International Fulbright Scholars Learn about Religious Pluralism in U.S.

July 27, 2002

Source: Ventura County Star

On July 27, 2002 the Ventura County Star featured an article on the 18 international scholars studying pluralism, both professors and graduate students, who are "spending the summer in a University of California, Santa Barbara, program on how different religions can coexist... The scholars are from Bosnia, Finland, Egypt and other nations... As part of a Fulbright American Studies Institute sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, they're studying religious unity in America as well as the hate that seeded the terrorism of Sept. 11... The program is more than a lesson; it is an exercise." The participants share housing and visit a variety of religious centers in the U.S. Jean-Paul Messina, "vice dean of theology at the Catholic University of Central Africa... looks beyond Cameroon's borders in defining the goals of pluralism.    'We cannot have peace in this world without peace among religions,' he said. 'That means inter-religious dialogues'... Wade Clark Roof, chairman of the UCSB Department of Religious Studies and academic coordinator of the Fulbright program, contends tolerance isn't an ambitious enough goal. Rather, he said, people have to work toward appreciation of different beliefs."