Russell Berrie Fellowship in Interreligious Studies

Russell Berrie Fellowship in Interreligious Studies

The one-year fellowship program of the John Paul II Center for Interreligious Dialogue that supports clergy, women religious, and lay leaders through an enhanced academic fellowship and practical skill-building program in interreligious studies and dialogue.

Each year, we bring together 10 international Fellows to study at the Angelicum in Rome to learn at a head and heart-level about interreligious dialogue and how to build relationships across lines of differences.


  • It was a blessing for me. It brought me a new vision to build a society of peace and an eye opener towards the entire humanity.

    Sr. Gracy Vadakara

    Sr. Gracy Vadakara

    Cohort III

  • The Russell Berrie Fellowship experience has been one of the greatest blessings of my life both personally and professionally.

    Linda Taggart

    Linda Taggart

    Cohort V

  • There is no doubt that the Fellowship has had an impact on my life. I see dialogue as a way of being and living, as a method, rather than just a theory of teachings and books.

    Fr. Cyrille Uwizeye

    Fr. Cyrille Uwizeye

    Cohort IV

  • The Fellowship greatly shaped my academic and personal journey. Together we’ve learned, imagined, dreamed, reasoned, questioned, collaborated, laughed, studied, and prayed.

    McKenzie Fergus

    McKenzie Fergus

    Cohort XII

Shalom Hartman Institute

Israel Study Tour

Russell Berrie Fellows travel to Israel for a 10-day tour to study at the Shalom Hartman Institute, renowned for its combination of rigorous Jewish scholarship, commitment to pluralism and interfaith dialogue.

In addition to academic seminars, Russell Berrie Fellows also visit sacred sites in the Holy Land.

The study tour program includes experience at the sacred sites of all three Abrahamic religions who hold Jerusalem dear, as well as meetings with religious leaders.


Visit our page for applicants if you consider applying for a Russell Berrie Fellowship.

  • Live in Rome and study at the Angelicum for one full academic year
  • Take classes in Ecumenism and Dialogue, Judaism, and Islam
  • Travel to Israel for a 10-day study tour
  • Participate in interfaith events with leading interreligious dialogue practitioners and theologians
  • Become part of our global network of JPII Leaders with access to many opportunities

The Fellowship includes an active alumni program designed to encourage ongoing leadership for action in interreligious dialogue.

Upon completion of the program and graduation from the Angelicum, Fellows return home to their parishes and communities to lead others in efforts to promote interfaith understanding.


Yes, it’s a one-year academic fellowship program that requires a full-time commitment from October to June. Russell Berrie Fellows are not expected to work during their studies in Rome.

We encourage the Fellows to fully dedicate themselves to the study at the Angelicum and participation in extracurricular activities, as well as to develop leadership skills in the field of interreligious dialogue.

During the academic year, the Fellows are asked to participate in at least eight interreligious activities other than those organized by the John Paul II Center for Interreligious Dialogue (e.g., lectures, conferences, events at other universities and institutions in Rome and elsewhere).

The academic program will be in Ecumenism and Dialogue from a Christian perspective, with introductory courses in Judaism and Islam. During the year at the Angelicum, you will study the role of theology and philosophy in engaging in interreligious dialogue and how such engagements further your understanding of other religions.

This is not an academic program in World Religions. As a Russell Berrie Fellow, you will be required to take courses as per the Faculty of Theology’s curriculum and you can take some courses in various religions as electives, but these will be offered mostly at the introductory level. The program does not provide a systematic understanding of other religious traditions. Rather, there will be additional courses and workshops that will provide you with the tools on how to engage in interreligious dialogue from theological and practical perspectives through the Church’s understanding of Ecumenism and Dialogue with the Jewish people and other believers.

Please review the latest Handbook of Studies for the Faculty of Theology’s course offerings to see what specific courses are being offered by the Ecumenical Section at the moment. The curriculum will include:

  • Courses in Christian Anthropology
  • An introduction to Principles of Ecumenical Dialogue
  • An introduction to Principles of Interreligious Dialogue
  • Introductory courses in Judaism and other major World Religions

Additionally, all Russell Berrie Fellows are required to participate in academic and practical workshops outside of their formal coursework at the university and in the Israel Study Tour, organized in cooperation with the Shalom Hartman Institute.

There may be one or two courses in Islam offered at the Angelicum as electives. Fellows are welcome to take extra courses in other religious traditions. It is possible to enroll in up to two courses outside of the Angelicum, provided it is approved by your academic advisor.

The program is not focused on Eastern religions. However, as part of your academic and IRD pursuits, you are welcome to study the theology and philosophy of Eastern religions, if approved in the study plan.

No, the Russell Berrie Fellowship is open to clergy, religious leaders, and lay people of all faiths and backgrounds from around the world—if eligible for admission to an academic program at the Angelicum’s Faculty of Theology.

Only candidates determined by the Faculty of Theology to be academically eligible for admission will be eligible for consideration to receive a Russell Berrie Fellowship. There are three academic program studies supported by the fellowship program. Please check details on academic eligibility requirements for each of the program that you consider applying for here.

The Fellowship can be applied to pursue the Licentiate in Theology degree (S.T.L.), the Doctorate in Theology degree (S.T.D.), or the Diploma in Interreligious Studies (1-year non-degree program in dialogue). With S.T.L. and S.T.D. studies, we support and fund only one year of studies out of the two years required by the Angelicum.

Please check the Angelicum’s academic eligibility criteria to study at a Pontifical University before applying. If you meet the academic eligibility criteria and can demonstrate commitment to interreligious dialogue, please apply. An ideal applicant will be academically eligible to study at the Faculty of Theology and have:

  • an interest in the field of interfaith issues and peacebuilding
  • prior experience in the field of interreligious dialogue and peace building
  • strong potential to become an interreligious leader in his/her community

All applications are accepted online via the Institute of International Education’s application platform. To learn on how to apply and find out when the application deadline is, please visit the page for applicants here.