We are increasingly aware that fundamentalism is not a monolith. It has political, cultural, social and religious implications which at times are extremely grave. Its characteristics and impact are often defined by the culture of the place in which it develops.
This Symposium will help to define and clarify 21st century forms of fundamentalism in both academic and practical terms as found in diverse environments from Israel and Palestine, within European countries, to North America.
The event will offer an opportunity to question a panel of speakers who are well placed to address this complex phenomenon.
Alderman Professor Michael Mainelli is Emeritus Mercers' School Memorial Professor of Commerce at Gresham College, having held the chair from 2005 to 2009. His first degree was in Government from Harvard, followed by mathematics and engineering studies at Trinity College Dublin and a PhD from the London School of Economics in chaotic systems, where he was also a Visiting Professor.
Professor Mainelli is Executive Chairman of Z/Yen, the City of London’s leading commercial think-tank and venture firm, which he co-founded in 1994 to promote societal advance through better finance and technology. A qualified accountant (FCCA), securities professional (FCSI), computer specialist (FBCS) and management consultant (FIC), Michael began his career as a research scientist in aerospace (rockets) and computing (architecture & mapping). He later became a senior partner with accountants BDO Binder Hamlyn directing global consulting projects. During the 1990s he worked for the UK Ministry of Defence as Corporate Development Director for Europe’s then largest R&D firm, the Defence Evaluation & Research Agency leading to two privatisations. Career highlights include directing Z/Yen’s Long Finance initiative with Gresham College and the City of London Corporation asking “when would we know our financial system is working?” as well as creating the Global Financial Centres Index, Global Intellectual Property Index, London Accord and Farsight Award. Michael also conceived and produced the first complete digital map of the world in 1983, Mundocart (a 1980’s Google Earth), and the $20 million Geodat consortium cartography project.
Michael is non-executive Director of the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UK’s national body for standards and laboratories), AIM-listed Sirius Minerals plc (potash mining), AIM-listed Wishbone Gold Plc; Alderman for Broad Street Ward (elected) at the City of London Corporation; Almoner for Christ’s Hospital School; Trustee of International Fund for Animal Welfare. Michael has held numerous advisory posts, for example with Hitachi UK, City University and HM Treasury. Michael won a 1996 UK Foresight Challenge award for the Financial Laboratory, 2003 UK Smart Award for prediction software, 2005 British Computer Society Director of the Year, 2011 Technology Strategy Board Challenge Award for financial avatars, and was awarded Gentiluomo of the Associazione Cavalieri di San Silvestro in 2011. Michael is a Liveryman, Worshipful Company of World Traders, Freeman, Watermen & Lightermen, and represents the Financial Services Group of Livery Companies.
Michael has published over 40 journal articles, 150 commercial articles and four books. Michael’s humorous risk/reward management novel, Clean Business Cuisine: Now and Z/Yen, written with Ian Harris, was a Sunday Times Book of the Week in 2000; Accountancy Age described it as “surprisingly funny considering it is written by a couple of accountants”. Their third co-authored book, The Price of Fish: A New Approach to Wicked Economics and Better Decisions, based on his Gresham lectures, won the 2012 Independent Publisher Book Awards Finance, Investment & Economics Gold Prize. Michael plays bagpipes, loves skiing and sailing and, with his wife, Elisabeth, he races and restores the 1923 Thames Sailing Barge Lady Daphne and sits on the world’s oldest sailing racing body, the Thames Match Committee. With an international family, Michael speaks English, German, French and Italian poorly, but even worse Spanish and Chinese.
To access all of Professor Mainelli's previous Gresham College lectures, please click here.
John A Dick is an American who has lived in Belgium for more than twenty-five years. He holds licentiates in historical theology from the University of Nijmegen and the K U Leuven and doctorates in religious studies (PhD) and historical theology (STD) from the KU Leuven. Among books he has written or edited are: The Malines Conversations Revisited, From Malines to ARCIC, and a three-volume philosophical series, Tradition and Renewal. For thirteen years he was Director of Continuing Education and Director of Academic Formation at the American College of Leuven. He was the third person to hold the Chair for the Study of Religion and Values in American Society at the KU Leuven. For more than fifteen years he has taught courses about religion and values in American culture, was a staff member at the K U Leuven European Centre for Ethics and head of LIBISMA, a privately funded international documentation and research center in Brussels. He is currently professor of religion and values in American society in the inter-university (K U Leuven, University of Antwerp, University of Ghent) MA in American Studies program, Executive Secretary for the Jean Jadot Nostra Aetate Chair for the Study of Religion and Values in Society (K U Leuven and UCL) and writes regularly about American culture and values in a number of publications. At the American College he is Director of Development. Jack is currently working on two books – The Half-Way Covenant – about the use of religion in American history, and Paul’s Man in Washington, about Archbishop Jean Jadot.
After completing studies in philosophy and theology and ordination as a Catholic priest, he rounded off his interests with degree work in physics. For the next twenty years, he taught physics, mathematics, computer science and religion in Catholic schools in Florida. While always continuing to assist parishes or military chaplains, he moved into the computer industry as a software engineer, working in six countries. He continued his interests in theology by doing two sabbaticals at the American College in Leuven, Belgium. Retired, he is now completing a book on the relationship of religion and science subtitled, a case for a theology of evolution.
Zvi Ben-Dor Benite studied in Jerusalem, Jinan, and the Los Angeles. He is the author of two books, The Dao of Muhammad: A Cultural History of Muslims in Late Imperial China, and The Ten Lost Tribes: A World History. He is currently working on two books, one entitled Crescent China: Islam and the Nation after Empire and the other An Arab Jew in Rome: A Renaissance Tale of Expansion and Espionage. He teaches in the department of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies and the department of History at New York University, where he is Associate Professor.