The Kufa University UNESCO Chair aims to produce multi-disciplinary academic knowledge on aspects of Sunni-Shi’i relations, and to contribute original research to the study of non-Muslims in Muslim majority society. The focus of the Chair is on Islam and Iraq past and present, however within a comparative perspective that considers other world religions, and other multicultural societies characterized by alternating periods of conflict and accommodation between communities. The Chair will bring together a diverse team of Iraqi professors, researchers and public intellectuals to share in research projects. A regional and international network of universities and scholars will support the developments of the chair’s research and teaching capacities through program of visiting lectureships, joint PhD supervision, and collaborative research. On the basis of the knowledge product, the will develop educational initiatives and engage with civil society, and religious and political actors to foster understanding, dialogue and reconciliation between sectors and religious communities and help rebuild social cohesion in Iraq.
- develop the knowledge and skills of lecturers, researchers, and students in research methodologies and theoretical and conceptual approaches for the study of religion and inter-religious relations;
- produce jointly with partners, quality research on comparative religion and inter-religious relations in Iraq and the Islamic world from different disciplinary perspectives (religious sciences, humanities, and social sciences);
- provide a platform where professors, students and other intellectuals from Iraq, the region and beyond can meet and work together across sectarian and religious divides;
- promote gender equality and empower women by targeting at least 25% female participation in academic and dialogue promotion activities;
- contribute to the public debate and policy decision-making to improve inter-religious relations, governance and social cohesion in Iraq and the Islamic world at large;
- foster networking and the sharing of knowledge notably through the development of a dedicated website, publications including newsletters, the organization of conferences and workshops; and,
- cooperate closely with UNESCO on relevant programmes and activities, and with relevant UNESCO Chairs.
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