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06 November, 2012

Former enemies talk peace at Jerusalem conference
4th International Conference on Peace and Reconciliation explores role of art, music and film in fostering peace and justice

Talking peace and reconciliation in Jerusalem
Talking peace and reconciliation in Jerusalem

A conference at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem will examine how the visual arts, music and film complement the work of governments and policy makers in fostering reconciliation and peace. Titled ''Mediating Peace: Reconciliation through Art, Music & Film,'' the International Conference on Peace and Reconciliation invites participants to consider the role arts can play in promoting the quest for peace over activities that divide, dehumanize and destroy.

Keynote speakers include former enemies Imam Muhammad Ashafa and Pastor James Wuye. Ten years ago they were mortal enemies intent on killing each other in the name of religion. In violent conflict between Christians and Muslims in Nigeria's Kaduna State, Pastor James lost his hand, and Imam Ashafa lost two brothers and his teacher. Today, as Co-directors of the Interfaith Mediation Center of the Muslim-Christian Dialogue, they work together to teach warring religious youth militias to resolve their conflicts peacefully. The two are the subject of the film The Imam and the Pastor (on YouTube at http://youtu.be/kFh85K4NFv0).

The conference will take place in English, from November 6 – 8 at the Harry S. Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace.

Palestinians and Israelis are participating in the conference. Sessions include “The Israel-Palestine Crisis: Solving the Unsolvable” and “The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict – Linking Justice to Peace and Reconciliation.”

''Despite the current upheaval and uncertainty in the Middle East and pressure from anti-Israel lobbyists, hundreds of artists, scholars, peace activists and religious leaders will join together in Jerusalem to celebrate peace through art,'' said Prof. Menahem Blondheim, Academic Head of the Harry S. Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace at the Hebrew University. “In a region currently ridden by war and featuring endemic conflict, the arts as an imaginative new approach to reconciliation represent a breath of fresh air.”

Other keynote speakers are:

— Prof. Naomi Chazan, professor (emeriti) of political science at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem;
— Professor Jeremy Begbie, Thomas A. Lanford Research Professor of Theology, Duke Divinity School, Duke University, USA;
— Dr Cynthia Cohen, Director of the Program in Peacebuilding and the Arts, International Centre for Ethics, Justice and Public Life, Brandeis University, USA;
— Dr Jyoti Sahi, Founder, Jyoti Art Ashram, Bangalore, India.

The public are invited to attend musical performances on November 6 and 7 from 8 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. in the Truman Institute Auditorium. On November 6, the musical theme is Middle Eastern Music / From Bach to Fairuz. On November 7, the theme is Korean Music / Living in Contemporary North Korea.

Sessions will begin daily at 9 a.m. at the Truman Institute and the Maiersdorf Faculty Club on the Mount Scopus campus. A full program is available at http://bit.ly/icpr2012. For conference details, see the conference website at http://www.yorksj.ac.uk/education--theology/faculty-of-education-theo/faculty-events/icpr-2012.aspx.

The conference is hosted by the Harry S. Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace and the Department of East Asian Studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Organized by the Theology and Religious Studies Department at York St. John University in the U.K., the conference is sponsored by Youngnak Presbyterian Church in Seoul, South Korea.


 

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