“B&H is very close to me”



The University Of Sarajevo Ceremony of Conferring the Honorary Doctoral Degree upon Dr. John Louis Esposito

Dr. John Louis Esposito is a member of the International Expert Team of the Institute for Research of Genocide, Canada

The University of Sarajevo Honorary Doctoral Conferment Ceremony to Dr. John Louis Esposito, professor of Religion and International Affairs and Islamic Studies at Georgetown University in Washington D.C., Director of the Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding and President of American Academy of Religion took place on the Ceremonial Hall, University of Sarajevo’s Rectorate on 3 October 2013.

In recognition of his achievements in the field of Islamic Studies and promotion of interreligious cooperation, Dr. John Louis Esposito was conferred with the honorary doctoral degree (doctor honoris causa).
UNSA Rector, Prof. Dr. Muharem Avdispahic opened the ceremony and wished a welcome to Dr. Esposito and numerous attendees, on behalf of the University of Sarajevo”. “This ceremony, very important for our academic life, of conferring an honorary doctorate for a scholar of international standing, whose great oeuvre and reputation confirm the scholarly legitimacy of religious studies within traditional academia, coincides with an important new process at the University of Sarajevo, and confirms it symbolically at the highest level of scientific competence. Namely, as of recently, faculties of theology, the Islamic and the Catholic one, and soon we hope the Eastern Orthodox one, have become part of the family of our integrated University. Religious studies and theology have thus finally received recognition as an academic discipline, after a long period of exclusion and denial“ stated Rector Avdispahic in his address.

Having stated that University of Sarajevo, among other things, by conferring this honorary doctoral degree upon Dr. Esposito, responded to the recognition of values of tradition and practice of religious tolerance in Bosnia and Herzegovina, that Professor Esposito had underscored in his work and in his numerous public addresses in some of the most important fora and public arenas across the world, Rector Avdispahic also stated: “It is no wonder that his own affinities have led him towards us, just as it has led our own scholars towards him. And the very foundation of this mutual affinity is built on the universalist dimension of scholarly work, as well as the universalist dimension of dedication to the highest values of humanism”.

Professor Avdispahic ended his address with following:”With this honorary doctorate, Professor Esposito joins our academic community, no longer as a foreigner, for he is now a full member. And our academic community thus wishes to indicate that the values and the dedication that celebrated Professor Esposito rest also in the foundation of our own academic knowledge.”
UNSA Faculty of Islamic Sciences undertook the initiative to confer upon Dr. John L. Esposito the University of Sarajevo’s Honorary Doctoral Degree. That initiative gained the support of UNSA Faculties of Philosophy and Political Sciences, and of the Oriental Institute.

Prof. Dr. Ismet Busatlic, Faculty of Islamic Sciences Dean submitted the report on candidate for Honorary Doctoral Degree. Prof. Busatlic in his address said that Dr. Esposito had been for decades the personification of schools in Islamic and Middle East Studies which promoted the understanding and opposed the conflict among the civilizations.
“Those noble Dr. Esposito’s efforts were challenged, disputed and questioned by persons on global level sharing the same viewpoint with people who deny, challenge and dispute Bosnia and Herzegovina, her multi-religious and multiethnic society” said Dean Busatlic and stated “Having resolved to honor Dr. John L. Esposito by conferring upon him the University of Sarajevo’s Honorary Doctoral Degree, the University of Sarajevo which is cherishing and promoting values of pluralistic Bosnia and Herzegovina, decided to honor this outstanding intellectual who has been cherishing and promoting similar, if not the same, values for decades“.

The UNSA Senate decided to confer upon Dr. John Louis Esposito the degree of Doctor Honoris Causa on its Session of 17 July 2013.
Rector of the University of Sarajevo, Prof. Dr. Muharem Avdispahic bestowed the award upon Dr. John L. Esposito saying: ”In the University of Sarajevo’s Golden Book of Honorary Doctors such as: Nobel Prize Winners Ivo Andric and Vladimir Prelog, academician Mesa Selimovic, a fighter for Human Rights and Democracy Simon Wiesenthal, Prime Ministers of the Republic of Turkey and Malaysia Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Mahathir Bin Mohamad, the name of Dr. John Louis Esposito, professor of Religion and International Affairs and Islamic Studies at Georgetown University in Washington D.C., director of the Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding and president of American Academy of Religion has been inscribed today”.

Dr. John L. Esposito expressed his gratitude for conferment of University of Sarajevo’s Honorary Doctoral Degree: “During the course of my carrier I received a plenty of recognitions and awards, however this award is especially important for me because this country is also very close to me”.

“The religion today, as we perceive it, has extraordinary positive influence. We can freely say that religion represents the positive, and transcendental qualities and as such helps people to be better. However, the historical fact is that religion has had its dark side which becomes dangerous if we connect it with the notions of society and politics. Religious leaders today have to work on reaching the true reinterpretation of their own values, respectively in a way to help religion to confirm its best qualities. The Abrahamic religions and traditions should realize that it is about Judeo-Christian-Islamic tradition. Therefore it is necessary to emphasize the pluralism and inclusion. Without that we are stuck in religious exclusivity, which not only creates interreligious conflicts, but can also cause conflicts within the religions“.

Professor John Louis Esposito is a leading authority in the field of contemporary Islamic and Middle East studies. He is Professor of Religion and International Affairs and of Islamic Studies at Georgetown University in Washington D.C. and founding Director of the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at the same University (2006).

Since 2013, Dr. Esposito has been Vice President and President Elect of the American Academy of Religion and an ambassador for the UN Alliance of Civilizations. Dr. Esposito is a former President of the Middle East Studies Association of North America, the largest professional association of that kind in the world, Vice Chair of the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy, and a member of the World Economic Forum’s Council of 100 Leaders in Davos. He is currently Vice President an
d President Elect of the American Academy of Religion and an ambassador for the UN Alliance of Civilizations. Dr. Esposito is recipient of the American Academy of Religion’s Martin E. Marty Award for the Public Understanding of Religion and of Pakistan’s Quaid-i-Azzam Award for Outstanding Contributions in Islamic Studies and the School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University Award for Outstanding and of several honorary doctoral degrees. John L. Esposito graduated Philosophy from the Oxford University, won a master’s degree in Theology from the St. John’s University, and earned his doctor’s degree from the Temple University

Prof. Esposito is also Editor-in-Chief of the Oxford Library of Islamic Studies. Dr. Esposito’s books have been translated into more than 35 languages including Arabic, Persian, Urdu, Malaysian, Turkish, Japanese and Chinese and numerous European languages. Some of his books have also been translated in Bosnian/Serbian/Croatian. Dr. Esposito is also Editor-in-Chief of several referential publications from the field of Islamic Studies, including: The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Islamic World (6 vols.); The Oxford History of Islam, and The Oxford Dictionary of Islam.

Dr. John L. Esposito has served as consultant to the U.S. Department of State and other agencies, European and Asian governments and corporations, universities, and the media worldwide, regarding the Islamic issues and Islamic movements’ influence in the North Africa and South East Asia.