Institutes & Initiatives

Institutes & Initiatives

Institutes and Initiatives


Union Theological Seminary hosts several exciting and cutting-edge Institutes and Program Initiatives. Each fosters public engagement around global issues through seminars, lectures featuring world-renowned activities and experts, and specialized course offerings.

Institute for Art, Religion & Social Justice

The mission of this Institute is to explore the relationship between art and religion through the lens of social justice. The Institute commissions and supports related contemporary art projects and practices.

The Institute’s inaugural exhibition was entitled compassion. Additional recent activities included the exhibit social justice, the forum lecture series; entitled art, women & social justice featuring Marina Abramovic, John McGuckin, Kara Walker, and James Cone and the performance event Like Brothers and Sisters.

Visit the Institute for Art, Religion & Social Justice.

Edible Churchyard

This program was borne of a visionary recognition that ecological justice in an integral and inseparable aspect of social justice.

The work of this initiative includes a White House-recognized interfaith service project that brings together members of local synagogue and neighborhood mosque to share meals, faith practices, and community in order to create growing spaces in shared community.

Recent class offering include a course entitled Food & Justice, and Ecology and the New Testament.

Visit Edible Churchyard.

Poverty Initiative

The founding mission of the Poverty Initiative is to raise up generations of religious and community leaders dedicated to building a social movement to end poverty, led by the poor.

Recent accomplishments include: Three National Poverty Truth Commissions; Six Poverty Immersion Courses, Five Faculty-Sponsored Poverty-themed Union Courses (Reading the Bible with the Poor, Women’s Experience as Resource for Worship, Poverty and Poor People’s Movements: Social and Ethical Analysis, and World Religions & Poverty and ongoing Support for Poor People’s Organizations with successful campaigns including Coalition of Immokalee Workers, YUM! Brands & McDonald’s Corporation negotiations, Restaurant Opportunities Center – New York (prayer vigils and law suit against Fireman Hospitality Group), Picture the Homeless (Potter’s Field Campaign), United Workers Association (Camden Yards Living Wage victory).

Visit the Poverty Initiative.

Institute for Women, Religion and Globalization

Serves as a convening presence for women religious leaders, scholars, and development professionals from around the world. Its work revolves around the education of women as religious leaders, the development of international scholars committed to cutting edge research, and programming for public engagement on topics related to women, religion, and globalization.

For more information, please contact Dr. Su Pak.

Recent event: The Second Annual Judith Davidson Moyers Women of Spirit Lecture, featuring Dr. Vandana Shiva, global philosopher, environmental activist, author and eco feminist.

The Sophia Institute

The William and Maria Spears International Center for Orthodox Thought and Culture has its offices on the Campus of Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York. It is an Advanced Research Association and Philanthropic Foundation that focuses on the historical culture and ethical outreach of Orthodox Christianity. It is an independent foundation that functions in association with a number of university partners and collaborators, notably: The Harriman Institute (Columbia University), The Center for Early Christian Studies (Catholic University of Australia), The School of Early Christian and Eastern-Christian Affairs (Louvain University), The Institute of Ecumenical Studies (Lviv University, Ukraine), and The School of Social Ethics, Leeds Metropolitan University.The primary aims  of  the Sophia Institute are to encourage the study of the Eastern Christian Tradition – its history, thought, liturgical and spiritual cultures, as well as issues concerned with its ecumenical and socio-ethical engagement with the contemporary world.

Visit the Sophia Institute.

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