Rice University To Launch New Institute For Religious Tolerance

A Houston couple is giving Rice University nearly $30 milion dollars to start a new institute. It will work to promote religious tolerance.

Since the start of human civilization we have had religion — and religious conflict.

A new center at Rice University will try to understand why and how to solve that.

David Leebron is the president of Rice.

“A university can be actually engaged in contributing to the solution of problems. It’s not just about study. It’s also about formulating certain kinds of policies and principals and then bringing people together in conversations that enlighten people and cause them to think more carefully about their actions.”

It will be called the Boniuk Institute for the Study and Advancement of Religious Tolerance.

It will pull researchers from different areas: the social sciences, humanities, even science and engineering.

That way it can do things like analyze religious hate speech on the internet.

Leebron says the effort is global.

But there are lessons to be learned here in Houston.

“Part of Houston’s success is being such a diverse community, being able to attract people from all around the world, from diverse ethnic and religious and other background, so understanding our own community can give us a really great window on the world.”

The institute is expected to launch activities next year.

 

Bio photo of Laura Isensee

Laura Isensee

Education Reporter

Laura Isensee covers education for KUHF, including K-12 and higher education.

Previously, she was a staff reporter at The Miami Herald and regularly contributed to WLRN, the local NPR affiliate and Miami Herald news partner...