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Jan. 13, 2017

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Refugees fleeing conflict and persecution, the rise of extremist political movements, a growing global gap between rich and poor; too often, leaders and institutions critically overlook the complex roles that religion and culture play in the defining challenges of our age. The re-envisioned Master of Arts (MA) in Religion, Culture and Global Justice at Wilfrid Laurier University will train graduate students who are equipped to tackle the religious and cultural dimensions of global problems head-on.

Complex problems require complex thinkers

The MA in Religion, Culture and Global Justice program will be accepting applications from students interested in tackling the most pressing issues of global justice with a clear view of their cultural and religious dimensions. The program’s opening semester is Fall 2017.

“Our world faces a series of arresting problems: armed conflict, human displacement, global economic inequality and environmental change,” said Ashley Lebner, assistant professor in the Department of Religion and Culture and the graduate program coordinator of the new MA. “To understand and address these issues, no single disciplinary perspective will suffice.”

The MA in Religion, Culture and Global Justice was developed precisely to offer students a crucial interdisciplinary space of learning. Alongside the debates surrounding key political challenges, the program promotes critical reflection on their cultural, religious and historical dimensions as well as their powerful social and political implications.

“The interdisciplinary nature of the program prepares students to move into professional arenas within and beyond academia including public policy and aid work, interreligious dialogue and peace-building, as well as journalism and communications,” said Lebner.

Students will engage topics such as the relationships between religion, culture, politics and violent conflict as well as the struggles for global justice, peace and sustainable development. Students will be able to take a wide range of courses with titles like “Dialogue and Critique in an Age of Terror,” “Narratives of Violence,” “Secularism” and “Religion, Peace and Conflict.”

“Though much of the popular topics are global in scale, our students will be well equipped to contribute locally as well,” said Alex Latta, associate professor and chair of the Department of Global Studies. “Professionals are needed everywhere today who are able to contribute intelligently to programming on multiculturalism and community development, to refugee and migrant resettlement, as well as to institutional human rights and diversity policy.”

The new MA in Religion, Culture and Global Justice is a one-year full-time program, and is currently accepting applications for its first group of students for fall 2017.


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