Starting May 9, 2011, some of the most prominent newspapers around the world will simultaneously publish a unique article series Religion and the Public Space organized by the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations and written by eminent analysts and commentators worldwide.
The series, which will run over several weeks, aims to offer newspapers around the world a unique set of commentaries by prominent thinkers and analysts. Newspapers involved in the project include The Straits Times (Singapore), Folha de Sao Paolo (Brazil), Jordan Times (Jordan), Guatemala Times, Hindustan Times (India), South China Morning Post (Hong Kong), Publico (Spain), Sydney Morning Herald (Australia), Malta Independent (Malta), Gulf Times (UAE), La Croix (France), Le Devoir (Canada), Le Temps (Switzerland) and the pan Arab daily Al Hayat. The series will be published in five languages (English, French, Spanish, Portuguese and Arabic).
The project stems from the UNAOC’s global mission: amplifying the constructive role of the media in increasing public understanding of divisive debates, ensuring that a diversity of voices are heard from, and providing free quality content to newspapers around the world.“The UNAOC is committed to maintaining the broad intellectual reach and the global scope that enables readers to see how a common issue is experienced in different ways around the globe. Questions of the engagement of religion in public life are among the most pressing and complex on the international agenda and within many countries,” says UNAOC Director Marc Scheuer.
The UNAOC Global Experts involved in the project were asked to provide informed commentaries on pressing issues of their choosing from a variety of perspectives and backgrounds. Together, they are part of an online resource of experts (www.theglobalexperts.org)—established in 2010 by the UNAOC—that aims to provide quality analysis and ensure a diversity of opinions in public and media debates.
Throughout the series, experts address different aspects of religion and politics in the public space and reflect a variety of professional, cultural, and geographical backgrounds, and political perspectives–from concerns over rising intolerance of religious differences in Europe to worries over similar trends discerned in a number of countries of Africa, Asia, and elsewhere, or the role religion is likely to play in the unfolding transitions of the Arab Spring.
The experts include prominent academics from the USA, Iran, France, UK, Malaysia, Brazil, Australia and India, but also civil society leaders from various countries.
Through this series, the UNAOC hopes that these commentaries will inform and enrich important, and, at times, difficult discussions about religion in the public space.
Discover a new article every Monday and Thursday from May – July on www.theglobalexperts.org
Monday, May 9, 2011: Eboo Patel, Private Beliefs, Public Change
May 12: Securalism to the Rescue of the Arab Spring, Fadi Hakura, Manager of the Turkey project at UK-based Chatham House
May 16: “Iran’s Greatest Spiritual Leader,” Melody Moezzi, lawyer, columnist and activist, USA/Iran
May 19: “The Fate of Minorities in the Arab Spring,” René Guitton, writer and publisher, France
May 23: ”Religion and Public Space in India,” Christophe Jaffrelot, Senior research fellow at CERI-Sciences Po/CNRS
May 26: “Faith and Free Speech,” Marina Mahathir, Columnist, blogger and women’s rights activistfrom Malaysia
May 30: “Religious Pluralism and Democracy on Show in Egypt,” Asma Afsaruddin, Professor of Islamic Studies at Indiana University, USA
June 2: “The Sacred and the Secular: Promoting Post-Islamist Muslim Democracy,” Professor Asef Bayat, Illinois University, USA
June 6 “Division or Unity for Russia’s Increasingly Diverse Muslims?,” Vitaly Naumkin, director of the Institute of Oriental Studies at the Russian Academy of Sciences
June 9: “Europe’s Rising Islamophobia“, Virginie Guiraudon, CNRS, Research fellow at the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS)
June 13: Expression of Religion in Public Space – Assurances and Barriers in Indonesia, Bernhard Platzdasch, Visiting Research Fellow at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (ISEAS), Singapore
June 16: “Sharia and Democracy in Nigeria’s Public Space,” Professor Ali A. Mazrui, Binghampton University, USA
June 20: “Speaking Out, Out of Turn?,” Maria José Rosado-Nunes, Brazil, graduate professor of sociology of religion and feminist studies at the Pontifical Catholic University of São Paulo
June 23: “Cutting the Fog: Multiculturalism, Religion and the Common Good,” Professor Sara Silvestri, City University London and Cambridge University, UK
June 27: “Religion, Revolution and Two Languages,” Dr. William F. Vendley, Secretary General of Religions for Peace, USA
Partner newspapers may publish the above articles in a different order depending on their own constraints and preferences.