UCL Campaign


God in Gower Street: A celebration of religion at UCL

14 November 2018

UCL staff and students came together to celebrate religion to mark Interfaith Week and launch the university’s interfaith activities.

UCL Interfaith Reception | Lori Houlihan giving her address to guests

Historian Thomas Arnold was famously quoted describing UCL as “that Godless institution in Gower Street”. However, if UCL’s Interfaith Week celebration is anything to go by, that couldn’t be further from the truth. 

On November 13, over 100 staff and students came together to celebrate UCL’s culturally and religiously diverse community. 

Hosted by Interfaith Champion and Vice-Provost (Advancement) Lori Houlihan, the event launched UCL’s interfaith activity and featured the unveiling of a photo exhibition showing A Year of Faith at UCL.

“As Interfaith Champion I want to celebrate UCL’s religious diversity, to increase the profile of faith at UCL and to develop religious literacy across our community,” said Lori Houlihan during her address to guests. 

The importance of faith was also stressed by Reverend Charlotte Bradley, Interfaith Advisor and Chaplain to UCL, who said: “religious practice is quite literally engraved into the foundation UCL. The university has enabled not stifled religious practice, embraced public practice and encouraged people to not leave their religion at the door.”

Guests also heard from Marie van der Zyl, President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, and Vincent Nguyen, President of the Catholic Society at UCL, who both reflected on why interfaith understanding is so important at UCL and in the wider community. 

“In today’s climate, in a time of division and racial-based hate, interfaith voices are needed more than ever,” said Marie. 


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One of the first steps for UCL’s interfaith activity will be the establishment of a Staff Student Interfaith Forum. Information regarding joining the forum will be announced in January 2019. If you want to register your interest or find out more about the role of the Interfaith Champion in the meantime, please contact abigail.smith@ucl.ac.uk