About the LAMP Initiative

A collaboration of the Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts at Georgia Institute of Technology and the Candler School of Theology at Emory University, the Leadership and Multifaith Program (LAMP) is made possible through the generous support of H. Bruce McEver, The Foundation for Religious Literacy, and The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations. The program launched in February of 2015 with its inaugural symposium, “Compassion and Leadership in a Multifaith World.” In the 2015-2016 academic year, LAMP introduced new course offerings in interreligious literacy and multifaith relations for Georgia Tech and Emory students and held its second symposium on "Food, Farming, and Faith" in March of 2016. The third annual LAMP symposium on February 6, 2017, "Asylum, Refuge, and Relocation," will center on multifaith and community responses to global migration.

The LAMP Vision

With the far-reaching religious pluralization of the contemporary United States, people of many different faiths (or no faith commitment) spend more time together on a daily basis than at any previous period in American history. Schools, hospitals, businesses, recreational facilities, and shopping malls have all become multifaith spaces, yet we often do not understand each other’s sense of personal or social identity, religious or spiritual sensibilities, or the communal or institutional practices we may individually embrace. Although there many pockets of productive efforts in multifaith understanding and community building in Atlanta and the Southeast, considerable work remains to be done, particularly among those who hold positions of leadership and influence in government, business, the nonprofit sector, the health sector, educational arenas, and religious communities. The challenge remains to develop and sustain positive means for interacting with one another and for working across boundaries to sustain strong communities, a vibrant nation, and a peaceful and prosperous world.

Together, the Candler School of Theology and the Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts endeavor to make a meaningful difference as we face this complex challenge. We seek to identify our successes and keep these efforts in positive motion; to increase multifaith understanding as we make progress in building that rather elusive “beloved community”; to strengthen the qualities of leadership across our multiple sectors of engagement so that we might enhance the capacity of our city and region to contribute to the common good. There is no singular challenge more compelling as the charge of discerning how we can live, learn, and lead peacefully, productively, and well in the complex, multifaith world of the 21st century.

Program Goals

Through this collaboration, the Ivan Allen College and Candler School of Theology will focus on:

  • Providing a more coherent mechanism for enhancing the leadership skills and cultural experiences of students at both institutions
  • Developing innovative undergraduate and graduate courses and curricula designed to offer students a deeper understanding of the major faith traditions in local and global scope and, in support of their development as leaders/future leaders, frameworks for well-informed personal and professional decision-making that are ethically and socially conscious, and culturally and historically well-grounded
  • Developing innovative analytical, methodological, and operational approaches that support peace and cooperation in cross-community engagement, with particular attention to the development of operational tools to connect research and education to strategic action
  • Organizing public programming to engage multiple stakeholders in developing a deeper understanding of others and to share strategies for positive interactions

People

  • Jacqueline Jones Royster
    Dean, Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts
    Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Jan Love
    Dean, Candler School of Theology
    Emory University
  • Deanna Ferree Womack
    LAMP Director and Assistant Professor of History of Religions and Multifaith Relations at Candler School of Theology
    Spring 2017 LAMP Course: Global Religions and Community Engagement
  • John D. Cressler
    Schlumberger Chair Professor in Electronics, School of Electrical and Computer Engineering
    Georgia Institute of Technology
    Spring 2017 LAMP Course: Science, Engineering, and Religion: An Interfaith Dialogue
  • Kenneth J. Knoespel
    McEver Professor of Engineering and the Liberal Arts
    Georgia Institute of Technology