Here is a partial list of events at Harvard and beyond pertaining to religions and the practice of peace. To submit event information, please email Elizabeth Lee-Hood.
Religious Literacy in Dialogue at Harvard (student-led course)
Fall semester: September 9–December 2, 2014
This is a non credit-bearing, application only, semester-long undertaking meant to deepen participants’ understanding of what it means to be religiously literate. In the course, religious literacy refers to both an understanding of core concepts (including theology, doctrine, scriptural narrative, social values, religious community, and personal religious experience) as well as a facility with skills related to independent learning and analysis. The class will also explore the ways religion intersects with crosscutting themes related to the self and society.
Thursday, October 30, 2014
Based on 18 months of field work in Israel and the West Bank, Lihi Ben Shitrit provides an inside view of the surprising political activism of women from both Jewish and Muslim conservative religious groups. Lihi Ben Shitrit is Assistant Professor in the School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Georgia. Her book Righteous Transgressions is forthcoming from Princeton University Press. Registration is required.
Friday, October 31, 2014
Jerry White, US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State
Jerry White has over twenty-five years’ experience leading change-making campaigns to prevent mass destruction and increase civilian security worldwide. A social entrepreneur and senior Ashoka Fellow, White has helped train next-generation leadership in scores of countries to transform highly contentious issues into opportunities to unify communities, generate jobs and build stability and hope.
Friday, November 7, 2014
"Spiritual and Sustainable: Religion Responds to Climate Change" is an interfaith conference focused on addressing the issues and challenges of maintaining a sustainable planet. Focusing on ways to engage, this conference will respond to the overlapping moral issues of climate change, sustainability, social justice, and mindfulness through the lenses of many of the world's religious traditions. Pre-registration is required.
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
President Jimmy Carter will be coming to Harvard to discuss his latest book, A Call to Action: Women, Religion, Violence, and Power.
A Call to Action urges the end of discrimination and abuse against women, calling it the number one challenge in the world today. The book builds on the work of faith leaders and courageous human rights defenders who met in 2013 at The Carter Center to mobilize faith groups worldwide to commit to advancing women’s rights. Religion, they said, should be a force for equality and human dignity not oppression.
The event is free, but tickets are required for admission. Tickets will be available at the Harvard Box Office.
January 5-9, 2015
Global Unites will convene over 30 youth peacebuilders from 15 countries and Sri Lanka for an intensive five-day summit. The summit will be a "training-camp" for movement builders and include interactive workshops, activities, and keynote lectures. It will also serve as the formal launch of the Global Unites movement. The delegates will be inspired, connected, and equipped to be more effective in youth-led conflict transformation and to create national-level movements. Delegates selected for the summit will be fully funded. For more information, visit www.globalunites.org or email Tajay Bongsa (HDS student).
Monday, April 6, 2015
The HDS Student Association officers invite all HDS students to consider revising and submitting a paper for presentation at the annual Stendahl Symposium: Conversations Across Religious Boundaries.
The Stendahl Symposium is an annual HDS tradition in memory of former professor Krister Stendahl, who tirelessly sought to repair fractions between Jews and Christians, supported the ordination of women, and pushed for the full inclusion and participation of women and minority voices in academia and interfaith work.
Selected Past Events
Religious Pluralism and Pragmatic Governance: The Mediterranean Experience During Fatimid Muslim Rule
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
This lecture will examine Fatimid Shia Ismaili Muslim governance and its impact on the medieval Mediterranean world of the 10th-11th centuries—a region inhabited by people from diverse ethnic backgrounds and religious persuasions. During their two and a half century rule (909-1171 CE), the Fatimid rulers, known as Imam-caliphs, developed a model of governance recognised both in medieval and modern times for its inclusivity. Christians and Jews participated actively in imperial administration and non-Shia Muslims were not compelled to adopt a Shia Ismaili interpretation of Islam. The lecture will debate the extent to which Fatimid policy was the result of the interplay between doctrinal commitments and their lived experience, tempered by local conditions and communal dynamics. It will focus on how Fatimid governance was articulated and evolved over the course of the dynasty’s rule, and how salient Fatimid figures conceived the relationship between the ruler and subject. It will conclude with observations on whether the Fatimid model of governance led to a distinctive relationship between the Imam-caliphs and their non-Muslim constituencies.
Tuesday, October 21, 2014
This presentation is part of a series co-sponsored by the Office of Religious and Spiritual Life and the HDS Student Association, Practicing Divinity: HDS Students Sharing Wisdom on Spiritual Practices, consisting of four, one-hour informal lunchtime presentations/workshops.
The series will feature HDS students sharing some of their expertise, research, and wisdom about a particular spiritual practice with other students, faculty, and staff, and each presentation will briefly highlight a different spiritual practice.
Monday, October 20, 2014
Katherine Jansen, Catholic University of America, will discuss her most recent research Christianity in Medieval Rome.
This lecture, a piece of a larger book-length project entitled The Practice of Peace in Late Medieval Italy, places medieval dispute resolution practice in its religious context. Examining preachers, sermons, and the peace movements they inspired, the paper shows how the penitential culture of the later Middle Ages informed the theory and practice of dispute settlement in late medieval Italy. Through ritual analysis and visual evidence, the paper also builds a case for how peace-making was imagined and commemorated.
Constructing a Narrative of Reconciliation: A Personal Plea for Transformation of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
Thursday, October 9, 2014
With Herbert C. Kelman, Richard Clarke Cabot Professor of Social Ethics Emeritus and Co-Chair of the Middle East Seminar, Harvard University
CEDAR: Communities Engaging with Difference and Religion
Thursday, October 2, 2014
The Religion and Conflict Transformation Program at Boston University presents a lecture by Adam Seligman as part of their Interfaith Engagement Series.
This talk will provide an overview of CEDAR—Communities Engaging with Difference and Religion—and its 12 years of programming in different countries, and will present the pedagogy and philosophy behind the program. Emphasis will be placed on issues of communal boundaries, moral credit and the collective nature of knowledge. Dr. Seligman will help us understand just what engaging with difference may mean, as an alternative to the many efforts of "finding common ground" or a "shared humanity" that define so many intercommunal and interreligious initiatives. We will discuss the role of discomfort in learning and the importance of experience as opposed to book knowledge in the maturing of our moral consciousness.
Refiguring American Jewish Identity through Solidarity with Palestinians: A Relational Approach to Religious Innovation
Tuesday, September 16, 2014
Based on in-depth interviews with Jewish Palestine solidarity activists and systematic study of Jewish solidarity movement social media, Atalia Omer demonstrates how refiguring alternative Jewish meanings of rituals, practices, and texts may emerge from contesting Jewish nationalism and Israeli occupation policies, through solidarity with Palestinians.
Watch the video
Read the Q&A with Atalia Omer
Religion and the Promotion of Peace in the 21st Century
May 1, 2014
Dean David N. Hempton addressed the Harvard Alumni Association. His talk, attended by over 200 alumni leaders from across the University, focused on the ways that “religious resources—from members of religious communities to institutions and networks; and from theological and ethical ideas to spiritual practices—can play powerful roles in inspiring and sustaining efforts for peace."
Listen to the audio
Bridging Global Religious Divides
April 7–8, 2014
2014 Slomoff Symposium, John W. McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies, University of Massachusetts Boston
Program and video links (pdf)
Shining Humanity: Life Stories of Women Peace-builders in Bosnia and Herzegovina
April 2, 2014
Zilka Spahic Siljak, WSRP Research Associate and Visiting Lecturer
Watch the video
Faith-Based Community Organizing: How Working With the Religious Other Can Save the World
February 19, 2014
Part of CSWR junior fellow Usra Ghazi’s conversation series, "Interfaith as Antidote: Models of Faith-Based Civic Engagement"
Panelists: Marshall Ganz, Harvard Kennedy School and Graduate School of Education; Erica Rothschild, Boston’s Jewish Alliance for Law and Social Action: and Yusufi Vali, the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center
Watch the video
Read Harvard Gazette coverage
Religions & Peace: Do Universities Have a Role?
December 2, 2013
Hosted by Dean David N. Hempton and moderated by Diana L. Eck.
Panelists: Dean Martha Minow, Harvard Law School; Shaun Casey, U.S. Secretary of State’s special advisor for faith-based community initiatives; Matthew Hodes, director of United Nations Alliance of Civilizations; Jonathan Granoff, president of Global Security Institute and special representative of United Religions Initiative; and Jocelyne Cesari, Harvard research associate and lecturer on Islamic studies.
Watch the video
The Fog of Religious Conflict
August 30, 2012
HDS Convocation Address 2012
Dean David N. Hempton drew on the memory of violence he witnessed in Northern Ireland to offer hopeful visions for the future.
Watch the video
Read the full text
Read Harvard Gazette coverage