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Drawing from humanity’s cultural and spiritual resources for a future of global thriving 

The cultural and spiritual achievements of diverse human societies are a common source of wonder and inspiration. At the John Templeton Foundation we fund research into those achievements and catalyze conversations about them to enable a greater part of humanity to create lives of meaning and purpose. Supported work will draw from a range of fields and intellectual traditions looking to better understand the role of culture in our lives, how our cultures change, and the ways in which religions, values, customs, and institutions might help address global challenges. We are currently giving special attention to research and projects in cultural evolution, Islam science and society, and areas where these themes might overlap, such as in science-technology studies.

We seek projects that take a cultural perspective to such areas as the following:

1.) Addressing contemporary global issues—for example public health, societal disruptions relating to climate change, upholding human rights and responsibilities in the digital age, and the effects of social polarization in governance, education and community.

2.) Drawing from the world’s cultures to enhance scientific progress, or for insight into how our self-conception is affected by the human-constructed aspects of our world. Some examples could include (but are not limited to) emergent technologies, the urban-rural dynamic, or bio-engineering.

3.) Research and programs cultivating Islamic perspectives on human flourishing and shared global challenges for the present and coming age.

4.) Potential applications, such as experiments in guided culture change, drawing on research and methods of either of these primary themes.

Natural Sciences
Project Leader(s): Serah Shani
Grantee(s): Westmont College
Culture and Global Perspectives
Project Leader(s): Fachruddin Mangunjaya, Dicky Sofjan
Grantee(s): Center for Islamic Studies, Universitas Nasional
Culture and Global Perspectives
Project Leader(s): Shadi Hamid, Sharan Grewal
Grantee(s): Brookings Institution
Natural Sciences
Project Leader(s): Joseph Rouse
Grantee(s): Wesleyan University