Tony Blair

Religion in Global Perspective: Learning from One Another

With the multitude of faiths around the globe, religious scholarship has become an increasingly important tool for understanding the world around us, the role of religion in our lives and the impact it has on the way we interact with each other.

The McGill Initiative in the World’s Religions and Globalization, a joint venture between the Faculty of Religious Studies and the Tony Blair Faith Foundation (TBFF), is building bridges by studying the world’s religions in an increasingly globalized perspective. The Initiative has benefited from key philanthropic support to Campaign McGill, including a generous gift from the McBurney Family Foundation.

“An appreciation of how religion is embedded in social, cultural and political fabrics around the world, and an understanding of how religious traditions inform leaders and are resources for change are critical elements of religious literacy,” says Professor Ellen Aitken, Dean of Religious Studies.

As part of the Initiative, the Faculty launched a new undergraduate course that enables students to explore distinctive ways that religions are shaping – and are being shaped by – the social, political and economic dynamics of globalization. In addition, an intensive summer course on human rights and religious minorities brings students from around the world to study to study with McGill students and to benefit from the multiple international perspectives on some of the most challenging issues of religious pluralism.

The Initiative also allows the Faculty to foster important new research in this area, sponsor public lectures and workshops to engage the wider McGill and public communities, and publish research findings relevant both to scholarly work and to government policy.

McGill is one of 12 universities in the world – and the only one in Canada – to partner with the TBFF’s Faith and Globalization Initiative. Other participating universities include Yale in the United States, National University of Singapore, Tecnológico de Monterrey in Mexico, the University of Western Australia, Peking University in China and Fourah Bay College in Sierra Leone. The various aspects of the Initiative are undertaken in partnership with the other universities, thus providing an international wealth of experience and scholarship.

“It has been a very good three years working with McGill,” says former TBFF Chief Executive Ruth Turner. “I hope we can look forward to more lively and rigorous debate, excellent scholarly research, inspirational teaching and important policy discussions with business and political leaders.”