Events

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Religious Literacy Roundtable

On October 4, the Foundation for Religious Literacy sponsored a Religious Literacy Roundtable at the Harvard Club of New York City. The Roundtable brought together representatives from diverse schools, groups, and organizations engaged in building religious literacy. Research Director Ellie Pierce participated in the conversation on behalf of the Pluralism Project.

Research Director Participates in “Sacred Space in a Secular Nation of Believers”

On October 25 & 26, research director Ellie Pierce participated in a Radcliffe Seminar, “Sacred Space in a Secular Nation of Believers.” The seminar explored sacred space in healthcare contexts, the military, and higher education. Sessions focused on specific cases, including the Ulfelder Healing Garden at Massachusetts General Hospital, one of three spaces at the hospital – in addition to the masjid and chapel – set aside for prayer and/or reflection; the Tufts University Interfaith Center, home to the Muslim, Protestant, and Catholic chaplains, and is used by a range of student religious groups; and the U.S. Air Force Academy Cadet Chapel, designed with separate chapels for the Jewish, Catholic, and Protestant faiths. Today, the Cadet Chapel also houses an “all faiths room,” a newer Buddhist chapel (“the Vast Dharma Refuge Hall”), and, the most recent addition, a dedicated space near the building for Earth-Centered Spirituality, known as “Falcon Circle.” This engaging multidisciplinary seminar was organized by Wendy Cadge from Brandeis University, Alice Friedman from Wellesley College, and Karla Johnson, from the architectural firm Johnson Roberts Associates.

Salman Ahmad South Asian Quake Benefit

On November 29, 2005, the Pluralism Project co-hosted Salman Ahmad at Harvard for a South Asian Quake Benefit. Ahmad, the lead singer in South Asia’s biggest rock band, Junoon, screened It’s My Country Too!, his new film about Muslims in America after 9/11. After the screening, a benefit concert for victims and survivors of the South Asian earthquake was held in the Memorial Church at Harvard. Ahmad played a range of music from Sufi-rock to Pakistani folk songs. His stories about his recent trip to the earthquake-torn regions of Pakistan inspired the Harvard community to raise over $7,000 for the Edhi Foundation earthquake relief efforts. The event was co-sponsored by the South Asia Initiative, Office of the Arts, Sanskrit & Indian Studies, Islam in the West Program, Center for the Study of World Religions, Harvard Divinity School, South Asian Association, Dharma, Harvard Islamic Society, Harvard College Interfaith Council, and the Harvard Foundation.

Security and Civil Rights: Muslim Army Chaplain James Yee

On February 28, 2006, former Muslim Chaplain and U.S. Army Captain James Yee spoke at Harvard, sponsored by the Harvard Islamic Society, the Asian-Pacific Law Students Association, and the Pluralism Project. Chaplain Yee served at Guantanamo Bay and spoke of the challenges of learning first-hand about abuses. He responded by authoring policies designed to respect religious rights and security needs. He was accused of espionage and held in solitary confinement; eventually all charges were dropped and his record was cleared. His recent book is entitled For God and Country.