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Religious Responses to COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic presents major challenges in profound and still evolving ways, with high death tolls and extreme economic and social impacts worldwide. It also raises questions about how religious institutions, beliefs, leaders, and practices are contributing—positively and less positively—to the ongoing coronavirus crisis and response. Religious actors have large roles to play, particularly in addressing challenges centered on safe religious gatherings and adaptations of rituals, building trust, promoting effective communication and advocacy, and identifying and responding to the needs of communities. In this rapidly evolving situation, religious voices should be part of the broad policy exchange, based on an informed and nuanced understanding of developments. 

The Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs at Georgetown University, the World Faiths Development Dialogue, and the Joint Learning Initiative have launched a collaborative effort to explore the responses of religious actors to the COVID-19 pandemic and organize information so that it can be quickly found and used by development policymakers and practitioners and religious actors who seek to work together in the COVID-19 response. Through a series of events, publications, and the establishment of an evolving online resource repository, the project will draw upon the experience and insights of experts on global health and formal and informal religious leaders as the foundation for further strategic reflections towards a positive path ahead. It will particularly focus on communities that are in especially vulnerable positions, such as refugee communities.

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A tourist protected by a medical mask in the square of St. Peter's Basilica, closed to visitors due to COVID-19.


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Katherine Marshall

Senior Fellow
Walsh School of Foreign Service, Executive Director of the World Faiths Development Dialogue

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