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News Archives - Religion & International Affairs | 2013

  • New report calls for pluralism in campaigns for women’s rights

    The Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict has released “Religion and International Affairs: Through the Prism of Right and Gender.” The report features a multidisciplinary series of essays that examine the role that religion plays in global discussions of gender rights. One common theme of the report is the need for flexibility and pluralism in the pursuit of legal reform. Many contributors challenge the “presumption that rights and religion are antithetical,” and instead argue that religion can be an important factor in securing authentic local involvement in major social changes. Carolyn Warner, co-director of the project and head of the political science faculty at Arizona State University, notes that “The human rights community seems to have fallen into the trap of thinking that religious traditions, doctrines and practices are static and permanent, [but] religious beliefs and traditions can be vital to supporting women’s rights.”

  • International Town Hall explores political Islam in Egypt’s path to democracy

    This October’s episode of the documentary radio series America Abroad connected panelists in Los Angeles and Cairo to examine the role of the Muslim Brotherhood, popular religion, and the military on Egypt’s nascent and fragile democracy. Co-hosted by America Abroad’s Madeline Brand and Egyptian channel ONTV host Ramy Radwan, the town hall included commentary from Sarah Eltantawi, a postdoctoral fellow at UC Berkeley specializing in political Islam, from Raouf Saad, Former Assistant to the Egyptian Foreign Minister, and from the live audiences in Cairo and Los Angeles. America Abroad, which broadcasts on public radio stations nationwide, has received three grants from the Luce Foundation since 2007 to support public radio programming on religion and international affairs.

  • NYU hosts Religion in the Digital Age Conference

    On September 27th-28th, New York University’s Center for Religion and Media hosted Religion in the Digital Age II: Mediating the Human in a Globalizing Asia.” The conference focused on the roles of religion and digital media in Asian political movements, exploring how digital platforms - ranging from cell phone communication to international news coverage - can amplify, distort, or transform religious messages and religion’s role in political protests. The Center for Religion and Media received a two-year grant from the Luce Foundation in 2011.

  • Brooklyn Law School hosts Religious Freedom and Equal Treatment: An International Look

    On October 11th and 12th, Brooklyn Law School hosted the conference, Religious Freedom and Equal Treatment: An International Look. The event brought together members of the academic and advocacy communities to look at the tensions between religious liberty and equal treatment. Attendees discussed theoretical and practical approaches to navigating these tensions, with a particular emphasis on differing international points of view. The event was co-sponsored by the American Civil Liberties Union, Brooklyn Law School and its Journal of Law and Policy, the newly-formed International Network of Civil Liberties Organizations, and the Program for the Study of Reproductive Justice in the Information Society Project at Yale Law School.

  • Journalism Fellows Share Experience of Working on Religious Issues Overseas

    On October 15th, the International Reporting Project welcomed back five recipients of the IRP Fellowship in International Journalism, who spoke about their experience reporting on religious issues overseas. Their projects ranged from Los Angeles Times reporter Kate Linthicum’s examination of Buddhist-Muslim tensions in Burma, to radio reporter Rowan Moore Gerety’s investigation of faith healing in Nigeria, to freelance journalist Liana Aghajanian’s report on Iranian refugees in Germany. The New Yorker has recently featured a piece by one participant, Katie Orlinsky, which describes Timbuktu’s efforts to return to a semblance of normal life following a year of occupation by Islamist insurgents. The International Reporting Project, housed at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University, provides opportunities to U.S. journalists to go overseas to report on critical issues that are under covered in the U.S. news media. The School of Advanced International Studies received a three-year grant in 2012 to strengthen media coverage of religion and international affairs.

  • Workshop on “Politics of Religious Freedom: Contested Norms and Local Practices,” Northwestern University

    The capstone workshop of a three-year project on the "Politics of Religious Freedom: Contested Norms and Local Practices," will be held at Northwestern University on October 17-18, 2013. The project, funded by a grant from the Henry R. Luce Initiative on Religion and International Affairs (to the University of California, Berkeley), has engaged academics, jurists and policy makers in a series of global conferences to look at differing international conceptions and practices of religious liberty. This final workshop will include a series of roundtable discussions on critical themes and topics that have emerged in the course of the project, including an attempt to find new, multinational ways of posing and considering questions involving religion and the law. The workshop will feature a panel of junior scholars working on the topic, as well as a presentation of legal cases and commentaries involving religious freedom that have been compiled as part of the project.

  • Videojournalist releases documentary series on “God and Gangs: Criminal Violence and Religion in Guatemala”

    American University’s journalist-in-residence Bill Gentile has released a three-part series, “The Gangs,” “The Researcher,” and “The Pastor,” following St. Michael’s College professor Robert Brenneman as he conducts follow-up research to his book, Homies + Hermanos: God and Gangs in Central America. The videos, employing the techniques of “backpack video journalism,” include rare footage of interviews with former gang members, their families, and their congregations. Brenneman’s research examines the role that religion plays in the rehabilitation of gang members and the impact of Guatemala’s growing evangelical churches. The video series is a part of American University’s project “Violence and Victims in Latin America: Churches and Religion in Dictatorship and Democracy,” which received a two-year grant from the Luce Foundation in 2011.

  • India China Institute hosts conference on religion and sustainability in the Himalaya

    On March 7-8, 2013, the India China Institute (ICI) at the New School in Manhattan hosted a two-day conference to examine changing religious and environmental practice in the Himalaya region. The conference, entitled Everyday Religion and Sustainable Environments in the Himalaya and supported by a grant from the Luce Foundation, brought together together over 40 international scholars for sessions addressing Identity, Materiality, and Health; Practice in Sacred Landscapes; and Connections, Provocations and Policy. Speakers included Elizabeth Alison, Anil Chitrakar, Mukta Singh Lama, Charles Ramble, and Eklabya Sharma as well as ICI fellows Li Bo, Georgina Drew, and Mahendra Lama.

  • Columbia University’s “Who’s Afraid of Shari’a?” project hosts a workshop in Paris

    Among the projects supported by an HRLI grant to Columbia University is “Who’s Afraid of Shari’a?” co-sponsored by Columbia’s Center for the Study of Social Difference (CSSD). Under the direction of anthropologist Lila Abu-Lughod, a workshop was held in Paris in January 2013. Scholars and activists from Morocco, South Africa, Iraq, Turkey and Europe shared research and debated the promise and pitfalls of new forms of Muslim women’s activism in diverse political contexts, from the tense racial politics of France, to communal conflict in Iraq, to cosmopolitan gatherings in Malaysia where feminists and legal experts promote reform. The university’s new initiative, “Women Creating Change,” will include an expansion of the HRLI project, now named “Gender, Religion and Law in Muslim Societies.”

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    Religion & International Affairs News Archives