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Iranian Sufi Scholar to Address Middle East Peace in Edinburgh Festival

Edinburgh will host world-renowned Islamic scholar Dr Seyyed Hossain Nasr to address the opportunities and challenges of Middle East Peace from a spiritual, educational and cultural perspective as part of Edinburgh’s Fifth Annual International Festival of Middle Eastern Spirituality and Peace.

Dr Nasr will give the 2008 Festival Lecture on “Spiritual Approaches to Peace and Ecology in the Islamic World,” on Tuesday, March 11 at the Queen’s Hall in Edinburgh, beginning at 730 pm. The previous day he will give a workhshop on “Sufism: Doctrines, Practices and Historic Manifestations” at the Quaker Meeting House, beginning at 10 am).

The festival, which runs from March 1 through 11, features lectures, performances and workshops by peacemakers, scholars, artists, musicians, poets and religious figures from the Middle East, Africa, the USA and the UK. Full schedule.

Festival events include:


  • An evening of Sufi ecstatic chanting and devotional music (March 1, Quaker Meeting House, 7 pm);
  • A workshop on the Aramaic Lord’s Prayer and Middle Eastern Spirituality (March 2, Columcille Center 1130 am);
  • A workhop on “Re-Membering the Divine Feminine” with Dr MaryCatherine Burgess (March 3, Quaker Meeting House, 10 am);
  • A Forum of  Middle Eastern Faiths on “Faith, Stewardship and the Future of the Planet” (March 3, Martin Hall, New College, University of Edinburgh, 7 pm);
  • A workshop on Jewish Storytelling and Song with Israeli artists Chana Sophia Yaffe and Tirtza Singer (March 4, Quaker Meeting House, 11 am);
  • A workshop on “Spirituality, Peace and Wellbeing with Rev. Professor Stephen G. Wright (March 5, Quaker Meeting House, 10 am);
  •  “The Return of the Jerusalem Peacemakers” with Rodef Shalom Eliyahu McLean and Sheikh Abdul Aziz Bukhari (March 5, St George’s West Church, 730 pm);
  • An Interspiritual Retreat Day with Jewish, Christian and Islamic Peacemakers (March 6, Quaker Meeting House, 10 am);
  • Day workshops with various presenters on “Pathways to Peace Through Spiritual Dance” (March 7) and “Pathways to Peace Through Spiritual and Musical Practice” (March 8), both at the Quaker Meeting House;
  • The World Peace Flag Ceremony (March 7, St George’s West, 8 pm);
  • Azarbajani artist Davod Azad in concert: “Songs for the Beloved” (March 8, Columcille Center, 730 pm);
  • A day workshop with Lee Gershuny, Ph.D. on “A Wealth of Difference: Tapping Archetypal Sources of Wisdom and Creativity” (March 9, Columcille Center, 1130 am).


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 celebration of peace and understanding. Indeed, the non-political nature of the Festival allows for an exceptional diversity among the participants. In total there will be over 35 events in the 2008 Festival. The Festival is organized by the Edinburgh International Centre for Spirituality and Peace (EICSP), and the Edinburgh Institute for Advanced Learning, EIAL, and with the support of many other organizations.