Xavier President Michael J. Graham, S.J., has announced James Buchanan the winner of the 2011 President’s Award for Excellence for his work in recruiting Xavier’s new Islamic Chair, Egyptian Islamic scholar Waleed El-Ansary.
“Your hard work will enable the University to continue its efforts toward meaningful interfaith and intercultural dialogue and understanding, and enable us to further our mission through the development and enrichment of Xavier's relationship with the Muslim community in Cincinnati,” Graham wrote in his letter to Buchanan announcing the award.
El-Ansary joins the Xavier faculty this fall. The move brings him back to Ohio, where he lived as a child when his father studied business as a Fulbright Scholar at The Ohio State University. A dual citizen of Egypt and the United States, El-Ansary comes to Xavier from the University of South Carolina, where he is finishing a five-year stint as a professor of Islamic studies and comparative religion. As Xavier’s first full-time Islamic scholar, El-Ansary is creating an Islamic Studies Program within the Department of Theology.
As director of the Brueggeman Center for Dialogue since 2003, Buchanan has contributed greatly to Xavier’s commitment to provide a more global, interfaith education. The center sponsors conferences, research and publications, and interfaith and inter-religious activities as well as exploration of new forms of collaborative engagement on issues of religious, social and cultural diversity, social and economic justice, ecological sustainability, and local and global responsibility.
Buchanan studied comparative religions and ethics at Yale University and the University of Chicago, where he completed a Ph.D. He held the Besl Family Chair and Professorship in Ethics/Religion and Society at Xavier and the Carolyn Werner Gannett Chair in humanities at the Rochester Institute of Technology. He has lectured worldwide and published widely on a range of global ethical issues.