Professor John Esposito

Professor John Esposito


John Louis Esposito (born 19 May 1940, BrooklynNew York City) is a professor of International Affairs and Islamic Studies at Georgetown University. He is also the director of Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal center for Muslim-Christian understanding at Georgetown University[1]

Esposito is widely interviewed or quoted in the media, including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN and network news stations, NPR, BBC, and in media throughout Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. 

CV Download cv.doc

Education B.A. () St. Antony College, M.A. () St. John’s University, Ph.D. () Temple University,

Early life

Esposito was raised a Roman Catholic in an Italian neighborhood in BrooklynNew York City, and spent a decade in a Catholic monastery. After taking his first degree he worked as a management consultant and high-school teacher. He then studied and received a masters in theology at St Johns University. He earned a PhD at Temple UniversityPennsylvania in 1974, studying Islam and held post doc appointments at Harvard and Oxford Universities. He is well-known as a promoter of strong ties between Muslims and Christians and has even challenged the Vatican to make greater efforts to encourage such ties[3].

Academic career

For nearly twenty years after completing his PhD, Esposito had taught religious studies (including HinduismBuddhism and Islam) at theCollege of the Holy Cross, a Jesuit college in Massachusetts. At Holy Cross, Esposito held the Loyola Professor of Middle East Studies position, was the chair of the Department of Religious Studies, and the director of college’s Center for International Studies.[2] At Georgetown University, Esposito holds the distinguished position of University Professor and teaches as both a Professor of Religion and International Affairs and Professor of Islamic Studies.[3] Esposito also works as a Senior Scientist at the Gallup Center for Muslim Studies, where he co-authored Who Speaks for Islam? What a Billion Muslims Really Think, which was published in March 2008.

He published “Islam and Politics” in 1984, and “Islam: The Straight Path” in 1988; both books sold well, going through many editions. In addition to more than 35 books,he is editor-in-chief of a number of Oxford reference works including “The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Modern Islamic World”“The Oxford History of Islam”The Oxford Dictionary of Islam” The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Islamic World (5vols. forthcoming 2008)and Oxford Islamic Studies Online.[2]

In 1988, he was elected president of the Middle East Studies Association of North America (MESA). He has also served as president of theAmerican Council for the Study of Islamic Societies. He served as Vice Chair of the Board of Directors of the Center for the Study of Islam & Democracy from 1999 to 2004 and is a member of the World Economic Forum’s Council of 100 Leaders and the High Level Group of the U.N.Alliance of Civilizations. A recipient of the American Academy of Religion’s 2005 Martin E. Marty Award for the Public Understanding of Religion and of Pakistan’s Quaid-e-Azam Award for Outstanding Contributions in Islamic Studies, in 2003 he received the School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University Award for Outstanding Teaching. [2]

Esposito founded the Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University and is its current director. The center has received a $20 million endowment from Saudi Arabian Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal “to advance education in the fields of Islamic civilization and Muslim-Christian understanding and strengthen its presence as a world leader in facilitating cross-cultural and inter-religious dialogue.”[4]


Martin Kramer, an American scholar of the Middle East, writes that Esposito “completed a doctorate in Islamic studies at Temple University in 1974 and then spent nearly twenty years teaching comparative religion and Islam at the College of the Holy Cross, a Jesuit college in Massachusetts. His early published work dealt with Pakistan and Muslim family law. Had he continued along this trajectory, he would have remained obscure even by the standards of Middle Eastern studies”. It was Said’s successful 1978 book Orientalism that spurred a large demand “for sympathetic texts on Islam” that were “uncontaminated by anti-Americanisms” and “preferably even written by an American.” Esposito’s rise, Kramer writes, can be solely attributed to his ability to meet this demand, even though the chapter on Islam in Huston Smith‘sWorld Religions meets all the same criteria according to Kramer.[5][6]

Selected bibliography

Nonfiction books
Academic collections


External links



From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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