Goa, David

Founding Director [2005-2016], Chester Ronning Centre for the Study of Religion and Public Life
Augustana Faculty in the University of Alberta
Camrose, Alberta, Canada


+1 780 504-5942 (cell)


When Dean Roger Epp asked David Goa to become the Founding Director of the Chester Ronning Centre for the Study of Religion and Public Life, Augustana Campus, University of Alberta, it was a bit of the past coming to meet him from the future. David was born in Camrose, and as a child, he knew Chester Ronning, whose name graces the Centre. Arguing that issues of religion and public life were far too important to be left solely to the Academy, David focused the Centre's work in the public square, with religious communities and in the Academy. Over a decade, his work engaged many of the most demanding issues in our society, seeking to pull forward the best thinking in religious traditions and civil philosophy. David aimed to deepen thinking on contentious issues and find ways for those with strongly held and competing perspectives to engage each other and find hospitable ground to nurture the common good. His regard for local goodness and his international reach knit a rich body of programming and research, pulling forward the capacity of the university in service to public understanding.

From 1973 - 2004, David developed the program for the study of culture at the Royal Alberta Museum through his extensive field research in many religious communities that make Alberta their home (Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh, Jewish, Muslim and Christian).

He is the author of over twenty books and hundreds of essays and articles on religion and modern culture, religious dialogue, art and religion, Christian Orthodox theology and the spiritual life. David is a regular contributor to the media and he lectures widely throughout Canada and most recently in Syria and Turkey.

He is curator of the internet exhibition The UEncounter (2014), exploring fundamental human questions, and was the chief curator for the internationally acclaimed exhibition Anno Domini: Jesus Through the Centuries in the year 2000. His recent book The Christian Responsibility to Muslims is the fruit of his work in Muslim communities. Mantra, Hearing the Divine in India and America (Columbia University Press, 2004 and written with Harold Coward) remains a standard text for university students. A collection of his essays on the spiritual life and modern culture, A Regard for Creation (Synaxis Presss, 2008) has been translated into several languages. In his book, Working in the Fields of Meaning, Cultural Communities, Museums and the New Pluralism (Ronning Centre, 2013), David highlights the ways public institutions may enrich the public square by working with the many and varied cultural communities that make up Canada.

David continues to teach and offer seminars and workshops on topics such as leadership in times of deep difference, tradition and modern culture, issues of religion and public life, and the gifts of religious tradition. These teachings are one of the many ways he seeks to move public and religious discourse beyond the ideological silos that so often limit public understanding. David has been listed in Canada Who's Who, since 2001.

David has received the following awards:

  • Citation of Merit, Hindu Society of Alberta, 2002
  • Inducted into the City of Edmonton Cultural Hall of Fame, 2001
  • Premier's Gold Medal for Anno Domini, 2001
  • Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, 2001
  • AMPIA Award, with Jeremy Chugg: Eight nominations for the video "Jesus in the Age of Television"; two first awards, Educational Video and Promotion, 2001
  • Eugene Johnson Award from Christians in the Visual Arts at their Dallas conference, 2001
  • Humanitarian Award, Monastery of All Saints of North America, 2001
  • The Golden Key Society, University of Alberta, 2001
  • Shevchenko Medal, Ukrainian Canadian Committee, 1989

Areas of Interest

Christians and Christianity
Christian Zionism
Death and Dying
Evangelical Protestants and Evangelicalism
Health and Healthcare
Interfaith and Intra-cultural Dialogue
Islam and Muslims
Perspectives of "the other"
Pluralism and Multiculturalism
Public Policy and Faith-based Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs)
Religious Beliefs and Practices
Religious Extremism
Religious Tradition and Modernity
Secular and Secularism

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The Bible: A Weapon or Life-Giving Word (Part One)

The Bible: A Weapon or Life-Giving Word (Part Two)

The Bible: A Weapon or Life-Giving Word (Part Three)