Trinity Western University’s Religion in Canada Institute (RCI) is an interdisciplinary research centre and intellectual community of scholars at Trinity Western committed to understanding the multifaceted role of religion in Canada for culture, individuals, and social institutions. It is an official university institute that was founded in 2007.
The RCI has signed a memorandum of understanding with the International Institute for Religious Freedom (IIRF), based in Bonn, Germany. The agreement affiliates the IIRF and RCI to establish a North American branch of the IIRF, to be known as IIRF-V (for Vancouver).
The IIRF is a network of professors, researchers, academics, specialists and university institutions from all continents. Local chapters work to analyze reliable data on the violation of religious freedom worldwide. They also seek to introduce religious freedom topics in college and university programs and curricula, especially in the areas of law, sociology, religious studies and theology. IIRF is the publisher of the ‘International Journal for Religious Freedom’. IIRF-V will join branches in Brussels, Colombo, Delhi, Cape Town, Brasilia and Tubingen.
RCI is run by co-directors Janet Epp Buckingham and Paul Rowe, Trinity Western professors.
“The affiliation with the IIRF will expand our research network and capacity on issues of religious freedom for minorities around the world,” comments Janet Epp Buckingham. “We are now connected to a global network of scholars on religious freedom.”
“The study of religious freedom has entered a pivotal phase, in which scholars have begun to debate how essential and important this key freedom is for contemporary societies,” says Paul Rowe. “At this point in history, it is vital that people of faith learn to articulate why religious freedom is so important and what it means to the larger expansion of freedom in North America and throughout the world.”
Paul S. Rowe is professor of Political and International Studies at Trinity Western University. He completed degrees at the University of Toronto, Dalhousie University, and McGill University prior to taking up his role at TWU. Dr. Rowe’s research into the politics of religious minorities in the Middle East and South Asia have exposed him to the complicated problems that faith communities face in places where they form a minority. He is the author of ‘Religion and Global Politics’ (Oxford University Press Canada, 2012) and editor of ‘The Routledge Handbook of Minorities in the Middle East’ (Routledge, 2019). He continues to research the politics of faith-based minorities and the politics of religion worldwide.
Janet Epp Buckingham is a professor at Trinity Western University and the Director of the Laurentian Leadership Centre, a one-semester public policy program in Ottawa, Canada. She previously served as director, law and public policy, for the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada and Executive Director of the Christian Legal Fellowship in Canada. She was a religious freedom advocate at the UN in Geneva for the World Evangelical Alliance from 2003-2006. Buckingham’s research area is religious freedom law in Canada and internationally. She is the managing editor of the ‘International Journal for Religious Freedom’. Buckingham has recently been appointed the Director Designate, Global Advocacy with the World Evangelical Alliance.