Gingko is committed to creating better understanding between the West and the Middle East, North Africa and West Asia. Founded in 2014, we aim to achieve this through an annual conference and lectures, an ambitious publication and translation programme, and intercultural projects and events.



Convened by Gingko and the LSE Faith Centre, in association with the Barenboim-Said Akademie, and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

The causes of global transitions are numerous and complex. Market globalization, technology, climate change and post-colonial political forces are all forging a new world. But caught up in the mix are some powerful religious narratives that are galvanizing peoples and reimagining political and social order. Some are repressive, fundamentalist imaginations such as the so-called Islamic Caliphate. Others could be described as post-religious such as the evolution of universal human rights out of the European Christian tradition.

But the question of the compatibility of these religious worldviews, particularly those that have emerged out of the Abrahamic faith traditions, is perhaps the most pressing issue in global stability today. What scope for dialogue is there between the Jewish, Muslim and Christian ways of imagining the future? How can we engage with these multiple imaginations to create a shared peaceful future?

This conference will take a trans-disciplinary approach to how religious narratives interact with the contemporary geopolitical climate, and will draw together these often disconnected strands of religious motivations and the analysis of current affairs.

Keynote Speakers

Karen Armstrong OBE

Karen Armstrong is viewed as one of the most prolific writers on religion in the world today. A former Roman Catholic religious sister, she read English at Oxford University, before teaching, and then becoming an independent writer and broadcasting presenter. She is known for her numerous documentaries, and books focusing on the history and evolution of the three Abrahamic faiths including A History of God: The 4,000-Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, Muhammad: A Prophet For Our Time, The Great Transformation: The Beginning of Our Religious Traditions and The Case for God.

Professor Craig Calhoun

Professor Calhoun is the President of the Berggruen Instituate in Los Angeles, Global Distinguished Professor at New York University and Centennial Professor at the LSE and its former Director. He received a doctorate in sociology and modern social and economic history from Oxford University, and is known for his promotion of cross-disciplinary collaboration and forging links between academics and professionals. During his time as Director of the LSE, he spearheaded a series of public lectures and events exploring religion and its complex interaction with the public sphere. His books include Nations Matter: Culture, History and the Cosmopolitan Dream, and Nationalism.

Professor Mona Siddiqui OBE

Professor Siddiqui is Professor of Islamic and Interrreligious Studies and Assistant Principal, Religion and Society and Dean international for the Middle East at the University of Edinburgh. She is internationally renowned as a commentator on religion and public life and often appears as a contributor on BBC Radio 4 and BBC Radio Scotland. In 2014 she spoke on religion and politics at the World Economic Forum in Davos as a member of the Global Agenda Council on Faith for the World Economic Forum. She is currently listed in the Debretts top 500 list of the most influential people in the UK. Her books include Hospitality in Islam: Welcoming in God’s Name, My Way: A Muslim Woman’s Journey,The Good Muslim: Reflections on Classical Islamic Law and Theology and 50 Islam Ideas You Really Need to Know.

Further keynotes to be announced soon.

The conference will include reflections on Scripture and the Imagination, Religion as Social Imaginary, The Christian, Jewish and Muslim Imagination and sessions of short papers across the two days. The conference will finish with a panel discussion on Religion and Sustainability looking ahead to the Gingko Conference 2018 on theme of water, with conrtributions from Professor Wolfram Mauser, author of Water Resources, Efficient, Sustainable and Equitable Use and Khushwant Singh, President of the Council of Religions, Frankfurt representing the Sikh faith.

Iftar and Concert

On the evening of 14th June, there will be a special concert presented by Professor Dr Mena Mark Hanna, Dean of the Barenboim-Said Akademie, Professor of Musicology, celebrating the role of music as an expression of religious imaginations.This concert will be followed by an Iftar celebration. Tickets for both of these exciting conference additions are available for purchase separately.


Following the Mercantile Effect Conference we will be releasing a series of podcasts from the lectures given in Berlin. The first concerns the magnificent Alhambra Cupola.

Photo by kind permission of Johannes Kramer
Photo by kind permission of Dr McSweeney









Listen to our podcast of Dr Anna McSweeney’s talk on the Alhambra Cupola, one of the jewels of the Museum fur Islamische Kunst in Berlin. The particular focus of her talk will be the poetry, which forms an integral part of this fourteenth-century wooden ceiling that once was part of the Alhambra palace in Granada, Spain.



New & Forthcoming Publications
Our latest CATALOGUE



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Latest from our Newsblog


Special Lecture in Munich: the New Divan and Blue and White Ceramics
by Dr. Barbara Schwepcke and Dr. Melanie Gibson, 21.04.16

What is it like to translate Nobel Prize Winner Naguib Mahfouz?
by Aran Byrne, 10.3.16

“The Revolution Was a Wave that Overtook Me”: A Conversation with Photographer Parham Taghioff
by Milad Odabaei, 4.3.16