“Active Citizenship towards an Inclusive Society” Conference – Amman

مداخلتنا الليلة انا وزميلتي الدكتورة ناديا وردة عن بحثنا في لبنان والاردن وفلسطين حول التعليم عن الحوار في الجامعات والمساق يلي تم تطويره عن الحوار في المجتمعات العربية، وتوصياتنا لتفعيل الشراكة الإقليمية واقلمة التعليم عن الحوار لبناء ثقافة حوار إقليمية تحضن الثقافات المحلية. شكرا أيضا لمداخلات الدكتور الشيخ محمد النقري عن أهمية كتاب ارشاد او قاموس للمصطلحات الدينية للحد من الصراعات وإدارة حسنة للعلاقات المسيحية الإسلامية والدكتورة اناس ديب لعرض نتائج تنفيذ المساق في جامعة دار الكلمة
– pilot project

Thanking also Dar al-Kalima University and CAFCAW for this much-needed conference, The Royal Institute for Interfaith Studies in Amman for hosting it, and all participants for their valuable contributions. 

Dr. Pamela Chrabieh and Dr. Nadia Wardeh, August 20, 2021.
المؤتمر الدولي السادس حول #المواطنة_الفاعلة_نحو_مجتمعات_حاضنة_للتعددية_في_الشرق_الأوسط_وشمال_إفريقيا
تحت رعاية الأمير الحسن بن طلال وبتنظيم من جامعة دار الكلمة والملتقى الأكاديمي المسيحي للمواطنة في العالم العربي بالتعاون مع المعهد الملكي للدراسات الديني

Crawling Out from Under the Rubble: On Becoming Iconoclasts

How and why did we let ourselves be continuously buried under the rubble? Without implicating ourselves in entrenching the Orientalist caricatures of Southwestern Asian societies as incapable of self-government, there are questions to be asked about quietist and conformist tendencies, about the ostrich-like behavior, and the zombie attitude. These questions do not lend themselves to easy answers. But engaging with them may facilitate critical assessment of the prospects for sustainable change.
According to Patricio Aylwin Azocar: “Ordinary men and women may often feel unmotivated to exert their citizenship, either because they cannot tell the difference between the different alternatives, or because they have lost faith in the political classes, or because they feel that the really important issues are not in their power to decide”. As for the well-known poet Adonis, he reproaches the deification of the political party, the ideology, and the community – Adonis opposes the sacralization that colors and creeps into politics, turning parliamentarians, ministers, and other public servants into demi-gods, their ideologies into gospels and political parties into quasi-sects.
Indeed, over the past decades, the legacy of multiple wars in Lebanon, including hypermnesia, and paradoxically the tabula rasa mentality and strategy, have produced in the minds of a good many Lebanese the illusion that somehow “somebody” – the warlord, the zaim, the political party, the sectarian community/belonging – but not the State (or the embodiment of the common management of our diversity), can provide for ALL needs, so why make much effort to fulfill what used to be considered in practice (or are considered in the Constitution) the responsibilities of any citizen?
As Larbi Sadiki describes Adonis in The Search for Arab Democracy, he is in all of this “an iconoclast”. “His predilection is for fluidity, plurality, and provisionalism”. The icons of Lebanese politics have all cultivated and entrenched political iconolatry, and that iconolatry has been internalized by many Lebanese, thus has weakened the case for citizenship. Adonis’s iconoclasm (desacralization) seems therefore justified, but in my opinion, when it comes to the Lebanese case, iconoclasm is not a generalized rebellion which will not take place given local divisions – and let us not forget the chaotic outcome of the so-called ‘Arab Spring’ in most countries where it occurred -, but a change-making process located in multiple local and diasporic social-political struggles already taking place.
Agents of dialogue, non-governmental organizations, academics, and activists have been trying their best, especially since the 1990s (and before), to raise awareness about the necessity of reforming the social-political system and of finding solutions to numerous crises such as the economic, environmental, cultural,…; crises of paradigms, identities, difference, indifference, intolerance, belligerence, ignorance, oppression, fanaticism, and of missionary zeal. However, if we want to shift from subjection, autocracy, blind faith, absolutism, fixity, non-participatory polity, and “denizenship” to citizenship and good governance, we will have to crawl out from under the rubble, we will have to desacralize, we will have to become iconoclasts, and by that I mean: we will have to start making use of the energy and creativity of all these agents and encourage new initiatives, to serve our society (and continue on serving) even from afar (Lebanese living in diaspora) while continuing our primary missions, to pull up the stories of people who have been silenced, to harness solidarity into forms of actions that would contribute to the change-making process in an efficient manner, and to redirect the substantial energy of our frustration – when our streets and lives are vanishing under piles of glass, debris and garbage – and turn it into positive, effective, unstoppable determination.
“If beyond hopelessness there is hope, I am hopeful” (Elias Khoury). And I am calling on my fellow academics and artists to further publicize/disseminate their knowledge as a catalyst for social-political change, to share and continue to share the myriad ways they use their expertise to expand public discourse and promote social justice, human rights, peacebuilding, and alternative diversity management approaches. Intellectual activism or public sociology – or social justice education/ peace education – is an important form of activism that should accompany street protests, boycotts, and demonstrations. It is about the democratization of knowledge, about facilitating other forms of activism by giving people data, symbols, and paradigms they can reference to back up their positions on social and political issues (as Popkewitz and others have noted, “Knowledge provides the principles through which options are made available, problems defined, and solutions considered as acceptable and effective”), by fostering dialogue and constructive criticism. It is about stepping out of the office and putting the accumulated research to use. It is about ‘being academic and artist’ as a social role, not just a job, especially when the silence of many maintains injustice, which it frequently does.
True that academia and the arts do more than influence society, they are also shaped by it, they reflect the antagonisms and reproduce them, they are contested sites where various agendas and desires are promoted and through which power circulates to produce and legitimate certain kinds of knowledge, experience and ways of knowing, but academia — and some aspects of artistic production — in Lebanon is also inherently an elitist hierarchical structure and most academics/artists are worried about keeping their jobs, getting tenure and selling their artworks. Furthermore, as Henry Giroux notes, “Neoliberalism assaulted all things public, sabotaged the basic contradiction between democratic values and market fundamentalism (…), it also weakened any viable notion of political agency by offering no language capable of connecting private considerations to public issues…As democratic values give way to commercial values, intellectual ambitions are often reduced to an instrument of the entrepreneurial self, and social visions are dismissed as hopelessly out of date”.

Yet despite these limitations and that of self-enclosure of the Ivory Tower, there are already engaged Lebanese academics and artists, iconoclasts, and they are making a difference, but more need to engage beyond their classrooms, books and academic journals, and ‘ateliers’, to be in the act of researching people, themselves, the dynamics of oppression and the politics of social interactions and injustices, to become aware of the people’s often unknowingly complicit in the process of oppression, to create knowledge in and through meaningful participation and action with others, to bring people together and contribute to finding reasons of solidarity, to transform boundaries into spaces where lives and pedagogies are constructed together in ways that work for social justice and lead to powerful possibilities, and where dialogic and open-ended praxis based on more collaborative and caring relationships is promoted.

*A text by Dr. Pamela Chrabieh — published on August 16, 2020, republished on April 13, 2021.

Dar al-Kalima University College of Arts and Culture Interreligious Dialogue Regional Curriculum in the Arab World – March 26, 2021 Webinar

We were honored to discuss our course outline Dr. Nadia Wardeh and I with our esteemed colleagues in Jordan, Palestine, Lebanon and Qatar. Higher education in Southwestern Asia is in need of innovative regional curricula that promote dialogue towards conviviality and inclusive societies.

Dar al-Kalima University College of Arts and Culture March 26, 2021 Webinar.

“Interreligious Dialogue in the Middle East: the Case of Lebanon” Course at Saint Joseph University – Beirut – March 2021

Thanking my students from Germany and Spain for making it worthwhile to introduce them to interreligious dialogue in Lebanon while the country is collapsing.

To Maria, Lucia, Hannah, Joris, Leonard, Charlotte, Nikolaus, Ludwig, Nathan, Jacob, Guillermo and Eleni: you definitely encouraged me to keep struggling for conviviality. I hope this course inspired you to learn more about the hidden gems of this country, and the many spaces of dialogue that are often disregarded.

Course: Challenges, Opportunities and Praxis of Interreligious Dialogue in the Middle East: the Case of Lebanon.
Certificate of Study in the Historical and Religious Reality of the Middle East.
FACULTÉ DES SCIENCES RELIGIEUSES
Université Saint-Joseph de Beyrouth
March 2021

About the Nabad.art Program and Dr. Pamela Chrabieh’s Art. Interview published by Stars Illustrated – New York

STARS illustrated magazine February-March 2021 issue, Dossier Loubnan (Art book edition) is now available. Published by Times Square Press New York, and Stars Illustrated New York.

Thanking once again Marjorie Lerner for the interview, and the possibility to talk about my art and the Nabad program of support for artists in Lebanon (nabad.art) which I am managing, recently launched by #dar_alkalima_university. A special thank you to my partner in arts Roula Salibi, project coordinator of Nabad, and Rev. Dr. Mitri Raheb, president of Dar al Kalima University College of Arts and Culture.

Interview with/Entretien avec Dr. Pamela Chrabieh, p. 84.
NABAD Program; The hope Lebanese artists were looking for.
https://bit.ly/39eXVtP

تفجير بيروت: حكاية أمل وألم … ورشة عمل تركّز على المتضررين واحتياجاتهم النفسيّة والاجتماعيّة

واستعرَضَت د. باميلا شرابيّة فكرة مشروع “نبض 2021” والذي يهدف الى اعادةِ احياءِ الواقع اللبناني من خلالِ الفن، حيث كانت كليّة دار الكلمة الجامعية للفنون والثقافة قد أطلقته قبلَ عدّة أيام

Read the full article: nidaalwatan, 09-12-2020

THE POWER OF ART IN TIMES OF UNCERTAINTY, by Dr. Pamela Chrabieh

With millions of people either in lockdown or on the front lines battling the COVID-19 pandemic, and continuous socio-economic and political crises in Southwestern Asia and North Africa, we all need a reminder that art can build bridges across differences, and relays messages of resistance, resilience and hope.

Audrey Azoulay, head of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) stated the following on the first celebration of World Art Day in April 2020: “Bringing people together, inspiring, soothing and sharing: these are the powers of art”. And these powers are needed today more than ever, whether to face divisions, or address self-isolation, precariousness, loss, traumas and vulnerability.

However, keeping the arts alive and kicking requires a multiform support of artists, arts organizations and creative enterprises, both emerging and established, marginalized and visible; it also requires listening to the diversity of artistic talents and promoting the democratization of art or access to art for all.

In that sense, Dar al Kalima University College of Arts and Culture has launched NABAD, an innovative program that encompasses art intervention, outreach, empowerment and art content production in Southwestern Asia and North Africa.

This program emerged in response to the August 4 port explosions in Beirut, and strives to become a beacon of support for artists and creative enterprises in the region, with a focus on marginalized arts and culture communities — youth, women, minorities, vulnerable groups, etc. 

The Beirut explosions left more than 200 dead, over 7,000 injured, 300 000 homeless, and they wrecked an already fragile art and cultural scene. Indeed, major art galleries and museums were either partly damaged or completely destroyed, along with countless smaller art venues and enterprises which play an important role in supporting their local communities: from providing a hometown feel for localities and personal customer service, to sparking healthy competition with larger competitors and encouraging innovation and creativity by adding unique spins on the artworks and activities they offer.

NABAD is a heartbeat embedded with the larger beating heart of local and regional arts and culture life, a vital impulse of hope amid war, destruction and instability, and a driving pulsation towards social and community transformation. In other words, it is a call to participate in a strong impetus for a culture of peace and social inclusion by tapping into creativity, as art brings us closer together and helps us live with one another.

It is also a call to pay tribute to and support artists who are engaged in transforming their communities and strengthening the links between artistic creation and society although they have to face multiple challenges during these unprecedented times.

Engaging with art and harnessing its powers are urgently needed, as many feel untouched by the problems of others, or are overwhelmed, disconnected, not empowered … And this is where art can make a difference, as Olafur Eliasson states: “art can mitigate the numbing effect created by the glut of information we are faced with today, motivate people to turn thinking into doing (…), encourage us to cherish intuition and uncertainty, and help us create points of contact that take us beyond an us-and-them mentality to a broader idea of what constitutes WE”.

By Dr. Pamela Chrabieh, Director of SPNC Learning & Communication Expertise, University Professor, & Visual Artist.

Source: executive-women.me, 01-12-2020

دار الكلمة الجامعية تعقد مؤتمرا حول مناهج تربوية مختصة بالتعددية وحوار الاديان Maannews

بيت لحم- معا- عقدت أمس كلية دار الكلمة الجامعية للفنونِ والثقافة في بيت لحم مؤتمرها الاقليمي الأول لمناقشة أبحاث علمية تعمل على تطويرِ مناهجَ تدريسية تربوية مُختصة بالتعدديِة وحوار الأديان والثقافات.
وشارك في المؤتمر أكثر من 25 من رجال الدين المسلمين والمسيحيين، والعلماء والأكاديميين العرب المتخصصين بالمناهجِ التربوية ومن حَمَلة درجة الدكتوراة وما بعدها، والذين أعدَوا أوراقا بحثية مختصة بحوار الأديان وبناء جسور بين الثقافات المختلفة.
وافتتحت د. ايناس ديب مديرة مشروع المنتدى الأكاديمي المسيحي للمواطَنة في الوطن العربي- كافكاو الجهة المنفذة للمشروع- المؤتمر مرحبةً بالمشاركين من الدولِ العربية المختلفة، مؤكدة على أهميةِ المشروع لمأسسةِ نظامٍ تعليمي عربي يحوي التعدديِة وثقافة قبول الآخر في مناهجِه التربوية.
واعتبرت د. ديب هذا المؤتمر الذي عُقِدَ افتراضياً نظرا لتبعات جائحة كورونا العالميَة حجرَ الأساس نحو تطوير مسارات أكاديميَة مؤكدةً على أهمية التغيير من خلال التعليم.
وأوضح القس د. متري الراهب رئيس كلية دار الكلمة الجامعية للفنون والثقافة أن هذا المؤتمر بالقائمين عليه والمشاركين فيه والذين هم من مختلف الديانات والطوائف في العالم العربي يحمل رؤيةً انسانيَة تربوية مضيفا أن الديانة جزأ من الثقافة.
واستهل القس د. الراهب كلمته الترحيبية بالحضور بالتعريف عن المشروع الذي انطلق في العام 2009، وتطور تدريجيا خلال السنوات الماضية حتى برزت الحاجة الأكبر بعد عدة لقاءات تبلوَرَت خلالها فكرة مشروع تأسيس مناهج تربوية تخرج عن النمطِ التقليدي بتدريسِ مواد متخصصة بالتعدديِة وثقافة قبول الاختلاف.
وأكد القس د. الراهب على أهمية مشروع المناهج الذي سحتوي على 3 كلمات جوهرية رئيسية وهي: الايمان، التعدديِة، والمواطَنة. مشيراً الى أن المشروع ينفذ مبدئياً في كل من فلسطين والأردن ولبنان، على أن يمتد لاحقا وتدريجيا ليغطي كافة أرجاء الوطن العربي.
وقدمت كل من الباحثات د. باميلا شرابية المختصة بحوار الثقافات والأديان ود. نادية وردة البروفيسور المساعد بدراسات الشرق الاوسط في الجامعة الامريكية في دبي دراستهنَ العلمية التي أُعِدَت خصيصا لهذا المشروع وامتد العمل عليها على مدار 10 أشهر، حيث بحثت في أهمية وجود مناهج متخصصة لتدريس التعددية وحوار الأديان، والثغرات الموجودة حاليا للوصول الى معالجتها من خلال المشروع.
وأوضحت د. شرابية من لبنان أن الدراسة استعرضت 6 نتائج هامة تؤكد على حاجة مجتمعاتنا العربية لثقافة الحوار وتدريسها منذ الصغر.
وأشارت د. وردة الى نتائج البحث وآلية تنفيذه خلال الورشة.
وعلق المشارك فضيلة الشيخ د. محمد النقاري- قاضي بيروت الشرعي والاستاذ المحاضر في عدة جامعات على أهمية المؤتمر والدراسات المستعرَضة مثعتَبِراً أن جمالية الانسان تكمن في فهم أخيه الانسان بغض النظر عن اختلاف ثقافاتهم أو أديانهم.
وأعرب د. جمال الكيلاني – عميد كلية الشريعة في جامعة النجاح الوطنية في نابلس عن سعادته بالمشاركة في المؤتمر مؤكدا على الحاجة العربية الملحة لمجتمع متحاور لا يقتصر على الأكاديميين أو رجال الدين فقط، انما يصل لكافة أفراد المجتمع وهذا يمكن أن يتم من خلال المدارس والجامعات.
وقالت الأكاديمية د. لبنى حيدر- الاستاذة في جامعة القديس يوسف في بيروت، لبنان أن تجربة الطائفة في بلدها تؤكد على أهمية الحاجة الى خطاب موحد يبدأ من المدارس والجامعات والبيوت.
فيما استعرضت د. رينيه حتر- رئيسة قسم الدراسات الدولية والبرامج والمشاريع في المعهد الملكي للدراسات الدينية في الأردن أهمية تخصيص مناهج تعليمية تتناول الشق الروحاني وجماليات الموسيقى والفن واستخدامه في تدريس الحوار، أي موسيقى السلام كما أسمتها.

Source: Maannews.net

Education to Interreligious Dialogue in Lebanon, Jordan and Palestine – November 28, 2020 Webinar

Successful first webinar organized by Dar al-Kalima University College of Arts & Culture. Nadia Wardeh and I presented the results of our research. Stay tuned for more!
بمشاركة نخبة من العلماء والأكاديميين من لبنان والاردن وفلسطين، عقدت الأمس جامعة دار الكلمة مؤتمرها الإقليمي الاول عبر الفضاء الإلكتروني لمناقشة أبحاث تعمل على تطوير مناهج تدريسية مختصة بالتعددية وحوار الأديان. وقد عرضت مع زميلتي وصديقتي ناديه ورده نتائج بحثنا عن هذا الموضوع.