Rome Summer Seminars on Religion and Global Politics

Applications for the 2024 Rome Summer Seminars (June 2-June 15) are now open!


The Rome Summer Seminars is a two-week program for graduate students, scholars and practitioners working at the crossroads of religion and global politics which is designed to draw on the unique religious and geopolitical resources of the city of Rome. The Seminars will begin with a 2-day policy dialogue for senior scholars and practitioners followed by a 10-day writing workshop for students. Students attending the workshop will have the possibility to participate in the policy dialogue as observers.

The Seminars aspire to become a hub for innovative reflection on religion and politics and to form a new network of scholars and leaders equipped with the religious knowledge, academic training and policy expertise to effectively engage major policy debates on religion and global affairs. Students will explore key themes emerging in the field of religion and global politics and meet with religious leaders, scholars and policy-markers from across Europe, North Africa and the Middle East.

The program will include public panels, lectures by experts in the field and research seminars with members of the steering committee. Keynote speakers from the 2023 edition included Olivier Roy (European University Institute), Kristina Stoeckl (LUISS), Cenap Aydin (Istituto Tevere), Scott Appleby (University of Notre Dame), Mohammed Hashas (LUISS) and Anna Rowlands (Durham University), among others.

Program Dates

June 2-15th, 2024, Rome, Italy

Accommodation and Meals

Participants will be offered a single bedroom (with bathroom) at the Australian Catholic University’s newly renovated center on the Janiculum hill. Breakfast, working lunches and a number of evening meals are included in the program


Thanks to generous funding from the University of Notre Dame and Hanns Seidel Stiftung, tuition for the 2-week program (including accommodation, meals as above and participation in the international symposium) will be 500euros (excluding travel costs, which will be the responsibility of the participant). Students who do not have access to research funds may apply for a limited number of scholarships through the program.

Apply Here
Applications due February 13, 2024.

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Venue and Visits

Most lectures and writing workshops will be held at the University of Notre Dame Rome near the Colosseum in Rome. The program will also include daily visits to major institutions and personalities engaged in religion and global policy making in the city, such as Foreign Embassies to the Holy See, religious organizations, international institutions, and pontifical institutes active in interreligious dialogue, immigration and conflict resolution.

Writing Workshop

The program is primarily aimed at Doctoral students although advanced MA students with particularly strong applications may be considered. During the writing workshop, graduate students will present early stages of their research, including dissertation chapters, theoretical frameworks, fieldwork strategies and articles to be submitted for publication. 

Each day will include a discussion seminar and a writing forum in which students will present their work and receive feedback from a core of scholars teaching in the seminars. Throughout the week, students will also visit Rome-based religious-political institutions and attend a number of keynote lectures with established scholars in the field of religion and politics. Students who successfully complete the program will receive a formal certificate of participation. 

Policy Dialogue

The program will begin with an international, closed-door policy dialogue for scholars, policymakers, religious representatives and other civil society actors organized together with the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs & International Cooperation. The international policy dialogues have been produced annually through the ‘Religions and International Relations’ initiative launched in 2009 by the Policy Planning Unit of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in co-operation with the Istituto per gli Studi di Politica Internazionale (ISPI). This policy program has sought to sustain a high-level discussion on the role of religion in international affairs by gathering together scholars of religions and international relations, diplomats and policymakers, media actors and religious representatives, as well as movements and associations active in inter-religious dialogue. The 2022 policy dialogue was on the theme of religious engagement and the UN's 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The theme of the 2023 policy dialogue was “Religion, Conflict and Peacebuilding in Contemporary Global Crises.” Students attending the Summer Seminars contributed to writing Policy Dossiers following both workshops.

Public events from the 2023 Edition

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Partners and Organizational Structure

The Rome Summer Seminars’ organizational model is a multi-member collaborative consortium which combines scholarship, policy expertise and religious knowledge. The consortium builds on existing partnerships between the following institutions: the University of Notre Dame Rome, Keough School of Global Affairs and Ansari Institute for Global Engagement with Religion; the Pontifical Gregorian University (PUG); the Sinderesi Foundation; the Adyan Foundation of Lebanon; the Royal Institute for Interfaith Studies of Jordan; the University of Sussex Religion & Foreign Policy Initiative; the Hanns Seidel Stiftung and John Cabot University (JCU).

The Rome Summer Seminars are being generously funded by the Notre Dame Rome, the Keough School of Global Affairs, the Hanns Seidel Stiftung in Rome, and John Cabot University. It is also being held under the high patronage of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

Student Testimonials

Melicia Antonio, PhD candidate in Theology, University of Notre Dame

“The Rome Summer Seminars was a pivotal opportunity for me to apply my theological research to pressing issues in global politics. To be pulled out of my ordinary university routine and immersed in the uniqueness of Rome, along with scholars from diverse ethnic and academic cultures, was a challenge and an experience I’d recommend to anyone working at the cross-section of religion and politics.”

Andrew Dickson, PhD candidate in International Relations, Sussex University

“This was an invaluable opportunity to spend two weeks exchanging ideas in-depth with experienced scholars, practitioners, and PhD students with similar research passions. It’s given me a huge burst of energy and inspiration for the next steps in my research project, as well as building so many new relationships and friendships."

Ana Maria Daou, Adyan Foundation, Lebanon

“The Rome Summer Seminars was the perfect place to bridge between academic knowledge and practice. Being a practitioner myself, listening to other people’s research and trying to see how it fits in the real world was really important. Definitely recommended for those looking for food for thought.”

Isaac Portilla, PhD, Centre for the Study of Religion and Politics, St. Andrew’s University

“The Rome Summer Seminars is an intense and carefully crafted journey that captures the vitality and power of the city of Rome as a global center to explore and understand a difficult yet unavoidable relationship—religion and politics. Throughout the Seminars, I made international scholarly contacts; I also got to understand better the potential role of academia in public affairs, which is relevant to my career and personal orientation as a world citizen.”

Kristine Margvelashvili, PhD candidate in Political Science at the University of Göttingen (Germany) and Ilia State University (Georgia)

"The Rome Summer Seminars is a unique experience, linking highly intelligent and qualified individuals to discuss and tackle issues concerning religion and politics. These two weeks in Rome felt like a lifetime of gained experiences and knowledge. RSS gave me new perspectives on religion and politics and introduced me to new topics outside my academic interest area. Seminars and field visits served to open hearts and minds of young researchers to different perspectives and experience firsthand religious life and its political dimension in Rome. This is a magnificent culmination of my PhD journey which will eternally inspire to stive and attain more knowledge. RSS will enhance my professional career, the scholarly network created during the seminars will be in aid to my future academic career and postdoctoral research project or academic position."

Steering Committee

  • Michael Driessen (John Cabot University, program director)
  • Samuele Sangalli (Gregorian University/Sinderesi, associate director)
  • Mahan Mirza (Ansari Institute, Notre Dame)
  • Fabio Petito (Sussex University)
  • Antonella Piccinin (Gregorian University/Notre Dame Rome)
  • Ana Maria Daou (Adyan Foundation)
  • Renee Hattar (Royal Institute for Interfaith Studies)

Advisory Board

  • Scott Appleby (Keough School, Notre Dame)
  • Azza Karam (Vrije Universiteit)
  • Fadi Daou (Globethics)
  • Pasquale Ferrara (Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs/LUISS)
  • Anna Rowlands (Centre for Catholic Studies, Durham)
  • Kristina Stoeckl (LUISS - Libera Università di Scienze Sociali)

Supporting Institutions

  • Adyan Foundation, Lebanon
  • Angelicum Pontifical University John Paul II Center for Interreligious Dialogue
  • Boston College Clough Center for Democracy
  • Fondazione Sinderesi
  • Gregorian Pontifical University
  • Hans Seidel Stiftung
  • Istituto per gli Studi di Politica Internazionale (ISPI)
  • Istituto Tevere Dialogue Center
  • John Cabot University
  • Religions for Peace
  • Royal Institute for Interfaith Studies, Jordan
  • Sophia University Institute
  • University of Cambridge, Von Hügel Institute for Critical Catholic Inquiry
  • University of Durham, Centre for Catholic Studies
  • University of Louisville, Kentucky
  • University of Notre Dame (Rome Global Gateway, Keough School of Global Affairs and Ansari Institute, together with Center for Italian Studies and Nanovic Institute for European Studies)
  • University of St Andrews, Centre for the Study of Religion and Politics
  • University of Sussex, Freedom of Religion or Belief & Foreign Policy Initiative

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