Tony Blair launches Faith and Globalisation programme at Durham University
(10 July 2009)
Tony Blair has launched a new initiative at Durham University to develop greater understanding of different faiths, cultures and forces of globalisation.
Durham is the first UK University to establish a Faith and Globalisation programme following the establishment of similar initiatives at Yale in the USA and The National University of Singapore.
Several other international universities around the world will also be working with the Tony Blair Faith Foundation, joining the programme over the next two years.
The programme is being funded by a new University donor programme and will be run by Durham University.
It will bring together leading academics from across the faculties of humanities, social sciences and science to carry out global research that will help inform international policies in the future.
The initiative will draw on the University’s strengths as a multi-cultural institution and its world class teaching and research in areas such a Theology and Religion and Government and International Affairs.
The programme ultimately aims to increase understanding of different faiths and cultures so people from a variety of backgrounds can work closely to tackle the cultural, economic, ethical and political challenges faced by a globalised world.
Mr Blair, who made the announcement as part of a lecture he delivered at Durham University, said: “Religious faith has a great part to play in the 21st Century and it can be a force for progress and for good.
“Durham is one of most exciting and innovative universities in this country and has particular strengths in areas such as theology and Islamic studies.
“That is why I am absolutely delighted that Durham will be a key university in taking this programme forward as part of an international network of institutions.”
Under the programme Durham will also produce an inter-disciplinary Masters degree programme in Faith and Globalisation, to run from September 2010, alongside the full research programme.
Professor Chris Higgins, Vice-Chancellor of Durham University, said: “Durham has a long tradition of leadership in developing new ideas at disciplinary interfaces which are critical to shaping all our futures, including politics, law, social geography and international affairs and, of course, we have one of the world’s pre-eminent Departments of Theology and Religion.
“We are therefore proud to be the lead UK University in this global initiative.
“This Faith and Globalisation programme allows us to create a world-class forum to explore the inter-relationships between the faiths and those from non-faith backgrounds, and provide linked, research-led postgraduate education.
“Our findings and expertise will then be used to inform the work of politicians, business leaders, opinion formers and others to help tackle some of the pressing issues faced by the world today.”