JCU Co-hosts Inaugural Rome Summer Seminars on Religion and Global Politics

From 4-17 June, John Cabot University co-hosted the first edition of the Rome Summer Seminars on Religion and Global Politics. The two-week program welcomed 17 graduate students and post-doctoral fellows working at the intersection of religious studies and international affairs for a full schedule of writing workshops, graduate seminars, public events, and visits to the many sites that have made Rome a key hub for transnational and multi-religious policymaking, including the Great Mosque and Great Synagogue of Rome, the Vatican’s Dicastery for Interreligious Dialogue, the community of Sant’Egidio and the US Embassy to the Holy See.

Rome Summer Seminars on Religion and Global Politics

The students in the program represented 15 different nationalities, including Georgia, the Gambia, Iran, Taiwan, Lebanon, Algeria, Romania, the UK, India, and Pakistan; hailed from a diverse array of Universities such as Stanford, McGill, Göttingen, Notre Dame, and St. Andrews; and featured one recent John Cabot graduate, Addison Hollomon. Leading scholars in the field, such as Olivier Roy of the European University Institute, Kristina Stoeckl of LUISS, Jonathan Laurence of Boston College, Anna Rowlands of Durham University, and Scott Appleby of the University of Notre Dame, provided lectures and seminars for the students. Three public events were held at John Cabot University, including a public panel on Iran, Saudi Arabia, and China (featuring JCU’s Enrico Fardella); a book presentation on Islam, Catholicism, and Modernity (featuring JCU’s Ibrahim al Marashi); and a public debate on Women, Religious Leadership and Global Politics in Rome (featuring JCU’s Pamela Harris).

Other public events were held at the Pontifical Gregorian University and the University of Notre Dame’s Rome Global Gateway. Both the University of Notre Dame and the Gregorian are founding partners of the program, along with the Hanns Seidel Stiftung of Germany, the Adyan Foundation of Lebanon, the Royal Institute of Interfaith Studies in Jordan, and John Cabot. The Program was also held under the high patronage of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, with special support from Andrea Benzo, the Italian Special Envoy for Religious Freedom and Interreligious Dialogue.

Rome Summer Seminars on Religion and Global Politics
The Sala della Regina in the Italian Chamber of Deputies in Rome

The program ended with a 2-day international policy dialogue hosted by ISPI, a leading Italian think tank for international politics, and the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the theme of Religion, Conflict, and Peacebuilding in Contemporary Global Crises. The conference’s opening session and keynote address, by Archbishop Paul Gallagher, the Holy See’s Secretary for Relations with States, were held at the Italian Parliament, in Palazzo Montecitorio’s Sala della Regina, and institutionally hosted by the Italian Parliament’s permanent Committee for Foreign Affairs. 

Prof. Michael Driessen, the director of the Rome Summer Seminars, says he was deeply impressed by the commitment of the students attending the seminars and the quality of their research and projects. He hopes the program will add to JCU’s growing reputation as an important space for transnational, policy-relevant research and reflection in the city of Rome.