Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Shaun Casey To Join BSU At Global Religions & Civic Culture Event


Shaun Casey, who served as the U.S. Special Representative for Religion and Global Affairs for several years, will be the keynote speaker at a daylong conference by the Global Religions & Civic Culture program at Bridgewater State University on Friday, Feb. 24.

The former Obama administration official is on the faculty of Georgetown University. He has written on the ethics of war in Iraq as well as the role of religion in American presidential politics. His book, The Making of a Catholic President: Kennedy vs. Nixon 1960, was published in 2009.

“The goal of the conference is to consider ways to optimize the resources of Bridgewater State University and communities in Southeastern Massachusetts to lead to a better understanding of the various religions and spiritual expressions that are represented in the region,” said Dr. Margaret Lowe, professor of history at BSU.

Professor Lowe is the coordinator of the Global Religions & Civic Culture initiative, which encompasses faculty for a number of disciplines across the university. It began in the fall of 2014 to establish an academic setting for the study of global religions and spiritual expression and to provide a setting and resource for the application of that understanding to everyday situations.

During its first year, the initiative was focused on the academic study of religion, with special attention to fostering student success and addressing the broad aims of the university’s strategic plan.

In its second year, the focus broadened to the understanding of global religions and spiritual expression in public life, especially at BSU and the wider community by exploring various partnerships. The program has held events featuring speakers on religious pluralism, including a keynote lecture by Dr. Diana Eck, a member of the faculty of divinity at Harvard University.

The initiative has developed a new interdisciplinary minor for Bridgewater State University students in Global Religious & Civic Culture. Faculty from a variety of departments across the university’s schools have collaborated to provide course content for this program, which will start in the fall.

This year’s conference, which starts at 8:45 a.m. with invited community members, regional higher education leaders and BSU stakeholders, includes a teach-in hour with invited classes, a lunch with invited diversity, pluralism and interfaith leaders, a faculty seminar for invited BSU and regional higher education faculty, and Casey’s keynote address and reception.

Naomi Arenberg, a 26-year veteran of public radio at both WGBH and WCAI, will interview Casey during the interactive keynote, which will be held from 12 to 2 p.m. in Maxwell Library’s Heritage Room. The keynote is open to the public and the campus community.

Casey is a graduate of Harvard Divinity School with a Master of Divinity and a Doctor of Theology in Religion and Society. He also earned a Master of Public Administration from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard with a concentration in International Security. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Abilene Christian University and is a member of the American Academy of Religion.

He is working on two projects – co-editing the Oxford Handbook of Political Theology with Michael Kessler of Georgetown, and he is writing a book on ethics and international politics, which is tentatively titledNiebuhr’s Children.

While serving in the Office of Religion and Global Affairs, Casey worked to implement the National Strategy on Religious Leader and Faith Community Engagement.  The office advises the secretary on policy matters as they relate to religion, supports U.S. posts and bureaus in the efforts to assess religious dynamics and engage religious actors; and serves as a first point entry for individuals, both religious and secular, who would like to engage the State Department on matters of religion and global affairs.

For more information about the event, contact Professor Lowe at mlowe@bridgew.edu or call 508.531.2406.

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