eRenlai's March Focus explores the state of inter-religious dialogue within various countries, cultures and grassroots communities in Asia.
We commence our Focus interviewing the Jesuit Jerry Martinson who talks about meditating with Buddhist monks and the dynamics of interfaith dialogue in Asia through his experiences during and after filming the documentary Pilgrims in Dialogue in 1991. Benoit introduces the concept of 'dialogue' and the current discourse interpreting religions as languages, whilst Elise DeVido narrates religious dialogue in an East Asian context. eRenlai's specialist on new religions Paul Farrelly, writes on religious tensions within the family and how religious leaders can affect dialogue within the wider community. Sara Husseini introduces her thesis research, evoking examples of Christian and Muslim scholars sharing ideas in Basra and Baghdad eleven centuries ago.
This is also an opportunity to highlight the recent founding of the Xu-Ricci Dialogue Institute at Shanghai's Fudan University. The centre is named after the Shanghai-born scholar and statesman Xu Guangqi (1562-1633) and the Jesuit sinologist Matteo Ricci (1552-1610), whose friendship pioneered the dialogue pursued between China and the West in modern times.
And in January, the Taipei Ricci Institute signed an agreement with Taiwan National Library creating a "Matteo Ricci - Pacific Studies Reading Room" within the premises of the library. At the same time (with the support of the library, the Council for Aboriginal Affairs and individual scholars) the TRI is working towards the creation of a "Taiwan Society for Pacific Studies" that will become its main research outlet and focus.