Dec 13, 2013

New Initiative on Religious Leadership, Civil Discourse and Democracy in the Public Square

Honored with a Ford Foundation Freedom of Expression grant, RCLA has launched the Religious Leadership, Civil Discourse and Democracy in the Public Square: Advancing the Positive Role of Faith Leaders in America project. 

Led by RCLA Professor David Elcott, the project seeks to heighten the awareness that the language of a "wall" separating church and state does not reflect the historical ways Americans use their faith as citizens. Our hope is to provide framework for illuminating the roles religion and religious leaders play as primary civic actors - not simply as defenders of the faith, but as civic educators promoting civic engagement and involvement in American political life and policymaking. 

A key element of this project includes convening thoughtful and influential religious leaders and thinkers from across the religious and political spectrum to serve in a critical advisory role. The project launched with a high-level gathering of religious leaders from across the nation from October 21-22, 2013. We look to this group to reflect on ways that, within in each faith tradition, pluralist democratic values and civic engagement could be taught. 

This process, as well as literature research, surveys, focus groups and interviews, will lead to a resource toolkit and training programs that we hope will both "teach the trainer" and also model civics training programs in seminaries, youth clergy settings and even clergy conferences across the country.


What's new at NYU Wagner?



  • WAGTalk: Daniel Smith, “Why Do Cities Go Bankrupt?”

    Professor Dan Smith discusses three of the biggest municipal bankruptcies in U.S. history: Detroit, Michigan; Jefferson County, Alabama; and Stockton, California.
  • WAGTalk: Ingrid Gould Ellen, “Preserving History or Hindering Progress”

    The preservation of historic neighborhoods has been the subject of controversy in New York City and in cities around the country. Professor Ingrid Ellen sheds light on this debate.
    Urban Planning
  • WAGTalk: Jonathan Morduch, “U.S. Financial Diaries”

    The U.S. Financial Diaries project tracked the financial behaviors of 250 low-income American households.
  • NYU Wagner's 75th Celebration

    On June 12, 2014, NYU Wagner celebrated 75 years of public service education.
  • WAGTalk: John Billings, “Improving Care for High Cost/ High Risk Patients”

    Professor John Billings presents research that aims to identify and improve care for high cost/high risk Medicaid patients.