The role of religion in the pursuit of social progress

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The notion of “social progress” has been the subject of debate and discussion for many years. It is increasingly clear that equating social progress with economic and technological expansion does not do justice to the complexity of the issue. Neither does the progressive extension of human rights, nor the universal embrace of particular social and political structures. More immediately the global pandemic is challenging not only current values but existing ways of thinking.

The International Panel on Social Progress (IPSP) has addressed these questions from multiple points of view, including a more extensive conceptualization of social progress and the place of religion in this. Chapter 16 of the IPSP report, entitled “Religions and Social Progress”, asks how and in what ways religion can contribute to positive social change. Indeed, what is the role of religion in social progress? How does it relate to our current European and global context?
The Bahá’í International Community (BIC), the Faith Centre of the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) and the IPSP aim to explore through debate this topical and often controversial theme. This participatory online exchange will explore these questions, focusing on the notions of healthcare, well-being and development policy, while emphasising the importance of interfaith initiatives.

The event will start with a brief presentation of the IPSP project and the chapter on religion. A panel of distinguished scholars will introduce each theme with a view to initiating an interactive conversation between participants.
Initial contributions will be given by

Professor Emeritus Grace Davie, University of Exeter, UK
Professor Emeritus Nancy T. Ammerman, Boston University, US
Dr. Samia Huq, Brac University, Bangladesh
Dr. James Walters, Director of the LSE Faith Centre, UK

Please find a provisional program and the concept note here.

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