Future of Religion and Diplomacy


Spring 2018 Applications Due
Jan 7 all-day
Spring 2018 Applications Due

Final notice: Applications the Spring 2018 courses are due no later than Sunday, January 7, 2018.

Only those applicants who successfully submit their application by the Early Decision due date of November 1, 2017 will be eligible for scholarships in the Spring 2018 semester.


National Religious Freedom Day: Faith and Freedom in a Fractured America @ Knight TV Studio
Jan 16 @ 3:30 pm – 5:00 pm
National Religious Freedom Day: Faith and Freedom in a Fractured America @ Knight TV Studio | Washington | District of Columbia | United States

2018 brings heightened urgency to understand, advocate for and defend the first of America’s First Amendment freedoms: free exercise and non-establishment of religion. In a time when our liberties are being threatened by polarized perspectives and exclusionary politics, we are reminded daily that our country has no freedom at all unless we have freedom for all.

To step together into this challenge, the Religious Freedom Center of the Newseum Institute invites you to join us in recognizing and celebrating National Religious Freedom Day with a discussion on “Faith and Freedom in a Fractured America.”

This program will explore the intersection of difficult issues around faith and freedom in today’s fractured democracy. Featured panelists will illuminate the issues from a broad spectrum of religious and ideological perspectives. This experience will set the stage for continued dialogue and community-based workshops throughout 2018.


  • Sarah Levin, Senior Legislative Representative, Secular Coalition for America
  • Aesha Mehta, Associate Director of Programs, Hindu American Foundation
  • Imam Mohamed Magid, Executive Imam, ADAMS Center
  • Jacqueline Pata, Executive Director, National Congress of American Indians
  • Andre Towner, Minister to Engage Communities, DC Baptist Convention

The panel discussion will be moderated by Jennifer Hawks, Associate General Counsel, Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty

This American Moment: Bridging Religious Divides @ Knight Conference Center
Jan 31 @ 12:00 pm – 5:00 pm
This American Moment: Bridging Religious Divides @ Knight Conference Center | Washington | District of Columbia | United States

This half-day symposium will explore the current state of religious diversity in America during a time of growing partisanship, polarization and religious bigotry. Experts from various sectors will identify philanthropic opportunities for building a more diverse, equitable and inclusive country.

“Bridging Religious Divides” is presented by the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, Council on Foundations, Interfaith Youth Core and the Religious Freedom Center.


  • Opening Keynote: Dr. Eboo Patel, Founder and President, Interfaith Youth Core
  • Vikki Spruill, President and CEO, Council on Foundations
  • Peter Laugharn, President and CEO, Conrad N. Hilton Foundation
  • Kristen Looney, Director, Religious Freedom Center at the Newseum Institute
  • Dr. Robert Jones, CEO, Public Religion Research Institute
  • Rev. Jennifer Bailey, Founder and President, Faith Matters Network
  • Ruth Messinger, Global Ambassador, American Jewish World Service
  • Dr. Rami Nashashibi, Executive Director, Inner-City Muslim Action Network
  • Rev. Dr. Bob Roberts, Senior Pastor, Northwood Church, Keller, Texas
  • Laurie Goodstein, National Religion Correspondent, The New York Times
  • Dr. Nancy Cable, President, The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations
  • Dr. Hilary Pennington, Vice President, Ford Foundation
  • Kashif Shaikh, Co-Founder and Executive Director, Pillars Fund
  • Tonya Allen, President & CEO, Skillman Foundation
  • Closing Keynote: David Brooks, best-selling author and columnist, The New York Times

Webinar: Religious Studies and Journalism
Feb 13 @ 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm

The Religious Freedom Center of the Newseum Institute invites you to attend our February webinar, Religious Studies and Journalism: Promising Venues for Public Scholarship. We will discuss how scholars of religion can engage different publics through print and online journalism, both by communicating effectively with members of the media and producing original content. We are pleased to host co-presenters Debra Mason, Janet Saidi, and Inés San Martín. The webinar will include a presentation and extended Q&A.

February 13, 2018
12 – 1 p.m. EST



Debra Mason is among the leading experts on how religion is portrayed in the media. She brings more than 30 years of professional and scholarly experience to her position as director of the Center on Religion and the Professions, an interdisciplinary center at the world-renown Missouri School of Journalism that works to improve the religious literacy of professionals so they can better serve a multi-faith public. In addition, she has produced the largest repository of religion resources for journalists, including ReligionStylebook.com and ReligionLink.com. Since 1997, she’s also directed the Religion Newswriters Association, a professional association of journalists writing about religion in the mass media. She is publisher emeritus of Religion News Service (RNS), the world’s only non-sectarian wire service exclusively covering religion.

Janet Saidi is a freelance writer, producer and teacher in Columbia, Mo., working with print and public broadcasting and teaching at the Missouri School of Journalism. Janet recently served as vice president of news at Kansas City Public Television, leading a team of multi-platform journalists and launching KCPT’s digital magazine FlatlandKC. Before that Janet spent eight years at the Missouri School of Journalism directing the newsroom at NPR-affiliate KBIA Radio. Janet has written and produced stories for National Public Radio, PBS, the BBC and BBC World Service, Wired magazine and the Los Angeles Times, and in her spare time she writes book reviews for the Christian Science Monitor. Janet lived for several years in England, where she earned a master’s in literature from University College, London.

Inés San Martín is an Argentinean journalist who covers the Vatican in Rome for Crux. Before joining Crux, Inés was a community manager, content director, and graphic designer for Contá con Nosotros, and worked as a reporter and editor for Valores Religiosos in Buenos Aires. She managed the international press office for World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro in 2013. Inés holds a bachelor’s degree in social communications and journalism from Universidad Austral in Buenos Aires and Universidad de Navarra in Pamplona, Spain.


This webinar is hosted by the Public Scholars Project, a joint initiative of the Public Understanding of Religion Committee of the American Academy of Religion and the Religious Freedom Center of the Newseum Institute. The Public Scholars Project created this webinar series to help scholars hone their skills at communicating with a variety of publics. Our webinars feature scholars and practitioners who can provide tools, resources, and recommendations for presenting in a variety of settings (e.g., social media, news, public events, community gatherings) about a range of topics. To view the complete webinar schedule for the 2017-18 academic year, please visit our webpage.