Events

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“Under God? The Role of Religion and Public Life” Veritas Forum at Harvard

On Tuesday, March 5, nearly eight hundred people packed Sanders Theater at Harvard University for “Under God? The Role of Religion in Public Life,” a conversation with University of Chicago Divinity School ethicist Jean Bethke Elshtain and Harvard University professor Michael Sandel. This was the seventeenth annual Veritas Forum to be held at the University. Professor Diana Eck and Sri Lankan theologian Vinoth Ramachandra were speakers in 2011.

The event was sponsored by several Christian ministries at Harvard in partnership with Harvard Hillel, Harvard Buddhist, Episcopal, and Foursquare chaplaincies, the Humanist Community at Harvard, the Pluralism Project, the Philosophy Department, and the Center for the Study of World Religions.

Voices of Liberal Islam in Indonesia

On April 17, 2006, the Pluralism Project sponsored an interfaculty luncheon discussion titled “Voices of Liberal Islam in Indonesia” with two young and prominent Islamic thinkers, Ulil Abshar Abdallah and Sukhidi Mulyadi. Abdallah is the founder of Liberal Islam Network, a leading Islamic organization which promotes the notion of a liberal Islam in Indonesia. In 2002 Abdallah and members of the organization were given a fatwa death sentence by Javanese clerics due to their writings on pluralism. Abdallah is currently pursuing graduate studies at Boston University. Mulyadi is an affiliate of the Liberal Islam Network, and he is currently a doctoral student at Harvard. Mulyadi has published extensively in Indonesian as well as international journals. Their presentations provoked lively discussion that touched upon topics like the role of shari’ah and the state, the role of Islam in Indonesia, and religious pluralism.

Welcome to Shelbyville Film Screening and Panel Discussion

On Thursday, October 21, 2010, the Pluralism Project screened the documentary film “Welcome to Shelbyville” for a diverse audience of Harvard students, staff, and faculty, local civic and religious leaders, representatives from immigrant advocacy groups, and members of the Greater Boston community.

Workshop with MIT Addir Fellows

In November 2010 Summer Fellow Brendan Randall offered a case study workshop to the MIT Addir Fellows during their fall retreat. The Addir 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.” The Fellows discussed “Adding Eid,” a Pluralism Project case study about a decision by the Cambridge Public Schools Superintendent to add Eid as a holiday to the district calendar. 

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.

World Council of Churches-US Conference Decade to Overcome Violence Committee

On October 20, 2008, the Pluralism Project hosted members of the World Council of Churches – US Conference Decade to Overcome Violence Committee. “The Decade to Overcome Violence: Churches Seeking Reconciliation and Peace 2001 – 2010 (DOV) is an initiative of the World Council of Churches. It is a global movement that strives to strengthen existing efforts and networks for preventing and overcoming violence, as well as inspire the creation of new ones.” The US Committee seeks to make these efforts visible and vital to the lives of churches in the United States. Guests included Rev. Deborah DeWinter, programme executive of the WCC-US Conference; Rev. Rothang Chhangte, Director of Ecumenical Formation, American Baptist Churches USA; Rev. Loey Powell, Co-Team Leader of the Cleveland-Based Team, Justice and Witness Minsitries, United Church of Christ; and Phil Jones, Director of the Church of the Brethren Witness/Washington Office. The meeting, which sought to identify synergies between the work of the DOV and the Pluralism Project, focused primarily on the importance of teaching children and young adults positive peacebuilding skills through a variety of ecumenical and interfaith programs and projects.