December 16, 1999

"Causes and Cures: World Religions and World Conflicts" to be Topic of Charles P. Scott Symposium at Middlebury College on Jan. 6-7 -- Speakers Include Managing Editor of Foreign Affairs Magazine Fareed Zakaria

The relationship between conflict and religion is centuries old. How can religion help resolve disputes, rather than contribute to their cause?

This question is just one of many that will be a topic for discussion at Middlebury College's third annual Charles P. Scott Symposium, "Causes and Cures: World Religions and World Conflicts," scheduled for Jan. 6-7. A series of four lectures will explore ways the world's major religions have caused, contributed to, and helped resolve international conflicts. Six related lectures will also take place at Middlebury during January, following the symposium. All lectures are free and open to the public.

The symposium offers four guest lecturers, including Fareed Zakaria, managing editor of Foreign Affairs magazine, who will give a talk titled "Can Religion and Culture Explain International Affairs?" Douglas Johnston, president of the Washington, D.C.-based International Center for Religion and Diplomacy, will speak about "Religion and Statecraft."

Along with the symposium, a film screening and an additional series of six related lectures will take place throughout the month of January. Two of the six lectures will address conflict and religion in Bosnia, and the other four will focus on Africa, China, Indonesia and the Middle East.

Larry Yarbrough, professor and chair of the religion department at Middlebury College, organized the symposium, which this year has a unique connection to the College's January term--a three-and-a-half week, mid-winter session of study held between the fall and spring semesters. According to Yarbrough, faculty designed the curriculum for the College's upcoming January term so that nine of the 117 courses offered pertain to religion and conflict. Students taking any one of these nine courses also will participate in the two-day symposium led by a nationally recognized group of scholars.

"Because each student takes one course in January, he or she truly can explore a single subject from multiple angles," said Yarbrough.

The courses reflect the numerous ways religion and conflict are related--across many different cultures and in many different times--and involve faculty from the religion department and other disciplines. Students can choose from academic offerings as diverse as a history course titled "Women and Gender in India" to a religion course titled "Waging Peace: Religious Conflict and Non-Violent Resistance in American Culture." One interdepartmental course titled "Religion and Conflict in Modern Europe" will take its 30 students to spend the term in Salzburg, Austria. Their activities in Salzburg will include a trip to the site of the World War II concentration camp at Dachau, and a presentation from a psychologist who works in a refugee camp in the former Yugoslavia. These students will also be able to participate in the Scott Symposium--all four lectures will be broadcast in Salzburg electronically from the College.

This year's Scott Symposium "Causes and Cures: World Religions and World Conflicts" is one in a series of academic symposia that are a central part of Middlebury College's Bicentennial celebration. At each event, experts from areas in government, business, academia, and other fields join Middlebury faculty to address current and future issues related to education, international affairs, religion, and other topics.


Middlebury College Charles P. Scott Symposium: "Causes and Cures: World Religions and World Conflicts." The four Scott Symposium lectures will take place in Room 216 of Bicentennial Hall on Bicentennial Way off College Street (Route 125):


10 a.m. "Can Religion and Culture Explain International Affairs?" -- Fareed Zakaria, managing editor of Foreign Affairs magazine

1:30 p.m. "Human Rights, Religion, and U.S. Foreign Policy: A Retrospective" -- Olin C. Robison, president and chief executive officer of the Salzburg Seminar, and president emeritus of Middlebury College


10 a.m. "Religion and Nation: Competitors or Reinforcers" -- Walker Connor, scholar-in-residence at Middlebury College

1:30 p.m. "Religion and Statecraft" -- Douglas M. Johnston, president of the International Center for Religion and Diplomacy in Washington, D.C.

Related Lectures and Film Screening. The six related lectures listed below will take place in the Robert A. Jones Seminar Room of the Geonomics Center on Hillcrest Road, off College Street (Route 125). The film screening will take place in Dana Auditorium of the Sunderland Language Center on College Street (Route 125):


5 p.m. Lecture on conflict and religion in China: Yang Xiao, graduate faculty at New School University


5 p.m. Lecture on conflict and religion in Indonesia: David Rosenberg, professor of political science at Middlebury College


8 p.m. Film: "Bosnia: We Are All Neighbors" (Tone Bringa, 1993), Dana Auditorium of the Sunderland Language Center on College Street (Route 125)


5 p.m. Lecture on conflict and religion in Bosnia: Jacques Rupnik, director of research, Center for International Studies and Research of the National Foundation for Political Science, in Paris

8 p.m. Lecture on conflict and religion in Bosnia: Olga Botchorova, adjunct fellow, Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C.


5 p.m. Lecture on conflict and religion in Africa: Jan Love, associate professor and graduate director of international studies at the University of South Carolina


5 p.m. Lecture on conflict and religion in the Middle East: Marc Gopin, adjunct professor at the Fletcher School for Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University