Release date: Sept 5, 2000
Contact: Elaine Justice, Assistant Director, 404-727-0643, or
Emory Awarded $3.2 Million To Establish Center For
Interdisciplinary Study Of Religion
Emory University has received a five-year, $3.2 million grant from
The Pew Charitable Trusts to help establish a new Center for the Interdisciplinary
Study of Religion.
"Emory aspires to make religion one of the five or six cardinal
themes that suffuses its scholarship and defines its educational mission
nationally and internationally," said Emory Provost Rebecca Chopp
in announcing the grant. "Emory faculty are doing path-breaking
work in the study of religion and practice, religion and the professions,
and comparative religions. This support will help the university to
become a permanent center for world-class religious scholarship."
The new center will be housed at Emory Law School, and will draw the
universitys well-known Law and Religion Program into collaboration
with a variety of other initiatives and institutions on campus, including
the Candler School of Theology, the Graduate Division of Religion and
Department of Religion. John Witte, Jr., director of the Law and Religion
Program and Jonas Robitscher Professor of Law, will head the center.
"This center was born of a happy coincidence of interests at Pew
and Emory," says Witte. "Pews interest has been to lift
up the religious dimensions of humane, professional and scientific education
at premier research universities. Emorys interest is to support,
enhance and galvanize its ample pockets of study of religion around
the campus. This new center will provide an extraordinary opportunity
to bring to Emory a steady diet of world-class scholars of religion
and to bring to the world a steady diet of premier scholarship on religion.
This is quite a blessingand a challenge."
During the grant period, the university will match the grant with $1.6
million of fiscal and in-kind contributions. Upon expiration of the
grant in 2005, the center will be supported by $10 million in permanent
"The Center for the Interdisciplinary Study of Religion at Emory
will play a crucial role in shaping our understanding of religions
contribution to public life, and in helping to create an informed citizenry,"
said Luis Lugo, director of the Religion Program at the Trusts. "To
prepare our society to deal with growing religious diversity and the
moral and ethical challenges we will face, our universities must do
their part to promote a deeper understanding of and appreciation for
the influence of religious beliefs and practices on important social
and cultural issues that cut across academic disciplines among scholars."
The Pew Charitable Trusts have made four major grants to Emorys
Law and Religion Program over the past decade to fund multi-year research
and publication projects on "Christianity and Democracy in Global
Context" (1989-92), "Religious Human Rights in the World Today"
(1992-96), "The Problem and Promise of
Proselytism in the New World Order" (1996-99), and "Religious
Liberty in Russia" (1997-2000).
With this latest grant, Emory joins Yale, Princeton and Notre Dame,
each of which recently have received funding from the Trusts to establish
centers for interdisciplinary religious scholarship. Each of the centers
is designed to provide common intellectual space for the study of religion
by faculty and students from across the university, and to produce cutting-edge
scholarship on interdisciplinary religious themes.
After a planning year in 2000-2001, Emorys new center will sponsor
a series of two-year conversations, research and study on broad religious
themes such as marriage and the family, or the Golden Rule. Each two-year
study will culminate in the publication of four to six major new books,
dozens of articles and other writings, a video and electronic library
of new scholarly resources, new networks of scholars and scholarship,
and a major international conference.
The Pew Charitable Trusts invest in ideas that fuel timely action and
results. Pew makes strategic investments to help organizations and citizens
develop practical solutions to difficult problems. In 1999, with $4.9
billion in assets, the Trusts granted more than $250 million to 206
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