The University of Birmingham’s Edward Cadbury Centre for the Public Understanding of Religion has been awarded a Templeton World Charitable Foundation research grant, for the project ‘The Commonwealth Initiative for Freedom of Religion or Belief’.

Freedom of religion or belief, the fundamental right to have, choose, change and manifest one’s religion or belief, is enshrined in Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. However, it has perhaps never been more threatened than in today’s world; both academic and journalistic research evidences its substantial global decline.

Directed by Baroness Elizabeth Berridge and co-directed by  Dr Andrew Davies (Department of Theology and Religion), the project will explore how parliamentarians across the Commonwealth can contribute to the freedom of religion or belief. Specifically, the project aims to educate and better prepare politicians to help them influence strategies that will affect people whose lives are under threat because of their belief or non-belief.

The £1.6 million project has nine staff working on it, including Professor Francis Davis and Harriet Hoffler (both University of Birmingham) and Professor Monica Toft from the University of Oxford. The three-year project started in September 2015 and will finish in August 2018.