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A Meeting of the Waters | Spiritual Care & Ethical Leadership for our Times

Dr. Rita D. Sherma and Dr. Devin Zuber are co-chairs of the GTU’s Sustainability 360 Initiative. Dr. Sherma is the director of the Mira and Ajay Shingal Center for Dharma Studies; Dr. Zuber is Associate Professor of American Studies, Religion, and Literature at the Center for Swedenborgian Studies. For both scholars, "This current great disruption has pushed us, like many others, to return to our roots, and to reengage, reread the texts we love that have so formatively shaped us."


Greening Spirituality | GTUx Original

This course will explore the varied ways in which the natural world, or the “other than human world,” has been imagined and experienced through embodied practices and creative acts throughout American history. The course will examine indigenous ways of knowing and understanding that situate the human integrally within the broader planetary community. Sign up now at


Shattering Illusions: Race in America | Rita D. Sherma


The International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is observed, globally, every year on March 21st. This date is the anniversary of the Sharpeville Massacre, the day police shot and killed 69 people at a nonviolent demonstration against apartheid "pass laws" in South Africa, in 1960. In 1979, the General Assembly proclaimed a week of solidarity globally, with peoples who are struggling against racism and racial discrimination, would be organized annually across the world beginning on March 21st of every year. Professor Rita Sherma has participated in events that observe this day and the week that follows, and this is from her talk on March 21st, 2021, and engages some of the factors involved in America’s present crisis in relationship with the aims of the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.


Imagining Planetary Vitality & The Arc of Justice | Visions for a Viable Future Conference II

Plenary Session A, Imagining Planetary Vitality, focuses on alternatives to the current grand narrative(s) that solidify and sustain the global structures of commerce and culture that encourage climate denial and move us closer to catastrophic change. Beyond utility and dominion, what are the alternative stories of/about the Earth? What are the embedded/embodied languages that allow the ecosphere to speak to us, and that can lead to a realignment of human relationships with the more-than-human world? Presenters include: Rita D. Sherma (Center for Dharma Studies, GTU); Whitney Bauman (Florida International University); Devin P. Zuber (Center for Swedenborgian Studies, GTU); and Bron Taylor (University of Florida).


Harvard University Human Flourishing Program Presents: “Symposium on Love in World Religions”


This Symposium is part of a long-term research project on interpersonal love at the Human Flourishing Program that is grounded in the writings of the Christian theologian Aquinas on the contributory and unitive aspects of love.  This workshop explores non-Christian perspectives on love, in part, to identify points of resonance and tension with the conceptual and empirical work of this long-term project.  We thank the John Templeton Foundation for generous support and Dr. Yudit Greenberg for help organizing the event.


World Congress of Faiths and the Parliament of the World’s Religions: “Spirituality & Ecology: Religious Wisdom for the Future.”

Hosted on April 28th by the World Congress of Faiths and the Parliament of the World’s Religions. The program delves deeper and approaches questions about the wider issues of sustainability and the future of Earth’s ecosystems. Deeper still is the fundamental issue of our spiritual relationship underpinning our human responsibility for one another and for the care of the planet and its community of life. This collaborative seminar explores the shared contributions that religious traditions can make toward healing the natural world by ensuring environmental sustainability and a vision of inclusive justice for all the peoples of our island home. There are four traditions plus a contribution from an economic perspective.

Opening Address by Dr. Rita Sherma | Visions for a Viable Future Conference II

In the face of the global COVID-19 pandemic and climate calamity, when the linked injustices of economic, social, and environmental inequity are on the rise, what answers can our religious traditions provide? Dr. Rita D. Sherma, Associate Professor of Dharma Studies and founding Director of the Center for Dharma Studies at the GTU, is the conference organizer and co-convener of GTU Sustainable Societies Conference II with Dr. Devin P. Zuber, Associate Professor for American Studies, Religion, and Literature and the George F. Dole Professor of Swedenborgian Studies at the GTU. Together Dr. Sherma and Dr. Zuber are Co-Chairs of the GTU Sustainability 360 Initiative. Here Dr. Sherma provides the opening address for the conference, the theme of which is "Visions for a Viable Future: In a Time of COVID & Climate Calamity."



Designing Relationally: Making and Restor(y)ing Life

The Center for Dharma Studies presents as part of the GTU's Sustainability 360 Initiative a special event on the upcoming book from Bloomsbury, UK: Designing Relationally: Making and Restor(y)ing Life. The book asks the question, “If we took seriously the premise that all things are radically interdependent, what would we design and create in our world — here in the midst of the intersecting and escalating social and ecological crises of the 21st Century — and how?” The event features authors Dr. Arturo Escobar (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill), Dr. Michal Osterweil (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill), and Dr. Kriti Sharma (California Institute of Technology) in conversation with CDS Director Dr. Rita Sherma. Respondents include Dr. Clive Dilnot (Parsons The New School for Design) and Dr. Christopher Key Chapple (Loyola Marymount University).


What is Theology | Dr. Rita D. Sherma | Vidya Pushpam

Dr. Rita D. Sherma, Director & Professor at the Graduate Theological Union's Center for Dharma Studies shares what Theology is, and how it engages the big questions in the world, such as poverty and education.


HCI 2021 Karma Yoga Honoree Prof Rita Sherma

Hindu Community Institute


WSR Panel: Raising Our Voices in a Turbulent Time

The GTU's Women's Studies in Religion program presents this panel and discussion featuring Leslie Bowling-Dyer (GTU doctoral student in Historical and Cultural Studies of Religion), Dr. Sharon Fennema (assistant professor of worship at PSR), Dr. Valerie Miles Tribble (associate professor of ministerial leadership and practical theology at ABSW), Jennifer Owens-Jofré (GTU doctoral candidate in Interdisciplinary Studies), and Dr. Rita Sherma (director of the GTU Center for Dharma Studies).


Rita Sherma, Convener, USC International Conference on Swami Vivekananda. Paper Presentation: “Reflections on Pluralism in the Study of Religions”

From Lament to Hope- Intentional and Aspirational Communities; Resilience in a Time of Climate Change

Introduction to the GTU Women’s Studies in Religion


California Institute of Integral Studies Conference: 1968 Revisited - What does Asia Mean to Us Today? Dr. Rita Sherma “Dharma & Ecology.”

Panel Description: 1968 saw the entry of Asian contemplative practices into America as part of the counterculture. These streams have been assimilated into the mainstream today in new ways that reinforce the regime of capital, so that one thinks of Asia either as a rising power in neo-liberal globalization or as a provider of entertainment and comfort to the corporate West. Could one think of other possibilties that yield a different world future coming from the East? This panel explores such possibilities. 


Sustainable Societies: Interreligious, Interdisciplinary Responses Conference I Plenary Session | Dr. Rita Sherma, Convener

The discourse on Sustainability has gained traction globally and in an intersectoral manner. However, the transdisciplinary field of Sustainability Studies has not embraced the principles, practices, ethics, and insights of the religious worlds of humanity. Sustainability Studies has, as its three pillars, equity and justice in Social, Economic, and Environmental spheres. The conversion of current human behaviors and actions into the transformative paradigms, that will alter the currently destructive trajectory, need internal reorientations of heart and mind that are the ultimate concern of religions.


From Lament to Hope- Intentional and Aspirational Communities; Resilience in a Time of Climate Change


Introduction to the GTU Women’s Studies in Religion

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