01: The fledgling website, www.catholicscholars.net represents a new attempt to steer the media to sources and referrals on the conservative side of the church spectrum.
Conservative Catholics have long complained that the media reflects the views of liberal and dissenting Catholic theologians and spokespeople and ignores the perspectives of more traditional members as well as the church leadership most closely in step with the pope.
The site lists scholars by expertise and by state who are members of the Fellowship of Catholic Scholars, a leading conservative Catholic academic association.
02: New Generation is a growing Scandinavian-based evangelical youth movement that views the public schools as a mission field for evangelization.
Founded in Oslo, Norway in 1996 and then expanding to Sweden, the group has had unusual success in gaining evangelical converts in a strongly secular environment. Students lead outreach events, prayer meetings and engaging in one-on-one evangelism, usually with school authorities’ permission. New Generation is now active in 200 Norwegian and 230 Swedish schools.
The movement does not take doctrinal positions related to any denomination and has thus gained wide acceptance among Scandinavian church organizations. More recently, the movement’s success has generated enough interest in to start chapters in Russia.
(Source: Charisma, March)
03: While it is difficult to assess claims that it brings a “silent revolution in education in Bangladesh”, the International Islamic University Chittagong (IIUC) represents on the Indian subcontinent an interesting example of attempts at an “Islamization of knowledge” found across the Muslim world.
Founded in 1995 thanks to new legal provisions allowing for the creation of private universities in Bangladesh, the IIUC has been growing rapidly and now counts 2,000 students in Chittagong and 1,500 at its campus in Dhaka, the country’s capital. A new campus is currently being built in Kumira (20 kms. from Chittagong), as RW could observe during an on-site visit in January: the new campus includes an impressive, modern library building. The success of the IIUC should not only be attributed to its Islamic orientations: private universities have become quite successful in Bangladesh (more than 50), for those who can afford to pay the fees, due to various problems and turmoil at the state universities.
Moreover, only a small minority of the students are primarily engaged in Islamic studies: most of them choose business administration, computer science or communication engineering. But all students have to attend some courses on Islam, the Quran and the life of Prophet Muhammad.
There is an emphasis on conveying ethical values to students. At a later stage, the founders of the IIUC hope to develop in various areas of knowledge (business sciences, social sciences, etc.) a curriculum enlightened by Islamic principles and knowledge.
The IIUC is one of the most recent initiatives deriving from an impetus launched by the first Islamic Educational World Conference held in Mecca in 1977, which produced recommendations for the Islamization of knowledge: other earlier instances have been the International Islamic University in Malaysia and the Islamic University of Islamabad in Pakistan.
— By Jean-François Mayer