For many people working on humanitarian causes, spirituality is the force that compels them to be engaged with the world. They may have a ministry to serve the poor or be an activist fighting for human rights. They may be Buddhist, Muslim, Christian or not adhere to any particular tradition. What they share is an engaged spirituality.
From our first project following the 1992 civil unrest in Los Angeles, CRCC’s research and training programs have sought to understand and support faith leaders committed to improving their communities. CRCC continues this work today by studying the lives and work of exemplary people committed to advancing human flourishing across the globe. The following page includes stories of such people, created by CRCC’s researchers and journalist fellows. From the individual stories, CRCC aims to define and establish a field of “spiritual exemplars” and understand how engaged spirituality operates in their lives. This endeavor is supported by the John Templeton Foundation and Templeton Religion Trust.
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Above, Maggie Gorban ministers to children in a slum on the outskirts of Cairo.
- AnnouncementNominate a Spiritual ExemplarDo you know someone who is changing the world? Is their work inspiring but not widely known? The USC Center for Religion and Civic Culture is launching a global project on spiritual …Topics: Engaged Spirituality, Spiritual Exemplars
- ArticleHuda Abu Arqoub: Building the Land Her Grandfather KnewPeacebuilder Huda Abu Arqoub has a spiritual vision for Israel/Palestine rooted in the past. A truly holy land, she says, is one in which all can live together. When Huda Abu Arqoub …Topics: Education, Engaged Spirituality, Middle East and North Africa, Muslims and Islam, Spiritual Exemplars, Violence
- CommentaryHolistic Resilience: Why Some Spiritual Exemplars Question Suffering as a Path to ResilienceWhen CRCC’s “Spiritual Exemplars Project” team was invited to present about “resilience,” it was easy to think of many examples within our sample of 100+ spiritually engaged humanitarians who had endured and …Topics: Catholics and Catholicism, Economic Inequality, Engaged Spirituality, Immigration, Jews and Judaism, Race and Culture, Religious Leadership, Spiritual Exemplars
- ArticleDr. Nikia S. Robert: The Birth Of The Abolitionist SanctuaryThis article was originally published on The Christian Recorder, with the support of CRCC’s global project on engaged spirituality. On a late spring Sunday in May, the Rev. Dr. Nikia S. Robert, an …Topics: Black Church, Christians and Christianity, Economic Inequality, Engaged Spirituality, Race and Culture, Spiritual Exemplars
- ArticleJenifer Colpas Fernández: Young Colombian activist brings light to the displaced communitiesThis article was originally published on Religion News Service, with the support of CRCC’s global project on engaged spirituality. CARTAGENA, Colombia (RNS) — In Isla de León, an hour’s drive through traffic-choked streets …Topics: Buddhists and Buddhism, Catholics and Catholicism, Engaged Spirituality, Environment, Latin America, Religious Pluralism, Spiritual Exemplars
- ArticleSister Teresa Forcades: Meet a Catholic Nun Who Smashes the ‘Pro-life’ PatriarchyThis article was originally published on Smashboard, with the support of CRCC’s global project on engaged spirituality. “All women should have the ‘morning-after’ pill in their purses”. It’s a compelling statement, especially since …Topics: Catholics and Catholicism, Engaged Spirituality, Europe, Nuns and Women Religious, Public Health, Spiritual Exemplars
- ArticleEboo Patel: Leading Interfaith America Into The New Era Of Religious DiversityThis article was originally published by Religion Unplugged, with the support of CRCC’s global project on engaged spirituality. CHICAGO — By his own telling, as a young man Eboo Patel was something of a …Topics: Engaged Spirituality, Interfaith/Multifaith Movements, Muslims and Islam, Spiritual Exemplars
- CommentaryRemembering Edmund Kaszibuloh Koroma: A Savior and Peace BuilderHe was many things rolled into one: A committed community peace builder, a passionate promoter of religious tolerance and a tireless advocate of free education for children. Above all, Edmund Kaszibuloh Koroma …Topics: Christians and Christianity, Education, Engaged Spirituality, Muslims and Islam, Spiritual Exemplars, Sub-Saharan Africa, Violence
- CommentaryWhy They Cross the Mediterranean: Italy’s ‘Guardian Angel of Refugees’ in Conversation with a Survivor of the 2013 Lampedusa ShipwreckFor nearly 20 years, Eritrean Catholic Priest Mussie Zerai has fielded thousands of distress calls from refugees and migrants on shipwrecked vessels in the Mediterranean Sea. “I’ve heard the voices. I’ve heard …Topics: Catholics and Catholicism, Engaged Spirituality, Europe, Immigration, Spiritual Exemplars, Sub-Saharan Africa
- VideoFather Mussie Zerai: The Migrant Priest
- VideoPassing on the Kindness: A Conversation on Faith and Social Entrepreneurship
- CommentaryStones that Have Weathered Many Storms: A Reporter’s Notebook from a Human Rights Defender’s Place of SolaceIn the rugged landscape of the Kotayk Province of Armenia, Geghard Monastery rises from an amphitheater of steep cliffs like a revelation. Even the long trek to the monastery complex, surrounded by …Topics: Engaged Spirituality, Meditation and Prayer, Middle East and North Africa, Spiritual Exemplars
“Pessimism, cynicism, despair—these words are not in the vocabulary of spiritual exemplars such as Sister Rosemary and Jean. Instead, I kept hearing the words hope, compassion and love. What really struck me was their entrepreneurial spirit in the face of poverty and trauma. Perhaps visionary action is an antidote to paralyzing anxiety and fear.”
— Donald E. Miller, Countering Pessimism and Despair: An Encounter with two Spiritual Exemplars
To schedule an interview with one of our experts, please contact CRCC:
firstname.lastname@example.org or 213-743-1611
- Hebah FarragAssistant Director of ResearchHebah Farrag manages the center’s research and evaluation projects while engaging in research focused on religion, social change and new spiritualties.
- Donald E. MillerDirector of Strategic InitiativesDonald Miller focuses on global religious trends, genocides of the 20th century, and the role of religious NGOs in addressing issues of moral concern.
- Arpi MillerContributing FellowArpi Miller is a sociologist who studies secular and faith-based immigrant advocacy and accompaniment.