The Brueggeman Center for Dialogue
Xavier University is a Laudato Si' University
This means that the University has committed to participate in Pope Francis's Seven-Year Journey Towards Integral Ecology, beginning in 2021. Laudato Si' Initiative
Working Collaboratively for a more Just, Peaceful, and Sustainable World
One of the most important but often overlooked powers of a university is its ability to convene. To bring people together to explore and to work for a common good.
From the beginning of his presidency, Fr. Michael J. Graham, SJ (President from 2001 to 2021) made connecting the Xavier community to the greater Cincinnati community a foundational part of the University’s mission. That commitment found expression in the vision and in the work of the Edward B. Brueggeman Center for Dialogue over the past decades.
Brueggeman Center Mission and History
The seed that eventually blossomed into the Center as it exists today was planted by Fr. Edward B. Brueggeman,SJ, who was an early pioneer in interfaith dialogue. For more than 20 years, he hosted a show on WKRC (local TV) called “Dialogue,” which was one of the first television shows featuring interfaith dialogue in the United States. After his death in 1995, the University engaged in discernment about how to honor his memory and to build upon his legacy. With the appointment of Fr. Joseph Bracken, SJ as director, steps were taken to launch a center that would host interreligious seminars and international symposia as well as establish an ecumenical and interreligious chair. The inaugural event, the Millennium Peace Celebration (September 24, 2000), brought together representatives of Baha’i, Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Indigenous, Islam, Jainism, and Judaism. Under Fr. Bracken’s directorship (2000-2002), the first ecumenical chair was appointed and interreligious symposia began to be held.
It was the visionary leadership of Dr. James P. Buchanan (Executive Director from 2003 to 2021) that transformed the initial idea for a center into a physical reality. Dr. Buchanan also dramatically expanded the programmatic work of the Center beyond interfaith dialogue and collaboration. Over his almost twenty-year tenure, Dr. Buchanan established dynamic local, national, and global partnerships to address issues of environmental sustainability, refugee and asylee empowerment, economic and political equity, globalization and foreign policy. He also created one of the most distinctive programs of the Center, the Winter-Cohen Family Brueggeman Fellows Program.
With the retirement of Dr. Buchanan at the beginning of 2021, the Center has begun to move into the next phase of its development—now under the leadership of Faculty Director William Madges. In continuity with the past vision of the Center, he describes the mission of the Center within the context of the Four Universal Apostolic Preferences of the Jesuits (Society of Jesus), who established the University:
- Showing the Way to God—through the Spiritual Exercises and interfaith exploration
- Walking with the Excluded—walking with the poor and the marginalized in a mission of reconciliation and justice
- Journeying with Youth—in the creation of a hope-filled future
- Caring for our Common Home—collaborating for the protection and renewal of God’s creation
One of the main features of the Brueggeman Center is that all of our work is collaborative. Since the beginning, we have partnered on every project we do. As in the past, the Edward B. Brueggeman Center today continues to seek partners—regionally, nationally, and globally—to collaborate in the essential work of deepening interfaith understanding and promoting systemic change on issues of social and environmental justice.
We understand that real systemic change comes slowly. Collaboration, persistence, and partnerships are the foundations of systemic change.
Today as yesterday, we are committed to the long road of helping to build a more just, peaceful, and sustainable world—collaboratively.