On 4 and 5 March 2021, Haigazian University organized an online conference on “Religion, Education, and Peace”, in partnership with the Jay Phillips Center for Interfaith Learning at Saint John’s University, Minnesota.
The conference brought together speakers from Lebanon, the United States of America, Northern Ireland, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Myanmar, in addition to participants from 10 different countries.
The conference opened with the respective remarks of the President of Haigazian University, Rev. Dr. Paul Haidostian and the Director of the Jay Phillips Center, Dr. John Merkle.
Speaking on the first day, President of Hollins University, Virigina, Dr. Mary Dana Hinton tackled the theme of “Religion in the Public Square in the US: a Source of Peace or Protest?”
In their papers, Dr. Henry Siang Kung from Chin Christian University, Myanmar and Dr. Thia Sagherian-Dickey from Tilburg University, discussed how religious education contributes to peace-building in Myanmar and Northern Ireland respectively. This was followed by an interview with Dr. Nayla Tabbara on the interreligious work for education of the Adyan Foundation in Lebanon, and an open discussion moderated by Dr. Arda Ekmekji, Dean of Arts and Sciences at Haigazian University.
On the second day, Dr. Muhidin Mulalić from the International University of Sarajevo shed light on religion, education, and peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina. For his part, Dr. Jon Armajani from the College of Saint Benedict/Saint John’s University, Minnesota spoke about interfaith circles of understanding and justice in the USA.
In addition, Haigazian University’s research project on religion, education, and peace, in which six Lebanese private faith-based schools had participated, was presented by two teams of researchers: Dr. Wilbert van Saane from Haigazian University and Dr. Ziad Fahed from Notre Dame University shed light on the theologies and educational philosophies that inspire peace-building in the schools. Dr. Nizar el Mehtar from Haigazian University and his research team (Dzaghig Koul Sahagian, Layan el-Khatib, and Natalie Takadjian) presented findings about the views of students, educators, and parents on religion, conflict and peace.
The conference which was hosted by Ms. Anita Moutchoyan concluded with an open discussion, moderated by Dr. Berge Traboulsi, both from Haigazian University.