Evaluating the Impact of Recent Inter-faith Initiatives
A lot of money has been poured into bringing people from different faith communities together for international conferences – particularly in the aftermath of 9/11. But do these initiatives ‘work’?
About the Project
- Hope Built? – a short report on the outcomes of the Building Hope Conference held at Yale University in 2011.
- Inter-faith Impact: Cambridge Inter-faith Programme Summer Schools 2011-13 – a summary of the full report presented to the University of Cambridge highlighting the strengths and weaknesses of the first three years of the scriptural reasoning programme.
- CIP Summer Schools 2011-15: Public Report – the final report on the 5 CIP summer schools.
- 'Towards a framework and methodology for the evaluation of inter-faith initiatives’ – Studies in Interreligious Dialogue, 27/1, 63-81, 2018.
- ‘Evaluating Inter-faith Initiatives: A Cambridge case study’ – Studies in Interreligious Dialogue, 27/1, 83-103, 2018
Events during the opening years of the C21st have brought religion sharply back into public consciousness. There is a realisation that religion cannot be ignored and that people of faith are significant actors – for both ill and good. This has led to a plethora of new-style inter-faith initiatives. Rather than bringing together the progressive, liberal wings of different faiths, as much C20th dialogue did, these efforts seek to bring together committed conservative believers who represent much larger constituencies within their communities. The aim is a ‘robust dialogue’ which does not necessarily seek common ground and a lowest common denominator, but rather embraces difference, highlights opposing views and works toward mutual respect and understanding.
In particular Dr Richard McCallum of CMCS worked with the University of Cambridge to evaluate the Scriptural Reasoning Summer School organised annually by the Cambridge Inter-faith Programme between 2011-2015.
The project aims to evaluate other inter-faith programmes in terms of:
- Are you interested in collaborating on inter-faith evaluation?
- Do you have a programme you would like us to evaluate?
- Have you evaluated other programs?
- their content, leadership and participation.
- the impact they have not only on the individual participants but also on the communities they return to.
- the ongoing careers of their graduates.
- how they affect the religious identity and faith commitment of individuals and communities.
This will enable us to produce resources and advise donors, event organisers and participants on how to design inter-faith encounters that have the maximum impact.
With so much at stake it is critical that we do this careful work of evaluation.
Funding Our Research
Our research projects are central to the work we do at CMCS, as they inform our teaching and public education work. Research is often funded by large organisations, but - as with any academic institution - we sometimes struggle to fund all of the research we would like to carry out.
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