SRP Seminar by Rev Dr Alan Race , Chairperson, World Congress of Faiths
Social Cohesion – Is Religion a Help or Hindrance?
Drawing on the speaker’s experience, the emergence of the language of social cohesion in relation to social tensions and international events will be discussed, together with the role of interreligious dialogue and collaboration as one factor in building an active civil society. Looking at specific examples, such as the City of Leicester in the UK, one of its most multicultural cities, the way that dialogue and positive relationships among the religions arguably helped ensure stability in times of tension will be discussed. Various cases in the news and over the years will also be discussed, drawing from work with the World Congress of Faiths and with reference to many international dialogue events.
About the Speaker
Alan Race is a retired priest-theologian, and Chairperson of the World Congress of Faiths. He has been active both in engaging in dialogue and in reflecting on Christian approaches to religious diversity over many decades. He was Dean of Postgraduate Studies at the Church of England’s St Philip’s Centre in Leicester, as well as the priest of the adjoining St Philip’s Church. He has edited two leading journals, World Faiths Encounter and its successor publication Interreligious Insight. His many books include the ground-breaking Christians and Religious Pluralism (1983), a co-edited Textbook and Reader entitled Christian Approaches to Other Faiths (2008, 2009, with Paul Hedges), and recently a collection of essays, My Journey as a Religious Pluralist: A Christian Theology of Religions Reclaimed (2021). He has also edited (with Warwick Hawkins) an anthology of writings from the World Congress of Faiths spanning 80 years, entitled Unutterable Joy (2022).
About the Moderators
Paul Hedges is Associate Professor of Interreligious Studies in the Studies in Interreligious Relations in Plural Societies Programme, RSIS, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. Previously he was Reader in Interreligious Studies at the University of Winchester, UK, and has worked at or lectured in other British, Canadian, European, and Chinese universities. He has worked with a range of stakeholder groups outside academia, including the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the Ministry of Community, Culture and Youth (MCCY, Singapore), the Anglican Communion Network for Interfaith Concerns (NIFCON), the Dialogue Society (UK), Netflix, and the BBC. He is co-editor of Interreligious Studies and Intercultural Theology, editor-in-chief of the Occasional Paper series Interreligious Relations, and sits on the editorial board of a number of other journal and book series. He publishes widely in interreligious studies, religious studies, and theology. Current research projects include interreligious relations in Singapore, decolonial methodologies and theories, and comparative intercultural, interreligious and theological hermeneutics.
He has published fourteen books and over seventy papers. Recent books include Religious Hatred: Prejudice, Islamophobia, and Antisemitism in Global Context (Bloomsbury, 2021), and Understanding Religion: Theories and Methods for Studying Religiously Diverse Societies (University of California Press, 2021).
Dr Lee Foong Ming graduated from the National University of Singapore and did her postgraduate studies in Buddhist Studies in the University of Kelaniya, Sri Lanka. She specialized in Sarvastivada Abhidharma and received her PhD degree after seven years of studies. Since her return to Singapore, she has been teaching and has 8 years of experience in teaching Buddhism for academic courses.