A New, Global Interest in Religion and its Implications for Universities

By Krzysztof Batorowicz.

Published by The Social Sciences Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

In the beginning of the 21st century, a special interest in religion has become very prominent. The significance of religion in this century was anticipated by some well-known figures (Andre Malraux, John Paul II). However, the main event contributing to the interest was the September 11 terror attack on the United States in 2001, and later attacks in London, Bali, Spain and other places. Some observers simultaneously saw the declared war against terrorism as a war between Christian and Islamic civilisations.

Following this interest there have been emerging voices, which have advocated the serious treatment of religion as a phenomenon within universities (Etzioni, 2007; Bouma, 2007; Batorowicz, 2007).

The process of globalisation, immigration on a large scale, work in other countries and growing international education (study in other countries or students and academic exchange programs) has contributed to direct contacts between various cultures, including different religions. Even public universities in countries where the rule of separation of state and church is maintained, have been unable to ignore the religious and spiritual needs of students, staff, visitors and the broader community.

This paper notes these new developments in relation to religion from a global perspective. The new attitudes towards religion within universities are also analysed and future options for dealing with these issues are considered.

The final part of the paper focuses on the implications of this interest in religion and practical issues when dealing with religious diversity in universities.

Keywords: Religion, Universities, Multiculturalism, Globalisation

International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, Volume 5, Issue 12, pp.1-14. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 888.467KB).

Dr. Krzysztof Batorowicz

Director, Multicultural Centre, The University of Southern Queensland, Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia

After completing his degree in law and two years of legal practice, Dr Krzysztof Batorowicz occupied various legal positions in Poland within the justice system. He visited Australia in 1984 and, after making contacts within the higher education sector, undertook research work with special reference to human rights, equal opportunity, sociology and education. Since that time he has been living permanently in Australia and has worked in the higher education sector in Adelaide, Melbourne and Toowoomba in Queensland. Dr Batorowicz holds a Master’s degree in Law and a Graduate Diploma in Industrial Relations from the University of Wroclaw and a Graduate Diploma in Education, Bachelor of Education and a Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Adelaide. Recently, he has extended his interest in the area of multiculturalism, perceived as an interdisciplinary phenomenon with wider implications for contemporary societies. In his writings he has analysed the benefits of the multicultural policy as well as the discrepancy between theoretical assumptions and actual practice. He has taken the Australian multicultural policy model and, after some modifications, has attempted to apply it to other societies, especially in Europe. In addition to presentations at conferences in Australia, he has been invited to present papers in Italy, United Kingdom, Sweden, Hong Kong, Ireland, Finland, Poland, New Zealand, the Philippines and the Netherlands. His articles have been published widely in Australia and overseas. Currently, Dr Batorowicz is the foundation Director of the Multicultural Centre at the University of Southern Queensland, Australia.

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