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Ethical and Practical Health Challenges: Emerging from the COVID-19 Crises

Ethical and Practical Health Challenges: Emerging from the COVID-19 Crises

The many tentacles of the COVID-19 pandemic dominate current global agendas: economic, social, political, and far beyond. Health care, however, is at the center, with urgent, immediate demands both for COVID-19 prevention and care and a sharply increased focus on demands for reform of systems at global, national, and local levels. And a strong argument can be made that without the full engagement and partnership of faith communities, universal health coverage will never be achieved.

Religious Responses to COVID-19 Project Tracks, Shares Resources on Faith Engagement in Global Pandemic

Religious Responses to COVID-19 Project Tracks, Shares Resources on Faith Engagement in Global Pandemic

The Religious Responses to COVID-19 project—a collaboration between the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs at Georgetown University, the Joint Learning Initiative on Faith and Local Communities (JLI), and the World Faiths Development Dialogue—will hit its two year anniversary in just five months. It originated from a rapidly mobilized consultation on faith dimensions of the pandemic that convened at the Berkley Center, hours before Georgetown University shifted to virtual operation on March 11, 2020. The consultation led to the creation of the Faith and COVID-19: Resource Repository and daily email digests that archived and communicated faith-related COVID-19 news sources. It is primarily managed by a team of four people who work on the project in addition to their full-time positions. The repository has now grown to over 150 pages of sources and inspired many virtual events and publications. Currently, updates from the repository are shared via a weekly digest sent to over 800 subscribers that has been cited by Devex, the UN Environment Programme, and USAID.

Reflections on International Youth Day: Faith, COVID-19, and Future Generations

Reflections on International Youth Day: Faith, COVID-19, and Future Generations

Many often-stereotyped understandings of characteristics of young people, especially those in the 16- to 30-year-old age group, ring true and help demonstrate the value of active youth participation in many fields: energetic, open to new ideas, at home with new technologies, and better educated than previous generations, for example. Above all, young people have a stake in decisions made, as well as a shared desire and right to be part of decision-making processes. Those are important opening challenges as we reflect on the theme of International Youth Day 2021: “Transforming Food Systems: Youth Innovation for Human and Planetary Health.” It is to avoid the tragic effects of the COVID-19 emergencies today, as they force many millions of people including youth into hunger and poverty. We need urgently to focus on how future generations can sustain the shocks of COVID-19 today and prepare well for a brighter future.

COVID-19 Vaccine Hesitancy: Can Faith Engagement Make a Difference?

COVID-19 Vaccine Hesitancy: Can Faith Engagement Make a Difference?

Mobilizing the massive global COVID-19 vaccination campaign is an all-hands job. For many reasons, including their highly trusted and ubiquitous presence, religious leaders and institutions have potentially large roles in advocating for equitable vaccine rollout, helping to reach the poorest communities, and supporting efforts to overcome the troubling hesitancy that slows vaccination progress. A new Religion and Vaccine Survey, conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) and the Interfaith Youth Core (IYC), offers some reassuring news, with data demonstrating that U.S. religious actors have helped to boost vaccination levels in recent months. 

Effective Interfaith Education for Social Cohesion

Effective Interfaith Education for Social Cohesion

There is no global consensus about whether and how to integrate interfaith approaches in education programs, including core curricula and extracurricular activities. Indeed, the topic is contested in various settings, especially where religious institutions are viewed with some suspicion. Thus it is not surprising that systematic treatment of interfaith topics in national curricula range from nil (no effort whatsoever) to curricula and foundational education values permeated throughout by the teachings of a specific religious tradition. Examples of excellence are rare, though creative efforts in a number of settings offer insight and promise.

IMF/World Bank/G20 Spring Meetings: Religious Perspectives and Voices

IMF/World Bank/G20 Spring Meetings: Religious Perspectives and Voices

The annual “spring meetings” of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank and associated events dominated global agendas from April 4 to 11, 2021. They included discussions among G7 and G20 leaders. The events highlighted the critical issues that face global leaders and institutions, centered on the COVID-19 emergencies and their impact both on health and human welfare. Environmental topics were also woven through the discussions.

The Banker and the Archbishop: A Tribute to James D. Wolfensohn

Katherine Marshall and James Wolfensohn

Among his many qualities, Jim Wolfensohn was fearless. He took on unexpected and contentious topics during his decade-long tenure as president of the World Bank, one of them his venture into the ferociously complex world of faith and religion. He did so without qualms or hesitation.

G20 Interfaith Forum: Handing over from Saudi Arabia to Italy as President of the 2021 G20

G20 Interfaith Forum: Handing over from Saudi Arabia to Italy as President of the 2021 G20

As the torch passes from our 2020 Saudi Arabian G20 hosts to Italy, we, as the G20 Interfaith Association, affirm our renewed commitment to this vital process. Our long-term focus—both as an organization and as multilateral partners—is centered on the challenges of building a better, more just world. My remarks today focus on four questions that arise as we look to 2021 and the Bologna Forum.

Preliminary Findings on Faith Leaders’ Perspective on the Pandemic and What the World Can Learn from Them

Preliminary Findings on Faith Leaders’ Perspective on the Pandemic and What the World Can Learn from Them

We are now roughly eight months into the COVID-19 pandemic and there is growing evidence about the current health and economic crisis, viewed through a faith lens. In March 2020, a collaborative project between World Faith Development Dialogue, the Berkley Centre at Georgetown University, and the Joint Learning Initiative on Faith and Local communities started a 100 + page repository that collected news articles reporting on faith and COVID-19. At its inception, we saw little formal coverage on the linkages between pandemics and faith. Months in, as more government and humanitarian actors are seeing the value in engaging faith communities in a COVID-19 response (and risks of failing to do so), we are seeing more comprehensive and diverse coverage and findings along these lines.

Secular-Religious Dynamics in COVID-19 Response

Secular-Religious Dynamics in COVID-19 Response

From the very beginning of the pandemic, we have heard about the effects of Covid-19 or associated restrictions on religious communities. Purim was one of the earliest events disrupted for many congregations this year. It soon became clear, from Shincheonji Church in Korea through to Tablighi Jamaat events in India, that religious gatherings may pose a risk for the spread of the virus, but also grab media headlines as super-spreader events.