A grant of $355,000 from the Henry Luce Foundation will spur the expansion of interfaith dialogue, peacebuilding and humanitarian service at Eastern Mennonite University (EMU) over the next three years.
The grant will be dispersed in increments of $119,000 in 2012 and $118,000 in 2013 and 2014. It will allow the Center for Interfaith Engagement (CIE) at EMU to host visiting scholars in Islam or Judaism as resources in the classroom and across campus. Ed Martin, director of CIE, said the grant will enable students to deepen their understanding of other faiths by learning from scholars that adhere to them.
“In today’s world, we believe engaging with and learning from people of other faiths is essential for creating a more knowledgeable and peaceful society,” said Fred Kniss, provost at EMU. “The support of the Henry Luce Foundation is deeply appreciated and will strengthen our efforts significantly.”
The full three-year CIE program budget to which the Luce grant is providing support includes salary and benefits for the CIE director, associate director, a Mennonite scholar, a second visiting scholar, and travel to conferences, said Martin. In addition, the visiting scholars funded by the grant will be available to Eastern Mennonite Seminary, Center for Justice and Peacebuilding and Summer Peacebuilding Institute.
“The CIE hopes that participants in the program will be able to analyze the role of religion in conflicts and how faith traditions can be helpful in promoting peace,” said Martin. “Participants will be encouraged to envision and design programs for communities of different faiths to cooperate in meeting human needs, particularly in times of disaster.”
The Henry Luce Foundation’s Theology Program is dedicated to encouraging the development of religious leaders through theological education, and fostering scholarship that links the academy to religious communities and other audiences. A key priority is support for new models of theological education to prepare leaders for service in a religiously plural world.