Professor Griffith-Dickson was born and raised in Hawaii and came to live in Britain in the early 1980s. She brought her extensive knowledge of Hawaiian cultural traditions and combined it with her academic background in theology and philosophy, forming the Lokahi Foundation.
In 2005 a group of seven individuals linked around a table in an office building in the City of London. Some were strangers to one another; others longstanding friends. They came from different religious and ethnic backgrounds, no two the same.
What united them was a sense of an urgent need in Britain: to understand religious issues a lot better.
Things could be better
They knew the conflicts that we were seeing in the UK and internationally had a religious dimension. But this aspect seems to be so mishandled in the media and in public discourse.
Religious issues – our sense of identity, what we believe, these bizarre movements that are springing up – these all have geopolitical impact. What is religious and what is political?
The group wanted to raise the standard of the public understanding of religion. Whether for or against religion, we believed that without an adequate understanding of religion it was difficult for people to cope with toxic ideas. No matter how intelligent and educated some were, being ‘religiously illiterate’ prevented intelligent debate.
Impact on the real world
Religion is hard to research. But they knew that what was needed was first-rate academic work that addressed what society needed most: interface of different faiths, cultures, and academic disciplines.
In order to increase public understanding of religion they knew that Lokahi’s work could not be trapped within an ivory tower. What was needed was real-world impact, which meant Lokahi’s research had to be coupled with projects and outreach to communities and constituencies that needed our resources most.
Real impact needed real-time research that did not stick to rigid timescales of an academic year. In order for religious communities, academia, the government and public servants, public and private sectors to benefit from Lokahi’s work it was imperative for high quality research to be ready when it was most needed.
We can work with a variety of organisations to achieve missions that align or complement with our vision of cultivating sustainable diverse communities. We offer workshops, training, unique events that transform tensions and conflicts between communities - real-world projects and real-time research to meet community needs.
If you could use the skills of expertise of Lokahi or you would like to learn more about the impact we have made within communities throughout the UK, please contact:
Mehmuda Mian, Associate Director at: firstname.lastname@example.org