The conference will feature two keynote speakers from The University of Edinburgh:
Both are highly credentialed with regards to inter-faith dialogue and commitments to peace.
Mona Siddiqui joined the University of Edinburgh’s Divinity school in December 2011 as the first Muslim to hold a Chair in Islamic and Interreligious Studies. She also holds the posts of Assistant Principal for Religion and Society and Dean international for the Middle-East at the University of Edinburgh. Prior to this, she worked at Glasgow University directing the Centre for the Study of Islam. Her research areas are primarily in the field of Islamic jurisprudence (fiqh) and ethics and Christian-Muslim relations. Amongst her most recent publications are, 50 Ideas in Islam (Quercus, 2016), Muslim Christian Encounters 4 volumes, (Routledge, 2016) Hospitality in Islam: Welcoming in God’s Name (Yale UP, 2015), My Way: A Muslim Woman's Journey (IB Tauris, 2014), Christians, Muslims and Jesus (Yale University Press, 2013) and The Good Muslim: Reflections on Classical Islamic Law and Theology (Cambridge University Press, 2012).
She is currently writing a monograph on her Gifford lectures on the theme of human struggle. She currently holds research grants from the Henry Luce Foundation on Christian- Muslim studies and the Issachar Fund on the theme of gratitude in Christian and Islamic thought. She has held visiting professorships at several Dutch and American universities including a Humanitas Professorship at Cambridge University in 2014.
Currently she is Visiting Professor at the University of Surrey, British University in Dubai and Kings College, London.
Professor Siddiqui is also well known internationally as a public intellectual and a speaker on issues around religion, ethics and public life. She is a regular commentator in the media, known especially for her appearances on BBC Radio 4 and BBC Radio Scotland’s Thought for the Day. In June 2016, she became a panellist on BBC Radio 4’s award winning The Moral Maze. In 2012, she appeared as a guest on Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs and in July 2015, was a guest on BBC Radio 3’s Private Passions. She chairs the BBC’s Religious Advisory Committee in Scotland and during 2016 served as chair of the Scotland `Stronger In’ pro Europe campaign. In April 2016, she was invited by the Home Office to lead an independent review of shari`a councils in the UK; the report was published by the Home Office in February 2018. She served as an elected member of the Nuffield Council of Bioethics and as a member of the British Medical Associations’ Medical Ethics Committee until June 2018. She is a fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, holds six honorary doctorates and an honorary fellowship of the Royal Society of Scottish Architects for her contributions to public life. In 2011, she was awarded an OBE for her contribution to interfaith services. In 2014 she spoke on religion and politics at the World Economic Forum in Davos and in 2017 was listed in the Debretts top 500 list of the most influential people in the UK. In April 2019, she received the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Hubert Walter Award for Reconciliation and Interfaith Cooperation. In April 2019 she was also elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Joshua Ralston is Reader in Christian-Muslim Relations at the School of Divinity, University of Edinburgh and director and co-founder of the Christian-Muslim Studies Network funded by the Henry Luce Foundation. He has published widely on Christian theological engagements with Islam, Protestant Theology, and on political theology and migration. His monograph, Law and the Rule of God: A Christian-Muslim Comparative Theology is in press with Cambridge University Press (2020) and he has co-edited two books, Church in an Age of Global Migration: A Moving Body (Palgrave, 2015) and Religious Diversity in Europe: Comparative Political Theology (Ferdinand Schöning, 2020).
He is currently working on two books, Witness and the Word: An Approach to Christian-Muslim Dialogue, and Sovereignty and the Secular: Political Theology in Arabic. Prior to moving to Scotland, he was Assistant Professor of Theology at Union Presbyterian Seminary in Richmond, Virginia. He earned his undergraduate degree in philosophy at Wake Forest University, before going on to study World Christianity at Edinburgh (MTh with distinction), divinity at Candler School of Theology (MDiv), and Christian Theology and Islamic Thought at Emory University.