Edinburgh Festival of
Middle Eastern Spirituality
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Release date: 12/12/2007
For attention: News/Features editor, Education editor, Middle East editor, Religion editor, Arts/Culture editor, Political/Scottish Parliament editor
Edinburgh Celebrates Middle Eastern Spirituality and Peace
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 celebration of peace and mutual understanding. Indeed, the non-political nature of the Festival allows for an exceptional diversity among the participants. In total there will be some 40 events in the 2008 Festival, including Festival pre-events, with speakers and guests from the Middle East, Africa, the USA and the UK.
The Festival is jointly organized by the Edinburgh International Centre for Spirituality and Peace, EICSP, and the Edinburgh Institute for Advanced Learning, EIAL, supported by partner organisations, funders, hosting organisations, as well as participating individuals and communities.
Among Festival highlights will include visits by Prof Seyyed Hossein Nasr, and a return visit to Scotland by Jerusalem Peacemakers, Rodef Shalom Eliyahu McLean and Sheikh Abdul Aziz Bukhari.
Edinburgh will host a visit by the world-renowned Iranian Islamic scholar Prof Seyyed Hossein Nasr to address the opportunities and challenges of Middle East Peace from a spiritual, educational and cultural perspective. Prof Nasr will give the 2008 Middle East 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 7.30pm. The previous day he will give a workshop on “Sufism: Doctrines, Practices and Historic Manifestations” at the Quaker Meeting House in Edinburgh, beginning at 10 am. Prof Nasr, born in 1933 in Tehran, is one of the world's leading experts on Islamic science and spirituality. In 1979 he migrated to USA becoming Distinguished Professor of Islamic Studies at University of Utah, then from 1979 to 1984 Professor of Islamic Studies at Temple University. Since 1984 he has been University Professor of Islamic Studies at the George Washington University. He has given several major lectures, including the Gifford Lectures at the University of Edinburgh. He is the author of over thirty books and 300 articles on aspects of Islamic studies, comparative philosophy and religion, philosophy of art and the philosophical and religious dimensions of the environmental crisis.
We are very pleased to welcome back to Scotland Rodef Shalom Eliyahu McLean and Sheikh Abdul Aziz Bukhari, Co-Directors of the Jerusalem Peacemakers. “The Return of the Jerusalem Peacemakers: Sparks of Peace: interspiritual cooperation for healing the Children of Abraham in the Holy Land,” at the Quaker Meeting House in Edinburgh on Wednesday 5 March 2008, beginning at 7.30pm, will be an opportunity to meet these two Jerusalem Peacemakers, who are also actively involved in the work of Abrahamic Reunion, to learn about their work in the Middle East and internationally, sharing insights into the tools and dynamics of interspiritual peacemaking, and to share with them and discuss with them their inspiring, hopeful and pioneering grassroots interspiritual peace work.
Middle East Festival Co-Directors Neill Walker and Dr Neil Douglas-Klotz said: ‘The Festival positively affirms the diversity contained within the religious and spiritual 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 more open minds and hearts. The emphasis of the Festival is on spirituality, and on spiritual, educational and artistic and cultural approaches to peace and mutual understanding.’
Notes for Editors
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.
In-kind support has come from organizations who we have worked with to organize specific Festival events. Further in-kind support has come from a range of hosting and supporting organizations and individuals.