February 13, 2007

Pluralism Project Newsletter
February 13, 2007
In this Issue:
  • Dr. Diana L. Eck’s Comments
  • Dr. Eck on “Religion and its Role in Global Affairs”
  • Close to Home: Dr. Eck Gives Talk at Old Ship Church
  • On the Road: Dr. Eck Speaks in Charlotte, North Carolina
  • Thank You to 2006 Contributors
  • Sheikh Muhammad Al-Sherif Visit
  • “Muslims in Europe and the United States: A Transatlantic Comparison”
  • Touchstones Interfaith Series
  • 2007 Summer Internships
  • Golden Rule Curriculum
  • Religious Diversity News: Top Headlines
  • International News: Top Headlines

Dr. Diana L. Eck’s Comments
[ Image: photo of Dr. Eck and Grove Harris ]
Dear Friends,
As 2007 begins, we have embarked upon a period of transition as we implement a new organizational framework. I regretfully announce that this will mean the departure of Grove Harris, who has served as our Managing Director.For over a decade, Grove has contributed enormously to the research and expansion of the Pluralism Project through her own work and through her work with our student staff and network of affiliates. I have outlined her accomplishments in my letter posted online at: http://pluralism.org/about/2007_reorganization.php

She will continue some of her work as an affiliate of the Pluralism Project: http://www.pluralism.org/affiliates/harris/

On January 31, forty friends and colleagues gathered at the Pluralism Project to honor Grove. It was a wonderful evening of celebration.

We are grateful, and wish her all the best. Thank you, Grove.

Dr. Eck on “Religion and its Role in Global Affairs”

Dr. Eck speaks about the ways in which religion unites and divides people throughout the world on: Religion and its Role in Global Affairs, Part I, broadcast on Public Radio International’s The World on Christmas Day 2006.

Close to Home: Dr. Eck Gives Talk at Old Ship Church

On Sunday, January 14, Diana Eck spoke at the 325th anniversary celebration of the Old Ship Meeting House in Hingham, Massachusetts, the oldest wooden “meetinghouse in continuous ecclesiastical use in the United States.” Her address was entitled, “The New New England and the Old Ship.”

On the Road: Dr. Eck Speaks in Charlotte, North Carolina

In late January, Diana Eck traveled to Charlotte, North Carolina to speak at the Levine Museum of the New South, where the “Families of Abraham” exhibit is currently on display. Families of Abraham celebrates the faith traditions and lives of Jewish, Christian, and Muslim families in Charlotte. Six photographers photographed eleven families over the course of a year and the exhibit provides a compelling portrait of these families and their religious traditions. See Religious Diversity News below for an interview conducted with Diana in advance of her visit. During this visit, Diana also gave an evening lecture at the Myers Park Baptist Church.

Levine Museum of the New South website: www.museumofthenewsouth.org

Thank You to 2006 Contributors

Thank you to all those who have contributed to the Pluralism Project this past year, whether through research, outreach in your own community, or through a financial gift. We would like to highlight our 2006 Friends of the Project. Your generosity has helped us to amplify our efforts.

Friends of the Project

Sheikh Muhammad Al-Sherif Visit
[ Image: photo of Sheikh Al-Sherif, Dr. Eck, and Dr. Ahmed ]
On December 7, 2006, the Pluralism Project welcomed Sheikh Muhammad Al-Sherif, current Imam of the Islamic Cultural Institute (ICI) in St. Clair Shores, Michigan to its offices for a visit with Dr. Diana Eck, Dr. Leila Ahmed of Harvard Divinity School, and Pluralism Project staff. Trained at Al-Azhar, Sheikh Muhammad Al-Sherif is a former student of Sheikh Ali Gomaa, the current Grand Mufti of Egypt. Before his recent move to the US to head up ICI, Sheikh Muhammad Al-Sherif was Imam of two mega-mosques in Giza, a large working-class district in Cairo. He also runs the Al-Kamal Association for Social and Charitable Activity and is a member of the Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs. Sheikh Muhammad Al-Sherif had last visited the Pluralism Project in May 2006 as part of the US Department of State’s International Visitor Program.
Islamic Cultural Institute website: www.icionline.org

“Muslims in Europe and the United States: A Transatlantic Comparison”

This conference, organized by Dr. Jocelyne Cesari of the Islam in the West Program at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, was held at Harvard University on December 15-16, 2006. Participants presented the results of a six-nation study conducted in Europe on the status of Muslims. Scholars who are currently working on this topic in the US offered comparative perspectives and suggested directions for future research.

Conference papers are available online.

Islam in the West Program website: http://cmes.hmdc.harvard.edu/research/iw

Touchstones Interfaith Series
[ Image: photo of Research Associate Deonnie Moodie ]
On January 9, 2007, Assistant Director Kathryn Lohre and Research Associate Deonnie Moodie gave a presentation on pluralism in Winchester, Massachusetts. The occasion was the kickoff for a six-part interfaith series sponsored by Touchstones, a women’s spirituality group at the First Congregational Church of Winchester, Massachusetts. Their presentation included an introduction to religious pluralism, a slide show of various religious centers in Boston that were part of Dr. Eck’s World Religions in Boston course last fall, and an overview of our women’s networks initiative. This was followed by a lively question and answer session. An enormous thank you to our gracious hosts!

2007 Summer Internships

The Pluralism Project at Harvard University seeks interns for the summer of 2007. Interns will be involved in a wide variety of projects including research, site visits, outreach, website and database maintenance, and administrative tasks.

For more information see: http://www.pluralism.org/resources/calendar/summer_internships.php

Golden Rule Curriculum

A new addition to our Online Interfaith Resources is the Golden Rule Curriculum. Developed by the Scarboro Missions of Canada as part of their interfaith dialogue outreach, this curriculum is a tool intended “primarily for high school juniors and seniors (ages 16 to 18) to demonstrate that the Golden Rule is more than a behavioral guide for small children.” It contains exercises and resources that focus on the Golden Rule throughout various cultures and faith traditions in order to engage students in discussions on ethical principles and moral behavior.

For more information see: http://www.pluralism.org/research/profiles/display.php?profile=74171

[ Image: Religious Diversity News icon ]

Religious Diversity News: Top Headlines

Buddhist Congresswoman Sworn in, Urges Tolerance
Rep. Mazie Hirono, a Buddhist woman and a Hawaii Democrat, is sworn into Congress using no book at all.

American Muslim Models Interfaith Group on Peace Corps
Affiliate Eboo Patel’s Interfaith Youth Core provides a viable model for interfaith service.

Q&A with Diana Eck: A Look at Charlotte’s Diverse Religious Scene
Dr. Diana L. Eck gives an interview in advance of her visit to Charlotte, North Carolina to speak at the Levine Museum of the New South in celebration of the exhibit, “Families of Abraham.”

Valley Muslims Seek Equality in School Holidays
Senior Researcher Elinor Pierce offers commentary on how schools are (or are not) accommodating religious holidays.

International News: Top Headlines

Buddhism Gains Foothold in the Bay (New Zealand)
Immigrants from Laos and Thailand have increased the Buddhist population in Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand.

Hajj 2006
A link to our cross-reference for coverage of Hajj 2006.

Six Religions Exchange Views on Care for the Dying (China)
The Interreligious Dialogue Commission of the Hong Kong Catholic Diocese hosted a multi-religious dialogue in December 2006 on religious views of death and dying.