LAMP Lectures and Seminars

LAMP offers lectures, seminars and workshops throughout the academic year on topics related to global leadership, religious diversity, multifaith understanding, and the intersections between science and religion.

Guy Consolmagno, Why Do We Look Up at the Heavens?

April 12, 2018, 7 - 9 P.M. Georgia Tech TSRB Building Auditorium, 85 5th Street, NW, Atlanta, GA 30308

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Event Details: A lecture by Guy Consolmagno, Director of the Vatican Observatory, at the Georgia Tech TSRB Building Auditorium.

Why did we go to the Moon? Why does the Vatican support an astronomical observatory? These questions mask a deeper question: why do individuals choose to spend their lives in pursuit of pure knowledge? The motivation behind our choices, both as individuals and  as a society, controls the sorts of science that gets done. It determines the kinds of answers that are found to be satisfying. And ultimately, it affects the way in which we think of ourselves.

Speaker Bio: Guy Consolmagno, SJ is a brother in the Roman Catholic Society of Jesus (the Jesuits), working since 1993 as an astronomer and meteorite specialist at the Specola Vaticana  (Vatican Observatory), located in the Papal summer gardens outside Rome. Since 2014 he has been president of the Vatican Observatory Foundation, which supports the  work of the Observatory and especially its 1.8 meter Vatican Advanced Technology Telescope (VATT) in Arizona. In September of 2015 he was named Director of the Vatican Observatory by Pope Francis. Consolmagno's research explores connections between meteorites, asteroids, and the evolution of small solar system bodies. Along with more than 200 scientific publications, he is the author of a number of popular books, including: Turn Left at Orion (with Dan Davis), and most recently, Would You Baptize an Extraterrestrial? (with Fr. Paul Mueller, S.J.). He also has hosted science programs for BBC Radio 4, has been interviewed in numerous documentary films, and writes a monthly science column for the British Catholic magazine, "The Tablet" 


Religion and State: Islamic and Jewish Perspectives from Antiquity to the Modern World

March 26, 2018, 12:00-1:00 P.M. Candler School of Theology at Emory University, Pitts Library Lecture Room 360 (1532 Dickey Drive, Atlanta, GA 30322)

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Watch the video of Dr. Pill's Lecture here

Speaker Bio: Dr. Shlomo C. Pill is Visiting Assistant Professor of Islamic, Jewish, and American Religion and Law at Emory University's Candler School of Theology. Pill's research and teaching focuses on Judaism and Islam, with a special focus on these faiths as normative legal traditions, as well as on American law and legal theory as it pertains to the separation of church and state, religious freedom, and the construction of religious communities and institutions in the United States. A licensed attorney and ordained rabbi, Pill's work brings a wider perspective to Candler's core Christian education by providing students with foundation understandings of the American legal and political context in which they will live and work, and of the practices, philosophies, and commitments of the Jewish and Muslim communities that make up an important part of America's religious plurality. Pill is the founding Director of the Institute for Jewish Muslim Action (IJMA), a policy-action group building cooperative relationships between American Jews and Muslims through educational programming, policy research, and political and legal advocacy on issues of mutual interest in American public life. Building on his experience in leveraging common interests to promote dialogue, understanding, and cooperation between different religious groups, Pill provides support for Candler's Leadership and Multifaith Program. In addition to his roles at Candler, Dr. Pill is a Senior Fellow at the Center for the Study of Law and Religion at Emory Law School, and an instructor at Emory's Tam Institute for Jewish Studies. A frequent lecturer at universities and religious communities around the United States and abroad, Pill is the author of more than a dozen scholarly articles, and is working on two books, one on the jurisprudence of the late 19th rabbinic luminary, Rabbi Yechiel Michel Epstein, and another on the separation of political and religious authority and law in rabbinic thought and practice.


Hrair Balian, The Mahboobeh and Parviz Izadi Lecture on Intercultural Peace

November 14, 2017, 3:30 - 6 p.m. Historic Academy of Medicine, 875 W. Peachtree Street NW, Atlanta, GA 30309

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Watch the video of Mr. Balian's lecture here

Event Details: Mr. Balian spoke on The Carter Center's work in Syria, the principles that guide the Center's work, and the broader challenges of peace-building in Syria.

Speaker Bio: Hrair Balian joined The Carter Center in 2008 as director of the Conflict Resolution Program. Balian oversees the program's efforts to monitor conflicts around the world and coordinates the Center's cross-program efforts in the Middle East. He is also an adjunct professor at the Emory University Law School, teaching an advanced international negotiations seminar.

Since 1991, Balian has worked in the Balkans, Eastern Europe, the independent states emerging from the former Soviet Union, the Middle East, and Africa, serving in intergovernmental organizations (the United Nations and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe) and nongovernmental organizations (International Crisis Group and others). He has worked on elections, human rights, and conflict resolution. Balian received his Juris Doctor degree from Golden Gate University in San Francisco. In May 2009, the New England College awarded Balian the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, for his "lifetime commitment to the dignity, respect, and self-determination of all peoples" and for his "uncompromising effort to resolve international conflicts." He is fluent in English, French, and Armenian, with a basic knowledge of Arabic. He was born and raised in Lebanon, and moved to the United States in 1970.


Imam Abdullah Antepli, "Interfaith Leadership for the 21st Century"

November 1, 2017, 11 a.m. - 8:30 p.m.

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Watch the video recording of Abdullah Antepli's lecture, "Between Fear and Hope: The Future of Interfaith Engagement"

Event Details: What is the future for interfaith engagement in an increasingly diverse and politically polarized American society? What challenges will religious and civic leaders face as the 21st century progresses? What steps should young people in Atlanta take to develop enduring and meaningful multifaith relations? Candler School of Theology at Emory University and the Wilbur and Hilda Glenn Family Foundation hosted two events on November 1, 2017, that explored the challenges and opportunities for interfaith initiatives in Atlanta and across the United States. Students, young professionals, clergy, and members of the Atlanta community attended a lunchtime lecture and an evening dinner workshop with Imam Abdullah Antepli, Chief Representative of Muslim Affairs at Duke University.

11:00 AM-12:45 PM - Lunch Lecture

  • "Between Fear and Hope: The Future of Interfaith Engagement"
  • Candler School of Theology, RARB 252

6:30-8:30 PM: Dinner Workshop

  • "Dismantling Bias and Hate: Steps for Building Meaningful Multifaith Relations"
  • Candler School of Theology, RARB 102 

John D. Cressler, "The Quest for Truth in a Technological Age: The Evolving Dialogue Between Science and Religion"

September 14, 2017, 7:00-8:00pm. Georgia Tech, Technology Square Research Building, Tech Square, 85 5th Street, NW, Atlanta, GA 30308.

''Event Details:  A lecture by Dr. John D. Cressler, Schlumberger Chair Professor and Ken Byers Teaching Fellow in Science and Religion at Georgia Tech's School of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

Dialogue between science and religion, while historically contentious, continues to evolve in fascinating ways, with one recent implication being that science and religion, when properly considered from a “convergence” perspective, is capable of producing the most complete and satisfying path forward in humanity’s quest for truth. Said another way, don’t think science OR religion, think science AND religion. In this presentation Dr. Cressler unpacked the fascinating evolving dialogue between science and religion, in a casual, friendly, approachable way, exposing attendees to the marvels of modern science (cosmology, biology, quantum theory) and what those discoveries mean for religion and the future of humanity.

Speaker Bio: John D. Cressler is one of Georgia Tech’s most decorated teachers, is well-known for his research in the field of SiGe devices, circuits and systems, is a dedicated mentor to both undergraduate and graduate students, is a leader in service to his profession and community, is the author of a number of seminal books (both technical and for general audiences), and most recently, is an historical novelist (love stories designed to break open the magic of medieval Muslim Spain for modern readers). Whew, scary huh?! Cressler is the Schlumberger Chair Professor in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering and the Ken Byers Teaching Fellow in Science and Religion at Georgia Tech. He received his B.S. from Georgia Tech and his Ph.D. from Columbia University. Cressler is also deeply interested in the interaction between science and religion, as well as interfaith dynamics, and he recently introduced a new course at Georgia Tech, a first of its kind, titled, “Science, Engineering and Religion: An Interfaith Dialogue,” which is also open to undergraduate students of all majors and years. 


Barbara A. McGraw, "Interfaith Leadership as Transforming Leadership."

April 18, 2017, 5:00-6:00pm. 

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Speaker Bio: Barbara A. McGraw is Professor of Social Ethics, Law, and Public life in the School of Liberal Arts and School of Economics and Business Administration at St. Mary’s College of California. She also directs the Center for Engaged Religious Pluralism at St. Mary’s. Dr. McGraw is editor of the prestigious Wiley-Blackwell Companion to Religion and Politics in the U.S. (2016).  She is lead co-editor (with Jo Renee Formicola) of Taking Religious Pluralism Seriously: Spiritual Politics on America's Sacred Ground, which is based on Dr. McGraw's earlier book entitled Rediscovering America’s Sacred Ground: Public Religion and Pursuit of the Good in a Pluralistic America.  She is also co-author (with Robert S. Ellwood) of Many Peoples, Many Faiths: Women and Men in the World Religions (2014). She holds a Juris Doctor Degree and a Ph.D. in Religion and Social Ethics, both from the University of Southern California.  Recipient of the Mahatma Gandhi Award for the Advancement of Religious Pluralism, Dr. McGraw also is a member of the Bar of the United States Supreme Court, an Affiliate of The Pluralism Project at Harvard University, and an activist for prison inmates' religious rights and for fair representation of the world's religions in California K-12 textbooks.


Abbas Barzegar, "Faith and Forced Migration: Muslim Humanitarianism in the Age of ISIS."

April 20, 2017, 1:00-2:15pm. Emory University, White Hall 112

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Event Details: Prolonged conflict in the Middle East stemming from political instability and the rise of extremist violence has positioned Muslim aid and development organizations at the nexus of a number of key elements related to conflict resolution and post-conflict stabilization in the short, medium and long terms. As first-responders with broad and deep grass-roots networks, Muslim humanitarian groups are often gatekeepers for a range of transnational actors operating in and around conflict zones and are uniquely situated to provide relief to the most vulnerable victims of war and forced migration. Unfortunately, there is a deep mistrust between Muslim NGOs and those based in Western contexts which has resulted in little to no cooperation between agencies that might otherwise have tremendous impact if they worked together. In partnership with the British Council and The European Commission and through field research, policy dialogues, and organizational research, Dr. Barzegar has explored the reasons behind this impasse and trajectories for resolution over the last two years. In this public talk and discussion, he shared his findings and insights on how Muslim humanitarian and development agencies are operating in the current political climate of mutual fear and suspicion. Co-sponsored with Emory University's Middle East and South Asian Studies Department, Graduate Division of Religion, and the Laney Legacy for Moral Leadership Program at Candler School of Theology.


"Inclusive Leadership in Refugee Resettlement Workshop."

November 1-2, 2016

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More About "Inclusive Leadership" Workshops


"Scaffolds for the Sacred: Interrogating the Role of Architecture in Generating Spiritual Experiences."

September 15, 2016, 12:00-6:30 P.M.

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"Scaffolds for the Sacred" Event Photos


"In Our Son's Name: Reconciliation in the Aftermath of Violence - Film Screening and Dinner Discussion with Filmmaker Gayla Jamiso"

September 8, 2016

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"Dignity and Freedom: Gandhi, King, and Mandela."

April 4, 2016

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More About "Dignity and Freedom"

Dr. Keshavjee Honored With the Gandhi-King-Ikeda Award for Peace

"Dignity and Freedom" Photo Gallery


"Evolution and Faith: What Is at Stake?"

March 29, 2016

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More About "Evolution and Faith: What Is at Stake?"

Video of "Evolution and Faith: What is at stake?"