Interfaith Engagement and Positive Peace: What Works and What is Missing

a public lecture co-organised by


IAIS Malaysia


The Malaysian Institute of Development and Asian Studies (MiDAS) @ UCSI University


Speaker: Katherine Marshall, Executive Director, World Faiths Development Dialogue (WFDD), Berkley Centre, Georgetown University, USA.


Moderator: Professor Dr. Mohammad Hashim Kamali, Founding Chairman & CEO, IAIS Malaysia.


Co-moderator: Dr. K J John, Founding Director, MiDAS@UCSI University.


Venue: IAIS Malaysia


Katherine Marshall has worked for over three decades on issues facing the world’s poorest countries. She is a senior fellow at Georgetown's Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs. She led the World Bank's work on social policy and governance during the East Asia crisis years.

Ms. Marshall is the Executive Director of the World Faiths Development Dialogue (WFDD). She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. She served as a core group member of the Council of 100, an initiative of the World Economic Forum to advance understanding between the Islamic World and the West.

Ms. Marshall has degrees from Wellesley College and Princeton University. Her publications include The World Bank: from Reconstruction to Development to Equity and Development and Faith: Where Mind, Heart and Soul Work Together.



Katherine Marshall’s presentation was chaired by Professor Dr. M. Hashim Kamali (Founding Chairman & CEO – IAIS­Malaysia); and co-moderated by Emeritus Professor Dato’ Osman Bakar (Deputy CEO – IAIS) and by Dr. K J John (Founding Director – The Malaysian Institute of Development and Asian Studies, UCSI University).


Dr. Marshall gave a succinct overview of major trends in ‘Peace Studies’ and ‘Development’ within Euro-American academic, civic and international institutions & organizations. Reframing paradigms in ‘Western’ thinking now awards greater attention to religion and spiritual needs, thereby transforming our understanding of what Human Security actually entails. Peace-building comprises actively continuous efforts towards humanizing healthy communities—reflected in concerns about social justice, climate change, or conflict resolution. Two main aspects of this engagement demand attention: ­theological and intellectual grounding oriented toward pluralism and reciprocal exchange; ­the realm of praxis oriented around political realities by working to resolve common problems together, forging mutual recognition and pragmatic acknowledgement.


She rapidly reviewed a wide variety of efforts reflecting both aspects – from the Earth charter, to Global Ethics, to the Common Word initiative – suggesting intensified attention and energy be directed along these directions. Policies should be crafted with a deepened sense of what human security implies. Urgently required is Basic Knowledge of the ‘other’ as well as intelligent religious literacy. This might help dispel the abuse and manipulation of religion in popular imagination through ignorance and fear. / The keen interest of her listeners was evidenced by many insightful questions and detailed answers.

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