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Cambridge Inter-Faith Programme

 

Starting in 2021, CIP is embarking on a bold new venture: the CIP Religion and Global Challenges Initiative. This new initiative seeks to generate tangible and sustainable solutions to worldwide problems by deepening understanding of the role that religious communities play – and could play – in exacerbating or in alleviating such problems.

The CIP Religion and Global Challenges Initiative will bring together theologians, social and natural scientists and religious communities to think through the most pressing global challenges facing us today.

Economic inequality, forced migration, environmental and health concerns, regional and global conflict, and the deterioration of political and religious freedoms continue to threaten human flourishing and existing social structures. It is therefore more crucial than ever to understand the factors contributing to them and their wider effects, and to bring a wide range of voices – including voices from religious perspectives – into the debate about our common future.

The vast majority of the world’s population participates in religious communities, and there is no area of society religion does not touch. This makes our focus on the role of religion in global challenges strategic and gives our research significant potential for real-world impact. CIP has already pioneered new approaches to promoting healthier interreligious relations, and has an existing research programme in Religion, Scripture, and Violence. Through this new initiative, we will build on our existing work and broaden our focus to include new strands such as:

  • Religion and the Environment
  • Religion, Poverty, and Economic Inequality
  • Religion, Global Health, and Matters of Life and Death
  • Religion, Race, and Inclusive Societies
  • Religion, Conflict, and Violence
  • Migration, Displacement, and Coexistence
  • Religion, Law, and Freedom

Alongside academic study, we are also deeply invested in the public’s engagement with these topics. A core driving element of CIP is a desire to promote shared understanding and knowledge exchange between different religious traditions and between religious traditions and broader society. To do this effectively, we must work directly with these communities, as well as with the wider public.

For each area of investigation, research and public engagement will focus on three key questions:

  • How does this global challenge shape relations among different religious communities, both locally and internationally?
  • How does conflict between different religious communities exacerbate this global challenge, and impair efforts to address it?
  • How might collaboration and knowledge exchange between different religious communities help create solutions to this global challenge, and what under-explored resources already exist within those communities and traditions that could help generate solutions?

By starting this new Initiative, we will find creative new solutions to global problems by drawing upon theological research, cutting-edge methods in social sciences, models and analysis offered by natural scientists and engineers, and conversation with contemporary religious communities.   

This is an ambitious goal, and one that only Cambridge has the expertise, experience and international reach to bring to fruition. CIP will act as a convenor and catalyst for new activity, creating a vital new hub for the public and academic discussion of religion and its impact on the world, now and into the future.

Through the CIP Religion and Global Challenges Initiative, we will do the following:

  • Bring together talented researchers with expertise in religious studies, social and natural sciences, theology, ethics, and philosophy to engage in high-impact research projects.
  • Enable knowledge exchange with faith leaders across the globe to bring their voices into the interdisciplinary, interfaith debate on global challenges.
  • Promote the innovative use of digital tools and new technologies to maximize research impact and engage the general public, policymakers, and religious communities on these challenges.

 

'Religion and Global Challenges' CIP Podcast

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