Category Archives: News

MuCEM Exhibition on Shared Sacred Sites on View in Marseille


A new exhibition now on display at the Musée des civilisations de l’Europe et de la Méditerranée focuses on the sacred sites of the Mediterranean which are shared between people of different religions.


The fruit of several years of scientific research conducted by CNRS and Aix-Marseille University, this exhibition takes a fresh look at the religious behaviour of Mediterranean populations and highlights some of the most interesting (and most overlooked) phenomena in the region, namely the sharing and exchange between religious communities.

The exhibition will be open from April 29 to August 31, 2015, in Marseille, France.  Much more information is available at  Additional videos, including guided tours of the exhibit, can be seen at

For information on the IRCPL’s research into shared sacred spaces, see our project on Shared Sacred Spaces and the Politics of Pluralism.

IRCPL Visiting Research Scholar George Gavrilis in Foreign Affairs: “Bordering on Insanity: Afghanistan’s Struggle to Control Its Borders”

George Gavrilis, Visiting Scholar at the Institute for Religion, Culture, and Public Life, writes in Foreign Affairs:

gavrilis_borderinoninsantiy_police“Today, Afghanistan has a hefty national border police funded by the international community. But despite their crisp uniforms and neat organizational charts, the Afghan Border Police are nowhere near ready to protect the country’s borders. And that may be a good thing.”

The entire article is available to read at

Gavrilis is also the author of The Dynamics of Interstate Boundaries (Cambridge University Press, 2008), and recently served as Executive Director of the Hollings Center for International Dialogue (Washington, DC and Istanbul, Turkey).

New Directions in Prayer featured on HuffPo Religion for Day of Prayer

For National Day of Prayer, Norris J. Chumley, Executive Producer and Series Host of the IRCPL’s radio series “New Directions in Prayer,” wrote about the series on HuffPo Religion.

IRCPL icon - Rethinking ReligionNew Directions in Prayer is unique for engaging both practitioners and scholars of religion to create a dialogue necessary for an informed public discussion on the role of prayer in people’s lives. Bringing interviews with scholars, professionals, and clergy members together with archival audio, the series is unique in its diverse approach to understanding what prayer is and the roles it plays.

This program was made possible through a grant from the Social Science Research Council, with support of the John Templeton Foundation. The opinions expressed in this program do not necessarily reflect the views of the Social Science Research Council or the John Templeton Foundation.

Read more from Dr Chumley here, and listen to the entire New Directions series on here.

IRCPL Visiting Research Scholar George Gavrilis report for East West Institute now available


The East West Institute has just released Afghan Narcotrafficking: The State of Afghanistan’s Borders, with IRCPL Visiting Research Scholar George Gavrilis as Principal Author.

This report is the third produced by EWI’s working group of Russian and U.S. experts, and presents an analysis of the current state of affairs at Afghanistan’s borders in relation to counter narcotics efforts.  Much more information about the report, and the working group’s other papers in the series, is available at  The entire paper is available to read here.


Alfred Stepan on Democracy and Religious Tolerance in Tunisia

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Alfred C. Stepan, founding director of Columbia University’s Center for the Study of Democracy, Toleration, and Religion, recently discussed democracy and religious tolerance in Tunisia for the Council on Foreign Relations, as part of CFR’s Religion and Foreign Policy Initiative.  Amna Guellali, Researcher, Middle East and North Africa Division, Human Rights Watch, acted as moderator.

Listen to the full talk here at


Tomorrow is the Question: Afrofuturism and engaging prophetically with history


Didier Sylvain, PhD student in Ethnomusicology at Columbia University, curated Tomorrow Is the Question for the IRCPL on February 13th of this year.  Recently, he interviewed Barnard’s Professor Kaiama L. Glover for Africa Is a Country (, to discuss her thoughts on the event.

According to Glover:

George Lewis provided a capacious set of introductory remarks, reminding us that to imagine black futures is to be always recalling black pasts — engaging prophetically with history. Emphasizing the centrality of sound to the public — the social, the political — sphere, Lewis opened up some real space for thinking about the ways sound has mattered, matters, should and will matter to #blacklives in an all-too-often condescending and downright dangerous world.

Read the full interview at

Karen Barkey on women’s rights in Turkey, for BBC’s The Inquiry


IRCPL Director Karen Barkey was interviewed on the BBC’s The Inquiry this week, discussing the state of women’s rights in Turkey.

The Inquiry asks: “Is Life Getting Worse for Women in Erdogan’s Turkey?”

Turks are united in revulsion at the murder of a female university student. The powerful president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, says that violence against women is the “bleeding wound” of Turkey. But he’s also said that women are “not equal” to men. So, is it life getting worse for woman in Turkey? Expert witnesses include a leading Turkish feminist and a member of the governing AK party.

Download or listen to the entire podcast at