Religion and Politics: Past Events

Main events sponsored by the Dartmouth Centers Forum

The DCF hosted three main events in the "Religion and Politics" series: a panel discussing religion, politics, and the media; a presentation of competing perspectives on the motivations of suicide terrorism; and a presentation on academic freedoms and scholarship.  Two additional events were hosted by the Rockefeller Center in support of the theme.

"Religion, Politics, and the Media"
May 1, 2006

The program was described as follows:
"The dawn of the 21st century is witnessing an explosion in religious observance and spiritual curiosity around the world. Groups who previously co-existed are becoming increasingly separate from their neighbors of different faiths. What does this phenomenon mean for civil society? How are we to balance tolerance with ethical absolutes? And does this trend show signs of slowing, or increasing? Why are so many young adults turning to conservative religious traditions?"

Panelists included:

  • David VanBiema, senior religion writer for Time Magazine
  • Phillipe Gelie, Senior Correspondent for LeFigaro

The moderator for the discussion was Aine Donovan, Executive Director of the Ethics Institute

"Dying by Design"
February 10, 2006

"This public event, sponsored by the Dickey Center War and Peace Studies Program, featured two perspectives on the motivations of suicide terrorists. In this discussion between noted academic, Robert Pape and Ram Sadi, a former counter-terrorist operative who infiltrated terrorist cells, Pape argued that terrorist groups in the world all have a strategic logic unassociated with religion, which is to rid their territory of a perceived foreign occupier. Sidi, who has in the past infiltrated such groups, argued that in his experience, religion was the central motivation." The Dartmouth.

Click here for the full article on the event.

Panelists included:
Robert A. Pape
Professor of Political Science at the University of Chicago specializing in international security affairs, and author of Dying to Win:The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism. His commentary on international security policy has appeared in the New York Times, Boston Globe, ABC News, CBS News and CNN.

Ram Sidi
Veteran member of Israel's counter-terrorism establishment. Sidi served as a team commander with a still-classified, under-cover unit of the Israel Defense Forces and as a reservist for 16 years with IDF counter-terror units. Granted unique access to convicted Palestinian terrorists from Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and Fatah under the control of the Israel Corrections Service, Mr. Sidi lectures on the motivations of these Palestinian terrorists groups.


Dr. Bollinger

"Academic Freedom and Scholarship"
September 23, 2005

"The free speech principle is left with the concern of nothing less than helping to shape ‘the intellectual character of the society,'" according to Lee C. Bollinger, president of Columbia University and the Ethics Institute at Dartmouth College's Fall 2005 Dorsett Fellow. Bollinger spoke at Dartmouth on September 23 at 4:00 p.m. in Filene Auditorium. Bollinger, a former Dartmouth provost, has led Columbia during a recent controversy over the limits of free speech on campus. He is recognized as one of the nation's leading thinkers on the issue of free expression and academia.

Dr. Bollinger's lecture was open to the public and covered by The Dartmouth.

Events offered by a member of the DCF in support of the theme

Politics of God

Poster to promote Sennott's "Politics of God" lecture

"The Politics of God: How Religious Fundamentalisms are Shaping the Issues of the Day from Washington to the West Bank"
May 11, 2006

The Rockefeller Center sponsored this presentation by Charles Sennott, Neiman Fellow at Harvard University and former Bureau Chief for Europe and Middle East for the Boston Globe.  It was the Nossiter Family Lecture for 2006.

Coverage of the event appeared in The Dartmouth.

Professor Swain

"The Liberal Conscience: Politics and Principle in a World of Religious Pluralism"
May 8, 2006

Lucas Swaine, Assistant Professor of Government at Dartmouth, gave this presentation sponsored by the Rockefeller Center.