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Interfaith conference to encourage building healthy relationships with global neighbors

October 27, 2017

(This story originally appeared on GVNow)

Fear, division, skepticism and assumptions are the foundations of many national and global headlines, but the annual Academic Consortium Conference will encourage attendees to build healthy relationships with their neighbors.

The 2017 Academic Consortium Conference will take place November 8, from 1-8:30 p.m., in the Donnelly Center at Aquinas College.

“We often lose the capacity to see one another as humans who collectively have something to offer to our communities,” said Kyle Kooyers, Kaufman Interfaith Institute program manager. “Simply saying that our region or country is diverse is not enough. True community is achieved only when that diversity is engaged positively through collaboration, service, dialogue and understanding.”

Kooyers said the annual conference offers attendees the opportunity to enter a space where they can encounter something new.

“Whether it is a new idea or world view, a new potential project, or a new person, this conference enables people to expand their world and deepen their understanding of themselves and their community,” he said. “With lectures, breakouts, panels and meals, this space offers many opportunities to start a conversation with someone new and begin to grow some new relationships.”

R. Scott Appleby, dean of the Keough School of Global Affairs at the University of Notre Dame and expert on global religion, will present two keynote presentations during the conference. “When Religions Collide: Sources of Intra-Religious and Inter-Religious Conflict,” which will take place at 1 p.m., will focus on the barriers to religious collaboration, including conflict within and among religions, as well as external factors that inhibit cooperation.

Appleby's evening lecture, entitled “When Religions Collaborate: Models of Religious Cooperation for Peace and Justice,” will take place at 7 p.m. It will explain the capacity that various religions have to collaborate with one another.

As an expert on global religion, Appleby focuses on its relationship to peace, conflict and integral human development. He currently co-chairs the Chicago Council on Global Affairs’ Task Force on Religion and the Making of U.S. Foreign Policy. Appleby’s research examines the various ways in which religious movements and organizations shape, and are shaped by, national, regional and global dynamics of governance, deadly conflict, international relations and economic development.

Appleby has written 15 books, including The Fundamentalism Project (co-edited with Martin Marty), The Ambivalence of the Sacred: Religion, Violence and Reconciliation, and The Oxford Handbook on Religion, Conflict and Peacebuilding (co-edited with Atalia Omer). He also serves as the lead editor of the Oxford University Press series, “Studies in Strategic Peacebuilding.”

Conference breakout sessions will include topics such as the impact of the Protestant Reformation on interfaith understanding, the growth of interfaith engagement on college campuses and myths about religions and violence.

The conference is free and open to the public, but registration is required by November 7. The registration deadline for an optional lunch and dinner is November 1. To register, and for more information about the conference, visit the Kaufman Interfaith Institute website.

The Academic Consortium Conference is LIB 100 and 201 approved for Grand Valley students, and sponsored by Grand Valley’s Kaufman Interfaith Institute and Interfaith Academic Consortium.

For More Information Contact: Matthew Makowski in University Communications - (616) 331-2228

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Page last modified October 27, 2017