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Berkeley, CA, March 1, 2022 – The Graduate Theological Union, one of the world’s most comprehensive institutions of higher learning focused on interreligious life, learning, and leadership, launches GTUx, an innovative, global destination for online learning and connection situated at the intersection of spirituality and activism. The opportunities for learning provided by GTUx will be inspired by the dynamic conversations and rigorous research of GTU scholars and other luminaries in the fields of spiritual, ethical, cultural, and social inquiry. Featured content will address the climate crisis, racial inequality, psychedelics as a conduit for healing, and more. The launch of this innovative hub of online learning is uniquely suited to empower a hopeful community across the globe, creating shared connections that contribute to a more just world.
“The intersectional crises of public health, widespread injustice, political strife, and heartbreaking violence that we have weathered as a global community make it clear that the need for this type of resource is more urgent than ever,” said GTU President Uriah Kim. “There is a deep desire for change, and we are proud to have created a space that allows learners and changemakers around the world to come together in knowledge, dialogue, and action.”
Increasingly, Americans say they find spiritual meaning and connection through activism. According to the Fetzer Institute Study on Spirituality in America, 86% of Americans identify as spiritual, and 68% say that their spirituality guides how they act in the world. Respondents cited volunteer work and civic engagement as activities that help them experience a spiritual connection with others who share their vision for a better world.
Without a doubt, Americans are deeply concerned about issues concerning social justice and sustainability. National Gallup polls found that:
- 65% of U.S. adults are concerned about global warming
- Only 40% of Americans believe racial minorities, generally, have equal job opportunities
- 84% of Americans say the state of moral values in the United States is "only fair" or "poor”
The goal of GTUx is to bring spirituality and activism into direct conversation. The platform offers a solution for those seeking ways to make change through its wide range of opportunities for education, connection, and action:
- GTUx Originals: in-depth, on-demand digital learning modules taught by today’s leading scholars
- GTUx Lectures: digitized lectures from thought leaders in the GTU community, available as a series or individually
- GTUx Live: real-time discussions via Zoom, seminars, workshops, etc.
- GTUx Connect: opportunities to connect with other like-minded learners around the world through discussion forums, a dedicated chat channel, and social media platforms
- GTUx Gallery: virtual art exhibitions presented at the GTU’s Doug Adams Gallery Online, curated by the GTU’s Center for the Arts and Religion
GTUx is donation-based, allowing users to pay what they wish to access the platform’s content. The following is a select list of current and forthcoming offerings available through GTUx:
- Greening Spirituality, Drs. Rita Sherma and Devin Zuber
- The Lure of Power: Religion, Politics, and Insurrection, Drs. Deena Aranoff, Valerie Miles-Tribble, Elizabeth Peña, and Devin Zuber
- The Arbaeen Pilgrimage, Dr. Mahjabeen Dhala
- Spirituality x Activism, Dr. Scott MacDougall
- Bringing Spirit to the Public Square, Dr. Debra Mumford
- Ecospirituality, Dr. Rita Sherma and guest speakers Drs. Kathryn Barush, Debashish Banerj, and Valerie Miles-Tribble (available April 2022)
- Psychedelics and Religion, Dr. Sam Shonkoff and guest speakers, including Ayize Jama-Everett, Brian Anderson, Celina De Leon, Emily Pothast, Kamal Abu-Shamsieh, and Michael Pollan. (available May 2022)
About the Graduate Theological Union
The Graduate Theological Union (GTU) is the most comprehensive center for the graduate study of religion in North America. With a focus on interreligious and interdisciplinary perspectives, GTU faculty and students engage the world’s great religions and wisdom traditions in contemporary contexts. GTU educates innovative leaders for the academy, religious organizations, and the nonprofit sector, equipping scholars to embody the critical thinking, ethical frameworks, compassionate values, and spiritual foundations essential to building a more just, peaceful, and sustainable world.
Based in the San Francisco Bay Area, GTU is one of the world’s leading hubs for the study of religion and theology, as well as a vibrant home for spiritual exploration through digital resources with global reach.
Through rigorous academic research and active interreligious dialogue, we offer innovative approaches to advanced study, driven by our core commitment to advancing the causes of ethical leadership, social justice, sustainability, and spiritual care for the betterment of communities worldwide.