Grappling with the 'Global Ethic': Multi-Religious Perspectives on Global Issues

This two-part conference—one academic, the other practical—tackles global social issues using the resources of numerous religious traditions and the signature document of the Parliament of the World's Religions, "Toward a Global Ethic: An Initial Declaration," also known as "Global Ethic."

The Parliament of the World's Religions is the oldest, largest, most diverse and inclusive convening organization of the global interfaith movement. Tracing its origins to the 1893 World's Coumbian Exposition, the Parliament has held international convenings in Chicago, Cape Town, Barcelona, Melbourne and Salt Lake City which, since 1993, have attracted more than 50,000 people from 80 nations and 200 unique spiritual traditions.

The Parliament's "Global Ethic" elaborates four moral directives that call for a commitment to a culture of respect for life, economic justice, truth and compassion, and women's rights. 

For the schedule for the academic conference, "Grappling with the 'Global Ethic': Multi-Religious Perspectives on Global Issues," click here.

For the schedule for the interfaith forum, "Faiths Together for Change: Acting on Chicagoland's Critical Issues," click here.

To read the "Global Ethic," a declaration of the Parliament of the World's Religions, click here.

REGISTRATION for the conference and forum is is requested but not required. You may choose to attend one of these events and not the other.

Part 1:  Academic Conference              April 23: 9 AM – 5:30 PM  | April 24: 9 AM – 6:00 PM
The University of Chicago | Swift Hall, Third Floor Lecture Hall | 1025 E. 58th Street

Part 2:  Interfaith Forum                         April 25: 9 AM – 5:00 PM 
Chicago Theological Seminary | 1407 E 60th Street

Academic Conference: This academic conference brings together leading scholars of several faith traditions. Each presenter will explore a contemporary issue of social justice that is found in the context of his or her religious community. To this issue, he or she will bring to bear the unique ethical resources of his or her tradition as well as the moral directives of the signature document of the Parliament of the World’s Religions, “Towards a Global Ethic: An Initial Declaration,” also known as the Global Ethic. Members of the faculty from the University of Chicago will offer responses. 

Interfaith Forum: A day of practical break-out sessions that will take, for inspiration, the academic conference’s conversations about the Global Ethic and social issues (attendance at the conference is not required). Together, participants will identify one or more social-justice issues in the Chicago area of greatest concern and develop concrete, interfaith plans to address them. The Parliament of the World’s Religions will take up these ideas and bring participants together for future action. 

For more information, please contact the organizer of both events, Myriam Renaud: .

All programs are free and open to the public.

ACADEMIC CONFERENCE | Grappling with the Global Ethic: Multi-Religious Perspectives on Global Issues

Keynote Speaker: Sumner B. Twiss, Distinguished Professor of Human Rights, Ethics, and Religion, Florida State University. 


Samaneh Oladi Ghadikolaei, Assistant Professor of Islamic Studies, Virginia Commonwealth University 

"Women’s Religious Authority in Shiʿi Tradition: A Quest for Justice"

Respondent: Alireza Doostdar, Assistant Professor of Islamic Studies and the Anthropology of Religion, University of Chicago

Hille Haker, Richard A. McCormick, S.J. Chair of Catholic Moral Theology, Loyola University Chicago 

"Decolonizing Religion(s) – A New Direction for the Global Ethic"
Respondent: Richard B. Miller, Laura Spelman Rockefeller Professor of Religious Ethics, University of Chicago

Teresia_Hinga.jpgTeresia Hinga, Associate Professor of Religious Studies, Santa Clara University 

"Grappling Towards a Global Ethic: Tapping the Moral Wisdom of Africa's Triple (Plus) Heritage of Religion"

Respondent: Ralph A. Austen, Professor Emeritus of African History, African Studies, University of Chicago

Unknown_0.jpegHsiao-Lan Hu, Associate Professor of Religious Studies, and Women’s and Gender Studies, University of Detroit Mercy

"Networking as Equals? Engaged Buddhists' Egalitarian Ideals and Hierarchical Habits"

Respondent: Paul Copp, Associate Professor in Chinese Religion and Thought, East Asian Languages & Civilizations, University of Chicago

Rosalyn LaPier.jpgRosalyn LaPier, Associate Professor of Environmental Studies, University of Montana 

"Protest as Pilgrimage: From Idle No More to Standing Rock"

Respondent: Sarah Fredericks, Assistant Professor of Environmental Ethics, University of Chicago


Amanda-Mbuvi4-683x1024_1.jpegAmanda Mbuvi, Assistant Professor of Religion, High Point University
"Avadim Hayinu: An Intersectional Jewish Perspective on the Global Ethic of Solidarity"

Respondent: David Gottlieb, Ph.D. Candidate in the History of Judaism, University of Chicago

Martin Nguyen.jpgMartin Nguyen, Associate Professor of Religious Studies; Director of the Islamic World Studies Minor Program; Faculty Chair for Diversity, Fairfield University

"The Ethical Paradigm of the Stranger: The Displaced, the Disenfranchised, and the Islamic Prophetic"

Respondent: Franklin Lewis, Associate Professor of Persian Language & Literature; Chair of the Department of Near Eastern Languages & Civilizations, University of Chicago 

Scott-Paeth1-769x1024.jpgScott R. Paeth, Associate Professor of Religious Studies, Peace, Justice & Conflict Studies, DePaul University

"Globalization, Global Ethics, and the Common Good: Economic Justice and Prophetic Proclamation"

Respondent: Kristine A. Culp, Associate Professor of Theology; Dean of the Disciples Divinity House, University of Chicago

Anantanand Rambachan.jpegAnantanand Rambachan, Professor of Religion, Philosophy and Asian Studies, Saint Olaf College

"Are There Principles In The Hindu Tradition 'Consonant With Liberty, Equality and Fraternity?'"

Respondent: Wendy Doniger, Mircea Eliade Distinguished Service Professor of the History of Religions, University of Chicago 

Huaiyu_Wang_2014.jpgHuaiyu Wang, Associate Professor of Philosophy and Liberal Studies, Georgia College & State University

"Gu Hongming and the Religion of Good Citizenship: A Confucian Vision beyond Moral and Cultural Relativism"
Respondent: Brook A. Ziporyn, Professor of Chinese Religion, Philosophy, and Comparative Thought, University of Chicago

William Schweiker, Edward L. Ryerson Distinguished Service Professor of Theological Ethics and Director of Graduate Studies, will moderate as well as offer a response and closing comments on Monday (April 23).

Richard B. Miller, Laura Spelman Rockefeller Professor of Religious Ethics, will moderate as well as offer a response and closing comments on Tuesday (April 24).

Presenters and respondents will be introduced by University of Chicago graduate students.

  • David Barr, Ph.D. Candidate in Religious Ethics, will introduce Rosalyn LaPier and Sarah Fredericks.
  • Brett Colasacco, Ph.D. Candidate in Religion, Literature, and Visual Culture, will introduce Amanda Mbuvi, David Gottlieb, Anantanand Rambachan, and Wendy Doniger.
  • Matthew Justin Creighton, Ph.D. Candidate in Religion, Literature, and Visual Culture, researched the introductions for Anantanand Rambachan and Wendy Doniger.
  • Eunyoung Hwang, Ph.D. Candidate in Religious Ethics, will introduce Huaiyu Wang and Brook Ziporyn.
  • Michael Le Chevallier, Ph.D. Candidate in Religious Ethics, will introduce Hille Haker and Richard B. Miller.
  • Herbert Lin, Ph.D. Candidate in Religious Eethics, will introduce Scott Paeth and Kristine Culp.
  • Samantha Pellegrino, Ph.D. Student in Islamic Studies, will introduce Samaneh Oladi Ghadikolaei and Alireza Doostdar.
  • Foster J. Pinkney, Ph.D. Student in Religious Ethics, will introduce William Schweiker, Hsiao-Lan Hu, and Paul Copp.
  • Jawad Qureshi, Ph.D. Candidate in Islamic Studies, will introduce Martin Nguyen and Franklin Lewis.
  • Colin Weaver, Ph.D. Student in Religious Ethics, will introduce Teresia Hinga and Ralph Austen.
Keynote Speaker Sumner B. Twiss

Sumner B TwissSumner B. Twiss is the Distinguished Professor of Human Rights, Ethics, and Religion at Florida State University, where he holds a joint appointment between the Department of Religion and the Center for the Advancement of Human Rights. He is also Professor Emeritus of Religious Studies at Brown University, where he served on the faculty for thirty years and as department chair for twelve. He is the co-author or co-editor of ten books (as well as a contributor to them), and the author of over seventy published articles in the areas of comparative religious ethics, biomedical ethics, philosophy of religion, global ethics, intercultural human rights, and the comparative study of just war.  He is former co-editor of the Journal of Religious Ethics (2001-2011) and the Annual of the Society of Christian Ethics (1995-2001), as well as former senior editor of the book series Advancing Human Rights (2003-2008). His most recent books are: Religion and Public Policy: Human Rights, Conflict, and Ethics (co-editor, with R. Petersen and M. Simion, and contributor; Cambridge University Press, 2015); Chinese Just War Ethics: Origin, Development, and Dissent (co-editor, with P.C. Lo, and co-author of three chapters; Routledge, U.K., 2015); and The Practices of Global Ethics: Historical Developments, Current Issues, and Future Prospects (co-author with F. Bird et al; Edinburgh University Press, 2016). His recent teaching and publications have focused on such topics as: Confucian moral and political thought; crimes against humanity and international criminal justice; the law and ethics of torture; religion, politics, and genocide; the history and ethics of humanitarian intervention.


This conference is sponsored by The Parliament of the World's Religions. 


  • The Martin Marty Center for the Public Understanding of Religion
  • The Center for East Asian Studies (University of Chicago)
  • The Greenberg Center for Jewish Studies (University of Chicago)
  • A Center for Christian-Muslim Relations for Peace and Justice (Lutheran School of Theology)
  • The InterReligious Institute (Chicago Theological Seminary)

Persons with a disability who need an accommodation to attend this event, please call Sandra Peppers in advance: 773-702-8219.

Image: Creative Commons/Flickr. Credit: NASA. Midwestern U.S. at Night With Aurora Borealis (NASA, International Space Station, 09/29/11).