Our State Department is asking for grant proposals for “Islam: Scholarship and Practice in the United States” (thanks to Diana):
The Office of Citizen Exchanges of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, U.S. Department of State, announces an open competition for one grant to support an international exchange project under the rubric “Islam: Scholarship and Practice in the United States.” Public and private non-profit organizations or consortia of such organizations meeting the provisions described in Internal Revenue Code section 26 USC 501(c)(3) may submit proposals to develop and implement a multi-phased exchange involving the travel of scholars and clerics from Egypt, Jordan, and one or more additional countries of the Middle East to the United States and of reciprocal visits to the Middle East by American scholars of religion, scholars of Islamic studies, and clerics.
The initiative “Islam: Scholarship and Practice in the United States” will support an international exchange of scholars and clerics – influential and recognized for their ability to communicate, either in scholarly writing or through sermons – from Egypt, Jordan, and one or more additional countries of the Middle East selected at the discretion of the applicant and included with strong and persuasive programmatic justification. Libya and Iran are not eligible for participation in this exchange. The objectives of the exchange are 1) to enhance the non-American participants’ understanding of the place of religion, particularly Islam, in American life; 2) to broaden participants’ awareness of and appreciation for the serious religious study conducted in the United States particularly the study of Islam; 3) to provide a forum for examination and discussion of the compatibility of religious practice and democratic social and political structures; the social benefits produced by mutually respectful coexistence among diverse religious communities; ways in which Islamic practice in the United States, in particular, functions in a multi-cultural, multi-religious context; and 4) to broaden the understanding of American scholars, clerics, and laypersons of the place of Islam in the societies of the Middle East.
The project, to be conducted over a period of 18 to 24 months, will involve several exchange visits. Initially, one or two American scholars/project organizers will travel to the Middle East region to become familiar with institutions and communities in those countries and with individuals who might serve as advisers or be selected as participants in the project and to gain their interest in the exchange. Subsequently, approximately 12 Middle Eastern scholars and clerics will travel to the United States for a period of three to four weeks. The Middle Eastern participants will visit Islamic centers, consult with American Muslim scholars and clerics, visit and become familiar with libraries and archives of Islamic documents, participate in discussions at religious and secular institutions that represent America’s guarantee of human dignity and freedom of worship, and participate in workshops and seminars, both public and at institutions dedicated to scholarship and research. Finally, a group of American scholars and clerics will travel to the region, meet with counterparts, visit institutions, and, ideally, cooperate with participants in the original U.S. visit in presenting a seminar, a series of workshops, etc. in order to expand the network of individuals directly affected by the exchange. This series of visits would then be repeated in the following year…
An American version of the Euro-Arab Dialogue?