Dialogue Knowledge Hub

COVID-19 and Religion: Sustainable Development Before and After the Crisis

Online Zoom Application
02:00 pm
15 Jul, 2020
Prof. Dr. Azizan Binti Baharuddin
Prof. Dr. Raihanah Abdullah
Leonie Lewis
Prof. Dr. Joan Hernández Serret
Webinar in collaboration with the University of Malaya



The COVID-19 pandemic has intensified and altered efforts around global economic, social, environmental and political development. The consequences of the virus are expected to be long lasting with world economies crippled and social inequalities exacerbated. According to Inger Andersen, Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), “The global coronavirus pandemic, which has already caused unimaginable devastation and hardship, has brought our way of life to an almost complete halt. The outbreak will have profound and lasting economic and social consequences in every corner of the globe". 

This webinar will discuss measures following the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic worldwide, including its implications on sustainable development. Speakers will debate how religion and faith groups today can contribute to development goals and the ways in which faith groups can (or already do) engage in civil society projects during COVID-19, can this engagment continue? Participants from the University of Malaya will also provide a special look at the alignment between the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Muslim principles and values. The audience will also have a chance to learn about the Peace Map as a tool for analysing the organisations and their work towards Sustainable Development Goals. 

Learn more about our partner University of Malaya: https://www.um.edu.my/

Prof. Dr. Azizan Binti Baharuddin

Director-General, Institut Kefahaman Islam Malaysia (IKIM)

Honorary Professor, Centre for Civilisational Dialogue (CCD), University of Malaya

Azizan Baharuddin received her BSc (Hons) in Biology from the University of Tasmania in Australia, MSc from University College London, and PhD in Philosophy of Science (Science & Islam) from University of Lancaster, United Kingdom. She specialises in several areas such as inter-civilisational/interfaith dialogue, Islam and science, environmental ethics, bioethics, and religion & sustainable development. She has published widely in all these areas (more than 200 books, book chapters, monographs and articles). She is an active member in several governmental organisations and non-governmental organisations (NGO) connected with her areas of specialisation as well as being a member of various advisory and consultative committees for various ministries/institutions in Malaysia and abroad. She was appointed by the Prime Minister as the Chairman of the National Committee for the Promotion of Understanding and Harmony Among Religious Adherents & appointed by the Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation as Chairman and Member of the National Bioethics Council (2014-2017). She was appointed by the Director-General of UNESCO as Member of the UNESCO-International Bioethics Committee (IBC) in Paris (2014 – 2017). Due to her work and contribution in the areas of Science & Religion, she has received an award from the Centre for Theology & Natural Sciences, USA (2001). She was Director at the Centre for Civilisational Dialogue (until 2011) and Professor at the Faculty of Science, University of Malaya (until 2015). In 2011, she was seconded to the Institute of Islamic Understanding Malaysia (IKIM) as the Deputy Director-General, and later was appointed as the Director-General of IKIM in 2015. In 2016, she received the Langkawi Award from the Government of Malaysia for her work in environmental education and activism at national and international arena. She was one of the drafters of the Islamic Declaration on Climate Change (IDCC) launched in Istanbul (2015) and submitted to the United Nations (UN) in 2016. She was also awarded the Maal Hijrah Award for Wilayah Persekutuan in 2016. Most recently she was appointed as member of the Board of Directors of QSR Brands (M) Berhad, Shariah Committee QSR Brands Holdings (M) Berhad, and also an Honorary Professor at Centre for Civilisational Dialogue, University of Malaya.

Prof. Dr. Raihanah Abdullah

Director (Dean),  Academy of Islamic Studies, University of Malaya

Dr Raihanah Abdullah is a Professor at the Department of Shariah and Law and currently the Dean of the Academy of Islamic Studies, University Malaya. From 2011 to 2013, she was the Director of the Centre for Civilizational Dialogue (CCD), University Malaya. It was during this time that her passion for building peaceful and harmonious co-existence in the world intensified. She organized several events related to intercultural dialogue such as the 2013 “Forum & Exhibition on Youth Interfaith Dialogue: A Youth Discussion on Peace and Harmony” and the 2012 “International Symposium on Intercivilisational Dialogue towards Peace, Harmonious Co-existence and Sustainability”. These international symposiums highlighted several aspects of Intercivilizational Dialogue according to the Islamic world view and the Lotus Sutra. She is the former Deputy Vice Chairperson of the Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission, Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). She believes that acceptance and respect amongst the diverse cultures and faiths is imperative to achieve a harmonious world. She emphasizes that in order to achieve this acceptance and respect, humans need to bridge the world through dialogue. Being an expert in the areas of related to the human rights of marginalized groups of society, particularly of women, she has published widely on these topics both in English and Bahasa Malaysia. Dr Raihanah lives by the motto of “Be gracious in speech, kind words echo to eternity” as she continues to engage in spreading awareness and acceptance of peaceful coexistence through intercultural dialogue. Her current research focuses on the role of women and youth in building peaceful and harmonious co-existence. An event “Women as Agents of Peace and Harmony” in conjunction with International Women’s Day 2018 was organized to promote mutual understanding between different religions, encourage interreligious dialogue and to celebrate the role of women from different generations, cultures and faiths in promoting peace. She is KAICIID 2019 International Fellow.

Leonie Lewis

Leading Charity and Community Consultant

Leonie Lewis MBE is retired from her role as the first Director of the Jewish Volunteering Network. She is currently consulting for four charities and a government project.

She has a Masters in Sociology of Education and has an MBA in educational leadership. She is particularly interested in faith, young people and community development issues and holds several voluntary positions including, Vice Chair of the Faiths forum for London, Trustee of Paperweight,coordinator for The Cities of Faith & Community Forum and Advisor to the Children’s Aid Committee.

Leonie is an assessor for the Queens Award for Voluntary Service Assessment Committee.

She is an active member of Pinner Synagogue, is married to Howard and has 8 grandchildren.

Prof. Dr. Joan Hernández Serret


Dr. in sociology from the University of Barcelona (UB) and researcher in the interreligious dialogue and happiness (at University of Barcelona, ​​Sociology department). He is currently a professor at the Higher Institute of Religious Sciences of Barcelona (ISCREB); at the Faculty of Humanities of the International University of Catalonia (UIC). He also participated as a teacher in several Master degree: “Interreligious, ecumenical and cultural dialogue of ISCREB and Ramon Llull University; Post-degree of "Humanization and spirituality in Plural Societies" at San Juan de Dios University; "Protocol, Institutional Relations and Strategic Organization of Events" from Blanquerna School of Communication –(Ramon Llull University);  and in a "Religious Diversity in Open Societies” as a trainer at the Academy of Public Administration.

Professionally, he has worked at ISOR at the Autonomous University of Barcelona (1999), the Inter-religious Center of the Barcelona City Council (2000-2003) and as co-director of the program of the IV Parliament of the World's Religions (2002 to 2004). Since 2005 he is the director of the Stable Working Group of Religions (GTER). And he is Vice-president of Religions for Peace Europe (2018-2020).

Prof. Patrice Brodeur
Prof. Patrice Brodeur

Patrice Brodeur is an Assoc.-Prof. at the Institute of Religious Studies at the University of Montreal, Canada. He is also Senior Adviser Knowledge at KAICIID Dialogue Centre, where he is part of the leadership team of its Dialogue Knowledge Hub, including the KAICIID Peacemap. He is a scholar of Abrahamic religions and trainer in interreligious dialogue for peacebuilding. He received his Ph.D. (Religious Studies) from Harvard University. He has studied at McGill University (BA and MA) as well as at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and the University of Jordan in Amman. Patrice Brodeur was also Rockefeller Fellow for one year at the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at Notre Dame University in the USA.