January 03, 2023

SIU’s Paul Simon Institute to host expert on religious literacy in international affairs

CARBONDALE, Ill. — The Rev. Susan Hayward, associate director for the Religious Literacy and Professions Initiative at Harvard Divinity School, will join the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute for a virtual discussion on Tuesday, Jan. 10. 

Hayward, an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ, will join John Shaw, institute director, at 2 p.m.  for a conversation via Zoom as part of the institute’s Understanding Our New World series. The event is free and open to the public; registration is required to gain access to the Zoom webinar. Visit to register. 

Hayward and Shaw will discuss Hayward’s pioneering research on how religious literacy affects global affairs and the importance of interfaith engagement during times of political violence. They will also discuss Hayward’s research on women, religion, and peacebuilding. 

Hayward previously worked at the U.S. Institute of Peace and taught at Georgetown University and George Washington University. She lectures to American diplomats at the U.S. Foreign Service Institute. 

Hayward has a bachelor’s degree in comparative religions from Tufts University and master’s degrees from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and Harvard Divinity School. 

“Rev. Hayward is a path-breaking scholar who skillfully analyzes the complex relationship between religion and international affairs,” Shaw said. “Drawing on insights she has gained from field work in Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Iraq, and elsewhere, Rev. Hayward’s work is academically rigorous and accessible to the general public. 

“We are eager to learn how greater religious literacy among Americans can help the United States operate more successfully on the international stage.”     

Attendees are encouraged to submit questions for Hayward on their registration form or email questions to