|Rafat and Zoreen Ansari. UND photo|
Rafat and Zoreen Ansari and their three grown children donated $15 million to create an institute at Notre Dame dedicated to the study of religions around the world.
Mr. and Ms. Ansari are medical doctors who were born in Pakistan and raised their family in South Bend, Ind., the home of the university. They are Muslim and said in a news release that they hope the new center will encourage partnerships among religions to solve problems like violence and poverty.
“The need for people of faith to focus on what unites us rather than on what divides us has never been more urgent,” said Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., Notre Dame’s president. “This extraordinary gift from an esteemed local Muslim family, longtime friends of Notre Dame, will allow us to bring together scholars of the first order to foster dialogue and deepen understanding. We are immensely grateful to the Ansaris for making this aspiration a reality.”
Notre Dame parents, Rafat and Zoreen Ansari moved in 1980 to South Bend, where they raised their three children – Sarah, Adam and Sonya. Their passion for the Ansari Institute is a reflection of their hope that it will help foster partnerships globally and locally, and that communities large and small – from South Bend to Jerusalem – can be brought together through a shared understanding of certain guiding principles inherent in all the world’s religions.
Faculty at the Rafat and Zoreen Ansari Institute for Global Engagement With Religion will study how religious teachings, traditions, history, practice, and thought inform today’s shifting patterns of global migration, conflict, peace building, political culture, and human development.