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UNESCO Chair in Interreligious and Intercultural Relations – Asia Pacific

  • Research Institutions

    • Monash University, Box 11A, Wellington Road & Blackburn Road, Clayton VIC 3800, Australia
  • unesco

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Promote an integrated system of research, training, information and documentation in the field of sociology of religion; serve as a means of facilitating collaboration between high-level, internationally recognized researchers and teaching staff of the University and other institutions in Australia, Malaysia, Indonesia, New Zealand, and Japan, and the Asia and the Pacific region.


The UNESCO Chair for the Asia-Pacific was awarded to Monash University in 2004 and was launched by H.E. Abdurrahman Wahid former President of Indonesia.

IRD Activities

  • Education

    The activities in this focus area include the study of interfaith relations promoting social harmony and common security in the 21st century, religion and globalization, interfaith peacebuilding, methods for interfaith engagement, nexus between interfaith relations and security since the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001, approaches to interfaith relations from the major religious traditions, case study of interfaith relations in Australia, gender and youth issues in interfaith, and interfaith environmental activism. The UNESCO Chair formed an Interreligious Relations and Studies @ Monash Arts consortium with the Centre for Studies in Religion and Theology, the Centre for Jewish Civilisation, the Centre for Islam in the Modern World and the Monash Asia Institute collaborating on a new Masters in Interreligious Studies and a number of jointly sponsored events. The staff of the chair has also provided lectures or seminars related to religious diversity within Monash University, Australia and Malaysia and to other universities including Gadjah Mada University, Oxford University and the University of Ottawa

  • Training

    In 2009, the UNESCO Chair in Interreligious and Intercultural Relations – Asia Pacific, in partnership with InterAction Multifaith Youth Network, sponsored by the Victorian Multicultural Commission, hosted three days of Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC) training at Monash University. 29 youth leaders and 6 interfaith allies – a term used by IFYC for people who were no longer youth themselves but who were dedicated to supporting the interfaith youth movement – including Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, Jews, Christians, Muslims and Baha'is participated in the Training

  • Research

    In 2009, the UNESCO Chair conducted many research projects related to the management of religious diversity, among which: ‘Religious Diversity and its Limits: Moving Beyond Tolerance to Accommodation' (study about the management of religious diversity in 5 nations - Canada, Australia, USA, UK and France), ‘Perceptions of Multiculturalism and Security in Victoria: Report to the Department of Premier and Cabinet, State Government of Victoria', and ‘Freedom of Religion and Belief in 21st Century Australia' (study is intended to surface and map the current issues facing Australians as they seek to practice their religions and beliefs)

  • Publications, Interuniversity Exchanges, Partnerships

    During the reporting period, the UNESCO Chair published a few works on topics related to the Chair. The UNESCO Chair staff travelled to Malaysia and Indonesia and held videoconferences to build a regional interreligious academic network in order to develop collaborative postgraduate studies, publications and research projects. The UNESCO Chair has established and developed partnerships with Monash University Malaysia, with three Indonesian universities (Gadjah Mada University, State Islamic University Sunan Kalijaga and Duta Wacana Christian University) and with the University of Waikato in New Zealand. A future partnership with universities in the Pacific Islands is being established in collaboration with the UNESCO Chair in New Zealand.

  • Main Focus Countries of Activities

    Australia - Malaysia - Indonesia - Canada - UK - Melbourne, VIC, Australia - Australia - USA - UK - France - Canada - Malaysia - Indonesia - Australia - New Zealand