McGill Partners with Tony Blair Faith Foundation
02 Dec 2009
McGill University has become the first Canadian university – and the fourth in the world – to partner with the Tony Blair Faith Foundation's Faith and Globalisation Initiative.
The Initiative is a global network of universities committed to exploring the complex interrelationship of faith and globalisation in the modern world. The program includes McGill developing a new, multi-disciplinary course for 120 students, research conferences, public lectures and events and campus activities.
"As globalisation pushes people closer together we need to understand – in policy and practice – how the relations between people of different religious faiths can shape societies for good or ill. The issue of religious faith will be of the same significance to the 21st century as political ideology was to the 20th, and we need to understand its impact. Our next generation of leaders need access to the insights of renowned thinkers such as those at McGill. I am also delighted that the Faith and Globalisation Initiative has extended into Canada. Canada is known around the world as a nation that welcomes and celebrates diversity, it is a testament to the fact that cultural variety can be a great source of strength."
Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Patron of the Foundation.
"We are extremely pleased to forge this exciting partnership with the Tony Blair Faith Foundation," McGill Principal and Vice-Chancellor Heather Munroe-Blum said. "As the modern world embraces multiculturalism and diversity to greater and greater degrees, we face both major challenges and greater opportunities in the evolution of human relationships. One of my longstanding goals for McGill has been to ensure that this University continues to play a significant role in helping shape our society. With the establishment of this important relationship devoted to world-class research on such vital issues as the way populations interact with one another in matters of religious expression and heritage, I'm confident we will be able make a notable contribution."
McGill joins the TBFF's existing partners Yale University, the National University of Singapore and Durham University in the UK. Advanced discussions are under way with universities in China, India, Australia and Latin America to ensure the network is fully representative of different geographies and cultural tradition.
Ruth Turner, Chief Executive of the Tony Blair Faith Foundation said: "We selected McGill on the basis of its internationalism, global outlook, and their commitment to furthering knowledge and policy around some of the most fundamental issues of the 21st Century."
Ellen Aitken, McGill's Dean of Religious Studies, emphasized that "this partnership provides an excellent opportunity to co-ordinate so many of McGill's strengths, including in the academic study of the world's religions, and to extend McGill's international scope through this global university network. It offers opportunities for our students to connect with some of the best minds engaged on issues of pressing need and to develop their own leadership capacity in innovative and far-sighted ways. We look forward to developing research, teaching, and public aspects of this project with sensitivity to the Canadian context."