A Common Word


As the official representative of A Common Word in North America, ACMCU is joined by the Georgetown University Office of the President to host this conference on the fifth anniversary of the historic Common Word initiative. The program is a follow-up to A Common Word: A Global Agenda for Change, held in October 2009 and Responding to the Challenges of Religious Pluralism & Conflict Resolution, held in April 2011. This year’s conference will explore the challenge of religious pluralism and intercommunal conflicts in Christian-Muslim relations today in post Arab Spring governments in Egypt and Tunisia, and their impact on religious freedom, civil liberties and security, equality of citizenship, and gender relations.

Conference Program:

Opening: John L. Esposito, Georgetown University
Welcome: President John J. DeGioia, Georgetown University

Panel 1: Are There Limits to Religious Freedom that Religions Agree On?
Few dispute the value and centrality of religious freedom, but religious traditions also often guard areas of faith, practice, or community that they hold beyond the reach of that freedom. If religious traditions agree on the importance of religious freedom, can they agree to limitations on blasphemy, building churches, and missionary work?

Rev. Richard Cizik, New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good

David Law, Georgetown University Law Center & Washington University in St. Louis
Thomas Farr, Georgetown University
Farid Esack, University of Johannesburg

10:45-11:00am -- Coffee Break

Panel 2: Challenges to the Relationship of Law to Religion in Western Democracies and in Post Arab Spring State Building
Religious communities have had different arrangements with the (nation) states in which they exist. In Western secular democracies, the relationship between state and religion and the complexities this poses for religious freedom have emerged more clearly than ever. At the same time, in Egypt and Tunisia, questions of the relationship of religion to the state and its impact on equality of citizenship and religious freedom are at the forefront in state building. What will the Arab Spring mean for religious freedom? Will governments dominated by Islamic parties seek to limit it or embrace it?

Mohammad Fadel, University of Toronto Faculty of Law

Emad Shahin, American University in Cairo
Radwan Masmoudi, Center for the Study of Islam & Democracy
Mohamed Okda, Al-Watan Party - Egypt
Nancy Okail, Freedom House - Egypt

12:30-2:00pm -- Break

Plenary: The Challenge of Religious Pluralism in Christian-Muslim Relations:

The Arab Spring
Emerging democracies in Muslim countries such as Egypt and Tunisia struggle with the issue of religious pluralism in guaranteeing equality of citizenship and political representation. What are the key issues and the way forward?
Chris Seiple, Institute for Global Engagement

Abdulaziz Sachedina, George Mason University
Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, Archbishop Emeritus of Washington 
Dalia Mogahed, Former Executive Director of the Gallup Center for Muslim Studies

3:30-3:45pm -- Coffee Break

Panel 3: Gender & Religious Freedom in Christian-Muslim Relations
Do gender issues (for example: hijab, shariah, family laws, education) create obstacles for multi-faith understanding/relations, religious freedom, and civil liberties?

Tamara Sonn, College of William & Mary

Margot Badran, Georgetown University
Kathleen Moore, University of California Santa Barbara
Merve Kavakci-Islam, George Washington University

Free and open to the public

For full speaker bios, please click here

 To view the official program, please click here

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