Religious Dimensions of Global Challenges

Religions dealings with contemporary issues

Religious Dimensions of Global Challenges

What are religious dimensions of conflict and peace, of nationalism and human rights, of gender and the Sustainable Development Goals? How do global religions (Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism) cope with contemporary challenges? This minor aims to clarify the complexity of these issues from different cross-cultural and multi-religious perspectives. The world urgently needs people who are able to understand how religions are involved in contemporary issues. The minor prepares for a career in international relations, conflict studies, or religious studies.

Take a look at the schedule and course codes.

The curriculum is built around the introductory backbone course of religious literacy that focuses on four world religions: Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, and Islam (Course 1). Each next course analyses in depth how these religions cope with contemporary issues that are particularly relevant to students from the humanities and social sciences, such as psychology, sociology, political sciences, history, law, and anthropology.
- Course 2 enters into questions about law and human rights. Alternatively, students can choose for a course about religion, body-mind and mental health in the context of Buddhism.
- Course 3 adds new insights into the religious dimensions of violence and nationalism.
- Course 4 focusses on religion and sustainable development.
- Course 5 enters into questions about religion, diversity and gender.

Taken together, these courses aim to extend and deepen the knowledge that students already bring to the courses from within their own disciplines by applying and extending their existing knowledge to the often less known field of world religions. This enriches the students’ understanding of their own discipline but also their understanding of contemporary societal issues that multicultural and multireligious societies face.

Registration for this minor is now possible.

There are no conditions for admission, all students are welcome.

If you wish to take this minor and you don’t study at the Faculty of Religion and Theology of VU Amsterdam, you do require the approval of the Examination Board of your own study programme.

More information about Admission and Registration (Dutch: Aanmelden voor een minor).

Foreign students currently not studying at a Dutch university see the page Semester in Amsterdam.

From mid-July onwards, you can register for the courses within the minor.

For more information, please contact the coordinator of this minor:

Dr Lourens Minnema

Overview Religious Dimensions of Global Challenges




1 semester (30 EC)


September 1st


Economics, Business and Law
Behavioural and Social Sciences
Art, Culture and History
Language and Communication