This event has now finished.
  • Date and time: Thursday 6 June 2024, 4pm to 5.30pm
  • Location: Fountains Lecture Theatre, Fountains Learning Centre, York St John University (Map)
  • Admission: Free admission, booking required

Event details

Many conflicts worldwide can result from some people not being considered part of the dominant national, ethnic, political or religious groupings, and they are seen as an unwelcome and even threatening presence. 

While recognising the ambivalent nature of religion, our panel of five speakers will discuss from their own experience and inter-disciplinary research how religion can play constructive and creative roles in challenging various forms of prejudice and distrust and helping to build inclusive and diverse societies. 

They will explore the complex role of religions in the public and political spheres in a range of global contexts. Specifically, Mark Dawson will speak about ‘Religious Communities working together on Fair Trade to counter prejudice and distrust’. Ayla Göl will focus on changing from ‘Fear to trust between Islam and the West’ by comparing the activities of two faith-based organisations, Finn Church Aid and Islamic Relief Worldwide. Pauline Kollontai will talk about ‘Combatting Racism and Advancing Racial Equality in Israel’. Sue Yore’s talk will focus on ‘From the Mystical Internal to the Political External by Revisiting Dorothee Soelle’s Concept of Mysticism and Resistance’. 

All panel speakers will critically reflect on the constructive contribution religion can make to supporting the promotion of respect, dignity, and justice for all people, and shaping sustainable, diverse and peaceful societies.                        

Find out more about the Centre for Religion in Society, York St John University.  

About the speakers

Dr Mark Dawson is a Lecturer in Religion, Philosophy and Ethics and the Course Lead for Religion at York St John University. His research interest is in the intersection between religion and action for social justice, particularly in the areas of international development and the environment. His most recent research project was looking at religious communities working together to promote Fair Trade. He is a Fair Trade activist and has served as Chair of the National Campaigner Committee of the Fairtrade Foundation and also on the governing body of Oxfam GB for six years.

Dr Ayla Göl is a Senior Lecturer in International Relations and Course Lead for Politics and International Relations at the School of Humanities, York St John University. Ayla previously worked in the Department of International Politics at Aberystwyth
University in Wales. She graduated from the Faculty of Political Science at Ankara University in Turkey. Ayla has held Visiting Scholar positions at the Australian National University, University of Cambridge, University of Nottingham and Renmin University in China. She is also an academic practitioner and author of numerous articles in journals and book chapters, as well as op-eds and blog posts.

Prof Pauline Kollontai is Professor Emeritus of Higher Education in Theology and Religious Studies at York St John University, a Fellow at Wesley House College, Cambridge and an academic practitioner. The primary focus of her research is religion, peacebuilding and violence. She has researched the ambivalent nature of religion and its theological roots, inter-religious peacebuilding in conflict and post-conflict contexts, and religion and human and minority rights in various contexts.

Dr Sue Yore first came to York St John University as a mature student in 1994, where she gained her first degree in Theology and Women’s Studies. She then worked as a graduate assistant in the Theology and Religious Studies department from 1997 – 2000 while she studied for my MA in Theology and Religious Studies. Between 2000 and 2002, she worked as a visiting lecturer while studying for a PhD at the University of Durham. In 2002, she became a full-time lecturer and completed her PhD in 2006 as well as a PGCE qualification.


Venue details

  • Wheelchair accessible