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IRCV works with institutional partners on a number of initiatives from time to time. Initiatives are long-term efforts to achieve desirable goals, such as improved coverage of religion in educational materials, greater religious literacy within faith communities, more nuanced coverage of religion in the media, or greater civic engagement on the part of faith communities. Initiatives are intended to advance the public good, by addressing root causes of injustice and ignorance in a way that leads to meaningful and sustainable transformations.
Periodically, IRCV organizes conferences and events to bring diverse stakeholders together to address issues in education, the media, and other arenas. These events bring scholars and practitioners together with decision makers and thought leaders, to create a platform for future action. IRCV has a unique capacity to build goodwill and ensure that various perspectives have a place at the table, enabling it to build consensus for concerted action.
Faith in U.S.
“Faith in U.S.” is an inter-religious education initiative that seeks to enhance literacy about the world religions within faith communities throughout America. While efforts to promote ecumenical and interfaith understanding have increased, they are often limited in scope and impact. Faith in U.S. is a multi-dimensional approach that intertwines civic, theological and academic concepts, and takes into account cultural factors that may present challenges and opportunities for inter-religious education. A variety of programs, activities and educational materials are slated for development within the Faith in U.S. umbrella.
In 1992, 1994, 1997 and 1998, we organized unprecedented meetings between academic scholars of religion, history, education and other fields and K-12 textbook publishers to explore how to improve the scope of world history coverage. Cumulatively, the gatherings established our organization as an important source for scholarship on Islam, Muslim history, the place of Muslim societies in world history, and on requirements for teaching about religion in the national and state learning standards. On the basis on the conferences, IRCV has been reviewing world history textbook manuscripts developed for various states and school district markets.
In 2007, IRCV organized “Educating for Religious Freedom and Mutual Respect: An Inaugural Leadership Conference to Consider Study about World Religions within Faith Communities,” with support from One Nation for Us All. Religious studies scholars and senior representatives from the National Council of Churches, the Catholic Theological Union, Harvard Divinity School, Brigham Young University, Berkeley Graduate Theological Union, the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, and the Islamic Society of North America formulated a commitment and an agenda for inter-religious education. The event was co-convened by the First Amendment Center and co-sponsored by Claremont Graduate University, Chapman University, Coastline Community College, and Loyola Marymount University.