Student Conference Events

The following events have been sponsored by the Pluralism Project in order to feature the work of our student researchers. To view all of our events, click here. You can also view events by type: affiliate, case study, civic, documentary films, interfaculty, interfaith, international, student conferences, and women’s networks.

Workshop with MIT Addir Fellows

In April 2011 Assistant Director Kathryn Lohre offered a case study workshop to the MIT Addir Fellows during their spring retreat. The MIT Addir Fellows are graduate and undergraduate students who commit to weekly dialogue in small groups, monthly speakers’ presentations, and two mini-retreats over the course of the academic year. The program’s mission is “to equip individuals of different faiths with the skills to engage with and understand those from whom they differ; to enhance inter-group relations on the MIT campus, and to deepen individuals’ self-awareness.” Participants engaged in discussion of “Driven by Faith or Customer Service? Muslim Taxi Drivers at the MSP Airport,” which explores the dilemma faced by the Airport Director in 2006 when Muslim taxi drivers refused to transport passengers carrying alcohol.

Auburn Case Studies Minimester

Pluralism Project case studies were again featured in the 2010 fall minimester course sponsored by Auburn Theological Seminary entitled, “Religious Leadership in a Multifaith World.” Seminary students from six schools in the New York region took part in case discussions of religious and civic leadership, “analyz[ing] each scenario with colleagues from different faith backgrounds, and then reflect[ing] on what kind of leadership they hope to offer in such a situation.” The minimester is anticipated to be offered again in 2011. 

"Case Studies of Multireligious America” at the American Academy of Religion in Atlanta, Georgia

On Friday, October 29, 2010, the Pluralism Project hosted its annual reception at the American Academy of Religion. Facilitated by Dr. Diana Eck and Research Director Ellie Pierce, the evening’s program explored new developments in the Case Study Initiative, which seeks to apply the case method to the disputes and dilemmas of multi-religious America. Highlights from our recent case study workshops, courses, and updates from our 2010 Case Study Summer Fellowship program served as a starting point for discussion. 130 Pluralism Project affiliates, friends, and guests, engaged in lively conversation and networking.

Pluralism Project Co-Sponsors Panel on “Faith-Based Family Dispute Mediation and Arbitration”

On September 17, 2010, the Pluralism Project co-sponsored a panel discussion on “Faith-Based Family Dispute Mediation and Arbitration: North American Muslim Contributions & Priorities” along with the Center for Middle Eastern Studies and the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Islamic Studies Program. The event, organized by HDS students Celene Ayat Lizzio and Aliya Vajid, sought “to connect scholars, students, and practitioners who have an interest in how communities of Muslims perceive of and adhere to select aspects of family law in the North American context.” Panelists included Dr. Zainab Alwani, the first female jurist to serve on the Fiqh Council of North America; Amin Kassam, member of His Highness Prince Aga Khan Shia Imami Ismaili National Conciliation and Arbitration Board for the United States; and Intisar Rabb, a faculty member at the Boston College Law School, where she teaches in comparative and Islamic Law. The panel was moderated by Sarah Eltantawi, PhD Candidate in the Study of Islam at Harvard’s Committee on the Study of Religion. Following the presentations, audience members were invited to participate in a robust discussion on “how religious values and principles are brought to bear on cases of mediation and arbitration, both within formal legal systems and on alternative forums of dispute resolution.”

Pluralism Project Welcomes Recent Alumna Stephanie Saldaña for Book Reading

On Friday, February 19, 2010, the Pluralism Project co-sponsored a reading with Stephanie Saldaña from her recently published book, The Bread of Angels: A Journey to Love and Faith. Stephanie is a recent alumna of the Pluralism Project and Harvard Divinity School. The book explores the year of her Fulbright fellowship in Damascus, Syria, where she sets out to explore the role of the Prophet Jesus in Islam against the backdrop of the US-led war in Iraq. As she struggles with her own sense of vocation, she meets a French novice monk who becomes her companion along the way. Stephanie read passages from her book, and conversed with the audience on the themes of hospitality, inter-cultural and inter-religious dialogue, vocation, and love. The event, which drew nearly 50 people, was co-sponsored by the Center for the Study of World Religions, the Center for Middle Eastern Studies Outreach Center, Harvard Divinity School Alumni Relations, and the Pluralism Project. 

Pluralism Project Co-Sponsors Harvard College in Asia Program Conference

From January 30 – February 6, 2010 the Harvard College in Asia Program hosted its annual conference on the theme of Social Entrepreneurship: Innovation, Service and Empowerment, which was co-sponsored by the Pluralism Project. The conference was attended by six student delegations from universities in Turkey, Singapore, Korea, Japan, China, and India, and is part of a larger exchange between Harvard students in HCAP and students from Asia. On Thursday, February 4,the Pluralism Project hosted a dinner discussion that explored “the role of diversity, pluralism, and globalization in how individuals can achieve social change.” Dr. Diana Eck, who is also a faculty advisor to HCAP, moderated the discussion and invited reflections from the Project’s special guests: Rev. Kim, founder and priest of the Won Buddhism of Boston center in Somerville; Mr. Ibrahim Sayar, the director of the Boston Dialogue Foundation; and Fatih Degirmenci, the Vice President of the Harvard Dialogue Forum. Throughout the week, Pluralism Project Research Associate Sarah Harcourt, who is studying religious studies and education at Harvard Divinity School, regularly consulted with students as they undertook a project exploring the cultural values that would inform designing a charter school in their home contexts, and served as a judge for the final project presentations.

Addir Fellows Community Lecture Series at MIT

On Thursday, November 19, 2009, Dr. Diana Eck offered a lecture entitled, “Interfaith: The Most Difficult Dialogues,” as part of the 2009-2010 Addir Fellows Community Lecture Series. The Addir Fellows MIT Interfaith Dialogue Program “brings together thirty students of different faiths to learn from and engage each other in a stimulating environment…[in order] to enhance inter-group relations on the MIT campus, and to deepen individuals’ self-awareness.” It is sponsored by The Office of the Dean for Student Life, the Board of Chaplains, and the Chaplain to the Institute. Dr. Eck’s lecture illustrated the interfaith religious landscape in the US, reflected on various obstacles to interfaith dialogue that she has encountered in her own work, and offered direction for how to continue to engage in difficult dialogues.

Cooperative Metropolitan Ministries 43rd Annual Meeting and Awards Dinner

On Tuesday, November 17, 2009, the Pluralism Project participated in the annual meeting and awards dinner for a local interfaith social action organization, Cooperative Metropolitan Ministries. Over 200 people attended the evening event entitled, ‘Social Change and the Spirituality of Hope: Dialogue and Action in Multifaith America.” Pluralism Project Director Dr. Diana Eck offered remarks on the topic as part of a keynote panel that also included Salwa Abdullah of Masjid Al-Qur’an and Margie Klein of Moishe/Kavod House and Hebrew College Rabbinical School. Staff hosted a Pluralism Project table in the exhibit area, and engaged with interested visitors in questions about our work and mission.

Pluralism Project Co-Sponsors Muslim Women’s Leadership Conference

On Friday, October 30, 2009, the Pluralism Project co-sponsored “Muslim Community Leadership in America: Women’s Challenges in Horizons” at Harvard Divinity School. Other sponsors included the HDS Diversity Fund, the Women’s Studies in Religion Program, the Center for the Study of World Religions, and certain member of the HDS faculty. This student-initiated conference was the brainchild of Celene Ayat Lizzio, an MDiv student who organized this conference as a field education project with the help of her peers. Its purpose was to provide “an opportunity for Harvard affiliates and guests to converse about the contributions of women in the American context to the vitality and diversity of lived Islam…We aim to consider how customs, communal expectations, legal frameworks, and religious pedagogies influence women’s communal empowerment.” Guest speakers included Muslim American women who are or were chaplains, scholars, architects, and Islamic legalists.

2009 Summer Launch and Research Symposium

On Friday, July 31, the Pluralism Project hosted a preview launch of World Religions in Greater Boston, fifth edition. The symposium featured the work of our webmaster, Ryan Overbey, who built the new user interface, and our summer interns who provided updates for the new directory and multi-media content. The symposium was held at Harvard’s Barker Center for the Humanities, and guests included religious and lay leaders from a diverse range of communities and centers, as well as Harvard faculty, friends of the Project, and funders from The Rappaport Institute for Greater Boston at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. World Religions in Greater Boston features a new online user interface with updated audio-visual content, interactive maps, a near-comprehensive directory of religious centers and organizations, a searchable news database, links to introductory materials, and resources by tradition.

La Trappe Film Premiere and Panel

On May 15, 2009, the Pluralism Project sponsored the U.S. premiere of the short documentary film, La Trappe. Directed by Harvard Divinity School student Lina Verchery (MDiv ’10), this film explores the surprising connection between the French-speaking Acadian lobster fishermen of Chéticamp and their neighbors: the Buddhist monks and nuns of Gampo Abbey, Shambhala's monastic headquarters. Although seemingly divided by language, culture and religion, these two communities nevertheless share more than meets the eye. The film was followed by a panel discussion moderated by Dr. Diana L. Eck. Panelists included Dr. Christopher Queen, lecturer on the Study of Religion at Harvard University; Frank Reynolds, former resident of Gampo Abbey; and Lina Verchery, director of La Trappe. This event was sponsored by the Pluralism Project in partnership with Alliance Française, Boston Shambhala Center, Consulate General of Boston, Cooperative Metropolitan Ministries, and French Consulate of Boston.

Interfaith and Inter-religious Dialogue at Connecticut College

On April 9, 2008, Assistant Director Kathryn Lohre joined former interns Kate DeConinck and Nour Goda for an evening of sharing and discussion on Interfaith and Inter-religious Dialogue at Connecticut College. The event was sponsored by the Office of Religious and Spiritual Life at Connecticut College, and was hosted by the Dean of Religious and Spiritual Life, Claudia Highbaugh. Kathryn gave an introductory presentation about the Pluralism Project, including our work on World Religions in Boston (WRB). Kate and Nour each presented their summer research that contributed to the Hinduism, Islam, and Interfaith sections of WRB, and current research associate and Connecticut College alumna Kimberly Richards presented her work on Religious Diversity News. The event, which included an international dinner and table discussions, was well attended by students, faculty, and staff.

2007 Summer Research Symposium

On August 1, 2007, our summer interns presented their work on revising and updating World Religions in Boston: A Guide to Communities and Resources in a research symposium held at Harvard's Barker Center for the Humanities. Guests at the symposium included religious and lay leaders from the many religious communities and centers that were profiled, as well as Harvard faculty and friends of the Project. The symposium was covered in The Boston Globe.

2006 Summer Research Symposium

On August 15, 2006, the summer research of our student staff and summer interns culminated in a research symposium held at Harvard's Barker Center for the Humanities. An intense morning of presentations covered a wide range of topics including Muslim artists and activism, religious pluralism in Malaysia and Indonesia, faith bloggers, the role of the New York City Council regarding religious pluralism, women's interfaith initiatives and more. Reports on the ICNA-MAS, Kaur Voices, JAINA and Young Global Leaders conferences were also presented.

2005 Summer Research Symposium

On August 10, 2005, the Pluralism Project hosted a summer research symposium at its new office on Cambridge Street. Presentations included reports on the intelligent design debates, the air force academy discrimination allegations, and interfaith chapels at various airports across the country. Other research included profiles of local religious centers, and summaries of the top religious diversity news stories from the summer.

Pluralism Project Student Research Conference 2005

February 16, 2005, at the Barker Center, Harvard University

Religious Pluralism in America: Pluralism Project Student Fall Research Conference

October 15, 2003, at the Center for the Study of World Religions, Harvard University

Pluralism Project Student Research Conference 2002

October 16, 2002, at the Barker Center, Harvard University

The Pluralism Project Student Research Conference, 2001

October 23, 2001, at the Barker Center, Harvard University