Education to Interreligious Dialogue in Lebanon, Jordan and Palestine

November 28, 2020

Successful first webinar organized by Dar al-Kalima University College of Arts & Culture. Dr. Nadia Wardeh and Dr. Pamela Chrabieh presented the results of their research, focusing on the needs, challenges and opportunities in Higher Education. Stay tuned for more!
بمشاركة نخبة من العلماء والأكاديميين من لبنان والاردن وفلسطين، عقدت الأمس جامعة دار الكلمة مؤتمرها الإقليمي الاول عبر الفضاء الإلكتروني لمناقشة أبحاث تعمل على تطوير مناهج تدريسية مختصة بالتعددية وحوار الأديان. وقد عرضت مع زميلتي وصديقتي ناديه ورده نتائج بحثنا عن هذا الموضوع.

Middle Eastern Women: The Intersection of Law, Culture and Religion

A joint paper between Dr. Pamela Chrabieh and Dr. Nadia Wardeh about religious authority, interreligious dialogue and gender, has been published in an book edited by Rev. Dr. Mitri Raheb (Dar al Kalima University College of Arts and Culture/ Diyar Publishers): Middle Eastern Women: The Intersection of Law, Culture and Religion.

Description of the book:

Women in the Arab world suffer from a lack of equality in most rights, duties and within all areas of society, including the criminal justice court, economy, healthcare, media, politics, religion, family law and civil status law. International reports document the systematic gender gap that is based on discrimination, the prevalence of male traditions and unequal treatment. This book investigates the role that intersectionality of law, culture and religion plays in hindering movement towards equal rights for women. The majority of the papers highlights the challenges faced by women in traditional patriarchal societies. These challenges span from economic limitations to legal systems, and from lack of representation in the media to religiously inspired inequality. The papers included in this book are eye-opening in reporting the situation of women in diverse Middle Eastern countries and what they have in common, but also the differences between contexts, countries and denominations. Together, they construct an interdisciplinary vision of women’s lives in the Middle East. The papers show that the context is by no means static but is fluid and dynamic. There are setbacks but also breakthroughs. While one can see a polarization between conservative powers that seek to maintain the status quo on the one hand and progressive forces demanding change on the other, the direction for the future is clearly in favor of the latter. The hope is that this volume will contribute to this process.

The book is available on Amazon and Kindle.

Call for Papers – The 6th International Conference on “Higher Education Towards Inclusive Societies in the Middle East and North Africa”

Introduction
 
Dar al-Kalima University College of Arts and Culture (DAK) and the Christian Academic Forum for Citizenship in the Arab World (CAFCAW) are organizing their sixth international conference on “Higher Education Towards Inclusive Societies in the Middle East and North Africa” in October 2020. This conference builds on the 2019 “Towards Inclusive Societies” conference, the recommendations of which urged us to focus our work and attention on the role of higher education and to pursue a collective journey towards more inclusive societies.
 
Goals
 
At this conference, we will encourage scholars, experts and activists from the MENA countries to engage in a critical dialogue regarding the role of higher education in promoting social, religious and gender inclusivity. We will also discuss the role of higher education in empowering young women in the Arab world. In addition, this conference will address the conditions and platforms invested in higher education and how to use their skills and knowledge to build more open and engaged societies. Today our societies remain at a distance from addressing the serious social challenges or assessing ways to deal with the obstacles and limitations that abort some good initiatives. Educating towards social responsibility and raising awareness to the various options for inclusive communities becomes a necessity. The conference aims to motivate scholars to investigate these issues in present and future research and to urge policymakers to ensure that higher education is more accessible to all society members.
 
As such, we invite scholars to submit papers that tackle issues related to the current situation of MENA societies. The conference “Higher Education Towards Inclusive Societies in the Middle East and North Africa” provides an umbrella for the following sub-themes:
 
The challenges and potentials of higher education regarding:
Socio-cultural inclusivity, Religious diversity, Gender. 
The conference provides a forum for sharing recent research, highlighting social initiatives of change, promoting interaction and dialogue among participants, and gathering results into a comprehensive monograph accessible to a wider public.
 
The participation of scholars from different countries will foster interdisciplinary, multi-cultural arena for genuine continuous dialogues and bold thoughts. The conference is planned to take place from October 29 to November 1, 2020 on the island of Cyprus. It will consist of three days of lecturesdialogues, and socio-cultural, economic and education context evaluation. The program will be conducted in Arabic.
 
Title
Education Towards Inclusive Societies in Middle East and North Africa
 
Aim
To spark a critical dialogue on the current situation in MENA societies in relation to: Higher Education, Religious Plurality, Gender Equality and Social Cohesion.
 
Goals
 Analyzing the impact of higher education on issues related to religious plurality, gender equality and socio-cultural and political diversity.Exploring and exchanging success stories and best practices.Providing a pertinent forum of discussion on the conference themes. Sharing the conference’s papers and recommendations with the academic community. Encouraging interdisciplinary analysis and further research in relation to higher education. 

Themes
 The role of higher education in modern social change.Modern inclusive perspectives in higher education in MENA.The role of higher education in contributing to social and economic growth.The role of media in shaping opinions towards inclusive societies.The impact of the Coronavirus pandemic crisis on higher education in the Arab world.The development of exclusive and inclusive identities in today’s MENA.Analyzing university curricula in terms of the notion on inclusivity. 

Call for Papers
 
We invite the submission of papers on original and unpublished research on any of the related topics. Please note the following:
 
Papers should be in Arabic.Papers should be submitted to: ideeb@daralkalima.edu.ps.The only accepted format for submitted papers is word document.May 30, 2020: paper/panel submission deadline (maximum 500 words).June 15, 2020: paper accept/reject notification.August 15, 2020: full paper submission deadline.
 
 
دعوة لتقديم أوراق بحثية
المؤتمر الدولي السادس حول
“التعليم العالي نحو مجتمعات حاضنة للتعددية في الشرق الأوسط وشمال إفريقيا”
 
مقدمة
ينظم كل من كلية دار الكلمة الجامعية للفنون والثقافة والمنتدى الأكاديمي المسيحي للمواطنة في العالم العربي المؤتمر السادس الذي يتمحور حول ” التعليم العالي نحو مجتمعات حاضنة للتعددية في الشرق الأوسط وشمال إفريقيا” في شهر تشرين الأول / أكتوبر من العام 2020، ويأتي هذا المؤتمر استكمالاً للجهود والطروحات التي تمّت في مؤتمر عام 2019 بعنوان “نحو مجتمعات حاضنة للتعددية”، وذلك انطلاقا من التوصيات التي أكدت ضرورة التركيز على دور التعليم العالي في بناء مجتمعات حاضنة للتعددية والاهتمام بهذا الدور باستمرار وتطويره.
 
الأهداف
يهدف المؤتمر إلى تشجيع الباحثين, الخبراء والناشطين من دول الشرق الأوسط وشمال إفريقيا على الانخراط في حوار نقدي بنّاء حول دور التعليم العالي في تعزيز التعددية الاجتماعية والدينية والتعددية المرتبطة بالنوع الاجتماعي. كما سنناقش هنا دور التعليم العالي في تمكين الشابات في العالم العربي.
بالإضافة إلى ما سبق؛ سيتناول هذا المؤتمر الشروط والمنصات المستثمرة في التعليم العالي وكيفية استخدام مهارات الناشطين فيها ومعارفهم في بناء مجتمعات أكثر انفتاحًا وانخراطًا؛ ولا بدّ لنا من الاعتراف بأن مجتمعاتنا لا تزال إلى اليوم بعيدة عن معالجة التحديات الاجتماعية الخطيرة وهي بعيدة كذلك عن تقييم طرق التعامل مع العقبات والقيود التي تحبط بعض المبادرات الجيدة، مما يتحتم عليه توفير التعلم نحو المسؤولية الاجتماعية وزيادة الوعي حول الخيارات المختلفة للمجتمعات الحاضنة للتعددية. هذا من ناحية، أما من ناحية أخرى؛ فيهدف المؤتمر إلى تحفيز الباحثين على التحقيق في هذه القضايا في البحوث الحالية والمستقبلية وحث صانعي السياسات وأصحاب القرار على ضمان وجود التعليم العالي في متناول جميع أفراد المجتمع.
 
وعلى هذا النحو، ندعو الباحثين إلى تقديم أوراق علمية تتناول القضايا المتعلقة بالوضع الحالي لمجتمعات منطقة الشرق الأوسط وشمال إفريقيا وتناقشها وتعالجها في إطار المجتمعات الحاضنة للتعددية، بحيث يوفر مؤتمر “التعليم العالي نحو مجتمعات حاضنة للتعددية في الشرق الأوسط وشمال إفريقيا” مظلة للمواضيع الفرعية الآتية:
تحديات التعليم العالي وإمكانياته فيما يتعلق بـِ:
1) التعددية الاجتماعية الثقافية.
2) التنوع الديني.
3) النوع الاجتماعي.
 
يوفر المؤتمر منتدى لتبادل الأبحاث الحديثة، وتسليط الضوء على المبادرات الاجتماعية للتغيير، وتعزيز التفاعل والحوار بين المشاركين، وجمع النتائج في دراسة شاملة يسهل نشرها على نطاق اوسع. فإن المشاركة في هذا المؤتمر من دول مختلفة سوف تعزز تعدد التخصصات والثقافات من أجل حوارات حقيقية وأفكار جريئة بشكل مستمر. ومن المقرر أن يُعقد المؤتمر في الفترة الواقعة بين 29 تشرين الأول / أكتوبر و1 تشرين الثاني / نوفمبر 2020م في جزيرة قبرص. وستتكون من ثلاثة أيام من المحاضرات والحوارات وتقييم السياقات الاجتماعية الثقافية والاقتصادية والتعليمية. كما سيتم تنفيذ البرنامج باللغة العربية.
 
عنوان المؤتمر
التعليم نحو مجتمعات حاضنة للتعددية في الشرق الأوسط وشمال إفريقيا
 
الهدف الرئيس للمؤتمر
إثارة حوار نقدي حول الوضع الحالي في مجتمعات الشرق الأوسط وشمال إفريقيا فيما يتعلق بـ: التعليم العالي، والتعددية الدينية، والمساواة بين الجنسين، والتماسك الاجتماعي.
 
أهداف المؤتمر
• تحليل أثر التعليم العالي على القضايا المتعلقة بالتعددية الدينية والمساواة بين الجنسين والتنوع الاجتماعي والثقافي والسياسي.
• استكشاف قصص النجاح وأفضل الممارسات والخبرات وتبادلها.
• توفير منتدى ذي صلة وثيقة بين الأعضاء لمناقشة موضوعات المؤتمر.
• مشاركة أوراق وتوصيات المؤتمر مع المجتمع الأكاديمي.
• تشجيع التحليل متعدد التخصصات وإجراء المزيد من البحوث فيما يتعلق بالتعليم العالي.
 
موضوعات المؤتمر ومحاوره
• دور التعليم العالي في التغيير الاجتماعي الحديث.
• منظورات ووجهات نظر شاملة حديثة في التعليم العالي في منطقة الشرق الأوسط وشمال إفريقيا.
• دور التعليم العالي في المساهمة في النمو الاجتماعي والاقتصادي.
• دور الإعلام في تشكيل الآراء تجاه المجتمعات الحاضنة للتعددية.
• أثر أزمة جائحة فيروس كورونا على التعليم العالي في العالم العربي.
• تطوير هويات حصرية ومتعددة في منطقة الشرق الأوسط وشمال إفريقيا اليوم.
. تحليل مساقات جامعية من حيث التطرق الى موضوع التعددية.
 
دعوة لإرسال الأوراق البحثية:
ندعو الباحثين إلى تقديم أوراق بحثية أصلية وليس بالضرورة منشورة حول أي من الموضوعات ذات الصلة.
نرجو ملاحظة ما يلي:

يجب أن تكون الأوراق مكتوبة باللغة العربية. 
• يتم إرسال الأوراق عبر البريد الالكتروني التالي: ideeb@daralkalima.edu.ps
• يتم إرسال الملف بصيغة مستند Word وهي الصيغة الوحيدة المقبولة.
• 30 مايو 2020: الموعد النهائي لتقديم ملخص حول الورقة البحثية في 500 كلمة حد أقصى.
• 15 يونيو 2020: يتم إشعار الراغبين في المشاركة حول قبول الورقة البحثية أو رفضها.
• 15 أغسطس 2020: الموعد النهائي لتقديم الورقة البحثية كاملة.
 
 

Caravan Project of the Order of Malta at Saint Joseph University in Beirut. Intensive course on Interreligious Dialogue in the Middle East.

Glad to be part of this amazing project – – Certificate of Study in the Historical and Religious Reality of the Middle East – “Caravan” Project of the Order of Malta with German students, at the Faculty of Religious Sciences, Saint Joseph University, Beirut-Lebanon, February 2020.


Expertise : Intensive course on Challenges, Opportunities, and Praxis of Interreligious Dialogue
in the Middle East: The Case of Lebanon.

With guest speaker Ms Nada Raphaël
Dabke session – Common cultural heritage in the Levant
Maamoul – Food as a tool for Dialogue

Standing Together in a World Divided Consultation – Bangkok

Dr. PAMELA CHRABIEH’S video conference has been screened a few days ago in Bangkok – Thailand.

STANDING TOGETHER IN A WORLD DIVIDED – Consultation developed by the Presbyterian World Mission and the Advisory Committee on Social Witness Policy (ACSWP) of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), (PCUSA).
Bangkok – Thailand, November 1-6, 2019.
The paper will be available in due time (“Christian Responses in Western Asia: Case Studies”).

Full video here.

Towards Inclusive Societies in the Middle East International Conference

“Towards Inclusive Societies in the Middle East”
Ayia Napa, Cyprus, October 31 – November 2, 2019) full report by Karis Ailabouni:


“Inclusive societies based on equal rights remain at a distance as the Middle East continues to face radicalized religious and political movements. In light of this, Dar al-Kalima University College of Arts and Culture and the Christian Academic Forum for Citizenship in the Arab World (CAFCAW) organized its fifth international conference entitled, “Towards Inclusive Societies in the Middle East”, held in Cyprus from October 31 to November 2, 2019. The conference gathered 47 scholars, activists, and experts from around the world with the aim of stimulating critical dialogue on the factors that hinder equitable societies in the region. In an effort to practice inclusion, 29 (61%) of the conference participants were women, while 9 (19%) were youth under the age of 35. In addition, participants came from diverse national backgrounds. The majority hailed from the region, namely Palestine, Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan, Syria and UAE. However, participants also joined from the USA, Canada, Sweden, the Netherlands, Austria, Germany, and the UK. The conference provided also a forum for Arab scholars from the diaspora to connect to their peers from the region. The forum’s diversity of participation inspired an unparalleled interdisciplinary, ecumenical, and interreligious discussion, through which participants could explore issues from multiple perspectives.

Following a welcome dinner on October 31, the event consisted of eight sessions and 22 paper presentations over two days. Sessions I and II provided a theoretical framing of inclusivity in political and theological terms. This led into sessions III and IV, which tackled gender justice as a critical form of inclusivity. On day 2, the morning consisted of two sets of parallel sessions. The first contextualized inclusivity through specific insights from Lebanon and Egypt, while the second brought unique interdisciplinary approaches to the theme- from philosophy, to germ theory, to natural resource management.

The conference also made space to include a flash panel on the revolution currently unfolding in Lebanon. As a scholarly forum rooted in everyday realities, it was necessary to include this session given its relevance to the themes of the conference and to the sociopolitical context of the region at large. Lebanese participants shared their diverse perspectives from the ground, reflecting on the opportunities and challenges of the revolution as a platform for people to affect social and political change.

Several important themes emerged from the discussions surrounding these sessions. Firstly, the bondage of minoritization and sectorization in the Middle East poses a challenge to inclusive societies. Through histories of colonialism and authoritarianism, Christians have been constructed to think of themselves as minorities and, therefore, inherently disempowered. This phenomenon calls for a radically inclusive, popular theology that rejects sectarianism.

Inclusivity, then, requires societies in the Middle East to learn from local history so that they might deconstruct oppressive power systems inherited from colonialist and authoritarian regimes. Rather than reproducing exclusivist modes of authority, there is an urgent need to build new social contracts that empower the participation of all people in public life. This necessitates not only the building of new political systems, but also a sociocultural shift in which people begin to understand political participation not as a privilege, but as an essential dimension of their being.

Therefore, there is a need to pursue a collective journey towards inclusive societies. This was brought to light in discussions tackling gender justice, as many women’s movements are already carving a place for themselves as equal citizens. For example, women are at the front lines of the revolution in Lebanon. Meanwhile, women Islamic activists in Palestine are challenging the dominant culture by studying Islam and building their religious practice. In addition, women in the Evangelical Church in Egypt are struggling to become ordained leaders in their church through subversive ministry. Youth in the Middle East are also actively excluded from participation in public life. Research presented in the conference showed youth’s growing disillusionment with their future. Although they are eager to better their own community, many feel they must ultimately go abroad to realize their dreams. The problematic of Arab youth and women’s exclusion calls for participatory processes that allow the marginalized in society to make their voices heard.

Finally, the conference concluded with a discussion of pressing topics that might be addressed in future conferences. The recommendations emphasized by participants included the following:

Public theology of the religious other
Liberation from exploitation and authoritarianism
Technology, Religion and virtual realities
The role of education in social change, peace, and reconciliation

CAFCAW executive committee decided to choose the theme of Education for the next year with a working title “The Future of Education in West Asia and North Africa: Education for the Future.”

The conference was utilized as a platform to launch Telos magazine (www.telosmagazine.org), a new online magazine with a focus on public theology.

In addition to the stimulating discussions that surrounded these sessions, one of the greatest successes of the conference occurred informally. Academics and activists from around the world were able to build new connections with one another, creating a network where ideas and experiences could be exchanged. As one participant noted, the conference succeeded in developing a community of scholars and practitioners. This allowed not only for rich and critical dialogue, but also opened endless possibilities for future”.

Concluding Remarks and Recommendations
Lebanon’s Revolution Panel
CAFCAW Executive Committee
Telos Wana Magazine Editorial Committee

Jbail Capitale du Dialogue et de la Convivialité (Byblos, Liban)

Avec Sheikh Nokkari, P. Rai, et les convives du Mufti de Jbeil Sheikh Al-Laqis pour un iftar des plus généreux. Une occasion de célébrer la naissance de l’organisation non-gouvernementale “Jbail-Capitale du Dialogue et de la Convivialité” (J.C.D.C)
جبيل عاصمة الحوار والعيش المشترك

Du choc des titans et de la culture de la guerre

Mon article paru ce matin dans l’Orient-le-Jour (Beyrouth – Liban) sur la nécessité de déconstruire la culture de la guerre et d’édifier une culture de la paix. C’est le énième article que je publie sur ce sujet depuis les années 90. La guerre est continue au Liban. Elle n’est pas que physique, elle est surtout psychologique et culturelle.

Voilà des années que le Liban vit au rythme de guerres de paroles, de mémoires meurtries, d’identités meurtrières, d’autoritarisme et de crises sociopolitique, économique et environnementale.

Dans cette saga libanaise aux allures de choc de titans, les héros ont bel et bien disparu, laissant la place aux fanatiques, démagogues, corrompus, méduses, sorcières du Styx, montagnes de détritus, scorpions monstrueux, sacrifices humains et maléfices de Hadès.

Près de trois décennies après la fin des combats, il est triste de constater que le pays n’est pas en mode « postguerre ». En fait, la guerre est continue, et les leçons qui auraient dû être tirées n’ont pas pu l’être, justement parce qu’une véritable construction de la paix n’a pas eu lieu, et ce en dépit des initiatives de certains groupes et individus œuvrant pour la convivialité et un système sociopolitique aconfessionnel assurant l’unité dans la diversité des voix(es) libanaises. Une chose est de faire taire les canons, de faire disparaître les frontières territoriales et de constamment faire miroiter bonheur et prospérité ; une autre est de renouer le contact entre les communautés et d’établir des liens solides au-delà des dissensions et des clivages.

Comment penser et vivre une catharsis salutaire lorsque le Kraken de la culture de la guerre constitue la toile de fond du Liban contemporain? Cette culture s’impose comme réalité du quotidien physique et virtuel. Avec son cortège de djinns et de démons, elle enflamme les esprits, sème la zizanie et ravage les vies. Elle est à la fois le produit et le producteur de choc de titans, un cercle vicieux formé d’oppresseurs et d’opprimés, d’accapareurs de pouvoir, de démunis et de boucs émissaires.

Chaque instant qui passe sous l’emprise de la culture de la guerre creuse davantage le fossé entre Libanais, sanctifie l’assassinat du semblable et du différent, transforme le meurtre en devoir, banalise les suicides individuel et collectif, et interdit toute réflexion critique, toute évolution et toute richesse émanant de la diversité.

Tant que la culture de la guerre sévit dans les cœurs, les criminels continueront de perpétrer leurs crimes et les victimes de mourir par omission. Tant que cette culture existe, l’étripage des dieux se poursuivra. Tant que l’hégémonie culturelle est celle de la guerre et non de la paix, on ne pourra garder l’espoir face aux bouchons inextricables du passé et à la léthargie étouffante du présent, révéler les non-dits, muer la douleur en souvenir fondateur et retenir la principale leçon de la guerre, de toute guerre : qu’elle ne se reproduise plus.

SOURCE: https://www.lorientlejour.com/article/1157956/du-choc-des-titans-et-de-la-culture-de-la-guerre.html

Women’s Rights in the Middle East Today: Law, Religion and Culture – Conference

Dr. Nadia Wardeh and Dr. Pamela Chrabieh

I had the honor of participating in this wonderful gathering of scholars, activists and artists working on gender and women’s rights issues in Southwestern Asia and North Africa. Once again, Dar al Kalima University College of Arts and Culture and CAFCAW have succeeded in challenging the intellect and establishing a dialogue between diverse identities and currents. The conference was successful by the wide range of speakers and by the attendees who contributed to the constructive debates.

We finally presented excerpts of our paper Dr. Nadia Wardeh and I, entitled ‘Against the Current: Religious Authority, Gender and Interreligious Dialogue’. We argued that feminist and liberal thinking/doing interreligious dialogue is a marginalized reality in our region at the institutional level, and particularly when it comes to decision-making tables within and across religious sectarian borders. This is largely unsurprising in so far as the leadership of most religious communities continues to be predominantly male (and patriarchal). The way we see it, there is a need for a shift from complementarianism to egalitarianism, and especially the production and use of Christian and Islamic theologies of gender equality as pillars of thinking and doing interreligious dialogue.

Adams Beach Hotel, Ayia Napa, November 1-4 2018