NEWS RELEASE

 

Release date: 13/12/2004

For attention: news/features editor, Middle East editor, Religion editor, events

The new documentary "Elias Chacour: Prophet in his own Country" will be shown at the Filmhouse on Friday 18 February as part of MESP 2005.

 

 

Three Times Nobel Peace Prize Nominee Talks on Middle East Peace

 

Edinburgh will host three times Nobel Peace Prize nominee, Abuna Elias Chacour, to address the opportunities and challenges of Middle East Peace from a spiritual, educational and cultural perspective as part of EdinburghÕs Annual International Festival of Middle Eastern Spirituality and Peace.

 

Abuna Elias Chacour is a three times Nobel Peace Prize nominee, and the recipient of numerous international peace prizes and awards. He will deliver the Festival Lecture on Spiritual Approaches to Middle East Peace, on Thursday 3 March 2005, 7pm-9pm, at the McEwan Hall, the University of Edinburgh, hosted by the Middle East Festival and the University of Edinburgh.

 

The evening will consist of a one-hour talk followed by an hour of questions and discussion. In keeping with the emphasis of the Festival on spirituality, and on spiritual, educational and cultural approaches to peace, there will be an opportunity for public, students and the media to raise questions of their own.

 

Festival Co-Directors Neill Walker and Dr Neil Douglas-Klotz said:

ÔAbuna Elias Chacour speaks from the heart on Arab-Christian-Jewish relations. An Arab Christian Israeli citizen, Father Elias ChacourÕs quest for peace, reconciliation and mutual understanding provides a source of reflection and inspiration for all people who are interested in peace and reconciliation in the Middle East.Õ

 

ÔA Catholic Melkite Christian, Father Elias Chacour founded the Mar Elias Educational Institutions with students from Christian, Muslim, Jewish and Druze faiths. He is the President of IsraelÕs first Christian-Arab-Israeli University. Reconciliation begins with bridges. Father Elias Chacour has built them in a time and place where no one thought it possible.Õ

 

Ticket information: £8/£5 (concessions) (stbf), from Tickets Scotland Ltd, 127 Rose Street, Edinburgh, 0131 220 3234, open 9am - 6pm (8pm Thursday), 11am - 6pm Sundays.

 

Contacts:

Neill Walker, 0131 331 4469, njwalk3001@hotmail.com

Katrina Nevin-Ridley, 0131 650 9836,

Katrina.Nevin-Ridley@ed.ac.uk

 

 

ENDS

Notes for Editors

 

News Release: this news release is available by email from Neill Walker, 0131 331 4469, njwalk3001@hotmail.com

 

Pictures: a high resolution picture of Abuna Elias Chacour is available from Neill Walker, 0131 331 4469, njwalk3001@hotmail.com

 

Middle East Festival Brochure: a PDF of the 24-page full colour Festival Brochure for the 2005 Edinburgh International Festival of Middle Eastern Spirituality and Peace is available from Neill Walker, 0131 331 4469, njwalk3001@hotmail.com

 

Middle East Festival information: further information on the 2005 Edinburgh International Festival of Middle Eastern Spirituality and Peace is available from Neill Walker, 0131 331 4469, njwalk3001@hotmail.com

 

● Middle East Festival website: further information on www.eial.org

 

Abuna Elias Chacour

 

Abuna Elias Chacour was born in the village of Biram in the Upper Galilee in the Arab Palestine, to a Palestinian Christian family, members of the Melkite Catholic Church, an Eastern Byzantine Church in communion with Rome. In 1958 he was sent by his Church to Paris, where he graduated with a Degree in Theology and Bible Studies from Saint Sulpice, the Sorbonne (the University of Paris) in 1965. In September 1967 he was sent by his Church to the Hebrew University, where he received a Master's Degree in Bible and Talmudic Studies in 1968. He was the first Arab student to study the Bible and the Talmud there. In 1970 he was appointed Assistant Lecturer at the World Council of Churches (WCC) in Bossey, Switzerland. In 1971 he obtained a Ph.D. in Ecumenical Theology at the University of Geneva.

 

1982: He opened Prophet Elias High School in Ibillin. Since then the school has been developed into Mar Elias Educational Institutions (MEEI). As of November 2002, MEEI has 4,000 students enrolled. 1984: Launch of his first book: Blood Brothers. 1990: Launch of his second book: We Belong to the Land. 1994: He received the prestigious World Methodist Peace Award that has been presented in the past to such pilgrims for peace as former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and the late Egyptian President Anwar el-Sadat. 1996: He opened the Centre for Religious Pluralism at Mar Elias College. 1999: He was awarded Chevalier de la Legion dÕHonneur by the President of France. 2000: He received the Marcel Rudloff Peace and Tolerance Award at Strasbourg. 2001: He received the 18th Niwano Peace Prize, Tokyo-Japan; Nominated for  Man of the Year award in Israel. 2002: Launch of his 3rd book: JÕai foi en nous; He was appointed Bishop-Elect of Jerusalem, Melkite Catholic Church, Israel; He received the Dante Aleghieri Peace and Human Rights award from the district of Comune di Castelnuovo Magra Provincia della Spezia in Italy. 2003: He was appointed Consultant to the Holy See Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews; He received LionÕs International award: Man of the Year, Israel; He received the prestigious 2002 Peacemaker in Action Award from Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding, New York. 2004: Currently continuing development of campus facilities and curricula of the Mar Elias Educational Institutions (MEEI). It is Father ChacourÕs hope and vision to expand the facilities to accommodate 5,000 students from all over Israel, and eventually from other countries as well. MEEI is the only private campus in the history of Galilee where Christians, Muslims, Jews, and Druze can live together, learn together, and establish a common future together.

 

IsraelÕs Man of the Year 2001 speaks from the heart on Arab-Christian-Jewish relations. A Palestinian Christian, Father Chacour founded the Mar Elias Educational Institutions with students from Christian, Muslim, Jewish and Druze faiths. He is the President of IsraelÕs first Christian-Arab-Israeli University. Reconciliation begins with bridges. Father Chacour has built them in a time and place where no one thought it possible.

 

The 2nd Edinburgh International Festival of Middle

Eastern Spirituality and Peace, Edinburgh, Scotland,

Monday 14 February – Sunday 6 March 2005.

 

Festival Directors and Contacts

 

Festival and Conference Directors:

Neill Walker and Dr Neil Douglas-Klotz.

 

Edinburgh International Centre for World Spiritualities,

EICWS, Scottish Charity, SC030155,

4, William Black Place, South Queensferry, Edinburgh, EH30 9PZ.

T: 0131 331 4469, E: njwalk3001@hotmail.com

 

Edinburgh Institute for Advanced Learning, EIAL,
7, East Champanyie, Edinburgh, EH9 3EL, Scotland, UK.
M: 44-(0)7005-802-580, F: 44-(0)7005-802-581, 
E: ndk@eial.org, W: www.eial.org

 

Festival Welcome

 

From Monday 14 February – Sunday 6 March 2005 the 2nd Annual Edinburgh International Festival of Middle Eastern Spirituality and Peace will bring together artists, scholars, grassroots spiritual activists, and speakers from the Sufi, Druze, BahaÕi, Ismaili, Zoroastrian and other lesser known spiritual traditions, in addition to representatives of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. More generally, all of the principal faith and spiritual traditions of Scotland are being invited to participate in this spiritual, cultural, and educational festival of peace and understanding. The Festival is jointly organized by the Edinburgh International Centre for World Spiritualities, EICWS, and the Edinburgh Institute for Advanced Learning, EIAL, and with the support of many other organizations.

 

 

Festival Ethos

 

The Festival positively affirms the diversity contained within the religious and spiritual traditions of the Middle East, as well as those here in Scotland, in justice and equality. The Festival takes no fixed position on any political, ethical or cultural question. We intend rather to create a forum in which we can listen to one another more deeply and learn with a more open mind and heart. The emphasis of the Festival is on spirituality, and on spiritual, cultural, and educational approaches to peace and understanding.

 

The Festival will bring together at least three different kinds of presentations. First, we hope to learn from each other about our shared traditions, as well as those that form the unique voice of any one of us. Second, we will hear from those who have been active in peacemaking on a spiritual basis on the ground in the Middle East. Third, we invite participants to share in the musical and devotional spiritual practice presented, in order to gain an experiential view of the traditions we discuss. Simply knowing facts (or presumed facts) about another does not become real meeting without such an experience.

 

Festival Sponsorship and Support

 

The Festival organisers would like to acknowledge and thank those organisations and individuals who have offered financial and in-kind support to this Festival.

 

Financial support towards the Festival, or to specific events within the Festival, has come from the Oneness Project, the International Network for the Dances of Universal Peace, the UK Network for the Dances of Universal Peace, the Shalem Institute, the Kalliopeia Foundation, One Scotland. Many Cultures, the Scottish Arts Council, the Edinburgh International Centre for World Spiritualities, EICWS, the Edinburgh Institute for Advanced Learning, EIAL, The UNA Edinburgh, the City of Edinburgh Council Culture and Leisure Department Celebrating Communities, and Sir Tom Farmer.

 

Further support has come from organizations who we have worked with to organize specific Festival events. These numerous organizations are listed beside the specific events which they have been involved with. Further in-kind support has come from a wide range of hosting and supporting organizations.

 

The two organizations who organize this Festival, namely, the Edinburgh International Centre for World Spiritualities, EICWS, and the Edinburgh Institute for Advanced Learning, EIAL, have contributed major in-kind support for this Festival, and without their major networking, planning, management, and coordinating role this Festival would not have been possible. The Festival is a joint initiative of these two organizations, among their projects and initiatives, and is co-directed by Neill Walker, on behalf of EICWS, and Dr Neil Douglas-Klotz, on behalf of EIAL. Victor Spence and Neill Walker jointly prepared the Festival Brochure.