Events

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.

World Interfaith Harmony Week

February 1–7, 2015

Officially declared by the United Nations in 2010, World Interfaith Harmony Week celebrates the Two Commandments of "Love of God, and Love of the Neighbor," joining them with "Love of the Good, and Love of the Neighbor" to include all people of goodwill. It offers an opportunity every year for interfaith groups and other groups of goodwill to share their activities for peace, tolerance, and mutual understanding with one another and with the world. It seeks to raise awareness of cooperative interfaith activities, to spread the message of interfaith harmony and goodwill in places of worship, and to promote dialogue, learning, engagement, and collaboration to advance cultures of peace around the globe.

Harvard Divinity School and Harvard University will celebrate World Interfaith Harmony Week from February 1–7, 2015 with events around campus aimed at promoting interfaith dialogue and understanding. Events will be listed here as details become available.

Interfaith Storytelling Series

On (Un)Common Ground: Agreeing to Disagree

Thursday, March 26, 2015

"This One Time..." a monthly Interfaith Storytelling series, invites you to listen, share, and dialogue about stories of interfaith encounter. For more info, contact Usra Ghazi at usra_ghazi@mail.harvard.edu.

Stendahl Symposium: Conversations Across Religious Boundaries

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.

Interfaith Storytelling Series

Stupid Cupid! Relationship Adventures in Love and Loss

Thursday, April 23, 2015

"This One Time..." a monthly Interfaith Storytelling series, invites you to listen, share, and dialogue about stories of interfaith encounter. For more info, contact Usra Ghazi at usra_ghazi@mail.harvard.edu.

Global Unites Youth Peacebuilding Summit in Sri Lanka

May 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).

Interfaith Storytelling Series

The Problem with Prayer

Thursday, May 7, 2015

"This One Time..." a monthly Interfaith Storytelling series, invites you to listen, share, and dialogue about stories of interfaith encounter. For more info, contact Usra Ghazi at usra_ghazi@mail.harvard.edu.

Selected Past Events

Interfaith Storytelling Series

Home Sweet Home: Stories of Inherited and Adopted Family

Thursday, December 11, 2014

"This One Time..." a monthly Interfaith Storytelling series, invites you to listen, share, and dialogue about stories of interfaith encounter. For more info, contact Usra Ghazi at usra_ghazi@mail.harvard.edu.

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.

Visit the Religious Literacy in Dialogue website or email Benjamin Marcus for more information.

President Jimmy Carter discusses abuse and violence toward women and girlsPresident Carter Book Tour

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.

Watch the video

Northern Ireland: From Conflict to Peace to Reconciliation video thumbnailNorthern Ireland: From Conflict to Peace to Reconciliation?

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

In light of their experiences and research in Northern Ireland, Trelawney Grenfell-Muir, Fr. Raymond Helmick, HDS Dean David N. Hempton, Hugh O'Doherty, and Margaret Smith discuss the shift from violent conflict to peace agreement, the need for progress toward a more thoroughgoing and sustainable peace rooted in reconciliation, the positive contributions and potential of religious resources, and recommendations.

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Spiritual and Sustainable: Religion Responds to Climate Change video thumbnailSpiritual and Sustainable: Religion Responds to Climate Change

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.

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Sufism and Buddhism: The Ethics of Shared Values

Friday, November 7, 2014

Conversations with Pir Zia Inayat Khan and Venerable Tenzin Priyadarshi at MIT.

Religion and International Diplomacy: New Directions in Conflict Stabilization

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.

New York WSRP Luncheon with Lihi Ben Shitrit

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.

History and Horizons of Peacebuilding video thumbnailReligions and the Practice of Peace: History and Horizons of the Field

Friday, October 29, 2014

Diana L. Eck, Professor of Comparative Religion and Indian Studies at Harvard Divinity School, Jeff Seul, MTS '97, partner at Holland & Knight and chairman for Peace Appeal Foundation, and Marshall Ganz, Senior Lecturer in Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School of Government, discuss the field of religions and peacebuilding—its history, the need for its further development, and its importance in our contemporary world—and offer recommendations for future directions. Welcome and introductions by Dean David N. Hempton.

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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.

Multireligious Encounter as a Spiritual Practice with Usra Ghazi

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.

Preaching, Penance, and Peacemaking in Late Medieval Italy

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.

Darren Kew, Religion and the Practice of Peace colloquium video thumbnailAn Interfaith Partnership for Peace: The Imam and the Pastor in Nigeria

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Darren Kew discusses the role of religion in the transformation of Imam Muhammad Ashafa and Pastor James Wuye from rival youth militant leaders to interfaith peacemakers and their subsequent conflict transformation and peacebuilding work in Nigeria and beyond. Welcome by Dean David N. Hempton and introduction by Diana L. Eck.

Darren Kew is Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Conflict Resolution, Human Security, and Global Governance and executive director of the Center for Peace, Democracy, and Development at University of Massachusetts Boston.

Watch the video

Atalia Omer lecture video thumbnailRefiguring 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, UMass-Boston symposiumBridging 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)

Zilka Spahić Šiljak, WSRP Research Associate 2012-13Shining Humanity: Life Stories of Women Peace-builders in Bosnia and Herzegovina

April 2, 2014

Zilka Spahic Siljak, WSRP Research Associate and Visiting Lecturer
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Faith-Based Community Organizing: How Working with the Religious Other Can Save the World on YouTubeFaith-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 and Peace: Do Universities Have a Role panelReligions & 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

Dean David N. Hempton delivers the 2012 Convocation AddressThe 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