Religious institutions have a messy and complicated history in development. Today, many development practitioners and institutions continue to be based in religion - but not without tension. Churches, mosques and other religious institutions are often the best positioned to know a community’s needs and respond accordingly. Local religious groups have the respect and recognition in the community that other development organizations spend years and even decades trying to achieve. Yet religious development organizations can also find themselves in a difficult tension between development and religion when the two seem to be in opposition, causing many to throw religion out of development practice indefinitely. Where does religion sit within the field of development? When does it act as a barrier, when is it the only open door to lifting people out of poverty, and how do development practitioners navigate between the two?
Jose Carlos Prem - Country Director, Compassion Guatemala
David Kupp - Program Coordinator, Master of Theological Studies in Development | Professor, Wycliffe College
Jessica Ferne - Director of Programs, International Development and Relief Foundation
Katherine Marshall - Senior Fellow, Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs | Executive Director, WFDD