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Politics, Religion, and Human Rights : My Spiritual and Academic Journey

18 Oct 2017
Seminar and ColloquiumM.A. in Ethics and Public Affairs
Politics, Religion, and Human Rights : My Spiritual and Academic Journey
18 Oct 2017
14:30 - 16:00
Council Chamber (SWT501), Shaw Campus, HKBU


Having been brought up in an American Calvinist family, I learned as a youth of the importance of the connection between religion and politics. The importance grew as the result of my experience as a high school student in the Philippines in the late 1940s, where I lived with parents working with Protestant missionaries in that country. I felt first hand the early reverberations of the Cold War, with the outbreak in 1950 of the Korean War, and the growing presence of Communism in East Asia. Those events would have an enormous impact on religious and political life in America in the 1950s and 60s, years when I was in college and graduate school and when I began my academic career. The more I studied and taught, the harder it was for me to separate my understanding of the Protestant Christian message from the domestic and international events of the time. This led me to extensive involvement in the Civil Rights movement, public controversies over the Vietnam War, and presidential politics, especially the campaign of 1968, where I worked for the election of the unsuccessful Democratic candidate. My study and teaching also led me to a firmer conviction concerning the importance of ties between authentic religious belief and building political, legal, economic, and religious institutions capable of creating and sustaining a just and durable peace, domestically and internationally. Nurturing and advancing human rights would become an essential part of that cause


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Prof. David LITTLE

Prof. David LITTLE

Prof. David Little, currently University Fellow of HKBU, is a leading authority on the history of religious freedom, ethics and human rights, and religion and conflict resolution. Retired in 2009 as T.J. Dermot Dunphy Professor of the Practice in Religion, Ethnicity, and International Conflict at Harvard Divinity School and as an associate at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard University. He is currently research fellow at Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and International Affairs at Georgetown University. His publications include several volumes on religion, nationalism, and intolerance, and co-edited The Oxford Handbook of Religion, Conflict and Peacebuilding (2015).