Russell Berrie Fellowship in Interreligious Studies | Planting the Seeds of Interfaith Understanding


Russ and Angelica shared an unshakeable belief in the importance of interfaith bridge-building. Together with Rabbi Jack Bemporad, a pioneer in the field, they created the Center for Interreligious Understanding, which engages in behind-the-scenes diplomacy and forges meaningful connections among Christian, Jewish and Muslim leaders. Our foundation also collaborated with Rabbi Bemporad and the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas (the Angelicum), in Rome, to establish the John Paul II Center for Interreligious Dialogue, which provides the next generation of religious leaders with a comprehensive understanding of, and dedication to, interfaith issues and action. Each year, a diverse cadre of exceptional clergy, scholars and lay leaders from around the world are awarded Russell Berrie Fellowships to pursue post-graduate interreligious studies at the Angelicum.

Selected Recent Grants

John Paul II Center for Interreligious Dialogue To host world-class visiting faculty, lectures and conferences on interfaith dialogue at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas, in Rome (the Angelicum), and to support a yearly cadre of up to 10 carefully selected Russell Berrie Fellows as they pursue post-graduate degrees in interreligious studies.

John Paul II Center Tenth Anniversary Celebration To mark the first decade of the John Paul II Center and the Russell Berrie Fellowship with conferences in Jerusalem, Rome and at Harvard Divinity School. Participants included religious leaders, practitioners, scholars and students from around the world.

Berrie Fellows Alumni Network To support graduates of the Russell Berrie Fellowship in Interreligious Studies as they pursue work in interreligious dialogue and peacemaking in their communities, which currently span 33 countries.

Center for Interreligious Understanding To work with and influence religious leaders of all beliefs through groundbreaking programs to combat Holocaust denial, explore common goals and create constructive approaches to fighting intolerance.