Providing crucial knowledge insights
Religion is a major driving force in social and political transformations, helping to shape the approach and actions of a wide range of groups in relation to both global and local challenges. Our research in the Department of the Study of Religions has provided crucial knowledge insights to the public, the media, as well as religious communities and government, both in the UK and externally, in Europe, Asia, Africa and the USA.
We use the insights of our research to:
- Enhance public understanding of various communities and religions, particularly those that are in conflict zones
- work to improve the delivery of public services
- inform and influence the nature of public policy by providing evidence in law cases
- train ambassadors to countries suffering from civil unrest due to religious strife
- underpin equality, religious minority and human rights
We engage with external organisations and individuals in many different ways, including:
- Working with civil society organisations including within religious communities
- Collaborating with the cultural sector both in the UK and in our regions
- Working with government organisations, notably in foreign affairs, health, law, immigration and security
Engaging the wider public
This has resulted in the endowment of a Chair in Zoroastrianism at SOAS, the only one of its kind world-wide and an annual lecture in memory of a distinguished Zoroastrian (Kutar Memorial Lecture) that is attended by the wider Zoroastrian community in London and beyond. This engagement has also led to financial support for a conference series (The Idea of Iran) at SOAS, the publication of conference proceedings, and most recently the preparation and mounting of a major exhibition on Zoroastrianism in the Brunei Gallery in London in autumn 2013. This exhibition was reported widely in the national and international press and considerably raised the profile and public awareness of this religion. Negotiations are currently under way with the Indian government for the exhibition, The Sacred Flame, to be exhibited in Delhi in late 2015.