The mission of OCRPL is to equip religious communities, particularly in the non-western world, in their Public Witness through research in public policy and its relation to religion and through training in research, advocacy and engagement in the public sphere.
The Oxford Centre for Religion and Public Life is a research and training centre which exists to equip public intellectuals, analysts and professionals to recognise and value the contributions of religion to public life.
OCRPL began its life in 2001 as The Institute for Strategic Initiatives based in Washington, D.C. in the USA. It brought under one research institution work in the area of Christian faith and public life undertaken by the network of International Fellowship of Evangelical Mission Theologians (INFEMIT) from 1980.
The areas of study, research and training included a ten-year study on Christian Faith and Economics (1987-96), studies in Faith and Modernity (1992-1996), a global research programme on Evangelicals and Democracy (1997-2001), a study and training programme for journalists on reporting religion (2001-2005) and several others.
In 2005, the institute moved to Oxford in the UK and was renamed the Oxford Centre for Religion and Public Life. It became a registered charity in 2010.
The primary areas of OCRPL’s work focus on:
- Religious freedom
- Religion and human rights
- Faith and economics
- Religion, marriage and family
- Religion and law
- Religion and public education
- Religion and media