Press Release: 2010 Great Issues Forum to Focus on Islam, Continuing Its Year-long Exploration of Religion

The Great Issues Forum, a series of high-profile public conversations that explore critical issues of our time through a single thematic lens, will focus on Islam in the spring of 2010. In a year devoted to the theme of Religion, the forum has already featured distinguished philosopher and author Daniel Dennett, evolutionary biologist David Sloan Wilson, and journalist Susan Jacoby. Next, the series will take a closer look at Islam in two major public events—one on immigration and another on intellectual reform—featuring, among many other participants, scholar Abdulkarim Soroush, designated as one of the “Top 100 Public Intellectuals” by Foreign Policy and Britain's Prospect magazine. The Great Issues Forum’s two Islam programs will be held at the Graduate Center, 365 Fifth Avenue at 34th Street, on March 8 & April 20. For more information, visit
Monday, March 8:

Great Issues Forum: Immigration and Islam
7:00 PM, Proshansky Auditorium

Featuring Jose Casanova, professor of sociology at Georgetown University and a senior fellow at its Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs; Tariq Modood, professor of sociology at the University of Bristol and director of the Study of Ethnicity and Citizenship; and Aristide Zolberg, Eberstadt Professor of Political Science at the New School. Chase Robinson, provost of the Graduate Center, will moderate a discussion including questions such as: What impact do Muslim immigrants and Islamic practices have on the societies they join? What unique challenges do Muslim immigrants face? Free, but seating is limited and reservations are required. Reservations can be made at For further information, call 212-817-8215.
Tuesday, April 20:

Great Issues Forum: The Rise of Intellectual Reform in the Islamic World
7:00 PM, Proshansky Auditorium

Featuring Baber Johansen, professor of Islamic religious studies at Harvard Divinity School; Ebrahim Moosa, associate professor of Islamic studies at Duke University; and Abdulkarim Soroush, philosopher, reformer, Rumi scholar, and former professor at the University of Tehran. Moderated by Talal Asad, Distinguished Professor of Anthropology at the Graduate Center. In a world increasingly governed by ideals of democracy and pluralism, this program will look at both the evolution of religion and freedom in Islam, focusing on the recent rise of intellectual reform and the role of the religious intellectual, as well the debate surrounding these changes. Free, but seating is limited and reservations are required. Reservations can be made at For further information, call 212-817-8215.

The Great Issues Forum is an initiative of the Graduate Center and is funded, in part, by the Carnegie Corporation of New York. Funding also comes from the Winston Foundation, the Vital Projects Fund, and the Gellert Charitable Trust.

The Graduate Center is devoted primarily to doctoral studies and awards most of the City University of New York’s Ph.D.s. An internationally recognized center for advanced studies and a national model for public doctoral education, the school offers more than thirty doctoral programs, as well as a number of master’s programs. Many of its faculty members are among the world’s leading scholars in their respective fields, and its alumni hold major positions in industry and government, as well as in academia. The Graduate Center is also home to more than thirty interdisciplinary research centers and institutes focused on areas of compelling social, civic, cultural, and scientific concerns. Located in a landmark Fifth Avenue building, the Graduate Center has become a vital part of New York City’s intellectual and cultural life with its extensive array of public lectures, exhibitions, concerts, and theatrical events. Further information on the Graduate Center and its programs can be found at

Submitted on: FEB 1, 2010

Category: Press Room