Study of the U.S. Institute for Scholars
on Religious Pluralism in the United States

The Study of the U.S. Institute (SUSI) for Scholars on Religious Pluralism in the United States will be held at Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, June 24-August 5, 2017. The program is administered/hosted by the Dialogue Institute and sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA). Participants in SUSI are among the approximately 30,000 individuals who participate in exchanges managed by ECA each year.  

You are among eighteen outstanding scholars from 18 different countries who have been chosen to participate in this intensive six-week learning experience. The program is designed to include classroom work and research time, as well as frequent interactions with many Americans from diverse backgrounds. The course will offer a variety of learning opportunities including lectures, classroom discussions, cultural and religious site visits, trips to Lancaster (PA) and New York City, and a nearly two week-long study tour in Colorado (Denver), Arizona (Flagstaff, Grand Canyon, Sedona, Phoenix) and Washington, D.C.—all designed to increase your understanding of American democracy and the way in which religious practice is protected and expressed in U.S. society.

There will also be some opportunity to interact with the 20 Middle Eastern (Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Turkey) young adult students who will be participating in the DI's Study of the U.S. Institute for Student Leaders, July 15-August 19, focused on the same theme of religious pluralism. The DI has been running that program since 2010.

Program Hosts

The Dialogue Institute (DI) at Temple University was founded in 1978 to advance interreligious and cross-cultural understanding and scholarship through education, networking and resource development; it is related to Temple's Department of Religion. We are delighted to welcome you for a unique learning experience based at Temple University.

Leadership Team

Program Administrators and Senior Staff

Rebecca Mays, M.A., M.A.

Academic Co-Director

Rebecca Mays is the Executive Director of the Dialogue Institute.  Ms. Mays holds a B.A. in English from Earlham College and an M.A. in Folklore and Folklife from the University of Pennsylvania. She ha worked as a Quaker educator in schools and colleges and as a professional editor/publisher for the Religious Society of Friends at Pendle Hill, a Quaker Study Center in Media, PA. When teaching the Synoptic Gospels classes there, she became involved in Jewish-Christian dialogue work. Her interest grew to include the study of Islam as she completed a second M.A. in Religious Studies and Interreligious Dialogue at Temple University.  She currently serves on the Administrative Committee of the Religious Leaders Council of Greater Philadelphia and on the Worship and Ministry Committee of her local Quaker meeting.

Professor Leonard Swidler

Academic Co-Director





Tim Emmett-Rardin

Administrative Co-Director

Prof. Leonard Swidler is Founder and President of the Dialogue Institute, as well as Founding Editor of the Journal of Ecumenical Studies. He is Professor of Catholic Thought and Interreligious Dialogue in the Religion Department of Temple University, where he has taught since 1966. At Temple, and as a visiting professor at universities around the world – including Graz, Austria; Tübingen, Germany; Fudan University, Shanghai; and the University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur – Prof. Swidler has mentored a generation of U.S. and international scholars in the work of interreligious dialogue. Prof. Swidler has a Licentiate in Sacred Theology from the University of Tübingen, and received his Ph.D. in History from the University of Wisconsin; he also holds honorary doctorates from St. Norbert’s College and LaSalle University. Prof. Swidler has published more than 180 articles and 70 books.

Tim Emmett-Rardin joined the Dialogue Institute staff in November of 2014, having worked in a variety of nonprofit, religious (including interfaith), and higher education contexts over the past 20-plus years. He has extensive experience in nonprofit administration and program management, with an emphasis on work with youth and young adults. He served as a campus minister at Drexel University for seven years and has also worked at the Interfaith Center of Greater Philadelphia in a number of different capacities. Tim received his M.Div. from Drew Theological School in 2004 (with a focus on interfaith studies/world religions, urban ministry, and social activism), and his B.A. in English and Communication from the University of Michigan in 1994.