2023 Session XXIII


Plagues and pandemics of our time: Challenges for religious, values and worldview education”, 

Welcome to ISREV XXIII and to Bishop Grosseteste University (BGU) in Lincoln, UK, home of the World Religions and Education Research Unit (WRERU).

This is a triple welcome from me, as I have three reasons to be delighted to welcome you here. One is as General Secretary of ISREV, the second is as host of the event here in the university, and the third is as Director of WRERU, which Leslie Francis (WRERU Co-Director) and I have been setting up here.

ISREV was born at a founding conference in Birmingham in 1978. The inspiration came from John Hull, an Australian working in the UK, and John Peatling in the USA. Together they were determined to provide an international forum for an emerging group of scholars concerned with pushing the boundaries of religious education. Their shared vision was that this could be progressed best as a global venture. Among the 35 or so scholars gathered in Birmingham, Leslie J Francis was amongst the youngest participants. ISREV has met biennially (with a year off for the pandemic) ever since – meeting all around the world. I am delighted that Leslie J Francis now serves as Professor of Religions, Education and Psychology at Bishop Grosseteste University, and he and I have been working here for several years now, supporting the work of a large group of staff, research students, and visiting scholars from around the world. BGU is a university with a church foundation, and it treats this foundation seriously. There is a body of scholars, now brought together in WRERU here at BGU, who explore the relationship between a whole range of religious and non-religious worldviews and education. It is only the third time since 1978 that ISREV has met in England, and we are proud to host it here at BGU.

Participants engaged in person or online from Australia, Austria, Canada, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Japan, Latvia, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, UK and USA, Belgium, China (Hong Kong, and Macau), Denmark, Estonia, Eswatini, Greece, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Jordan, Kenya, Korea, Malaysia, Malta, New Zealand, Nigeria, Russia, South Africa, Ukraine and Zambia.

The programme is attached for your information