Graduate Theological Union

GTU and Dharma Civilization Foundation Announce Partnership

The Graduate Theological Union and the Dharma Civilization Foundation have agreed to enter into a multi-phase partnership with the goal of establishing a Center for Dharma Studies within the GTU. The first two courses in Dharma studies will be offered in the fall semester of 2014. GTU President Riess Potterveld noted that “This partnership fits perfectly the mandate of the board of trustees of the Graduate Theological Union to expand the representation of the world's great religious traditions at this consortium and create a robust and singular place for scholars, students, and the public to engage one another to build deep mutual understanding and promote the common good.”

Prof. Shiva Bajpai, an eminent historian and President of the Dharma Civilization Foundation, observed that “DCF has been seeking a prestigious institution in the American Academy, for the development of a center of excellence for teaching and research on Dharma centered Indic philosophical traditions, with academic rigor and critical constructive reflection that also respects the self-understanding of these traditions. And the GTU is a perfect fit for this.” Dr. Manohar Shinde, Chairman of Dharma Civilization Foundation, said it was his aspiration that “The Center for Dharma Studies at GTU will be a great place for the creation of a community of academic scholar-practitioners, from many Sampradayas (denominations) both within Hindu Dharma and the other major Dharma traditions such as Jain and Buddhist, who can enrich the global discourse on engaged and applied Dharma.”.

Initial course offerings include a course on the classical sacred texts of Hinduism, with emphasis on commentaries of Adi Shankara, taught by Dr. Ann Berliner, Professor Emerita at California State University, Fresno; and a course on Comparative Indian Ethics: Dharma, Justice, Gender, and Ecology, taught by Dr. Purushottama Bilimoria, Professor of Philosophy and Comparative Studies at Deakin University in Australia; Senior Research Fellow, University of Melbourne, and former Visiting Professor at University of California, Berkeley.  

The Dharma Civilization Foundation, founded in Los Angeles in 2012, is an organization of academic, professional, and spiritual leaders from the Indian American community which seeks to establish the systematic academic study of Dharma, its interpretation, expressions through culture, and contemporary application, through the creation of academic and intellectual infrastructure in the U.S. such as visiting professorships, endowed chairs, scholarships, centers, academic institutions, conferences, and publications.

The Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California, is home to the largest Ph.D. program in religious studies in North America. As a consortium of independent theological schools, the Graduate Theological Union includes nine seminaries, three of which are Roman Catholic, five Protestant, and one Unitarian Universalist. In addition, the GTU features a variety of centers and affiliates, including the Center for Jewish Studies, the Center for Islamic Studies, the Institute of Buddhist Studies, the Patriarch Athenagoras Orthodox Institute, the Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences, and the Center for Arts, Religion and Education. Founded in 1962, the Graduate Theological Union is dedicated to building bridges within and across different religious traditions by educating students for teaching, research, ministry, and service. The GTU works collaboratively with the University of California, Berkeley, and is the home of the Flora Lamson Hewlett Library, one of the largest theological libraries in the U.S.