Scholar Activism

Supporting scholar-activists through convenings, peer learning, research, and networking.

Auburn convenes scholar-activists to encourage peer learning, to support their research, and to network. We understand there is strength in numbers. When we put the right people together in the right room, we know it yields positive change. Through accolades like Walter Wink Scholar-Activist Award, the CrossCurrents Research Colloquium, and additional support, Auburn continues to equip and support leaders for the multifaith movement for justice.

The Walter Wink Scholar-Activist Award

To honor the legacy of Dr. Walter Wink, Auburn Seminary has established the Walter Wink Scholar-Activist Award to recognize courageous individuals who dedicate their lives to advocating for justice and peace in our world. Given annually at the American Academy of Religion/Society of Biblical Literature Meetings, the largest gathering of religion scholars in the world, where Auburn hosts a reception as a dynamic gathering of like-minded, multifaith leaders igniting social change.

Dr. Walter Wink served on the faculty of Auburn Seminary for nearly 25 years as a beloved author, speaker and activist. Dr. Wink’s scholarship focused on Jesus and nonviolence, and on responding to a challenging world with love and compassion. His best-selling books include “The Powers That Be” (Doubleday 1999) and “Jesus and NonViolence” (Fortress 2003). With his partner, June Keener-Wink, Wink’s legacy includes workshops on leadership, activism and faith.



Najeeba Syeed is associate professor of interreligious education at Claremont School of Theology and director of the Center for Global Peacebuilding. Her track record as a peacemaker and critical peace researcher has made her a sought out advisor and she has served as an on-the-ground peace interventionist in conflicts around the globe. Syeed’s peace and justice work has been the subject of news reports and documentaries, including NBC’s broadcast of “Waging Peace: Muslim and Christian Alternatives.”



Dr. Simran Jeet Singh is a 2018 Luce/ACLS Fellow for Religion, Journalism, and International Affairs and a Visiting Scholar at New York University’s Center for Religion and Media. He is also the senior religion fellow for the Sikh Coalition of America. Dr. Singh is a leading voice in the national conversation on Islamophobia, racial profiling, and hate violence.

2015 – Inaugural Award


Dr. Traci C. West is professor of ethics and African American studies at Drew University Theological School in Madison, New Jersey. She is globally recognized for her work on violence against women, racism, clergy ethics, sexuality, and other justice issues in church and society. Dr. West is an ordained elder in the New York Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church.

CrossCurrents Research Colloquium

The CrossCurrents Research Colloquium brings together fellows (religious scholars, sociologists, clergy, activists, artists and others) who have dedicated their work on topics pertaining to faith-based social and religious justice. The Colloquium offers a unique opportunity for in-depth scholarly exploration by creating a harmonious environment conducive to research, discourse, collaboration, and reflection.

At the Colloquium, fellows pursue individual and group research for focused and facilitated discussions and seminars. Exemplary work is eligible for publication and exposure in CrossCurrents. Since 1950, CrossCurrents, is the preeminent quarterly publication for multi-denominational, faith-based participants and leaders alike.

2018 Annual Research Colloquium
Learn More and Apply Now

Participants will work on related research or writing projects and collaborate with others in the group to strengthen and support their work. Access to the libraries and research facilities at Columbia University, Union, Auburn, and Jewish Theological Seminaries is available. Media training will be offered to assist participants who seek a wider audience.

We invite applications from scholars and writers, artists and activists, as well as those involved in the not-for-profit sector, interested in faith-rooted efforts to shape a more just and peaceful world. Individual (or team) research projects are the focus of the fellowship, with late afternoon seminars, followed by shared dinners that allow ample time for conversation and collaboration.

Possible projects might include:

  • historical case studies;
  • theological analysis or ethical critiques of pertinent social movements;
  • visionary projects of various sorts — artistic, activist, philosophical, theological or empirical, that explore the ways in which the cause of healing and repairing the world can be more effectively advanced;
  • projects that focus on the theme of reformation within specific fields or bridging disparate fields;
  • projects that focus upon specific issues or problems such as race, class, gender, climate change, immigration, or economic inequality, to name a few.

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