Pew Charitable Trusts to Make Forum its Primary Focus for Religion Study
The Pew Charitable Trusts today announced that Luis E. Lugo, director of the Religion program at the Trusts, has been named the new director of the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life (pewresearch.org/religion), and confirmed that the Forum is expanding its role to become the Trust’s primary resource for examining religion and how it shapes public life in America and abroad.
“Religion is playing an increasingly pivotal role in shaping public opinion and policy in America and around the world,” said Lugo. “I am delighted to have this opportunity to lead the Pew Forum as it expands its important mission of informing the public on key issues at the intersection of religion and public affairs.”
“Religion has been a primary focus of the Trusts’ philanthropy for more than half a century,” said Rebecca W. Rimel, president and CEO of The Pew Charitable Trusts. “Almost a decade ago, we began to shift our focus in this area to examining the role of religion in public life. Little could we imagine how ensuing events would make the importance of religion so clear, both at home and abroad. That’s why we have decided to focus the majority of our resources on the Pew Forum and its work convening public dialogue and promoting a deeper understanding of the impact religion has on our ideas and institutions, domestically and internationally. It’s also why we’re so pleased to have a dynamic, entrepreneurial leader like Luis help the Forum chart this promising new course.”
Effective immediately, Lugo will divide his time between the Trusts and the Forum. Beginning July 1, 2004, he will be working full-time for the Forum in Washington. “I am excited about coming to Washington to work with an outstanding Forum staff and help take the organization to the next level,” said Lugo. “Melissa Rogers, the Forum’s first executive director, and the Forum’s co-chairs, E.J. Dionne and Jean Bethke Elshtain, have established an excellent foundation for the organization. The need has never been greater for the kind of timely, nonpartisan information that is the Forum’s stock-in-trade.”
The Forum – which was established in 2000 through a grant from the Trusts to Georgetown University – plans to continue building on its work in religion and domestic policy while significantly expanding its efforts in religion and world affairs, including U.S. foreign policy. In doing so, the Forum will continue to partner with other projects supported by the Trusts’ Religion program, such as the university-based Centers of Excellence, the media education projects and the Roundtable on Religion and Social Welfare Policy.
Prior to joining the Trusts to lead its Religion program in 1997, Lugo was a professor of political science specializing in religion’s role in international and domestic politics. He has authored numerous articles and edited several books, including Religion, Public Life and the American Polity (1994) and Sovereignty at the Crossroads? Morality and International Politics in the Post-Cold War Era (1996). A native of Cuba, Lugo graduated summa cum laude from the University of Memphis. He received an M.A. in philosophy from Villanova University and a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Chicago.
The Pew Charitable Trusts (pewtrusts.org) serves the public interest by providing information, policy solutions and support for civic life. Based in Philadelphia, with an office in Washington, D.C., the Trusts make investments to help organizations and citizens develop practical solutions to difficult problems. In 2003, with approximately $4.1 billion in dedicated assets, the Trusts committed more than $143 million to 151 nonprofit organizations.