The Ridd Institute for Religion & Global Policy


Director: James Christie
Phone: 204.988.7683

About the Institute
About the Director
Previous Ridd Institute Events

About the Institute


 In keeping with the foundational principles of The Global College of The University of Winnipeg, The Ridd Institute for Religion and Global Policy is a nexus in which the academy, policy makers and the community may converge and engage in research, action and dialogue to “mend the world.”


The Ridd Institute was created to continue the vision and engagement and of the late Dr. Carl Ridd, eminent United Church of Canada minister and social justice activist, Olympic athlete, founder of the Department of Religious Studies (now the Department of Religion and Culture) at The University of Winnipeg, and beloved professor and mentor to hundreds of UW students.  The Institute was conceived among The Hon. Dr. Lloyd Axworthy, President of The University of Winnipeg; the Rev. Dr. James Christie, Dean of the Faculty of Theology, and Beverly Ridd, Dr. Ridd’s widow and a United Church activist of considerable stature.

The first Director of the Institute, the late Prof. Thompson Faulkner, was appointed in September of 2008, by action of Dr. Axworthy, and under the leadership of Global College Principal Marilou McPhedron, C.M., long time scholar, jurist and activist, and former Commissioner for Human Rights of the Province of Saskatchewan. Dr. Faulkner’s distinguished career encompassed decades as Professor and Chair of the Department of Religious Studies of Dalhousie University; Principal of St. Andrew’s College, Saskatoon and St. Stephen’s College, Edmonton; and from 2007, Associate Professor of Church and Society in the Faculty of Theology at The University of Winnipeg.

During his all too brief tenure, ended by his premature death in July, 2010, Dr. Faulkner broke new ground in inter religious leadership in Winnipeg and far beyond.

In the autumn of 2008, Dean Christie enabled his secondment as Visiting Professor and administrative advisor to the European Humanities University in Vilnius, Lithuania; and appointed Tom as a religious advisor, expert witness and delegate of the Canadian Mission to the Dublin Cluster Munitions Treaty Conference.

Dr. Faulkner provided leadership within the Manitoba Multifaith Council, serving as Secretary, and engaged local religious communities in a visionary exercise anticipating inter religious cooperation during the imagined “Great Winnipeg Flood of 2013.”

He lectured on military ethics to the officer corps of the Pakistani Navy; with Drs. Blaikie and Christie, consulted with The United Church of Canada on the Responsibility to Protect; and mobilized youth participation in the 2010 World Religious Leader’s Summit on the G8 and the Millenium Development Goals convened by Dr. Axworthy’s invitation in June, 2010, only weeks before his death.

Carl Ridd would be proud, and Tom is much missed.

Dr. Christie’s completion of his five year assignment as Dean of Theology coincided with Dr. Faulkner’s death, and, poignantly, he agreed to be co-Director of the Institute in a discussion with Dr. Faulkner and Principal McPhedran the evening before Tom died.

In its 7-year history, the Ridd Institute has made substantial contributions to the life of the University and the wider community, locally, regionally, nationally and internationally. 

Holocaust Education Centre

The Ridd Institute for Religion and Global Policy is in partnership with the Freeman Family Holocaust Education Centre.

"The Holocaust Education Centre was founded by local survivors who were dedicated to building a museum where various groups, especially students, could come and benefit from presentations by Holocaust survivors and educators and look at their precious artifacts which illustrate even further the families and the world that these brave men and women have lost.

About the Director

The Reverend Doctor James Taylor Christie, B.Th., M.Div., M.A., D.Min. J

Phone: 204.786.9247

Dr. Jim Christie, Director of the Ridd Institute for Religion and Global Policy


Dr. James Christie is Professor of Whole World Ecumenism and Dialogue Theology in the United Centre for Theological Studies and former Dean of the Faculty of Theology of The University of Winnipeg; a life-long ecumenist; a pioneer in dialogue theology; and a religious diplomat.   Since July, 2010, he has served as Director of the Ridd Institute for Religion and Global Policy in the Global College of The University of Winnipeg. From 2005-2006, he was Inaugural Dean of the Global College, in addition to his duties in the Faculty of Theology. 

A bilingual native of Salaberry-de-Valleyfield, Quebec, Dr. Christie studied at Bishop's University, McGill (Birk’s Award; University Scholar), United Theological College in Montreal (Nordberg Prize for Contextual Theology) and the Toronto School of Theology.  His M.A. thesis in social ethics, Love and Fine Thinking: H.G. Wells and the World State, broke new ground in examining issues of religion and world order.  His doctoral thesis, Beyond Tolerance: Christians and Jews in Dialogue, which explored historical, biblical and theological issues in interfaith relations, proposed a 'grass-roots' model for interfaith dialogue. 

Dr. Christie has practiced congregational ministry in Montreal, New York State, Toronto and Ottawa, prior to which he worked in teaching, academic administration and the investment industry, in which latter category he holds the Qualified Financial Planner designation.  He served on the Emmanuel College Council in Toronto; developed and taught short courses for Queen's Theological College (now Queen’s School of Religion) and the United Church of Canada in Faith, Culture and Politics; and designed and taught the first Queen’s course on Science, Religion and Society: An Emerging Dialogue. From 2002 to 2005, Dr. Christie served on the Board of the Montreal School of Theology. In 2003, he was Theologian to the Justice Department of Canada Forum on Genetic Futures, and participated in the first Canadian Church Leaders’ Study Mission on HIV/AIDS to East Africa.  In 2011-2012, Dr. Christie held a visiting Fellowship at the International Islamic University in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

In an extraordinary accolade, Dr. Christie was initiated in July of 2012 as a Chieftain of the Igbo people of Nigeria, receiving the title of Nwanne Dinamba from the Umunna Igbo Association of Manitoba, one of the first non-Nigerians to be so recognized.

In the wider Church, Dr. Christie has held several senior positions, including Chairperson of the Presbytery of York, President of Toronto Conference and Interim General Secretary for Ecumenism and Interfaith Dialogue for the United Church of Canada.  He has represented the United Church on the Faith and Witness Commission of the Canadian Council of Churches; has served as Chair of the Centre Dialogue in Montreal; was a long-time director of both the Christian-Jewish Dialogue of Toronto and the Christian-Jewish Dialogue of the National Capital Region; and represented the Protestant world at the 49th World Eucharistic Congress of the Roman Catholic Church in Quebec City in 2008.   In 2009, both York and Winnipeg Presbyteries nominated him for Moderator of the United Church of Canada.  Dr. Christie is a member of the working group of the Joint Ecumenical Reflection on Evangelism in North America, a project of the Canadian Council of Churches, the National Council of Churches in the U.S.A., and The World Council of Churches.

Dr. Christie is Past President of the Canadian Council of Churches, and served as Secretary General of the 2010 Religious Leaders’ Summit, a parallel and complementary gathering of world religious leaders coinciding with the G8 political leaders’ summits.  In 2009, he was appointed to the steering committee of the Interreligious Roundtable of Tony Blair’s Faith Foundation. In the autumn of 2014, Dr. Christie participated in the inaugural G20 Interfaith Summit, convened in Gold Coast, Australia; and is a member of the working group for future iterations of the “F20” Summits. In December of 2014, he was elected Chair of the Governing Council of Project Ploughshares, one of the leading peace research agencies in the world. In January 2016, he was a delegate to the first annual iteration of the United Nations World Interfaith Harmony Day Conference, convened in Dubai. 

In April of 2013 in Doha, Qatar, Dr. Christie co-presented, with Dr. Karen Hamilton, General Secretary of the Canadian Council of Churches, a history and outcome of the Canadian National Interfaith Partnership, the forty-seven member coalition of church, multifaith, parachurch and NGO communities which enabled the 2010 Winnipeg Summit and a new and vibrant interfaith conversation in Canada.  In consequence, the Partnership received a 10th Anniversary Commemorative Award from the Doha International Centre for Interfaith Dialogue (DICID).

In Manitoba, he serves as the founding convener of The Advisory Committee for the Lt. Governor’s Award for the Advancement of Interreligious Understanding. In 2012, Dr. Christie was named to the board of the Bhai Kahn Singh Nabha Foundation, dedicated to the ongoing legacy of one of the world’s foremost Sikh and Punjabi scholars.  In 2012, Dr. Christie joined the Board of the Manitoba Multifaith Council, and served as a Delegated Representative to the 10th General Assembly of the World Council of Churches meeting in Busan in the Republic of Korea, and as a Delegate to the 9th General Assembly of Religions for Peace, meeting in Vienna.  In October of 2014, Dr. Christie was a presenting delegate to the 21st Annual Symposium on Law and Religion at Brigham Young University in Utah.

An internationalist, Dr. Christie is a leader in the NGO movement for global democracy, UN reform and human rights, chairing the Council of the World Federalist Movement/Institute for Global Policy (In 2002, WFM/IGP was a Nobel Peace Prize nominee for its leadership in the coordination of civil society engagement in the International Criminal Court Treaty process in Rome).  He is a regular contributor to the Spinelli Institute’s annual Ventotene Seminars on European Federalism convened in Italy.  In 2012, Dr. Christie was honoured by the World Federalist Movement – Canada, receiving the prestigious Hannah Newcombe Lifetime Achievement Award.

Within the University of Winnipeg Community, Dr. Christie is the recipient of the 2008 Clarence Atchison Award for Excellence in Community Service, and, since completing his term as Dean of Theology in 2010 and assuming his duties as a full professor in the Faculty of Theology (now The United Centre for Theological Studies), has been recognized by his peers for excellence in teaching, scholarship and research, and community service, and twice been awarded Merit by the University.

On a more personal note, Dr. Christie is a Past Master of the Masonic Fraternity; a member of the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry; rides with The Widow’s Sons Masonic Motorcycle Club; and is President of the St. Andrew’s Society of Winnipeg. Dr. Christie is noted in Canadian Who’s Who. 

An author in multiple genres, Dr. Christie is the recipient of the 2013 Associated Church Press Award of Excellence for:  Theological Reflection, Short Format, All Media.  His articles, essays and reviews may be found in The United Church Observer, the Practice of Ministry in Canada, the Canadian World Federalist, Mondial, the Federalist Debate (a peer reviewed journal), Dialogue, Emmaus, Context, Pilgrimage (the Journal of the C.S. Lewis Society), The Winnipeg Free Press, Christian Week, Ecumenism, Touchstone ( a peer reviewed journal), Current Dialogue (a peer reviewed publication of the World Council of Churches), Masonry in Manitoba, the National Post and The Ottawa Citizen.  


Previous Ridd Institute Events

Niigan Sinclair

4th Annual Multifaith Leadership Breakfast

Guest Speaker: Niigan Sinclair, University of Manitoba Native Studies Head

Birthdays and Genocides: Reconciling Canada's 150 years

When: Tuesday February 28, 2017 - 7:30am-9:00am (doors open at 7:00am)

Where: Convocation Hall 


Lutz Lecture

Dr. Thomas Lutz: A Conversation with the Curator of the "Face of the Ghetto" Exhibit

When: Wednesday February 11, 2015, at 7pm

Location: Berney Theatre 123 Doncaster Street

Multifaith Breakfast

2nd Annual Multifaith Leadership Breakfast: For the Sake of the City 2015

When: Thursday, February 26, at 7:30-9:00am

Location: Convocation Hall (2W16)

2015 El Tassi Lecture with Dr. Patrice Brodeur

Patrice BrodeurWorld renowned scholar and Harvard educated, Dr. Patrice Brodeur will be at UWinnipeg to present the 2015 El-Tassi Lecture on Wednesday, January 21 at 7:30 pm in Eckhardt-Gramatté Hall. Brodeur is the Director of Research at the KAICIID Dialogue Centre in Vienna, Austria. A polyglot with knowledge in 11 languages (including Arabic, Hebrew, French + Persian), he will be speaking on Building Space for Dialogue: Identity, Politics and Religion.

Date: January 21, 2015

Time: 7:00pm

Location: Eckhardt-Gramatte Hall

1914  -  CENTENNIAL  - 1918


A project of Remembrance and Reconciliation.

In 2014 starting October 20th until November 11th, the 292,207 names of those killed in 1914 from Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Australia, Belgium, Turkey, the British Indian Army, Ireland and the Czech Republic will be displayed. The names display commences each evening at 8.30 and pauses at dawn the following day.

In each of the WWI Centenary years, the names of those killed will be witnessed in the 100th year after their deaths.

For more information about the project or to find exact night, hour and minute that any name will appear go to

Memory is part of what makes us human.

In Remembrance Lies Hope: Theresienstadt Story

2014 marked 70 years since the infamous visit of the Red Cross to Terezin, a ghetto and concentration camp, also known by its German name of Theresienstadt. Adolph Eichmann hatched a plot and choreographed it down to the last wicked detail to “prove” that the rumours of the slaughter of the Jews of Europe was in fact nothing but rumour: In the spring of 1944, he ordered that the camp be cleaned up and given a makeover – gardens were planted, fake storefronts were created and filled with goods from the inmates’ own luggage. Some 8,000 Jews were sent to Auschwitz to reduce overcrowding. On June 23, 1944, the International Red Cross arrived to visit what the Nazis called a “self-governed Jewish city”. Among the many artists and musicians interned in Terezin was Raphael Schechter, a young musician who had packed his precious scores when he was sent to Terezin. Schechter, against all odds performed Verdi’s Requiem as the centrepiece of the Red Cross visit with a chorus of some 60 voices – the first of 15 times it would be performed at Terezin.

In the midst of all this, we discovered quite by coincidence that a survivor of Terezin, Cathy Blum, resides in Winnipeg and was willing to be interviewed for the documentary. In Remembrance Lies Hope was broadcast nationally in late April of 2014 across Shaw network and again in August of 2014. Shaw has uploaded it to Youtube so that it is now available for international viewing.

The full documentary is available on YouTube.