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.
Sign up for CRCC’s newsletter to receive updates on the project.
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
- AudioDean Issacharoff: A Turncoat in the Israeli Defense ForcesThis podcast was produced in Snap Judgment, with the support of CRCC’s global project on engaged spirituality. When Dean Issacharoff was a commander in the Israeli Defense Forces, he patrolled the Palestinian …Topics: Engaged Spirituality, Spiritual Exemplars
- ArticleMakvala Margoshvili: Preserving Culture in Georgia’s Pankisi ValleyThis article was originally published in Mashallah News, with the support of CRCC’s global project on engaged spirituality. “We become a reflection of God, and ask to deserve paradise after death.” Mohamad …Topics: Engaged Spirituality, Spiritual Exemplars
- ArticleEdmund Kaszibuloh Koroma: The Savior of Sierra Leone’s Child SoldiersThis article was originally published in TRTWorld, with the support of CRCC’s global project on engaged spirituality. It is an old story, 19 years old in fact. In 2000, on May 26, …Topics: Engaged Spirituality, Spiritual Exemplars
- CommentaryA Cultural Tipping Point: Reflections of David Brooks’ Two MountainsWe are at a cultural tipping point. Hyper-individualism, postmodern rhetoric that relativizes every truth and narcissistic political posturing exhaust us. More people are dying annually of drug overdoses than in the Vietnam …Topics: Engaged Spirituality,
- AnnouncementJournalist Fellows for the Spiritual Exemplars ProjectTopics: Engaged Spirituality,
- VideoMaggie Gobran: “Mama” to Thousands of Children in Egypt
- CommentaryCountering Pessimism and Despair: An Encounter with Two Spiritual ExemplarsAs we enter 2019, two emotions seem to be dominant: political pessimism and personal anxiety. These feelings are rooted in the dysfunctions of government and economic instability, both of which are legitimate …Topics: Engaged Spirituality, Genocide, Nuns and Women Religious, Religious Leadership, Spiritual Exemplars, Sub-Saharan Africa, Violence
- AnnouncementUSC’s Spiritual Exemplars Project to Uncover Stories of HopeThe Center for Religion and Civic Culture (CRCC) at the University of Southern California is embarking on an ambitious project to tell 100 stories of exemplary individuals inspired by their spirituality to …Topics: Engaged Spirituality,
- VideoJamila Afghani: Educating and Empowering Women in Afghanistan
- CommentaryNobel Peace Prize Winner Denis Mukwege Keeps the Faith in the Face of ViolenceI had the privilege of interviewing 2018 Nobel Peace Prize winner Doctor Denis Mukwege in 2017 in the small country of Armenia, where he was a finalist for the Aurora Prize—a $1 …Topics: Engaged Spirituality, Pentecostals and Pentecostalism, Spiritual Exemplars, Sub-Saharan Africa, Violence
“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.