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Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life

The American Studies Institute on Religion in Contemporary America: Church, State and Society

Through the combined resources of the College of Arts and Sciences and the Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life, Boston College will be offering a 28 day program, running from September 15 - October 12, 2002 for fifteen foreign scholars from Muslim majority countries. The goals of the program are to provide these scholars with a better understanding of the ways that religion influences, and is influenced by American society. There will be an emphasis on the diversity of religious belief in America and the norms and institutions that permit this diversity to flourish; how the principles of religious freedom and tolerance are balanced through our legislative and legal systems; the role of religion in shaping foreign and domestic policy; and the reciprocal influence of religion on democracy and democracy on religion.

These goals will be pursued through an intensive academic program that will include lectures, readings, discussions, guided excursions, and informal social activities with faculty, students, and members of religious groups in the Boston community including Muslim immigrants and American converts to Islam. They will also met with Muslim and Jewish lobbyists, politicians, and members of the press. In addition, the group will travel to Los Angeles and stay at Fuller Theological Seminary, a leading training ground for evangelical clergy. During this visit they will visit with a variety of religious groups and leaders from both Christian and Muslim communities.

The overall goal of the program is to ultimately facilitate a more informed exchange of ideas, discussions, and understandings between scholars and opinion leaders in the United States and in Muslim countries. It is hoped that the long term effect of the program will be to develop stronger and more beneficial ties between the people in our communities.

Academic Directors: Professor Alan Wolfe and
Professor Patricia M.Y. Chang
Program Director: Professor Patricia M.Y. Chang
Assistant Program coordinator: Kristin Heyer
Administrative Assistant: Susan Richard

Funded by the United States Department of State
Bureau of Educational Affairs
Office of Academic Exchange Programs
Study of the U.S. Branch