Wednesday 20 December 2017

Bridging Voices brings together transatlantic academics and policymakers to share expertise on topics related to religion and international affairs.

The British Council in the USA awarded three grants for cutting edge research to improve understanding of religion in public life. The following grantee winners will conduct research and convene policy dialogues over the next three years to explore the role of religion in shaping societies, values, and cultures.

1) University of Exeter and Fordham University (Orthodox Christian Studies Center)

Brandon Gallaher, Aristotle Papanikolaou

Contemporary Eastern Orthodox Identity and the Challenges of Pluralism and Sexual Diversity in a Secular Age. How can representatives of secular democratic governments, organizations and cultures engage effectively with representatives of governments and organizations whose cultural and religious identities are shaped by the moral and theological commitments of Orthodox Christianity regarding the identity, needs and rights of LGBTQ+ individuals? This project aims to identify in what ways opposition to “sexual diversity” has been characteristic of Eastern Orthodox religion and culture in the past and present, as well as how policymakers in the USA, UK, and Europe can respond.

2) King’s College London and George Mason University 

Daniel Nilsson DeHanas, Peter Mandaville

The Muslim Atlantic: Exploring Transnational Connections between American and British Muslims. To what extent are the transatlantic ties that connect British and American Muslims giving rise to a distinctively ‘Atlantic Islam’ that embodies the experiences, challenges, and ideas that define Muslim life in Europe and North America? This project aims to identify and evaluate the emerging concerns and influences of such a network to prompt policymakers to think more critically about interlinked policies that affect transatlantic Muslim constituencies.

3) University College London and Yale University

Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, Zareena Grewal, Unni Krishnan Karunakara 

Religion and Social Justice for Refugees. What is the relationship between religion and the promotion of social justice for refugees? Through comparative research in Central America, Central Africa, the Middle East, South East Asia, and Western borderlands, this project aims to analyse the roles that local faith communities and faith based organisations play: in supporting refugees’ access to protection; lobbying for rights; and challenging xenophobia and discrimination against different groups of refugees.  

In July 2017, the Henry Luce Foundation generously awarded the Friends of the British Council a second three-year grant to continue the work of Bridging Voices. Since 2013, the program has supported 43 universities, think tanks and NGOs to run 50 dialogues and public events across the USA, UK and Europe. These dialogues engaged academics, policymakers, diplomats, journalists and practitioners to explore a range of issues where religion meets foreign policy.

More information can be found at British Council USA – Bridging Voices.

Notes to Editor

For media inquiries, please contact:

Justine Gamez - Head of Strategic Communications and Marketing

About the British Council

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. We create friendly knowledge and understanding between the people of the UK and other countries. Using the UK’s cultural resources we make a positive contribution to the countries we work with – changing lives by creating opportunities, building connections and engendering trust.

We work with over 100 countries across the world in the fields of arts and culture, English language, education and civil society. Each year we reach over 20 million people face-to-face and more than 500 million people online, via broadcasts and publications.

About Henry Luce Foundation

The Henry Luce Foundation seeks to bring important ideas to the center of American life, strengthen international understanding, and foster innovation and leadership in academic, policy, religious and art communities. Launched in 2005, the Henry R. Luce Initiative on Religion in International Affairs aims to provide intellectual leadership, develop new paradigms for research and teaching, create new resources and networks, and enhance public understanding of and discussion about religion in the international sphere.