Monday, October 25, 2010

Colloquium is inaugural event for Conrad Grebel University College’s Centre for the Study of Religion and Peace.

Conrad Grebel University College’s newly-established Centre for the Study of Religion and Peace (CSRP) will hold its first official event on November 11. Fear and Hope: Religion’s Role in Conflict and Peace will be a colloquium featuring Dr. Luis Lugo, Director of the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion and Public Life, with five diverse respondents. Dr. Nathan Funk of Conrad Grebel University College, who is the Lead Researcher in the centre, will moderate the discussion which will be held in the Atrium of the Centre for International Governance Innovation (57 Erb Street, Waterloo). The event will be hosted and co-sponsored by Mr. John Siebert, Director of Project Ploughshares.

Funk says:

We did not plan to hold our first event on November 11. But we were happy when the opportunity arose. We believe an event like this serves the larger purposes of Remembrance Day, by calling us to reflect on issues that are a source of current concern and inviting conversation about how we can work together to make the peace we enjoy more real and lasting.  And by organizing this as a colloquium in which diverse voices will be heard, we want to signal our intent for the centre: we want it to provide a space for engagement across differences, for collaborative research, and for ongoing public dialogue.

Luis Lugo, a native of Cuba, is the Director of the Pew Research Center's Forum on Religion and Public Life. He studied at the University of Memphis (BA), Villanova University (MA) and the University of Chicago, where he completed his PhD in Political Science. Prior to joining the Pew Forum, he served as the Director of the Religion program at the Pew Charitable Trusts in Philadelphia, a position he held for seven years. Before joining the Trusts, he was a professor of Political Science for more than 12 years, teaching courses in international relations, Latin American politics, and religion and public policy. He became the Director of the Pew Research Center's Forum on Religion and Public Life in January 2004. Among his published works are several edited volumes, including Religion, Public Life and the American Polity and Sovereignty at the Crossroads? Morality and International Politics in the Post-Cold War Era.  Listed in Who's Who Among Hispanic Americans, he is married and has three children.

Respondents at the Colloquium include Mr. Iyinoluwa “E” Aboyeji, President, Waterloo Imprint, University of Waterloo; Dr. Jennifer Ball, Lecturer Peace and Conflict Studies, Conrad Grebel University College; Mr. Geoffrey Cameron, Senior Policy Analyst, Africa Bureau, Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade; Dr. Paul Freston, Chair in Religion and Politics in Global Context, Balsillie School of International Affairs, Wilfrid Laurier University; and, Dr. Ali Zaidi, Assistant Professor of Global Studies, Wilfrid Laurier University.

The centre was formally approved by Conrad Grebel’s Board of Governors on October 14, 2010. The centre, which will focus on research, dialogue, and public education activities,

aspires to advance knowledge and awareness of religious contributions to peace, and to enhance the capacity of religious communities to engage contemporary conflict issues and practice the peaceful values they profess.

While the work of the Centre is rooted in Conrad Grebel’s Anabaptist-Mennonite and Christian heritage, the CSRP will explore the peace potential inherent in all religious traditions, and will explore ways to more fully actualise this potential and apply it to build trust, foster understanding, and revitalize public policy discussions.

By Susan Fish

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