Director of Religious Studies Programs
Dr. Tarek Elgawhary’s areas of expertise include comparative religions and Islamic law. Dr. Elgawhary received his PhD from Princeton University, focusing on Islamic law and has studied traditional Islamic sciences at al-Azhar Seminary in Cairo, Egypt. At WORDE his projects include researching the capacity of religious actors in Egypt to counter extremist narratives in Egypt and beyond.
For over a decade, Dr. Tarek Elgawhary, a scholar of comparative religions and Islamic studies, has advised non-profit organizations, corporations and governments throughout the world on challenges that intersect faith, culture and politics.
He received his BA in comparative religions with a focus on Jewish studies, his MA was in a specialized program focusing on Islam and Hinduism, and his PhD, from Princeton University, was in Islamic law. From 2003-2007, his religious education culminated in the study of traditional Islamic sciences at al-Azhar Seminary in Cairo, Egypt.
Dr. Elgawhary also serves as the CEO of the Coexist Corporation and a trustee of the Coexist Foundation, a non-profit organization advancing social cohesion through education and innovation. Since 2006 the Coexist Foundation has raised over $30 million for initiatives across the world that have impacted people’s lives and transformed their understanding of one another.
At WORDE, Dr. Elgawhary provides in-person and online educational programing on traditional Islamic cultures, beliefs and practices. Skilled at presenting complex theological concepts in a simple and engaging format, he will also develop counter extremist messages for communities to reduce ideological risk factors of violent extremism. In addition, Dr. Elgawhary will develop training materials for law enforcement and communities to differentiate between mainstream Islamic doctrine and the deviations of extremist groups.
In addition, Dr. Elgawhary is leading a research program to explore the capacity of civil society organizations in Egypt, in particular religious actors, in their ability to counter extremist ideologies in a way that has global impact. As part of this project, he will conduct interviews with academics, policymakers and activists in Egypt and the US; as well as roundtable discussions in the US with Egyptian experts. The findings will culminate in a public report that will highlight insights and recommendations by prominent policymakers and analysts from Washington, D.C. and Cairo.
Elgawhary, Tarek (2014). Restructuring Islamic Law: The Opinions of the ‘Ulamā’ Towards Codification of Personal Status Law in Egypt (Doctoral dissertation).
Stop the Hate: Prophetic Models for Coexistence Halaqa Series