World Christianity Initiative at Yale

The World Christianity Initiative at Yale is an interdisciplinary project concerned with the current global religious resurgence and its impact on movements of democratization and social empowerment. Amidst current economic challenges and rising expectations driven by demographic and labor shifts, religious resurgence is evidence of the search for new meaning and forms of community across the world. Religious diversity has increased, as has the sharpening of boundaries and challenges to freedom of religion.

These realities require new ways of research and scholarly collaboration and partnership. Yale is richly endowed with a great University library system containing significant manuscripts and documents devoted to the topic, with an active research and teaching faculty well positioned to take advantage of the opportunities now available. With the support of the Yale Divinity School and the Whitney and Betty MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies at Yale, the World Christianity Initiative at Yale, under the directorship of Lamin Sanneh, is committed to developing partnership with others, with special attention to three areas:

  • Research is necessary to understand the implications of new religious movements and to increase awareness of the effects of the global religious resurgence on the economic, political, social, and research dimensions of the world’s societies.
  • The World Christianity Initiative is engaged in ongoing conversation and joint endeavors with institutions and centers in the United States and with emerging religious communities abroad. The WCI’s efforts are directed at assisting religious and academic organizations and churches in projects of partnership. The director is involved in new initiatives being undertaken in Africa and elsewhere on issues of religion and civil society, including the Religious Freedom and Society in Africa project at the MacMillan Center (
  • The World Christianity Initiative is designed to be a platform of interaction among scholars and religious leaders, with a special focus on encouraging the participation of younger scholars in discussions on campuses and elsewhere. The WCI collaborates with international religious scholars and institutions to facilitate contact and conversation with North American-based scholars, researchers, and students.