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Cambridge Interfaith Programme

 
Butterfly-shaped World Interfaith Harmony Week logo with heading "Highlights"

Proposed by H.M. King Abdullah II of Jordan and adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2010, 2024 sees the 14th World Interfaith Harmony Week.

Based on the pioneering initiative A Common Word calling for Christian and Muslim leaders to work together, it is intended to provide a focal point to recognise common values and build goodwill.

While the official dates are 1–7 February each year, the coordinators recognise activities between Holocaust Memorial Day (27 January) and 3 March. Below are some highlights from local programming, including events organised jointly and/or by other University of Cambridge bodies.


Peterhouse hosts: Milk & Blood: Female martyrology in Jewish and Christian traditions

At Peterhouse, musicologists, and scholars of religion and Old English are joining forces to mark the Feast day of Saint Agatha, in an event co-organised by Dr Vanessa Paloma Elbaz.

The schedule combines a series of lightning talks with musical performances, all linked to female martyrology, and drawing on Jewish and Christian traditions. 


Roundtable: Religion and conflict in context 
6 February, 10:30am, Faculty of Divinity & online

Beginning with a joint presentation from Dr Jörg Haustein (Cambridge) and Dr Afework Beyene (EGST), this roundtable event will enable discussion about the role of religion in inter-communal conflict, as driver and conduit of tensions as well as a possible aid in conflict resolution.

It is possible to join the audience via Zoom (please register for details) or take a seat at the table in Cambridge. There is also the option of joining the speakers for lunch at Selwyn College—this is a pay-at-till service.


Religion and Ecology reading group: Thinking like a river
7 February, 2pm, Faculty of Divinity.

Co-convened by Professor Esra Özyürek and Dr Anastasia Badder, this is the first session of CIP’s new Religion & Ecology reading group. The focus of discussion for this date will be Franz Krause’s Thinking Like a River (2023). 

The group is part of CIP’s Religion and Global Challenges Initiative. The plan is for sessions approximately once per month. Read more about the reading group and its goals.


MBIT—Adath Jeshurun Joint Research Seminar (Chavruta)
7 February, 5:30pm (UK time). Online.

Margaret Beaufort Institute of Theology (Cambridge) partners with Adath Jeshurun synagogue (Louisville, Kentucky) to demonstrate this Jewish tradition of text discussion. The online Chavruta will include 3 active participants from each institution. The theme is ‘The Stranger’.

There will be chance for observers to quiz participants. Please contact Dominic White (dpw12 @ mbit.cam.ac.uk) for information about how to join the Zoom session.


IRR Workshop | Scriptural Reasoning
13 February, 2:15pm. Faculty of Divinity.

Inter-Religious Research Seminar convenor Dr Giles Waller coordinates a Scriptural Reasoning taster workshop for Faculty of Divinity students and colleagues, members of Cambridge Interfaith Research Forum, and interested others. 

This event is not suitable for online participation. Guests are advised to contact Dr Waller in advance. 


Sacred Spaces | Sacred Time: a queer interfaith discussion
13 February, 5:15pm. Faculty of Divinity. 

Organised by CIP in partnership with the lgbtQ+ research centre & CamQueerHistory, this speaker-led forum asks: How have queer people within faith groups carved out affirming worship spaces for themselves and their communities? What “queer time” can be traced through a faith’s history? What queer ancestry, lineage and inheritance can be uncovered and celebrated from faiths which otherwise might seem monolithically unqueer?

Arrive from 5:15pm for drinks and nibbles. The invited speakers will kick off discussion at around 5:30pm.


REACH Roundtable: The Place of Antisemitism within Debates on Racism
20 February, 5:00pm, Wolfson College.

CIP Academic Director Professor Esra Özyürek is one of four panellists at this first event in REACH’s “Hierarchies of Racism” series. Joining her will be Professor David Feldman (Birkbeck), Professor Stefanie Springorum (TU Berlin) & Dr Keith Kahn-Harris (Leo Baeck).

The second event in the series follows swiftly, on Thursday 29 February: The place of Islamophobia within debates on racism.


26 February, midday | Deadline: Global South Visiting Fellowships 2025


Seminar: Ottoman-Armenian architects and interfaith relations 
27 February, 2:15pm. Faculty of Divinity & online.

Dr Alyson Wharton (University of Lincoln) joins us to discuss the intersection between architecture and interfaith relations in the Ottoman East.

This is an Inter-Religious Research seminar and will be available to audit on Zoom as well as on site in Cambridge.

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