From Walter F. Pratt, Jr., Dean, USC School of Law

It is my pleasure to welcome you to the sixth annual Rudolph C. Barnes Sr. Symposium at the Law School.  This year's Barnes Symposium is in partnership with Zayed University of the United Arab Emirates and the USC Department of Religious Studies, together with the USC Islamic World Studies Program.  The Barnes Symposium presents a unique opportunity to bring together the Law School and cross-campus academic communities with scholars, practitioners and policymakers from around the world via videoconferencing.  Co-sponsored by the University of South Carolina and Zayed University, the Barnes Symposium provides a forum to engage in serious academic inquiry on pressing issues of law and morality understood in the broadest sense.

This year's Barnes Symposium finds its source in A Common Word Between Us and You, which was commenced in 2007as interfaith dialogue initiative by scholars, clerics, and intellectuals from across the Islamic world in a spirit of intellectual interchange with their Christian counterparts.  It brings to the fore, in the interest of developing a meaningful peace, how the Islamic and Christian communities representing well over half of the world's population might agree on love of God and love of neighbor as common beliefs.  We expand the inquiry addressing religious commonalities (love of God), but also governance and legal development (love of neighbor) in the practical context of international challenges such as development, the environment, and human rights.

I hope you will join us at the Law School for a stimulating examination of these issues by prominent scholars and practitioners.  The proceedings will be conducted from Columbia across multiple sites, including Zayed University in the Middle East and universities in the Southeast Asian part of the Islamic world where the Law School has operated projects since 2000.  For a broader and lasting contribution, the proceedings are also being recorded and will be posted in streaming form on this website for future reference and academic use. 

I look forward to seeing you at the Law School March 26th and 27th.

Walter "Jack" Pratt, Jr.