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Explore the Religious Worlds of New York, and the Religious Lives of Your Diverse Neighbors




Great News for Teachers!

      We're looking forward to holding the next Religious Worlds institute     from July 12-30, 2021. Click here to learn more.


The religious landscape of the United States has shifted dramatically in recent years, with the arrival of new Americans from every corner of the globe and every faith tradition.  If American students are to become truly educated, engaged citizens of their multicultural democracy, they need to understand its rich religious diversity. The Religious Worlds of New York summer institute contributes to such understanding by helping K-12 teachers teach about the everyday lives of American religious communities.

The institute brings teachers from throughout the United States to New York City, where they work with leading scholars of religion, meet with diverse religious leaders, visit local houses of worship, explore the religious life of the city, and develop their own religious diversity curriculum projects.  This combination of classroom and community-based education introduces teachers to American religious diversity, helps them distinguish between academic and devotional approaches to the study of religion, and gives them the pedagogic tools they need to teach about contemporary lived religion.  

America's public, private, and faith-based schools can play a vital role in fostering understanding across faith lines, but unfortunately most teachers are unprepared to teach effectively about religious diversity.  Most students thus learn little more than basic facts about major religious traditions -- a superficial form of religious literacy that does not prepare them to participate in civic life.  The Religious Worlds institute helps teachers move beyond this "dates and doctrines" pedagogy to a richer engagement with American religious life.  Classroom by classroom, the teachers we work with are transforming the study of religion in K-12 schools, and empowering a new generation of Americans to bridge the divides between their religious worlds.


About the Institute and this Website

The Religious Worlds Institute is a collaborative project of the Interfaith Center of New York and Union Theological Seminary, with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

This website will tell you all about the summer institute, including a selection from the overwhelmingly positive participant evaluations of our previous institutes.

The site also includes a collection of resources for teaching on religious diversity, which can enrich your students' understanding of American religious life, even if you're not able to join us in New York this summer.


Photo credits:  Manhattan skyline by Francisco Diez, Creative Commons.  NYC religion images, top to bottom, by: skalis, Creative Commons;  jnap, Creative Commons; Mat McDermott, Creative Commons; and used by permission of Jenny Jozwiak, Diversity of Devotion.