Event Summary: Secularism and Faith-inspired Development - Understanding Contestation and Collaboration

Author: Nathaniel Adams

November 22, 2014

The "Speakers' Forum on Religion and Development in Bangladesh" launched on Saturday, November 22, 2014 in Dhaka, Bangladesh; this summary conveys the highlights of that meeting. The forum is a joint initiative between WFDD, Georgetown University's Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs, and BRAC University’s Department of Economics and Social Sciences. The first in a series of six events, this inaugural session explored approaches to secularism from global, regional, and local perspectives. It featured Georgetown University’s Jose Casanova, the Centre for Developing Society’s Rajeev Bhargava, and BRAC University’s Samia Huq.

The Speakers' Forum is part of a multi-year exploration of the development work of faith-inspired actors in Bangladesh. These forums have been designed to provide a non-politicized space for constructive dialogue at the intersection of religion and critical development topics, bringing together local and international scholars, development practitioners, and faith actors. The forums offer a unique opportunity to reflect on global experiences and local realities regarding religion’s complex role in promoting development. The first forum was designed to generate new insights around the interconnected issues of secularism, religious pluralism, and development in a democratic Bangladesh.

This event was cosponsored by the World Faiths Development Dialogue, BRAC University Department of Economics and Social Sciences, and the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs.

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