2019 Conference: Beyond Religion

A madrasa (Islamic school) for Hazara children, Kabul. Image by Monika Bulaj. Afghanistan, 2019.

A madrasa (Islamic school) for Hazara children, Kabul. Image by Monika Bulaj. Afghanistan, 2019.

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Each year, the Pulitzer Center’s annual conference spotlights some of our best journalism projects in leading news outlets to explore a theme that illuminates the most pressing issues of our time. With our in-depth, prize-winning journalism as the focus, we bring together diverse perspectives on reporting and how global issues affect us at home.

This year we’re exploring  the intersection of religion with climate change, global health, conflict and peacebuilding, gender rights, fundamentalism, and much more. Join us for a conversation with journalists, policymakers, academics, and other experts.

Date: “Beyond Religion,” will take place June 8-9 at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

Location: National Press Club, at 529 14th Street NW, in downtown Washington, D.C.

Beyond Religion and the Pulitzer Center's reporting and outreach on religion is supported by the Henry Luce Foundation. Additional related reporting and outreach is supported by Humanity United (Peace and Conflict), the MacArthur Foundation, Omidyar Network (Property Rights), The Rockefeller Foundation, and individual donors dedicated to raising awareness of critical global issues.

Support for conference-related activities also comes from Georgetown University's Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs, a Campus Consortium partner.

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Beyond Religion Program June 8-9

 
Saturday June 8
 
1:30 pm Registration
2:00 pm Concurrent Panels

*Denotes Pulitzer Center grantees

 

Panel 1: The Role of Religion in Building Peace

Religion is often blamed as a root cause of conflicts but what role does it play in building bridges and fostering peace? In El Salvador, pastors work with ex-gang members. In the UK, Islamic religious community leaders build resilience in the face of violence and alienation. In Nigeria, religious leaders work toward interfaith responses to deep-seated conflict. Our panelists will explore these initiatives and more—and also the role religion plays in state-level diplomacy.

Moderator: Fred de Sam Lazaro,* executive director of the Under-Told Stories Project, and PBS NewsHour correspondent.

Panelists:

  • Cathy Otten,* freelance journalist, religious communities in the UK, author With Ash On Their Faces: Yezidi Women and the Islamic State
  • Oge Onubogu, Senior Program Officer, Africa Programs, United States Institute of Peace
  • Danny Gold,* freelance journalist/producer, rehabilitation of gangs in El Salvador, (The Guardian, New Yorker)
  • Shaun Casey, director of the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs at Georgetown University and former director of the U.S. Department of State’s Office of Religion and Global Affairs

 

Panel 2: Gender & Religion

Panelists discuss the intersectionality of gender and religion: How have women helped to heal inter-generational trauma and religious conflict in Northern Ireland? And in the Philippines, where more than 8,000 have died in drug wars, how has prayer served to unite and comfort the grieving?  How are women’s roles in Saudi Arabia defined by religion—and are those roles changing?

Moderator: Winnie Varghese, priest, Strategic Clergy team at Trinity Church Wall Street

Panelists:

  • Julia Canney,* Senior Program Assistant - Gender, Women and Democracy at National Democratic Institute (NDI)
  • Sarah Aziza,* freelance journalist, human and gender rights in Saudi Arabia (The Atlantic, The Intercept, Washington Post, The New Yorker)
  • Ana Santos,* freelance journalist and columnist, The Rappler, reproductive health and gender, (The Washington Post, The Atlantic, Foreign Policy)
  • Aarti Singh,* freelance journalist, LGBTQ rights in India, (VICE)

 

Panel 3: Religion & The Environment

This fall, a special Synod of Bishops for the Pan-Amazonian region will examine evangelical approaches to climate change in the region.This reflects a growing movement within the Catholic church to take on issues related to land use, biodiversity, and rights of indigenous people. Meanwhile indigenous voices from the Amazon and globally–including here in the United States–have been leading voices in the struggle to respect and protect the environments they have long called home. What can we learn from these “guardians of the earth”? How do other religions intersect with the environment? And what is the potential for interfaith collaboration in the protection of our planet?

Moderator: Mary Evelyn Tucker, Co-Director, Forum on Religion and Ecology, Yale University

Panelists:

  • Kalyanee Mam,* filmmaker, lawyer and storyteller, “Fight for Areng Valley” featured on New York Times Op-Docs
  • Tiokasin Ghosthorse, speaker on peace, indigenous and Mother Earth perspectives, Cheyenne River Lakota Nation of South Dakota
  • Mindahi C. Bastida Munoz, director, Original Caretakers Program at the Center for Earth Ethics
 
3:30 Break
 
4:00 Concurrent Panels

*Denotes Pulitzer Center grantees

 

Panel 4: Religion & Fundamentalism

Fundamentalism is on the rise across religions and regions and is often viewed as rooted in religious beliefs. From Iraq and Syria to Indonesia and the Balkans—and from the United States and Europe—how does religion intersect with fundamentalism, potentially fueling ideologically-based violence? And how does media coverage of extremism, fundamentalism, and violence across religious faiths differ within the United States and beyond?

Moderator: Indira Lakshmanan, Executive Editor at the Pulitzer Center

Panelists:

  • Ben Taub,* staff journalist, The New Yorker Magazine, Iraq’s post-ISIS campaign of revenge
  • Sarah Topol,* freelance journalist, Boko Haram (The New York Times Magazine)
  • Dalia Mogahed, director of research at the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding (ISPU)
  • Amit Madheshiya,* Cannes prize-winning filmmaker "The Cinema Travellers", "Searching for Saraswati" (The New York Times Op-Doc) and  “Once Upon a Lynching" (upcoming), on Hindu attacks on Muslims

 

Panel 5: Faith and Civil Society

Religion often plays a vital role guiding civil society toward universally embraced ideals of tolerance and justice. What happens when faith is used as a tool to foster intolerance and injustice? In Northern Ireland, a power imbalance and decades of economic inequality have played out in a confounding struggle between Catholics and Protestants. In Israel, the most polarizing issue among Jewish citizens is the Messianic vision that drives the settler movement in the Occupied Territories. In the United States, Hindu immigrants cope with the persistent reality of caste discrimination.

Moderator: Amber Khan, Host and Executive Producer, Inspired, an Interfaith Voices production

Panelists:

  • Callum Macrae,* award-winning independent filmmaker “No Fire Zone” (Sri Lanka), “The Ballymurphy Precedent” (Northern Ireland)
  • Iris Zaki,* independent filmmaker, “Natural Born Settlers” and “Unsettled” (The New York Times Op-Doc)
  • Phillip Martin,* Senior Investigative Reporter for WGBH News, caste discrimination in the US (WGBH News and PRI’s The World)

 

Panel 6: The Human Elements of Science: An On Being Conversation With Krista Tippett and Erik Vance

In a live taping of her national public radio show and podcast, Krista talks with award-winning writer and Pulitzer Center grantee Erik Vance about his life and work and the lessons he's learned reporting on medicine and science, and how the mind and body shape our realities.

  • Krista Tippett, creator and host, On Being
  • Erik Vance,* journalist and author of “Suggestible You” (National Geographic, PBS NewsHour)

 

Sunday June 9

 
8:30 Registration/Coffee
 
9:00-10:30 The Evolution of the Religion Beat

A Conversational Workshop, with:

  • Krista Tippett, creator and host, “On Being”
  • Tom Gjelten, correspondent, Religion and Belief, National Desk
  • Krithika Varagur,* freelance journalist, fundamentalism and extremism in Balkans and Southeast Asia (Politico, New York Review of Books, The Atlantic, Foreign Policy)

A growing percentage of the U.S. population has declared itself religiously non-affiliated. Once robust religion sections of newspapers have been retired. But as Krista Tippett, Emma Green and Krithika Varagur have charted from different places on the media spectrum, the religious and spiritual energies of humanity and culture have not so much receded as evolved. They'll share their perspectives and insights and engage in conversation with each other and workshop participants. What is the religion story of our time? Where to look for it, how to draw it out, and why does it still matter?

 
10:30 Break

 

11:00-12:30 Deep Dive: Covering American Muslim Communities Confidently and Creatively
  • Dalia Mogahed, director of research at the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding (ISPU)
  • Kat Coplan, director of communications, ISPU

This workshop is part of a media training series by ISPU that aims to both alleviate the pressure on reporters thrust into covering issues related to American Muslims and connect journalists with expert sources and original research on American Muslims. It will enable reporters to go beyond standard talking points by providing up-to-date, empirical research.

What Will I learn?

  • Examine up-to-date demographic data on American Muslims, including information on voter engagement and civic engagement
  • Learn guidelines and standards for fair and accurate reporting on American Muslims
  • Gain insight on how to access and use ISPU’s rich database of publications, bibliographies and dictionaries of Arabic and Islamic terms, and other resources that will enrich your reporting

 

End of "Beyond Religion"

Watch video highlights from our past conferences:

2018: "Beyond War"

2017: "Gender Lens"

 

Sponsor

Conference sponsorships help cover costs for more than 300 attendees—making our programming free to the public. We invite you to talk with us about how we can design a sponsorship experience that meets your goals. For more details, take a look at our 2019 prospectus.

For details please contact development@pulitzercenter.org or by phone at 202-734-3789.