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Pepperdine University Receives $1.5 Million Templeton Religion Trust Grant for ‘Covenantal Pluralism Project’

Knox Thames joins Caruso School of Law and School of Public Policy as Senior Fellow



March 15, 2023 – Malibu, CA – Pepperdine University has received a grant of $1,531,920 from the Templeton Religion Trust (TRT) to launch the “Covenantal Pluralism Project: Promoting Covenantal Pluralism Through Heritage, Coalitions, and Advocacy.”

As a grantee of TRT, Knox Thames will join Pepperdine University as a senior fellow with the Caruso School of Law and the School of Public Policy. After 20 years of government service in various diplomatic roles, Thames will direct the Program on Global Faith and Inclusive Societies, which will develop innovative approaches to foster an appreciation for diversity, pluralism and the rights of others. 

“Pepperdine University is delighted to add a scholar and practitioner of Knox Thames’ quality and caliber to our campus community,” said President Jim Gash. “Thames’ Covenantal Pluralism Project will develop innovative pathways and bolster current efforts for covenantal pluralism by advancing religious freedom and religious literacy through faith communities, popular culture, governments and human rights organizations. His work will contribute to the mission of Pepperdine, provide our students with cutting-edge ideas and perspectives, and enrich the congenial milieu of our university.”

TRT is a global charitable trust chartered by Sir John Templeton in 1984 with headquarters in Nassau, The Bahamas. TRT has been active since 2012 and supports projects and storytelling that seek to enrich the conversation about religion. They aim to improve the well-being of individuals and societies through spiritual growth and an ever-improving understanding of spiritual realities and spiritual information.

The Covenantal Pluralism Initiative at TRT seeks to uncover the conditions contributing to religion's progress. Sir John Templeton believed that a key factor is cooperative, constructive engagement across deep religious differences.

“I am excited to join Pepperdine University because of its academic excellence as a top university, its devotion to Christian values, and its integration of faith and learning,” said Thames. “Pepperdine's global outlook and footprint, commitment to advancing human rights, and emphasis on service make it the perfect place to pursue research initiatives related to international religious freedom, pluralism and minority rights.”

About Pepperdine University
Founded in 1937, Pepperdine University is an independent, Christian university located 30 miles west of Downtown Los Angeles in scenic Malibu, California. The University enrolls approximately 10,300 students across its flagship liberal arts school, Seaver College; the Caruso School of Law; the Graziadio Business School; the Graduate School of Education and Psychology; and the School of Public Policy. Pepperdine is committed to the highest standards of academic excellence and Christian values, where students are strengthened for lives of purpose, service, and leadership. Follow Pepperdine on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.


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