Australian Catholic University and the Union for Progressive Judaism jointly coordinated a lunch and roundtable discussion with esteemed guest Rabbi David N. Saperstein at Newman College in Melbourne.
Rabbi Saperstein served as the U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom under President Obama between 2015 and 2017, carrying out his responsibilities as his country’s chief diplomat on religious freedom issues.
Rabbi Saperstein is currently the President of the World Union for Progressive Judaism. Prior to his appointment as Ambassador, he served as the Director of the Religious Action Center and, as an attorney, he taught seminars on Church–State law and Jewish Law for 35 years at Georgetown University.
The lunch offered guests a rare opportunity to discuss issues of religious freedom and religious persecution around the world with Rabbi Saperstein. In the spirit of interfaith dialogue, faith leaders from across Victoria attended, including Uniting Church moderator Rev Denise Liersch, Islamic Council of Victoria president Mohamed Mohideen OAM, Zoroastrian Association Nergish Udwadia and leaders from the Catholic and Jewish communities.
The lunch was kindly hosted at Newman College by rector Fr Frank Brennan SJ, who is also Distinguished Fellow at ACU's PM Glynn Institute and Adjunct Professor in the Thomas More Law School.
Many people have speculated about the future of religion in the 21st century. The Washington-based Pew Research Center has undertaken detailed demographic projections that explore the future of religious affiliation using data on age, fertility, mortality, migration and religious switching for major religious groups around the world.
During August 2017, Dr Conrad Hackett, Senior Demographer at Pew Research Center, visited Australia as a guest of Australian Catholic University. ACU’s PM Glynn Institute joined with The Sydney Institute to host a public forum on global trends in religious identity, at which Dr Hackett spoke on the subject ‘World Religions – Who’s up, Who’s down?’
Dr Hackett’s presentation was followed by a response from Associate Professor Ruth Powell, Director of NCLS Research at ACU, who focused specifically on Australian trends, including recently released census data.
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