Monica Toft named scholar for religion project

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Monica Duffy Toft, associate professor of public policy at Harvard Kennedy School, has been named a project scholar in a new interdisciplinary project at Georgetown University to study religious freedom. The Religious Freedom Project, launched in Georgetown’s Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs, is funded by a $2 million grant from the John Templeton Foundation.

The project will engage a team of international project scholars “to explore different understandings of religious liberty and its importance for democracy, economic and social development, international diplomacy, and the struggle against religious extremism.” The project will be led by the center’s senior fellow, Thomas Farr.

Toft will bring rich scholarship and hands-on experience to the project study team. She leads the Initiative on Religion in International Affairs in Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, and has written extensively on issues involving religious freedom and the role of religion in international conflict. Her latest book, God’s Century: Resurgent Religion and Global Politics, co-authored with Daniel Philpott and Timothy Samuel Shah, will be published in March.  Shah and Philpott are joining Toft as project scholars in the Georgetown project.

Toft’s studies have focused on the ethnic and religious aspects of  war and conflict. Her previous book was Securing the Peace: The Durable Settlement of Civil Wars,  published in 2010, for which she traveled to conflict zones including Sudan. She was a Carnegie Scholar in 2008, and earned a doctorate at the University of Chicago. Her dissertation was published in 2003 as The Geography of Ethnic Violence: Identity, Interests and the Indivisibility of Territory.