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John Louis Esposito (born 19 May 1940, Brooklynmarker, New York Citymarker) is a professor of International Affairs and Islamic Studies at Georgetown Universitymarker. He is also the director of Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal center for Muslim-Christian understanding at Georgetown Universitymarker.

Early life

Esposito was raised a Roman Catholic in an Italian neighborhood in Brooklynmarker, New York Citymarker, and spent a decade in a Catholic monastery. After taking his first degree he worked as a management consultant and high-school teacher. He then studied and received a masters in theology at St Johns University. He earned a PhD at Temple Universitymarker, Pennsylvaniamarker in 1974, studying Islam and held post doc appointments at Harvard and Oxford Universities. He is well-known as a promoter of strong ties between Muslims and Christians and has even challenged the Vatican to make greater efforts to encourage such ties[98944].

Academic career

For nearly twenty years after completing his PhD, Esposito had taught religious studies (including Hinduism, Buddhism and Islam) at the College of the Holy Crossmarker, a Jesuit college in Massachusettsmarker. At Holy Cross, Esposito held the Loyola Professor of Middle East Studies position, was the chair of the Department of Religious Studies, and the director of college's Center for International Studies. At Georgetown Universitymarker, Esposito holds the position of University Professor and teaches as both a Professor of Religion and International Affairs and Professor of Islamic Studies. Esposito also works as a Senior Scientist at the Gallup Center for Muslim Studies, where he co-authored Who Speaks for Islam? What a Billion Muslims Really Think, which was published in March 2008.

He published "Islam and Politics" in 1984, and "Islam: The Straight Path" in 1988; both books sold well, going through many editions. In addition to more than 35 books, he is editor-in-chief of a number of Oxford reference works including "The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Modern Islamic World", "The Oxford History of Islam", "The Oxford Dictionary of Islam" The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Islamic World (5vols. forthcoming 2008)and Oxford Islamic Studies Online.

In 1988, he was elected president of the Middle East Studies Association of North America (MESA). He has also served as president of the American Council for the Study of Islamic Societies. He served as Vice Chair of the Board of Directors of the Center for the Study of Islam & Democracy from 1999 to 2004 and is a member of the World Economic Forum’s Council of 100 Leaders and the High Level Group of the U.N. Alliance of Civilizations. A recipient of the American Academy of Religion’s 2005 Martin E. Marty Award for the Public Understanding of Religion and of Pakistan’s Quaid-e-Azam Award for Outstanding Contributions in Islamic Studies, in 2003 he received the School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University Award for Outstanding Teaching.

Esposito founded the Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University and is its current director. The center has received a $20 million endowment from Saudi Arabianmarker Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal "to advance education in the fields of Islamic civilization and Muslim-Christian understanding and strengthen its presence as a world leader in facilitating cross-cultural and inter-religious dialogue."

Selected bibliography

  • "Who Speaks for Islam? What a Billion Muslims Really Think", coauthored with Dalia Mogahed (2008) ISBN 9781595620170
  • "The Oxford History of Islam", as editor (2004) ISBN 0195107993
  • "The Islamic World: Past and Present", as editor (2004, 3 volume set) ISBN 0195165209
  • "The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Modern Islamic World", as editor (1995, 4 volume set) ISBN 0195066138
  • "The Oxford Dictionary of Islam", as editor (1994) ISBN 0195125592
Nonfiction books
  • "Islam: The Straight Path" (1st edition: 1988, 3rd edition: 2004) ISBN 0195182669
  • "Unholy War: Terror in the Name of Islam" (2002) ISBN 0195154355
  • "What Everyone Needs to Know About Islam" (2002) ISBN 0195157133
  • "Women in Muslim Family Law", coauthored with Natana J. Delong-Bas (2nd edition: 2002) ISBN 0815629087
  • "Makers of Contemporary Islam", coauthored John Voll (2001) ISBN 0195141288
  • "The Islamic Threat: Myth or Reality?" (3rd edition: 1999) ISBN 0195130766
  • "Political Islam: Radicalism, Revolution or Reform" (1997) ISBN 1555871682
Academic collections
  • "Islam in Asia: Religion, Politics, & Society", as editor (2006) ISBN 0195040821
  • "Turkish Islam and the Secular State: The Gulen Movement", as coeditor with M. Hakan Yavuz (2003) ISBN 0815630409
  • "Modernizing Islam: Religion in the Public Sphere in the Middle East and Europe", as coeditor with Francois Burgat (2003) ISBN 0813531985
  • "Iran at the Crossroads", as coeditor with R.K. Ramazani (2000) ISBN 0312238169
  • "Islam, Gender and Social Change", as coeditor with Yvonne Yazbeck Haddad (1997) ISBN 0195113578
  • "Islam and Politics", as editor (1st edition: 1984, 4th edition: 1998) ISBN 0815627742
  • "Islam and Democracy", as coeditor with John Voll (1996) ISBN 0195108167


  1. [1][2]
  2. Bio of John Esposito, Center for the Study of Islam & Democracy. Accessed February 23 2007
  3. Esposito, John. Academic Biography,Georgetown University. Accessed February 23 2007
  4. Press Release: Georgetown University Receives $20 Million Gift From HRH Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal To Expand Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding, Georgetown University, December 12 2005. Accessed February 23 2007

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