Sunday, 1 August 2010

ICS Launches Centre for Philosophy, Religion and Social Ethics

The Board of Trustees of the Institute for Christian Studies ("ICS") is pleased to announce the establishment of a new research centre at ICS, due to formally open in September, 2011. Dr. Lambert Zuidervaart, an accomplished and highly regarded scholar at ICS, has agreed to be its founding Director. The name "Centre for Philosophy, Religion and Social Ethics" reflects the nature of its research - dedicated to the intersection of interdisciplinary philosophy, inter-religious dialogue and social ethics. The centre opens doors to collaborative research among ICS faculty and scholars at partner institutions such as the Toronto School of Theology at the University of Toronto, the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam, and sister institutions in the Reformed tradition, resulting in new publications, lecture series, symposia, workshops, conferences and other events.

Research has always been an important part of the faculty's work at ICS; the research centre takes it to a new level, giving it greater support and visibility. The centre will welcome other academics and public figures into our scholarship, enriching our work by having new voices join our conversations and showing the relevance of our research for questions that arise in debates about social justice, economic sustainability, cultural and religious pluralism, democratic solidarity, environmental earth-keeping, and the like.

In establishing the Centre for Philosophy, Religion and Social Ethics, ICS highlights the research component of its three-fold mission as graduate school, research centre and source of continuing education for people of faith and a broader public. Teaching and mentoring our students will be richer for the increased research interaction with other scholars and among institutions; our "University for the People" outreach will ensure that research continues to be grounded and tested by the every-day conundrums faced by ordinary people.

Research by its very nature requires longer term, multi-year funding. Thus, funding for the organization and launch of the centre will be provided by the legacy gift from the late Lowell Andreas, a decades-long ICS supporter before his death in 2009. We believe that the research centre will be attractive to foundations and others seeking to invest in the products of original collaborative research from the faith tradition that ICS and its partners represent.