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About Us

Who We Are

The Institute for Islamic, Christian, and Jewish Studies (ICJS) is an independent educational 501(c)3 nonprofit, without affiliation with any religious or academic institution, that straddles the academic arena and the public square by working to advance interreligious dialogue and understanding. In a culture that has privatized religion, ICJS maintains that engaging interreligiously in public is vital for a healthy democracy. Through educational programming, public-facing scholarship, and relationship-centered fellowships and workshops, ICJS models a new conversation in the public square that affirms religious diversity in the United States. 


To dismantle religious bias and bigotry, ICJS builds learning communities where religious difference becomes a powerful force for good.


ICJS envisions an interreligious society in which dialogue replaces division, friendship overcomes fear, and education eradicates ignorance.



Religious difference is integral to life in the United States. Each religious tradition and community exists within a mosaic of cultural, historical, social, ethnic, and racial contexts. We believe engaging religious difference is necessary and transformative.


We engage religious difference in a society marred by inequities rooted in race, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, abilities, socioeconomic status, and other differences. These inequities should have no influence on how we value each other. However, our religious traditions continue to be complicit in the perpetuation of these inequities, and interreligious dialogue often reflects them. We refuse to privilege any individual’s or community’s perspective or to interpret their experiences for them. We commit to fostering a culture of equity and inclusion in interreligious conversations.


Dialogue invites us to bring our commitments to each conversation and calls for patience, humility, curiosity, and courage. The outcome of dialogue does not require agreement, and meaningful relationships can exist even where there are irreconcilable differences. We believe that dialogue around religious difference deepens understanding and is an essential tool for connecting communities.


We use scholarly and educational resources to challenge religious bigotry and to confront the historical injustices that have divided our religious communities. Through the give-and-take of learning together, our understanding of ourselves and others expands through a process of encounter; translation; interpretation and/or misinterpretation; and clarification. We endeavor to create learning spaces where productive discomfort stretches us toward mutual discovery and deepens relationships.


Responsible civic life requires more than tolerance and coexistence. It requires participation in community, respectful dialogue, mutual understanding, and flexibility with resources and positions. We build robust interreligious communities that interweave the civic, educational, and religious dimensions of our lives together.

ICJS Strategic Framework

In 2021, ICJS Board of Trustees approved the Strategic Framework to guide our work for the coming years. The Strategic Framework was refreshed in 2024.


We must work with one another to realize the promise and the possibility of an interreligious society.

ICJS Strategic Framework

From the Introduction

About the Logo

The three colorful marks in the logo suggest quotation marks. Quotation marks evoke both the acts of reading and dialogue—two hallmarks of the ICJS.


Each quotation mark is distinct, acknowledging the differences of the three religions. Yet the three marks do not stand in isolation, nor are they adversarial. Rather the marks appear to approach and engage each other in conversation. The white space between these three marks hints at a natural connection and speaks to the quiet and calm that the ICJS hopes to bring to the world through study, conversation and friendship.


By Ken Karpay, ICJS Past President and Emeritus Trustee

ICJS History