The Master of Religious Education (MRE) program at the Unification Theological Seminary (UTS) is a prime example of how religious studies are pioneering new roads in the implementation and practice of both teaching and learning and also interfaith peace building.

I was born in the Netherlands, stereotypically known as the land of windmills, tulips, bicycles and cheese. Among intellectual types, the Netherlands is also known as the land of Rembrandt and Van Gogh, of Erasmus and Spinoza.

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UTS announces a new Inter-Religious Peacebuilding concentration for its Masters of Religious Education Program. This two-year, 50-credit program will be offered at Barrytown beginning in Fall 2007. This curriculum is:

  • Based upon sound principles of peacebuilding
  • Inter-religious, dialogical, and committed to understanding the other
  • Supportive of personal spiritual growth
  • Addresses peace in 3 dimensions: individual, family, and world
  • Develops practical skills in education, reconciliation and dialogue
  • Provides diverse internship placements, including at the United Nations and various NGOs

The standard M.R.E. Program, now called a Concentration in Christian Studies, will continue to be offered for current students at Barrytown and for all students at the New York Extension Center.

Courses include:

THE 5132 Theology of Peacebuilding

A study of the peace theology of Rev. Sun Myung Moon, this course examines its applications to problems of peacemaking, and its meeting-points with peace teachings in religious and secular traditions. Dr. Andrew Wilson.

LTR 5513 World Religions and Global Conflict

Utilizing a case-study approach, this course examines conflicts around the world and the role of religion in causing, exacer­bating or ameliorating them. In seek­ing to understand religion’s role, students will examine comprehensively the religious, historical, political, economic, cultural and social background of the crises. Particular effort will be made to spotlight religiously grounded activists and leaders who have made a positive difference. Dr. Michael Mickler.

SCR 5151 World Scriptures and World Peace

This course studies the major world religions, their origins, beliefs and contemporary expression, with a focus on peace issues. Of particular concern are the revelations of scripture and their interpretation, which are often the key to understanding attitudes towards other faiths. Students visit local religious communities as well as dialogue among themselves as they wrestle with “hard texts” and seek meeting-points for peace. Faculty

THE 5141 Ethics and Social Justice in the Age of Globalization

This course in applied theology examines various theoretical frameworks, assump­tions, and approaches to salient social issues in this age of globalization. It covers issues of ethics and social justice including: the environment, women’s rights, poverty, AIDS, role of the UN, intra-state violence and refugees, and globalization. The course will flesh out the ideals of interdependence, mutual prosperity and universal values among nations and communities of people with different social, cultural and historical backgrounds. Dr. Keisuke Noda.

MIN 5431 Fundamentals of Interfaith Leadership

The course aims to provide the theoretical and applied foundations neces­sary for the successful management of interreligious activities, and the creation of informed strategies for the advancement of interreligious ideals. Students learn both the internal dynamic of interreligious relations as well as how they relate to other areas of life including politics, media, science, the academy, and arts and leisure, from both domestic and international perspectives. Through lectures and off-campus interfaith experiences, students move beyond their pre-existing ideas to see new possibilities for religion, society and human flourishing. Dr. Frank Kaufmann.

LTR 5412 Muslim-Christian Relations

Christian-Muslim encounter began early in the life of Muhammad and has continued ever since. As well as theological disputa­tion, wars have been fought (such as the Crusades) and each has colonized the other’s territory. Improved understanding between Christians and Muslims in this post 9/11 world is crucial and a prerequisite for universal peace and justice. This course aims to encourage an informed discussion about Islam’s place in the world and about Muslim aspirations vis-à-vis non-Muslims, within the contemporary realities of how others perceive Muslims and how they perceive others. Faculty

LTR 5402 Jewish-Christian Relations

This course explores the complex relationship between Judaism and Christianity, surveying the dark history of Christian anti-Semitism as well as recent attempts to heal this breach within the family of God. Christian stereotypes of Jews and Jewish misconceptions of Christians, will be investigated, as well as underlying theological differences. Current issues include: limits on proselytizing, doctrines of election, Zionism and Palestin­ian rights. Dr. Andrew Wilson.

EDU 5311 Spiritual Development

This course examines various meanings of spirituality in the context of a suffering pluralistic world and the poten­tial of developing a spirituality that is grounded in the ordinary, everyday world and can become a force for peace building. Different spiritual traditions and practices will be covered in an experiential and dialogical manner so all become enriched through the collective spiritual wisdoms of the great religious traditions. Particular attention is given to the topics of human destiny after death, eternal life, the transforming power of spiritual experience, and spiritual discipline. Dr. Mark King and Mrs. Gillian Corcoran.

MIN 5722 Intercultural Communication and Conflict Resolution

The intent of this course is to understand how people of different cultures manage conflict by communicating and building relationships. The course examines scriptural principles and case studies drawn from Asian, Islamic and Western cultures to highlight practical models for conflict management. Themes are examined such as forgiveness, reconciliation, restorative justice, and religion and statecraft. The aim is to increase awareness of the range of appropriate conflict strategies and their appropriate use, and to clarify the students’ own preferred styles. Faculty

EDU 5113 Models of Teaching for Peace and Justice

This is a methods and models course that covers various educational techniques and practices appropriate for children, youth, adolescents, and adults. Practical skills and techniques are developed, especially those applicable to challenge of interreligious, multicultural and dialogical forms of education. Dr. Mark King

EDU 5501 Character Education and Development

This course explores the meaning and forms of character education and its potential for use in public education. Topics include: pluralism and the possibility of delineating universal values, abstinence and sex education, and theories of moral development and their applicability to educational methodologies and goals. Students will review character education curricula for different age levels to under­stand methodologies, goals and pedagogical issues. They will look at strategies and tools for starting a character education initiative in their community’s schools. Mr. John Williams

EDU 5521 Perspectives on the Family and Peacebuilding

This course considers the conjunction between the private and public spheres and the wisdom of regarding healthy family life as a resource for peacebuilding. The course also examines changing family values and controversies surrounding abstinence and sex education, interfaith marriage and gay marriage—both in themselves and as causes for strife in the larger culture. By examining best practices in marriage preparation, counseling marital problems, parenting, caring for the elderly, and ministering to families, the course will empower students to deal with this important but often neglected dimension of peacebuilding. Faculty

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