Edinburgh Festival of
Middle Eastern Spirituality
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FESTIVAL 2008 INTRODUCTION
The 5th Edinburgh International Festival
of Middle Eastern Spirituality and Peace
Saturday 1 March - Tuesday 11 March 2008
Festival Introduction and Welcome
From Saturday 1 March - Tuesday 11 March 2008 the 5th Annual Edinburgh International Festival of Middle Eastern Spirituality and Peace will bring together people from a wide range of spiritual backgrounds, educators, teachers and scholars, people from artistic and cultural backgrounds, people from diverse cultures and traditions, and people from across Scotland and internationally. More generally, all of the principal faith and spiritual traditions of Scotland have been invited to participate in this spiritual, educational, artistic and cultural, and international festival which celebrates peace and mutual understanding.
The Festival is organised by the Edinburgh International Centre for Spirituality and Peace, EICSP, and the Edinburgh Institute for Advanced Learning (EIAL), supported by their networking, planning, management, and coordinating role. The Festival is co-directed by Neill Walker and Dr Neil Douglas-Klotz.
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 in general has come from the Scottish Government, the City of Edinburgh Council, 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, the Edinburgh International Centre for Spirituality and Peace, EICSP, and the Edinburgh Institute for Advanced Learning, EIAL. Support for individual events is listed beside the event itself.
In-kind support has come from organizations who we have worked with to organize specific Festival events. These organizations are listed beside the specific events which they have been involved with. Further in-kind support has come from a range of hosting and supporting organizations and individuals.
The Festival positively affirms the diversity contained within the religious and spiritual, educational, artistic and cultural, ethnic, and international traditions of the Middle East, as well as those here in Scotland. 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, educational, and artistic and cultural approaches to peace and mutual understanding while celebrating Scotland in international terms. Most of the Festival events are held in Edinburgh. There are five main strands to the 2008 Middle East Festival, namely:
1. spirituality, and relations among spiritual and faith traditions;
2. education and audience development;
3. arts and culture;
4. celebrating the diversity of Scotland;
5. celebrating Scotland in international terms.
The Festival brings 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 that we discuss.
One of the Festival’s overriding aims is to contribute to peace and mutual understanding through dialogue, spiritual and artistic practice, and improved mutual understanding among the religious and spiritual traditions that have arisen in what is now known as the Middle East, and more generally among those who have found a home in Scotland and the UK. Accordingly, the Festival seeks to engage a progressively wider and more diverse range of participants who have been active in spiritual and artistic approaches to non-violent conflict resolution and world peace. No speaker represents, or can represent, the totality of any tradition.
Festival participants are invited to shape their own experience during the Festival, and to take personal responsibility for participating as peacemakers and community builders. In particular, participants are invited to take personal responsibility for processing any conflicts or obstacles to peace that they experience, and for self-evaluating their own participation as peacemakers and community builders for the benefit of their wider life experience.
Conflict and obstacles to peace are of central importance in the lives of peacemakers and community builders. They hold seeds for our spiritual and creative development, and can provide energy to sustain such development. The Festival provides many opportunities to engage spiritually, creatively and non-violently with conflict and obstacles to peace in supportive and non-judgmental environments, allowing participants the opportunity to transform conflicts and obstacles to peace into new perspectives, insights and actions.
The Festival is managed as a charitable event for wide public benefit, and all events in the Festival should reflect the Festival Equality and Diversity Ethos.
All events were as correct as could be ascertained at the time of going to press. The Festival organisers will not be held responsible for any errors in the listings in this guide or changes to any advertised programme. People attending Festival events are responsible for their own belongings. If you are travelling from any significant distance to a Festival event, then it is important to confirm the final arrangements close to the date of the event.
The opinions expressed by all speakers at the Festival are their own individual views and should not be identified with those of the Festival organizers or sponsors or with those of any particular religious or spiritual organization, tradition or community. One of the primary principles of the Festival is that all mystical and prophetic voices for non-violence and peace should be allowed a hearing, without censorship or prior vetting.
Festival Directors and Contacts
Edinburgh International Centre for Spirituality and Peace, EICSP,
As part of the 2008 Middle East Festival process we invite the submission of essays of up to 2,000 words in two categories, each under an associated theme:
1. School Students. Essay Theme: ‘Spirituality and Global Citizenship.’
2. University Students and Adults. Essay Theme: ‘Spirituality and Peace.’
Essays submitted by school students should be submitted through their school on their behalf. The essays should be submitted by 11 March 2008 to the following:
Contact: Neill Walker, email@example.com, 0131 331 4469.
Further copies of this Festival Brochure can be sent on request.
Festival Web Site
The Festival web site is as follows: www.eicsp.org
Festival Media Opportunities
For media opportunities, interviews, photo opportunities, articles, and press releases please contact the Festival organisers.
Please get in contact if you would like to volunteer during some Festival events.
Please get in contact if you would like to be an intern during the Festival.
Festival Sponsorship Opportunities
Please get in contact if you would like to discuss Festival sponsorship.
If you have specific access needs, then please contact the Festival organisers.
A limited number of bursaries are available for those on very low income to support their attendance at some Festival events. Please contact the Festival organisers to discuss whether you qualify for a Festival bursary.
Festival Updates and Additions
Please consult the Festival website for any changes and updates to the schedule.
The 2009 Middle East Festival
Individuals, communities and organisations who would like to consider becoming involved in the 2009 Middle East Festival are very welcome to contact: Neill Walker, firstname.lastname@example.org, 0131 331 4469.