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Campus Advisories

October 7, 1997
CONTACT: Audra Garling
(202) 994-6467


Dr. Nasr receives $10,000 from Templeton Foundation

Washington -- University Professor at The George Washington University Dr. Seyyed Hossein Nasr has won the Templeton Award for the best course in America in science and religion. The University will use half of the $10,000 award to improve support materials for the class.

Nasr's award-winning course, Religion and Science, explores the interaction between the two fields in the major Eastern and Western cultures, from ancient Egypt to the present day. "It is one of the few courses," said Nasr, "which takes the matrix for discussion nationally and globally." According to Nasr, some of the course content will evolve to consider such current topics as cloning and the Pope's declaration of the theory of evolution, but the historical issues will remain unchanged.

"We are extremely proud that the Templeton Foundation has recognized Dr. Nasr's course," said GW President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg. "He is among the leading Islamic scholars at work today and we are honored to have him as a member of our faculty."

Nasr, who also teaches courses in Islamic studies, perennial philosophy and man's interaction with the natural environment, has published more than 20 books and 200 articles. Most recently, he edited two volumes of "The History of Islamic Philosophy" with Oliver Lemen and wrote "Religion and The Order of Nature." His works and thoughts are featured in a volume of the "Library of Living Philosophers."

Fluent in English, Persian, Arabic and French, Nasr was born and educated in Iran. He continued his education in the United States, receiving a Ph.D. from Harvard University. Returning to his native country, he taught science and philosophy for 21 years at Tehran University. Nasr played a major role in establishing the Iranian Academy of Philosophy and was one of the organizers of the first international conference on Muslim education, held in Mecca in 1977. Nasr left Iran in 1979 and has been teaching since then in the United States.

Before coming to GW as a University Professor of Islamic Studies in 1984, he taught at Temple, Harvard and Princeton universities and had a distinguished academic career in his native country of Iran. He has delivered the Gifford and Cadbury Lectures in the United Kingdom and more recently at Westminster College the 1997 Tanner-McMurrin Lecture on "Religion Truth and Multiplicity of Religion" and at Georgetown University the Second Annual Diana Tamari Sabbagh Distinguished Lecture on "Problems and Challenges for Islamic/Christian Dialogue Today."

Sir John Marks Templeton, who was knighted in 1987 by Queen Elizabeth for his philanthropic efforts, founded that same year the John Templeton Foundation to explore spiritual and moral progress through the use of scientific methods. The Foundation works closely with scientists, theologians, medical professionals, philosophers and scholars. Since its inception, the Foundation has more than doubled the number of programs it supports, providing critical resources to the growing community of leaders striving for spiritual and scientific progress. The Foundation now funds more than 40 projects, studies, award programs and publications around the world.

The Templeton Foundation believes a path of cooperation between the sciences and all religions will lead humanity to a deeper understanding of the universe; the unlimited creative spirit behind it and our place in it. The Science and Religion Course program is one of the Foundation's international spiritual information through science programs which awards colleges, universities and schools of theology prizes of $10,000 -- $5,000 to the instructor and $5,000 to the institution -- for developing and teaching interdisciplinary courses in science and religion.

For more information, please contact Audra Garling in GW's Office of Public Affairs at (202) 994-6467.

Journalists can now access faculty experts via the GW Online Media Guide at

-- GW --

Last updated August 5, 1999


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