Middle Eastern Spirituality

and Peace

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MESP Strands, Principles, Presentations, Practices, Processes and Event Formats


MESP Strands

1. spirituality, and relations among spiritual and faith traditions;
2. peace and conflict;
3. education, learning and audience development;
4. arts and culture;
5. health, wellbeing and healing;
6. equality, diversity and communities;
7. celebrating Scotland, the UK and the Middle East in international terms.

MESP Principles

1. engagement with a progressively wider and more diverse range of contributors
2. no speaker represents the totality of any tradition
3. no religious group or organization, or the Festival organization or sponsors, should be identified with the opinions of any speaker, whose opinions remain his/her own.
4. all mystical and prophetic voices for non-violence and peace should be allowed a hearing, without censorship or prior vetting by any religious group or organization.
5. MESP takes no fixed position on any political, ethical or cultural question. We intend rather to create a forum in which we can listen to each other more deeply and learn with a more open mind and heart.
6. MESP 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.
7. MESP welcomes a diverse range of modes of participation in an attempt to reflect and celebrate individual insights and experiences, to allow for hidden or marginalised voices, and to celebrate diversity and difference. We also seek to establish common ground where it exists.
8. MESP is managed as a charitable event for wide public benefit, and all events in the Festival should reflect the Festival Equality and Diversity Ethos.

MESP Presentations

1. learning from each other about our shared traditions, as well as those that form the unique voice of any one of us.
2. hearing from those who have been active in peacemaking on a spiritual basis on the ground in the Middle East.
3. inviting participants to share in the musical and devotional spiritual practice presented, in order to gain an experiential view of the traditions we discussed.

MESP Practices

The spiritual practices shared by participants include chant, dance and movement, meditation, mindfulness, openness of heart and mind, trust, deep listening and empathy, compassion, awareness of each other, respect, celebrating differences, acceptance, understanding, allowing, holding space, welcoming, hospitality, appreciation, rituals, not knowing, bearing witness, loving action, etc.

MESP Processes

1. MESP participants are invited to shape their own experience during the Festival, and to take personal responsibility for participating as peacemakers and community builders.
2. MESP 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.
3. 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.

MESP 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.
4. MESP participants share experiences of personal interaction, mutual support and empathy.
5. MESP is a vehicle for local and international community building between diverse spiritual traditions, cultures and communities and between the internal and external experiences of the individual.
6. MESP provides a supportive, caring, non-judgemental environment in which participants engage in interactive exercises, role play, rituals, deep listening and sharing about experiences and awareness of wisdom relating to the basic elements of peacemaking and community building. Elements which some found to be important have included:
Welcoming (hospitality, appreciation, rituals)
Respect/celebrating differences, acceptance/understanding and allowing/holding space
Openness of heart and mind, trust, listening, compassion, and awareness of each other
Skills or tools of peacemaking in a humane way, letting go, challenging, transforming

MESP Events Formats

Multi Faith and Spiritual Forums:
Day and Evening Workshops:
Spiritual Practice events:
Peace and Conflict events:
Education and Learning events:
CPD events:
Artistic/Cultural events:
Health, Wellbeing and Healing events:
Equality, Diversity and Community events:
Celebrating Scotland, the UK and the Middle East in international terms events:
Community-hosted events:
Library-hosted events:
Hospitality or Service events:
Food events:
Films and Documentaries:


Festival Directors and Contacts

Festival Directors:
Neill Walker and Dr Neil Douglas-Klotz.

Edinburgh International Centre for Spirituality and Peace, EICSP,

Scottish charity SC038996,
4, William Black Place, South Queensferry, Edinburgh, EH30 9PZ.
T: +44 (0) 131 331 4469, E: mesp2008@hotmail.co.uk, W: www.eicsp.org