An Interreligious Tour in Abu Dhabi

AUD students enrolled in the MEST 350 Religions of the Middle East visited three churches and a mosque in Abu Dhabi with Assistant Professor in Middle Eastern Studies Dr. Pamela Chrabieh on Saturday, March 26, 2016.

The first stop was at the Saint Andrew’s Center, an Anglican compound with more than 40 Christian worshipping groups, built in 1975. Students visited the Saint Nicholas Greek-Orthodox church that has worshippers from many Arab countries – mostly Palestinians, Syrian and Lebanese – with masses combining Arabic and Greek. There are more than 700 Abu Dhabi families registered with this church, and Greek Orthodox Christians are building a Cathedral in Mussaffah to accommodate the growing community. Saint Nicholas church includes a magnificent iconostasis and icons from Greece. Students had the opportunity to learn about Saint Nicholas, to discover liturgical and theological elements of one of the Patriarchate of Antioch’s Churches, and compare them to Catholic features.

They then visited the Seventh-Day Adventist church in located in the same compound. The Seventh-Day Adventist Church is a Protestant Christian denomination distinguished by its observance of Saturday, the 7th day of the week as the Sabbath, and its emphasis on the imminent Second Coming or Advent of Jesus-Christ. Students observed one part of the Saturday service that included a sermon, singing, scripture reading and prayer.

Lastly, students visited the Saint Andrew’s Anglican church that clearly presents a different layout in terms of architecture and religious symbolism, with its high ceilings to accommodate large windows, allowing light to flood the church as a reminded that “God’s Church is the Light of Christ in the world”. Saint Andrew’s congregation is a member of the Worldwide Anglican Communion and part of the Anglican Diocese of Cyprus and the Gulf.

The second stop was at Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. This mosque was initiated by the late president H.H. Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who wanted to build a place of worship which unites the cultural diversity of the Islamic world, as well as the historical and modern values of architecture and art. It is the largest mosque in the United Arab Emirates. Its design and construction uses artisans and materials such as marble stone, gold, semi-precious stones, crystals and ceramics from many countries, including Italy, Germany, Morocco, Pakistan, Turkey, Malaysia, Iran, China, United Kingdom, New Zealand, Greece and United Arab Emirates. Open to both Muslims and non-Muslims, the mosque plays a pioneering role in intercultural and interreligious dialogue, in addition to abiding to the teachings of Islam in order to spread peace.

According to Dr. Chrabieh, “Although Islam is the official religion of the country, the United Arab Emirates have always advocated freedom of religion. The constitution guarantees the ‘freedom to exercise religious worship in accordance with established customs, provided that it does not conflict with public policy or violate public morals’ (Article 32). Religious minorities include Christians, Jews, Zoroastrians, Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, Jains, Baha’i and Druze. Places of worship range from churches to Hindu, Jain, Buddhist and Sikh temples. The story of these communities in the United Arab Emirates challenges the stereotypes people elsewhere have of Southwestern Asia and Islam. It is a story that needs to be told more – that of tolerance, mutual respect and conviviality”.

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Policy, Global Citizens and World Peace. Case studies: Lebanon, Canada and the UAE

Assistant Professor of Middle Eastern Studies Dr. Pamela Chrabieh was invited as a special guest speaker to give a lecture entitled “Policy, Global Citizens and World Peace: How can Governments influence policy to create better Global citizens and work towards World Peace? Case studies: Lebanon, Canada and the United Arab Emirates”.

Dr. Chrabieh introduced first her audience to the concepts of policy, glocal citizen instead of global citizen and the peace process as she defined it based on four interdependent dynamics: peacekeeping, peacemaking, peacebuilding and inner peace. She then identified the major core values that drive or should drive Lebanese and Canadian foreign policies such as interreligious dialogue, democracy, human rights and interculturalism. She also tackled the issue of internal policy while focusing on the social-political diversity management systems in Lebanon, Canada and the United Arab Emirates. Dr. Chrabieh concluded with the UAE Ministry of Tolerance as an important example of how peace can be adopted as the organizing frame for governments’ policies.

“Tolerance is one of the major pillars in preserving and expanding peace. Definitely, citizens and expatriates are called to be agents of peace, peace builders, and to help the government in its task, first internally, and second, in exporting the model outside of the Emirati boundaries. Dubai in particular, where hundreds of ethnicities, religious and cultural identities are learning to coexist and more, to live with one another – just like we are trying to do at the American University in Dubai -, where glocal identities are reshaping their belongings and relationships, promises to offer this model to the region, and to the world.”

The Harvard College in Asia Program (HCAP) is an initiative in which Harvard University partners with higher education institutions in Asia to tackle key issues relevant to today’s world of increasing challenges, while simultaneously expanding the cultural and educational horizons of participating student delegates. This year’s Conference theme organized by the HCAP at the American University in Dubai is “Equality, Tolerance and Freedom: the Effect of Culture and Policy on a Globalized World.”

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SOURCE:

AMERICAN UNIVERSITY IN DUBAI NEWS: http://www.aud.edu/news_events/en/view/1164/current_upcoming/policy-global-citizens-and-world-peace

Harvard College Asia Program Conference

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Dr. Pamela Chrabieh

Assistant Professor of Middle Eastern Studies Dr. Pamela Chrabieh was invited as a special guest speaker to give a lecture entitled “Policy, Global Citizens and World Peace: How can Governments influence policy to create better Global citizens and work towards World Peace? Case studies: Lebanon, Canada and the United Arab Emirates” on March 14, 2016 at the American University in Dubai.

The Conference was organized by the Harvard College Asia Program (HCAP) – an initiative in which Harvard University partners with higher education institutions in Asia to tackle key issues relevant to today’s world of increasing challenges, while simultaneously expanding the cultural and educational horizons of participating student delegates. This year’s Conference theme organized by the HCAP at the American University in Dubai is “Equality, Tolerance and Freedom: the Effect of Culture and Policy on a Globalized World”.

Dr. Chrabieh introduced first her audience to the concepts of policy, glocal citizen instead of global citizen and the peace process as she defined it based on four interdependent dynamics: peacekeeping, peacemaking, peacebuilding and inner peace. She then identified the major core values that drive or should drive Lebanese and Canadian foreign policies such as interreligious dialogue, democracy, human rights and interculturalism. She also tackled the issue of internal policy while focusing on the social-political diversity management systems in Lebanon, Canada and the United Arab Emirates. Dr. Chrabieh concluded with the UAE Ministry of Tolerance as an important example of how peace can be adopted as the organizing frame for governments’ policies.

“Tolerance is one of the major pillars in preserving and expanding peace. Definitely, citizens and expatriates are called to be agents of peace, peace builders, and to help the government in its task, first internally, and second, in exporting the model outside of the Emirati boundaries. Dubai in particular, where hundreds of ethnicities, religious and cultural identities are learning to coexist and more, to live with one another – just like we are trying to do at the American University in Dubai -, where glocal identities are reshaping their belongings and relationships, promises to offer this model to the region, and to the world”.

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About CAFCAW

 

The Christian Academic Forum for Citizenship in the Arab World (CAFCAW) brings together scholars, young graduates and activists in civil society to share research, experiences and insights.

Focusing on Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and Palestine, but also with a concern for Syria and Iraq, the Forum was launched in Beirut in December 2014 by DIYAR Consortium, based in Bethlehem, Palestine.

It released a document titled “From the Nile to the Euphrates: The Call of Faith and Citizenship.” The document sets forth 10 critical issues confronting the Middle East today, and expresses a statement of commitment to engage proactively in addressing those challenges.

Because of an unhealthy, and sometimes conflictual, relation between religion and state in the Arab world, the Forum seeks to educate for, and promote, a culture of full citizenship for all among the Arab people, especially youth, in order to create more peaceful, democratic and prosperous societies built on strong pillars, such as: just constitutions and the rule of law, the full dignity and security of every person, a healthy quality of life for all, gender justice, a hopeful future for youth, etc.

This initiative captures a new approach to a vital and active faith that employs critical thinking for participatory and fulfilling citizenship.

For more information, check the CAFCAW’s Facebook Page:

https://www.facebook.com/CAFCAW/?pnref=story

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Les traces invisibles de la guerre du Liban

Le journaliste et chercheur Emmanuel Haddad m’a interviewée à propos de la blogosphère libanaise avant et après les combats de 2006 au Liban, et de la mémoire de la guerre. Voici un passage de l’entrevue publié dans son article ‘Les traces invisibles de la guerre du Liban’ lequel est disponible sur le site Sept.info (plate-forme Suisse de journalisme en ligne qui se concentre sur le fond, l’analyse et le journalisme d’investigation):

“Pamela Chrabieh se souvient du choc provoqué par la guerre de juillet 2006 entre Israël et le Hezbollah: «Bien des personnes, dont moi-même, avions cru pendant un moment que le Liban allait mieux. Mais les combats de 2006 nous ont réveillés en quelque sorte. Nous nous sommes rendu compte de l’ampleur des divisions internes qui perduraient, de l’effet dévastateur de la guerre physique sur les traumatismes et plus encore, de celui de l’oubli du passé ou du manque de mémoire constructive, qui a laissé la place aux mémoires conflictuelles.». Face aux bombardements israéliens de 2006, certains Libanais se montrent résilients. «Cette fois, il fallait absolument témoigner de ce qui se passait avec sons, images et paroles. Il fallait élever la voix, la porter plus loin. Tout ça pour ne pas oublier, pour ne pas devenir les oubliés de l’histoire», analyse Pamela Chrabieh auteure d’un chapitre de livre sur la blogosphère libanaise dans le recueil Mémoires de guerres au Liban, 1975-1990″ [Sous la direction de Franck Mermier et Christophe Varin; Co-édition Actes-Sud / Sindbad – Institut Français du Proche-Orient].

POUR LIRE L’ARTICLE: http://www.sept.info/traces-invisibles-de-guerre-liban-33/