The Woolf Institute

Understanding the increasing influence of religion in the world, especially the relationship between Christians, Jews and Muslims is at the heart of the Woolf Institute.

Woolf Institute headquarters

The Institute believes a positive understanding of the complex relationship between contrasting faiths and cultures is vital to fostering a stable and successful society. Established in Cambridge in 1998, with close links to the city’s University, the Institute’s aim is to connect the study of relations between faiths with broader practical and theoretical questions including the importance of trust in everyday life and the role of religion in international diplomacy and community cohesion.

The Institute has seen a huge growth in programmes and student numbers since inception and had, quite simply, run out of space. It is therefore building a new state-of-the-art facility, providing a permanent home for the organisation including a new library, media and conference centres, study and research hubs and on-site accommodation.  When the Institute applied to the Foundation, it had raised three quarters of its £10 million Capital appeal across the Christian, Jewish and Muslim faiths, from the UK and overseas.

“A major gift from the UK’s leading philanthropic family foundation was vital in terms of 1) timing: helping ensure that sufficient funds were in place for construction to start and 2) confidence: giving encouragement to other funders to support the project. The project represents a significant development for the Woolf Institute and the support from the Garfield Weston Foundation is transformative, enabling it to reach a broader audience and a greater number of people across the UK, and around the world.” Dr Ed Kessler MBE, Founding Director