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Press Release: Mona Siddiqui to Speak on Art, Philanthropy and Belonging

For Immediate Release
February 13, 2023
Contact: Adriene Davis Kalugyer, 317-278-8972

Internationally renowned interfaith scholar, cultural commentator Mona Siddiqui to speak on “Art, Philanthropy and Belonging: The Disruptive Nature of Giving”

How religious traditions encourage generosity, community and civil society is focus of IU Lake Institute on Faith & Giving’s Thomas H. Lake Lecture March 2 in Indianapolis and via livestream

INDIANAPOLIS— Mona Siddiqui, OBE, an internationally acclaimed expert on interfaith relations and Christian-Muslim relations, cultural observer and BBC Radio commentator, will deliver Lake Institute on Faith & Giving’s 18th annual Thomas H. Lake Lecture in Indianapolis on March 2, 2023. Lake Institute is a part of the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.

In her remarks, “Art, Philanthropy and Belonging: The Disruptive Nature of Giving,” Siddiqui will focus on the transformative power of religious traditions that encourage giving, which lead to a shared sense of belonging and to the relationships necessary for community and civil society.

Siddiqui will explore how art and human imagination compel us to seek different worlds and how religious faith makes demands of us to give in multiple ways. Our moral life is relational, and only by being generous with our idea of community do we cultivate a sense of civic life for everyone. Although religious traditions differ, through texts and voices from the Muslim and Christian traditions, Siddiqui will note how important our religious traditions are in transforming us into generous givers, often against our basic nature. Just as artists often lead us to imagine something different outside of our day-to-day lives, religious encouragements to give serve as a necessary disruption from our natural inclinations. Giving practices are key to building relationships and enabling us to live together.

“Religiosity has always played a major role in giving and volunteering. But trends in the percentage of Americans who affiliate with religious traditions are declining alongside declining participation in giving and volunteering. What does that mean for our life together?” said David P. King, the Karen Lake Buttrey Director of Lake Institute. “Dr. Siddiqui will address these big questions, reminding us of the role religious traditions play in encouraging our giving and disrupting our tendencies toward individualism and self-preservation, which is vital to creating flourishing communities and civil society. There is no one who has both thought more deeply about these topics and their practical importance than Dr. Siddiqui.”

The event will be held at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church in Indianapolis and via livestream. A reception will follow the lecture. The lecture, reception and livestream are free and open to the public; registration is requested.

Siddiqui is Professor of Islamic and Interreligious Studies and Assistant Principal for Religion and Society at the University of Edinburgh. She also is the Jane and Aatos Erkko Visiting Professor in Studies on Contemporary Society at the Helsinki Collegium of Advanced Studies (Finland) has visiting roles in the U.S. as Distinguished Professor at Hartford International University and Visiting Professorship at Union Theological Seminary, NY.

A leading scholarly voice in interfaith relations, ethics and law, Siddiqui is a sought-after public speaker on religion, ethics and public life and has spoken on religion and politics at the World Economic Forum in Davos. Beyond her scholarship and public service, she also a leading voice reflecting on many of the biggest and pressing questions in public life. She is a regular commentator in the media, including on BBC Radio 4 and BBC Radio Scotland. She chairs the BBC’s Religious Advisory Committee in Scotland.

Siddiqui has authored several books on interfaith relations, particularly Christian-Muslim relations and has reflected and written widely on hospitality, gratitude, fidelity and loyalty. She recently co-edited A Theology of Gratitude (Cambridge University Press, 2022). She previously published Hospitality in Islam: Welcoming in God’s Name (Yale UP, 2015), and is set to publish Faith and Fidelity in Islamic Thought with Edinburgh University Press in 2023. On Siddiqui’s Living Gratefully podcast she interviews leaders from all walks of live about how gratitude shapes relationships and our life together.

In 2016, the Home Office invited Siddiqui to lead an independent review of shari`a councils in the United Kingdom. She was an elected member of the Nuffield Council of Bioethics and a member of the British Medical Associations’ Medical Ethics Committee. In 2020, Siddiqui was invited to join the Advisory Council of Wilton Park, an executive arm of the Foreign and Commonwealth office. She has been a regular expert report writer and witness on a variety of legal cases involving religious practice for over 20 years.

Siddiqui has been honored extensively for her scholarship and her contributions to public life and was awarded an OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) for her interfaith work and has been listed in the Debretts top 500 list of the most influential people in the UK. She received the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Hubert Walter Award for Reconciliation and Interfaith Cooperation. She is an elected Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and has been elected honorary member and first speaker of the Royal Scottish Academy and Vice-President International at the Royal Society of Edinburgh, where she is a fellow. Siddiqui holds six honorary doctorates and serves on the board of the UK Holocaust Memorial Foundation.

About Lake Institute on Faith & Giving

Lake Institute on Faith & Giving exists to serve the public good by exploring the multiple connections between philanthropy and faith within the major religious traditions. Its mission is to foster greater understanding of the ways in which faith inspires and informs giving. Lake Institute is a program of the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. Follow us on Twitter or “Like” us on Facebook.

About the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy

The Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at IUPUI is dedicated to improving philanthropy to improve the world by training and empowering students and professionals to be innovators and leaders who create positive and lasting change. The school offers a comprehensive approach to philanthropy through its undergraduate, graduate, certificate and professional development programs, its research and international programs and through The Fund Raising School, Lake Institute on Faith & Giving, the Mays Family Institute on Diverse Philanthropy and the Women’s Philanthropy Institute. Follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn, or Instagram and “Like” us on Facebook.

Register for Lake Lecture