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Rice University
Interfaith Leadership & Religious Literacy
Date Approved

Interfaith collaboration, already a challenge for religious leaders constrained by the needs of their communities, has become even more fragmented in the wake of COVID-19 and related political tensions. This is especially acute in a large, religiously diverse city like Houston, Texas. Despite our knowledge of the pandemic’s impact on religious leaders, we know much less about how the pandemic, politics, and other social challenges have shaped interfaith leadership and collaboration. The Boniuk Institute for the Study and Advancement of Religious Tolerance at Rice University aims to revitalize urban interfaith collaboration in Houston. Through in-depth interviewing of Houston’s religious and interfaith leaders, we will investigate the impact of the pandemic and related political tensions on interfaith leadership. This research will inform a report, a discussion guide, and videos highlighting success stories. Our findings will be disseminated through our Religious and Civic Leaders network of over 400 of Houston’s religious leaders, our podcast Religion Unmuted, our newsletters reaching over 10,000 people, and journal publications. Through these efforts, we aim to revitalize interfaith leadership in Houston and provide resources for interfaith leadership more broadly.