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10 Years of Interfaith Engagement

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2009

The Center for Interfaith Engagement was established.

group of scholars on EMU's campus

2011

CIE co-hosts a conference on religious freedom to promote better understanding between Morocco’s Muslims and America’s evangelical Christians.

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Ed Martin, former Center for Interfaith Engagement director

2012

A grant from the Luce Foundation funds a visiting scholars program. At left is Ed Martin, the center's first director.

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Amir Akrami and Sedigheh (Sheida) Shakouri Rad, a married couple, are visiting scholars at EMU’s Center for Interfaith Engagement, supported by funding from the Henry Luce Foundation of New York City. Dr. Akrami is a specialist in interfaith understanding, most recently focusing on Christian-Muslim dialogue. Dr. Rad is currently studying women's questions in relation to the Quran.

2012

Amir Akrami and Sheida Shakouri Rad, visiting Shia Muslim professors from Iran, introduce EMU students to the study of Islam and provide opportunities to engage with Muslim scholars.

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Niles Goldstein (center), an ordained Reform Jewish rabbi, is one of two teachers bringing a Jewish perspective to EMU this semester. Goldstein is pictured here with two other colleagues: Reuben Shank (left), a Mennonite who is studying for a doctorate in religion at the University of Virginia, and Amir Akrami, a Muslim scholar from Iran.

2014

Visiting Jewish Scholar Rabbi Niles Goldstein and Visiting Muslim Scholar Amir Akrami and a Christian scholar team-teach a comparative monotheisms course in the Bible and religion department, providing students a unique and rich experience and demonstrating the value of having faculty present from different faith traditions. CIE also participated in sixth Shia-Muslim – Mennonite-Christian dialogue conference in Qom, Iran.

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Students in Iran

2014

Fifteen undergraduate students travel to Iran for interfaith and crosscultural study in a collaboration between CIE, Canadian Mennonite University, and the Imam Khomeini Education and Research Institute in Qom, Iran.

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2014

CIE secures a program endowment of $1 million.

Bob Bersson and films

2014

CIE hosts the first spring film series with Visiting Jewish Scholar Bob Bersson.

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group of students from the Summer Peacebuilding Institute at EMU.

2014

Nine Iranian Muslim women scholars participate in the Summer Peacebuilding Institute.

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Dr. Mohammad Shomali (left) has engaged in interfaith dialogue for more than 20 years. Here he is pictured in Tehran with Amernian Orthodox Archbishop Sebouh Sarkissian. (

2014

Mohammad Shomali, an internationally known scholar of Islam and dean of postgraduate students at Jamiat al-Zahra, the world’s largest Islamic seminary for women, guest lectures at EMU's Summer Peacebuilding Institute.

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2015

CIE facilitates a workshop on “Faith and Trauma: Abrahamic Perspectives” in Chicago, Illinois.

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https://emu.edu/now/news/2016/comparative-religions-expert-fulbright-scholar-syafaatun-almirzanah-joins-emu-faculty-indonesia/

2016

CIE hosts Professor Syafaatun Almirzanah, Visiting Muslim Scholar from Indonesia and the first Fulbright Scholar-in-Residence at EMU.

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2016

CIE organizes its first learning tour to Iran, in collaboration with Canadian Mennonite University.

Professor Tim Seidel, director of Eastern Mennonite University's Center for Interfaith Engagement, introduces Turkish journalist and author Mustafa Akyol during an Oct. 10 lecture and discussion on campus.

2017

CIE hosts Turkish author and New York Times contributor Mustafa Akyol for a discussion on his book "The Islamic Jesus: How the King of the Jews Became a Prophet of the Muslims."

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Anabaptist interfaith workers met to improve interfaith engagement approaches in their agencies and beyond. Back, from left: Trina Trotter Nussbaum, John Kampen, Jonathan Bornman, David Shenk, Alain Epp Weaver. Front, from left: Jason Boone, Rebekah Simmerman, James Krabill.

2018

During EMU’s Centennial, CIE organizes a public roundtable and hosts a Mennonite inter-agency consultation on the topic of interfaith engagement that brings together participants from various Mennonite agencies.

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student registering for classes

2018

The undergraduate Interfaith Studies Minor is developed by CIE in collaboration with EMU's Bible, Religion and Theology Department.

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From left: Zacarías Bernabé Martínez, of El Salvador, Sibonokuhle Ncube, of Zimbabwe, and Durga Sunchiuri, of Nepal speak about the impacts of climate change on their home countries while at Eastern Mennonite University as part of the Global South Voices Tour, an initiative of the Center for Sustainable Climate Solutions.

2018

CIE co-hosts a student discussion on how faith impacts engagement on the issue of climate change with three community development experts from El Salvador, Nepal and Zimbabwe as part of the Global South Voices program, an initiative of the Center for Sustainable Climate Solutions.

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2018

CIE co-sponsors a seventh Shia-Muslim – Mennonite-Christian dialogue conference at Canadian Mennonite University.

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2018

CIE co-organizes a second learning tour to Iran.

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2019

A student research internship maps Mennonite-Jewish relations in the U.S. in support of the work of the Mennonite Jewish Relations Working Group of Mennonite Church USA. The results are shared at the Mennonite Church USA convention in Kansas City, Missouri, in July.

students in the interfaith peace camp

2019

Interfaith Peace Camp hosts its annual summer day camp for children ages 8-12 interested in building friendships and understanding across faith traditions. The camp began in 2008, with CIE becoming an integral contributor after its founding.

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students at the Interfaith Leadership Institute in Chicago, Illinois

2019

CIE sends a group of students and staff to the Interfaith Leadership Institute in Chicago, Illinois. Hosted by Interfaith Youth Core, this annual conference is where “participants learn to bridge divides and forge friendships across lines of religious and worldview differences” with the goal of bringing “the movement of interfaith cooperation back to their campuses and communities.”

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2019-2020

As part of its 10-year anniversary, CIE co-sponsors the University Colloquium series. hosting visiting lectures by Amir Hussain, speaking on Muslims and the making of America, and Saher Selod, who addresses the racialized surveillance of Muslim Americans in the War on Terror.

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Iranian scholars, Ali Mesbah, Aboulhassan Haghani and Mohammad Motahari Farimani at the academic conference in Winnipeg which brought together Shi’a Muslim scholars from Iran and Mennonite scholars from Canada and the U.S. to discuss theological issues. Photo by Gladys Terichow.

2020

CIE is the co-sponsor of the Shia Muslim-Christian Mennonite Dialogue in Qom, Iran, the eighth in a series over the past 18 years.

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