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  • Date :
  • 2/15/2006

Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding (CMCU)


Phone: 202-687-8375
Mailing Address:
Georgetown University
Washington, DC 20057

Hasib Sabbagh signing the charter with Georgetown President Leo O'Donovan, Dean of the School of Foreign Service Peter Krogh and Founding Director Dr. John L. Esposito (1)

The Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding (2) was founded in 1993 by an agreement between the Fondation pour L'Entente entre Chretiens et Musulmans, Geneva and Georgetown University to build stronger bridge of understanding between the Muslim world and the West as well as between Islam and Christianity.  The Center's mission is to improve relations between the Muslim world and the West and enhance understanding of Muslims in the West.  The geographic scope and coverage of the center includes the breadth of the Muslim world, from North Africa to Southeast Asia, as well as Europe and America.  Since its foundation, the Center has become internationally recognized as a leader in the field of Muslim-Christian relations.

What does the Center do?

The Center addresses stereotypes of Islam and warnings of a clash of civilizations.  Center faculty--among the foremost international scholars of Islam and the Muslim world--work on issues including:

The compatibility of Islam and modern life
Civilizational dialogue
The status of women in Islam
Islam and modernization
Judeo-Christian-Islamic traditions
Islam and pluralism
Islam, violence and terrorism

Based in Washington, DC, CMCU realizes its mission by training the next generation of leaders from around the globe and serving as a think-tank for the international exchange of scholars and ideas.  CMCU faculty members also serve as consultants to government leaders, diplomats, policymakers, corporate executives and members of the media.  With more than a decade of experience in addressing issues related to Islam and relations between the Muslim world and the West, the Center has established itself as a primary resource for authoritative information on Islam and the Muslim world.

Research and Publications

The Center's faculty have published more than 80 books and over 400 articles.  Many of the Center's faculty publications have been translated into foreign languages, among them: Albanian, Arabic, Bahasa Malaysia/Indonesia, Bengali, Chinese, Danish, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Norwegian, Persian, Serbian, Swedish, Spanish, Turkish, Uighur and Urdu.

Academic Programs

The establishment of the Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding reflects the role of religion in contemporary international systems. Both Georgetown's Catholic-Jesuit heritage and its location in Washington have shaped the University's abiding interest in the study of religion and international relations. The global presence and impact of Islam is a fact of international life. Understanding this and relating it to other dimensions of world affairs is a central concern of the Center's academic programs.


Undergraduate Certificate in Muslim-Christian Relations

We live in a globally interdependent world in which Islam and Muslim-Christian relations are becoming more and more important and prominent. More than half the world's population is Muslim or Christian. Both religious communities share common religious roots and share issues of faith in the modern world, religious pluralism, and tolerance. Relations between Muslims and Christians are an important part of contemporary global affairs and world history and professionals in every field of work can benefit from a better understanding of Muslim-Christian relations.

To assist students interested in focusing a part of their undergraduate education on this significant subject, the Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding offers a Certificate in Islam and Muslim-Christian Understanding.  The goal of the Certificate program is to provide a way in which students can receive guidance in the study of Islam and Muslim-Christian relations through a defined but flexible academic program.  The broader goal for the Center is to promote peaceful and productive Muslim-Christian relations through educating students who will be international leaders of the future.


1-Recently, John Esposito stepped down as director to focus on research and writing. In his place is an equally qualified leader, John O Voll.

2- In December 2005, the Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding received a $20 million dollar gift from HRH Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal, an internationally renowned businessman and global investor, to support and expand its Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding (CMCU).  The Center was renamed the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding. This endowed fund is the second largest single gift in Georgetown University history.

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