In July 2017 a new Professional Doctorate in Interfaith Studies was validated and launched by the UWTSD as part of its collaboration and work with the IFIFICD. This is a unique doctoral programme aimed specifically at developing experts and specialists in Interfaith knowledge and understanding who will then go out into communities to practice interfaith dialogue whether it be at a local community level, in education and schools, or at regional governmental level.
Scholarships for students to enter and undertake this three year course of research study were kindly offered by the Chin Kung Multi Educational Foundation and are offered to high quality students from all the great religions and faith traditions of the world, with a focus upon inter-faith study.
The Research College
Once accepted onto the programme Students will enter and work within the Research College and led by a Director, Dr Catrin Williams and a Deputy Director Dr Angus Slater, our newly appointed Lecturer in Interfaith Study. The College will operate as a close community of scholars dedicated to exploring and achieving a greater understanding of the world’s great religions through joint investigation, multi-faith study, shared scholarship and academic collaboration.
The first year of the programme is dedicated to a taught component to ensure a breadth of understanding across the different religions of the world and a full grasp of the various methodological, philosophical and textual issues surrounding the notion of interfaith. Years 2 and 3 will be dedicated to individual research around a particular religious group or text or faith within a wider interfaith understanding and context.
Alongside the taught in-class sessions the Research College organises:
A Harmony Research Lecture Series: the College invites outside speakers, religious leaders, community workers, and academics from different faith traditions, backgrounds and viewpoints to come and discuss and
explore interfaith questions with our students. Within this remit the lectures cover a range of themes, for example:
- What do we mean by Interfaith?
- How can we build Peace and Harmony among religions and societies?
- What do we understand by Inter-religious Dialogue?
- How do you build Inter-faith dialogue in a troubled world?
- How should World religions pursue peace and harmony?
- What do we mean by piety in the modern world, and is it common to all great religions.
Students in the Research College also organise a weekly Interfaith workshop where each student in turn presents a paper or introduces part of a religious text or reading or even just presents a general idea and concept to the rest of the group, as a means of sparking general discussion and engagement.
At discussion weekends high profile religious leaders and academics come and stay over a weekend to enjoy an evening of discussion and debate with students from the College. This is a means to exchange ideas, to generate wider understandings of interfaith dialogue, and to explore inter-cultural, cross-community engagement.
Guests for the autumn programme include:
- Joanna Penberthy, Bishop of St Davids
- Saleem Kidwani, Chair of the Muslim Council of Wales
- Professor Jasser Aud, Dean of Ali Saifuddien Centre for Islamic studies, University of Brunei
- Dr Alan Wallace, Head of the Contemplative and Consciousness Network
- Swami Brahmananda, Skanda Vale Hindu Temple.