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This Year



Fourth UIS Public Policy Summit to examine politics and religion

June 1, 2006

SPRINGFIELD – "Politics and Religion: Conflict and Coexistence at Home and Abroad" is the topic of the fourth annual Public Policy Summit, to be held Tuesday, June 20, at the University of Illinois at Springfield. The event is sponsored by UIS' Center for State Policy and Leadership and is open to the public. The afternoon and evening sessions are free; however, the luncheon session requires advance registration.

Dr. Diana Eck

Dr. Diana Eck of Harvard University, author of A New Religious America: How a "Christian Country" Has Become the World’s Most Religiously Diverse Nation, will give the luncheon keynote address beginning at 11:45 a.m. in Public Affair Center conference room C/D. Dr. Eck's topic will be "Religious Pluralism: Civic and Political Issues in a New Religious America." Cost of the luncheon is $8 for UIS students, faculty, and staff with valid ID; $12 for the general public. Advance payment is required. To make a reservation, call 206-7163 by June 13; after that date, call for availability.

In the afternoon, a panel discussion on "Islam in America," led by UIS Associate Professor of Economics Baker Siddiquee, will be held from 2 to 3:30 p.m. in PAC conference room G.

Dr. Noah Feldman

Dr. Noah Feldman of New York University, author of Divided by God: America’s Church-State Problem and What We Should Do about It, will deliver the evening keynote address beginning at 7:30 p.m. in the PAC Studio Theatre. Dr. Feldman's topic will be "Iraq, Islam, and Democracy." This session is co-sponsored by the World Affairs Council of Central Illinois.

Copies of A New Religious America and Divided by God will be available in the UIS bookstore and both Dr. Eck and Dr. Feldman will be available for book-signings after they speak.

This year's summit is being held in conjunction with the Public Affairs Colloquia "Politics and Religion: Conflict and Coexistence at Home and Abroad," offered online during the summer term by five UIS faculty as a team-taught, multidisciplinary course. CSPL Interim Executive Director Barbara Ferrara noted that the Center commissioned the development of the course for the express purpose of pairing the Summit with a PAC course.

At Harvard, Diana Eck is Professor of Comparative Religion and Indian Studies, Fredric Wertham Professor of Law and Psychiatry in Society, and a member of the Department of Sanskrit and Indian Studies as well as the Faculty of Divinity.

Related sites

UIS Center for State Policy & Leadership
Live webcast of Summit events

Since 1991, she has directed the Pluralism Project, a Harvard-based research team that explores the new religious diversity of the United States and its meaning for the American pluralist experiment. In 1996, she was appointed to a U.S. State Department Advisory Committee on Religious Freedom Abroad, charged with advising the Secretary of State on enhancing and protecting religious freedom in the overall context of human rights. In 1998, she received the National Humanities Medal from President Clinton and the National Endowment for the Humanities for her work on American religious pluralism.

Her books include A New Religious America (Harper San Francisco 2001), Encountering God: A Spiritual Journey from Bozeman to Banaras (Beacon Press 1993), Banaras, City of Light (Knopf 1982), and Darsan: Seeing the Divine Image in India (Anima 1981; Columbia University Press 1996).

Noah Feldman is Professor of Law at the NYU School of Law, where he specializes in constitutional studies, with particular emphasis on the relationship between law and religion, constitutional design, and the history of legal theory. In 2003 he served as senior constitutional advisor to the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq, and subsequently advised members of the Iraqi Governing Council on the drafting of the Transitional Administrative Law or interim constitution.

He was a Carnegie Scholar for 2005-06 and is a contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine and an adjunct senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. From 1998 to 1999, he served as a law clerk to Justice David H. Souter of the U.S. Supreme Court and before that, from 1997 to 1998, served in a similar capacity to Chief Judge Harry T. Edwards of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.

He is the author of three books: Divided by God: America’s Church-State Problem and What We Should Do About It (Farrar, Straus & Giroux 2005); What We Owe Iraq: War and the Ethics of Nation-Building (Princeton University Press 2004); and After Jihad: America and the Struggle for Islamic Democracy (Farrar, Straus & Giroux 2003).

For those unable to attend in person, Summit events can be viewed via live webcast at www.uis.edu/technology/uislive.html. For more information, go to the Center for State Policy and Leadership website at www.cspl.uis.edu, or call 217/206-6576.


    The University of Illinois at Springfield, one of three U of I campuses, is a small, public liberal arts university that offers 42 degree programs – 21 bachelor’s, 20 master’s, and the Doctorate of Public Administration. UIS has a special mission in public affairs and service and is known for extraordinary internships, a wireless campus, extensive online offerings, and a commitment to teaching.