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The Nagel Institute

Abraham's Children: Liberty and Tolerance in an Age of Religious Conflict

cover"Abraham's Children: Liberty and Tolerance in an Age of Religious Conflict" aims to generate a fresh conversation, based in religious sources, on religious toleration and freedom. It will enlist thought leaders with deep religious convictions to search their traditions, sharpen each others' thinking and expression, and go public with some powerful affirmations of religious tolerance. This is a planning and pilot initiative, consisting of four main parts:

1A book of essays by some of the world's most eminent religious and public affairs leaders, summoning religious perspectives to argue for religious tolerance and freedom. Contributors include the former U.S. president, Jimmy Carter; and the former president of Indonesia, Abdurrahman Wahid. This book will be published by Yale University Press and available in English, Arabic, Turkish and Indonesian languages. Essay Contributors.

2A conference in September, 2011, hosted in Washington, D.C., and featuring many of the book’s contributors and a variety of influential religious and political opinion shapers. This conference will help launch the book and set a public agenda for the ensuing project. Conference schedule.

3Documentary film. Geert Heetebrij ( has been commissioned to direct and produce kelly filming a documentary film on religious liberty. Heetebrig traveled with Project Director Kelly Clark to Turkey and Israel to scout sites and film interviews. He will film the 9/11 conference in DC.

4A planning effort to make initial preparations for public conventions in a variety of sites over the next few years: Nigeria (2012), Israel (2013), and Indonesia (2014).This effort will result in conference leadership and planning committees being formed in each site and developing the components of a detailed proposal for these multi-media events, which will be the focus of the planned second phase of this project.


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Liberty and Tolerance in an Age of Religious Conflict
September 8-11, 2011

Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs
Washington, DC

Small panels of scholars, journalists and activists from the United States and the nations of the Middle East (Turkey, Israel and Palestine, Iraq, and Jordan), led the conversations, and many in the sessions’ audiences spoke as well. Participants were Jews, Muslims and Christians, and they were asked to speak not so much from the canons of secular reason, but from the depths of their own traditions as they sought to make sense of their experiences with conflict, injustice and peace making. 

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Author Interview

Conference videos


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