Religion, Peace, and World Affairs: Reflections on the Legacy of September 11

September 9, 2021

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In the 20 years since September 11, the tragic attacks have shaped the intersection of religion and world affairs in significant ways. The attacks highlighted religiously linked conflict and violence as a major global challenge for the twenty-first century, with long-term effects ranging from the War on Terror to the rise of Islamophobia at home and abroad. The aftermath of 9/11 also saw more positive developments, such as a renewed focus on dialogue across lines of religious and cultural difference to promote a more peaceful world. Two decades later, however, the international order faces new challenges—including, for example, the COVID-19 pandemic, the uncertain future of global governance, and the rise of inequality and exclusion worldwide. Reflection on the legacy of 9/11 is critical to understanding the state of religion and world affairs today.

The aftermath of the September 11 attacks was an important factor in the creation and development of the Berkley Center and its focus on interreligious and intercultural dialogue as a critical means to promote peace. ​​​​On the twentieth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, this series of Berkley Center faculty reflections highlights the collective work of the center and explores the past, present, and future of religion, peace, and world affairs.

This week the Berkley Forum asks: How did your personal experience of 9/11 shape your own work at the intersection of religion and world affairs? What lessons on faith engagement in issues of global concern have emerged in the 20 years since the September 11 attacks? As we look to the next 20 years, what are some of the major challenges of religious violence and ethnic conflict and the work of religiously inspired reconciliation and peacebuilding? In what ways has 9/11 affected the Berkley Center’s approach to interreligious dialogue? How have the September 11 attacks impacted scholarly and policy engagement on religiously linked issues, from freedom of religion or belief and human rights to conflict resolution?

related event | After September 11, 2021: The Next 20 Years

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