News Release: International, Law, Religion and Ethics, University News

Aug. 24,  2010

World Religious Leaders to Discuss Happiness at Conference

World leaders within the Christian, Jewish, Muslim, and Buddhist traditions will discuss their views on happiness at “The Pursuit of Happiness in Interreligious Perspective,” Monday, Oct. 18, 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m. at Emory University School of Law. Emory’s Center for the Study of Law and Religion (CSLR) is hosting the event as the capstone of its Pursuit of Happiness Project.

The Most Reverend Katharine Jefferts Schori, the 26th Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church; Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth; George Washington University professor Seyyed Hossein Nasr, a world-renowned scholar on Islam; and The Venerable Matthieu Ricard, a world-renowned Buddhist teacher and author, will each offer a full academic address on the meaning and measure of happiness in their respective religious traditions. 

Each address will be followed by a panel discussion with some of the CSLR’s leading senior fellows.  See more information on the speakers.

Sunday, Oct. 17, 4:30-7 p.m., CSLR is hosting “Reception and Reflections on the Summit” at Emory Law. Krista Tippett, host and producer of the award-winning public radio program Speaking of Faith, will moderate a discussion among Pursuit of Happiness Scholars about their reflections on His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s “Interfaith Summit on Happiness: Understanding and Promoting Happiness in Today's Society” held earlier in the day. [Note: Tickets are SOLD OUT for the Interfaith Summit on Happiness.]

Both events are free and open to the public. Register to attend.

Emory Law’s Tull Auditorium is located at 1301 Clifton Road, Atlanta, GA 30322.

See more about parking and general information.

Agenda and Participants:

Sunday, Oct. 17, 4:30-7 p.m.:  Reception & Reflections on the Summit moderated by Krista Tippett

Emory: Carol Newsom, Robyn Fivush, Lobsang Tenzin Negi

Princeton Theological Seminary: John Bowlin, Ellen Charry

Princeton University: Eric Gregory

Monday, Oct. 18, 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m.:  The Pursuit of Happiness in Interreligious Perspective

9 a.m.: Rabbi Sacks: "Happiness in the Jewish Perspective"

Emory respondents: Michael Broyde, Deborah Lipstadt

11 a.m.:  Bishop Jefferts Schori, "The Pursuit of Happiness in the Christian Tradition: Goal and Journey"

Emory respondents: Timothy Jackson, Philip Reynolds

2:15 p.m.:  Professor Nasr, "Happiness and the Pursuit of Happiness--The Islamic Perspective"

Emory respondents: Vincent Cornell, Scott Kugle

4:15 p.m.:  The Venerable Matthieu Ricard, "Cultivating the Inner Conditions for Genuine Happiness"

Emory respondents: Corey Keyes, Michael Perry

Pursuit of Happiness Project

The events culminate a five-year CSLR project on the ancient ideal of the pursuit of happiness. Eighteen CSLR senior fellows have reexamined the traditional teachings captured in the American Declaration of Independence, which offers the “pursuit of happiness” as one of the “unalienable rights” of humankind, and put these in conversation with science to offer new perspectives on how to approach happiness in today’s society.

The project concludes in 2010 and will produce 20 new books and dozens of articles.

“Recent developments in positive psychology have brought the idea of happiness back to public attention with a flurry of books and undergraduate courses,” says Philip L. Reynolds, CSLR senior fellow, Aquinas Professor of Historical Theology, and director of the Pursuit of Happiness Project.

“We entered the debate by reviewing what various Hebrew, Greco-Roman, Christian and Enlightenment sources had to say about the subject and how those words of wisdom can be applied today in light of recent scientific developments. Adding the ancient Buddhist teachings on this subject opens a new and welcomed dimension to our current and future work.”

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