PISAI (en)

Centre of excellence providing academic training for Christian-Muslim dialogue

“I wish the PISAI community may never betray its primary purpose of listening and dialogue, founded on distinct identities, on the passionate, patient and vigorous search for truth and beauty, sown by the Creator in the heart of every man and woman and truly visible in every authentic religious expression.” (Pope Francis)

History

An institute of excellence, PISAI has a long tradition in the academic training of Christians for dialogue with Muslims. Founded in Tunis in 1926 by the Missionaries of Africa (White Fathers), in 1960 the Congregation for Seminaries and Universities canonically erected it as a Pontifical Institute. At the behest of Paul VI, it was transferred to Rome in 1964. Thanks to the personal interest of Benedict XVI, PISAI has benefitted from the direct guardianship of the Holy See since 2008, while still entrusted to the care of the White Fathers.

Vision and Mission

The Pontifical Institute for Arabic and Islamic Studies (PISAI) will be an academic centre of excellence that promotes interreligious dialogue with Islam on every societal level through high-quality formation and research.

PISAI will deliver its Vision through the following activities:

  • high quality academic programmes, courses and doctoral studies;
  • academic research;
  • engagement with institutions, organisations and communities committed to Christian-Muslim relations.

These activities will:

  • cultivate and promote a scientific and comprehensive study of Islam and Christian-Muslim relations;
  • form students at a high level in the specific disciplines of the Institute;
  • prepare students for university teaching and research positions in the field of Islamic studies and Christian-Muslim relations;
  • prepare practitioners of dialogue at the service of the universal Church and of the particular churches for the promotion of respectful and peaceful coexistence between Christians and Muslims;
  • train experts at the service of society for the promotion of intercultural dialogue with Muslims.

“In order to sustain dialogue with Islam, suitable training is essential for all involved, not only so that they can be solidly and joyfully grounded in their own identity, but so that they can also acknowledge the values of others, appreciate the concerns underlying their demands and shed light on shared beliefs.” (Evangelii gaudium, 253)

Values

Rooted in Catholic tradition, PISAI is convinced that interreligious encounter must be based on good will, scientifically grounded knowledge, and a spirit of mutual respect. Our values are:

  • academic rigour;
  • critical thinking;
  • a scientific approach;
  • the cultivation of a learning and teaching community;
  • the appreciation of otherness;
  • human fraternity;
  • a commitment to engage in a constructive dialogue with Muslims;
  • a “culture of encounter” (Fratelli tutti, 216).

“Christian-Muslim dialogue requires, in a particular way, patience and humility along with extensive study […] a specific preparation, not limited by sociological analysis, but having the characteristics of a journey among members of religions who, although in different ways, refer to the spiritual paternity of Abraham.” (Pope Francis)

Academic programmes

  • Certificate in Christian-Muslim Relations
  • Certificates in Islamic Studies (Level I & II)
  • Introductory Certificate in Classical Arabic
  • Intermediate Certificate in Classical Arabic
  • Diploma of Introduction to Arabic and Islamic Studies (awarded at the end of the Introductory Year)
  • Diploma in Arabic and Islamic Studies (awarded only to students who stop at the end of the First Year of Licentiate)
  • Licentiate in Arabic and Islamic Studies
  • Doctorate in Arabic and Islamic Studies
  • Joint Programmes (in partnership with other academic institutions)

Publications

  • ISLAMOCHRISTIANA, first published in 1975, is dedicated to Christian-Muslim dialogue: articles in Arabic and in various Western languages.
  • ÉTUDES ARABES, first published in 1962, centres upon topics of interest in Arab-Muslim culture (Arabic texts with translation).
  • STUDI ARABO-ISLAMICI DEL PISAI, a series which offers titles in the field of oriental studies.

For further information, visit: www.pisai.it/pubblicazioni/riviste

Library

In line with the Institute’s academic approach, the library houses a large collection of classical and modern sources in Arabic, publications on Arab and Islamic culture, works of oriental studies and a section dedicated to interreligious dialogue. Scholarly journals in several languages, both Western and Eastern, offer researchers the latest studies in the field.

The library’s current holdings comprise approximately 43000 volumes, half of which are in Arabic, 900 periodicals, 250 of which are rare or defunct, 30 fine editions, and 30 Arabic manuscripts kept at the Vatican Apostolic Library.

The catalogue can be consulted online at: www.pisai.it/biblioteca/patrimonio/catalogo

Opening hours
Monday to Thursday from 8:30 to 17:00 and Friday from 8.30 to 15:00

“This Institute is very precious among the academic institutions of the Holy See, and still needs to become better known. My desire is that it increasingly become a point of reference for the formation of Christians who work in the field of interreligious dialogue.” (Pope Francis)

Viale di Trastevere 89 – 00153 Roma
Tel: + 39 06 58 39 26 11
info@pisai.it   www.pisai.it
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