Religion & Governance:
Civil Society at Home and Abroad

November 7-11, 2017

The Wheatley Institution at BYU announces the third biennial Wheatley conferences on Religion in the Public Sphere. It will take place November 7-11, 2017, at BYU, and is entitled "Religion & Governance: Civil Society at Home & Abroad." This undergraduate conference offers student delegates a unique opportunity to network with students and faculty from across the country. For three days in a scenic mountain setting, delegates work together in roundtables of 8-10 students on a specific topic related to the conference theme, chaired by a faculty expert on the topic. The week concludes with students presenting their own policy recommendations to their peers and roundtable chairs.

At this year's conference, the keynote address will be given by Dr. David Campbell, Packey J. Dee Professor of American Democracy and chair of the political science department at the University of Notre Dame, and co-author (with Robert Putnam) of American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites Us. Roundtable chair persons and their topics will include:

  • Kevin den Dulk, Calvin College, "Rebuilding Trust in Governance"
  • Nadia Oweidat, Kansas State University, "Civil Society in the American Muslim Community"
  • James Patton, International Center for Religion & Diplomacy, "The Role of Faith in Combatting Religious Prejudice"
  • TBD, "Religious Pluralism and Civil Society"

Conference Schedule

Evening of Tuesday November 7: Registration and Reception
Morning of Saturday November 11: Checkout and Departure
More details forthcoming


Click Here to Register

Keynote Speaker

David Campbell

Image of David Campbell

David Campbell is the Packey J. Dee Professor of American Democracy at the University of Notre Dame and the chairperson of the political science department. His most recent book is Seeking the Promised Land: Mormons and American Politics (with John Green and Quin Monson). He is also the co-author (with Robert Putnam) of American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites Us, which has been described by the New York Times as intellectually powerful, by America as an instant classic and by the San Francisco Chronicle as the most successfully argued sociological study of American religion in more than half a century. American Grace has also received both the 2011 Woodrow Wilson Award from the American Political Science Association for the best book on government, politics, or international affairs and the Wilbur Award from the Religious Communicators Council for the best non-fiction book of 2010.

Prof. Campbell is also the author of Why We Vote: How Schools and Communities Shape Our Civic Life, the editor of A Matter of Faith: Religion in the 2004 Presidential Election, and a co-editor of Making Civics Count: Citizenship Education for a New Generation. As an expert on religion, politics, and civic engagement, he has often been featured in the national media, including the New York Times, Economist, USA Today, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Time, NBC News, CNN, NPR, Fox News, and C-SPAN.

Roundtable Chairs

Nadia Oweidat

Civil Society in the American Muslim Community

> Image of Nadia Oweidat

Nadia Oweidat (Ph.D., Oxford University) teaches history at Kansas State University. For the past ten years, Dr. Oweidat has dedicated her research to identifying strategies for promoting critical thinking, tolerance, and pluralism in the Middle East. In the process, Dr. Oweidat has co-authored several studies for the Rand Corporation. Her expertise spans issues such as Islamic extremism and counter-terrorism, the relationship between Iran and the Arab world, the radicalization of Muslim youth, and the Arab Spring.

Kevin den Dulk

Rebuilding Governance: Political Trust in Civil Society

Image of Kevin den Dulk

Kevin R. den Dulk (Ph.D., University of Wisconsin at Madison) is the Paul B. Henry Chair in Political Science and the Executive Director of the Henry Institute for the Study of Christianity and Politics at Calvin College, a Christian liberal arts college in Grand Rapids, Michigan. An award winning teacher, his scholarly work focuses especially on how religion works through civil society to foster democratic citizenship, both in the United States and abroad.

James Patton

The Role of Faith in Combatting Religious Prejudice

Image of James Patton

James Patton is President and Chief Operating Officer at the International Center for Religion & Diplomacy (ICRD), and directs its Columbia Program. He explores the relationship between religious motives, religious actors and key areas of instability around the world, seeking ways in which this key source of identity and motivation can be incorporated into strategies for reducing violent conflict.


Transportation Information:
Student delegates are responsible for their own transportation to and from Salt Lake City if they are flying and to and from Brigham Young University if they are driving. Shuttles will be provided for those flying into either Salt Lake City International Airport or Provo Municipal Airport. Shuttles will also be provided from BYU Campus to Aspen Grove.

Contact Information (Before and During):
Before the Conference begins, questions and concerns may be addressed to:

The Wheatley Institution
(801) 422-5883

Once the Conference begins:
Aspen Grove Family Camp
9521 N. Alpine Loop Rd.
Provo, UT 84604
(801) 225-9554

Packing List:
You will need:
1. Business casual outfits for four days
2. Casual outfit/clothes for outdoor activities in snow for Thursday evening
3. Business formal outfit for Friday evening
4. A heavy coat. (The conference will be held in the mountains. While all meetings are held indoors, the average high is 48, and average low 21.)


The conference will be held at Aspen Grove, a mountain retreat located just up the canyon from Robert Redford's Sundance Ski Resort. Activities include cross-country skiing and snowshoeing on lit, professionally groomed trails, available at a nominal cost.


Lodging & Meals:
Student delegates will stay in the lodges at Aspen Grove. Bedding and towels are provided.

Contact Us

The Wheatley Institution
Brigham Young University
392 Hinckley Center
Provo, UT 84602

Main: (801) 422-5883
Fax: (801) 422-0017

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