About the Symposium

The First Annual Symposium on Islam, Dialogue, and Sectarian De-Escalation at the Harvard Kennedy School has gathered a diversity of voices from leading scholars, religious authorities, civic community leaders, and policymakers alike to push forward analytical understanding and dialogue on the pressing topic of sectarianism in the Muslim world. From the rise of ISIS and militant extremism in the context of an eroding Arab state system to the intensification of the Iran-Saudi cold war in the wake of the nuclear agreement between Iran and world powers, the dire consequences of Shi’a-Sunni sectarianism and conflict—which can tear apart the societies of the Islamic world—have never been greater in modern history.

Now more than ever, dialogue both within the Islamic tradition and between different religious groups is critical for the future peace, stability, and prosperity of the Middle East, the broader Islamic world, and transnational Muslim communities across the globe, including in Europe and North America. In conjunction with serious attempts to place different Muslim faith traditions in conversation, it is equally pressing that the U.S. policy making world and scholarly community isobjectivelyinformed and knowledgeable of the relevant issues and perspectives at hand in order to make a positive impact on policy and enable the grounds for peaceful conflict resolution.

The symposium is convened by the Harvard Kennedy School Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs’ Iran Project and co-sponsored by Harvard’s Center for Middle East Studies, the Asia Center, the Alwaleed Islamic Studies Program, and the South Asia Institute.

For speaker and schedule information, visit event website.