2006-2007 Activities

Tuesday, 26 June 2007 – Conference: “Madrasa Renewal in Pakistan.” A delegation of religious leaders representing the major Muslim sects in Pakistan discussed current and future efforts of Madrasa curriculum reform with the faculty members of the Berkley Center and ACMCU.

Monday, 25 June – Friday, 29 June 2007 – Conference: “Institute on Pastors and Pastoral Workers on Islam and Muslim-Christian Relation.” Under joint cooperation between Georgetown University, ACMCU and the Hartford Seminary, thirty Christian pastoral workers from throughout the country participated in a week-long conference on appropriating a working-knowledge of Islam in their ministerial work.

Wednesday, 20 June 2007 – Meeting: “Students from the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center of American Studies Meets Center Faculty, Staff.” Associate Director John O. Voll welcomed American University of Cairo Director of the Center for American Studies Jerry Leach and twenty of his students to ACMCU to explain the role and mission of the Center in the United States. Following in discussion, students toured University facilities.

Thursday, 10 May 2007 – Lecture/Discussion: “Amr Khaled on ‘Coexistence’.” Amr Khaled, celebrated Islamic preacher and Egyptian cultural icon, came to Georgetown University’s historic Riggs Library to give an address on his formula for social, political and cultural development in the Middle East. His RightStart Foundation and Life Makers initiative promotes community development and development in third-world nations using what he terms "development using faith". The idea is to move people towards developing their communities and countries using faith as their motivator and guide for moving towards this development.

Thursday, 10 May 2007 – Lecture/Presentation: “The 99: Superheroes for the Muslim World.” Naif al-Mutawa spoke about his groundbreaking comic book series The 99 which introduces a series of comic book superheroes based on an Islamic archetype. Each of the characters in the series embodies one of the 99 qualities of Allah. Al-Mutawa is building on the initial success of The 99 by expanding into Indonesia and the United States markets where his comic will appear in September. Al-Mutawa discussed the concept, impact and future of the comic book series.

Monday, 30 April 2007 – Lecture/Presentation: “Zaatar Days and Henna Nights: A Reading with author Maliha Masood.” Striving to dispel the common misconceptions of the Middle East, Pakistani American Maliha Masood collected her thoughts and reflections on traveling throughout the Arab and Islamic world and wrote a book on traveling as a young, Western woman.

Thursday, 26 April 2007 – Lecture/Presentation: “Muslim-Chinese Relations in the 1990s.” Chinese Professor Zongbao Ma delivered a presentation on relations between ethnic Chinese Muslims on their complex relationship with Beijing during the 1990s. Chinese Muslim standings with the state improved drastically since the communist revolution. Chinese authorities placed greater emphasis in cultivating a relationship with Muslims both for domestic political stability and to strengthen China’s relationship with Muslim-majority countries in the Middle East.

Friday, 20 April 2007 – Symposium: “Ethics and International Relations: A Farewell Symposium Honoring Professor Francis X. Winters.” A part of the Georgetown community for more than three decades, Professor Francis Winters devoted his life and scholarship to advancing the understanding of ethics in the realm of international affairs. The farewell symposium celebrated his achievements in academia and, more importantly, his memorable impact on the lives of Georgetown University students and faculty. Symposium presenters Abiodun Williams of the United Nations and Fr. Bryan Hehir of the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University offered their reflections of Professor Winters’ legacy in academia.

Thursday, 19 April 2007 – Conference: “On Faith: What it Means to Be A Muslim in America.” Co-sponsored with the Washington Post-Newsweek online forum On Faith, ACMCU Director John Esposito chaired and moderated a panel of academics, journalists, and political activists on the pertinent subject of contemporary Muslim life in America. The panel fielded questions from a packed house of students and invited guests as well as questions submitted online from forum participants.

Tuesday, 17 April – Saturday, 21 April 2007: Festival: “The Children of Abraham: A Festival of Interfaith Arts.” A week-long festival co-sponsored with the Royden B. Davis, S.J. Performing Arts Center celebrating the shared cultural and spiritual traditions of the Jewish, Christian and Muslim communities, to foster interfaith renewal, understanding and peace.

Friday, 13 April 2007 – Lecture/Presentation: “Thunder of the Qur’an: Islamic Revelation in America Today.” University of Chicago Professor and noted Qur’anic scholar Michael Sells discussed the role the Qur’an plays for American Muslims and how divine revelation is understood outside Muslim-majority countries. Professor Sells went on to demonstrate sources of miscomprehension of the Qur’an as interpreted as a written and spoken text, respectively.

Thursday, 29 March 2007 – Lecture/Presentation: “An Islamicate Mediterraneean: Medieval Polemics, Muslim Diasporas, and Orientalist History.” Co-sponsored with the department of Arabic and the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies visiting Professor Adanan A. Husain gave a lecture on the influences of Islam in the Mediterranean basin and its residual effects in developing the region’s identity politics of today.

Wednesday, 28 March 2007 – Conference: “Sectarian Tensions in Iraq: Causes and Implications.” As the political and security situation in Iraq continued to deteriorate throughout the spring, Professor Shireen Hunter held a conference to discuss the possible underlying forces contributing to Iraq inter-confessional and inter-ethnic fighting. Joining Professor Hunter was Dr. Leith Kubba of National Endowment for Democracy and Dr. Judith Yaphe of the National Defense University.

Monday, 19 March 2007 – Conference: “Muslim Brotherhood and the Egyptian Regime: Toward Confrontation?” Co-sponsored with the Project on Middle East Democracy (POMED), the conference explored the implications of these recent developments between the Muslim Brotherhood and the Mubarak regime. Key questions addressed: What is the Brotherhood's strategy in confronting the regime and is it likely to succeed? Does the forming of a new party indicate a greater willingness to "modernize" and "moderate" on the part of Egyptian Islamists? What role should the U.S. play, and how should it respond to the Muslim Brotherhood's efforts?

Friday – Saturday, 23-24 April 2007 – Conference “Giving Voice to Muslim Democrats: Securing Democracy and Peace in the Mediterranean Space.” An international conference held in Naples, Italy featured prominent intellectuals and politicians from the United States, Europe and the Muslim world to address a pertinent topic: how to engage Islamic democratic thought and practice into the public space of Europe.
Monday, 12 February 2007 – Lecture/Presentation: “Promoting Peace and Tolerance through Madrasa Renewal.” Co-sponsored talk delivered by Douglas Johnston and Azhar Hussain of the International Center for Religion and Diplomacy tackled the contentious and polarizing topic of madrasa reform in Pakistan.

Monday, 12 February 2007 – Lecture/Presentation: "Christians and Muslims Working for Peace in the Holy Land." Reverend Naim Ateek, a Palestinian Anglican priest and the founder and director of the Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center in Jerusalem, is to give a luncheon lecture entitled "Christians and Muslims Woking for Peace in the Holy Land." In 2006 Rev. Ateek was presented with the Episcopal Peace Fellowship’s John Nevin Sayre Award in recognition of his leadership at Sabeel and for his efforts to engage western churches in the work for justice and peace between Palestinian and Israelis.

Friday, 9 February 2007 – Lecture/Presentation: "The Big Bang, Big Crunch Theory of Islamic Religious History." Dr. Bulliet is a professor of Islamic History at Columbia University. Bulliet, author of the controversial The Case for Islamo-Christian Civilization, offered his historical analysis of Islamic history His analysis of Islamic history revealed a series of expansions and contractions over time which, he says, indicate a likely path Islam may take.

Thursday, 31 January 2007 – Lecture/Presentation: "Christian-Muslim Relations: Promise and Peril." Mushahid Hussain is one of the leading figures in Pakistan and is also known in the larger Muslim World. Hussain, a member of Pakistan’s parliament, gave his views on inter-religious and inter-communal living in contemporary Pakistan. He then placed Christian-Muslim relations in Pakistan into the greater context of relations between the two religions worldwide.

Tuesday, 5 December – Lecture/Presentation: “Building Bridges between the U.S. and the Rest of the World.” Haroon Siddiqui, noted author of Being Muslim and editor of the editorial page of the Toronto Star, offered a lecture on U.S. relations with the rest of the world followed by question-and-answer period with the audience.

Thursday, 30 November – Film and Discussion: “The Forgotten Faithful: Arab Christians in the Holy Land Today.” Co-sponsored screening of a film by Sir Rateb Rabie, President, the Holy Land Ecumenical Foundation, was followed by a brief discussion of the film.

Thursday, 30 November -- Conference: “Understanding Jihad, Deconstructing Jihadism.” ACMCU, in conjunction with Senior Fellow Dr. Muqtedar Khan, welcomed a collection of think tank representatives, government agencies, and academic experts to Georgetown University for a day-long conference on understanding the Islamic theological and juridical precepts of jihad and unpacking and debunking the culturally charged notions of “jihadism.” Resident Center members, including Drs. John Esposito and John Voll, brought their considerable professional experience on the subject to a receptive audience of government organizations that included the Central Intelligence Agency, Department of State and the Department of Defense, among others.

November – Lecture: “Nostra Ætate Series.” Co-sponsored with the Office of the President at Georgetown University, this three-part lecture series examined the cultural, religious and political impact of the Catholic Church’s seminal encyclical Nostra Ætate which dramatically altered the Church’s official views toward other religions. Invited speakers assessed the course of inter-religious relations on the fortieth anniversary of the encyclical’s promulgation.

Thursday, 26 October – Lecture/Presentation: “The Politics of Culture in the War on Terror.” Columbia University professor and author of Good Muslim, Bad Muslim: An African Perspective, Mahmood Mamdani spoke to an audience of Georgetown University students and professors on the significance of culture on determining the nature and course of the United States’ War on terror. Dr. Mamdani brought his multi-discipline training to bear on the subject of cultural politics and took an expansive view on the historical underpinnings that determine America’s perception of terrorism and its prosecution of anti-terror campaign.

Wednesday, 11 October – Lecture/Presentation: “The Faith Club.” Authors Priscilla Warner, Suzanne Oliver, and Georgetown alumna Ranya Idliby, came to the Center and to a standing-room-only audience to discuss the inter-religious friendships of the three authors in the context of contemporary American society.

Wednesday, 11 October – Summit: “The Future of Catholic-Muslim Relations in America.” In the polarizing wake of Pope Benedict XVI controversial remarks in Regensburg, Germany, ACMCU convened an emergency summit to address the status of Muslim-Catholic relations in the United States and discussed the future progression of inter-communal relations. Led by Director John L. Esposito, the summit produced a public declaration of inter-religious solidarity and committed its members to advancing relations in the future.

20 April 2006: "Full Sails Ahead: Nadia Yassine and the Drive for Women's Rights in Islam." Noted author and scholar Nadia Yassine addressed a packed house of students and facutly and fielded audience questions regarding the release of her new book, Islam and the West, as well as a host of other questions pertaining to her work in the civil liberties movement.

15 March 2006 “Update on Afghanistan: Government, Security and Human Rights." Ms. Malalai Joya, a member of the Afghanistan Parliament, delivered her reflections on the current state of affairs in Afghanistan.

15 March 2006 “Drawing a Bridge: Promoting Muslim-European Dialogue”
A panel discussion on the Muhammad Cartoon Controversy by:
Ambassador Friis Arne, the Royal Danish Embassy in Washington D.C.;
Prof. John L. Esposito, Alwaleed Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding; Ahmed Younis, National Director of the Muslim Public Affairs Council; and Prof. Jeffery Anderson, BMW Center for German and European Affairs. Co-sponsored with Muslim Students Association, Center for Contemporary Arab Studies and BMW Center for German and European Studies.

Spring 2006. “Urdu Seminar” This is a non-credit seminar that takes socio-historical, literary, and linguistic perspectives on Urdu poetry in society. The seminar highlights the evolution of Urdu poetry from its beginnings in sixteenth-century Deccan to its florescence in other important literary centers of north central India, Delhi (in the early eighteenth century), Lucknow (in the nineteenth century), and Lahore (in the twentieth century).