Ansari Institute Strategic Plan 

The strategic plan outlines the institute's vision, mission, and values and explores its important work, which includes research, teaching, outreach, and interaction with religious communities, faith and civic leaders, academics and journalists, and the general public. 

In addition, the plan takes a deeper look at the institute's hopeful and inclusive approach, which includes an emphasis on narrative empathy that seeks to engages people of good will across multiple traditions and disciplines in support of human dignity. 

Read the Strategic Plan

Ansari Institute Constitution

The institute's constitution outlines how it is governed, and the important roles that stakeholders such as its advisory board and faculty fellows play in its ongoing success. 

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Ansari Institute: Select Programs and Publications (2018-2023)

The Ansari Institute for Global Engagement with Religion was established at the University of Notre Dame in 2017 and was inaugurated in 2018. Since then, the Institute has initiated, organized, and engaged in a number of important conversations about religion and the world as it should be. This booklet will highlight select publications and programs from the Institute’s first five years, along with recent and past publications of faculty affiliated with the institute.

Crossroad of Religion

Religion Beyond Memes Conference Report

This conference report is based on the third of a series of conferences dedicated to “Changing the Conversation about Religion,” organized by the Contending Modernities research initiative within the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, part of the University of Notre Dame’s Keough School of Global Affairs.

The “Religion Beyond Memes: Enhancing Public Discourse About Faith and Practice" conference, which was held in Washington DC in October 2019, sought to explore the complexities of religion at a time when a cascade of social media platforms shapes how people practice their faiths. Conference participants analyzed how religion has been represented in and beyond the news media, pondered what to make of distorted representations of religion, and discussed how to counteract unbalanced representations of religious groups, movements, and individuals. This report summarizes those discussions and analysis.

Read the Conference Report

Inaugural Conference Publications

The institute's inaugural conference in 2018 took a close look at the ambivalent role of religion in the present-day migration and ecological crises, as well as in the public discourses of media misinformation. 


“Engaging Religion: Inaugurating the Ansari Institute”
(Thomas Tweed, founding director of the Ansari Institute)


“The Reed Laments: Ecology in Muslim Thought”
(Nosheen Ali, New York University)

“The Preferential Options for the Earth and the Poor: The Task and Contribution of Theology”
(Daniel P. Castillo, Loyola University Maryland)

“The Spiritual Leadership of Sentient Landscapes: Health, Collective Ethics, and Environmental Justice in Peru”
(Ana Mariella Bacigalupo, University of Buffalo)

“Media and Madrasa: Between Rhetoric and Reality”
(Mahan Mirza, University of Notre Dame)

“Covering Jerusalem: In Search of Journalistic Religious Literacy”
(Jolyon Mitchell, University of Edinburgh)

“Between Despair and Hope: Religious Actors and the Challenges of Forced Migration”
(Erin K. Wilson, University of Groningen)

Graduate Student Essays

“Border-Crossers: Interrogating Boundaries through Bodies”
(Lailatul Fitriyah, Notre Dame)

“Sustainable Resources: Reimagining our Relationship with the Earth”
(Marie-Claire Klassen, Notre Dame)

The Role of Religious Engagement in Implementing the Global Fragility Act

Authors: Gerard PowersEbrahim MoosaR. Scott Appleby

Publication info: Keough School of Global Affairs, September 2020

Full text: Read the full report at

The bipartisan Global Fragility Act of 2019 mandates strategic coordination across the federal government to strengthen the capacity of the United States to prevent violence and increase stability in areas of the world most vulnerable to conflict. Key agencies must jointly establish a comprehensive 10-year “Global Fragility Strategy” and select priority countries and regions in which to implement the strategy. Among its requirements, the strategy must identify approaches to engage “civil society and local partners in the design, implementation and monitoring of [US] programs.”

To effectively fulfill the act's local engagement directives, the US Government must recognize the cultural, social, and political role of religion and religious actors in the countries and regions selected for implementation. This paper explains in detail what effective engagement with religious actors requires. 

Faculty from the Keough School and two of its institutes—the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies and the Ansari Institute—contributed to this report.