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Setting the Standard Symposium: Embrace Religious Diversity

Three major events will take place on the University of San Diego campus over the span of two days, this Thursday and Friday, February 1-2. The three events, according to USD President James T. Harris III, DEd, will form the inaugural Setting the Standard Symposium.

“It is designed to catalyze meaningful dialogue around what it means to set the standard for an engaged, contemporary Catholic university,” President Harris said. “The symposium will help us explore a campus wide conversation on how best to proceed on our path to the forefront of Catholic higher education.”

The three events are: The All Faith Service (12:15 p.m., Shiley Theatre, Feb. 1), a faculty keynote address by Dr. Miroslav Volf, the Henry B. Wright Professor of Systematic Theology, and founding director of the Yale Center for Faith and Culture (4 p.m., Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice Theatre, Feb. 1) and a student leaders breakfast talk titled, “What is a Life Worth Living?” (8:45 a.m., Feb. 2).

The All Faith Service, held each year at the start of the spring semester since 1994, brings together in prayer the leaders of faith communities, faculty, staff, students, alumni and friends. Integral to the Catholic identity of USD is a respect for the individual religious traditions represented in its community. The Catholic Church acknowledges what is true and holy in these various religions, and though beliefs differ, the church realizes that these faith traditions reflect, through different lenses, truths which enlighten all peoples. This year’s theme is “Reaching Beyond Ourselves: Flourishing Together in a Globalized World.”

Among the presenters at the All Faith Service will be Dr. Volf, who will offer a reflection on the Christian articulation of promoting human flourishing. Later Thursday, Dr. Volf’s faculty keynote address explores the major themes in his recent book, “Flourishing: Why we Need Religion in a Globalized World,” and how the world religions’ visions of human flourishing are a necessary moral compass in a globalizing world where cherished beliefs and values are often brought into conflict. He will also give personal reflections on what makes for a “Life Worth Living,” at the Friday breakfast event with student leaders.

Combined, these events present rich discussion and visual perspectives on religious diversity.

“Recognizing that our institutional commitment to welcome all faith traditions comes from the heart of what it means to be a Catholic university, the theme for our first year will be centered around embracing religious diversity,” President Harris said. “USD remains a place where all are welcomed and encouraged to live from their deepest beliefs, noblest convictions and in the spirit of our shared university values. It is only when we welcome and include all that we realize the full promise of what it truly means to be an engaged, contemporary Catholic university.”

All are welcome to attend the All Faith Service. Register now for the faculty keynote and the student leaders breakfast.

— Compiled by Ryan T. Blystone, USD News Center