Towns Lecture at Allegheny College: John Esposito Will Speak on “Building Bridges: Protecting Pluralism, Ending Islamophobia”

Sept. 18, 2015 — John Esposito, University Professor and Professor of Religion and International Affairs and of Islamic Studies at Georgetown University, will deliver the annual Towns Family Lecture at Allegheny College. Esposito will speak on “Building Bridges: Protecting Pluralism, Ending Islamophobia” at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 29 in the Tillotson Room of the Tippie Alumni Center.

In addition, he will offer a workshop, “The Future of Islam and Democracy after the Arab Spring,” from 3 to 4:30 p.m. on Sept. 29 in Room 303 of the Campus Center. Both the lecture and the workshop are free and open to the public.

Esposito is founding director of the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding (ACMCU) and the project director of the Bridge Initiative, a multi-year research project that connects the academic study of Islamophobia with the public square. Their goal is to highlight the problem of Islamophobia, challenge the discourses that contribute to it and offer an alternative narrative based on research accessible to the public in order to build strong pluralistic societies that ensure human dignity and civil liberties.

Esposito has been honored with the American Academy of Religion’s Martin E. Marty Award for the Public Understanding of Religion, Pakistan’s Quaid-i-Azzam Award for Outstanding Contributions in Islamic Studies and the Walsh School of Foreign Service’s Award for Outstanding Teaching.

The Towns Family Lectureship in Practical Ethics was established at Allegheny College with gifts from Thelma and John W. Towns Jr. in 1992, in honor of his mother, Helen Davis Towns, class of 1920. John Towns is an alumnus of the college, class of 1950. The lectureship provides a forum for encouraging informed ethical decision-making among Allegheny students by bringing to the Allegheny campus notable experts on moral choice within the Jewish, Christian and Islamic traditions.