Istanbul, Turkey – Dr. James C. (Jim) Wallace, CEO of LACUNA Group International addressed a group of Turkish and Chinese scholars at a conference called “Religion and Secularism in Turkey & China” which kicked off today.
The three day event is being held at Istanbul’s Boğaziçi University which is the top research university in Turkey. Wallace was the only American scholar invited to participate and his keynote address was entitled, “Washington, Jefferson & Eisenhower: The conflicting origins and realities of American state secularism.”
“The purpose of my presentation was to deconstruct and explain the American concept of ‘separation of church and state’ as a comparative foundation for the discussions between the Turkish and Chinese scholars on their respective models of religion-state relations,” Wallace said. “I spoke on the philosophical, political and religious foundations of the First Amendment, the Supreme Court rulings that have defined the concept of the ‘wall of separation’ between church and state, and the roles that Presidents Washington, Jefferson and Eisenhower played in shaping the modern American narrative surrounding the ‘separation of church and state.’”
The conference was jointly sponsored by the Asian Studies Center and the Confucius Institute at Boğaziçi University, as well as the Center for Turkish Studies at Shanghai University.
Many of the concepts and history outlined in Wallace’s presentation come from the “Religion and American Foreign Policy” course which he teaches at the Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies at Boston University. Wallace also teaches and lectures regularly in universities in China including Fudan University and Shanghai University.
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