Professor is Consultant to King of Jordan
Dr. Caner Dagli teaches world religion, but he also has helped shape how one country approaches it.
Dagli, assistant professor of religion and philosophy, spent the 2006-2007 academic year on leave to serve as an Interfaith Affairs Consultant at the Royal Hashemite Court of Jordan.
As consultant to the to HM King Abdullah II bin Al-Hussein and his Special Advisor HRH Ghazi bin Muhammad, Dagli offered advice and support to the interfaith and Islamic affairs of understanding and cooperation that Jordan seeks to accomplish.
“It is an interesting job, in that I am close to the goings on in Islamic religious affairs and am able to make a positive contribution to interfaith dialogue, which is crucial for our world today,” Dagli said.
He acquired the position through a selective process, being one of a small number of scholars with interest in world religions and knowledge of Islamic studies.
“I was particularly inspired when I first learned of the rich cultural and intellectual tradition of Islam, which I had previously only practiced as a personal faith,” Dagli said.
In addition to consulting, Dagli outlined speeches and statements, conducted research and wrote position papers. Dagli also worked in translating documents because of his ability to read in Persian and French as well as speak and read in Arabic and Turkish.
While in Jordan, the scholar was involved in several projects, including working on a compilation of religious edicts answering controversial questions such as, Who is a Muslim? Who can give religious decrees?
Dagli also worked to formulate a new way to reinforce and advocate for the moderate, mainstream Islam as well as introduce a new Islamic satellite TV channel aimed at spiritual and cultural matters rather than news and political affairs. He even worked on a film documentary on a baptism site on the Jordan River.
The joy Dagli finds in reading, writing and teaching are reasons why this career path “was a natural choice in so many ways,” he says.
His career has been a result of his interest in ultimate questions, Dagli said. Roanoke has been a place where Dagli could further his studies as well as influence young scholars.
“College is a place to learn how to think; becoming proficient in a field usually comes later, so I gear my teaching towards waking people up, even if that means shocking them or provoking them,” Dagli said.
At Roanoke, Dagli has taught the following courses: The World of Islam, Values of the Responsible Life, Religion and Science, and Mysticism in the World’s Religions. He also has taught a course called Introduction to the Middle East at Princeton University.
Dagli’s support of religious and international studies is evident in a career in education devoted to the discipline. While at Princeton University working on his doctorate’s degree, Dagli’s dissertation, From Mysticism to Philosophy (and Back): An Ontological History of the School of the Oneness of Being, had him researching how four generations of mystics contributed to the current philosophical and theological language of Islam.
Dagli has been published in The Ringstones of Wisdom, as well as several articles and book chapters. A well-traveled scholar, Dagli has presented in Turkey, France, England and Tehran, Iran.
He was given a Fulbright Award for research he did in Istanbul, Turkey. Dagli also received the Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship in the Humanities.
Dagli also is a graduate of George Washington University and Cornell University.