Carnegie Corporation contributes to deeper understanding of Islam

$10 Million Initial Investment Part of Comprehensive Strategy to Enrich Public Dialogue

Carnegie Corporation of New York today announced an initial $10 million investment to enrich the quality of America’s public dialogue on Islam and Muslim societies. Many of the foundation’s long-term programmatic priorities–from international security and immigrant integration to journalism and support for individual scholars–have integrated a focus on Islam into their grantmaking. The Corporation’s comprehensive strategy focuses on increasing public knowledge about the diversity of thought, cultures and history of Islam and Muslim communities, including those in the U.S.


Grants and allocations announced today, as well as investments made over the past six months, constitute the largest commitment by a U.S. foundation toward the development of a more complex understanding among Americans about Muslim communities here and throughout the world–revealing Islam’s rich diversity.

“There is a disconnection between many of our public conversations about Islam and our knowledge of it,” said Carnegie Corporation President Vartan Gregorian. “Carnegie Corporation has worked to help remedy this disconnect by contributing to a more fundamental comprehension about a religion of diverse expressions and cultures with 1.3 billion practitioners worldwide. We hope that our work will better equip Americans to make informed decisions about, and engage with, various Muslim communities in our midst as well as those abroad.”

Gregorian continued, “Our Islam-related grantmaking is, in part, a response to an increased demand since September 11, 2001 by cultural institutions, thinks tanks, elected officials, policymakers and journalists for more and better information about Islam as a religion, about Islamic civilizations, and about Muslim states and societies.”

Gregorian added that Carnegie Corporation’s thoroughly integrated program structure–which prioritizes the sharing of knowledge and experiences across disciplines–has helped to maximize the impact of the Islam work.

“Understanding both Islam as a world religion and Islamic civilizations is one facet of the Corporation’s integrated grantmaking, but so is gaining greater understanding of the role of Muslim communities in America’s national life: today, the U.S. Census Bureau estimates that there are approximately 2.5 million Muslims living in the United Sates, and those numbers are on the rise. Muslims comprise new streams in the multiplicity of ethnic, racial, linguistic and religious groups that for more than two centuries have come to the United States and contributed to the rich cultural and social tapestry that is our nation. And like others before them, they too must be integrated into our society and engage positively with our democracy and our democratic institutions.”

Carnegie Corporation will support innovative, publicly accessible research by individual scholars; assist media to address the entire spectrum of Islamic religious and political thought; and outreach efforts by universities to connect their research to the broader public. The Corporation is also supporting efforts to inform specific audiences, including members of Congress, about the complex, diverse and rapidly changing landscape of contemporary Islam.

Several of the new grants focus on developing professional and leadership skills including cultivating the new generation of American Muslim leaders, and improving the depth of media coverage by helping journalists develop a more complex understanding of Islam and Muslim societies.

Specific grants awarded today to expand the American public’s understanding of Islam and Muslim societies originate from many of the Corporation’s program areas and include:

The Carnegie Scholars program is supporting 20 scholars, analysts and writers to pursue original projects oriented toward catalyzing intellectual discourse as well as guiding more focused and pragmatic policy discussions on Islam and Muslim societies. The 2008 awardees are the fourth consecutive annual class to focus on Islam, bringing to 91 the number of Carnegie Scholars devoted to the topic since the program began in 2000. The Corporation has also allocated funds for a fifth class in 2009. ($4,000,000)

The Educational Broadcasting Corporation will produce, promote and distribute a series of 12 one-hour episodes with the working title of “Charlie Rose: Conversations in Islam,” presenting an array of viewpoints on contemporary Islam from political and religious leaders, scholars and cultural figures. ($1,000,000)

The Aspen Institute will produce a series of seminars on contemporary Islam for members of the United States Congress. ($800,000)

The America University in Cairo will convene an intensive training program for students from journalism schools supported by the Carnegie-Knight Initiative on the Future of Journalism Education focusing on the history and societies of the Middle East. ($199,800)

TheNewshour on PBS will expand the activities of the program’s Overseas Reporting Unit to address the complexity and diversity of Islam in the context of global peace and security. ($500,000)

National Public Radio will report on the state of Islam in the U.S. and internationally, including profiles of prominent Muslim leaders and experts on Islam. ($400,000)

The International Center for Journalists will link American journalists with journalists from the Muslim world to improve coverage of the diversity of Muslim-majority states. ($228,200)

The University of Southern California will help strengthen emerging leaders in the Muslim American community with the goal of increasing civic and political engagement. ($50,000) American University of Beirut will convene a series of seminars in the Middle East addressing contemporary political Islam and intended for journalists from small-to-medium-sized U.S. media markets ($50,000)

The Religion News Writers Association will create online resources to help facilitate accurate and insightful reporting on Islam and a training seminar for journalists. ($50,000)

InterNews will produce a series of radio programs for broadcast in the Pakistan-Afghanistan border region aimed at raising the voices of ordinary citizens against violence and conflict. ($50,000)

Johns Hopkins University will provide training to U.S. news editors on issues facing Turkey, including the role of political Islam. ($50,000)

The Glocal Forum will bring best practices in interfaith dialogue and mediation to its international network of cities ($50,000)

The Washington National Cathedral is convening an international meeting of religious leaders to facilitate dialogue and reconciliation. ($50,000)

The Institute for Advanced Study will convene top scholars on the topic of Islamic texts and thinkers that played a role in the European Enlightenment. ($50,000)

The American Society for Muslim Advancement will increase its communication and media outreach capacity, including the provision of training to diverse, emerging voices and leaders in the many Muslim communities across the U.S. ($300,000)

The ADC Research Institute will disseminate information on civil rights and civil liberties violations affecting Arab and Muslim Americans post- September 11, 2001. ($50,000)

Over the past six months Carnegie Corporation made an initial set of investments leading to today’s grants:

The Social Science Research Council is supporting outreach to connect the wealth of university-based knowledge on the history and culture of Islam to students, media, the business community and the broader public. ($2,000,000)

Harvard University is creating an interactive, web-based tool to access a spectrum of scholarly and religious debates and viewpoints in contemporary Islamic thought. ($200,000)

The Chicago Council on Global Affairs has examined and disseminated a report on the civic integration of American Muslims. ($150,000)

Women’s eNews is producing a series of news stories examining American Muslim women challenging the stereotypes associated with them and Islam in general. ($48,000)

The Women’s Foreign Policy Group in conjunction with the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars will convene a conference for policymakers and diplomats in which Carnegie Scholars and other experts will engage in a dialogue on Islam in a cultural, historic, and political context. ($45,000)

The Interfaith Youth Core is promoting religious tolerance on college campuses. ($50,000)

The Aspen Institute is educating the public about Muslim American philanthropy. ($50,000)

The Aspen Institute held a seminar of specialists on the radicalization process ($50,000)

The Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs is producing a seminar series on Islam. ($25,000)

New York University is producing a series of public conferences on Western and Islamic theories of law. ($49,100)

The Consensus Building Institute is building dialogue among Americans on the subject of constructive interaction with Muslim states. ($50,000)

The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars is sharing best practices in government-Muslim community relationships among the United States, Germany, France and the United Kingdom. ($49,000)

About Carnegie Corporation of New York
Carnegie Corporation of New York was created by Andrew Carnegie in 1911 to promote “the advancement and diffusion of knowledge and understanding.” For more than 95 years the Corporation has carried out Carnegie’s vision of philanthropy by building on his two major concerns: international peace and advancing education and knowledge. As a private grantmaking foundation, the Corporation will invest more than $100 million this year in nonprofits to fulfill Mr. Carnegie’s mission, “to do real and permanent good in this world.” The Corporation’s capital fund, originally donated at a value of about $135 million, had a market value of $3.07 billion on September 30, 2007.

New York, New York, April 7, 2008

For further information contact:

Carnegie Corporation of New York

Public Affairs 212-207-6273


Comments are closed.

Looking for something?

Use the form below to search the site:

Still not finding what you're looking for? Drop a comment on a post or contact us so we can take care of it!