The JPII Center is focused on working with its alumni network of JPII Leaders—those who have attended and graduate from their interreligious dialogue training program over the past 15 years—to continue developing training and projects around dialogue. The JPII Center is happy to support our JPII Leaders by sponsoring their participation at international conferences where their proposals are accepted.
In June 2023, JPII leaders came together from different countries and different cohorts to participate in two conferences around the world.
Nataliia Pavlyk (Cohort XII, Ukraine), Peter Dziedzic (Cohort VI, USA), and Ana Petrache (Cohort XIII, Romania) presented at the European Academy of Religion’s (EuAre) sixth Annual Conference at the University of St Andrews in Scotland.
On June 21, these JPII Leaders offered a panel entitled “Building a Common Home in Europe: The Role of Interreligious Encounter in Civil Society,” which aimed to explore “the role of interreligious engagement in shaping new visions of civil society, civic discourse, and cultures of pluralism in twenty-first century Europe.” As scholars and dialogue practitioners, the JPII Leaders drew upon their hands-on experience in the field of interreligious dialogue to contribute to this year’s EuAre conference, organized around the theme of “Religion from the Inside.”
Ana Petrache began the panel with a discussion on the notion of “civil religion” by putting Thomas Hobbes’ commentary on 2 Kings 5:17 in conversation with political and philosophical notions of statehood, obedience, and religious identity and freedom. Drawing on both Islamic and Catholic intellectual traditions, Peter Dziedzic explored the Islamic concept of dīn and the Western concept of religio as a resource for thinking through models and structures of civil society. Nataliia Pavlyk, founder of the Oriental Studies Circle in Kyiv, Ukraine, concluded the panel with a case study of Jain-Jewish dialogue and emphasized how the spiritual practices behind this concrete experience contribute to fostering a culture of religious pluralism.
Meanwhile, JPII Leaders Samantha Lin (Cohort IX, USA) and Rebecca Cohen (Cohort VI, USA) participated in the International Conference of Christians and Jews (ICCJ) in Boston, USA. This theme of this year’s conference, held on June 18-21, was “Negotiating Multiple Identities: Implications for Interreligious Relations.” Samantha and Rebecca’s workshop, “Leveraging Structured Peer Consultancy to Address Challenges in Initiatives Confronting Antisemitism,” offered real-life scenarios of antisemitism and concrete strategies of how to engage such encounters, especially within the context of interfaith dialogue.
“This workshop engaged the approximately 12 person group to ‘consult’ on real challenges facing Rebecca and her team at the USCCB as they work to add better context and teaching to the Good Friday liturgy,” explains Samantha, who facilitated the discussion and the peer consultancy.
The Fellows introduced the Consultancy Protocol, “a process developed by Gene Thompson-Grove that focuses on the specifics of a real challenge that involves implementation, buy-in, and metrics of success faced by a program for confronting antisemitism,” and allowed the participants to engage in scenarios of real-life challenges.
“The lively conversation included real solutions that can be extrapolated and applied to different situations,” explains Samantha, “and we walked away with a shared toolbox of strategies for extending the impact of confronting antisemitism programming.”
Read more about the JPII Leaders that make up our network here.