Najam Co-Leads First OCIS-Pardee Center Roundtable on Faith and Climate Change at Oxford

On May 26 and 27, 2024, the Pardee Center and the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies (OCIS) co-hosted a one-and-a-half day Roundtable to discuss the nature of the emerging field of ‘Faith and Climate Change,’ with a particular, but not exclusive, focus on Islam and Muslim Societies.

The Roundtable brought together a diverse group of 16 participants, including researchers, practitioners, community activists, policymakers and journalists – mostly from the UK. After an opening session in which Prof. Adil Najam (Pardee School of Global Studies, Boston University) presented an overview of the field, the Roundtable met in three substantive sessions focusing on the relationship of faith and climate to science, policy, and behavior, respectively. Earlier in the opening session, Prof. Najam presented an overview of the state of climate science and policy and argued that, in what he calls the ‘Age of Adaptation,’ the nature of the climate challenge has not only become more immediate, but has also changed, and within this context the importance of values as a driver of climate behavior has become much more important.

On the evening of May 27, a public panel discussion was held as part of the Roundtable, open to the larger research community at Oxford. The panel was moderated by Ehsan Masood (Editor for Editorials at Nature) and included Farhana Mayer (a scholar of Quranic Hermeneutics at the Laudato Si’ Research Institute at the University of Oxford), Kamran Shezad (Director for the Islamic Foundation for Ecology and Environmental Sciences), and Chantal Elkin (Head of the Beliefs and Values Programme at WWF). The panel featured a lively discussion among the speakers followed by an audience Q&A session.

The Roundtable was the first event in a future-oriented, interdisciplinary, and structured research initiative to explore the moral dimensions of climate action and the possible role of faith-based values in encouraging positive environmental and climate behaviors – particularly in the context of Islam and Muslim societies. As part of this initiative, OCIS and the Pardee Center are organizing a second Roundtable to be held in Boston at the Pardee Center in Fall 2024. The initiative is co-led by Prof. Adil Najam, a Pardee Center Faculty Research Fellow (2024-26) and the Mahathir Mohamad Fellow at the Oxford Center for Islamic Studies and by Prof. Shahid Jameel, the Sultan Qaboos bin Said Fellow at OCIS and head of OCIS’s Program on Science, Technology, and Environment in Muslim Societies. The goal of the initiative is to produce a policy paper that identifies a research agenda on faith and climate change and outlines some next steps towards its realization (expected early 2025).

Learn more about the initiative.