Sep 27 2016
September 27, 2016
Religion was once viewed as an overwhelmingly positive force in American society. News cycles today, however, often portray religion as a source of problems from unjust discrimination to terrorism. Yet religion is an active force in the public, professional, and personal lives of millions in the United States. Safeguards for religious freedom—including the First Amendment principles of having no established religion and protecting free religious practice in public and in private, for individuals and communities—have helped to produce a dynamic religious marketplace, including the right of each person to have a religion, change religions, or have no religion at all.
Sep 23 2016
September 23, 2016
2016 marks the deadliest year for refugees traveling across the Central Mediterranean: some 281,740 people have crossed the sea to Europe in the first eight months of 2016 and an estimated 4,176 of those have perished during the crossing. European states continue to struggle to accommodate the flow of refugees with some governments facing an internal nationalistic backlash and pressure to close their borders. The total number of refugees and internally displaced people, over 60 million, is higher than at any time since World War II.
Sep 23 2016
Katherine Marshall September 23, 2016
It was an anxious moment in world affairs: October 1986. Demonstrations and tensions marked discord around wide-ranging topics. In an initiative that was at the same time inspiring and admired and intensely controversial, Pope John Paul II invited leading religious leaders from the world’s leading religious traditions to a carefully orchestrated event in Assisi, a symbolic Christian center long linked to the message of St. Francis. The World Day of Prayer for Peace, on October 27, 1986, gathered 160 religious leaders. They spent the day together, fasting and then, individually and side by side, they prayed for peace. Thirty-two Christian religious organizations and eleven other non-Christian world religions participated.
Sep 19 2016
September 19, 2016
On July 15, 2016, a faction of the Turkish Armed Forces attempted to overthrow the Erdogan-led government in a coup d'etat. Since the failed coup, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has pursued those he perceives as political enemies and plotters of the coup, and reports suggest that he has arrested or fired tens of thousands of Turkish citizens. At the center of Erdogan's suspicions stands exiled cleric Fethullah Gulen.
Sep 19 2016
William Rymer September 19, 2016
New Zealand is about as far away from Georgetown as you can get. On the other side of the world, the country is known for its isolation both in location and in diplomacy. Am I trying to get away from something? You tell me. Here, I’m staying in Carlaw Park Student Village, which is code name for “this is where we put all the international students.” It can be difficult to meet actual Kiwis, as classes here are recorded and many local students commute—if they come at all. This goes to say that the majority of my friends are international students like me.
Sep 19 2016
Delana Sobhani September 19, 2016
“I can’t wait for the sheep to die,” my friend confessed, with what can only be described as a sheepish smile. “Every morning when the first call to prayer starts at sunrise, they ‘baa’ right outside my window. But it isn’t cute; they sound like old men trying to scream and gargle water at the same time.”
Sep 16 2016
Russell Guertin September 16, 2016
When I stepped onto a plane to travel across the Atlantic, I expected things on the other side to be different. For what is the point of studying “abroad” if your destination is a mere facsimile of the place you just left? However, in large ways, Lyon, France is quite similar to Washington, D.C. Both cities are rich in architectural history (Washington D.C.’s dating back to the American Revolution and Lyon’s to the Middle Ages), are built around a river (in Lyon, the Rhône and its tributary, the Saone), and have richly diverse populations. When painted in broad strokes, Lyon is just a distant cousin of Washington.
Sep 15 2016
Taylor Bond September 15, 2016
Currently it is 5:00 a.m. The humidity has already somehow winnowed through the cracks of my balcony door and left me feeling like I need to take my third shower in less than 24 hours. The Japanese early morning sunlight (there is a reason why they call it the land of the rising sun, as I have found out) is relentless, and through my crusty, jet-lagged eyes, I sit in my room silently for an hour and watch the day begin in Tokyo through a fire of pink and orange. In short, I am in pain, but life is beautiful.
Sep 13 2016
September 13, 2016
Fifteen years ago on September 11, 2001, the United States suffered the deadliest terrorist attack in modern history. World affairs were profoundly affected by this event; subsequent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan led to the destabilization of the Middle East and a migrant crisis that has led to sharp rises in Islamophobia and nativist politics in the West. New terrorist groups like ISIS have emerged and dominate headlines for their brutal tactics and their political threat to global stability.
Sep 5 2016
Katherine Marshall September 5, 2016
World leaders meeting in Hangzhou, China may be unaware that a few days earlier a shadow group of religious scholars met in Beijing. Their agenda was geared to the G20 and their meeting reflected a determined effort by Chinese scholars and counterparts from across the world to continue a tradition of gathering in parallel with the global encounters of national leaders.