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Top award for former president

Former Uniting Church president Rev Professor James Haire AM KSJ. Photo courtesy of ACU
FORMER UNITING Church president and one of the world’s leading scholars and promoters of interfaith dialogue, Rev Professor James Haire AM KSJ, was awarded Australian Catholic University’s highest honour, Doctor of the University, in Sydney on 5 April.

He received the award in recognition of his service to the community, particularly through his contributions to interfaith dialogue.

Originally from Belfast, Professor Haire was ordained as a minister in the Presbyterian Church in Ireland in 1972 before his first appointment as a missionary to Indonesia – where he spent the next 13 years.

His longstanding involvement in Muslim-Christian dialogue in south-east Asia, and close relations with Muslim leaders
such as former Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid, were to stand him in good stead.

Between 2001 and 2005, Professor Haire played an important role in peace and reconciliation negotiations between Christians and Muslims in the Molucca Islands in Indonesia.

His commitment to interfaith relations continued when he came to Australia in 1985 as minister for the Darwin city parish of the Uniting Church.

Professor Haire actively sought cooperation between the various denominations, and from 1992 to 2004 co-chaired the National Dialogue between the Uniting Church and Catholic Church in Australia.

Since 2002 he has been a member of the Joint International Commission between the Vatican and the World Methodist

Professor Haire has also served as Head of the School of Theology at Griffi th University in Brisbane, Professor of New Testament Studies, Dean and President of the Brisbane School of Theology and Principal of Trinity Th eological College in Brisbane.

He was chairperson of the National Heads of Churches from 2000 to 2003.

He served as President of the National Council of Churches in Australia (NCCA) and has received numerous honours
including becoming a Knight of St John (2000), being named a Rotary Honorary Peace Ambassador (2001), and being
appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (2006).

Now based in Canberra, Professor Haire is Executive Director of the Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture, Professor of Th eology of Charles Sturt University, and Director of the Public and Contextual Theology Strategic Research

ACU Vice-Chancellor, Professor Greg Craven, said Australia was indebted to Professor Haire for his work in encouraging
understanding between not only the Christian churches, but also between people of diff erent faiths.

Photo : Former Uniting Church president Rev Professor James Haire AM KSJ. Photo courtesy of ACU