The enhancement of public understanding of religion and the roles it can play in society has long been a goal of the Harvard Divinity School.
In an effort to further this mission, the Harvard Divinity School’s Religious Literacy Project was created, and Judy Beals appointed the associate director.
An experienced human and civil rights attorney, former legislative aid in the United States Senate, a former state Assistant Attorney General and a nonprofit CEO, Beals has a wealth of experience and knowledge regarding both education and religion. She will share her thoughts in her lecture “Teaching Religion Through New Eyes” at 2 p.m. EDT Monday, Aug. 3, kicking off Week Six of the Interfaith Lecture Series on “Lessons in the School House.” Chautauquans can tune into the lecture via the CHQ Assembly Video Platform.
“I am very pleased that Judy Beals is keynoting our interfaith lecture conversation on the theme ‘Lessons in the School House,’ in our week focused on education,” said Director of Religion Maureen Rovegno. “As associate director of Harvard Divinity School’s Religious Literacy Project, which was created to continue its legacy of enhancing public understanding of religion in its worldwide expressions through education, Judy works to bring a more complex understanding of the roles all religions play in both history and contemporary affairs.”
Prior to her involvement with the RLP, Beals worked for over a decade with the Oxfam Organization, a non-profit group dedicated to ending the injustice of poverty. Serving first as Oxfam America’s campaign director, Beals transitioned to the private sector team, which involved collaboration with large corporations to further the Oxfam mission.
In 2017, Beals took a sabbatical year to serve as a resident fellow at the Harvard Divinity School, where she audited Harvard courses while also working to create an approach for advancing religious literacy in secular organizations, particularly those that focus on international development such as Oxfam.
It was during her fellowship at HDS that Beals was drawn to the idea of enhancing the public understanding of religion. She partnered with HDS’s Diane Moore to create the RLP, which seeks to intertwine the study and understanding of religion with the process of education, both in adolescence and adulthood.
“The goal is to help to create an educated society of active participants in building a more just and peaceful world through understanding and appreciation of the multiplicity of the world’s religions, and the roles that they play in world affairs,” Rovegno said.
Beals will discuss the goals of the RLP during her lecture, joining the themes of religious literacy with enhancement of education.
This program is made possible by the H. Parker and Emma O. Sharp Lectureship Fund.