The overall objective of the conference was to examine the evolution of the mission, objectives, and identity of Catholic Jesuit colleges and universities in light of the expansion of the study of Islam and the growing presence of Muslim faculty, staff, and students on our campuses.
Speakers and participants convened to examine the theological implications of supporting Islamic studies as part of Jesuit education, with the aim of deepening conversations on the importance of understanding other faiths as part of the Jesuit mission, and looking candidly at both the possibilities and challenges of the Christian-Muslim encounters that are increasingly becoming part of daily life at Jesuit institutions.
The conference pursued questions such as:
- How are Catholics and Muslims interacting at Jesuit institutions?
- How are Jesuit colleges and universities supporting the presence of Muslims on our campuses, and working to better understand Islam and Christian-Muslim relations in the global age?
- How are Christian-Muslim encounters in Jesuit settings transforming the theologies and self-understandings of both groups?
In addition, the conference aimed to draw on the Jesuit linkages between our institutions to strengthen networks for dialogue and collaboration on these topics, with the larger objective of cooperatively promoting the advancement of Islamic studies and Muslim-Christian relations at U.S. Jesuit colleges and universities.
While the focus of discussions was Jesuit institutions, the conference also spoke to the concerns of faculty and staff from all Catholic and other Christian-affiliated colleges and universities. While the conference targeted faculty and staff, students were also welcome to attend.