USC Dornsife College Of Letters Arts and Sciences

University of Southern California

Spiritual Exemplars Around the World

Spiritual Exemplars Around the World

The spiritual exemplars map brings together 104 stories of people working to advance human flourishing in different parts of the world. Each point on the map represents one of the humanitarians featured in a global study of engaged spirituality, conducted by the University of Southern California Center for Religion and Civic Culture (CRCC).

How to use the map:

Single click on a point to find out more about a spiritual exemplar, including the exemplar’s area of work, gender, age, faith tradition and organization. You also will find a paragraph description that highlights these extraordinary individuals’ stories, their accomplishments and how their spirituality interacts with the work they do in the world.

If a listing inspires you, we encourage you to follow the link at the bottom of the listing, which will take you to an article, video or podcast episode that will allow you to learn more about the individual and their work in the world. You can also get in touch with the exemplar or their organization through their website listed.

Keep in mind that exemplar locations on the map are not exact or precise. Exemplars are mapped to the city or municipality they currently work in. Please contact exemplar’s organizations to find out exact locations.

Six tips:

  1. Use a single click to click on each point on the map for more information.
  2. Use the tabs on the top to filter the map to focus on exemplars within a specific faith tradition, gender, area of work, region and/or ethnicity.
  3. To enable clusters, which allows you to compare exemplars working in the same vicinity, click the tab map layers button on the top right.
  4. To learn more about each exemplar’s organization, you can click on their organization’s name in their information box.
  5. To learn more about the exemplar’s story, you can click on the continue reading button at the button of each information box.
  6. Some exemplars have been featured in a podcast or video! Links to podcasts and videos are available in the description boxes if they are available.

 CRCC’s “Spiritual Exemplars: A Global Project on Engaged Spirituality” collected profiles of 104 spiritual engaged humanitarians from around the world and across faith between 2018 and 2023. The sample, visualized in the map, includes 13 faith traditions across 9 areas of work with spiritual exemplars working in more than 40 countries across the globe.

Profiles of spiritual exemplars were conducted by a hybrid team of researchers and journalists. The joint academic-journalistic project resulted in the publication of more than 125 stories of “engaged spirituality” – the religious values and spiritual practices that inspire and sustain social action. Through the project, CRCC also produced an award-winning podcast series with our partners, The Spiritual Edge at KALW, along with short video profiles.

The project was supported by the John Templeton Foundation and the Templeton Religion Trust. Opinions expressed within the map or linked articles do not necessarily represent the views of these organizations.

Any questions about the Spiritual Exemplars Map can be directed to Hebah Farrag, USC CRCC assistant director of research, at

ArcGIS Map Application developed by Bay Park Data Solutions.