Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs

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Logo of the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs at Georgetown University.

The Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs is an academic research center at Georgetown University in Washington, DC dedicated to the interdisciplinary study of religion, ethics, and politics. Its work focuses on global challenges of democracy and human rights, economic and social development, international diplomacy, and interreligious understanding. The center lists two guiding premises: "that a deep examination of faith and values is critical to address these challenges, and that the open engagement of religious and cultural traditions with one another can promote peace."1 Conceived as part of Georgetown's "Initiative on Religion, Politics, and Peace" in 2004, the Berkley Center emerged as an independent organization in 2006 under a gift from William R. Berkley, a member of Georgetown's Board of Directors. The center is headed by Thomas Banchoff, Professor in the Department of Government at Georgetown.

Activities

The center has made headlines for a number of events, including hosting the controversial Muslim scholar Tariq Ramadan for a series of teleconference speeches on Islam-West relations.2 Additionally, the center hosts an annual conference on religious pluralism, which has led to the publication of two compilations from Oxford University Press: Democracy and the New Religious Pluralism (2007)3 and Religion and the Global Politics of Human Rights (2011).4

Knowledge Resources

In addition to hosting live events, the center has a Knowledge Resources website that acts as a digital resource on religion and world affairs.5

Student engagement

The center also directs initiatives engaging Georgetown students on issues relating to the center's mission of studying the interplay of religion and politics. Three of these initiatives — the Undergraduate Fellows Program, the Junior Year Abroad Network, and the Undergraduate Learning and Interreligious Understanding Survey — have been active since the Berkley Center's establishment in 2006 and have, since 2009, been part of the Doyle Engaging Difference Initiative,6 a campus-wide collaboration between the Berkley Center, the Center for New Designs in Learning and Scholarship (CNDLS), and Georgetown College, designed to promote tolerance and intellectual engagement with diversity in the curriculum and in co-curricular activities. The initiative is made possible through the support of William J. Doyle, a member of the Georgetown University Board of Directors.

Undergraduate Fellows Program

The Undergraduate Fellows Program7 combines a classroom seminar with a collaborative research project, in which student fellows conduct research and formulate policy recommendations for a written report.

Junior Year Abroad Network

In 2006, the center created the Junior Year Abroad Network8 for the large number of Georgetown students who study abroad during their junior year. Through the network, students post letters online with their observations about the intersection of religion, culture, society, and politics in their host countries. Upon their return, they share their experiences and publish a report on their findings. So far, more than 240 students in more than 50 countries have participated..

Undergraduate Learning and Interreligious Understanding Survey

The center and Georgetown’s Center for New Designs in Learning and Scholarship conducted a five-year longitudinal study tracking the changes in student attitudes towards religious diversity during their four years at Georgetown. The goal of the project9 is to identify best practices for encouraging interfaith tolerance at educational institutions.

Religion, Ethics, and World Affairs Certificate

Beginning in Fall 2011, the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service has offered a Certificate on Religion, Ethics, and World Affairs10 in collaboration with the center. The programs covers Faith and Ethics in International Relations; Religion and Politics in Comparative Perspective; and Religion in History and Culture.

Education and Social Justice Project

In early 2010, the center collaborated with the Center for Social Justice Research, Teaching and Service, and with Rodney Jacob, a member of the Georgetown University Board of Regents, to create the Education and Social Justice Project11 to develop student experiences surrounding the connections between the global challenges of poverty and education. The project provides students with summer research fellowships to travel abroad and conduct in-depth examinations of topical initiatives, with a focus on the work of Jesuit secondary and post-secondary institutions, ultimately producing reports under faculty supervision. In the program’s first year, three students were hosted by St. Aloysius Gonzaga School in Nairobi, Kenya; Ateneo de Manila University in Manila, Philippines; and the Universidad Alberto Hurtado in Santiago, Chile.

World Faiths Development Dialogue

Established in 1998 by World Bank President James Wolfensohn and Archbishop of Canterbury Lord George Carey, the World Faiths Development Dialogue (WFDD)12 is an NGO based at the center bridging the worlds of faith and secular development and supporting research and dialogue on global policy challenges. Katherine Marshall, who leads the Berkley Center’s Program on Religion and Global Development, serves as Executive Director.

Henry Luce Foundation

Since 2006, the center and the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service (SFS) have worked with the Henry Luce Foundation.13 The Luce/SFS Program on Religion and International Affairs14 has supported two program areas — Religion and U.S. Foreign Policy and Religion and Global Development — as well as the center’s outreach to government and other academic centers and institutes around the world.

World Economic Forum

In 2007, the center began a collaboration with the Geneva-based World Economic Forum around issues of faith, values, and the global agenda. In January 2010, the Center co-produced a report15 on the topic released at the Forum’s annual meeting in Davos. In September 2011, Georgetown and the Forum convened a conference at Georgetown to explore efforts to close values deficits in business and government.

John Templeton Foundation

In January 2011, the center received a grant from the Templeton Foundation to create a Religious Freedom Project.16 Led by the Center’s Thomas Farr and Timothy Shah, the project seeks to advance the study of religious freedom as an interdisciplinary field. A series of conferences and publications are planned to examine the significance of religious freedom for efforts to advance human rights, democracy, and economic and social development.

Washington Post

On Faith17 is an online partnership between the center and the Washington Post featuring faculty blogs on issues pertaining to the intersection of religion, politics, and society. In July 2007, the Berkley Center partnered with On Faith to provide the Muslims Speak Out Forum, featuring some of the Islamic world's most influential leaders, including Ali Gomaa, Mustafa Ceric, Gus Dur, Mohammad Fadlallah and others. Non-Muslim participants included John Esposito, Kofi Annan, Jimmy Carter, Paul Heck, Jon Meacham, and Sally Quinn.18

Programs

The Berkley Center has seven major areas of academic research, each led by a member of the Berkley Center's faculty. The Religion and Ethics in World Politics Program,19 led by Berkley Center Director Thomas Banchoff, examines the political and policy significance of religion and ethics, with an emphasis on democratic institutions and value conflict. The Program in Globalization, Religions, and the Secular,20 led by José Casanova, brings together scholars across disciplines to explore questions related to the intersection between globalization and the resurgence of public religion. The Religion, Conflict, and Peace Program,21 led by Eric Patterson, examines the intersection of religion with other cultural, social, and political factors in the generation and resolution of conflict. The Program on The Church and Interreligious Dialogue,22 led by Chester Gillis, examines the Catholic Church’s interaction with other religious traditions as well as the challenges posed by increasing cultural and religious pluralism worldwide. The Program in Law, Religion, and Values,23 led by Berkley Center Associate Director Michael Kessler, is dedicated to the investigation of how religion and values legitimate, shape, and conflict with global political, cultural, and legal systems in transnational and comparative perspective. The Religion and Global Development Program,24 led by Katherine Marshall, tracks the engagement of religious communities around global policy challenges and brings together stakeholders to examine best practices and advance collaboration. The Program in Religious and U.S. Foreign Policy,25 led by Thomas Farr, explores the role of religion in U.S. foreign policy, with special attention to issues of human rights and international religious freedom.

Notes

  1. ^ "About Us | Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs | Georgetown University". Berkleycenter.georgetown.edu. Retrieved 2012-02-04. 
  2. ^ Pamela Constable, Washington Post, April 11, 2007, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/04/10/AR2007041001509.html.
  3. ^ "Oxford University Press: Democracy and the New Religious Pluralism: Thomas Banchoff". Us.oup.com. Retrieved 2012-02-04. 
  4. ^ "Oxford University Press: Religion and the Global Politics of Human Rights: Thomas Banchoff". Oup.com. Retrieved 2012-02-04. 
  5. ^ "Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs | Georgetown University". Berkleycenter.georgetown.edu. Retrieved 2012-02-04. 
  6. ^ "Doyle Undergraduate Initiatives | Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs | Georgetown University". Berkleycenter.georgetown.edu. Retrieved 2012-02-04. 
  7. ^ "Undergraduate Fellows Seminars | Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs | Georgetown University". Berkleycenter.georgetown.edu. 2008-01-30. Retrieved 2012-02-04. 
  8. ^ "Junior Year Abroad Network | Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs | Georgetown University". Berkleycenter.georgetown.edu. Retrieved 2012-02-04. 
  9. ^ "Undergraduate Learning and Interreligious Understanding Survey | Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs | Georgetown University". Berkleycenter.georgetown.edu. Retrieved 2012-02-04. 
  10. ^ "Religion, Ethics, and World Affairs Certificate | Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs | Georgetown University". Berkleycenter.georgetown.edu. Retrieved 2012-02-04. 
  11. ^ "Education and Social Justice Project | Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs | Georgetown University". Berkleycenter.georgetown.edu. Retrieved 2012-02-04. 
  12. ^ "World Faiths Development Dialogue | World Faiths Development Dialogue | Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs | Georgetown University". Berkleycenter.georgetown.edu. Retrieved 2012-02-04. 
  13. ^ "The Henry Luce Foundation". Hluce.org. Retrieved 2012-02-04. 
  14. ^ [1]dead link
  15. ^ "Complete.r4" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-02-04. 
  16. ^ "Religious Freedom Project | Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs | Georgetown University". Berkleycenter.georgetown.edu. Retrieved 2012-02-04. 
  17. ^ http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/georgetown-on-faith Georgetown/On
  18. ^ "'On Faith' Hosts Online Dialogue With Muslim Leaders About Terrorism and Human Rights". Prnewswire.co.uk. 2007-07-19. Retrieved 2012-02-04. 
  19. ^ "Religion and Ethics in World Politics | Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs | Georgetown University". Berkleycenter.georgetown.edu. Retrieved 2012-02-04. 
  20. ^ "Globalization, Religions, and the Secular | Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs | Georgetown University". Berkleycenter.georgetown.edu. Retrieved 2012-02-04. 
  21. ^ "Religion, Conflict, and Peace | Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs | Georgetown University". Berkleycenter.georgetown.edu. Retrieved 2012-02-04. 
  22. ^ "The Church and Interreligious Dialogue | Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs | Georgetown University". Berkleycenter.georgetown.edu. Retrieved 2012-02-04. 
  23. ^ "Law, Religion, and Values | Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs | Georgetown University". Berkleycenter.georgetown.edu. Retrieved 2012-02-04. 
  24. ^ "Religion and Global Development | Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs | Georgetown University". Berkleycenter.georgetown.edu. Retrieved 2012-02-04. 
  25. ^ "Religion and US Foreign Policy | Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs | Georgetown University". Berkleycenter.georgetown.edu. Retrieved 2012-02-04. 

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