11 / Fifth international philosophical conference:
Judaism, Christianity and Islam - religion, human rights, democracy


11 – 13 May 2003   print this page

Conference organizers:

Shlomo Fischer, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel

Ivo Banac, Yale University, United States

Mile Babić, Franciscan Theological Faculty, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Rusmir Mahmutćehajić, International Forum Bosna, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Umberto Regina, University of Verona, Italy

Adam Seligman, Boston University, United States

Shimshon Zelniker, The Van Leer Jerusalem Institute, Israel


Conference description:

NEW PERSPECTIVES ON PEACEINTERNATIONAL SUMMER SCHOOL ON RELIGION AND PUBLIC LIFESarajevo Mostar DubrovnikJuly 2003Project Co-DirectorsDr. Rusmir MahmutćehajićInternational Forum Bosnia (Sarajevo)Dr. Ivo BanacInter-University Centre (Dubrovnik)Dr. Adam B. SeligmanIntereligious Center on Public Life (Boston)Dr. Umberto ReginaVerona UniversityDoc. No 81E 2002 ContentsExecutive summaryInvitation for applications1. Introduction2. Public Panels2.1. Public Panel 1: Religion and Citizenship2.2. Public Panel 2: Religion, Pluralism and Democracy in Southeast Europe2.3. Public Panel 3: Religion and Public Life3. ISSRPL Courses 3.1. Course 1: Religion and Civil Society3.2. Course 2: Religion, Pluralism and Democracy in Southeast Europe3.3. Course 3: Religion and Public Life4. Outcomes5. Agenda6. Application FormEXECUTIVE SUMMARYNew Perspectives on Peace is the title of the first International Summer School on Religion and Public Life. This year, our project will include three public panel discussions as elements of the summer school. The project as a whole will be presented at the first panel, Religion and Citizenship (Sarajevo, July 7th) Following this, the first full-day interactive courses of the ISSRPL will begin in Mostar, lasting a week. This first ISSRPL week will conclude with the second panel, Religion, Pluralism and Democracy in Southeast Europe (Mostar, July 15th). The second ISSRPL week will be held in Dubrovnik. The entire programme will conclude with the third panel, Religion and Public Life (Dubrovnik, July 23rd ). The participants in the first ISSRPL will be twenty fellows from various parts of the world and twelve prominent scholars who will shape and lead the entire programme. The panels will be open to interested politicians, researchers and the media from the region and beyond. A further six scholars from the organizations involved in the preparation and implementation of the programme will take part in the first panel as introductory speakers.The aim of the New Perspectives on Peace programme is to set in motion changes in knowledge, views and approaches in the interpretation and application of modern and traditional understandings of the relationship between religion and public life. The entire programme is conceived as a long-term exercise in building on developing international networks for this type of exchange of knowledge, views and approach. The organizers believe that this will contribute to an interpretation of religion as an active factor of peace and act as a barrier to its abuse by ethno-national and ethno-religious ideologies, tensions and conflicts. INVITATION FOR APPLICATIONSNew perspectives on peace is the umbrella title of three open panels Religion and Citizenship, Religion, Pluralism and Democracy in Southeast Europe and Religion and Public Life and of the first International Summer School Religion and Public Life. The programme as a whole will be held in Sarajevo, Mostar and Dubrovnik from 6 to 23 July 2003.The International Summer School on Religion and Public Life (ISSRPL) is a unique global initiative. It combines pluralistic perspectives on religious thought with social scientific research on tolerance, civil society and an open, dialogic approach to pedagogic practice. Its goal is to transform both the theoretical models and concrete practices through which religious orientations and secular models of politics and society engage one another. Its guiding principle is that in order to build relations of tolerance and understanding between groups and to shape a civil society, the perceived barrier between secular, modern and more traditional religious values must be broken down. Political orientations and social practices must be developed that will draw on both religious traditions and the insights of secular modernity in new and creative ways.The ISSRPL furthers this goal by providing an annual international, inter-religious summer school of two weeks that will explore these issues with fellows, civic leaders and prominent academics from different countries. The program is centered around three academic courses together with processes of group building and the construction of working relationships across religious and ethnic identities. The didactic goals of the conference are social as well as theoretical. Existing views of the relationship between the traditional and the modern concept of the role of religion in the interpretation of individual and collective identities, dignity and rights, and their consequences for the contemporary political order, will be presented at the first introductory panel, Religion and Citizenship. Participants in the first International Summer School Religion and Public Life will hold a further two panels to present their views and conclusions to the general public in South Eastern Europe.Join us in this exciting venture from July 6-23, 2003 in Sarajevo and Mostar (Bosnia) and Dubrovnik (Croatia). Join fellows, religious leaders and policy makers from the Balkans, Western Europe, the Middle East and America as they discuss, teach and learn together in three courses devoted to religion and the public sphere. Faculty and fellows will come from all of the above regions and discuss issues of central importance to Judaism, Christianity and Islam in the context of contemporary politics and conflicts.Rusmir MahmutćehajićIvo Banac Adam B. SeligmanUmberto Regina 1. INTRODUCTIONNew Perspectives on Peace is the title of the entire programme to be covered by the three panels and the first International Summer School. Components of existing projects such as the fourth international workshop on Judaism, Christianity and Islam: Human Rights, Rule of Law and Democracy, the fifth international philosophical colloquium on Religion and Public Life and of the activities of the Tempus project European Dimension of Bosnia Humanist Studies Curricula Development will also form an integral part of the programme.The programme will be organized by the Centre for European Categories (Reggio Emmilia), Faculty of Franciscan Theology (Sarajevo), Faculty of Philosophy (Sarajevo), Interreligious Centre on Public Life (Boston), International Forum Bosnia (Sarajevo), Inter-University Centre (Dubrovnik), Institute Euro-Balkan (Skopje), Institute Vlado Gotovac (Zagreb), University of Mostar, University of Padova, University of Verona and Yesodot Centre for Study Torah and Democracy (Jerusalem). It is the continuation and development of several years of research and discussion on the potential for tolerance grounded on principles that do not draw exclusively from those prevailing in modernity.In the modern world most ideas of tolerance and pluralism rest on liberal and secular ideas of self and society. These ideas can be briefly summarized as: a) the establishment of a secular public sphere, b) the privatization of religion, c) a politics of rights rather than a politics of the good, d) a secular idea of the individual as a self-regulating moral agent. However in most of the world these ideas simply do not hold. In most parts of the world the public sphere is not secularized, religion remains a public and not a private matter, politics are articulated along with visions of a truth community and the self is seen as constituted by collective definitions and desiderata rather than by purely individual pursuits and interests. This is true not only in Southeast Asia and the Indian sub-continent, but also in the Balkans, the Middle East, Ireland, North Africa, Turkey and even in parts of that most secular of enclaves, Western Europe. Religious identities then, continue to matter. Given the continued, if not renewed, salience of religious identities world-wide, as well as their potential to form a focus of conflict and to provide a dangerous legitimation for existing conflicts, it is crucial to take religion seriously. This means seeing the potential of religion to provide resources for tolerance and mutual acceptance and not solely for conflict and oppression. The ISSRPL is devoted to furthering these goals within an educational milieu. It will provide the educational context for the intensive training of fellows in those areas where religious thought and secular Enlightenment concepts of self and society overlap as well as where they conflict. Training will include not solely the cognitive or intellectual component of text study, but will also provide an experiential or social component - creating relationships and building group interactions predicated on the dual sources of religious and more secular civil society traditions. In so doing it will "model" the broader social goals of the project and develop allegiances and networks of individuals committed to the enterprise. Criteria for participation will include: a) knowledge of English, b) assessment that fellows can participate productively in the school, c) interest in the two loci of religious and civil society traditions, d) expectations that fellows will apply what they learned in their ongoing career and life work. Assessments will be based on written essays supplemented with interviews. 2. PUBLIC PANELS The activities of the first International Summer School on Religion and Public Life includes the experience and continuation of existing programmes on Judaism, Christianity and Islam: Human Rights, Rule of Law and Democracy, a number of philosophical colloquia, and the Tempus project European Dimension of Bosnia Humanist Studies Curricula Development. Given that ISSRPL has been devised to encompass the reciprocity between public life and its diverse components and leading theories on the political order, the ISSRPL programme includes three public panels one at the beginning, the second part-way through and the third at the end of the entire New Perspectives on Peace programme.2.1. Public Panel 1: Religion and CitizenshipPanellists: Umberto Regina, Asim Mujkić, Shlomo Fischer, Riccardo Panattoni, Johannes Haffner, Ferdinando Luigi Marcolungo and Mahmud Erol Kilic.The current trend world-wide is to adopt the model of liberal democracy as the only proper model for building democratic states and just political communities. This has led to some degree of opposition in sectors of the second and third worlds, even among those concerned with broadening democratic participation and constructing a more civil society. Significantly, much of this opposition has centred on the issue of secularization which has been seen by many as an almost necessary concomitant of the democratization process. Yet, significant numbers of social actors in different parts of the world cannot subscribe to such a program. Consequently, certain aspects of the European and North American synthesis of public and private, realms and definitions of the cultural and political orders are in need of re-conceptualization.This panel will present the major theoretical approaches to these issues, building on many years of reflection by thinkers world-wide on these crucial issues of man, society, the world and God.2.2. Public Panel 2: Religion, Pluralism and Democracy in Southeast Europe Panellists: Ugo Vlaisavljević, Ivo Banac, Rusmir Mahmutćehajić, Olga Popović, Adam B. Seligman, Adriana Cavarero and Klaus Mainzer.South Eastern Europe, the new geopolitical name for the Balkans, is the most complex region of the old continent. This is a part of the world where it is impossible to point to any borders between states and regions that are not, to a greater or less extent, transcended by ethno-religious, ethno-national, state, linguistic or other specific features and differences. Religion is at times the decisive factor of collective identity, and at times, incontestably, complicit in ideological differences and tensions. The region appears to form the major laboratory for the conundrum of how to construe and construct the European order. Is religion capable of manifesting its universal content, despite linguistic, ethnic and state differences, and how could that content participate in the shaping of a political order in which religious identities transcend regional, ethnic and linguistic borders? Will it be possible to build on the past experiences of tolerance and intolerance in the Balkans to provide the impulse for the sustainable political culture of the community of states and nations in the region? What is the spectrum of theoretical interpretations of traditional and modern models of the political order?These are some of the postulates and questions that the participants in this panel will discuss together with members of the public from Bosnia and Herzegovina and beyond during the first International Summer School on Religion and Public Life.2.3. Public Panel 3: Religion and Public LifePanellists: Adam B. Seligman, Mateo Bartolini, Adriana Cavarero, Mustafa Abu Sway and Paul Ballanfat. The entire modern experience of Europe can be said to consist in the exercise - encouraging and tragic in apparently equal measure - of constructing political orders intended to resolve or obviate the paradox of individual and collective identity in a single nation-state. Various concessions are offered to identities that remain outside the effective moulding of the nation-state: integration or assimilation, the reductive approach of individual human rights, privatizing irreconcilable differences, the need to survive in the given political reality, indifference and so on. The Holocaust, in its ultimate expression, and Bosnia as a case that proves the limitations of expectations and promises, are powerful testimony to the fact that the issue of the private and the public, and of the individual and the collective, remains unresolved. Every attempt to relativize or mask the failure of assurances that religion is no more than a passing phenomenon (assurances that form part of almost every modern ideology), have revealed themselves to be inadequate at the turn of the millennium. Religion is a key factor of any social order, but barely ever in the same way. There are as yet no convincing models able to encompass and interpret this diversity. Every attempt to apply any of these incomplete models to every part of the world has turned out to be a denial of universal human dignity. It is only by advancing dialogue between different languages both traditional and modern that it will be possible to turn responsibility for world peace in the direction of a growing tolerance for diversity with the pluralism on which that diversity is based.This concluding panel will present various approaches to the demarcation between the private and the public in various parts of the world. The conclusions and recommendations deriving from the New Perspectives on Peace programme will be presented to the public. 3. ISSRPL COURSES Fellows will take three courses, each of which will meet for two academic hours a day. Classes will be held every weekday morning. Afternoons will be reserved for informal and semi-structured interaction and discussion. Site visits and side trips will be arranged for the weekends.3.1. Course 1: Religion and Civil SocietyThe first course will be Religion and Civil Society (RCS). This course will deal with the overarching theoretical issues of religion and civil society. It will bring together different sources, traditions and intellectual perspectives to explore areas of overlap, conflict and potential dialogue between religious traditions and more secular, modern worldviews.3.2. Course 2: Religion, Pluralism and Democracy in Southeast EuropeThe second course will be Religion, Pluralism and Democracy in Southeast Europe (RPDSEE). It will be devoted to religion, pluralism, democracy, tensions and conflicts in Southeast Europe. This course will be taught by experts in South Eastern European issues. 3.3. Course 3: Religion and Public LifeThe third course will be Religion and Public Life (RPL). It will present an arena in which to explore different ways of bringing the theoretical issues discussed in the other courses into practical application. The different faculty of this course will reflect on their own professional experience and present models by which the insights of the Summer School can be realized in different institutional spheres.Fellows will be expected to do the bulk of the reading before the start of the summer school. All readings will be copied and sent to the fellows electronically. During the course of the ISSRPL, faculty will be expected to assign no more than 20 pages a day of reading per course.Each work day will consist of approximately 6 hours of school and 2 hours of semi-structured interaction. The program is intensive and demands a high degree of commitment from both faculty and fellows. The international faculty of the school will include: Mustafa Abu Sway (Al-Quds University), Paul Ballanfat (University of Lyon), Ivo Banac (Yale University, Inter-University Centre-Dubrovnik), Matteo Bortolini (University of Padua), Shlomo Fischer (Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Yesodot Center for Torah and Democracy), David Gordis (Hebrew College), Mahmud Erol Kilic (University of Marmara), Rusmir Mahmutćehajić (International Forum Bosnia), Khaleel Muhammad (Brandeis University), Olga Popović (Belgrade Univeristy), Christoph Schwobel (University of Heidelberg), Adam B. Seligman (Boston University), Michael Sells (Haverford College), Nick Thorpe (BBC), Ugo Vlaisavljević (University of Sarajevo), Christopher Winship (Harvard University).A complete curriculum and accompanying material (texts and books) will be drawn up for each ISSRPL course and sent to participants in advance. 4. OUTCOMESFour major outcomes of the summer school are envisioned:1. Transformation of awareness and perception of the participants. While not attenuating in any way their commitment to their own religious traditions, the school hopes to open the participants to other religious traditions and help them to view them not solely as a threat.2. Enhance understanding of what has generally been viewed as a tension between modern secular and more traditional understandings of self and society. 3. To build in the participants an understanding of this tension as "creative", rather than an unbridgeable obstacle to understanding. Hence, too, to inculcate in the participants an understanding that to shape a truly civil society, devoted to tolerance and the plurality of the human experience, we need to draw on religious traditions as well as modern secular thought and practice.4. Finally, the recruitment of the participants into an ongoing effort and dialogue around these themes that will build on the experience of the summer school to establish ongoing relationships, networks of interaction and contact during the year around the continued sharing of material and publications, as well as social and political experience.The expected outcomes will also be achieved through the three public panels, at the start, midway and at the end of the programme. The aim of the panels is to present the project and its objectives to the general public. The second and third panels will also include a presentation of the results achieved so far in the course of the programme. 5. AGENDAThe following is the timetable of classes, panels and other activities for each day and the teaching commitments of each lecturer.5.1. General AgendaDATE ACTIVITY PLACE HOURSSunday 6th Get together SarajevoHotel Holiday Inn 18:00Monday 7th Public PanelReligion and Citizenship SarajevoHotel Holiday Inn 9:00-13:00Monday 7th Departure for Mostar SarajevoHotel Holiday Inn 15:00Monday 7th Arrival in Mostar MostarHotel Bristol 17:00Tuesday 8th ISSRPL MostarHotel Bristol 9:00-21:00Wednesday 9th ISSRPL MostarHotel Bristol 9:00-21:00Thursday 10th ISSRPL MostarHotel Bristol 9:00-21:00Friday 11th ISSRPL MostarHotel Bristol 8:30-21:00Saturday 12th MostarHotel Bristol Sunday 13th MostarHotel Bristol Monday 14th ISSRPL MostarHotel Bristol 9:00-21:00Tuesday 15th Public Panel Religion and Peace in Southeast Europe MostarHotel Bristol 11:00-15:00Tuesday 15th Departure for Dubrovnik MostarHotel Bristol 17:00Tuesday 15th Arrival in Dubrovnik DubrovnikHotel 19:30Wednesday 16th ISSRPL IUC 10:00-21:00Thursday 17th ISSRPL IUC 9:00-21:00Friday 18th ISSRPL IUC 8:30-21:00Saturday 19th IUC Sunday 20th Monday 21st ISSRPL IUC 9:00-21:00Tuesday 22nd ISSRPL IUC 9:00-15:00Wednesday 23rd Public Panel Religion and Public Life IUC 13:00-18:00Wednesday 23rd Farewell gathering IUC 20:00The ISSRPL will transport faculty and fellows back to Sarajevo (by bus) from Dubrovnik at the end of the workshop and provide accommodation in Sarajevo for one night (or) as necessary for flights back home. Any other arrangements are the full responsibility of the fellows. 5.2. Course TimetableDATE COURSES TIME GROUP RCS RPSEE RPL INFROMAL FREE TIMETuesday 8th 9:00-10:30 10:45-12:15 13:00-14:30 16:00-17:30 19:00-21:00Wednesday 9th 9:00-10:30 10:45-12:15 13:00-14:30 16:00-17:30 19:00-21:00Thursday10th 9:00-10:30 10:45-12:15 13:00-14:30 16:00-17:30 19:00-21:00Friday11th 8:30-10:00 10:15-11:45 14:00-15:30 17:00-18:30 20:00-21:00Saturday 12th Sunday 13th Monday 14th 9:00-10:30 10:45-12:15 13:00-14:30 16:00-17:30 19:00-21:00 Tuesday 15th 9:00-10:30 10:45-12:15 13:00-14:30 16:00-17:30 19:00-21:00Wednesday 16th 9:00-10:30 10:45-12:15 13:00-14:30 16:00-17:30 19:00-21:00 Thursday 17th 9:00-10:30 10:45-12:15 13:00-14:30 16:00-17:30 19:00-21:00 Friday 18th 8:30-10:00 10:15-11:45 14:00-15:30 17:00-18:30 20:00-21:00Saturday19th Sunday20th Monday21st 9:00-10:30 10:45-12:15 13:00-14:30 16:00-17:30 19:00-21:00Tuesday 22nd 9:00-10:30 10:45-12:15 13:00-14:30 16:00-17:30 19:00-21:00 5.3. Schedule for FacultyDATE TIME FACULTY CLASS X CLASS YTuesday8th 9:00-10:30 A.S. P.B.Tuesday8th 10:45-12:15 I.B. R.M.Tuesday8th 13:00-14:30 Sh.F. C.S.Wednesday 9th 9:00-10:30 P.B. M.B.Wednesday 9th 10:45-12:15 R.M. U.V.Wednesday 9th 13:00-14:30 C.S. M.K.Thursday10th 9:00-10:30 M.B. A.S.Thursday10th 10:45-12:15 U.V. I.B.Thursday10th 13:00-14:30 M.K. Sh.F.Friday 11th 8:30-10:00 A.S. P.B.Friday 11th 10:15-11:45 I.B. R.M.Friday 11th 14:00-15:30 Sh.F. C.S.Saturday 12th 9:00-10:30 P.B. M.B.Saturday 12th 10:45-12:15 R.M. U.V.Saturday 12th 13:00-14:30 C.S. M.K.Sunday 13th TogetherMonday14th 9:00-10:30 M.B. A.S.Monday 14th 10:45-12:15 U.V. I.B.Monday 14th 13:00-14:30 M.K. Sh.F.Wednesday 16th 9:00-10:30 A.S. P.B.Wednesday16th 10:45-12:15 I.B. R.M.Wednesday16th 13:00-14:30 Sh.F. C.S.Thursday 17th 9:00-10:30 P.B. M.B.Thursday17th 10:45-12:15 R.M. U.V.Thursday17th 13:00-14:30 C.S. M.K.Friday18th 8:30-10:00 M.B. A.S.Friday 18th 10:15-11:45 U.V. I.B.Friday 18th 14:00-15:30 M.K. Sh.F.Saturday19th 9:00-10:30 A.S. P.B.Saturday 19th 10:45-12:15 I.B. R.M.Saturday 19th 13:00-14:30 Sh.F. C.S.Sunday 20th TogetherMonday 21st 9:00-10:30 P.B. M.B.Monday 21st 10:45-12:15 R.M. U.V.Monday21st 13:00-14:30 C.S. M.K.Tuesday 22nd 9:00-10:30 M.B. A.S.Tuesday 22nd 10:45-12:15 U.V. I.B.Tuesday 22nd 13:00-14:30 M.K. Sh.F.6. APPLICATION FORMA) Applicants Details1. Name:2. Nationality:3. Sex:4. Date and Place of Birth:5. Home Address:6. Current Address:7. Electronic Address:8. Telephone Number:9. Educational Background:10. Publications:11. Areas of Specialization:12. Institutional Affiliation:13. Language Skills:B) Appendixes:1. Essay on Religion and Public Life (no more than five pages, typed double-spaced, on the role of religion in public life and how the meetings would assist your career goals within your community.)2. Curriculum Vitae3. Two References (name and contact information)NOTE ON FINANCES: Fellows are expected to pay their own transportation costs to and from the Summer School and the ISSRPL will cover all local costs (food, board, local transportation, etc.). In the case of demonstrated need, potential fellows can apply for a travel stipend and we will do our best to meet their need. A nominal participation fee of $100 USD is required to be paid upon final acceptance into the program.Applications should be tendered to:International Forum Bosnia, Ferhadija 30/III Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina (Fax: 387 33 232 473, E-mail: if_bosna@bih.net.ba)Applications are encouraged from individuals playing leading roles in communal, religious or educational organizations in their home countries, especially such individuals between the ages of 30-35 (though not limited to those ages.)This IUC event is supported through a grant from Friedrich Naumann Stiftung.