The Religions in Conversation Conference centers in the affirmation that constructively critical interreligious dialogue is absolutely vital well beyond the confines of the so-called “ivory tower” and graduate-student classrooms, and that scholars of religion must find ways to bridge the barrier between the academy and those communities whose lived lives embody religious sensibilities and commitments. As such, this event has established an ongoing dialogical interaction between students, scholars, the School of Religion Councils, and the communities that those Councils represent.

Additionally, the conference aspires to show that such interactions are crucial to overcoming so many of the perennial religious, social, and political challenges facing citizens of planet earth in the twenty-first century. Indeed, we all have plenty to learn, not only about the traditions of individuals and groups who do not happen to share our own spiritual convictions, but genuinely from them as fellow human beings and participants in the numerous struggles, tensions, and paradoxes that often accompany a life of faith. Simply put, to be truly transformed in the face of the other requires wisdom, humility, and openness, and when it occurs, it is nothing short of profound, and anything but theoretical.