Page 1

T In Bo he W st ni La el i u u c tu k r o t a m e Jo es Johnson graduated from the University of Georgia (UGA) with a dual degree in h Psychology and Sociology and continued on to complete Master's degree in Sociology at n so UGA. After graduate school, she took a position with a consulting firm in Atlanta, helping to lead large-scale national surveys for clients interested in understanding a variety of real world issues. n The Boniuk Institute welcomed Laura Johnson as the Associate Director of Operations in November. In this newly created position, Johnson will execute the operational aspects of the Institute's research, educational, and community engagement initiatives. Johnson has successfully managed various projects in academe and industry, a skill set she will use toward executing the administrative, analytical, and strategic duties in her current role.

After a relocation brought Johnson to Houston, she worked as a Research Coordinator at the Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence where she collaborated with a team that is striving to understand the complex neurological, psychological, and physical injuries facing recently returning Veterans. So how exactly are narcissism, humor, poverty, and brain injury—all of which have been topics of research in Johnson's work—related to each other? And what is the common denominator between, say, using infrared cameras to detect emotion—as Johnson did in a social science laboratory—and cataloguing prostitutes' online advertisements—as she did on a project investigating the prevalence of commercially exploited youth? It's actually quite simple, she explains, "I want to be involved in meaningful work and make significant contributions toward solving problems that affect society"— an approach that aligns well with the Boniuk Institute's mission of studying and advancing religious tolerance.

December 2013 Newsletter

The Boniuk Institute has gotten off to a great start during its first seven months! A major accomplishment during the Fall 2013 semester was to expand the research and education domains of the Institute's mission. In an inaugural event, the Institute hosted leading peacestudies scholar Scott Appleby, Professor of History and John M. Regan Jr. Director of the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame. Supported by Rice University President David Leebron and attended by donors Dr. Milton and Laurie Boniuk, the event drew a diverse crowd, filling the large, on-campus auditorium with 250 people. In the educational sphere, the Boniuk Institute sponsored two undergraduate courses this past semester. In Religious Tolerance In An Intolerant Age (SOCI 412), a course taught by Directors Elaine Howard Ecklund and Donald Morrison, students grappled with the tensions between religious pluralism and intolerance.

Directors Elaine Howard Ecklund (left) and Donald Morrison (right) welcomed Scott Appleby at an event on November 4, 2013.

The Boniuk Institute boasts an impressive schedule for In this issue the Spring 2014 semester. Rice students will have the 1. Beyond Tolerance, Toward Peacebuilding........................... 2 privilege of taking the first class taught by President 2. Sacred Sites Quest Marks Milestones As It Evolves ........... 5 Leebron. Sponsored by the Boniuk Institute, The Legal 3. Meet the Speaker: Scott Appleby......................................... 6 Framework Of Religious Tolerance (POLI/RELI 320) 4. The Practicalities of Peacebuilding...................................... 7 will offer students the opportunity to seek a critical 5. The Boniuk Institute Welcomes Laura Johnson................... 8 understanding of our country's tolerance-rich legal invocations of religious freedom. The spring semester will also include a series of exciting events and activities. Of note in January, we will welcome Dr. Alejandro Chaoul of the University of Texas, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center who will be speaking about religious understanding from a Tibetan perspective on January 16th and on January 24th, Dr. Zahra Jamal from the Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality at the University of Chicago will give a talk about Muslims in Central Asia.

The Boniuk Institute 6100 Main Street MS 350 Houston, Texas 77005-1827 713-348-4536 tolerance@rice.edu

8

We welcome feedback from members of the Rice and Houston communities on what the Boniuk Institute can do to expand or improve our programming. Thank you for supporting us and we look forward to seeing you at our upcoming events! Sincerely, Elaine Howard Ecklund Director, Boniuk Institute Autry Professor of Sociology

Donald Morrison Director, Boniuk Institute Professor of Philosophy and Classical Studies


Beyond Tolerance, Toward Peacebuilding

The Practicalities of Peacebuilding

By Rachel George, Rice university Undergraduate

By Niki Desai, Research Project Manager, Religion and public Life Program

In its inaugural event, the Boniuk Institute invited Scott Appleby, Professor of History and John M. Regan Jr. Director of the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame — to kick off a new series of public lectures. A central theme of the lecture was hard tolerance. Appleby describes hard tolerance as a process of defending and evaluating one's convictions, while actively listening to the other side's ideas. He contrasts this concept with soft tolerance, a utilitarian and occasionally condescending "live and let live" approach. Appleby advocates practicing hard tolerance, to allow for the growth of respect and agreement in the long-term while maintaining the integrity of each side's “Scott Appleby's definition of hard tolerance highlights the issues convictions. of following a "live and let live" philosophy. Instead of giving an acknowledgement to a belief, the tolerance he advocates, a willingness to engage and learn about each other, is a rather effective tool to reaching equality by understanding who our neighbors are.” - Jonathan Nguyen, Student, Rice University

Appleby co-directed The Fundamentalism Project, a global survey of fundamentalist organizations that identified the essential attributes of Fundamentalism. He took some time during the Q&A to describe that work and debunk some misconceptions, taking particular pains to impress that Fundamentalists are not backward or even old-fashioned, that instead they tend to be on the cutting edge of technological fields. The most common occupations of Fundamentalist group members, he revealed, are computer-programmers and engineers. - Continued on page 4 -

Ecklund and Morrison look on as Appleby addresses the crowd

“I thought that the distinction between soft and hard tolerance that Professor Appleby created was thought provoking and prevented the talk from going over familiar ground. While he criticized soft tolerance for its rather superficial nature, he also did a good job in acknowledging that sometimes it is the first step needed for reconciliation.” - Wesley Chou, Student, Rice University

A large, on campus auditorium was filled with over 250 students, religious leaders, and community members

On November 5th, the Boniuk Institute brought 15 Houston community members—including interfaith leaders, Muslims, Christians, and others —together for a reception with Scott Appleby, Professor of History and John M. Regan Jr. Director of the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame to discuss the practical considerations involved in building religious tolerance and peace. In characterizing why a movement—violent or nonviolent—occurs, Appleby outlined the three elements that come together: Structure, Chance, met with members of the community and Choice. Structure refers to the conditions at the Appleby who were interested in implementing time of the movement, such as economic, societal, effective peacebuilding strategies and governmental factors. The structural conditions are then catalyzed by a chance event; for instance, a leader falling ill or an automobile accident. Choice, Appleby explained, is "the straw that stirs the drink," bringing together structure and chance to propel a movement forward. Choice involves the critical decisions made by anyone in the position to enact change. Appleby conveyed that much of what influences the birth of a movement is unpredictable, and we must be comfortable with ambiguity. To operate within this ambiguity, Appleby emphasized the concept of serendipity—a moment of openness, a 'lifting of the clouds' that offers a chance for peace to flourish. Those interested in promoting peace and tolerance should keep their eyes open for the opportunity, as you can produce great work and still fail if the timing is off. A lack of nuance and strict adherence to paradigms leads to blunders, reinforcing the idea that peacebuilding requires delicate and a holistic understanding of the factors at play. Drawing on their work in Houston, community members were eager to engage Appleby on the practical concerns around peacebuilding. A guest involved in interfaith efforts in Houston struggled with impediments to the sustainability of peacebuilding efforts. Appleby discussed the stigma imposed on people participating in interfaith activities, which are sometimes perceived as well-intentioned but without impact. As a solution, interfaith efforts should engage in collaborative projects with tangible output, such as a food exchange program or a library. According to Appleby, this would "begin to erode the image that interfaith tolerance is just liberals siting around enjoying themselves." And how should one go about engaging populations who are uninterested in cultivating religious tolerance in the community? Appleby emphasized the importance of practicality and strategy in response. Religious tolerance, he explained, is not a meeting of like-minded people. We should try and build a community mindset that is challenging, yet tolerant and open. As Appleby concluded, "We've made some progress and there's a long way to go."

Rice University President David Leebron Director Donald Morrison

2

Fifteen community members—interfaith leaders, Muslims, Christians, and others—gathered for a reception

7


Meet the Speaker: Scott Appleby By Kristian Edosomwan, Rice university Undergraduate

In a series of events surrounding Scott Appleby's visit, fifteen students gathered with him over breakfast to discuss his research and how to foster tolerance in their own lives. Appleby is a Professor of History and John M. Regan Jr. Director of the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame. In explaining where religious violence occurs in the world, Appleby said that the answer was more complicated than pinpointing a specific location. There are two types of religious conflict—strong and weak. With strong religious conflict, religion is the driving force. For example, in the militant Islamist organization Al-Qaeda, many participants believe violence itself is a means to advancing Islam. In weak religious conflict, religion is embedded in a complex of other political, economic, and social motives, such as in the Bosnian Genocide where "soldiers would wear rosaries as they raped and killed" for nationalist reasons they linked loosely to religion. Religious violence of these two types spans the globe. When asked how outsiders can come in and change structures to cultivate sustainable peace, Appleby suggested that first, one must build trust within the community. He cited an experience in which his friend who was an imam, or Muslim worship leader, was lecturing Ugandans about the United States. Appleby assumed he would be hated for being white and American, but instead learned that they actually disliked the way evangelical Christians aggressively tried to convert them. After Appleby apologized for the intolerant actions of other Americans and expressed respect for their beliefs, some of the mosque attendees shook his hand and hugged him. Outsiders build trust through insiders who then bridge the gap. Appleby also offered a way for students to honor religious diversity locally. He cited a study conducted by Dr. Ashutosh Varshney and explained that voluntary civil organizations like the PTA (Parent Teacher Association) allow people to interact with those different from themselves. In other words, having an associational life promotes all kinds of tolerance. Mere associations, however, may not draw exclusionists in to interfaith dialogues. Appleby advised students to respect refusals and use strategic thinking to recognize viable targets. The causes of religious intolerance are complex, but peacebuilders can make an impact and students were encouraged by the thoughtful discussion with Appleby. As Alexa Solazzo, a graduate student in the Department of Sociology said, "I enjoyed hearing the perspective of someone with so much fieldwork experience on how religion can play a role in both violence and peacebuilding."

Spring 2014 Events January 16, 2014 Dr. Alejandro Chaoul “A Tibetan Way Toward Religious Understanding” 7:00 pm Asia Society Texas Center

1370 Southmore Blvd. Houston, TX 77004

January 24, 2014 Dr. Zahra Jamal “Preserving the Faith: Cultural Assets among Shi'is in Soviet and Post-Soviet Tajikistan" 4:30 PM at Rice University

March 8, 2014 — Sacred Sites Quest Closing Celebration and Labyrinth Dedication 3:00-4:30 PM

Mt. Carmel Prayer Garden – 1407 Valentine St. Houston, Texas 77007

April 1, 2014 — Embracing Tolerance Essay Contest Award Ceremony

7:00 PM at Rice University – Farnsworth Pavilion

e k The Legal Framework of Religious Tolerance e h u t T i n tu TS This course will be offered during the Spring 2014 0 Bo sti EN semester and co-taught by Rice University President David 32 Leebron S and Visiting Scholar Lawrence Sager. i In RE l e P R The American Constitution embodies a / i complex experiment in religious tolerance, l including the promise of "free exercise of religion" o P and the prohibition of laws "respecting an establishment of religion". In this class we will primarily seek a critical understanding of our tolerance-rich legal invocations of religious freedom and address fundamental issues such as how can we distinguish "religious" actions and commitments from other morally important beliefs and activities. 6

April 10, 2014 — Panel Event “Religious Tolerance In America & Globally”

LEEBRON

SAGER

Professor Robert J. Wuthnow Princeton University

Professor Marie Griffith Washington University

3

Professor David Nirenberg The University of Chicago


- Continued from page 2 -

The lecture contained plenty of lighter moments. For instance, when Appleby proclaimed that he's "absolutely in love with Pope Francis!" whom he sees as one of the first Catholic leaders in centuries to reemphasize early Christianity's focus on the marginalized, such as the poor and the sick. Appleby revealed the multifaceted nature of peacebuilding, peacebuilding that contains not only gravity but humor, not only history but evolution, and not only theorizing but acting. He left an image of tolerance and peacebuilding that was not only tangible but touching.

Sacred Sites Quest Marks Milestones as It Evolves By Mike Pardee, Associate Director For Community Engagement

The Boniuk Institute’s Sacred Sites Quest (SSQ) is one of the signature educational outreach programs for high school students. Its two main aims are to nurture interfaith relationships and enhance the religious and interfaith literacy among a multi-faith group of 8th – 12th graders (including some who subscribe to no particular religious tradition). Our SSQ’ers have completed their twelve site visits throughout the fall to various places of worship in and around Houston. In December, they began their work on SSQ4’s capstone art and service project. This year, that project will entail installing a labyrinth and some related elements to anchor the Prayer Garden of the Mt. Carmel Church in Houston’s historic Freedmen’s Town neighborhood. The SSQ’ers will take the lead on designing and installing the labyrinth, assisted by SSQ4 project leaders Mike Pardee, Associate Director for Community Engagement, as well as Reginald Adams, Sam Turner, and Jay Stailey. Ecklund (right) moderated a question and answer session

“I really liked Dr. Appleby's lecture. As a Catholic disgruntled by the intolerant, exclusivist rhetoric of fellow Christians and other fundamentalists, it was very refreshing to hear another Catholic convey such an accepting, pluralist message. He addressed my question—of how best to engage those with intolerant or "softly tolerant" viewpoints in discussions of hard tolerance—very well, and he was able to give an answer to tough questions that I had about why religions, with their moral teachings, cause so much conflict between groups.” - Eric Talbert, Student, Rice University

Once the construction phase begins onsite (at 1407 Valentine St.), many more volunteers are welcome—and expected—as the Mt. Carmel Prayer Garden gets refurbished by SSQ4. Increased adult participation has been one of the distinguishing features of the 4th Sacred Sites Quest. This trend suggests keen interest among many adults in Houston to participate in site visits and observing worship akin to what our high school students have done through the first four Sacred Sites Quests. The Boniuk Institute will soon begin offering adults more such opportunities for SSQ’ing in the months ahead. Please stay tuned to our newsletters and website for more information to come about this! Please also save the date of Saturday, March 8th from 3:00 – 4:30pm for the SSQ4 Closing Celebration when the Mt. Carmel Prayer Garden Labyrinth will be dedicated. This will be a festive affair highlighting the capstone art and service project that our SSQ’ers will have produced. And it will offer the Freedmen’s Town community a chance to share together with our SSQ volunteers our wonderful collaboration in Houston’s Fourth Ward for SSQ4.

During phase one of the 2013-2014 Sacred Sites Quest, participants visited various religious and sacred sites around Houston (top row). During phase two, participants are designing a labyrinth to be installed in Mt. Carmel Prayer Garden (bottom row).

4

5


- Continued from page 2 -

The lecture contained plenty of lighter moments. For instance, when Appleby proclaimed that he's "absolutely in love with Pope Francis!" whom he sees as one of the first Catholic leaders in centuries to reemphasize early Christianity's focus on the marginalized, such as the poor and the sick. Appleby revealed the multifaceted nature of peacebuilding, peacebuilding that contains not only gravity but humor, not only history but evolution, and not only theorizing but acting. He left an image of tolerance and peacebuilding that was not only tangible but touching.

Sacred Sites Quest Marks Milestones as It Evolves By Mike Pardee, Associate Director For Community Engagement

The Boniuk Institute’s Sacred Sites Quest (SSQ) is one of the signature educational outreach programs for high school students. Its two main aims are to nurture interfaith relationships and enhance the religious and interfaith literacy among a multi-faith group of 8th – 12th graders (including some who subscribe to no particular religious tradition). Our SSQ’ers have completed their twelve site visits throughout the fall to various places of worship in and around Houston. In December, they began their work on SSQ4’s capstone art and service project. This year, that project will entail installing a labyrinth and some related elements to anchor the Prayer Garden of the Mt. Carmel Church in Houston’s historic Freedmen’s Town neighborhood. The SSQ’ers will take the lead on designing and installing the labyrinth, assisted by SSQ4 project leaders Mike Pardee, Associate Director for Community Engagement, as well as Reginald Adams, Sam Turner, and Jay Stailey. Ecklund (right) moderated a question and answer session

“I really liked Dr. Appleby's lecture. As a Catholic disgruntled by the intolerant, exclusivist rhetoric of fellow Christians and other fundamentalists, it was very refreshing to hear another Catholic convey such an accepting, pluralist message. He addressed my question—of how best to engage those with intolerant or "softly tolerant" viewpoints in discussions of hard tolerance—very well, and he was able to give an answer to tough questions that I had about why religions, with their moral teachings, cause so much conflict between groups.” - Eric Talbert, Student, Rice University

Once the construction phase begins onsite (at 1407 Valentine St.), many more volunteers are welcome—and expected—as the Mt. Carmel Prayer Garden gets refurbished by SSQ4. Increased adult participation has been one of the distinguishing features of the 4th Sacred Sites Quest. This trend suggests keen interest among many adults in Houston to participate in site visits and observing worship akin to what our high school students have done through the first four Sacred Sites Quests. The Boniuk Institute will soon begin offering adults more such opportunities for SSQ’ing in the months ahead. Please stay tuned to our newsletters and website for more information to come about this! Please also save the date of Saturday, March 8th from 3:00 – 4:30pm for the SSQ4 Closing Celebration when the Mt. Carmel Prayer Garden Labyrinth will be dedicated. This will be a festive affair highlighting the capstone art and service project that our SSQ’ers will have produced. And it will offer the Freedmen’s Town community a chance to share together with our SSQ volunteers our wonderful collaboration in Houston’s Fourth Ward for SSQ4.

During phase one of the 2013-2014 Sacred Sites Quest, participants visited various religious and sacred sites around Houston (top row). During phase two, participants are designing a labyrinth to be installed in Mt. Carmel Prayer Garden (bottom row).

4

5


Meet the Speaker: Scott Appleby By Kristian Edosomwan, Rice university Undergraduate

In a series of events surrounding Scott Appleby's visit, fifteen students gathered with him over breakfast to discuss his research and how to foster tolerance in their own lives. Appleby is a Professor of History and John M. Regan Jr. Director of the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame. In explaining where religious violence occurs in the world, Appleby said that the answer was more complicated than pinpointing a specific location. There are two types of religious conflict—strong and weak. With strong religious conflict, religion is the driving force. For example, in the militant Islamist organization Al-Qaeda, many participants believe violence itself is a means to advancing Islam. In weak religious conflict, religion is embedded in a complex of other political, economic, and social motives, such as in the Bosnian Genocide where "soldiers would wear rosaries as they raped and killed" for nationalist reasons they linked loosely to religion. Religious violence of these two types spans the globe. When asked how outsiders can come in and change structures to cultivate sustainable peace, Appleby suggested that first, one must build trust within the community. He cited an experience in which his friend who was an imam, or Muslim worship leader, was lecturing Ugandans about the United States. Appleby assumed he would be hated for being white and American, but instead learned that they actually disliked the way evangelical Christians aggressively tried to convert them. After Appleby apologized for the intolerant actions of other Americans and expressed respect for their beliefs, some of the mosque attendees shook his hand and hugged him. Outsiders build trust through insiders who then bridge the gap. Appleby also offered a way for students to honor religious diversity locally. He cited a study conducted by Dr. Ashutosh Varshney and explained that voluntary civil organizations like the PTA (Parent Teacher Association) allow people to interact with those different from themselves. In other words, having an associational life promotes all kinds of tolerance. Mere associations, however, may not draw exclusionists in to interfaith dialogues. Appleby advised students to respect refusals and use strategic thinking to recognize viable targets. The causes of religious intolerance are complex, but peacebuilders can make an impact and students were encouraged by the thoughtful discussion with Appleby. As Alexa Solazzo, a graduate student in the Department of Sociology said, "I enjoyed hearing the perspective of someone with so much fieldwork experience on how religion can play a role in both violence and peacebuilding."

Spring 2014 Events January 16, 2014 Dr. Alejandro Chaoul “A Tibetan Way Toward Religious Understanding” 7:00 pm Asia Society Texas Center

1370 Southmore Blvd. Houston, TX 77004

January 24, 2014 Dr. Zahra Jamal “Preserving the Faith: Cultural Assets among Shi'is in Soviet and Post-Soviet Tajikistan" 4:30 PM at Rice University

March 8, 2014 — Sacred Sites Quest Closing Celebration and Labyrinth Dedication 3:00-4:30 PM

Mt. Carmel Prayer Garden – 1407 Valentine St. Houston, Texas 77007

April 1, 2014 — Embracing Tolerance Essay Contest Award Ceremony

7:00 PM at Rice University – Farnsworth Pavilion

e k The Legal Framework of Religious Tolerance e h u t T i n tu TS This course will be offered during the Spring 2014 0 Bo sti EN semester and co-taught by Rice University President David 32 Leebron S and Visiting Scholar Lawrence Sager. i In RE l e P R The American Constitution embodies a / i complex experiment in religious tolerance, l including the promise of "free exercise of religion" o P and the prohibition of laws "respecting an establishment of religion". In this class we will primarily seek a critical understanding of our tolerance-rich legal invocations of religious freedom and address fundamental issues such as how can we distinguish "religious" actions and commitments from other morally important beliefs and activities. 6

April 10, 2014 — Panel Event “Religious Tolerance In America & Globally”

LEEBRON

SAGER

Professor Robert J. Wuthnow Princeton University

Professor Marie Griffith Washington University

3

Professor David Nirenberg The University of Chicago


Beyond Tolerance, Toward Peacebuilding

The Practicalities of Peacebuilding

By Rachel George, Rice university Undergraduate

By Niki Desai, Research Project Manager, Religion and public Life Program

In its inaugural event, the Boniuk Institute invited Scott Appleby, Professor of History and John M. Regan Jr. Director of the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame — to kick off a new series of public lectures. A central theme of the lecture was hard tolerance. Appleby describes hard tolerance as a process of defending and evaluating one's convictions, while actively listening to the other side's ideas. He contrasts this concept with soft tolerance, a utilitarian and occasionally condescending "live and let live" approach. Appleby advocates practicing hard tolerance, to allow for the growth of respect and agreement in the long-term while maintaining the integrity of each side's “Scott Appleby's definition of hard tolerance highlights the issues convictions. of following a "live and let live" philosophy. Instead of giving an acknowledgement to a belief, the tolerance he advocates, a willingness to engage and learn about each other, is a rather effective tool to reaching equality by understanding who our neighbors are.” - Jonathan Nguyen, Student, Rice University

Appleby co-directed The Fundamentalism Project, a global survey of fundamentalist organizations that identified the essential attributes of Fundamentalism. He took some time during the Q&A to describe that work and debunk some misconceptions, taking particular pains to impress that Fundamentalists are not backward or even old-fashioned, that instead they tend to be on the cutting edge of technological fields. The most common occupations of Fundamentalist group members, he revealed, are computer-programmers and engineers. - Continued on page 4 -

Ecklund and Morrison look on as Appleby addresses the crowd

“I thought that the distinction between soft and hard tolerance that Professor Appleby created was thought provoking and prevented the talk from going over familiar ground. While he criticized soft tolerance for its rather superficial nature, he also did a good job in acknowledging that sometimes it is the first step needed for reconciliation.” - Wesley Chou, Student, Rice University

A large, on campus auditorium was filled with over 250 students, religious leaders, and community members

On November 5th, the Boniuk Institute brought 15 Houston community members—including interfaith leaders, Muslims, Christians, and others —together for a reception with Scott Appleby, Professor of History and John M. Regan Jr. Director of the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame to discuss the practical considerations involved in building religious tolerance and peace. In characterizing why a movement—violent or nonviolent—occurs, Appleby outlined the three elements that come together: Structure, Chance, met with members of the community and Choice. Structure refers to the conditions at the Appleby who were interested in implementing time of the movement, such as economic, societal, effective peacebuilding strategies and governmental factors. The structural conditions are then catalyzed by a chance event; for instance, a leader falling ill or an automobile accident. Choice, Appleby explained, is "the straw that stirs the drink," bringing together structure and chance to propel a movement forward. Choice involves the critical decisions made by anyone in the position to enact change. Appleby conveyed that much of what influences the birth of a movement is unpredictable, and we must be comfortable with ambiguity. To operate within this ambiguity, Appleby emphasized the concept of serendipity—a moment of openness, a 'lifting of the clouds' that offers a chance for peace to flourish. Those interested in promoting peace and tolerance should keep their eyes open for the opportunity, as you can produce great work and still fail if the timing is off. A lack of nuance and strict adherence to paradigms leads to blunders, reinforcing the idea that peacebuilding requires delicate and a holistic understanding of the factors at play. Drawing on their work in Houston, community members were eager to engage Appleby on the practical concerns around peacebuilding. A guest involved in interfaith efforts in Houston struggled with impediments to the sustainability of peacebuilding efforts. Appleby discussed the stigma imposed on people participating in interfaith activities, which are sometimes perceived as well-intentioned but without impact. As a solution, interfaith efforts should engage in collaborative projects with tangible output, such as a food exchange program or a library. According to Appleby, this would "begin to erode the image that interfaith tolerance is just liberals siting around enjoying themselves." And how should one go about engaging populations who are uninterested in cultivating religious tolerance in the community? Appleby emphasized the importance of practicality and strategy in response. Religious tolerance, he explained, is not a meeting of like-minded people. We should try and build a community mindset that is challenging, yet tolerant and open. As Appleby concluded, "We've made some progress and there's a long way to go."

Rice University President David Leebron Director Donald Morrison

2

Fifteen community members—interfaith leaders, Muslims, Christians, and others—gathered for a reception

7


T In Bo he W st ni La el i u u c tu k r o t a m e Jo es Johnson graduated from the University of Georgia (UGA) with a dual degree in h Psychology and Sociology and continued on to complete Master's degree in Sociology at n so UGA. After graduate school, she took a position with a consulting firm in Atlanta, helping to lead large-scale national surveys for clients interested in understanding a variety of real world issues. n The Boniuk Institute welcomed Laura Johnson as the Associate Director of Operations in November. In this newly created position, Johnson will execute the operational aspects of the Institute's research, educational, and community engagement initiatives. Johnson has successfully managed various projects in academe and industry, a skill set she will use toward executing the administrative, analytical, and strategic duties in her current role.

After a relocation brought Johnson to Houston, she worked as a Research Coordinator at the Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence where she collaborated with a team that is striving to understand the complex neurological, psychological, and physical injuries facing recently returning Veterans. So how exactly are narcissism, humor, poverty, and brain injury—all of which have been topics of research in Johnson's work—related to each other? And what is the common denominator between, say, using infrared cameras to detect emotion—as Johnson did in a social science laboratory—and cataloguing prostitutes' online advertisements—as she did on a project investigating the prevalence of commercially exploited youth? It's actually quite simple, she explains, "I want to be involved in meaningful work and make significant contributions toward solving problems that affect society"— an approach that aligns well with the Boniuk Institute's mission of studying and advancing religious tolerance.

December 2013 Newsletter

The Boniuk Institute has gotten off to a great start during its first seven months! A major accomplishment during the Fall 2013 semester was to expand the research and education domains of the Institute's mission. In an inaugural event, the Institute hosted leading peacestudies scholar Scott Appleby, Professor of History and John M. Regan Jr. Director of the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame. Supported by Rice University President David Leebron and attended by donors Dr. Milton and Laurie Boniuk, the event drew a diverse crowd, filling the large, on-campus auditorium with 250 people. In the educational sphere, the Boniuk Institute sponsored two undergraduate courses this past semester. In Religious Tolerance In An Intolerant Age (SOCI 412), a course taught by Directors Elaine Howard Ecklund and Donald Morrison, students grappled with the tensions between religious pluralism and intolerance.

Directors Elaine Howard Ecklund (left) and Donald Morrison (right) welcomed Scott Appleby at an event on November 4, 2013.

The Boniuk Institute boasts an impressive schedule for In this issue the Spring 2014 semester. Rice students will have the 1. Beyond Tolerance, Toward Peacebuilding........................... 2 privilege of taking the first class taught by President 2. Sacred Sites Quest Marks Milestones As It Evolves ........... 5 Leebron. Sponsored by the Boniuk Institute, The Legal 3. Meet the Speaker: Scott Appleby......................................... 6 Framework Of Religious Tolerance (POLI/RELI 320) 4. The Practicalities of Peacebuilding...................................... 7 will offer students the opportunity to seek a critical 5. The Boniuk Institute Welcomes Laura Johnson................... 8 understanding of our country's tolerance-rich legal invocations of religious freedom. The spring semester will also include a series of exciting events and activities. Of note in January, we will welcome Dr. Alejandro Chaoul of the University of Texas, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center who will be speaking about religious understanding from a Tibetan perspective on January 16th and on January 24th, Dr. Zahra Jamal from the Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality at the University of Chicago will give a talk about Muslims in Central Asia.

The Boniuk Institute 6100 Main Street MS 350 Houston, Texas 77005-1827 713-348-4536 tolerance@rice.edu

8

We welcome feedback from members of the Rice and Houston communities on what the Boniuk Institute can do to expand or improve our programming. Thank you for supporting us and we look forward to seeing you at our upcoming events! Sincerely, Elaine Howard Ecklund Director, Boniuk Institute Autry Professor of Sociology

Donald Morrison Director, Boniuk Institute Professor of Philosophy and Classical Studies

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