In March 2003, Mercyhurst College will serve as the conference site for the Eastern International Region of the American Academy of Religion. The Eastern International Region comprises middle and western Pennsylvania, upstate New York and Eastern Canada, including Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal. Robert Thurman, a well-known scholar of Tibetan Buddhism and long-standing friend of the Dalai Lama, is tentatively set to give the keynote address at the conference, which is expected to draw more than 100 members of the academy, as well as residents of the tri-state area.
“We’re very pleased to host the conference to highlight the ever increasing importance of Mercyhurst’s contribution to the scholarly study of religion,” said Dr. Thomas Forsthoefel, assistant professor of religious studies and coordinator of the conference. “The event will serve to reinforce all of our efforts to put Mercyhurst on the map in terms of an outstanding profile in the Academy.”
Forsthoefel said that because the religious studies department includes mentoring students, the event will be an outstanding opportunity for Mercyhurst undergraduates to witness the professional work of scholars and to give papers themselves, thus fueling their own interests and desires for further scholarly study and training.