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Speakers








Judd Birdsall
Cambridge Instiute for Religion & International Studies
“Figure Out What the Hell is Going On”: The Conceptualization and Operationalization of Religion in Trump’s Foreign Policy

Judd Birdsall is the managing director of the Cambridge Institute on Religion & International Studies. He is also the executive director of the Transatlantic Policy Network on Religion and Diplomacy and a Research Associate at Clare College, Cambridge. A former U.S. diplomat, Birdsall served in the U.S. State Department’s Office of International Religious Freedom and on the Secretary of State’s Policy Planning Staff. He was also the founding chair of the Department’s Forum on Religion & Global Affairs, a leadership role for which he received a Meritorious Honor Award. In 2010 he coordinated the compilation of the Religious Engagement Report, a global and whole-of-government survey commissioned by President Obama. His doctoral dissertation explored American religious engagement since 9/11.

Birdsall writes and speaks regularly on issues of faith and foreign policy. In 2015 he helped to convene US and UK scholars and officials for British Council-funded policy consultations on the religious dynamics of Africa and the Middle East; he subsequently co-authored Toward Religion-Attentive Foreign Policy: A Report on an Anglo-American Dialogue. His articles have appeared in the Washington Post, Guardian, Huffington Post (US and UK), Christianity Today, and he is an editorial fellow and a frequent contributor at The Review of Faith & International Affairs.





Massimo Campanini

IUSS Pavia-Ambrosian Academy Milan
Jihad as liberation in the Qur’an

Massimo Campanini has degrees in philosophy (1977) and Arabic (1984). He has taught at the universities of Urbino, Milan, Orientale in Naples and finally Trento.  Presently, he is Academic of the Ambrosian Academy Milano and visiting professor at IUSS Pavia. He is interested in  Qur’anic studies, in medieval and modern theological and philosophical thought and in contemporary history of the Arab world. He has written forty books among which 
The Qur'an, Modern Muslim Interpretations, Routledge 2011, and Philosophical Perspectives on Modern Qur'anic Exegesis, Equinox 2016. As to  political thought and contemporary history, he re-published recently Storia del Medio Oriente Contemporaneo (Mulino, 2017, fifth edition) and Islam e politica (Mulino 2015, third edition). His last book is the editing of Storia del pensiero politico islamico (Mondadori 2016).







Fred Dallmayr
University of Notre Dame
In the Time of the Nations: Faith Contra Violence

Fred Dallmayr is Packey J. Dee Professor in the Departments of Philosophy and Political Science at the University of Notre Dame. 
He has been a visiting professor at many Universities in Europe, USA and India. He is a past president of the Society for Asian and Comparative Philosophy (SACP). He is currently the Executive Co-Chair of "World Public Forum - Dialogue of Civilizations" (Vienna) and a member of the Scientific Committee of "RESET - Dialogue on Civilizations" (Rome). 
Among his recent publications are: Integral Pluralism: Beyond Culture Wars (2010), Being In the World: Dialogue and Cosmopolis (2013), Freedom and Solidarity: Toward New Beginnings (2015), and Against Apocalypse: Recovering Humanity's Wholeness (2016).






Donatella Dolcini
University Statale of Milano
Bhagavad Gita and Violence in Indian Struggle for Independence

Donatella Dolcini is Full Professor of Hindi Language and Indian Culture at the State University of Milan, in retirement since 2014. Previously she had held similar courses in the Universities of Venice and Pisa as well. She organized and attended national and international conferences on many Indian cultural fields. Her research interests focus on history and Hindi Language, Hindi literature and nationalism, Gandhi, L. P. Tessitori, continuity and renewal in Indian tradition. Now she teaches Hindi Literature and Culture at UTE in Sesto S. Giovanni (MI). She is a member of Scientific Committees of specialized magazines, as well as cultural associations, and Founding Academic of “Classe di Studi sull’estremo Oriente” of the Biblioteca Ambrosiana (Milano). She is the author of about two hundred essays, translations etc. on indian topics. 






Manlio Graziano
University La Sorbonne 
Organization versus Holy Texts: Violence and Political Essence of Religions

Manlio Graziano, PhD, teaches Geopolitics and Geopolitics of Religions at the American Graduate School in Paris, at la Sorbonne, at HEC Paris, and at Geneva Institute of Geopolitics. He regularly gives lectures at La Sapienza University (Rome), University of Turin, and University of Bologna. 
He also taught at the École supérieure de Relations internationales in Lyons and had a teaching contract at the LUISS University in Rome. He gave lectures at the United Nations Correspondent Associations, New York City (2015), at Bilgi University, Istanbul (2015), at Stony Brooks SUNY (2015), at Brooklyn College CUNY (2010), at the University of Bath (2008), and at Stockholms universitet (2008). He collaborates with the Corriere della Sera (Milan), Limes (Rome), Il Mulino (Bologna), and International Affairs Forum (Washington DC). He recently published a book about Borders (Frontiere, Il Mulino 2017) which will be published by Stanford University Press in 2018. He is currently working on a book about the geopolitical history of the United States. In 2017, he also published In Rome We Trust: The Rise of Catholics in American Political Life, (Stanford University Press, 2017), Holy Wars and Holy Alliance: The Return of Religion to the Global Political Stage (Columbia University Press, Spring 2017). His other books are: Essential Geopolitics: A Handbook, (2011, in English and in French) Il secolo cattolico. La strategia geopolitica della Chiesa, (Rome, 2010; Barcelona, 2012) The Failure of Italian Nationhood: The Geopolitics of a Troubled Identity (Palgrave-Macmillan, New York, 2010) Italie. Un État sans nation? Géopolitique d’une identité nationale incertaine (Toulouse, 2007) Identité catholique et identité italienne. L’Italie laboratoire de l’Église (Paris, 2007). He also edited L’Italie aujourd’hui. Situation et perspectives après le séisme des années quatre-vingt-dix (Paris, 2004).




Jude Lal Fernando

Trinity College Dublin
Religions and the Politics of Ethno-Nationalisms in Asia Hindutva, Sinhalatva, Laskar Jihad and Laskar Kristus. A Postcolonial Reading

Jude Lal Fernando is professor in the Irish School of Ecumenics, Trinity College Dublin (University of Dublin) where he coordinates the postgraduate program on Intercultural Theology and Interreligious Studies. He is the director of the Trinity Centre for Post-Conflict Justice and has widely published on the politics of human rights and the correlation between religion, conflict and peace in Asia. He has served as a visiting professor in Ritsumeikan  and Sophia Universities in  Japan, Tampere University in Finland and Uppsala University in Sweden. He is originally from Sri Lanka and lives in exile in Ireland.






Irene Anne Jillson
Georgetown University
The contribution of Islam to Peace and in the Middle East and Beyond

Dr. Irene Anne Jillson, Associate Professor, Georgetown University, has designed and launched courses in global health ethics, global health systems and politics, responsible science, global health research and challenges to international technology policy.  She has conducted extensive research and provided technical assistance and policy advice, particularly but not exclusively to countries in Latin America, the Caribbean the Middle East, and North Africa. This research and technical assistance has ranged from national strategic planning to community-based participatory research addressing a wide range of health, social policy and multi-sectoral issues. 
Dr. Jillson’s focus on bioethics includes research, teaching, mentoring of students, and providing assistance in the development and implementation of institutional review board and clinical ethics committees in the U.S. and other countries.  She is currently Principal Investigator of several projects related to responsible science, technology policy, and bioethics in low resource countries and is also Chair of the Social and Behavioral Committee of the Georgetown University Institutional Review Board.  In addition, Dr. Jillson was Co-Principal Investigator of the landmark Comprehensive Study of the Ethical, Legal and Social Issues of Biomedical and Behavioral Research and Technology, and has presented keynote addresses and workshops on research, technology development and diffusion, and bioethics in many countries.




Louis Komjathy  

University of San Diego
Visions of Great Peace: Thinking through Chinese Religions on Personal and Socio-political Harmony

Louis Komjathy (Ph.D., Religious Studies; Boston University) is Associate Professor of Chinese Religions and Comparative Religious Studies at the University of San Diego (home.sandiego.edu/~komjathy). A leading teacher-scholar of Daoism (Taoism) and Contemplative Studies, he has particular interests in contemplative practice, embodiment, and mystical experience. He is also founding Co-chair (2004-2010) of the Daoist Studies Group of the American Academy of Religion, founding Co-chair (2010-2016) of the Contemplative Studies Group of the American Academy of Religion, and manager of the Contemplative Studies Website (www.sandiego.edu/cas/contemplativestudies). He has published widely on Daoism, including the recent
The Way of Complete Perfection: A Quanzhen Daoist Anthology (State University of New York Press, 2013), The Daoist Tradition: An Introduction (Bloomsbury Academic, 2013), Daoism: A Guide for the Perplexed (Bloomsbury Academic, 2014), and Taming the Wild Horse: An Annotated Translation and Study of the Daoist Horse Taming Pictures (Columbia University Press, 2017). Beyond his academic work, he is a member of the advisory board for Monastic Interreligious Dialogue and founding Co-director of the Daoist Foundation, a non-profit religious and educational organization dedicated to fostering authentic Daoist study and practice and to preserving and transmitting traditional Daoist culture. 






Leo D. Lefebure
Georgetown University
The Bible, Identity, and Violence: Violence and Biblical Interpretations in North America

Leo D. Lefebure is the Matteo Ricci, S.J., Professor of Theology at Georgetown University in Washington, DC, and a priest of the Archdiocese of Chicago. He is the author of
True and Holy: Christian Scripture and Other Religions, which received the Catholic Press Association first prize in 2015 for best academic book on scripture. He is the co-author with Peter Feldmeier of The Path of Wisdom: A Christian Commentary on the Dhammapada.  His other books include: Revelation the Religions and Violence, The Buddha and the Christ, and Toward a Contemporary Wisdom Christology: A Study of Karl Rahner and Norman Pittenger.  He an honorary research fellow of the Chinese University of Hong Kong and a Trustee Emeritus of the Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions.






Gerard Mannion
Georgetown University
Religion, Transvaluation and the Suspension of the Ethical

Gerard Mannion holds the Amaturo Chair in Catholic Studies at Georgetown University, where he is also a Senior Research Fellow of the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs. An Irish citizen, he was educated at the Universities of Cambridge and Oxford, and has held visiting professorships at Tübingen (Germany), the Dominican Institute of Theology/St Michael’s College University (Toronto) and held fellowships at the Australian Catholic University, the Institute of Religious Sciences, Trento (Italy) and Union Theological Seminary/Columbia University (New York City).  Founding Chair of the Ecclesiological Investigations International Research Network, to date, he has authored, co-authored and edited some nineteen books and numerous articles and chapters elsewhere in the fields of ethics, ecclesiology, ecumenical and interreligious dialogue as well as in other aspects of systematic theology and philosophy.






Gloria Moran
ICMES - Washington DC
The Challenge of Dual and Plural Legal Systems: Religious and Secular Jurisdictions

Gloria M. Moran is a Legal Scholar and Canon lawyer. She is currently member as Board of Directors of the International Council for Middle East Studies, ICMES, in Washington DC. 
She has been a Distinguished Professor of Comparative Law, Religion and Public Policy (Derecho Eclesiástico del Estado) in the Faculty of Law, UDC Spain since 1992 to 2016.She is member of the Editorial Board of the Journal of Church and State, Oxford University Press, and Scientific Referee in several International University Periodicals & Journals, among them: Stato, Chiese e pluralismo confessionale. University of Milano. Italy; Ius Ecclesiae. Facoltà di Diritto Canonico della Pontificia Università della Santa Croce. Rome. Dr. Moran has been a main speaker in a broad number of international conferences and seminars in academic institutions in her field, some of them at the Vatican, Malta, Madrid, Leuven, Bologna, Milano, Rome, Kyiv, Moscow, Budapest, Bucarest, Warsaw, Tehran, Chicago, Atlanta, Provo and Washington. Detailed information available in the scholar website: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Gloria_Moran






Enzo Pace
Padua University
Extreme Buddhism: LeavingMonasteries, Fighting the Enemy

Professor of Sociology of Religion at the Galilean School for Higher Education of Padua University. Visiting Professor at the EHESS Sorbonne-Paris and Past-President of the International Society for the Sociology of Religion, he was awarded for the Intercultural Competence 2014 by the University of Vechta (Germany). Recent publications:
Sociologia delle religioni, Bologna, Dehoniane, 2016; Elmetti e turbanti. La domanda di democrazia nel mondo musulmano, in “Il Mulino”, 2016, 2, 196-213; Ernst Troeltsch. Religioni, chiese, modernità, in “Humanitas”, 2016, n. 2 (ed. with M. Piccinini); Fondamentalismos religiosos, violência e sociedade, São Paulo, Fonte editora e Ediçoes Tercera Via, 2016 (eds. with I. Dias de Oliveira, M. Aubrée); Charisma as Transnational Enterprise, in P. Michel, A. Possamai, B.S. Turner. (eds.), Religions, Nations, and Transnationalism in Multiple Modernities, London, Palgrave Macmillan, 2017; Sacralizing the Secular. The Ethno-fundamentalist Movements, in “Politica & Sociedades”, 2017, n. 36, pp. 34-48; Systems Theory and Religion/Teoria dos sistemas e religião, in “Civitas”, 2017, 2, 346-360; Le compromise historique en Italie ou comment sortir de la guerre des religion, in M. Nachi (ed.), Révolution et compromis. L’invention d’une solution aux incertitudes de la transition démocratique en Tunisie, Tunis, Nirvana, 2017. 






Ian Reader
University of Manchester
Legitimating Violence: Text, Belief, Punishment and Reward in Religious Contexts

Ian Reader is Professor Emeritus at the University of Manchester where he also served as Professor of Japanese Studies. He has also held academic positions in Japan, Scotland,  Denmark and Hawaii.  His research focuses on contemporary religious issues in Japan, pilgrimage, and studies of religion and violence. Among his books are
Religious Violence in Contemporary Japan: The Case of Aum Shinrikyo (2000);  Pilgrimage in the Marketplace (2014) and (with Peter de Smet),  Health-related votive tablets from Japan: Ema for health and well-being (2017). He has also published numerous articles and chapters on the links between religion and violence.   His current project is a book with Erica Baffelli (University of Manchester) on the trajectory of new religious movements in late 20th- early 21st century Japan. 






Naftali Rothenberg
The Van Leer Jerusalem Institute
Law of war, capital punishment and Flogging: restriction of sovereign power in early rabbinic literature

Rabbi Naftali Rothenberg is a senior research fellow at the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute (since 1994), and the Rabbi and spiritual leader of Har Adar, a Jerusalem suburb town, where he resides with his family (Since 1987). 
Among other worldwide affiliations he is an associate of the program on Law and Religion in Regent's Park College at Oxford. His main fields of study are: The wisdom of love; Philosophy of Halakha; and democratic education.  Naftali Rothenberg is the 2011 laureate of the Liebhaber Prize for the encouragement of religious tolerance in Israel.    







Assaf Sharon
Tel Aviv University
Religious revivalism and the limits of interpretation

Assaf Sharon is a senior lecturer of philosophy at Tel Aviv University and the head of its Philosophy, Political Science, Economics and Law program. He was one of the leaders of the Solidarity peace movement and is a co-founder and co-chair of the progressive think-tank Molad: The Center for the Renewal of Israeli Democracy in Jerusalem. His academic work focuses on epistemology, moral and political philosophy. He has also written articles for non-academic publications, including: The New York Review of Books, Boston Review, and The Daily Beast.







Vincent Sekhar
IDCR, Loyola College, Chennai
Theologizing Contextually – Sketches of an Indian Experience

Vincent Sekhar is a Jesuit priest from India. He holds Master’s degrees in Sanskrit and Contextual Theology and Doctorate in Jain Philosophy and Religion. He undertook post-doctoral researches in Woodstock Theological Center, Georgetown University (GTU), Washington DC, and taught in Fordham University, New York, and lectured at Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs, Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Center for Muslim Christian Understanding in GTU, and at the Institute for Catholic Thought and Culture, Seattle University, Seattle. 
At present, he is the Executive Director & Dean of Research in the Institute of Dialogue with Cultures and Religions (IDCR), a Ph.D. Research Institute on Comparative Religion and Culture. He is also the Secretary for Interreligious Dialogue in South Asian Jesuit Assistancy. He is instrumental in initiating Jain-Christian dialogue in the Indian subcontinent. He has edited and published several articles and 10 books, the recent ones being Interreligious Marriages in India – Issues and Challenges (ed.) (2017), Blurred, yet Bright – Journey into the self in Jaina tradition (March 2016), Let us Stand up for Prayer – Sacred Texts that Shape Perspectives (January 2016).







André Wénin
Université Catholique de Louvain
Divine Violence in an Anthropological Perspective 

Doctor in Re Biblica (Instituto biblico, Rome, 1988), AW teaches biblical Hebrew and Hebrew Bible at the Faculty of theology in the Université catholique de Louvain (Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium). He is a specialist of narrative analysis and dedicates the main part of his research to the books of Genesis, Judges and Samuel, but also to the theme of violence in the Bible. He published numerous books in French, among whose:
Dalla violenza alla speranza. Cammini di umanizzazione nelle Scritture (Edizioni Qiqajon, Comunità di Bose, 2005); Le roi, le prophète et la femme. Regards sur les premiers rois d’Israël (Paris, Bayard, 2015); with J. D. CAUSSE e É. CUVILLIER, Divine violence. Approche exégétique et anthropologique (Cerf-Médiaspaul, Paris, 2011); Échec au Roi. L’art de raconter la violence dans le livre des Juges (Lessius, Bruxelles, 2013); Abraham ou l’apprentissage du dépouillement. Lecture de Genèse 11,27–25,18 (Paris, Cerf, 2016).