Letter from the Dean

Dean David Hempton, photo by Tony Rinaldo

When I became dean two years ago, one of my goals for Harvard Divinity School, as part of its overall scholarly mission, was to contribute to public conversations on religion. In the 2013–14 academic year, HDS demonstrated in new ways its capacity to engage leaders across Harvard University-and across disciplines-in critical dialogue about religion's influence on the world's most serious challenges. Here are just a few examples:

  • HDS gathered leaders from the International Rescue Committee, the United Nations, and International Bridges to Justice to talk about religion and human rights at the School's campaign launch.
  • HDS convened Harvard Law School Dean Martha Minow and leaders from the United Nations and the US State Department to explore the ways that people of different religions can work together to end violence, and what universities can do to help.
  • I joined Harvard President Drew Faust in London for an exploration of the examined life, and Harvard Kennedy School Dean David Ellwood in Washington, DC, to talk about religion, politics, and conflict.
  • HDS faculty provided analysis of the religious aspects of conflicts in Syria, Nigeria, and Iraq, and insight into economic inequality and capital punishment, to name only a handful of issues.

With expertise in many of the world's major religious traditions, students from nearly 40 different faiths and denominations, and the unparalleled intellectual resources of Harvard University, HDS is uniquely well placed to help shape public conversations on religion.

In this report, you will find some inspiring examples of how HDS community members help achieve this vision. And, with the success of the Campaign for HDS, the School will do even more to transform public understanding of religion-will continue to illuminate, engage, and serve humanity-and generate knowledge to help people around the world address some of the greatest challenges of our time.

Thank you for being our partners and stewards.

David N. Hempton
Dean of the Faculty of Divinity
Alonzo L. McDonald Family Professor of Evangelical Theological Studies
John Lord O'Brian Professor of Divinity

Go to the 2014 Dean's Report