Monica Duffy Toft Named 2008 Carnegie Scholar

April 8, 2008
by Sharon Wilke

Monica Duffy Toft, associate professor of public policy at Harvard Kennedy School and director of the Belfer Center’s Initiative on Religion in International Affairs, has been named a 2008 Carnegie Scholar by the Carnegie Corporation of New York.

Toft is one of 20 scholars to receive the prestigious Carnegie Scholar designation for 2008 “for compelling ideas and commitment to enriching the quality of the public dialogue on Islam.” Carnegie Corporation President Vartan Gregorian said in announcing the scholars, “We are cultivating a diverse scholarly community spanning a range of disciplines with the expectation that their voices will help Americans develop a more complex understanding of Muslim societies here and throughout the world—revealing Islam’s rich diversity. Only through vibrant dialogue, guided by bold and nuanced scholarship, can we move public thinking into new territory.”

The 2008 scholars, who are drawn from a number of disciplines and represent public universities, liberal arts colleges and traditional research universities, will each receive two-year grants of up to $100,000 to conduct their research.

In announcing Toft’s selection, the Carnegie Corporation said she “will investigate the role of religion in civil wars—particularly the involvement of Muslim-majority states, which are presently involved in a disproportionate number of conflicts. Toft’s model holds that religion is more likely to become a central issue in a civil war when political elites compete in evoking religious doctrine and beliefs in an effort to maintain or attract domestic and international support, and it will be applied to the puzzle of why Islam has been so over-represented in religious civil wars from 1940 to 2000. The book resulting from her research will help scholars and practitioners answer important questions about how faith and practice impact the likelihood of organized large-scale violence.”

“We are extremely pleased that the Carnegie Corporation is recognizing Monica’s valuable research into the role and impact of Islam and other religions in international affairs,” said Graham Allison, director of the Belfer Center. “Her work on the interplay between religion and civil conflicts will contribute an important component to public dialogue on these issues."

"I am honored and delighted to be named a Carnegie Scholar," Toft said, "and I look forward to the coming months as I engage the role of religion in shaping international politics."

The Carnegie Corporation of New York was created by Andrew Carnegie in 1911 to promote “the advancement and diffusion of knowledge and understanding.” For more than 95 years the Corporation has carried out Carnegie’s vision of philanthropy by building on his two major concerns: international peace and advancing education and knowledge.

Additional information about the 2008 Carnegie Scholars and the Scholars Program is available at: http://www.carnegie.org/sub/news/2008_scholars.html

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Photograph of Monica Duffy Toft

Monica Duffy Toft, associate professor of public policy

"I am honored and delighted to be named a Carnegie Scholar," Toft said, "and I look forward to the coming months as I engage the role of religion in shaping international politics."