Reflecting on our Inaugural Year: RPL Annual Report 2021-22

July 20, 2022
RPL Annual Report
Dear Friends of Religion and Public Life,
It has been an astonishing year of many firsts for us at Religion and Public Life (RPL). Our 2021-22 Annual Report documents just some of our highlights of the year.
Religion and Public Life Annual Report 2021-22 cover with MRPL graduates in their caps and gowns
Among other highlights this year, 11 remarkable Master of Religion and Public Life degree candidates each held a public presentation to showcase their thinking and application of religious literacy and just peace principles in their area of expertise. We are honored to celebrate their achievements as the first graduating cohort of the first new academic degree program at Harvard Divinity School in over 50 years.
The Religion, Conflict, and Peace Initiative supported the second year of 10 resident and nonresident fellows, culminating in the powerful series on cultural activism. The team shifted the traditional January term course to a spring-semester experience, concluding in the first experiential learning trip in two years, with eight students remaining in Israel/Palestine in supported internships this summer.
We continue to be moved by the power of the application of religious literacy in professional fields. RPL and HDS alumni relations colleagues sponsored two events with distinguished alumnx panelists in the fields of humanitarian action and journalism. Both events illuminated the power of an HDS degree. We will continue our partnership with alumni relations and will host additional events for other highlighted professions in the fall.

We are especially excited to report that our first group of 25 Certificate in Religion and Public Life students will embark on summer internships in diverse settings, serving 280 hours each as part of the certificate requirements.
We are approaching a staggering reach of nearly one million participants in the HarvardX Massive Open Online Courses. The team revamped the courses and relaunched them in the fall, supported by a group of graduate teaching assistants guiding online discussions with students across the globe.
collage of photos of RPL Fellows, students, staff and faculty
RPL Strategic Plan 2022-24, a group of RPL students walks toward a giant keyhole sculpture with a key on top
One major undertaking this year was the establishment of a stakeholder-led strategic planning process to map out the vision and goals of Religion and Public Life. Our ambitious plan, Religion and Public Life Forward, highlights our central commitments across four core areas over the course of the next two years:
  • Strengthen RPL Foundations
  • Build the RPL Community
  • Influence the Public Realm
  • Build a Sustainable Program
To say we are grateful to the many, many students, staff, fellows, faculty, and stakeholders who have made this inaugural year possible is an understatement. Our ongoing cross-disciplinary collaborations have enormous potential to shift individual and interpersonal approaches while centering structural justice. We are eager to see what blooms in the years ahead.

Diane L. Moore,
Faculty Director, Religion and Public Life
July 2022