campaign of 2012?
From December 11 to 13, the fourth annual Alliance of Civilizations Forum took place in Doha, Qatar, a splendiferous gathering at Doha's spanking new convention center, occasion for the opening of Katara, Qatar's huge and gorgeous cultural "village." Banners everywhere proclaimed the theme: "Intercultural dialogue to boost development." So what was it all about?
Renowned sociologist of religion David Martin reviews God's Century: Resurgent Religion and Global Politics, co-authored by RFP scholars Monica Duffy Toft, Daniel Philpott, and Timothy Samuel Shah for the Times Literary Supplement.
With the war in Iraq now officially ended, RFP scholar Monica Duffy Toft addresses some of the challenges the country faces in going forward.
Christopher Hitchens, prolific essayist and author, passed away on December 15, 2011. In 2007, the Berkley Center hosted a debate and discussion with Hitchens on religious belief in the modern world.
> University of Edinburgh Appoints RFP Scholar Mona Siddiqui as New Professor of Islamic and Inter-religious Studies
RFP scholar Mona Siddiqui is the first Muslim to be appointed to the University of Edinburgh's School of Divinity where she will teach on and research Islamic theology, ethics, and Christian-Muslim relations. Siddiqui will also be the first to hold the post of Assistant Principal for Religion and Society, allowing her to continue working in the areas of religion and public life.
Noted photographer Verena Jaekel's portraiture work of Scottish families is on display at the National Gallery of Scotland. The exhibit features a portrait of RFP scholar Mona Siddiqui and her family at their home in Dullatur, Scotland.
Katherine Marshall writes in Common Ground News Service that the recent deaths of 24 Pakistani soldiers during NATO operations is both a terrible tragedy and an opportunity to reassess the tangled relationship between Pakistan and the US.
RFP scholar Jean Bethke Elshtain will be the fifth recipient of the annual Rev. James V. Schall, S.J. Award for Teaching and Humane Letters, presented by the Tocqueville Forum at Georgetown University. The award seeks to recognize individuals who "exemplify the excellence, scholarly breadth, and impact of Father James V. Schall, S.J., Professor of Government at Georgetown University."
The Center's Eric Patterson published an article with former BC graduate assistant Ilan Cooper on the just war principle of "legitimate authority." They claim that this principle calls into question claims that the UN has the moral authority and practical capabilities to lead the international community when it comes to violent conflict.
The National Catholic Register discusses the Religious Freedom Project's public symposium, What's So Special About Religious Freedom, held at Georgetown University on November 17. The debate featured Michael McConnell of Stanford University Law School and Noah Feldman of Harvard University Law School.
World AIDS Day on December 1 was marked with an inspiring flood of articles, reports, demonstrations, speeches, services, and much more. The overall tone was worried optimism. The optimism is because, finally, after years of extraordinary effort, we can see tangible progress in saving lives and slowing the ravages of this terrible global pandemic, that 30 years ago was just a blip on scientific radar screens.
Professor José Casanova gave a presentation on Confucianism and religion at Peking University on December 8, 2011. He was there at the invitation of the university's Institute for Advanced Humanistic Studies.
In a post on Foreign Policy's "Shadow Government," RFP scholar Will Inboden offers praise for President Obama's recent World AIDS Day speech, which acknowledged the many contributions to fighting AIDS made by the previous administration.
As a part of the President's Interfaith and Community Service Campus Challenge, Georgetown held a video/essay contest to see how students participate in and reflect upon the concept of interfaith service. Kieran Halloran (SFS '14) won first place for his essay, "Men and Women for Others: A Lifelong Journey."
On December 14th, the Center's Katherine Marshall will be a featured speaker on a webinar with the Parliament of the World's Religions. The webinar will focus on faith-inspired approaches to ending poverty and the spiritual and practical imperatives that emerge from the intersections of religion and development.
"The Religious Freedom Project of the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs offers a vital forum for the discussion of religious liberty and its role in ensuring the dignity of the human person...." Read more!
In an editorial for the Australian Broadcasting Company, RFP Scholar David Novak addresses the topic of same-sex marriage and whether or not there is a "right" for same-sex couples to marry.
On November 30th, 2011, the Berkley Center and Campus Ministry hosted the November President's Challenge Roundtable event. The roundtable reflected on the theme of Thanksgiving and Rev. Bryant Oskvig, the Director of the Protestant Chaplaincy in the Office of Campus Ministry served as host. The evening closed with the announcement of the Fall Video/Essay Contest winners.
About 40 women, somewhere in the world, die in pregnancy every hour, 343 thousand a year by current (admittedly rough) estimates. It's a tragic reality but one we can do something about.
World Faiths Development Dialogue Research Fellow Nathaniel Adams blogs from Cambodia about Yie Xian Gong temple, which serves members of Phnom Penh’s Chinese-Cambodian (Khmer-Chen) community who practice Chinese Folk Religion.
RFP Director Tom Farr, who co-authored the Presidential Pledge for Religious Freedom, discusses the importance of religious freedom in American foreign and domestic policy and expresses his hope that the pledge would encourage 2012 presidential candidates from all parties to address this increasingly important issue.
RFP Scholar Mona Siddiqui, OBE, is profiled in the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office's video series See Britain Through My Eyes. In the interview, Siddiqui discusses moving to the UK from Pakistan as a young girl, the development of her academic interest in Islamic law and theology, and raising a family in her home just outside of Glasgow Scotland.
On Thursday, November 17, 2011, the Religious Freedom Project hosted a keynote debate on the question of the uniqueness of religious freedom. Debating this critical issue were Harvard Law Professor Noah Feldman and Stanford Law Professor Michael McConnell. Coinciding with the debate, the event featured two related panels to examine the meaning and reach of religious freedom.
> A Discussion with Carole Rakodi, former Director of Religions and Development Programme at the University of Birmingham
This discussion between Carole Rakodi, Katherine Marshall and Michael Bodakowski took place on October 13, 2011. It was part of the preparatory work for the Berkley Center/WFDD conference on November 7 that took stock of research and policy work on development and religion. Rakodi was the leader of an ambitious research program into the relationships between religion and development, based at the University of Birmingham.
A Scandinavian colleague recently asked me to explain Family Watch International (FWI) and what kind of American ethos and ethics it represents. FWI had, she was told, invited representatives of small nations (who often feel neglected in international gatherings where the voices of larger nations carry further) to discuss their common commitment to families. In my colleague's eyes, the results were devastating.
Jeremy Cairl, a Georgetown Junior, was awarded the Corp Homecoming Humanitarian Award. He was recognized for his efforts as a committed volunteer at Saint Elizabeth’s Hospital, which cares for individuals with serious mental illnesses. In the interview he discusses how his academic background in Psychology and Theology helps him in his social work.
The Royal Society of Canada is a national body of distinguished Canadian scholars established to recognize academic excellence and outstanding contributions to Canadian culture. RFP Scholar David Novak was honored for his research in natural law theory, Jewish-Christian relations and biomedical ethics.
On Thursday, November 10, RFP Scholar Mona Siddiqui, OBE, presented the final lecture for the St. Wilfrid series at North Yorkshire's historic Ripon Cathedral. Her lecture, "Islam and the Question of a Loving God," examined how the different scriptural resources in Islam and Christianity have developed alternative discourses on divine love within each religious tradition.
RFP Associate Director and Scholar in Residence, Timothy Shah, will speak at the Notre Dame Center for Ethics & Culture's conference on "Radical Emancipation." Professor Shah will participate on the panel, "March of the Jacobins: The Global Rise and Decline of Political Secularism," drawing on research from his book (co-authored with RFP Scholars Dan Philpott and Monica Duffy Toft), God's Century.
As Lyn Lusi accepted the $1 million Opus Prize on Wednesday night at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, she threw down a gauntlet. Churches must take on the challenge of changing relationships between men and women, everywhere in the world.
As Congress decides whether or not to re-fund the US Commission on International Religious Freedom, RFP Director Tom Farr speaks with Christianity Today about the signal such a move would send to those regimes guilty of violating religious freedom.
RFP Associate Scholar Jean Bethke Elshtain responds to the question "What exactly would a Christian platform look like?" for the New York Times column "Room for Debate." In her essay, "Why Prefer Christians?" Professor Elshtain argues that Christians can share broad principles and yet disagree on the policies meant to implement them.
Jose Casanova is participating in a seminar on "Catholic Social Thought and the Movements" at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in Leuven, Germany October 27-29, 2011. Casanova will present on the topic "Movements, Civil Society and the Disestablishment of Catholicism."
Join Georgetown in the White House Interfaith and Community Service Campus Challenge, a year of interfaith and community service programming on campus to combat poverty and improve educational opportunity. The homepage features a blog, video interviews, resources, upcoming events, and more.
As the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs begins to construct its new office for religious freedom, the National Post interviewed RFP director Tom Farr, who recently spoke at a consultation on the new Canadian office, about the success and failures of the American model.
Religious Freedom Project Associate Scholar Monica Duffy Toft will give the annual Wold Lecture at Union College on Tuesday, October 25. Toft will discuss the global resurgence of religion, a phenomenon she and co-authors Dan Philpott and Tim Shah researched in their recent book "God's Century."
> Catholic News Agency Quotes RFP Director Tom Farr on Funding the US Commission on International Religious Freedom
Despite an overwhelming vote in the House to continue funding for the US Commission on International Religious Freedom, the bill has been stalled in the Senate by the placement of an anonymous "hold" on the legislation. Catholic News Agency speaks with Tom Farr about the funding crisis and the continued importance of religious freedom to US foreign policy.
The McGill Daily interviewed Jose Casanova on the meaning and history of secularism. The interview followed an event at McGill University featuring Casanova and Charles Taylor on secularism and the modern world.
The recent increase in attacks against the Coptic Christian community in Egypt have highlighted the importance of religious freedom as the country moves towards democracy. Interfaith Voices, the public radio news program on religion news, speaks with RFP Director Tom Farr about the situation and the approach towards religion the new Egyptian government should take.
From October 14-15, 2011, Professor José Casanova presented at the "Conference on Trauma and Transformation: the Catholic Church and the Sexual Abuse Crisis," held at McGill University by the McGill Centre for Research on Religion. The conference explored the developments and consequences of the sexual abuse scandal and the Catholic Church's response to it.
Following the release of the recent State Department report on International Religious Freedom, RFP Director Tom Farr joins a spirited discussion on "Voice of Russia" Radio about the report and the particular items of concern listed for Russia.
On Tuesday, October 11, the Ford Foundation and Georgetown University are sponsoring a "Dialogue on American Values," hosted by George Stephanopoulos. The event will take place at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia from 6:30-8:00pm. Participants will include Mayor Michael Nutter, Carly Fiorina, Michael Gerson, Peter Orszag, and Kathleen Kennedy Townsend.
Hallelujah to the Nobel Peace Committee! By honoring three brave, determined women - Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Leymah Gbowee, and Tawakul Karman, they shine light on true heroines of our time. This prize of prizes points to two realities that politicians, academics, and media have long downplayed.
As a part of The President’s Interfaith and Community Service Campus Challenge, Georgetown University’s Challenge Task Force is holding a video / essay contest to see how its students participate in and reflect upon the concept of interfaith service. First place winners receive $500, second place $350, and third place $150.
Venerable Algerian and United Nations diplomat Mohamed Sahnoun worries that neither world leaders nor the United Nations and national governments are facing up to the unprecedented problems the world confronts.
In this Op-Ed published in the journal Human Events, Eric Patterson argues that there are ethical ways for the Obama Administration to recapture a coherent policy framework and global leadership in handling law of war detention of dangerous unlawful enemy combatants.
In this Op-Ed published in the journal Human Events, Eric Patterson argues that there are ethical ways for the Obama Administration to recapture a coherent policy framework and global leadership in handling law of war detention of dangerous unlawful enemy combatants.
The government of Canada has decided to establish an Office of International Religious Freedom. The Canadian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade had requested RFP Director Tom Farr to appear at a public forum in Ottawa to discuss the establishment of the office and its mission.
Eric Patterson reviews Douglas Johnston's book, Religion, Terror & Error. Patterson approvingly considers Douglas Johnston's new book, considering in specific the issue that Johnston calls, "the challenge of spiritual engagement" in world politics.
Tom Farr reviews the book The Price of Freedom Denied, in the latest edition of the Journal of Church and State. The book, co-authored by Brian Grim and Roger Finke, investigates the complex interrelations between religious repression, that is the denial of the right to religious freedom, and social hostilities throughout the world.
As the world again turns its focus to the possibility of peace in the Middle East, Voice of America asks Religious Freedom Project scholars Timothy Shah and Monica Duffy Toft about the roles, positive and negative, that religious actors can play in bringing about stability and peace to the region.
In September, Georgetown students, faculty, and staff used the 9/11 anniversary to make a positive difference in the community. They reflected on their work at the first President's Interfaith Challenge Roundtable with the theme "Remembrance through Service."
Would 9/11 have happened if Osama Bin Laden had been raised in a Saudi Arabia that allowed for religious freedom? Instead of the toxic teachings of Wahhabism and Sayyid Qutb, what if he had been exposed to other forms of Islam, to critics of Islam, and to liberal religion-based arguments about justice and the common good?
Roger Trigg argues that since humans are naturally inclined towards religious belief, the subject of religion cannot be ignored but must be part of the public discourse. A proper defense of religious freedom requires more than just state neutrality in religious affairs, and needs a robust commitment to religious liberty.
Central Munich is sparkling, meticulously clean. A lively city life, well-used historic buildings, many churches and well-stocked shops symbolize what peace, culture and prosperity together can bring. It is worth remembering that it was not always so.
As part of the commemoration of the 10th anniversary of 9/11, the White House hosted a screening of the documentary film Rebirth. Vice President Joe Biden introduced the film.
For 25 years, the Community of Sant'Egidio, a lay Catholic group inspired by the ideals of true friendship with the poor, has organized an annual gathering of religious and lay leaders from all corners of the world. Peace is the theme always, and the event has the character of a pilgrimage, as it takes place each year in a different city.
Thomas Banchoff and Katherine Marshall spoke at the International Meeting of the Prayer for Peace in Munich, September 11-13, 2011. The theme of this year's meeting is "Bound to Live Together: Religions and Cultures in Dialogue."
Religion and security considerations intersect in multiple, complex ways across the globe and thus are consequential for government policy, strategy, and engagement. Associate Director Eric Patterson is co-hosting a conference on these issues with the Naval Postgraduate School's Center for Stabilization and Reconstruction Studies September 12-14, 2011.
As the country marks the 10th anniversary of 9/11, Americans continue to question what could have been done to prevent such devastation. Few have looked at the presence of religious freedom as an antidote to the development of violence-based religious ideologies. Scholars from the Religious Freedom Project probe the relationship between religious freedom and religious extremism from a variety of angles.
Georgetown kicked off its participation in the President's Interfaith and Community Service Campus Challenge. Students, faculty and staff are working on the theme of "Combating Domestic Poverty and Improving Educational Opportunity" and will engage in projects around issues of interfaith understanding and social justice.
Sarah Tucker has a featured article in the Spring 2011 issue of the Journal of Politics and Society at Columbia University. The article is entitled "Integration by Education: A Study of Cameroon’s Bakola-Bagyeli." Sarah was in the JYAN 2009-2010 class and graduated from Georgetown in 2011.
It takes more than four hours by car from Gabon's capital, Libreville, to reach the Albert Schweitzer Hospital near Lambarene, but each day earlier this month people came from far and wide to visit.
Eric Patterson writes in the Washington Times that the US needs a comprehensive policy for dealing with unlawful enemy combatants captured in stateless spaces on the field of battle.
At the Center on Religion and Chinese Society at Purdue University, Banchoff and Casanova presented papers on Civil Religion and US Foreign Policy, and on China, India, and the US as contrasting models of religious pluralism.
Katherine Marshall blogs at the Huffington Post about the Niwano Peace Prize, which was awarded this year to Sulak Sivaraksa. Sivaraksa is a Thai Buddhist leader who has worked toward a better understanding of peace, democracy and development.
On July 25-28, 2011, the Chicago-based Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC) held an intensive interfaith leadership training institute at Georgetown University. The institute, hosted by the Berkley Center, gave student leaders and campus staff allies from across the country the vision, knowledge, and skills necessary to improve interfaith cooperation on campus.
The Huffington post quotes Religious Freedom Project director Tom Farr on the importance of religious freedom in developing US Foreign Policy and Foreign Service training. Farr has advocated that religion should play a greater role in American diplomacy.
Eric Patterson recently published a new article "Increasing the Effectiveness of Religious Freedom Advocacy" in the International Journal of Religious Freedom. Patterson argues that the US and its allies need to redesign a forward-looking strategy for religious freedom advocacy.
Dekha Ibrahim Abdi, a remarkable Kenyan woman who was admired around the world for her work for peace, died tragicaly on July 14, 2011. A year ago, Dekha was at Georgetown University helping to highlight the peace work of women inspired by their faith. Katherine Marshall interview her before that consultation as part of the Practitioners and Faith-Inspired Development interview series.
The shrines at Kumano are among Japan's holiest places. Located in the mountains about 75 miles south of Osaka, Kumano Hongu, the main shrine (of three that make up Kumano), is indeed a magical place, full of history and legend. An ancient pilgrimage site with more than a thousand years of history, today it is a contemporary refuge, far from the noise and bustle of urban life.
Two recent items highlight the connection between religious freedom and broader political trends in China. First, Elliott Abrams points out at his blog Pressure Points that the Dalai Lama is visiting Washington this week and next week. But the Tibetan Buddhist leader doesn't, as of yet, have any official meetings scheduled with his fellow Nobel Peace Laureate President Obama, or any senior Administration officials for that matter.
Balandou, five years ago. A small village in Guinea, 14 hours by bush taxi from the capital. My daughter was serving as a Peace Corps teacher and I was a fascinated visitor. We emerged from her hut early one morning to see groups of women, dressed in white, walking by. They were going, we heard, to bury two women who had died overnight.
The Kroc Institute at Notre Dame has launched a multi-year project centered on the encounter of Catholicism and Islam with modernity. Center faculty Tom Banchoff, Jose Casanova, and Timothy Shah are participating the first project meeting in London, July 8-10. Shah also edits the Contending Modernities blog.
The Convention on the Rights of the Child has been ratified by all world nations EXCEPT Somalia and ... the United States. The United States signed the treaty but ratification prospects are dim, in part because of the concerns of religious conservatives.
Oxford University Press has just published "Religion and the Global Politics of Human Rights," co-edited by Thomas Banchoff and Robert Wuthnow. The volume is the third in a series based on major conferences held at the Center.
The principality of Liechtenstein, with its small population (35,000) and its gift of great wealth, is an exemplar and a supporter of the idea of self determination.
On June 19, 2011, Timothy Shah spoke to the Alexander Hamilton Society about the surge in religion's political influence virtually all parts of the world have witnessed since the 1950s and 1960s—halting and even reversing what seemed an unstoppable wave of political secularism.
Katherine Marshall attended the Fes Festival of World Sacred Music in Fes, Morocco June 3-12, 2011. She blogs in four parts about the themes and explorations of the festival.
Religious Freedom Project Director Thomas F. Farr spoke at the National Press Club on the "Minority Religious Communities at Risk" report. The report, published by the First Freedom Center, focuses attention on eight religious minority communities most at risk around the world today.
Religious Freedom Project Associate Scholar Mona Siddiqui has been named an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) as part of the 2011 Queen’s Honours List in recognition for her outstanding services to inter-faith relations.
Religious Freedom Project Director Thomas Farr is interviewed by Professor Anthony Gill for the “Research on Religion Podcast.” Tom Farr discusses his experience at the State Department Office of International Religious Freedom and the importance of religious liberty to American foreign policy.
How important will religion and religious freedom be to the construction of a stable and democratic government in Egypt? Religious Freedom Project Scholar-in-Residence, Timothy Samuel Shah, and Associate Scholars William Inboden, Daniel Philpott, Monica Duffy Toft, and Roger Trigg discuss this important question in a series of timely essays on Egypt and the countries of the Arab Spring.
Ten years ago the World Faiths Development Dialogue (WFDD) took up a new challenge: connecting the worlds of religion and economic and social development. It has since emerged as a major forum for leaders from the faith and policy communities to develop joint approaches to global policy challenges including poverty, education, and healthcare.
Jose Casanova spoke on the topic "Islam in Europe, Islam in the United States: the Politics of Nativism" as part of the Istanbul Seminars 2011 at Istanbul Bilgi University on May 21, 2011.
Religious Freedom Project Director Tom Farr testifies on "Prioritizing International Religious Freedom in U.S. Foreign Policy" before the House Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, and Human Rights.
Father Greg Boyle moves swiftly around the headquarters of Homeboy Industries in central Los Angeles, looking a bit like Santa Claus. A 57 year old Jesuit priest, he is the founder and president of an organization with an improbable name and a remarkable mission: to give hope to people our society seems to have given up as lost.
The Berkley Center is co-producing a weekly video magazine on the role of faith in the 2012 presidential election campaign. The God Vote is hosted by Jacques Berlinerblau and Sally Quinn.
Richard Chartres, Bishop of London, chose an inspirational challenge to open his homily at the wedding of William and Kate last month: “Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.” His message was that marriage is an extraordinary chance for two people to help each other to be far more than could ever be alone.
Georgetown's Institute for Reproductive Health hosted a consultation with global health leaders on the intersection of faith, family planning and family well-being, April 11-12, 2011. The consultation was also supported by USAID.
The “hunger fast” inspired by Tony Hall, David Beckman, and others, in a passionate call for a “moral budget,” came to an end on Easter Sunday, highlighting its initial tie to the spirit and tradition of self-denial of Lent.
In America magazine, William J. Gould reviews em>God's Century: Resurgent Religion and Global Politics by Religious Freedom Project scholars Monica Duffy Toft, Daniel Philpott, and Timothy Samuel Shah.
Call it family planning or women’s rights or reverence for life, it’s a minefield today in American politics. But even this dangerous territory can boast at least a few safe hillocks. One is child spacing.
Center Director Tom Banchoff spoke at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government on the topic "Civil Religion and U.S. Foreign Policy." Monica Toft of Harvard served as the discussant.
Georgetown students Saaliha Khan and Aamir Hussein's pieces on the recent Interfaith Hunger Banquet are featured on the Interfaith Youth Core's (IFYC) blog. The Hunger Banquet was the kickoff event of the campus interfaith initiative "Hunger for Change, " launched by a Georgetown interfaith group working closely with the IFYC as part of a nation-wide campaign.
This discussion between Dominique Peccoud and Katherine Marshall took place at Georgetown University on February 3, 2011 and focused on Father Peccoud’s reflections on his work at the International Labour Office (ILO) and his reflections following his retirement from the ILO after his 12-year term.
On April 5th, the Berkley Center hosted John Katunga of Catholic Relief Services as he discussed religiously-inspired peacebuilding and conflict resolution in East Africa.
The Berkley Center and National Defense University are co-hosting an annual conference of the senior US combatant command chaplains, sponsored by the office of Admiral Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Tony Hall is a remarkable man. He represented Ohio in the House of Representatives for 20 years, and later served as the US ambassador to the several organizations based in Rome that are dedicated to producing and distributing food (among them the United Nations’ World Food Program). Today he heads the Alliance to End Hunger.
The Center's Katherine Marshall interviewed Andrew Natsios, Professor in the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown, on the links between faith and agriculture. Natsios highlights the central role of churches and mosques in providing basic social services and argues strongly in favor of engaging religious leaders and institutions on agricultural policy issues.
Elizabeth Bucar, a 2006-2007 postdoctoral fellow at the Berkley Center, has published the new book Creative Conformity: The Feminist Politics of U.S. Catholic and Iranian Shi'i Women. In the book, Bucar demonstrates how certain liberal secular assumptions about Catholicism and Shi’i Islam are only partly correct and, more importantly, misleading.
On March 24, Chinese scholar Fenggang Yang gave a lecture on the growth of Christianity in China. He argued that argue that the fundamental reason for Christianity’s growth in China is its perceived compatibility with modernity. Fenggang Yang is Professor of Sociology and Director of the Center on Religion and Chinese Society (CRCS) at Purdue University.
In Japan, each day brings new death tolls from the horrific earthquake and tsunami. Each death is counted because each person matters. The rough estimates are that the toll will be around 20,000, but scrupulous attention is paid to verifying the numbers. This reflects the Japanese culture: each death is mourned, each life celebrated.
On March 23rd, Monica Duffy Toft, Daniel Philpott, and Timothy Samuel Shah discussed their new book, God's Century: Resurgent Religion and Global Politics (Norton 2011). Ross Douthat of the New York Times served as discussant and Michael Cromartie of the Ethics & Public Policy Center served as moderator.
The Center's Katherine Marshall participated in an event at Yale Divinity School on March 9, 2011, officially launching a 40-day campaign during Lent entitled "Mobilizing Faith, Fighting Poverty." Marshall said we must put a human face on extreme poverty and said we have the capability to eradicate poverty for the first time in history.
On this week's The God Vote with Sally Quinn and Jacques Berlinerblau, Quinn and Berlinerblau discuss Glenn Beck's recent claim that the earthquake in Japan was a message from God, and Rep. Peter King's hearings on Muslims in the United States.
On March 19, 1911, the first international celebration dedicated to women’s work and roles took place. Some places devote a month to events, and March 8, the current “official” women’s day, is a public holiday in some 28 countries. But amid this year’s celebrations of courage and compassion and of progress towards women’s rights, there’s a parallel commentary: baby, you’ve still got a long way to go to full equality.
It is now commonplace that religion is resurgent around the world. Evidence is everywhere, from American domestic politics to the Middle East and beyond. But skeptics remain. The Berkley Center's Timothy Shah has co-authored a major new book that addresses the skeptics head on: God's Century: Resurgent Religion in Global Politics (Norton 2011)
In November, 2009, peace-loving Switzerland shocked itself and the world when over 57 percent of its voters supported a referendum to ban construction of new minarets. The government had opposed the proposition on the grounds that it was unconstitutional, contravening Switzerland's commitment to religious freedom.
The 2012 Republican Presidential race for conservative Christian hearts and minds and votes got off to an unbelievable start yesterday--really, I mean, beyond anything I could have ever dreamed of--when the ultra-Conservative, Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition hosted its 11th Annual Spring Kick off.
In the wake of the tragic shooting in Tucson, Arizona, a chorus of voices - mainly, if not exclusively on the political Left - arose in denunciation of the decline of "civility" in contemporary political life. Somewhat incredibly, some of the more prominent voices on the political Right - such as Rush Limbaugh and Mark Levin - denounced these calls for civility.
The workshop brought together experts to address the role of religious communities around challenges of peacebuilding and development in Kenya and Cambodia. It was part of a Social Science Research Council project supported by the Henry R. Luce Foundation.
With the support of the Henry Luce Foundation the Center is sponsoring a major symposium on religion in American politics and society and its international significance. Participants include Archbishop Charles Chaput, Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, and Reverend Jim Wallis.
With the world's attention currently fixed on the upheaval in the Middle East, it is easy to forget that only last summer, the most significant debate over Islamic politics and practice was in fact raging within the United States. In question was the fate of a vacant building in Lower Manhattan. Only several blocks away from the former World Trade Center, this building was the proposed site of Park51, a Muslim community center.
The irony is familiar but still troubling: America, a nation proudly built by and for immigrants, today has a badly broken immigration system. But the debate about how to fix it has been fractious and unproductive. We seem to be stalled.
One of most prominent questions facing international commentators today: are Egypt, Tunisia, and Libya (if Qaddafi falls) going to become the new Irans? Professor Samer Shehata, this week's guest on The God Vote with Sally Quinn and Jacques Berlinerblau, asserts Egypt is not going the way of theocracy.
On February 23 the Center's Tom Banchoff and Katherine Marshall presented the results of six global workshops over four years that map new constellations of religion and development worldwide. The project is supported by the Henry Luce Foundation.
The Center's Tom Farr weighs in on the running religious freedom debate on the blog of the Social Science Research Council. He argues that protests in Egypt and elsewhere in the Middle East underscore the centrality of religious liberty for US foreign policy.
A group of American Christians, most of them evangelicals, met for four days last weekend with a distinguished group of Moroccans at Eastern Mennonite University, concluding with a public session Monday at Georgetown University's Berkley Center. To an outsider, the point of the conclave was not easy to fathom.
When we think of love today, we tend to think of it in dominantly private terms. Love is that intense emotion between lovers, between spouses, between parents and children, between siblings and immediate members of family or close friends. Love is a private emotion, usually dyadic or extendable to very few close intimates.
The rapid-fire events in Tunisia and Egypt have caught people everywhere by surprise. That's especially true in the neighborhood (North Africa and the Middle East). As I headed for Morocco for a weekend conference, I hoped to emerge with a far clearer understanding, both of what sparked these popular upheavals now, and what might lie ahead.
The Center's Katherine Marshall blogs on the Washington Post's OnFaith page about the Rohingya, Muslim refugees in Bangladesh whose situation is described as the world's most forgotten crisis and one of the most desperate. Read the blog here and read a piece co-authored by the Center's Melody Fox Ahmed and WFDD's Michael Bodakowski on the Rohingya and Muslim Aid, a UK-based, Islamic-inspired group working with the Rohingya in Bangaldesh.
The Berkley Center has just released the 2009-2010 Junior Year Abroad Network annual report. The report features excerpts from the 59 students who participated in the program during the 2009-2010 academic year. Read the full report here.
Rebirth, a documentary by Georgetown alumnus Jim Whitaker (C '90) about post-9/11 reconciliation premiered at the Sundance Film Festival on January 21. The Berkley Center's Michael Kessler reports on the Georgetown collaboration.
The Berkley Center, the United States Institute for Peace (USIP) and WFDD have launched a call for papers on women's religious peacemaking. The papers are to address pertinent themes and recommendations to policymakers and peacemakers on issues of local peacebuilding. It follows from the first phase of the project. For more information, click here.
"So, Jacques, what's the over/under on tonight's 'Scripture bombs'?" That's a question reporters sometimes used to ask me before a major address by the president or a presidential candidate back in 2008. Let me explain. A "Scripture bomb" is my term for the citation, whether explicit or covert, whether verbatim or glossed, of words from the Bible by a politician during an important speech.
Tom Banchoff and Jose Casanova ran a workshop in Oxford on January 21-22 that explored the intersection of religion, politics, and society in the United States and the United Kingdom. The workshop was supported by the Luce/SFS Program on Religion and International Affairs.
The great majority of Bangladesh's 160 million citizens are Muslims, making it one of the world's largest Muslim communities. Bengali Islam is distinctive, shaped by a long history in which adherents of different religions lived side by side. Today, however, people talk of changes in the character of Bangladeshi Islam.
The Berkley Center, World Faiths Development Dialogue, and the BRAC Development Institute hosted a meeting in Dhaka, Bangladesh January 10-11 with participants from 12 countries in South and Central Asia. Part of the Luce Foundation supported "mapping" of development dimensions of faith inspired work worldwide, this meeting focused on gender, education, and peacebuilding.
The Center's Katherine Marshall spoke at the Madeleine Albright Institute for Global Affairs at Wellesley College on January 4, 2011. Her lecture, "Journeys toward a Global Ethic: Challenges for Poverty and Social Justice," was part of a three-week seminar featuring panels by leading Wellesley alumnae in foreign affairs and public policy. Professor Marshallâs presentation can be found here.
Is a society required to grant its artists the right to offend? In a liberal democracy, doubtless. But is such a society also required to acquiesce to the offense without objection, even when its culture, its sensibilities, even its most sacred objects are treated with disrespect, offense or rebuke?
Eric Patterson published an article in Democracy and Society entitled "Sustainable Democracy Promotion: What Obama Learn from Bush." In the article, Patterson explores President Obama's definition of "sustainable democracy" and compares much of his administration's democracy promotion policy to that of President George Bush.
Eric Patterson published an op-ed in the hard copy of Human Events and at Human Events online comparing President Barack Obama's Cairo speech in June 2009 to the policy goals outlined in the National Security Strategy (NSS).
Despite conservative disapproval of the greeting "Happy Holidays," as a Christian I take no offense at the phrase. After all, the words effectively invoke the same sentiment - they are a slight abbreviation of the words "Happy Holy Days." Happy Holidays, I say, and all that those words imply - which is much indeed.
Relationships between Africa and Europe are complicated, witness the tense standoff now unfolding in Cote d'Ivoire. Even decades after independence, even with a history often marked by bitter conflicts, links among nations that were part of colonial empires remain surprisingly strong. Religion is one of the reasons why.
In his paper Eric Patterson argues that the larger secularist bias in Western foreign policies have made the West blind to the religious aspects of contemporary global affairs and reports on the one-size-fits-all Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) programs instituted in Afghanistan following the Tokyo Donor Conference of 2003.
On the occasion of the 21th anniversary of the martyrdom of a group of Jesuits during the civil war in El Salvador, Georgetown University hosted the Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice. Angela Senander reports on the event, which featured delegations from Jesuit high schools, colleges, universities, and parishes and guest speakers including Sister Helen Prejean.
In his most recent column in the New York Times, Ross Douthat argues that the longstanding narrative of the culture wars - a liberal elite which defends lifestyle libertinism vs. the stalwart heartland yeomanry who stand for traditional family values - if once true, has been outstripped by reality in the form of findings in a just-published survey.
Well, you heard it here first folks. According to Egypt's Prime Minister, Dr. Ahmed Nazif, the country's recent elections, and in particular the victory of 9 ministers in the first round, clearly indicate a "popular base of support for the regime" that is nothing less than "sweeping."
In an address at the University of St. Thomas in Houston on November 11, 2010, Farr addressed the intersection of religious freedom, American interests, and the life and legacy of John Paul II.
For decades, the Vatican has had nothing good to say about condoms, but now the pope in a new book has acknowledged that in some circumstances the use of condoms can be morally responsible to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS. What is going on here?
At their meeting this week in Baltimore, the U.S. bishops signaled that they are going to continue their conservative tilt in both the church and American politics.
President Barack Obama's November 10 trip to Indonesia was short and bitter sweet: short because he had to leave before the Merapi volcano spewed more dark ash into the skies (what a metaphor!); bitter sweet because his voyage unfolded amid growing doubts about his "Muslim world outreach."
Damon Linker - former editor of "First Things" and author of the book Theocons - has written a new book entitled The Religious Test. In the book, he argues on behalf of several "tests" whereby the belief of political leaders can be measured and assessed by the polity.
While most Catholic eyes are directed toward Rome where new cardinals will be created on November 20, an important leadership transition is taking place in the United States where a new president will be chosen for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Center Director Tom Banchoff presented a paper on faith and foreign policy at the Liechtenstein Institute on Self-Determination 10th Anniversary Colloquium at Princeton University, November 11, 2010. The presentation was part of the panel "Religion, Diplomacy, and Self-Determination."
The Berkley Center hosted EJ Dionne, Ross Douthat, and Damon Linker as they discussed the role of religion in the personal and public lives of our political leaders. They explored the impact of a candidate's faith on his or her political views during the campaign and while in office. The event was held Monday, November 8th at 6:00pm in Copley Formal Lounge.
The Berkley Center's event with Saba Mahmood on religious freedom and the Middle East is featured on the Social Science Research Council's blog "The Immanent Frame."
The Center's Eric Patterson has published an op-ed in the Washington Times on defining Afghan reconciliation. Patterson argues that reconciliation means different things to the Afghan and US governments.
The Berkley Center held a symposium through the Luce/SFS Program on Religion and International Affairs on religious freedom and US national security policy on October 28, 2010. The symposium broke into two sessions and a keynote address was given by Mr. Rashad Hussain, U.S. Special Envoy to the Organization of the Islamic Conference.
Former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey commented that the Community of Sant'Egidio is what we want the modern church to be. But many are baffled by a group that doesn't seem to fit into any familiar category. What's it all about?
On October 27, 2010, José Casanova spoke on “Emerging Global Denominationalism” at McGill University's Centre for Research on Religion as part of a semester-long lecture series on "Religious, Globalization, and Dialogue."
There was such a flurry of activity in Rome last week that it seemed as if the Eternal City was, once again, the center of the world. Bishops from all over the Middle East met in conclave, new cardinals were proclaimed and new saints were canonized. With a candlelight march, the Community of Sant'Egidio commemorated the dark day in 1943 when Rome's Jewish community was deported to concentration camps.
With the appointment of 20 cardinal electors, Pope Benedict XVI continues to put his mark on the College of Cardinals, which will eventually elect his successor. Benedict has now appointed 40% of the college, with the rest chosen by his predecessor. Granted his age, these could easily be the cardinals who will choose the next pope.
The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, which describes itself as "a nonpartisan 'fact tank,'" has recently garnered immense media and popular attention with its "U.S. Religious Knowledge Survey."
On October 22-26th, 2010, the Chicago-based Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC) will deliver an intensive leadership training hosted by the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships. Georgetown University's Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs will be facilitating some of the training sessions on campus.
Dialogue, especially interfaith dialogue, gets a bad rap these days, but a pugnacious Italian historian and peacemaker, Andrea Riccardi, is not about to let such denigration stand. Looking already to the tenth anniversary of September 11th next year, he argues that the lesson we must learn, yet again, is that war achieves nothing and that tenacious dialogue is the path to peace.
The Center's Katherine Marshall spoke at a panel on "Equitable and Ethical Development" at the Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome, on October 12, 2010. The panel was part of the conference "Building Bridges of Hope: Success Stories and Strategies for Interfaith Action."
The Center's Jose Casanova spoke on two interfaith dialogue panels at the 14th Annual Forum 2000 Conference, "The World We Want to Live In," in Prague, October 10-12, 2010. He was the keynote speaker on the panel "Religion, Globalization, and Secularization" and a panelist on the topic "Between Religious Xenophobia, Tolerance, and Dialogue."
The Center's Katherine Marshall gave the keynote address at the International Relief and Development conference sponsored by Emory University's Candler School of Theology on September 29, 2010. In her address, Marshall explored international development through a religious lens.
In Biblical Israel, as in many agrarian societies, a family or community hit by a catastrophe like bad rains or illness would borrow to make it through, then find themselves forced to sell land because they could not repay the loans; many ended as de facto slaves with nothing to live on but their labor...
> Listen In!: RFP Scholar Roger Trigg on Religious Freedom and Human Rights at Iona Institute Conference
RFP Scholar Roger Trigg discusses the emerging conflict between conceptions of “human rights” and religious freedom at a conference hosted by the Iona Institute in October 2010. His talk warns of aggressive secularism’s attempt to remove religion from the public square.
The Center's Katherine Marshall spoke on a panel on faith and poverty at the Church Center for the UN on September 22, 2010. The event also marked the launch of the Fall 2010 issue of Reflections magazine and was sponsored by Yale Divinity School.
The Berkley Center is pleased to announce that 37 students have been accepted to participate in the fall semester 2010 Junior Year Abroad Network...
Delhi is buzzing these days about the construction delays and shoddy work that have put the Commonwealth Games at risk. The blame goes squarely to corruption and inefficiency. There are plenty of other sad sagas in India across many fields...
In an essay at publicdiscourse.com, the Center's Thomas Farr criticizes those who would dismiss critics of the Manhattan mosque project as extremists.
The Berkley Center continues its series of interviews with faith-inspired development practitioners. Recent discussions with leaders of Buddhist, Quaker, Pentecostal, and Christian organizations based in Cambodia examine Buddhism's contributions</ a> to development, contemporary ethnic and religious tensions, post-Khmer Rouge recovery, and conflicting views on orphan care.
When British businessmen and civil servants arrived in India in the 19th Century, they were flummoxed by the extraordinary diversity of the religious landscape. It still exists today. Fakirs, swamis, mullahs, imams, monks, nuns, dadis, and brothers are everywhere...
José Casanova gave a talk on "The Secular, Secularizations, And Secularisms" at the Institute for Philosophy and Religion at Boston University on September 15, 2010, followed by a response from Adam Seligman, Institute for Culture, Religion and World Affairs, Boston University.
Amid U.S. election fever, wacky pastors, and assorted other events, it's easy to miss the momentous opening of the U.N. Summit on the Millennium Development Goals. It happens on September 20 in New York, as about 150 heads of state and others converge on the United Nations for the annual shebang of the General Assembly...
So Terry Jones won't "today, not ever" burn a Quran. I guess the media can now move on to sensationalizing some other previous unknown willing to say ludicrous things and get us all talking about it for a week...
Jobs and spirituality rarely occur in the same phrase, yet few states are as soul-destroying as unemployment and for many of us, our work vocation is central to life's purpose and direction. Thus the notion of "decent work," a central mantra of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), has both practical and strongly ethical dimensions...
The Berkley Center is now accepting applications for the Fall 2010 Junior Year Abroad Network (JYAN). Now in its fifth year, the program provides an online platform for students to share their observations around issues at the intersection of religion, culture, politics, and society in their host countries.
In a new article published in Comparative Education, the Center's Katherine Marshall argues that religion's potential contributions to the Millennium Development Goals and the Education for All campaign are often under-appreciated.
Ambassador Akbar Ahmed of American University and Sally Quinn of the Washington Post discussed Ahmed's book exploring the Muslim experience in the U.S. within the larger context of American identity. The event was held September 9, 2010 at 6:00 PM in the ICC Auditorium.
Washingtonians will remember this ferocious August for its unusual and disconcerting heat - a merciless string of 90-plus degree days - and an intemperate, nasty, heated public discourse. Meanwhile, human crises of biblical proportions are unfolding across the world...
This presentation will outline a research project funded by the UK Department for International Development on relationships between religion, politics and governance; participation by religious organizations in policy consultation processes; and womenâs organizations campaigning for progressive legal change engaged with religion in India, Pakistan, Nigeria and Tanzania...
The Center's Eric Patterson has just published an article in the online version of the The Review of Faith and International Affairs. He argues for a new and comprehensive approach to the pursuit of religious freedom as a core element of US foreign policy.
> Katherine Marshall Blogs: Religious literacy crucial to understand Pakistan flood response, mosque debate
There's a Ghanaian proverb that goes, roughly: "Plenty of meat and fish does not spoil the soup." The saying suggests that diversity and robust faith can thrive, all mixed together...
The Center's Katherine Marshall interviewed Scott Appleby of Notre Dame's Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies about his pioneering work on religion and peacebuilding and the role of women in particular.
When South Africa was emerging from the dark shadows of the apartheid era, Malaysia was one place it looked for successful examples of how to address the difficult legacy of racial inequality. Malaysia's Malay citizens (about 60 percent of the total) lagged behind other groups and helping them to "catch up" was a deliberate government policy...
There are few sadder fates than to be a child abandoned in Cambodia. Every day newspapers carry stories about trafficked children, harsh child labor, and abused children. Last week alone one report reminded readers where they could drop off unwanted babies..
Katherine Marshall interviews Scilla Elworthy, Director of the Oxford Research Group, about her many years of work on peace, with a special focus on women. Her approach emphasizes dialogue and understanding as she links issues at the global level with women's roles in working for peace at the local level.
The Berkley Center's Jose Casanova gave a series of prestigious lectures on the sociology of religion in Beijing last week. The lectures were part of the seventh "Summer Institute for Scientific Study of Religion" held at Renmin University of China in Beijing from July 28 through August 7.
Phnom Penh was hot, noisy, and bustling last week. Cars, motorcycles, and the ubiquitous tuk tuks (motorcycle taxis) raced through the city with perpetual near collisions. Markets were full. Children were everywhere. There were clouds gathering, but the coming storms of the rainy season held off...
With all the loud clamoring about the proposed Islamic Center to be built near Ground Zero, reasonable voices are hard to discern. One thing is clear: this is not a debate about religious freedom...
The body of Simon Bolivar, father of the Latin American revolutions, was exhumed last week in Venezuela. Hugo Chavez, Venezuela's president, is pursuing a hunch that Bolivar died of some nefarious violent act, and not, as the official story holds, of tuberculosis...
The unlikely and inspiring Nigerian duo Imam Muhammad Ashafa and Pastor James Wuye were in Switzerland last week at the Caux Forum for Human Security. Their partnership is unlikely because they were militia leaders...
We are here with forty graduate students and post-docs and an inspiring group of faculty from over twenty countries to explore a range of issues related to religion in public life. And over the next two weeks, we look forward to sharing some of our discussions...
In partnership with the World Faiths Development Dialogue and supported by the Luce/SFS Program on Religion and International Affairs, the Berkley Center has published a report surveying the contributions of faith-inspired organizations to the global fight against tuberculosis and suggesting ways to increase their participation and effectiveness.
Dekha Ibrahim Abdi, a courageous woman from the arid north of Kenya, devotes her life to building peace. She compares this work to an egg. "An egg is delicate and fragile. But if given the right conditions, it gives life..."
This public event concluded a two-day symposium on women's approaches and work to build peace. With an emphasis on the roles of religion, meeting participants reflected with a broader audience on their conclusions, concerns and ideas for making their work for peace more effective.
"Women are the boldest and most unmanageable of revolutionaries," Sister Joan Chittister said last week. Especially religious women...
The Supreme Court handed down its long-awaited opinion in Christian Legal Society Chapter of the University of California, Hastings College of Law v. Martinez (CLS). The decision may go largely unnoticed since it arrived on the first day of future Justice Kagan's confirmation hearings and, McDonald v. Chicago, another decision released the same day, is gaining much more attention after it extended the Second Amendment to limit state gun control laws...
In preparation for a symposium in July, the Berkley Center, WFDD and USIP are conducting an interview series with practitioners, policy makers and leading academics who have experience in the roles women play in conflict resolution and peacebuilding. The interviews mix personal stories and policy observations and represent an important new resource.
What makes a religious political party? The question is more than semantic in Senegal. The constitution bars political parties based on religion or sect (Article 3.1), so when a young leader within Senegalâs Mouride Sufi brotherhood, Serigne Modou Kara MbackÃ©, formed a political party in 2004, the ban was put to a test.
Two hands cradling a tender young plant provided the visual image for an ambitious conference last week in Alexandria, Egypt. The image aptly illustrated the underlying question: have the new beginnings that President Obama promised one year ago, in his speech to the world's Muslim communities at Cairo University, taken root...
On Thursday, June 17 at 12 p.m., Bassam Tibi, author of Islam's Predicament with Modernity, argues that cultural tensions - if not dealt with and tamed - can escalate and lead to political conflict. In this lunchtime meeting, he will discuss how disagreements over values systems between Islam and the West are not a "clash of civilizations," but can be resolved through intra-civilizational dialogue.
The Center has just released a website that maps the role of religion in China and the United States. The bilingual resource allows users to explore different faith traditions and their role in society, government, and the academy in both countries.
South Africa already was at fever pitch when I visited 10 days ago, more than a week before the 2010 World Cup began. It reminded me of the extraordinary spirit of South Africa in June 1995 when the Springboks won the rugby World Cup and the country went wild...
These are exciting but tense times in the West African nation of Guinea. A presidential election is fast approaching, on June 27, with legislative contests to follow six months later...
law is supposed to protect the life, liberty, and property of citizens. That's part of its moral purpose--regulating conduct so that the dignity of citizens is not assaulted and harmed by others' inattention, recklessness, or aggression...
"This is 911. What is your emergency?"
"Someone is trying to break into my house."
"What is your address?"
"1234 Palm Street in Phoenix."
"Let me check for an available officer. Let's see, I can have someone come by tomorrow between 9 a.m. and noon."...
One of South Africa's leading papers, The Mail & Guardian, announced last Friday that it had underestimated "the depth of anger ignited' by a cartoon it published earlier. It depicted the Prophet Muhammad lying on a psychiatrist's couch, with a thought bubble over his head that said, 'Other prophets have followers with a sense of humor!'...
Memorial Day 2010 will go down in history as all about oil. As the economic near-collapse of the past two years appears, finally, to be subsiding, we are measuring recovery in terms of the increased number of travelers this Memorial Day Holiday...
What's a nice Irish American priest like SÃ©amus Finn doing on The Daily Show? The answer is not what you might think: he's squirming to avoid nasty questions and jokes about abuse scandals...
My grandmother, a very wise woman, gave me a piece of advice that sticks in my mind to this day: "A gingerbread he went to Rome, a gingerbread he came home." She was urging that, going into any new adventure or faced with any new idea, I should not be stuffy and stuck in the outlines of the way I understood things, because if I did, I would miss the chance to learn and change...
On Monday, May 24, Etienne De Jonghe, a research fellow at the Berkley Center, reflected on his nearly 30 years as secretary-general of Pax Christi International. His experiences include interaction with Eastern Europe during the cold war, and peacebuilding and development work in Africa, Latin America, Asia and the Middle East.
This discussion between Ela Bhatt and Katherine Marshall occurred during the celebration of Bhatt's award of the Niwano Peace Prize in Tokyo on May 13, 2010. She reflects on her career and explores issues of peace and justice for India and beyond.
On Tuesday, May 18, Kristian Berg Harpviken, Director of the Peace Research Institute of Oslo (PRIO), gave a briefing and answered questions about his new report, "Afghanistan's Religious Landscape," which provides a way forward on many of the region's challenging issues.
Ela Bhatt began her career as a labor organizer, a mÃ©tier that lends itself more to conflict than to peace. She does not have any formal religious affiliation. And yet last week in Japan she was awarded the Niwano Peace Prize, which highlights the positive roles that faith and religion play in world affairs...
In this interview, Etienne De Jonghe reflects on the evolution of Pax Christi over the years, his role in guiding and shaping the organization, and the leading issues it faces.
In airports nowadays it's quite common to see groups of people, young and old, heading overseas as part of a church group. They are part of a large, totally decentralized American engagement with other parts of the world: short mission trips to dig wells and build stoves and help orphans and engage in other good works...
Carol Lancaster, the Dean of the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University, describes her history of engagement with development issues as both a practitioner working with USAID, and as an academic.
The Center's 2009-2010 Undergraduate Fellows present their findings in this new publication after a year long study of new social media and interreligious and intercultural understanding.
A cycle of disappointment has taken hold in the Côte d'Ivoire. Month after month of behind-the-scenes discussions raise hopes; too often they are dashed even before the ink on peace agreements has time to dry. Optimism and commitment wither in the face of continual failure...
The cross in the desert can stay. Or, more precisely, the federal government can go ahead with a land transfer with a VFW chapter to allow the cross to stay on formerly federal land in the Mojave National Preserve...
> José Casanova on the Role of Values and Religion in Youth Development at the Jacobs Foundation Marbach Conference in Germany
José Casanova was a featured speaker at the Jacobs Foundation Marbach Conference on “The Role of Values and Religion in Youth Development: A Culture-Informed Perspective,” held at Marbach Castle in Germany during April 28-30, 2010.
The Immanent Frame is featuring Jose Casanova's keynote address at the Center's recent symposium on Proselytism and Religious Freedom in the 21st Century.
> Katherine Marshall on the Huffington Post: "From Fes with Love: Bridging Cultural Divides with Music, Art, and Dialogue"
At sundown, the barn swallows twirl in loping circles around the ancient walls of Fes, darting in and out of holes in the earthen walls where they build their nests. At the foot of the walls, people gather in the glorious light of early evening, strolling and chatting. It's a peaceful and inspiring scene that evokes the magic of Fes. One of the world's most ancient cities, probably the largest and most authentic living medieval town that still lives today, Fes proudly savors an extraordinary array of culture, crafts, and spiritual gifts. It's past and present in a seamless fabric, religious and profane, west and east.
Martin Indyk is a long-time friend of Israel who previously served as U.S. ambassador to Tel Aviv. He also directs foreign policy programs for Brookings, an institution with close ties to the Obama administration. And so when Indyk argues that there is a link between failed peace making and US security, and when our own Secretary of State makes a similar case, is it any wonder that the Israelis are worried?
On April 30, the Doyle Engaging Difference Initiative and the Center for New Designs in Learning and Scholarship hosted the first annual symposium on engaging difference. Three notable alumni shared their thoughts on how they address issues of difference and diversity in their professional careers.
Perhaps nowhere is the challenge of poverty as stark as in the bald numbers about maternal mortality. In the poorest parts of the world, the risk that a woman will die as a result of pregnancy or childbirth is about one in six; in much of Europe it is one in 30,000...
Advocates of religious freedom should be skeptical of Judge Crabb's ruling that the National Day of Prayer is unconstitutional. If you are rightfully concerned about preventing "establishments of religion," attacking this particular statute was not, in my estimation, the one to worry about...
If a peace settlement is to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, religious leaders will have to play a vitally important role. On April 26, Rev. Dr. Trond Bakkevig of the Church of Norway discussed efforts to foster religious dialogue and peace in the Holy Land.
How can war end well? How can peace be secured? The Berkley Center hosted a conference on April 22 to answer these questions from the just war tradition. The day-long conference was followed by a keynote address by Michael Walzer, author of Just and Unjust Wars.
On Tuesday, April 20, The Berkley Center and the Rumi Forum presented a discussion with a delegation of visiting scholars and leaders from Indonesia on "An Indonesian Model of Interreligious Dialogue." Jean Duff, Executive Director at the Center for Interfaith Action on Global Poverty (CIFA), moderated.
Don't blame Nigeria's violent conflicts on religion, Nigeria's acting president, Goodluck Jonathan, argued forcefully during a far-ranging discussion last Monday at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington. The brutal conflict that took place near the city of Jos last month (where as many as 500 people died) reflects tensions between longtime residents and recent settlers, plus economic misery, not a clash between Christianity and Islam...
The 59th National Day of Prayer is scheduled for May 6. It is supposed to be a day of unity for citizens to come together in reflection. Instead, our deep-seated confusions about the proper boundaries between religious practice and governmental power have turned the official recognition into a huge wedge issue...
The hot spots this week are Kyrgyzstan and Bangkok, but every day brings new reports of riots and unrest somewhere in the world. America has rarely seemed as unsettled as it is today...
Justice John Paul Stevens has announced his intention to retire this summer, ending the teasing speculation of the past few weeks. Lapsed-Republican traitor to some (he was appointed by President Ford in 1975) and unflappable liberal lion to others, the jurisprudence of Justice Stevens has always been hard to predict or categorize...
Center Assistant Director Eric Patterson's new co-edited book, Debating the War of Ideas, contrasts voices from around the world about the "war of ideas" - the ideas that so many around the globe believe are worth fighting, killing, and even dying for. The April 12 book launch includes a discussion with Asma Afsaruddin, Akbar Ahmed, and Walid Phares.
Confronting corruption is not a good path to popularity. Sparks flew between Kabul and Washington last week as Hamid Karzai shot back against U.S. officials who admonished him to get serious in that department. A large donor gathering in New York looking to build a new Haiti rarely strayed far from the corruption sore spot...
With the economic downturn and massive job losses, it seems many Americans have no sympathy for employees requesting religious accommodations for Sabbath observance. Comments on a recent news story about an EEOC lawsuit against Lowe's for failing to allow a Baptist to not work on Sundays almost all tilt toward hostility to the man's religious beliefs. Hard times seem to make for hardened hearts...
A joint letter signed by more than 25 organizations and individuals, including Center Senior Fellow Thomas Farr, was delivered on March 30 to President Obama urging him to fill immediately the still-vacant position of U.S. Ambassador-At-Large for International Religious Freedom. More details on Farr's Washington Post blog, "Faith and Foreign Policy."
Stephen Heinz, President of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, is passionate about democracy. For him, it is about far more than voting and congressional battles. It is a way of life, a set of fundamental values, a will that leads to courage, reason, compassion and the common good...
Imagine you are 18 years old and worked hard to be the best student in your class. You are the valedictorian and are invited to give a brief speech at graduation. You want to thank those important to your successful journey, including mentioning the importance of your religious belief to your academic success. And the principal tells you that you are not permitted to do so...
Two statues of women dominate the central square of Hopkins, a small town in Belize. One celebrates Martina Vicente, a true matriarch figure (a sign says 85% of the town's population claim her as their ancestress). The other is of Marcella Lewis, poet, musician, writer and patroness of the town but also of the Garifuna community, a proud and distinctive ethnic group now concentrated in Central America...
This interview recounts an extraordinary career in international public health that is continuously inspired by Christian faith. Dr. Amayun directs USAIDâs public health programs in Benin, and has spent much of his career working for World Vision and International Aid.
The Center's Tom Farr interviews Elliott Abrams, a Senior Fellow for Middle Eastern Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations. Abrams previously served in the George W. Bush administration from June 2001 - January 2009, ultimately holding the office of deputy assistant to the president and deputy national security adviser.
A hundred years ago a feisty group of women met in Copenhagen and voted unanimously to launch an International Women's Day on March 8. The idea took. Today, some 15 countries celebrate it as a national holiday, and thousands of events worldwide put women's issues in the spotlight...
In a panel discussion, José Casanova discussed issues at the intersection of Islam and immigration. The event was held as part of the Great Issues Forum at the Graduate Center, City University of New York.
On March 3, 2010, the Berkley Center sponsored a day-long symposium on proselytism and religious freedom in the 21st century. Experts from a variety of scholarly and policy fields met to investigate the theological, legal, and political implications of the missionary impulse.
Does the Establishment Clause prevent the President from using or aiding religion as part of foreign policy? Absolutely not, so long as it is not action upon U.S. citizens...
Jane, a Kenyan woman, showed off her brand new house to Jacqueline Novogratz, founder of the Acumen Fund, which had financed the housing development. She was justifiably proud. Starting with nothing, Jane worked and saved for years to escape the Mathere Valley slum community where she used to live. Jane exuberantly demonstrated the wonders of her toilet...
On February 23, 2010, The Chicago Council on Global Affairs Task Force on Religion and the Making of U.S. Foreign Policy released its final report, which focuses on strategies for better incorporating an understanding of religion into the U.S. foreign policymaking framework.
Whether it's rebuilding Haiti or debating about America's health care or immigration reform, it's just plain silly to leave out the religious actors. They are advocates, doers and thinkers who have vast knowledge and experience. But plenty of thoughtful citizens prefer to relegate religion to the margins...
Last week's National Prayer Breakfast cast a spotlight on the gaps between what people of faith say (and pray) and what they actually do. President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton both discussed the puzzle of how religion can be such a uniting force, but also such a divisive one...
The Washington D.C.-area "Snowmaggeddon" of 2010--unplowed streets and undelivered goods--has probably revealed to many just how reliant the professional classes are on all the people who work hard to keep the region's streets maintained, stores stocked, and the other necessities of life humming along...
The Junior Year Abroad Network page features student letters and the replies of faculty members on the intersection of religion, politics, and culture abroad. Faculty give their take on diverse issues, from the growth of religious pluralism in Ireland to the discovery of Jewish identity in China.
Sulak Sivaraksa exudes a rare blend of calm and passion for action. Carrying a tall gnarled staff, dressed in a baggy outfit, and with an everpresent cloth bag stuffed with copies of his books, he's a presence wherever he goes...
Gunnar Stalsett, former bishop of Oslo in the Church of Norway, serves as Moderator of the European Council of Religious Leaders and an International President of the World Council of Religions for Peace. In this interview he speaks about his long and varied career aimed at peace and social justice.
Sulak Sivaraksa, founder of the Sathirakoses-Nagapradipa Foundation, prides himself on labels people put on him: intellectual, troublemaker, engaged Buddhist, and activist. This interview covers his early experience and motivations, some of Buddhismâs insights and gifts for development, and where he sees his agendas moving forward.
As ABC News first reported, Trijicon, a Michigan company, has been supplying rifle scopes to the U.S. military with serial numbers containing scriptural citations. (Thursday, the company decided to stop doing that and to help erase the existing cites.) Was it a stupid practice?...
A monkey, so goes an ancient eastern parable, passed by a stream and saw a fish in the water. Assuming that it must be struggling for breath, he "rescued" it. On dry land, the fish flopped about as the monkey rejoiced in its liberation. But the fish soon died. The monkey was sad that his rescue had come too late...
On January 26, the Berkley Center's Junior Year Abroad Network (JYAN) 2008-2009 members met at the Annual JYAN Dinner to present reflections on their time spent living and studying abroad. Their reflections have also been formally published in the new JYAN Report, which was presented to them during the dinner.
The Center is a collaborator on the new World Economic Report Faith and the Global Agenda: Values for the Post-Crisis Economy. The report includes contributions by global religious leaders as well as an essay by Center Director Thomas Banchoff. >>Report >>Blog >>Resources
On January 21 the Center featured a vigorous discussion between David Novak, author of the new book on religious liberty, William Galston of the Brookings Institution, and George Weigel of the Ethics and Public Policy Center. The Center's Thomas Farr was the moderator.
Zilda Arns Neumann, sometimes called Brazil's Mother Teresa, was among those who died tragically during Haiti's earthquake. She was in Port-au-Prince to share lessons from the enormous church-based child health program she established in Brazil...
Religious leaders lead the faithful. But what do they have to say to others? Not much in a world where religion is a private matter and politics is secular...
The Center celebrates the life of Dr. Zilda Arns Neumann, founder of Pastoral da CrianÃ§a, who died in the recent earthquake in Haiti. Read an interview on her life and learn about her work in the Consultation on Global Development and Faith-Inspired Organizations in Latin America in January of 2009.
Africa, with its complex mosaic of countries and communities, is in the throes of religious revolution. Some trends are troubling--witness the Nigerian Muslim who tried to blow up a plane and the move to make homosexuality a capital offense in Uganda. Yet other trends may offer hope...
On January 8th the Berkley Center hosted a meeting of the Witherspoon Institute's Task Force on International Religious Freedom, directed by the Berkley Center's Senior Fellow Thomas Farr.
The Junior Year Abroad Network (JYAN) 2008-09 Annual Report features letter excerpts from the 42 JYAN participants last year. The participants will have the opportunity to introduce their publication to selected faculty and members of the Georgetown community at a formal dinner on January 26.
The dust has yet to settle on the scramble for charitable gifts at the end of 2009. In the last few weeks, a combination of extraordinary need and new outreach technologies produced an extraordinary flood of appeals. Up to 60 percent of charitable gifts generally come in the last days of the year...
I'm dreading my son Patrick's caustic comments about Copenhagen when he gets home from college for Christmas break. As he predicted, the older generations have tied themselves in knots...
Greed was the villain at the once-every-five-years Parliament of the World's Religions that wound up last week in Melbourne's cavernous new convention center. More than 6,000 people attended...
By now everyone knows the pathetic story of Tareq and Michaele Salahi's successful crash of last week's White House state dinner. Trying to land a spot on Bravo network's upcoming Real Housewives of DC, they apparently believed attendance at this diplomatic affair would ensure the world knew they were major players in the DC scene...
Chuck Norris thinks Obamacare could morph into first-century "Herodcare." Norris thinks a democratic Congress seems hell-bent on slipping in funding to kill all the unborn to save money for health reform...
Speaking as part of Yale University's Faith & Globalization Initiative, José Casanova discussed the role of faiths as shapers of globalization.
The Center's Thomas Farr interviews Robert A. Seiple, the first U.S. Ambassador for International Religious Freedom. The interview is the first in a series with key foreign policy practitioners working at the intersection of religion and US foreign policy.
At the first interfaith meeting I attended a decade ago, I could not stop looking at the dresses the men wore. The living panaroma presented a palette of gorgeous colors, spectacular hats, wondrous robes, and magnificent beards...
The Center's Tom Banchoff, Katherine Marshall, and Melody Fox Ahmed made several presentations at the Parliament of the World's Religions in Melbourne, Australia last month. The Parliament takes place every five years.
On December 14, 2009, the Center and the World Faiths Development Dialogue convened a two-day consultation on the role of faith-inspired practitioners and organizations on issues of global development and equity in Southeast Asia.
Katherine Marshall interviews Cardinal McCarrick, Archbishop of Washington from 2001 until 2006. Cardinal McCarrick has served as head of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on Migration, Chair of the Committee on International Policy, and Chairman of the Domestic Policy Committee.
In this interview Jacques Berlinerblau meets with Weekly Standard editor Michael Goldfarb to discuss J Street's move from the political Left toward the center, and the implications of the pro-Israel advocacy of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).
Join Jocelyne Cesari of Harvard University on November 30 as she presents Islamopedia, a collection of rulings and religious opinions that address important topics in contemporary Islam such as gender, non-Muslims, violence, and secularism.
Believe it or not, the term 'glocalization' has entered the vocabulary enough to appear in a slew of places, even in book titles. However clumsy the term, it refers to an important and complex challenge. Globalization is upon us, changing lives in countless ways, but it's local events, those close to home, that we feel most directly...
Happy Thanksgiving. Simple words that conjure images of national traditions like pumpkin pie and roasted turkey, and family and friends gathered in holiday cheer. Central to that tradition is the presidential proclamation for a National Day of Thanksgiving...
A jointly sponsored Berkley Center and Tocqueville Forum luncheon discussion with Professor Jean Bethke Elshtain, Leavey Chair in the Department of Government, will take place on Tuesday, December 1, at noon at the Berkley Center.
The Berkley Center is pleased to announce the winners of the 2009 Essay Contest. Nathan Pippenger won first place for his essay "Securing Universal Human Rights: A Third Approach."
Center Director Thomas Banchoff attended the World Economic Forum's Summit on the Global Agenda in Dubai on November 20-22. The Center is collaborating on a report on "Faith and the Global Agenda" to be published in the run-up to the Forum's annual meeting in Davos in January 2010.
As Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams occupies a unique position in the religious world, with the potential to bridge religious and secular. As leader of Britain's established religion, he engages constantly with political leaders. So the title of his recent speech in London jumped out at me: "Relating Intelligently to Religion". Heaven knows, surely that's what we need...
A friend's Facebook link took me to a CNN article that I thought would infuriate me. The headline was "McDonnell won't disavow Robertson's Islam remarks." What CNN failed to articulate was, to my surprise, that Virginia Governor-elect McDonnell sounded more Madisonian than Robertsonian...
Join us as Charles Villa-Vicencio discusses his recent book, 'Walk with Us and Listen: Peace and Reconciliation in Africa.' Dr. Villa-Vicencio will address the ICC and African mechanisms for justice and peace-building, human rights, and the success of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
Please join us for a wide-ranging discussion of how the Islamic tradition - including the Qu'ran, the life and sayings of the Prophet, and diverse legal schools - relates to the idea of a liberal democratic state.
To improve understandings of religion in the lives of international migrants, this SSRC Project investigates the roles of Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism for immigrants settled in Malaysia, South Africa, and Great Britain. The conference offers comparitive research findings.
Talal Asad and Abdullahi An-Naâim both stand at the forefront of the challenging and constructive exchange taking place today between European and Islamic traditions of political, legal, and religious thought. At a recent event organized by Georgetown Universityâs Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs, the two scholars traded questions and criticisms concerning the concept of human rights...
In a recent edition of Georgetown's student newspaper, the Hoya, a graduate student in my department voiced her shock and consternation that the university health plan does not cover birth control prescriptions...
Aicha Ech Channa, a gutsy Moroccan woman, has worked for five decades with young unmarried mothers, who stand at the very bottom of the social heap in her country. Even if their pregnancy resulted from rape, they are condemned as prostitutes and thrown out by their families, and their babies are stigmatized as bastards...
Octavio Gonzalez, a graduate of Georgetown University, would be picking corn and raising a few cattle in El Teul de Gonzalez, Mexico, if his father had not illegally trekked across the hills at the U.S.-Mexico border near San Ysidro, California, in 1969...
This week, Keith Bardwell quit his post as Justice of the Peace for the Eighth Ward of Tangipahoa Parish, Louisiana. This would hardly be noteworthy except that Bardwell refused to marry couples from different races. Outrageous. But did Maine just sanction discrimination of a different sort?...
On November 4, the Opus Prize Foundation announced Aicha Ech-Channa the winner of its annual million-dollar faith-based humanitarian award. In this interview, conducted by Katherine Marshall, Ms. Ech-Channa discusses her five decades of work helping unmarried mothers and their children in Morocco.
The 2008-09 Berkley Center Annual Report outlines the the Center's major activities during the 2008â“09 academic year, including events, new blogs, issue surveys, undergraduate achievements and much more.
The power to interpret religious knowledge and define the terms of religious propriety is contested in many countries throughout the Muslim world today. Join the Center and the Department of Anthropology to explore the role of schools in such contests.
150 years ago--in October 1859--John Brown led a raid on a U.S. armory in Harper's Ferry, Virginia. He hoped to gather arms and lead an army to fight slaveholders. Instead, he was quickly stopped and hanged for his lawless actions. Is he a hero, a martyr, or a criminal? ...
Political discourse these days seems more fitted to Halloween than All Saints Day. Angels and devils, witches and shamans. Rancid prose. We all wonder and worry at the nastiness that shows up in political campaign ads, the polarized news outlets, and beyond.
"What is the role of faith in your work?" The Practitioners and Faith-Inspired Development interview series asks this question of leaders in the field. The in-depth conversations examine a range of contemporary challenges, including HIV/AIDS, malaria, education, governance, shelter, and gender.
The November 3 event will consist of four panels, each of which will examine the question of religion and democracy in the foreign policy of the Obama administration from a different perspective. The symposium will begin at 9:00 A.M. and conclude at 4:30 P.M.
The Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs invites Georgetown undergraduate and graduate students to submit 1500 word essays that address the origins and significance of the idea of universal human rights. Three prizes will be awarded ($750, $500, $250).
Columnists and bloggers toil to put words and thoughts in good order. We deliver our pieces (often late!) to anxious editors with our name and reputation on the line. And then we watch helplessly while anonymous commenters hijack threads and launch screed upon hateful screed in every direction...
Harsh images from different corners of the world, as far apart as northeast Pakistan, Maiduguri, Nigeria, Mindanao, Philippines, and Sao Paolo, Brazil, suggest that much contemporary violence has religious faces. Yet peace is perhaps religionâs most beloved precept. For those who work for equity and a prosperous world nothing is so aggravating as to witness the human and physical ravages of war...
As a development practitioner who also teaches about development, I have tended to take the term for granted. But it's far from simple to define. Universities, non-profit agencies, and churches call fund-raising people "development officers" and the word crops up with other meanings in virtually every discipline...
> Undergraduate Fellows Explore Intercultural and Interreligious Understanding in Social Media and the Global Market
The Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs announces the 2009-2010 Undergraduate Fellows projects: "New Social Media and Intercultural and Interreligious Understanding" and "When Cultural and Religious Diversity Meets the Global Market."
On October 16, as millions of people were riveted to video of a runaway balloon thought to be carrying a 6-year-old boy named Falcon, a statistic was released on a problem that affects millions of children around the world: hunger. A billion people today are chronically hungry or malnourished, more than ever before in human history.
Panelists will explore the proposed UN resolutions condemning the "defamation of religions," investigating the relationship between freedom of speech, censorship, and blasphemy laws, and whether defamation of religions is a human rights issue.
The Washington Posts's Faith Complex hosts an interview with Georgetown Professor of Sociology Michael Eric Dyson as he discusses President Obama and the role that race plays in the current administration.
The "God Gulf," title of a chapter in Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn's book, "Half the Sky," describes one of the more contentious issues in American foreign policy, one where religion plays a profound role. The divide is around family planning, but it relates directly to broader questions of women's roles and the power they hold to direct their own lives...
You've got to hand it to Robert Kagan. Sitting at the virtual front lines of the struggle for democracy in Iran, he would have the Obama administration substitute a policy of regime change for diplomacy. Sound familiar? This is a somewhat lighter (and for our young soldiers, far safer) version of a policy pursued in Iraq by the previous administration...
Four alumni of the Berkley Center's Doyle Engaging Difference Initiative undergraduate programs were awarded 2009-2010 Fulbright Fellowships. Joined by 10 other Georgetown students and graduates, Berkley Center alumni comprise almost one-third of the 14 total recipients.
Do universal human rights exist? Where does the notion come from? Hans Joas of the University of Chicago, a leading social theorist, will provide an alternative way of thinking about human rights, their origins, and their significance in a globalizing world on October 27, 28, and 29.
U2's 360 tour came to the DC region Tuesday--complete with a 164-foot tall spaceship stage and glitzy light show. The tunes were smooth and sexy; the stage was spectacular--even carnivalesque. But what stole the show was Bono's prophetic message about human dignity and rights...
Newsweek has some edgy covers these days. How about, "The Case for Killing Granny"? Sure catches the eye. But "Is your Baby Racist?" on September 14, with an adorable little face staring innocently out, is equally disturbing....
Imagine if the Knight of Columbus decided to give an award to a pedophile priest who had fled the country to avoid prison. The outcry would be universal...
"9/11 changed everything." It's a common trope, but it is not clear that our personal and social lives were significantly transformed by September 11...
Among the many obstacles faced by America's foreign policy of promoting international religious freedom (IRF) are the largely negative perceptions about that policy at home and abroad. Unfortunately, U.S. diplomacy has done little to overcome these perceptions, including the ones that are true...
How do secular notions of human rights, and those derived from other religious traditions, compare with Islamic perspectives? Join Asad and An-Na'im on Tuesday, September 29 as they answer this and other questions in their public conversation on "Islam, Human Rights, and the Secular." The Center's Jose Casanova will moderate.
On September 28, Asad, a leading social theorist and expert on Islam, will discuss the origins of the idea of universal human rights, and explore two concepts generally regarded as central to human rights: humanity and sympathy.
It's the season of large international meetings. The General Assembly of the United Nations is in full swing in New York, the G20 is about to meet in Pittsburgh, and the ritual gathering of financial souls, the IMF and World Bank annual meeting, takes place in Istanbul in early October...
On leave from his postion as Professor of Law at Emory University, Abdullahi An-Na'im will work with students at Georgetown in a course entitled "The Future of Islamic Law," as well as participate in a number of high-profile events while at the Center.
Join us on September 24 as panelists discuss the frequent observation that the attacks of 2001 âchanged everything,â and how scholars and disciplines have adapted their approaches and topics, if at all, in the post-9/11 world.
Dr. Agnes Abuom represents the Anglican Church of Kenya, and chairs the Search Committee for the new general secretary of the World Council of Churches (WCC). In this interview she discusses the path she took to become a leader in the WCC, and the religious journey that accompanied this path.
In this interview with Gerlinda Lucas, Deputy Director of Administration at Sihanouk Hospital Center of HOPE, she discusses her own experiences as a "World Vision" child, and reflects on religion, her travels, and her work with HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria patients.
Cornelio Sommaruga has held varied leadership posts throughout his long career, most recently as President of the International Committee for the Red Cross. In this interview he reflects on his career, and the ways that religion has influenced him and the organizations he has associated with.
Critics of a New Jersey mosque's plans to hold a prayer event on the National Mall are wrong in their views of religious liberty...
Two contrasting images hovered over the September 6-8 "Prayer for Peace" in Cracow, Poland. The first was the benevolent visage of Pope John Paul II, with his Cracow roots, and the memory of the exuberant role he played in Poland's transformation and, after 1989, throughout the world...
Join the Center for an event featuring Simon Cohen, Founder of London-based Global Tolerance, a leading communications organization in the faith arena. He will explore the positive example of the "other 9/11"--September 11, 1906, when Gandhi first deployed his method of nonviolent resistance.
Frank Dimmock, a health consultant focused on Southern and East Africa, currently works from Lesotho with the Christian Health Association. This interview focuses on the development of Christian health facilities and Dimmock's support of their evolving roles in contemporary Africa.
Labor Day evokes images of politics and picnics, summer's end and a fresh school year. But this celebration of work and workers has important spiritual dimensions. First celebrated in the late nineteenth century (1882), when active labor disputes were the stuff of constant tension, Labor Day gradually came to be celebrated as a national holiday in all fifty states...
My friends back home in Indiana often ask how I can stand living in the big, anonymous city, where no one pays attention to others or helps anyone else. They couldn't be more wrong about the city. When bad things happen, the neighbors in my community show the basic instinct towards compassion and protecting the dignity of others that I saw in my small town neighbors...
Join Rev. SÃ©amus Finn and Professor Katherine Marshall for lunch to examine how religious leaders and institutions can help reshape the global financial system to create a sustainable future and respond more effectively to the needs of those living in poverty worldwide.
The Center is accepting applications for its undergraduate fellows program, "When Cultural and Religious Diversity Meets the Global Market." A group of student fellows will explore how business grapples with religious and cultural diversity. Applications are due by Monday, September 21.
The Berkley Center presents Ambassador Akbar Ahmed's film "Journey Into America", which examines the evolution of American identity through the lens of the American Muslim community. The September 15 event includes a film screening and Ramadan Iftaar Dinner in honor of the project.
Get to know the Berkley Center at this Welcome Week hors d'Å“uvre open house on September 10, 2009 from 4:00 to 5:30 P.M. The event will be held at the Berkley Center where students are invited to learn about employment and programmatic opportunities at the Center.
On August 31, 2009, José Casanova spoke with Miroslav Volf about the shortcomings of the secularization thesis, transformations in our understanding of modernity, and the relationship of democracy and faith in our globalized world.
José Casanova contributes a chapter entitled "Nativism and the Politics of Gender in Catholicism and Islam" to the book Gendering Religion and Politics: Untangling Modernities (Palgrave Macmillan, 2009), edited by Hanna Herzog and Ann Braude.
In this new interview, Cizik, President of The New Evangelicals and controversial evangelical leader, discusses the shifting beliefs of young evangelicals. Faith Complex is an interview series produced by the Berkley Center for "On Faith", a blog hosted by the Washington Post and Newsweek.
> Joint National Defense University/Berkley Center Faculty Seminar on Religious Dynamics of War and Peace
Georgetown University's Berkley Center for Religion, Peace & World Affairs and National Defense University's Institute for the Study of Ethics and Leadership (INSEL) conducted a three-day interactive faculty development seminar for uniformed military faculty from the 18 U.S. military staff colleges and senior service colleges in June 2009, exploring how issues of religion and identity can both drive conflict and promote reconciliation.
Saad Eddin Ibrahim, Professor of Sociology at the American University in Cairo and human rights activist, founded the Ibn Khaldun Center for Development Studies in Cairo and the Arab Organization for Human Rights. In this interview he discusses faith and the struggle for rights.
> José Casanova on "The Politicization of Religion: Public Religions Revisited” at Berlin Conference
José Casanova lectured on "The Politicization of Religion: Public Religions Revisited” at a conference in Berlin on “Religion Revisited: Women’s Rights and the Political Instrumentalization of Religion,” sponsored by the Heinrich Böll Foundation and held June 5-6, 2009.
How should the Obama administration combine the pursuit of American interests with support for religious freedom worldwide? Tom Farr co-authored a series of recommendations that place advancing freedom and human rights within a larger social, economic, and political agenda.
The Center's Michael Kessler has a new blog on the Washington Post's On Faith site, "Just Law and Religion." The blog addresses topical issues at the intersection of religion and politics that have a legal dimension.
> José Casanova on Challenges to Religious Liberty Rising Out of Globalization at Princeton Conference
In April 2009, José Casanova debated the question "What are the unique and unprecedented challenges which this new force of globalization presents to religious liberty?" at a conference on "Law and Religion: Historical and Philosophical Perspectives" organized by the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions, Princeton University, in cooperation with sponsoring institutions the Center on Religion and the Constitution of The Witherspoon Institute; the Clough Center for the Study of Constitutional Democracy, Boston College; and the Tikvah Project in Jewish Thought, Princeton University.
Thomas Getman managed World Visionâs liaison activities with the UN and the World Council of Churches, and was responsible for diplomatic relations with UN government member missions in Geneva. In this extended interview he recounts his experiences over a long and eventful career.
Speaking at a March 2009 conference on “The Religious Secular Divide: The US Case,” José Casanova argued that “secularism is an ideology.” He was also co-director of the conference.
> Brooks, Dionne, and Tippett Discuss the Legacy of Reinhold Niebuhr and the Future of Christian Realism
David Brooks and E.J. Dionne, Jr. discussed the lasting impact of Reinhold Niebuhr and Christian Realism on American political and theological ideas with public radio host Krista Tippett.
This was the inaugural conference of the Berkley Center's project on The Future of Political Theologies, which inquires about the meaning of religion's role in politics, especially about the enduring way that human reflection continues in the modern West, to seek legitimacy for political and legal affairs in religious narratives and first principles. Keynote speakers were Mark Lilla and John Milbank.
The Berkley Center's JYAN program provides a forum for students studying abroad to share their knowledge and experience of religion and culture in their host countries. They post letters and, on their return, work together to create and present a report outlining their findings. Since JYAN began in 2006, 115 students in 29 countries have participated.
> José Casanova on Religious-Secular Binary Classification and the Axial Age at Conference in Erfurt
At a July 2008 conference on "The Axial Age and its Consequences for Subsequent History and the Present," José Casanova discussed "The Religious-Secular Binary Classification from the Comparative Perspective of the Axial Age." The conference was held at the Max Weber Center for Advanced Cultural and Social Studies at the University of Erfurt, with support from the John Templeton Foundation.
Two leading contemporary thinkers, José Casanova and Abdolkarim Soroush, explored the role of religion in politics in a public conversation on Tuesday, January 15, 2008.
With five other panelists, José Casanova debated "The Role of Religion in Civil Society: Resource or Obstacle?" at a May 2006 conference on "Religion and Civil Society: Germany, Great Britain and India in the 19th Century," sponsored by the Social Science Research Center Berlin and the University of Erfurt.