Biennial Willem A. Bijlefeld Lecture Series

 The Biennial Willem A. Bijlefeld Lectureship

This biennial lectureship was established in 1989 in honor of Dr. Wllem A. Bijlefeld, eminent scholar of world Christianity, especially in its interactions with Islam and other global interfaith communities. His commitment was expressed through his career as a university scholar in his native Holland, as professor for several years in Nigeria, and for 25 years on the faculty of Hartford International University (then Hartford Seminary), where he held the posts of Academic Dean, Distinguished Senior Professor, Founding Director of the Duncan Black Macdonald Center for the Study of Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations, and editor of The Muslim World Journal. He also served as a consultant to churches, government agencies, schools and corporations in more than 14 countries.

Goals of the Lectureship

  • To honor Dr. Willem A. Bijlefeld in a public lecture for the community and its consituencies.
  • To recognize those who quest for interfaith understanding, especially in Africa and Asia
  • To provide an opportunity for learning from scholars and religious leaders as we in the West strive to live faithfully in a multifaith and pluralistic world.

Criteria for the Lecturers

  • World renowned scholar and/or religious leader
  • From Africa or Asia, including the Middle East
  • Committed to interfaith understanding, especially Christian-Muslim dialogue
  • Available to stay at HIU for not less than one week, ideally in June, to co-teach a summer session course, give the Bijlefeld lecture and be available to local churches and other religious and community groups


List of Lecturers

  • 1990 – Professor Mukti Ali, former Indonesian Minister of Religious Affairs
  • 1992 – Rev. Dr. S. Wesley Ariarajah, Methodist theologian from Sri Lanka and Assistant General Secretary of the World Council of Churches
  • 1995 – Rev. Elias Chacour, a Palestinian Melkite priest in the Eastern Byzantine Church and founder of Prophet Elias Community College, Ibillin, Galilee
  • 1997 – Diana Eck, Professor of Comparative Religion and Indian Studies at Harvard
  • 2007 – Dr. Timothy Winter, Shaykh Zayed Lecturer in Islamic Studies at Cambridge University
  • 2012 – Dr. Seyyed Hossein Nasr, University Professor of Islamic Studies at George Washington University
  • 2014 – Dr. Khaled Abou El Fadl, Omar and Azmeralda Alfi Distinguished Professor of Law at UCLA School of Law
  • 2019 – Dr. Jerusha T. Rhodes, Associate Professor of Islam & Interreligious Engagement at Union Theological Seminary
  • 2021 – Dr. Mona Siddiqui, HIU Distinguished Professor of Islamic and Interreligious Studies, and Dean International for the Middle East at the University of Edinburgh 
  • 2023 – Dr. Anna M. Gade, Vilas Distinguished Achievement Professor in the Gaylord Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies at University of Wisconsin-Madison

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