Tony Blair Leads Final Faith & Globalisation Seminar Of 2008
16 Dec 2008
Tony Blair was at Yale on 11 December to lead, with Professor Miroslav Volf, the final seminar of the course on Faith and Globalisation which Yale and his Faith Foundation devised and set up earlier this year, and to announce next steps for the project. The course has run weekly throughout the autumn term, and has been a cross-disciplinary collaboration between Yale's Divinity School and their School of Management.
The 13-week course has explored multiple aspects of faith and globalisation and the relationships between the two. It has examined such issues as the significance and ambivalence of faiths; secularisation, religious resurgence and multiple modernities; the role of faiths in the public square; and faith and economic activity.
Tony Blair co-taught five of the thirteen seminars, which he found hugely stimulating. He said:
"The debates with students and academic staff, superbly guided by Professor Volf, have been rich and deep. They have been invaluable in helping me personally, and my Foundation, in developing our thinking."
"The experience has strengthened my belief that religious faith and economic and social globalisation are partners - globalisation needs values to succeed. In pushing people together, globalisation has made multicultural and multi-religious societies, and it is necessary now for human capital and spiritual capital to link. This, combined with an increased need for multi-faith dialogue and action, will in time be seen as a defining question, and perhaps the leading question of the 21st century."
"The Foundation will now develop a set of seminars and workshops which will engage policy and business leaders over the next two years in these issues, including an international conference of business leaders at Yale next autumn which I hope to co-host with President Rick Levin."
"I am hugely grateful to Yale for making this course possible. I want to pay particular tribute to the 25 students in the seminar, clearly among Yale's very best, who have engaged so creatively with the issues."
The course will be repeated at Yale next year and in 2010. The Tony Blair Faith Foundation is in discussions with other universities in different parts of the world about them taking up the course in order to can develop a truly global academic conversation but one with some highly practical outcomes. The Foundation will also work with polling partners to achieve a better understanding of the attitudes of peoples worldwide to religion and globalisation.
The Tony Blair Faith Foundation will now base its United States operation at Yale, with a small team of staff to work across the range of the Foundation's programmes and help extend the organisation's reach across North America.