Religious literary report receives OU input in Parliament

The importance of religious literacy in a post-Brexit world was the topic of an All Party Parliamentary Group debate recently, with contributions from The Open University.

Prof John Wolffe

Prof John Wolffe

As the Brexit debate continued to draw heated exchanges in the Commons chamber on Tuesday 31 January, John Wolffe (Professor of Religious History and Associate Dean for Research Scholarship and Enterprise in FASS) was the lead speaker at a crowded meeting hosted by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Religious Education. This was to launch the Mainstreaming Religious Literacy report, to which both John and the OU contributed.

Professor Wolffe highlighted the importance of religious literacy for security in a post-Brexit world, noting especially the need for informed judgements about perceived "extremism" and the concern that in this, as in other fields, Brexit should not hamper research collaboration across Europe to address common problems.

Initiatives

He also spoke of the need for secular as well as religious literacy and the importance of effective collaboration between organizations and individuals seeking to advance religious literacy.

The other speakers were Joshua Hordern of the University of Oxford who highlighted issues relating to religious literacy in the NHS, and Kamran Malik, a senior partner at Ernst and Young who reported on their initiatives to promote religious literacy in the commercial and financial workplace. A lively discussion ensued, involving both parliamentarians and representatives of a wide variety of stakeholders in the field.

This event was indicative of the continuing recognition of the significance of the work by John Wolffe and Gavin Moorhead funded by an RCUK Global Uncertainties leadership fellowship between 2013 and 2015.