ACLS Launches Program to Connect Scholars and Journalists around Role of Religion in World Affairs


The American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) announced this week that it has received a grant from The Henry Luce Foundation to launch a program that will build stronger connections between scholars of religion and journalists covering world affairs. The Luce/ACLS Program in Religion, Journalism & International Affairs is a two-pronged initiative that will offer an interrelated set of awards: programming grants for universities, and fellowships for scholars in the humanities and social sciences who study religion in international contexts.

“This new program was shaped by conversations with professional journalists and academic leaders from the humanities, social sciences, journalism, and public policy who attended planning meetings held by ACLS and the Luce Foundation earlier this year,” said John Paul Christy, director of Public Programs at ACLS. “Despite their diverse backgrounds, all of the participants felt that it was critically important to encourage more communication between scholars and journalists as they pursue their important – and complementary – work of exploring the role of religion in world affairs.”

The program is designed to foster collaboration between university grantees and the cohort of fellows. In January 2016, ACLS will issue a request for proposals to universities with strengths in the fields of religion, journalism and international affairs to extend their current programs in ways that catalyze interdisciplinary collaborations. ACLS will make grants of $60,000 to up to three institutions seeking to link scholarship on religion to journalism curricula, public programming, or research working groups.

The competition to select the first cohort of Luce/ACLS Religion, Journalism & International Affairs fellows will open in August 2016. ACLS will award up to six fellowships to scholars who will pursue research on any aspect of religion in an international context while also developing capacities to relate their work to conversations in public policy and the media. In addition, the program will convene fellows with select journalists and public policy experts at symposia during the fellowship year.

"It is inarguable that religion is a highly charged concept in the contemporary media landscape," Christy noted. "Our public discourse can only benefit from a greater contribution by scholars with in-depth knowledge."

For more information about the program, visit: Information about the RFP for programming grants for universities will be available in January 2016.

For more information about this program’s sponsor, the Henry R. Luce Initiative on Religion in International Affairs, visit: